Fort Wayne Chairman Supports Voter Supremacy: Cascione Repents
By Rev. Jack Cascione


Context and Explanation of the Two Letters

There are two letters in this release. The first letter is from Rev. David Anderson after I did; indeed, pressure him into giving me an answer when he avoided my concerns in his first letter. In other words, this is his second letter to me on this issue. This issue, covered in an earlier release, is about on an article in the Fort Wayne publication, "Life of the World." The article in question was titled: "Call and Ordained."

The issue in question is: "If 'Life of the World' is saying that God speaks and acts through those called and ordained just as he speaks and acts through all Christians then the sentence in the 'Life of the World' is correct. If 'Life of the World' is saying that God speaks and acts through those called and ordained because they are called and ordained, then they have made the Office of the Keys the property of the clergy and excluded the Royal Priesthood of all believers."

As a pastor, I am certainly concerned about preserving the integrity of the Office of the Ministry that God has given to His churches. My concern is over whether there is any hint from the professors at Fort Wayne that the authority given to pastors to preach and administer the sacraments is empowered by their ordination in addition to the Word of God. In such a case, Voters' Assemblies, as established by Walther in all LCMS congregations would no longer be supreme.

Yes, I did walk up to Anderson during the Symposium and slipped the letter into his jacket pocket. No, he wasn't happy. You will also notice that when pressure is applied for an answer, the character, morals, and veracity of the person asking are immediately attacked. This is a lesson to anyone who dares to ask questions, including LCMS pastors.

Therefore, don't be surprised when you read Anderson's claims that I am like Ralph Bohlmann, or that I am like those who accused Robert Preus, or that I am bitter because Tom Baker took me off the Balance election list in 1989, or that I am not serving my congregation properly, or that I have all kinds of problems, etc. If they have it available, they will throw it at you. This all comes with the territory in the LCMS. There is the inevitable character assassination on anyone who expects answers to doctrinal questions that also happen to put people in uncomfortable corners. That is just fine with me.

As you will read in my response to Anderson, I must have been greatly mistaken in my opinions. Not included in my letter is a verbal comment from President Wenthe to me on January 19th, stating that the Bible doesn't teach congregational voting and that it is nothing more than the result of post-Lockene Enlightenment Democracy. After reading Anderson's letter I can only say that I have completely misunderstood Wenthe and I now have the peace of knowing that Fort Wayne is teaching the right thing about Church and Ministry. According to Anderson, there is no question that Wenthe only supports and teaches Voter Supremacy for all LCMS congregations.

This is what you have to go through to get a direct answer. For example, it has been more than two years since I asked the Michigan District Board of Directors if they would support three and only three Creeds for Confession during worship services. They will not answer because they don't want to commit themselves to a confession of the Gospel. Our congregation isn't going to give one dime to Michigan until they do answer.

However, in view of Anderson's reluctant response we most heartily continue to support Fort Wayne. Such a state of affairs in the Synod can only continue because the lay people have little concern about what is happening in the LCMS. There will not be any solutions coming from the clergy. Those who break ranks are immediately the focus of clergy wrath.

Letter from Rev. David Anderson, Chairman of the Board of Regents at Fort Wayne to Rev. Jack Cascione

January 24, 2000

The Rev. Jack Cascione
31011 Greater Mack Avenue
St, Clair Shores, MI 48082

Dear Brother Cascione:

I read your hand-delivered letter and feel compelled to respond, even though I don't have all the free time you apparently have. It is without a doubt one of the most nonsensical I have ever received and, I must say, that takes in a lot of territory.

First of all, I was disappointed that you felt it necessary to send my letter and your response to Christian News, since I made a point of not airing our laundry in the press. I understand that you also printed my letter on the Internet. Therefore, with this letter, I am also sending the full text of the November 28, 1999, letter to Christian News, so Herman will be able to say what you left out. Following the lead of the Robert Preus accusers from the past, you leave blanks for others to fill in as they see fit.

I talked with a number our professors at CTS this past week and found no one who teaches or who knows anyone who teaches that the congregational voters' assembly is not supreme. If you know someone who does, it would seem to be the Christian thing to approach that a brother privately and talk to him about it. If he listens to you, you have won your brother (Matt. 18:15). Having thus done all I can to run down the basis for your rumors, I asked Dr. Weinrich to reply of your questions.

What bothers me the most is that a few people, at least will believe your charges without checking whether they are true. It seems that you are Ralph Bohlmann's successor, seeking to destroy the greatest seminary in the world.

The fall of 2000 will probably see an enrollment of first year students three times as large as five years ago. The Development Office reports an ever-increasing amount of monetary support from the people of the church. And we continue to receive excellent, confessional faculty members. God is good!

Could it be that your problem with CTS is that you are still chafing about not being elected to the Board of Regents in 1989? It seems so, as you refer to the support "Balance" gave me and insist that they must now attack you "to defend their interests." Get over it, Jack!

And you state that my "resignation from the Board will be a service to the church." Perhaps it would. Certainly the future of CTS does not depend on any one individual any more than the church depends upon you or me. It is Christ's church, and He promises, "the gates of Hades will not overcome it," (Matt. 16:18).

Jack, I will pray for you, whatever your problem may: be, that you may find peace of heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

David Anderson
(Chairman, BOR, Fort Wayne)
1413 9th Avenue North
Fort Dodge, IA 50501

Cc: Christian News
The Rev. Dr. Dean O. Wenthe
The Rev. Dr. William C. Weinrich

Letter from Rev. Jack Cascione to Rev. David Anderson

Fort Wayne Chairman Supports Voter Supremacy: Cascione Repents

Dear Rev. Anderson:

Thank you so much for your reply. As strange as it may seem to you I was convinced that all the faculty at Fort Wayne, except for one, are either opposed to the supremacy of the Voters' Assemblies, as Walther, Peiper, Mueller, Fritz, and many others taught, or that they endorse no particular polity for LCMS congregations.

I was impressed with the careful manner in which you actually addressed my concerns and checked with the faculty members yourself. This demonstrates how conscientiously you take the duties of your office and the integrity with which you oversee the sacred trust Synod has given you to train its pastors.

The following sentence in your letter was a cause for both joy and repentance on my part. You wrote: "I talked with a number of professors at CTS this past week and found no one who teaches or who knows anyone who teaches that the congregational voters' assembly is not supreme."

My joy is that the structure of congregational polity and the full practice of the priesthood of all believers as taught in the Bible and practiced by Walther continue to be taught at Fort Wayne.

Also, please accept my repentance for misjudging you and consistently misunderstanding what the faculty, students, and graduates of Fort Wayne were saying about voter supremacy. I'm sorry to say, I thought they hated voter supremacy and that they thought it was a tool of the devil. I have in my possession about 500 pages to that effect from graduates of both seminaries. I mistakenly thought they were getting it from your professors.

At a recent installation of a pastor, one of your graduates placed his hand on the pastor's head and said, "The word became flesh and dwelt among us." When I questioned him he said he was just doing that (in front of some 900 people and 20 pastors) as a joke on me.

When I spoke about voter supremacy with Dr. Wenthe on Wednesday, January 19th, I completely misunderstood his remarks about Anabaptist anarchist mobs. When I tried to explain that the Word was supreme over the congregation and the congregation was supreme over the pastor, he told me this was counter to the example of Jeremiah for the pastoral office. Again, I misunderstood him.

When I spoke to Professor Marquart on January 20th, he was unable to agree to any particular form of constitution for LCMS congregations that might include voter supremacy. I confess that I also misunderstood him.

When I heard Dr. Scaer give a speech condemning Dr. John Fritz's understanding of voter supremacy I again misunderstood him. The morning after he held up a bust of Walther at the Symposium banquet and compared the profile with his own, he told me in front of witnesses, how much he supported Walther's doctrine and practice of Church and Ministry. I have unjustly maligned and condemned him. Please forgive me. Thanks to your efforts I now know that Dr. Scaer does indeed teach and defend voter supremacy in all LCMS congregations.

What else can I say except I was wrong? I have continuously put the worst construction on what your faculty has been saying about Church and Ministry and I now understand that they do indeed support voter supremacy. You have done the church of Christ a service for which I thank God. I owe you and all these fine teachers of our Synod's pastors my humble apology.

I eagerly await Dr. Weinrich's affirmation that the Fort Wayne Seminary, in agreement with the historic position of the LCMS, fully supports voter supremacy in all congregations and this is all that is taught at your seminary. God forbid that anyone would think that your graduates henceforth view themselves as recipients of the sacrament of ordination and there by receive special spiritual gifts that place them in anyway equal to or above the congregation. Naturally, we all understand that the Word of God is supreme over the entire church.

Quiet frankly I forgot that we were both nominated at the same time in 1989. I don't know how or why my name appeared as a candidate. You are quite mistaken when you suggest that I'm still chaffing because Tom Baker removed me from the list. We can now see that the most qualified man was indeed elected.

What disturbs me most about Baker, Balance, Affirm, Vision, etc. is that they refused to endorse a resolution supporting the name "Lutheran" on LCMS congregations in 1995 and the confession of only one of the three Creeds for worship in 1998. Baker fought me every step of the way. Needless, to say they will not support voter supremacy in 2001.

Actually, at the 1989 Convention, I was much more concerned about the 128 paragraph lawsuit that was filed against Dr. Preus and myself by Dr. Alvin Schmidt. Schmidt had been removed from office for teaching that women should be pastors. I was the witness against him. When he lost his case he sued Preus and myself. By the grace of God, when I discovered that Dr. Bohlmann was not going to provide legal protection, I found out that Church Mutual was going to cover me. We were going to depose Dr. Bohlmann.

No one was more effective in getting the Board of Directors to protect me in court from Dr. Schmidt than Christian News. I'm quite convinced that God used Herman Otten keep me in the ministry of the LCMS by exposing all of this. The Synod's Board of Directors de-indemnified me, that is they bought off my issuance company, gave Schmidt $40,000.00, and sent the Synodical attorney chasing me around the 1989 Convention.

If Balance and Baker are not viewing me as a target why am I attacked in their publication? Why am I the only LCMS pastor, with no office of any kind, in the history of Balance, that they keep attacking?

Doctor Preus spoke with me on the phone nearly every week for the last six years of his life. I had served as his PR director at Fort Wayne from 1978-1980. We spoke for about an hour the day he died, right after he spoke with Dr. Weinrich, till about 1:00 PM.

He warned me that Balance was never to be trusted and it was now an organization seeking its own interests. He also warned me that the great threat to the church in the sixties and seventies was the attack on the formal principle (the Bible) and the greatest attack on the church in the future would be on the material principle, namely justification and therefore doctrine of the church. Those with the sacrament of ordination are a little bit more justified than the rest of us. He died about four hours later.

I remember visiting the 1968 joint District Conventions of Nebraska East and West. Besides the delegates, the gym was packed with visitors. Long lines of farmers were at the microphones raising their voices at President Harms and Dr. Fuerbringer, president of the Saint Louis Seminary, who were sitting in front.

In a dramatic motion, Harms held a briefcase above his head in front of the angry crowd and in a booming voice shouted, "801 DeMun! I have a signed statement in this briefcase from every professor at St. Louis agreeing to the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture." Fuerbringer nodded in agreement. Harms calmed the crowd like Jesus stilling the storm. We all went home with renewed faith in our leaders.

As for you praying for my personal problems, well, the fact is there is a lot wrong with me. I do indeed need your prayers. I know that you are an honorable and truthful man. You have not only assured me but the entire Synod that Fort Wayne is teaching all its graduates that the only polity approved for the LCMS is voter supremacy. Yes, it is the greatest Seminary in the world.

I will do everything in my power to tell everyone that Fort Wayne is orthodox and teaching correctly on Church and Ministry.

May God bless you and keep you and say to you in paradise, "Well done good and faithful servant."

May I ask just one favor? How about one article in the CTQ telling everyone how important voter supremacy is to the LCMS? Such an article would edify many of your graduates.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Jack Cascione

Rev. Jack Cascione is pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church (LCMS - MI) in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. He has written numerous articles for Christian News and is the author of Reclaiming the Gospel in the LCMS: How to Keep Your Congregation Lutheran. He has also written a study on the Book of Revelation called In Search of the Biblical Order.
He can be reached by email at

February 2, 2000