Great Stuff Found on the Web – Endorsement for Harrison by a Former Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs and LCMS Elder

I found this on the Cross-Focused Leadership for Missouri site the other day — they are evidently gathering pieces on “What Others are Saying…” around the synod. This is one of 6 that they have posted currently on their website — from the likes of Uwe Siemon-Netto, Pr Gary Arp, and this one by Dr. Leo Mackay.

Thoughts on Matt Harrison from the former Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs under President George W. Bush, Lockheed Martin Vice President and LCMS Elder, Dr. Leo Mackay.

I have worked closely with Pastor Matt Harrison for four years on the board of the Lutheran Housing Corporation (LHS). It has been a labor of love for us both, and, in that time, I have grown to admire – indeed to love – Matt. He has the heart, and the head of a pastor. Matt’s work both at LHS and L.C.M.S. World Relief is motivated by his convictions surrounding the task of Divine Mercy in the church and in our individual lives. He is a passionate articulator of it. More importantly, he is an erudite, learned proponent of it in word both written and spoken. His books and homilies on Divine Mercy are instructive and I would advocate their teaching to the whole of the Synod.

Working with Matt, for me, is a great joy. I am a great admirer of Lutheran pastors, and Matt is a “pastor’s pastor.” He is quick to show humor, constant in personal grace and charm, but efficient and industrious as well. He has been easy to work with and has been instrumental in lending a strategic quality to our board deliberations. He also exhibits a healthy skepticism about the powers of bureaucracy and an attendant impatience with “process” if it compromises results or interferes with ministry. That said, I have known him to be uncompromising in his ethics and approach to a proper sense of dignity in all proceedings. One quality I admire greatly in him is his total dedication to his calling as a pastor. Matt is friend and colleague, but he is always – and thoroughly – a pastor. It is in his sinews and animates the fiber of his being. As he sometimes has said, he has difficulty functioning without the sustenance of text. He is never so happy as when he is reading or interpreting from the Church fathers or the important German theologians who have shaped Lutheranism. He is a wonderful combination of thinker and doer.

A Harrison presidency would offer the chance for the LCMS to be led again by a first class theologian/pastor. A man reminiscent of Walther or Barry. Moreover, it would be an opportunity for the Synod to be fed and led by one wholly, and unequivocally, committed to the Lutheran Confessions and the sufficiency of Word, Sacrament, and Confessions. Wouldn’t that be refreshing? We serve an eternal God. One who has given us all that we need for this life and the life beyond. Rather than attempt to “update” the perfect (what a concept), we should revel in the Truth and propound it with love…and with conviction. No man is better equipped to do that than Matt Harrison. It is my fervent hope – indeed my prayer – that this is the also the path that the Holy Spirit would lead the Synod as we convene this summer.

Leo Mackay

Head on over to Cross-Focused Leadership in Missouri for other great stories on What Others are Saying … and other reports from the group.

Note also that Dr Mackay has been nominated for the Board of Regents for Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, and has been recommended by the United List.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Great Stuff Found on the Web – Endorsement for Harrison by a Former Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs and LCMS Elder — 13 Comments

  1. The trouble is, for every thing about confessional Lutheranism I’ve learned through the internet that wasn’t getting disseminated through the intended channels, there’s something I’ve learned about the Bush administration that didn’t get disseminated through intended channels.

    This doesn’t exactly work out to be an endorsement when you throw emphasis on the fact that he was a Bush appointee. It sounds like Dr. MacKay has excellent credentials outside of his service to Bush that is certainly more relevant and less likely to raise the hair on the back of my neck.

  2. @fisharmor #3
    It sounds like Dr. MacKay has excellent credentials outside of his service to Bush
    Concentrate on those “excellent credentials” then.

    Dr. MacKay may have been appointed in a [Republican] administration but we’ll hope he served our veterans.

  3. Fisharmor,

    Are you insinuating that there was something improper about the administration of Veterans’ Affairs under President Bush? Or are you just taking a partisan swipe at the guy? I think either is bad form.

    Withholding Dr. Mackay’s honorable service to our country would have done him a disservice, and deprived CFLM’s readers. He has nothing to be ashamed of.

    I am certain that Rev. Harrison would be pleased to know he has Dr. Mackay’s endorsement.

  4. @Phillip Magness #5

    Bush-bashing and Obama-bashing have no place on BJS. There’s only one administration that should be called into question here, and it ought not to be bashed, but thoroughly examined and called to account on eccesiological terms.


  5. If I can interject, wrt fisharmor: The headline reads “Endorsement for Harrison by a Former Bush Appointee,” when it should read “Endorsement for Harrison by a Former Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Lockheed Martin Vice President, and LCMS Elder.”

    It doesn’t matter by whom he was appointed, except to those who dislike the one who appointed him. Thus, do not let the focus be on who appointed him, but on his position itself–and what he has been both in business and in his home parish. Don’t muddy the waters. If you change the headline, I think fisharmor will have very little (i.e., no) problem with the endorsement. Since others (including conservatives who reckon that Bush was too liberal) may well also say, “It sounds like Dr. MacKay has excellent credentials outside of his service to Bush that is certainly more relevant and less likely to raise the hair on the back of my neck,” I think a headline change best serves “Harrison for SP.”

    EJG (disinterested–i.e., non-LCMS–party, classmate of Matt Harrison, CTSFW ’89)

  6. Very good point EJG. I will make the change. I was just trying to capture interest in as few words as possible. Unlike fisharmore I have no huge problems with “W” but the point is correct that it is not about Bush but about credentials.


  7. TWIMC,

    Anyone who is aware, of V.A., this is rather a glowing endorsement. (Some here at BJS, know well, are Veterans, or are involved w/VA)
    If you are “not up” on what is now being allowed or required, by those imbeded in the “field” should not comment on Presidential administrational differences. There is rather a stark contrast these days, folks.

    If in doubt, as to what “military chaplin requirements” currently are, do a bit o’ research.

    Dr. MacKay, did not, have to say what he said or give an endorsement, by any means. He did HIS/OUR SYNOD & HIS/OUR DENOMINATION a service, by doing so. It does show, that those in left hand places do recognise, those, who hold places in the Right hand. Dr MacKay, as most of us must, holds a position to earn a wage, in the left, but is rooted in the right.
    I pray, it is the Lord’s Will, that Pastor Harrison is elected, the Resolutions are voted down, and the LCMS returns to what it once stood for.
    No one, should apologize, for anything connected w/the position of the Elder mentioned in this post.

    It shows the man knows, has worked with (must of us have never nor will meet, Pastor Harrison) and is willing to defy any risk he may bear & reccomend Harrison.

    This is a “bad” thing why?!

  8. Dutch,
    Some people get “their knickers in a twist” at the mention of Bush.
    (Others are at least as unhappy with Obama.)

    It’s probably good to leave secular politics out of endorsements.
    We’ve got enough problems dealing with ecclesiastical politics here!
    The article title has been corrected. We can concentrate on what Dr. Mackay said.

  9. @Pastor Tim Rossow #8

    Thank you for understanding the point I was making, and thank you to whomever it was who changed the title.

    However, I should explain myself to those who think I’m taking a partisan swipe here.

    I visit this site, and seek out confessional Lutheran theology, because I believe in objective reality, and I believe that the objective reality of the Church is best defined by Scripture and the Confessions.

    If we abstract that a little bit, what I really believe is that what we accept as truth is codified, in words that have meanings, strung together in sentences which convey fairly unambiguous concepts.

    I do not apply this idea of codified reality strictly to the right hand kingdom. When I apply this to the left hand kingdom, I find rejections of what is written which are a thousandfold more blatant than what we rail against happening in LCMS today.

    If I am supposed to accept majority consensus as a determination of what truth is in the left hand kingdom and disregard what is written, but reject majority consensus in the right hand kingdom in favor of what is written regardless of how accepted it is, then I’d really appreciate being told why this contradiction is acceptable.

    If it’s not acceptable, then I’ll stick with Samuel’s assessment of the left hand kings…. which applies to all of them.

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