Here is the description of the Commission on Ministerial Growth and Support from the LCMS Handbook. Notice section 188.8.131.52. All thirteen members are appointed by the synod president. Since Gerald Kieschnick has been in office for years, it is clear that this is his commission that is endorsing pagan prayer practices as we reported yesterday.
For a critique of the “centering prayer” that is endorsed by the commission appointed by President Kieschnick we recommend you read BJS regular Scott Diekmann’s article on it in his critique of the Emergent Church.
Here is what the Synod Handbook says about the Commission Ministerial Growth and Support:
Commission on Ministerial Growth and Support
3.9.4 The Commission on Ministerial Growth and Support exists to provide opportunity for the continuing education and vocational growth of the church’s workers, to advocate and facilitate care and counsel for the church’s workers to support them in the performance of their official duties, and to advocate and facilitate support for the personal well-being of the church’s workers and their family members.
184.108.40.206 The Commission on Ministerial Growth and Support shall consist of 13 members appointed by the President of the Synod:
1. Three ordained ministers
2. Three commissioned ministers
3. Three laypersons
4. One district president
5. Two seminary faculty members
6. One Concordia University System faculty member
220.127.116.11.1 The Commission on Ministerial Growth shall be appointed as follows:
(a) The three ordained ministers shall be parish pastors.
(b) The three commissioned ministers shall be two teachers and one other than a teacher.
(c) One of the laypersons shall be a parish pastor’s wife.
(d) One seminary faculty member shall be from each seminary.
18.104.22.168 The Commission on Ministerial Growth and Support exists to serve the individual members of the Synod in carrying out the mission and ministry of the Synod.
(a) It shall assist and encourage the church’s workers in the planning of their continuing educational and vocational growth and the personal well-being of them and their family members.
(b) It shall assist and encourage congregations in assessing and promoting the continuing educational and vocational growth of the church’s workers and the personal well-being of them and their family members.
(c) It shall assist and encourage districts in the development of support systems for the continuing educational and vocational growth of the church’s workers and the personal well-being of them and their families.
(d) It shall provide opportunities and settings for the church’s workers to continue to grow in Christ and in the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and personal well-being they need to serve Him in His church.
(e) It shall develop, sponsor, and coordinate continuing educational and vocational growth and personal well-being initiatives among the agencies of the Synod whose work impacts the church’s workers and their families.
(f) It shall seek grants and maintain funds from outside sources for the support of its objectives when it deems necessary to do so.
This commission is intended to support pastors, not lead them into pagan prayer practices. Even though President Kieschnick did not write the article, it is a clear reflection of his lack of support for the office of the ministry. He has said that he wants to lead the LCMS away from our grandfather’s church. His support of the office of the ministry has been characterized by a glossy insert in the Reporter on “Leadership,” (a sociological and business term), a set of Blue Ribbon proposals that elevate the office of district president and synodical president and diminish the office of parish pastor and now a commission appointed by him has done this.
This endorsement of pagan prayer practices not only hurts the office of the ministry, it also demonstrates how doctrinal supervision (the number one job of the Synod President, see the Synod Constitution, Article XI, B. 1, p. 15 of the Handbook) has suffered under President Kieschnick. It is unbelievable that a president-appointed commission could be so naÃ¯ve that it would endorse pagan mystic prayer. But, for those of us who have been paying close attention to the Kieschnick administration this is no surprise at all. President Kieschnick likes to pay lip service to confessional theology but incidents like this demonstrate that it is mere lip service.