Update: Letter from Dr. Jurchen.
Thanks be to God! Dr. Jurchen has asked that his article be withdrawn because he recognizes that it gives the impression that false doctrine is acceptable. He asked that the church forgive him for his lapse. For this we give thanks. As noted last evening, as far as I am concerned, this marks a successful conclusion to the incident with Dr. Jurchen and Concordia Seward.
Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis, however is another matter.
The anonymous statement from Concordia announcing the withdrawal is unacceptable. It could have said, “Dr. Jurchen has asked that the article be withdrawn and has sought forgiveness for submitting it in the first place. We can not speak for the faculty as a whole, but we ask for patience as we reconsider our own position. In the meantime, we will be asking our tech department to remove the issue from our online archive until we can make note of the withdrawal and correction by Dr. Jurchen.”
Instead, they turned off comments, and said they would no longer discuss the matter.
Here is what needs to happen in the coming days:
The Saint Louis Faculty, which defended the article in an open letter, assured us it contained no false teaching, and rebuked us for noting the false teaching, must now repent of that position, as Dr. Jurchen has done. Instead, they feel it is appropriate to “continue to lead the discussion” a discussion that will not include their own culpability in causing confusion, nor the effect of his repentance.
The faculty must withdraw the article from their internet archive. Perhaps they could include a statement at the beginning and end of the article noting the withdrawal and the reasons, and including Dr. Jurchen’s letter. It would clarify the matter for the church, without whitewashing the pages of an academic journal.
Instead, they have taken the wholly inadequate step of saying they will no longer discuss the matter, but will continue to present us with the latest scholarship from evangelicals with whom we are not even in fellowship. Do they understand that we are not in fellowship with American Evangelical Christianity? This raises significant questions (again) about the addition to the faculty of a Southern Baptist man who was admitted to the faculty while he was still a catechumen – in violation of Saint Paul’s admonition, and in violation of our synod’s own policies. He would not at the time have been allowed to serve the church as a seminarian, and yet he was allowed to teach them!
In addition, two other faculty members recently signed unionistic confessions jointly with Evangelicals. Do they recognize their unionism? Do they know that Holy Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions, and the constitution of the LCMS forbid such sins? Are they willing to repent of that sin?
Does the faculty understand that the Evangelical churches teach falsely regarding the nature, authority, and interpretation of Holy Scripture?
Does the faculty believe that American Evangelical churches have something to teach the Lutheran Church about biblical interpretation? They seem to believe that American Evangelicalism has something to teach us about worship – they are wrong in this regard. Has that false belief spread to the interpretation of Holy Scripture?
Many questions and doubts have been raised about the faithfulness of the faculty of the Saint Louis seminary. Not because of fear mongering on the part of pastors in the church, but because of the faculty’s own statements. And each statement they make which attempts to confirm that faithfulness only raises more questions.
Dr. J.A.O. Preus would finally have to send a committee to investigate the seminary in the early 1970’s. Their investigation (The Blue Book) showed significant unfaithfulness on the part of the faculty. If President Harrison were to take a similar step, would he be able to report to the church that a faithful faculty was serving well? Or would we find similar unfaithfulness? It is the faculty’s own public actions and statements that have raised serious doubts about the answer to this question. It indicates that the time is ripe to have those questions answered formally for the sake of unity and clarity in the church.
The Faculty in Saint Louis would do the church a tremendous service if they would show the humility and integrity that Dr. Jurchen did in repenting and seeking forgiveness for their error. They are not leading the church in this matter, because they have not been clear and faithful in their teaching in the Concordia Journal.
It is time for them to stop the disingenuous posturing, and to faithfully and clearly confess the truth, and reject error.