The unionistically tolerant Atlantic District President David Benke is intolerant of his fellow LCMS members. A group called Interested Laymen have grown frustrated that the Blue Ribbon Task Force is less than transparent with input to their proposals and so they put online the very same presentation and survey that the task force uses so that all LCMS members can participate in feedback and do so openly. (You can log on and take the survey here. The survey is very lengthy so it will require patience.)
So far the task force has taken surveys at district conventions but they are not publishing the results. The task force is also asking for input but they are not publishing people’s comments. There is a sense among many in the synod that the task force is controlling how the input will be presented, if at all. In an effort to involve more members of synod and do in a transparent way, the Interested Laymen have put the survey out there for all to see and President Benke does not like it. Here is an e-mail he sent to the Interested Laymen:
Dear Brothers undersigned on the email blueribbonsurvey.com,
The Council of Presidents of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod at its most recent meeting this week made a decision as a group to discourage anyone from completing this independent survey, and on their behalf I request you to cease and desist in promoting it. Instead, please direct those on your email list to participate at lcms.org in the appropriate forums and interactive ways in the process designed by the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Structure and Governance.
Thank you for receiving this message from me; I serve in many capacities – as the executive director of St. Peter’s Pre-School, as the Pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, as the Education Executive of the Atlantic District, LCMS, and as the President of the Atlantic District, LCMS.
Your timely response would be appreciated,
In Christ, our Lord,
Rev. Dr. David H. Benke
How ironic. The very same President Benke who is tolerant of unbelievers and who actually embraced hands in prayer with Muslims, a Sikh, Jewish rabbis and a Hindu by his own initiative at the Yankee Stadium event, is not so tolerant of fellow Missouri Synod Lutherans seeking transparency in the Blue Ribbon proposals. President Benke welcomes pagans with open arms and hands but talks down to his fellow LCMS members like a cop yelling out demands to fleeing criminals.
President Benke holds hands in prayer with pagans but tells his fellow LCMS members to cease and desist when all they have done is make more public the work of the most significant LCMS task force in recent memory. Do President Benke and the rest of the district presidents (the Council of Presidents also known as the COP) think that we have some sort of hierarchical polity in which they can make adiaphoristic demands of the laity? Many common LCMS folks are reading the proposals and noting that in general they seek to centralize authority and power. They are noting that the proposals take authority away from the members of synod congregations and focus it on the bureaucrats. This action from President Benke and the COP makes it even more clear that the bureaucrats are trying to control the input and feedback on the proposals. The Interested Laymen have struck a nerve with President Benke and those who want wholesale changes in the synod’s structure.
The Interested Laymen are not opposed to people giving input to the task force. They have put the link to the task force on their website and encourage people to send comments to the task force but since the task force is proposing such sweeping changes, the Interested Laymen decided to make the information and survey available to more people via an online survey.
We applaud the efforts of the Interested Laymen and encourage you to take the survey and let your voice be heard.