Overtures on SMP and District Lay Deacon Programs (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

[On Sunday the following overtures were adopted, unanimously, both by my congregation and our circuit forum, to be submitted to the LCMS Convention Workbook. CH]

To Upgrade the SMP Program

WHEREAS, Holy Scripture sets high standards for the theological aptitude of pastors, saying that they are to be “able to teach” (1 Tim. 3:2) and “able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9), and that “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers” (James 3:1); and

WHEREAS, the curriculum and standards for the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) program are significantly lower than they are for the M.Div. program at our two residential seminaries; therefore be it

Resolved, that the Synod President and the two seminaries work together to upgrade the curriculum and standards of the Specific Ministry Pastor program, bringing them more in line with the curriculum and standards of the residential seminaries.

To Bring a God-Pleasing End to District Lay Deacon Programs

WHEREAS, our Lutheran Confessions state that “no one should publicly teach in the Church or administer the Sacraments unless he be regularly called” (Augsburg Confession, Article XIV); and

WHEREAS, Holy Scripture sets high standards for the theological aptitude of pastors, saying that they are to be “able to teach” (1 Tim. 3:2) and “able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9), and that “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers” (James 3:1); and

WHEREAS, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has two fine residential seminaries, as well as a non-residential Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) program;

Resolved, that the various district “lay deacon” programs, where they are used to prepare people to serve in place of a regularly called pastor, be brought to a God-pleasing end by July 25, 2014.

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