When I read Pastor Edward Englebrecht’s article on mobbing in the Lutheran Forum, I immediately recognized that the phenomena that he described in his article is a very real form of abuse and that it, sadly, has been and is currently being employed by far too many in the LCMS. The reason that I know that this is true is because I have personally been the target of mobbing tactics by some in the LCMS and in this post I will provide documentation and evidence to that effect.
That being said, I have spoken privately with the editor of Lutheran Forum, Pastor Matthew Staneck and have shared with him what I believe the weakness of the article to be:
The article paints a picture that would cause some to believe that there is a central ubiquitous political “machine” that exists at the center of the power structures of the Missouri Synod.
I believe this to be a serious error. The reason for this is because there are multiple “machines” within Missouri and mobbing is far more extensive and deeply embedded in Missouri’s politics than to be limited to one party or group.
A fair share of the allegations that Englebrecht makes sound almost too unconscionable to be true .
The tactics employed against me and my family will also sound almost too unconscionable to be true. Unless you’ve been on the receiving end of these tactics you almost have no experiential anchor point from which to be able to process these accounts and it is very easy to dismiss them because of that.
During my conversation, Pastor Steneck assured me that he personally had verified that there was evidence to substantiate every allegation made in the article. However, no evidence was provided to me personally, nor should it have been. Therefore, I cannot verify any of the allegations made by Englebrecht. I can only say that I have had experiences that are similar to Pastor Englebrecht’s.
My admonition to Pastor Staneck is that because several of the allegations involved the breaking of ordination vows and the breaking of civil and criminal laws that he hand over his evidence to the people who hold the proper offices of authority both legal and synodical so that the these office holders can render a judgement in these matters.
My Methodology for this Blog Post
I have chosen to not name names in this post, although I most certainly have the liberty to do so if the person has sinned publicly. However, in this article I have chosen not to avail myself of this right and will instead only name people by the titles of their vocations. For further clarification I would remind you of what Luther wrote in the Large Catechism RE: The 8th Commandment:
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
Besides our own body, our wife or husband, and our temporal property, we have one more treasure which is indispensable to us, namely, our honor and good name, for it is intolerable to live among men in public disgrace and contempt.
Therefore God will not have our neighbor deprived of his reputation, honor, and character any more than of his money and possessions; he would have every man maintain his self-respect before his wife, children, servants, and neighbors….
To avoid this vice, therefore, we should note that nobody has the right to judge and reprove his neighbor publicly, even when he has seen a sin committed, unless he has been authorized to judge and reprove.
There is a great difference between judging sin and having knowledge of sin. Knowledge of sin does not entail the right to judge it. I may see and hear that my neighbor sins, but to make him the talk of the town is not my business. If I interfere and pass sentence on him, I fall into a greater sin than his. When you become aware of a sin, simply make your ears a tomb and bury it until you are appointed a judge and authorized to administer punishment by virtue of your office….
All this refers to secret sins. But where the sin is so public that the judge and the whole world are aware of it, you can without sin shun and avoid the person as one who has brought disgrace upon himself, and you may testify publicly concerning him. For when an affair is manifest to everybody there can be no question of slander or injustice or false witness. For example, we now censure the pope and his teaching, which is publicly set forth in books and shouted throughout the world. Where the sin is public, the punishment ought to be public so that everyone may know how to guard against it.1
The reason why Mobbing is as effective as it is, is because we sinners think that we have the right to set up our own courts where we are judges, jury members and executioners. This particular type of “court” has come to be known as the Court of Public Opinion and Social Media has made this court both powerful and cancerously toxic. Those who engage in Mobbing tactics via the internet are skilled and tenacious at filing “lawsuits” in the court of public opinion and they file suit after suit after suit against their victims who are left stunned and confused by the ferocity and intensity of these defamatory assaults. However, the Biblical reality is that Christians are bound by the 8th Commandment to not be participants in the Court of Public Opinion unless the sin in question is public. Therefore, although I have been a victim of Mobbing, the purpose of this blog post is not to judge any one person but instead to raise awareness of the tactics employed so that the Body of Christ will recognize them as sinful and repudiate them rather than participate in them.
What is the Machine?
With all due and proper respect to Rev. Englebrect and Rev. Staneck, I would like to offer a friendly amendment and correction to the definition of the phrase “The Machine”. Although I am fully aware that phrase was one that Rev. Englebrecht heard in St. Louis, I must point out that we must always keep our eyes on the real enemy that we face as Christians:
“we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
This is the reason why we as blood bought, baptized believers in Christ are told to put “on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11)
Therefore, I believe that we must define The Machine as Satan and his demonic hoard and Mobbing as one of the devil’s schemes to destroy Christ’s Church and His servants and those who engage in Mobbing tactics as the devil’s willing stooges whom we must rebuke, resist and call to repentance.
My Interpretation of Politics in the LCMS
I did not grow up Lutheran. I grew up Nazarene / Evangelical and I converted to Lutheranism in my early 20’s. After my conversion I noticed something alarmingly odd and disconcerting about how Lutherans in the LCMS treated each other. The only word to describe it is “deplorably”.
I learned very early on that there are competing fraternities within the LCMS. I have chosen to describe them as fraternities because they are primarily comprised of pastors and laymen. They are generally not very well organized and many of the pastors I’ve known have informal memberships in two or three of the LCMS’ fraternities.
Some fraternities are formed around doctrine and theology, others are formed in particular geographic districts. Some are formed around personalities, ideologies or political goals. Many, not all, of them practice a very strange and ‘time honored’ tradition of the LCMS. They line up in a circle on the parade grounds of the “mighty fortress” and they load their muskets and they shoot at each other. Their shots are not intended to wound, they are intended to kill. There is nothing friendly about their fire and the one prize that these political warring fraternities are fighting over is not doctrine but power and control of the synod and her various supporting institutions.
I vowed early on to do my best to not get embroiled in the conflicts of these competing political fraternities. However, that has proven to be almost impossible. Shortly after launching Pirate Christian Radio and helping to bring Issues, Etc. back on the air (both of which were interpreted as acts of defiance against the Kieschnick Administration) I was told by several pastors including Rev. William Cwirla that the “powers that be” would not tolerate the existence of a Lutheran radio station that was “outside of their control” and that I needed to be prepared to pay a price for the freedom from synodical entanglement that I was enjoying.
I had no idea how high that price would be.
The Klemet Preus Ad Hoc Fraternity & Higher Things
Shortly after the launch of Pirate Christian Radio I was invited by Rev. Klemet Preus to participate in an ad hoc group of pastors and laypeople that was formed to help get Matthew Harrison elected as the president of the Missouri Synod. It was breathtaking to watch and see how well organized this group already was at its inception. The members of the group knew how the synod worked and they knew how to best utilize each member’s skillset and influence in order to help get the votes out for Rev. Harrison. Underhanded and dirty politics and/or rhetoric would have never been tolerated by any of the clergy or laymen in this group. It was very exciting to be a part of an organized effort to help bring about much needed and positive change in leadership within the LCMS.
Through my work with Rev. Preus and his ad hoc group, my deep friendship with Rev. Cwirla as well as my growing friendships with Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz I was invited to become a member of the board of directors for Higher Things.
Higher Things, like Pirate Christian Radio, began as a reaction to how things were being run by the synod. Like Pirate Christian Radio, Higher Things was also operating free of synodical control and input. Over the last eight years, I have witnessed how that freedom from synodical control has resulted in some tense moments in our board meetings as well as the lengths that Higher Things has had to go to maintain that freedom.
A Word About 1517
Several years ago, some friends of mine from Concordia Irvine and Faith Lutheran Church in Capistrano Beach, CA (a church I was a member of for a number of years) formed the organization known as 1517. Like Higher Things and Pirate Christian Radio, 1517 is an organization that is outside of synodical control. Their mission states that the reason they exist is for, “Upholding the legacy of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible in as many ways as possible as was rediscovered through the Lutheran Reformation in 1517.” When 1517 claims they want to proclaim “the Gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible”, they are not kidding. This is an organization that intentionally seeks out a constituency that is not Lutheran. They aggressively market to Evangelicals and if you’ve ever attended one of their conferences (I have been invited to speak at several of them) then you know just how eclectic the religious backgrounds are of the attendees.
The fact 1517 has no synodical oversight, speaks to people who are not approved by some in the synod, invites speakers to their conferences who are not confessional Lutherans and has a vibrant and active publishing arm which competes with CPH makes them a high level target for some political and ideological fraternities within the LCMS.
My direct involvement and / or association with these three organizations has also made me a prime target for some fraternities in the LCMS.
The First Shots
I don’t remember exactly when the problems began. It may have been 2014 when myself and members of Higher Things and 1517 began receiving bizarre and baseless criticism from remote regions of the interwebs. There were murmurings of false doctrine (Soft-Antinomianism), inferred allegations of running a “sinful Bible and tract society”, flimsy charges of theological compromise via Guilt by Association as well as an ever increasing barrage of overt ad hominem and slanderous assaults via Social Media and the use of rhetoric that was so blatantly sinful that even a rank pagan would be repulsed by the immorality of it. Some Social Media attacks spoke of myself and leaders within Higher Things and 1517 as if we were not even Lutheran and probably not even Christian. Strange rumors of cover ups of sinful behavior arose from private FaceBook groups and the attitude of some within the LCMS became subtly unwelcoming and cooly hostile.
In the center of all of this manufactured controversy (and yes much of this controversy was intentionally manufactured) was a group that I will refer to as the Omega Gamma Fraternity.
Normally fraternities use upper case Greek letters for their names. However, for this article I have chosen to refer to the Omega Gamma Fraternity using lower case Greek letters (ωγ) rather than upper case (ΩΓ). Therefore, moving forward when you see lower case Greek letters “ωγ”, then know that I am referring to the Omega Gamma Fraternity.
The Omega Gamma Fraternity & Their Mobbing Activity
ωγ is a fraternity that sadly consists of more than a few LCMS pastors, the Headmaster of an LCMS parochial school, an LCMS Cantor, a number of LCMS laymen, an advisor who is a laywoman and Sunday School teacher in the Free Lutheran Church and a murderously slanderous gossip from the Independent Fundamentalist Baptists. ωγ’s most visible tactics included the creation of multiple pseudonymous Social Media accounts and the blog known as The Cellar Door for the purpose of attacking and slandering their targets without facing any consequences for their sinful activity.
In February 2016 the President of Higher Things received an email from an LCMS pastor and ωγ member in Illinois who was arguing that because I was a member of the Higher Things board of directors that it was not permissible for me to speak at conferences organized by 1517, particularly those where Chad Bird was a speaker. The email was forwarded to me and I responded.
I explained to this pastor that the leadership and many of the contributors of 1517 read like a who’s who of confessional Lutherans as well as guests who’ve appeared on the Issues, Etc. radio program. I noted that my appearance at their conference was hardly scandalous. I then told him that, If he would like to offer a substantive theological critique of my conference lecture which was on the topic of Christ being present for us in the Lord’s Supper and our Baptism that I would welcome that type of feedback. I then explained to him If he had criticism to offer regarding how the conference was conducted I suggested contacting The 1517 Project and letting them know his concerns.
This pastor was far from satisfied with my response and accused me of trying to justify my appearance at their conference. So I wrote him back:
I must not have made myself clear. I didn’t actually provide you with a defense of my appearance.
I speak at many different types of conferences each year. Many of the conferences I have spoken at are organized by the Reformed including Liberate and Reformation Montana. I’ve been doing this for many many years now.
I see nothing in scripture that prohibits me from speaking at these conferences and using these opportunities to proclaim sound Biblical and Confessional doctrine (especially one organized by Confessional Lutherans). In fact, in my Bible the Apostle Paul preached the Gospel in all kinds of settings including synagogues and the Areopagus. Therefore, I have not and will not provide you with a defense of my participation because none is needed.
If you believe that some sin has been committed on the part of our Lutheran brothers at the 1517 Project I suggest that you take it up with them.
He then sent me a rather lengthy email listing all of the alleged theological and moral deficiencies of the other speakers who appeared at the conference. So, I picked up the phone and called him. I was then told that it was not permissible for me to speak at conferences where Chad Bird was a speaker. When I asked why that was the case, this pastor informed me that because Chad had been defrocked for the sin of adultery, he was no longer permitted to teach the word of God authoritatively. When I asked what Biblical text taught this prohibition, 1 Timothy 2:12 was quoted to me which states, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” I then said to this pastor, “You are aware that Chad Bird has a penis, right? This text does not apply to him.” I was then scolded by this pastor and told, “If you had gone to a better seminary then you’d know that this text applies to Chad Bird.” I then rebuked this pastor for twisting God’s word and informed him that until he could provide a real Biblical text that prohibits my speaking at these conferences that I would continue to exercise my Christian liberty to do so and that I did not recognize his authority to tell me which conferences I could not speak at.
It was also clear from my phone conversation with this pastor and his frequent use of the plural pronoun “we” that he was not merely expressing his personal opinion but that he was expressing the decision of a group of pastors within the LCMS of whom he was the spokesman. In my follow up email to George Borghardt I wrote:
I have stopped responding to Pastor X because if I were to attempt to engage him any further then I would need to spend a week in private confession.
So let me summarize what I believe Pastor X is saying.
Pastor X (and his unnamed accomplices) have determined that the 1517 Project is dubious and must be avoided at all costs.
Therefore, Pastor X (and his unnamed accomplices) have determined that anyone affiliated with Higher Things must not in any public way affirm, agree with or publicly appear at any 1517 Project events.
Evidence that disagrees with Pastor X’s (and his unnamed accomplices’) conclusions is immaterial. They’ve already conducted their trial and found them guilty.
My response to this is as follows:
If Pastor X (and his unnamed accomplices) have evidence that heresy is being taught by the Lutheran principles of the 1517 Project then there is a formal mechanism in the LCMS for doing so.
I personally know the men who are the decision makers at 1517 and have been a member of the same congregation that they are all members of, Faith Lutheran in Capistrano Beach, CA. Pastor X’s behavior and willful misrepresentation of these men has crossed the line into a breaking of the 8th Commandment and I am very angry about it.
I deny the right for Pastor X (and his unnamed accomplices) to bind my conscience in matters of Christian Liberty and I will not submit to a self-appointed doctrinal tribunal that sinfully twists evidence and distorts facts and has appointed to itself the authority to interpret people’s actions and what they mean.
If Higher Things bows to the wishes of this self-appointed and unaccountable group, then I will be forced to part ways with Higher Things.
I refuse to have to decide between being a board member of Higher Things and appearing in public with Dr. Rosenbladt , Scott Keith, Sam Schuldheisz, Steven Hein, or even the penitent and forgiven Chad Bird.
The one thing that was very clear from this encounter was that there was a group of men (a fraternity) who were overtly attempting to impose their will and their decisions on me, Higher Things and 1517 and that they could not be reasoned with from scripture. They’d made their decision and no defense was permissible or admissible. In fact, any attempt at defending yourself would be turned against you and used as proof that you were dangerous and not conforming.
The other thing that was also very clear is that this fraternity had no intention of stopping their activity and would continue their attacks until their targets were destroyed or surrendered to THEIR authority.
Mobbing Tactics Rely on the Creation of False Narratives and the Use of Slanderous Rhetoric
A very recent and salient example of an ωγ Mobbing hit piece was published a few weeks ago at The Cellar Door. Their target was Kurt Winrich, the treasurer of both 1517 and Higher Things. The blog post infers, via rhetoric, not actual facts, that Mr. Winrich is guilty of the sin of usury and therefore his money and his presence on the boards of HT and 1517 is sinful and his money is dirty and ill gotten heresy supporting mammon.
The screenshot below is an edited form of the article designed to highlight how their rhetoric works.
If the author behind this article cared even a lick about truth then they’d realize that this post has nothing whatsoever to do with love or concern for neighbor. The whole point of this blog post is to destroy the reputation and character of Kurt Winrich with unsubstantiated and inferred allegations of sin designed to create feelings of discomfort and uneasiness about Higher Things and 1517. The person who falls for this type of slanderous rhetoric will believe the false narrative that Kurt Winrich is a heresy funding antinomian who refuses to take correction from the ωγ fraternity and that Kurt Winrich, Rod Rosenbladt and the writers of the Jagged Word enjoy raging parties where drunkenness and its consequences are easily solved with dirty money earned through usury.
But none of these bullies (and that is what they are) stop to think that if being an investment manager or working for an investment management company were truly sinful per se then the LCMS had better get busy identifying all the men and women who work for these kind of companies and begin enacting church discipline on them and calling them to repentance, including those who work for and with Thrivent. But then again, these hit pieces are not about facts, they are about rhetoric and smearing the names of their victims. By the way, these are the exact same tactics used by today’s Social Justice Warrior, Identity Politics promoting liberals.
Another deplorable rhetorical tactic frequently employed by the Cellar Door is to trot out photographs of Chad Bird or Daniel Price and infer that they are presently impenitent sexual predators who are actively looking for their next victim, probably your wife or your teenage daughter. The screen shot below, taken from the Cellar Door speaks for itself:
There is nothing Christian let alone Lutheran in constantly dredging up a man’s past sins, sins that have been repented of, confessed and absolved and constantly reminding people of those sins and then using them to infer that those who associate with that man are actively participating in them. The only word I can use to describe this rhetorical tactic by ωγ is “demonic”.
Examples of Social Media Mobbing Attacks
ωγ has many more targets than 1517, HT and Pirate Christian Radio. Their other targets include the LWML, Matt Harrison, Seminarians at both St. Louis and Ft. Wayne, Mollie Ziegler-Hemingway, comfort dogs, pastors who minister to women who are victims of domestic abuse, and those who minister to immigrants. What follows are a sampling of their mobbing tactics in action. For a more thorough sampling I recommend visiting the Lutheran Sharia Twitter account.
Please note that some of the Mobbing attacks documented below were done by LCMS pastors.
Yes, you read that right. One of the members of the ωγ faternity claimed that Mollie Ziegler-Hemingway’s speech at the Issues, Etc. Conference was an endorsement of women pastors.
Again, some of the men who made these posts are LCMS pastors and one of them is the Headmaster of an LCMS parochial school. The strange irony is that these men claimed to be the great defenders of the Third Use of the Law against the alleged Soft-Antinomians of 1517 and Higher Things, all the while they’re engaging in outright lawless and sinful behavior and rhetoric. There is no place for these types of assaults within Christianity. Scripture says:
“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Colossians 3:8–10)
In other words, many of the men who claimed they were fighting the specter of Soft-Antinomianism were in fact, Hard-Antinomians. This reality makes no sense apart from Mobbing activity and tactics. The reason for this is quite simple. These men were never interested in having a meaningful discussion about doctrine and what the scripture and our confessions teach regarding the Third Use of the Law. The ONLY thing these men are attempting to accomplish is the assassination and destruction of their targets.
This would be a good place to go back an re-read the tactics used in Mobbing in Englebrecht’s article and compare them to the posts above and what will follow.
My Personal Mobbing Nightmare
By 2016 I became a frequent target of the Mobbing activity of the ωγ fraternity. Over and again I would be publicly and privately attacked by members of their group. Their slanderous rhetoric kept increasing in intensity and absurdity at an exponential rate. Right before the 2016 Issues, Etc. Making the Case Conference one of the lay leaders of the ωγ fraternity began trolling me on social media. Here is one of the examples of his activities.
Notice that all the rhetoric is designed to demonize and that it is nothing but slander. I found the rhetorical phrase, “supports the ministry of a sexual predator” to be particularly over the top. What that meant is that I had spoken at the same conference as Dan Price of Christ Hold Fast. Since, saying that I “appeared at the same conference as a penitent and absolved adulterer” doesn’t quite have the same destructive force as saying I “support the ministry of a sexual predator” I’m sure that is why he chose to use those words. But the attacks didn’t end there. He and his wife went on a social media and email tirade designed to destroy my reputation and de-platform me. Between the two of them I collected screenshots of them claiming that:
• I support the ministry of a sexual predator
• I fraudulently claim to be an ordained minister
• I broke the seal of the confessional
• I had been “mollycoddling” a sexual abuser and aided and abetted in his return to ministry
• I support and promote the theology known as Radical Lutheranism or Antinomianism
None of these statements are true. But every effort on my part to call them to repent of their slander were rebuffed. In fact, the way they play their game is to attack and attack and attack you with this type of slander and then when you confront them and call them to repent or defend yourself they either mock your efforts or flip the script and claim that they are being harassed and bullied and threatened by you. It’s a wicked game they play and they’re not bound by any rules or any of God’s Commandments and since the whole point of their rhetoric is to dehumanize you, there is no way they will treat you with any love or humanity.
My Nightmare Became Even Darker in 2017
After the July HT Board of Directors meeting I received a phone call from Pastor George Borghardgt and he said that he’d gotten word about the editors of the Steadfast Lutheran’s website and that they’d “collected dirt” on certain members of the HT board and that they were getting ready to publish that dirt. So, I contacted Pastor Joshua Scheer to confirm if what Pastor Borghardt had said was true. Pastor Scheer confirmed that there was truth to the rumors and that some of the dirt that was collected pertained to me and my son’s divorce from his first wife. I knew exactly what that alleged dirt was and took the time to not only walk Pastor Scheer through his duties in light of the 8th Commandment but I was also able to supply him with documents pertaining to that issue. The documents supplied to Pastor Scheer as well as my son’s recounting of the nightmare he was made to go through regarding his divorce can be viewed here. Pastor Scheer, to his credit, prevented that slander from being published on the BJS website.
Shortly after this the members of ωγ opened up a “parody” Twitter account using a derivative spelling of my name in order to harass and troll me. Their tweets painted me as a fashion obsessed, drunkard who never finished seminary and who loved hanging out with heretics and secretly desired to preach at Nadia Bolz-Webber’s “church”. Below are just a few of my “favorite” tweets.
Shortly after this several members of ωγ tried to convince the AALC to open an investigation on me claiming that I was unfit for pastoral ministry. The AALC exonerated me and found zero basis for an investigation.
The harassment and slander continued unabated. I had no idea what was coming next. I only knew that if it had been a few days since the last attack then I was overdue for another.
Lies that my son was a homosexual and had lived a homosexual lifestyle prior to his first marriage and that I had willfully kept this information from his wife and their family began circulating in private FaceBook groups.
Collecting screenshots and documenting the slander and the unrelenting assaults against myself and other members of my family, including my wife and adult children became a part-time job. The only word I can use to describe what we’ve endured is “torture.”
The lies the were being spread about me during this time included:
• Claims that I was a cult-leader
• Claims that I had Narcissistic Personality Disorder
• Claims I was a Mark Driscoll-like tyrant who squashed and destroyed anyone who challenged or questioned me
• Claims that I control and manipulate people for my own ends
• Claims that I abuse the legal system to abuse people with whom I have issues
• Claims that I had created a toxic culture of spiritual abuse at the congregation that I serve
• Claims that I have financial troubles that make it impossible for me to turn down speaking invitations
The lies and the treatment I received and continue to receive are akin to the lies and slander that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh experienced during his nomination hearings . However, being on the receiving end of these non-stop slanderous assaults is both painful and surreal.
I am nothing like the man their narrative describes and I certainly haven’t done any of the things they claim that I’ve done. Over and again, I have sat in my office in stunned bewilderment wondering how these people could attend a church and not feel convicted for these egregious sins that they’ve committed. None of it made any sense. But then I saw in the Psalms that other believers have gone through this exact same thing. What I have been made to endure and suffer is exactly what the Psalmists, the Patriarchs, the Apostles and Christ Himself had to suffer.
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.” (Psalms 62:1–7)
“Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.
You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right.
You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.
But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living.” (Psalms 52:2–5)
“Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; preserve my life from dread of the enemy.
Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the throng of evildoers,
who whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows,
shooting from ambush at the blameless, shooting at him suddenly and without fear.
They hold fast to their evil purpose; they talk of laying snares secretly, thinking, “Who can see them?” They search out injustice, saying, “We have accomplished a diligent search.”
For the inward mind and heart of a man are deep.
But God shoots his arrow at them; they are wounded suddenly.
They are brought to ruin, with their own tongues turned against them; all who see them will wag their heads.” (Psalms 64:1–8)
“Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward.” (Matthew 26:59–60)
Despite scripture’s comfort during this time, the pain that myself and my family were made to endure was almost unbearable and nothing we said or did had any power to cause our attackers to stop attacking us.
On May 11, 2018 myself, my wife, my son and my daughter-in-law met for nearly two hours with Dr. Leins, the Presiding Pastor of the AALC. This was a meeting that we requested with him and we drove to Indiana in order to plead with him face to face for help in securing some kind of protection or relief from the slanderous attacks that we were enduring. We presented him will the entire body of evidence that we’d collected since July of 2017. The evidence included every allegation, every false narrative made by members of ωγ as well as all the documentary evidence demonstrating that we’re being slandered, and harassed. We invited Dr. Leins and the Executive Committee of the AALC to open an investigation on us so that they could provide a verdict of guilt or innocence. The Executive Committee granted our request and reviewed all the allegations being made and our documents that demonstrate that the allegations being made against us were not true. It took the Executive Committee several months to work their way through our evidence and in August 2018 they exonerated me again and gave us a letter that we could use at our discretion for the purpose of protecting ourselves from our slanderers.
There is so much more that I could write or say about what myself and my family have been made to suffer. Sadly, the slander and the mobbing tactics have not abated. Our nightmare is far from over. But Pastor Englebrecht’s article has cast light on these abusive and bullying tactics and I pray that by adding my voice to his that people can see these tactics for what they are.
Mobbing is a tactic employed by the devil and his willing stooges for the purpose of destroying Christ’s Church and those who serve and proclaim Him. It is time to Break the Machine.
Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959), 399–401, 403.