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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
« How to Help Our Friends at "Issues, Etc." | Main | "Burnt Offerings to the LORD" -- Joshua 8:1-35 »

LCMS Pulls the Plug on "Issues, Etc."

Issues%20Etc.gifThe Lutheran Church Missouri Synod's Board of Communications suddenly pulled the plug today on our friends @ Issues, Etc.  Both Rev. Todd Wilken and his producer Jeff Schwarz, were both let go without advance notice.  

All of the White Horse Inn regulars, along with Ken Samples, regularly appear on that program.  Todd and Jeff are great guys, and more importantly, defenders of justification sola fide.  According to reports from several Lutheran pastors who broke the news on their blogs, apparently, there is no scandal of any sort, and the program does not lose money.

I'll keep you posted if and when someone devises some sort of protest or response.  I don't know the Lutheran world very well (much less the internal politics which led to this), but apparently, there is already great outrage on the part of many Lutherans, who see Issues, Etc.  as the LCMS' only successful outreach to those outside Lutheran circles.

Please be in prayer for Rev. Wilken and Jeff Schwarz!

Yet another reason to dislike denominational bureaucrats (as if I need another reason), who always act in self-preservation, even if it means throwing overboard those actually preaching Christ to the masses.  And, of course, they do this right before Easter and without warning.   Amazing. 

Reader Comments (28)

Whoa! What can we do to help? Those guys are terrific!
March 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrichard
So what does Dad Rod have to say?
March 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPB
Whatever the reason, the LCMS is battling, not so much the liberals, but non-descript "evangelicals" who are happy to forgo historic and Biblical practice for the "happy-clappy".
March 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie
I am stunned at this news. I listen to Issues,etc. almost every day, even though I am Reformed. Issues, etc. where I get news about what is going on in the world of religion. I learned so much about Rick Warren from the Issues, etc. guys.
March 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGary

We left the LCMS because "happy-clappy" churches are all over Arizona. We are now members of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). WELS is German Lutheran, and they split with the LCMS in 1961, because they started noticing liberal trends developing at that time. WELS is extremely conservative, Biblical, and absolutely loves the great Lutheran tradition!
March 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLLOYD
Hi Kim,
I am very familiar with Issues, Etc. and the vital job they did. Their website was a treasure trove of programming on issues within Christianity and the world from a faithful, biblical perspective. I host a syndicated show called Crosstalk on 87 Christian stations where we discussed many of the same things. I would be willing to do anything I could to give these guys a voice. They are so needed in the battle for truth today. Issues, Etc. was really one of the only things the LCMS had that addressed the larger Christian world and the false teachings, etc. that abound in evangelicalism. I know because I am LCMS. This is really an outrage. They didn't even leave the site up for an explanation, which is an insult to listeners. Thanks for letting us know about this.
March 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIngrid Schlueter
Both the Issues, Etc. and the (talk radio) website are down. However, the LCMS related music station website is still functional:
March 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGreg
This has hit me like a 2x4 between the eyes. Can't believe it -- they even pulled the archives which confirms to me that it has something to do with the content of the show that they don't like. Astounding... it was the only Lutheran resource I soaked up. Perhaps it had something to do with their recent show on the role of women in the church.
March 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMark Priestap
I don’t know if this will come in handy, but I’ve created a blog that can serve as a clearinghouse for information about the cancellation, and a place for fans of the show to discuss what should happen next. Even if the show never returns to KFUO, I believe something resembling Issues Etc. will sprout again — probably online — but only if Lutherans work together to make it happen.
March 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIssues Fan
For those of you who would like to voice your disagreement with this most unfortunate decision, here is the contact information that has been posted on many Lutheran blogs today. Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated.

Synod: 888-843-5267
KFUO: 314-725-0099

David Strand: (LCMS Board of Communications)

Synod's address:
1333 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-7295
March 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKelly
Raised as a Wisonsin Synod member but eventually preferring the Missouri Synod and then "becoming" a Reformed, I've been listening to that show for over 8 years. What a great show. That hurts.

Someone please explain this part from the second paragraph.

I don't know the Lutheran world very well (much less the internal politics which led to this), but apparently, there is already great outrage on the part of many Lutherans, who see Issues, Etc. as the LCMS' only successful outreach to those outside Lutheran circles.

Why is there outrage on the part of many Lutherans, who see Issues, Etc. as the LCMS' only successful....

If it's a successful outreach, why are they outraged?
March 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMatt
Wow, what can I say . I loved listening to the shows via the internet and it was a great source for apologetics and a defense of the faith. I will be sending a e-mail of protest for sure . Sad !!
March 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterReg Schofield
By far the most important thing you can do is support Jeff and Todd financially. They have families, mortgages, etc.

In particular, Jeff's wife Beth is having serious medical problems. I wrote about it in more detail here:
March 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPr. Lehmann
Like other responders, I too belonged to LCMS congregations for 55 years, only to leave about 4 years ago when I married a Baptist woman. But I've tried to keep an ear focused on what goes on over there and it's not good.

For those of you who have no historical knowledge of this church body (synod) this all pretty much began in 1973 when a liberal group of professors and congregations of the LCMS, about 100,000 members and 300 congregations, broke away from the LCMS and formed Seminex and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC). They merged with the ELCA in 1988. These professors taught at least one third of the pastors currently on the LCMS roster and more than half of the current District Presidents. I had an uncle who got caught up in that fiasco and lost his job at the St. Louis Seminary. I also had a grandfather who taught Hebrew at that same seminary for many years (he had passed away by the time of this schism) so my roots in the synod are very deep.

Several smaller Lutheran synods went through a series of mergers during the 60's and 70's, resulting in a more and more liberal church body as they did. Now, the ELCA comprises the largest single Lutheran synod in the US, with something like 5.2 million members.

Well, a lot of LCMS pastors who were going through that St. Louis seminary during the early 70's have lamented the loss of their friends who broke away. Moreover, many of them have sons who have become pastors and desire fellowship with ELCA congregations. So they push for changes in the creeds and confessions at every synodical convention to help open the doors to liberalism.

Someone mentioned "happy clappy," presumably referred to the raucous praise music that is used during services by many of their congregations now. Yes, that's true. The charismatic movement also started in LCMS during the early 70's, jumped right on the bandwagon with the Church Growth Movement and is thriving. Gone are many of the old hymns with meaningful lyrics reflecting scripture and God's great work with His people; nowadays it's me this, me that; I do this, I've done that....

Anyway, during the past decade, in particular, the LCMS has slowly ushered in a bureaucratic structure all the way down to the district levels that prevents local congregations from making autonomous decisions (e.g., firing a renegade pastor who is teaching false doctrine). This pretty much mirrors ELCA with it's bishops, etc. so I imagine that the next convention (this year, if I'm not mistaken) will probably see moves in that direction.

If someone wants to remain a confessional Lutheran these days, the only choices left are Wisconsin synod (WELS) or Evangelical Lutheran synod (ELS) congregations. Now, those synods are by no means in synch with everything that is confessed in Reformed churches, so very few people (on this list, anyway) would probably agree with their beliefs. Nevertheless, that's the long and short of it in a very tiny nutshell. As someone else on this blog mentioned, I have a hunch that a comment about ordaining women on Issues may have been the trigger point for pulling the plug because I can easily see that as the major issue at the next convention. I have a cousin who works at KFUO, too. Wonder if he still has a job...
March 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge
To give some further contact points: The office phone number of the guy who walked in and fired Pastors Wilken and Schwarz, David Strand, is (314) 996-1200. Another place you can send emails is ..and it might be interesting to seeing if anyone responds to emails sent to

Also, if you want to help Rev. Wilken or Pastor Schwarz (and they both will be needing help), Checks marked as for the Schwartz or Wilken Fund can be sent to:

Saint Paul Lutheran Church
P.O. Box 247
Hamel, IL 62046
March 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter--Aaron Nemoyer
Here is some more contact info for those who want to express concern to LCMS officials regarding the caneling of Issues Etc.:

LCMS President
Rev Dr Gerald Kieschnick
314 996 1402

LCMS Communications Board members
(have jurisdiction over all forms of communication in synod, including broadcasting)
Rev John Bush 734 783 8991 or 734 676 1565

Dr. David Kluth 512 218 1732

Rev. Kevin Vogts 605 232 4013 or 605 232 9117

Synod Vice Presidents
Rev Dr Paul Maier 269 375 3967

Rev Dr John Wohlrabe 757 462 8225

Rev Dr Dean Nadasdy 651 739 5144

Rev Dr David Buegler 440 937 5598

Synod Board of Directors (Have jurisdiction over all property and business matters of synod)
Rev Ed Balfour 207 799 3111

Rev Victor Belton 404 289 1474 or 404 584 2927

Rev Dr Robert Kuhn 407 366 2775

Board of Directors - Lay members
Gloria Edwards 650 851 7720
David Piehler 715 842 5475
Curtis Pohl 763 494 3541
Roy Schmidt 989 684 1411
Walter Tesch 414 771 1495
March 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaul W
I am shocked to learn about the cancelation of Issues Etc. The program has been very beneficial in my family's spiritual journey which eventually led us into the reformed faith.

However, the sudden unexpected firing of LCMS employees without reason doesn't suprise me. This is typical as the organization has let go a large number of employees annually since 2001.

Although I have never been Luthern, I was previously employed for LCMS and worked there for close to three years. Two weeks after I received an excellent review and raise, I was called into a meeting and was told that I was being let go and that I should leave the premises immediately. That was the first round of many mass-layoffs that were to come.

I still have connections within LCMS and have heard that the following layoffs took place in the same manner with employees having no idea that it is coming.
March 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIssues Etc fan
I left out a board member last time

Rev Donald Muchow 512 535 1855
(he's the LCMS board of directors Chairman and "Chaplain")

and a VP
Rev Dr William Diekelman 314 317 4550
March 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaul W
Here is all sorts of contact information to tell people what you think about this, let them know how important Issues, Etc. was to us, and ask why the show was cancelled:

Rev. David L. Strand
Executive Director
Board for Communication
(314) 996-1200
(314) 822-0000

Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
1333 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-7295
(888) 843-5267

KFUO Radio Station
(314) 725-0099
(314) 725-3030‎
(314) 721-2969

Rev. Dr. Gerald Kieschnick
Synod President
(314) 996-1402
(314) 842-7110

LC-MS Board of Directors
(314) 965-9000
(314) 996-1350
Fax: (314) 996-1016

Financial help for the Schwarz and Wilken families can be sent to the following address. Just put in the memo line that it’s for the “Schwartz/Wilken Fund”. The Schwarzes especially need the help and Rev. Jack Schwarz's wife Beth has been recently diagnosed with small fiber neuropathy and they need to go to Mayo Clinic to try figuring out what can be done.

"Schwartz/Wilken Fund"
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
P.O. Box 247
Hamel, IL 62046

All help and all prayers are appreciated.
March 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAaron
PS. For anyone who comes across this and has Facebook, some good discussion it seems is going on at the "Bring ack Issues ETC!!!" Facebook group.
March 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

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