Below is a letter of resignation from a pastor in the LCMS. It came our way and we feel it is important news for our readers and a helpful warning for us all.
By publishing this letter we are not endorsing the action of this pastor. We do not claim to know all the ins and outs of this situation but we have experienced enough doctrinal foolishness in the LCMS to recognize a warning shot when we see one. We completely understand his frustration and can imagine all that he says to be the case with maybe one exception. This pastor says he found no confessional, brotherly support in the LCMS. That has not been our experience. Are there large pockets of little or no support? Yes, and Pastor VonMehren was apparently in one of those but there also larger pockets of great support and we hope that the posts on this website are proof of such.
We are glad to see this pastor not lay his frustration entirely at the doorstep of President Harrison, Like Pastor VanMehren we are pleased with the leadership and work of President Harrison. Thanks to President Harrison and his team good things are happening in the LCMS to restore purity of doctrine and faithfulness of practice. The pace may not be the same pace as you or I might pick. Some of us would want things to happen faster and some even more deliberately than the current pace but overall, we are being steered in a good direction.
So we submit for your edification and as a warning shot over the bow of the battleship Missouri the heartfelt and accurate letter of a frustrated, former LCMS pastor. May this letter further egg us on to uphold pure doctrine and faithful practice.
Pres. Matthew Harrison
Int’l Center, LC-MS
1333 South Kirkwood Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63122-7295
22 May, 2012
Dear President Harrison,
Hope all is well with your family, health and your service to Christ’s people. I write to inform you of a decision that I have been compelled to make by both circumstances and conscience, a decision that will bring delight to my current and past district presidents, as well as my current and past circuit counselors. I am moved to tender my resignation from the clergy roster of the LC-MS effective the date of this letter. As with the painful eventuality that many have the misfortune of experiencing, a divorce, the end of a slowly dying marriage, I grieve; not for what was, but for what should have been.
I have served in the LC-MS for 15 years and I have finally had enough of, on the one hand, the open heterodoxy in both word and practice that is not only tolerated, but promoted and encouraged in the LC-MS. On the other hand, I tire as well from being treated worse than a heathen infidel by those who deceitfully claim to be “servants of servants.”
I was recently forced to resign from a parish I served for 8 years, Emmaus Lutheran, Redmond, OR for no reasons. I was charged or accused of absolutely nothing, not a single reason was brought to my attention as to why I needed to resign. Even when directly asked, those responsible for this travesty would just shrug their shoulders and give no response. Yet, when it happened, my district “servant of servants”, with no reason given, no communication attempted or made, no letter, no phone call, no email, no contact whatsoever, put me under discipline effectively terminating my career.
The circuit meetings I have attended have been nothing but a shameful waste of time. Not only do the pastors not engage in any theology, casuistry or brotherly support or admonition, several seem to delight in nothing other than sheer buffoonery. I do not exclude the circuit counselors (“circuit clownselors”).
There still has been no indication that Missouri recognizes the public sin of Dr. Benke, nor that it ever will. Faithful pastor’s have no friends in Missouri. They and almost exclusively they take their career and Calling in hand caught between the all too frequent viciousness of goats in their own congregations and the lying hypocrisy of other “brothers” and their “servants of servants” in their district offices. It has been and is open warfare against faithful shepherds as those whose father is the devil work to subvert and destroy them.
The Holy Ghost indeed calls and gathers sinners into His Christian church. Unfortunately, they then begin industriously building their Towers of Babel a.k.a. institutions (synods). They then begin serving “the company” rather than Christ. All with the best of intentions of course. Missouri is the victim of her own “success.” Too many pastors have purchased their peace and retirements with obsequies service to “the company.” On the other hand, too many in the pew agree, eschewing any semblance of honor and respect for the Holy office and the catechesis that should be coming from it. Added to that is the aforementioned deceit and treachery of “ecclesiastical supervisors.” I suppose if monies to district came through and at the pleasure of pastors rather than congregations, there would be a sudden and drastic turn of affairs in the relations between pastors and district presidents. Then, all the “company men” would stand in gaping wonderment, declaring gleefully, “Look at what the Spirit did; the Spirit, O the spirit!” In the meantime, Missouri gladly ignites itself and would have gone down in flames had you not have had the God blessed faith, integrity and spine to put out the blaze.
I do thank God for you and what God has and is doing through you. Ever since the first Emmaus Conference you attended with the presidents of the WELS and ELS I have led my then congregation Emmaus in prayers every Sunday for all three of you. May God bring about a (what needs to be) massive upheaval of renewal and restoration within Missouri.
All of the sins and folly I have described herein that I have seen and experienced within Missouri appears to be starkly absent in the ELS which I am colloquizing into. Brothers are not shy of either supporting or admonishing one another; they actually do theology at their Winkles and act respectably. The Lutheran Confessions are actually known, believed and put into practice. There are no parasitic district offices and little to no “company” (at least as far as the local pastors and congregations are concerned) to lure men away from Christ and into the service of “the company”; they issue no grey flannel suits like Missouri does.
Again, to the delight of my district presidents, past and present, and my circuit counselors, past and present, I bid Missouri a sad but free adieu.
May god continue to forgive me my tongue which is all too often too sharp and for a faith that is all too often weak and insufficient with a patience that is at times entirely absent. May He also give to you and those working with you His continued blessing of strength, courage, integrity and health, both you and all your family’s. God’s blessing!
Pastor Randy VanMehren
Grace Lutheran Church
4125 SW Salmon Ave
Redmond, OR 97756
cc: Mr. Paul Linneman
Mr. Peter Pagel
Pastor Randall Ehrichs
Pastor Doulas Fountain
President John Moldstad
Pastor Steve Sparley
Pastor Glen Obenberger
Mr. Warren Schumacher
Mr. John Luther