Monday, August 04, 2008

Woman Pastor to Lead Worship at LCMS Youth Event

Thanks to "Chuck Finney" for bringing this to light.

The Texas District's 2008 Youth Gathering coming up in November has an interesting array of speakers scheduled. Note that the "lead worshiper" is Kari Jobe (see below).

Kari Jobe - Lead Worshipper
For over 13 years, I have been involved with worship groups that have ministered around the world... I believe it's not enough for us to merely experience God's presence; we must also affect the lives of others and help them draw closer to God. My passion is to see people impacted and changed by His goodness, and to see the world changed by the reality and nearness of God's presence. - Kari Jobe

Kari is an associate pastor at the non-denominational Gateway Church, a congregation that denies baptismal regeneration and the Real Presence in Holy Communion - which of course is completely at odds with Lutheran doctrine as well as the centrality of altar, font, and pulpit to Lutheran worship. How she can be the "lead worshiper" of a gathering of Lutherans without falling into unionism is quite a mystery.

Furthermore, the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, at least as of this writing, affirms the masculinity of the pastoral office and upholds the scriptural and traditional proscription against women clergy. According to Gateway's website of ministry staff, Kari is an "associate pastor" (see below)

Kari Jobe
Associate Pastor, Worship

Pastor Kari sums up her understanding of her ministry at her MySpace page (see below).

About Kari Jobe

For over 13 years, I have been involved with worship groups that have ministered around the world. In April 2006, I took a position as a Worship Pastor at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, where I serve on a regular basis. I believe it's not enough for us to merely experience God's presence; we must also affect the lives of others and help them draw closer to God. My passion is to see people impacted and changed by His goodness, and to see the world changed by the reality and nearness of God's presence.

I hope I will be proven wrong, but I'm going to "go out on a limb" (and not a very flimsy limb at that) and make a few predictions:

No officials in the LCMS will say anything about this. Anyone who complains will be cast as "unloving" or some such. Neither the praesidium, nor the seminaries, nor any district presidents will denounce women pastors leading worship at youth gatherings. There will be no disciplinary actions taken against anyone.

This kind of thing will expand, and will continue to send a message to our young people that women's ordination is okay, as are unionistic worship, and worship that not only sets aside our Lutheran confession of sacraments as well as the traditional western liturgy. What will be deemed as an acceptable replacement is emotional, exciting, entertainment based religion of a general non-denominational sort.

Then we wonder why people leave - why those who actually strive for the sacramental and liturgical Presence of our Lord Jesus (as confessed in the Lutheran confessions) seek that Presence outside of Lutheranism. On the other hand, we also see the exodus of young people who have been taught there is no difference between Lutheranism and non-denominationalism, and so they likewise leave Lutheran churches in seek of even bigger and better entertainment.

It is no wonder why so many of our young people are confused and leaving the LCMS. It is also no wonder why so many of our seminarians, vicars, and pastors are appalled at the dissonance between what we confess on paper and how we worship in the real world, and leave the LCMS for Anglicanism, Eastern Orthodoxy, or Roman Catholicism. In many cases, the doctrine and practice of those churches is closer to the Lutheran confessions than our own churches! I'm not in favor of either group's departure from the LCMS, but it takes a great deal of self-delusion to overlook why this is happening. Maybe our dwindling membership is a judgment against the LCMS for its infidelity. And if this is the case, no amount of corporate marketing gimmicks can replace repentance.

And it is utterly galling to hear our LCMS bureaucrats take backhanded swipes at the Higher Things youth conferences (which originated and grew exponentially as a reaction against this kind of anything-goes theology and practice) by saying these "official" gatherings (unlike Higher Things) have passed doctrinal review (implying that Higher Things is some kind of un-Lutheran rogue organization). Of course, Martin Luther's baptismal "flood prayer" initially failed the doctrinal review process, so I suppose it should not come as a shock that women clergy leading worship may well receive a doctrinal green light.

So, if you want unionism, rock and roll, and women clergy, it appears that you can get it in at least one official event put on by the LCMS.

Like our synodical president said: "This is not your grandfather's church!"


Anonymous Lutheran said...

When I go talk to my pastor about this, it will be helpful for me to know: Has this happened before, or is it (as far as you know) a first?

To be more precise:

(1) Is this the first time, to your knowledge, that a woman has led worship at an official youth gathering?

(2) Is this the first time, to your knowledge, that a clearly and indisputably heretical pastor has participated in an official youth gathering?

Anonymous Lutheran said...

To clarify my previous comment, the info would be helpful because it would help me to know just how I need to frame my questions.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Anonymous:

I'll let someone else field this one. I have never been to one of these events, though a few years ago, my congregation swore off sending our kids to these kinds of events.

Whether this is the first or the thousandth occurrence of this, it is still appalling.

The LCMS is not bereft of those who advocate for women's ordination, even if they are under the radar screen. I don't know if there are any responsible for this or not, but I do think the burden of explanation lies with Texas District officials who have sanctioned this thing.

Of course, the fact that many members of the LCMS (pastors and congregations) and members of LCMS churches are offended at this kind of thing will make utterly no difference whatsoever.

Anonymous Lutheran said...
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Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

I wonder if the "OMG! She's a woman! Leading worship!" is going to play well with the society-catechized populace. You may be right, but you look like sexist pigs.

I think you have to go with the Texas District paying a speaker to lead worship who not only denies the Real Presence and the efficacy of Baptism but openly (through her claim as a female pastor) does not follow the plain reading of Scripture and should not be allowed to teach Lutherans in a religious capacity.

I mourn a little for the Texas District, but keep fighting for the truth. Thank you.

wmc said...

Yup. We at Higher Things are repeated told by synodical officials, "Because you guys are not an official RSO of the Synod you have no doctrinal review of your content, your speakers are not approved by the Synod, and your worship materials haven't been reviewed, we can't endorse you or publicize your activities."

For the record, Higher Things uses only rostered LCMS pastors and workers and laity who are members in good standing of an LCMS congregation. Our worship is entirely from the approved hymnals of the Synod. Our content is open for everyone to judge in the same way as every sermon and Bible class is a matter of public record.

Thank you for bringing this synodical hypocrisy to light.

I'll have to share the story of how a paragraph from Walther's Law and Gospel failed "doctrinal review." Doctrinal review is only as good as the doctrine of the reviewers, I'm afraid.

Fr. J. said...

I have always regarded the LCMS as the stalwart church of tradition among the protestants. It is a terrible thing if the erosion is happening there, too. Stick to your guns. The camel is just now kicking traditional Episcopalians out of their tent. The Methodists and ELCA are next, then its the LCMS.

Preachrboy said...

The term, "Lead Worshipper" (new to me) is likely a handy source of wiggle room/obfuscation.

i.e., She's not the "Worship Leader", she's the "Lead Worshipper".

Anonymous said...

I have always regarded the LCMS as the stalwart church of tradition among the protestants. It is a terrible thing if the erosion is happening there, too. Stick to your guns. The camel is just now kicking traditional Episcopalians out of their tent. The Methodists and ELCA are next, then its the LCMS.

wmc said...

Lead Worshipper aka Praise Babe.

This is the typical modus operandi of the praise worship/revival crowd, where the lead singer/prayer/worshipper is usually an attractive female. (It's the only way to get the guys to put up with this stuff.) Kari Jobe is an ORU/Christ for the Nations grad, now with Gateway Church. Her role as "associate pastor" there is likely that of "lead singer" but one never knows.

Here's a good You-Tube interview with her when she was a student at Christ for the Nations:

The related You-Tube videos will give you some idea of what the Texas district youth will be receive for worship at their official district conference.

FWIW, Denver Moore is a Baptist preacher, and Mark Schaefer & Patrick Miller are the pastors of the "LCMS affiliated" emergent experiment "Water's Edge."

Mike Baker said...

Having leaders from conflicting confessions come and teach Texas Lutherans is not a new complaint.

There was a church planting conference hosted by the Texas District earlier this year. The primary speaker was Rev. Phil Stevenson. He is the "General Director of Evangelism & Church Growth" for the Wesleyan Church.

Many in attendence found his exegesis to be offensively poor. This naturally made many of his conclusions and points sound rather foolish. There was also alot of uncomfortable shifting in the room when his method of success drew a distinction between those who made commitments to Christ and those who had been baptized.

That said, there are still many confessional churches in the district who oppose this kind of nonsense. They tend to not receive invitations to these kinds of events.

The young fogey said...

More evidence of the longstanding tension in American Lutheranism right AND left between the distinctive semi-Catholic doctrine & worship brought over from Europe on one hand and the pressure to blend into American Protestantism on the other.

The liberals got merger-mania and are now merging with the Episcopalians and the old German Reformed churches (now the UCC) on one hand, and the conservatives are afflicted with crossover with American evangelicalism such as unliturgical worship as religious entertainment.

Why would somebody keen on women's ordination remain in the LCMS? Why not switch to ELCA? That would make sense.

My take on women's ordination is simply that the larger Catholic church has never done it; historically only heretical sects have done. There are two Catholic positions on it, neither of which are PC: improbabilist (the church might have the power to change its mind on the practice but hasn't done so) and impossibilist. Different from the Protestant argument from I Timothy about headship, which doesn't figure in Rome's objection.

Rev. Matthew Thompson said...

As preacherboy noted, Kari Jobe's cleverly chosen title will be Lead Worshiper, ie., of all those in worship, she will stand in front as their primary example and leader. The Worship Pastor will be Pete Luedemann.

Note as well that the only service of worship will take place on the last day and will include a Service of Holy Communion.

Can we assume, then, that the Lead Worshiper will lead the children in receiving communion?

Larry said...

If you hadn't told me it would never have occurred to me that this outfit had anything at all to do with the LCMS.

I went to the website and had a real hard time finding the word "Lutheran" anywhere on it. The only place I found it was on the "Group Registration" link where it said:

*Checks made payable to:
Texas District Lutheran Church Missouri Synod,
Memo: GLORYbound 2008

Rev. Matthew Thompson said...


Synodical officials have actually told Higher Things that the Members of Synod who teach at their gatherings have not been approved by Synod? Didn't this take place at their ordinations?

And why would Members of Synod have to apply for RSO status anyway?

Gavin said...

As you folk are fond of saying, what does this mean? The term "worship leader" isn't synonymous with "pastor" in evangelical circles; rather it often refers to someone who leads the "praise band". If that is in fact the case for the nomenclature, is that really still a problem? I mean besides the guitars, noise, and ridiculously vapid music. Or IS she being employed as the leader of the service in a way she would not be for, say, a group devotion? Then again I HAVE heard (as a non-Lutheran organist occasionally playing at Lutheran churches) that some Lutherans forbid non-LCMS Christians from serving in a "Cantor" position, or even to play in Lutheran churches. However, I always considered this a fringe far-radical position. So I think the question is what exactly IS this woman doing?

Rev. Matthew Thompson said...

Perhaps Higher Things should apply for Auxiliary Status, much like the LWML and the LLL.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Gavin:

Yes, indeed. To an Evangelical, a person may be the "youth pastor" or the "woman's pastor" or the "basketball pastor" or some such.

The lady in question is repeatedly referred to as a "pastor." Now is she an ordained presbyter, or does "pastor" mean something else?

This kind of confusion could be eliminated all together if the Texas District would use ordained Lutheran pastors to lead Lutheran children in Lutheran worship. That seems like a really good Lutheran solution. Then, when we ask "What does this mean?" it can be a question to prompt us through the catechism instead of it being the source of confusion.

Thanks for your comment, you are absolutely right!

Bror Erickson said...

Anonymous lutheran,
If I may I would like to suggest that if you have found a confessional solid congregation and pastor, thank God for it and stay, regardless of synodical politics. Even if that congregation is in the ELCA it is a blessing. Synodical politics matter and need to be dealt with. You are not going to find shangrila anywhere there are people, even if it is only you. Wels, Els, LCMS, ELCA, Rome, East etc. We're all screwed up. But if you are hearing the word of God preached in its purity, and the sacraments administered according to Christ's institution, than atleast for a minute on Sunday morning you have shangrila.

Anonymous Lutheran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pastor X said...

This is why, even as an LCMS pastor currently without a congregation, I am unsure if I should ever take a call again. I don't want to go to Rome or Constantinople, but I didn't sign on for this either.

wmc said...

Perhaps Higher Things should apply for Auxiliary Status, much like the LWML and the LLL.

To date, those are the only two auxiliaries of the Synod. Auxiliaries are even more tightly controlled than RSOs, having to submit an annual report to the synodical president in addition to submitting everything to synodical doctrinal review.

One wonders who does these "doctrinal reviews" anyway. Synod's doctrinal reviewers have been known to reject Luther's baptismal prayer and portion's of Walther's Law and Gospel when they didn't know the sources.

Jezebel said...
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Jezebel said...

As a woman who had to endure the moodiness, temper, and general failings of her since deceased husband, I am glad of this development.

Ingrid Schlueter of has some very good articles on her personal blog - The hope blog - about the importance of women taking the initiative when men fail.

Here is the relevant link:

Ingrid's focus is on a woman leaving her husband quickly if he is in anyway abusive, even verbally or emotionally, as this abuse is equivalent to destroying the marriage bond.

In the same way, modern man has failed us. It is time for a woman to be in charge.

Finally, there are two posters on the particular link, Thomas and Tanya, who disagree and are living in the dark ages. They claim a woman can leave an abusive husband but still have a submissive attitude by acknowledging that God is faithful as he was to Sarah.

Thank goodness Ingrid took a strong stand against this lie of protection, and that she wrote the truth about patriarchal oppression, and exposed the disgusting lie of warrior/poet men.

Susan said...

In the first comment, Anonymous asked: "1) Is this the first time, to your knowledge, that a woman has led worship at an official youth gathering?"

In 1983 we were at the synodical youth gathering in San Antonio. Jean Garton was scheduled to speak on Tuesday night; I don't think it was intended for her to "preach." Elsewhere, the material for "Tuesday night's worship" had a "sermon" included. When this was pointed out to Mrs Garton and Pres Bohlmann and some others, the public response was that Tuesday night was "Mom's Night" for home devotions in the Garton household, and so she would be "leading devotions" for us tonight, and we would be like her family.

So I don't know if you call that "leading worship" or not. I don't know if you call it "preaching" or not. I don't know if it set precedent for behavior or not, but I do know that it was the beginning of using "just like leading home devotions" as the rationale for women in that position.

Rt. Rev. Jack Bauer said...

Please do not have Higher Things apply for anything like auxiliary or RSO. It isn't needed and would be detrimental. Higher Things, Issues Etc, PCR, and others don't need it, don't want, and are better without that.

Rev. Shane R. Cota, SSP said...

Isn't it sexist to show the two Barbie-doll women pastors wearing skirts? I mean, that is so 19th century! Shouldn't they be wearing pants or something? Even showing them with collars on isn't enough! You sexist pig, you! You dare to show them wearing skirts!

Lutheran Lucciola said...

I'm thinking of taking a Praise Babe photo for my blog. It might make me more popular.

Lutheran Lucciola said...

Hey, Jezebel, you haven't been around two lesbians when the moodiness hits. The idea that women are not prone to moodiness is a pipedream.

Rev. Matthew Thompson said...

The catechism teaches that men are to lead home devotions. Even on Tuesdays.

Orianna Laun said...

Women aren't to be pastors. Period. Allowing things like this to happen is when the men fail. If the women need to stand when the men fail, then we should be standing up and saying NO to this "failing" of the men in the Texas district.
I wholly support Higher Things, and I know there are naysayers at the district and synodical levels, but I wonder how many times the Texas District youth will pray for the synodical president during their conference. I believe they prayed for him at least 5 times during the most recent Higher Things conference.

wmc said...

There is a yet greater insidiousness at work here. This contempogelical stuff is really a Trojan horse with a belly load of Greeks whose interest is not the same as that of the city's citizens.

Bear in mind that Baptists and Evangelicals do not in general believe that Lutherans are "saved," since they haven't made a personal decision for Christ. For them, an invitation to a Lutheran youth conference is a great mission opportunity to rescue impressionable youth from the clutches of "catholicism."

It is far more effective to impressionable adolescents if this can be packaged with seductive singers and hip-hop preachers.

Lutheran Student said...

It seems like we've been warned about women improperly usurping headship and men following right along...Genesis 3, anybody?
I think women's ordination is a direct challenge to Christ's headship of the church. Either Christ, a male, is the head, and thus his surrogates in the pulpit must be male, or he is not, in which case we are not discussing a Christian church.

Anonymous said...

I'm a college student who was baptized and confirmed in the Texas District, and I've been to my share of these gatherings -- 2 district and 1 national. I was offered the opportunity to go to a 2nd national, but optioned to go instead to Christ Academy at CTS.

These gatherings are exactly what everyone makes them to be -- emotion-driven, pop-Christianity-filled, irreverent mockeries of the Divine Service. And I should know: I was born into a family of non-denoms, but by the Grace of God converted to Lutheranism at the tender age of 8 (I'm still the only Lutheran in my family).

To have a female pastor lead worship at the district gathering is no surprise to me, seeing as the Texas District has been on such a slippery slope for many years, starting with President Kieschnick, and even more so under current President Ken Hennings. He left a bad taste in my mouth 5 years ago when, as Missions executive, cut funding to all campus ministries except those at UT and A&M (the alma maters of himself and Rev. Kieschnick).

Anonymous said...

Guys! What's the big deal!

She is hot! She is a great new measure. She will get them riled up and lead to many decisions. If this is the way of the LCMS synodocrats, then the future is so bright I need to wear shades! She is all about the excitements. No viagra necessary!

Jennifer said...
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Jennifer said...

Wow, such fear here: from shrieking about people with wombs leading churches, to accusing them of rousing titillation in mockery, I think it's very clear to see where certain people's hearts lie. And it ain't pretty. If a man can't keep his pants to himself when a woman preaches or leads worship, he has some serious issues. Maybe THAT'S why the patriocentrists hate women behind the pulpit so much. And God forbid they be attractive; those hussies!

Blake said...

I would simply ask, what is "Lutheran Worship"? Is there one way that Lutheran's worship. The way that I know one should worship is in "spirit and truth". Outside of that, I believe there is freedom in Christ. At least that is what I have learned and been taught from my LCMS professors.

I think it would a shame if people in this church (being the LCMS) refused to learn from those who are part of the Church.

Also, it is the current practice of the LCMS to allow women to become DPM's (Director of Parish Music).

Father Hollywood, I would challenge you to attend one of these events. I have attended several different types of churches both LCMS and not and have observed in many a passion that others lack. Why is that? Just a question.

Anyhow, my prayer is that God would lead your churches into worship in spirit and truth whether led by man, woman, or child.

God's Peace,

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Blake:

I appreciate your post - especially because I think it cuts to the heart of the matter of much of the division in our synod. Rather than reply as a comment, I want to reply as a separate posting.

Thanks again,

Will said...

As a Lutheran teenager, I would have to say, I would not feel comfortable going to an event like this one (and yes I'm in the Texas District). I go to a Catholic school, and I enjoy the liturgy of both the Catholics and Lutherans. There is something to be said about tradition. This hyper-entertaining form of Christianity is lacking real worship. Also, it is ridiculous to have a non-Lutheran leading the worship/songs/whatever you want to call it at a Lutheran youth gathering. There are plenty of pastors and Lutheran musicians to do this.