Sinful Removal of Pastors — Let me count the ways…

countingIf you or your congregation are considering taking that “vote” to remove a pastor (or using such a vote to coerce his resignation), check to make sure that it is for legitimate reasons (persistent adherence to false doctrine; great public shame and vice [scandalous conduct]; willful and real neglect [or inability to perform] of his office).  If you are an official involved in removing a pastor check also to make sure it is for legitimate reasons…

Here are some thoughts to consider if your pastor is not teaching falsely, living in scandalous conduct, or gladly neglecting his duties (or unable to do them) in relation to the Ten Commandments:

 

The First Commandment

Who is your god if you have no Scriptural reason to remove this pastor and yet vote to do that or assist others in doing it?   Where is your trust in such a situation where you are “firing” your pastor?  God says that he is not mocked in regards to the support and care for pastors (see Galatians 6), where is your fear of God?

 

The Second Commandment

What does a sinful vote of a Christian congregation do to God’s Name?  What does it do if something has no supporting Scripture behind it but we still call it a divine action (such as a divine removal or even a human removal of a divine call)?  Luther in the Large Catechism calls the propagation of false teaching the worst violation of the Second Commandment (it’s not just about cussing), how does the unscriptural removal of your pastor teach any truth?

 

The Third Commandment

Are you gladly hearing and learning the word of God while you are voting out the man God has sent to you to preach and teach it?  Just who are you sending away, the preacher or the One who sent Him?

 

The Fourth Commandment

Pastor are considered fathers in the faith, does willfully removing your pastor or aiding in it honor his position as a mask of God?  Does removing his livelihood and calling honor him, serve and obey him, or love and cherish him?  By throwing him out the door of your church are you despising him, one of the “other authorities” that Luther names in the Large Catechism?

 

The Fifth Commandment

How does removing the livelihood of your pastor help and support him in every physical need?  This only gets worse if your pastor has a wife and then even worse if he has children.

 

The Sixth Commandment

How does the church casting out the messenger that her head, Christ Jesus sent to her work into this mystery of Christ and His Church?  Do you think such a “divorce” brings glory to God?  Jesus says that the ones who reject those He sends will be rejected by Him.

 

The Seventh Commandment

How does removing your pastor rate in relation to protecting his possessions and income?

 

The Eighth Commandment

Given that men who are removed from calls bear a giant black mark on their professional record, just what do you think an unscriptural removal does for his reputation?  Does masking your vote under district approval or other reasons exemplify the truth or a lie?  How has your conversation been about your pastor?

 

The Ninth Commandment

How does throwing out your pastor help or be of service to him in keeping his house or property?

 

The Tenth Commandment

How does casting your pastor out urge him to stay and do his duty?  Are you guilty of coveting another “type” of pastor?  For ear-itching pastors, see the Second Commandment again.

 

So you have it – sinfully removing a pastor (or helping to do it) without Scriptural cause is a good way to reap the wrath of a jealous God upon the children for the sins of the fathers for the third and fourth generation of those who hate Him (if you doubt that unscriptural removal is not hating God, then reread the questions above).

Repent.  Stop the vote.  Stop trying to starve him out.  God takes no pleasure in it, nor does He desire to punish for it – but He is not mocked.  You will reap what you sow on how you treat His messengers.

Christ did not die for you to act however you please – He died to earn the forgiveness of your sins, a forgiveness given through time and space through the means of grace – which is exactly why He sent you your pastor to publicly preach, teach, and administer for your eternal good.

As a final note, any comment attempting to talk about “bad pastors” will be deleted for being off topic and an attempted deflection of the serious matter at hand.

About Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Joshua Scheer is the Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is also the Editor-in-chief of Brothers of John the Steadfast. He oversees all of the work done by Steadfast Lutherans. He is a regular host of Concord Matters on KFUO. Pastor Scheer and his lovely wife Holly (who writes and manages the Katie Luther Sisters) have four children and enjoy living in Wyoming.

Comments

Sinful Removal of Pastors — Let me count the ways… — 95 Comments

  1. A loving way to handle the desire for removal of a pastor is for the parishioner to leave his congregation or the underling ordained and/or commissioned to seek another divine call. if you are at odds for unbiblical reasons, read adiaphora, it is not healthy for the people of God. Especially if reconciliation has not been possible.

  2. Just a fair question here, what are a few examples of unbiblical reasons for voting out a pastor?

  3. @J. #2
    Fair question. There are a number of examples I have seen but will not mention names as it would hurt the pastor and possibly penitent congregations in question:

    Pastor practices Closed Communion against congregation’s wishes (as if it was up to either congregation or pastor on that one).

    Pastor rebukes sin for what it is (homosexuality, cohabitation, sexual sins are people favorites now – but this includes the pastor who calls out false teachings for what they are)

    Pastor is “mean” for trying to remove delinquents after long process of trying to reach them.

    Pastor is “weird” (actually heard that one as a reason).

    Pastor got mad at me

    Pastor is not winsome enough

    Pastor doesn’t “fit”.

    There are a lot more that could be shared, but honestly, people will put a pious veneer on whatever their reasons are. Just like the Pharisees and chief priests said it was better for one man to die than the whole nation.

    Many of these result in essentially people judging God’s sending of the pastor in question to them – so in the end they reject God’s choice rather than the man that God sent.

  4. We could also add to Pastor Scheer’s list:

    Pastor doesn’t have a “vision” for mission.
    Pastor is a “repristinator” and not interested in change for the “glory of God.”
    Pastor isn’t active enough in social justice issues in the community.
    Pastor’s two year try before we buy term has expired.

  5. It is an absolute tragedy and abomination when elders have to call other elders and congregants out to forgive the pastor of something relatively minor just as Christ forgave our sins. Brothers and sisters in Christ,I beg of you…don’t let it happen to your congregation. Find forgiveness. Repent and let God’s good and gracious will be done so the man who was placed into the Parrish by nothing less than a devine act can preach the word as it is properly proclaimed and administer the sacraments as he ought.

  6. Under the Ninth Commandment:

    The congregation covets the money they can get by selling the parsonage or renting it to someone else or by neglecting its upkeep. This is so obnoxious! If you ever consider doing this to your pastor, think how you would feel if someone attempted to deprive you of your home. The most simple understanding of the Golden Rule should serve to prevent this kind of abuse.

  7. The pastor isn’t numerically growing the church.
    Some people are leaving the congregation because of the boring liturgy.
    The pastor doesn’t connect with the Youth and can’t seem to get over his doctrinal orientation.
    He’s just not a people person.
    He doesn’t sound like Rick Warren when he preaches.
    Ya da, ya da…ya da….

  8. @ J.

    If I may add one more issue to Pastor Scheer:

    Church Growth – this comes from people who mistakenly believe they can grow the church outside of proper administration of Word and Sacrament. They think they can do some magic 12 step program or such and presto they have a bigger church. This is wrong on so many levels. They then blame the Pastor when it fails. They use a number of “pious claims” to remove the Pastor, and often start anew with a new Pastor.

    Let’s pray for those people and the Pastors they wrongfully remove. Let’s pray for our congregations to remaim faithful. And give thanks to God for men like Pastor Scheer to warn us.

  9. How about this one: the Pastor is “not from around here”.

    I have heard a District President (not my current one) at a meeting for congregational officers in the Circuit vehemently defend the position, presented by a layman (not from one of my congregations) that Pastors who are “from around here” are all without lazy and not faithful in their ministry, and “they” should not keep sending us Pastors who are “not from around here” ….

  10. Rev. Richard A. Bolland :
    The pastor isn’t numerically growing the church.
    Ya da, ya da…ya da….

    LOL, of course the parishioners average less than two kids per family, but it’s the pastors fault they aren’t growing!

  11. “He doesn’t live in the ‘real world,’ and cannot make his sermons applicable to ‘real life.’ ” That was me thirty+ years ago. That is why I know that some of the parishioners are not intentionally mean, but ignorant, as was I. And that is why I support the efforts of ACELC. They are getting the word out about such wrong practices. I honestly believe some laity do not know they are sinning by saying and doing some of the things mentioned above. (I also personally know a few who would probably complain if Jesus himself stood among them and preached.) It is not they/us or me/them. It is Satan/the Church. Thank you for such a great article. I wish every layperson would read it!

  12. Pastor is not embracing contemporary worship but is stuck in his liturgical ways…

    (Good grief. Sometimes I’m wondering whether or not I’m called to be pastor, as infuriating as all of this is to me).

  13. This is happening in our congregation. Our pastor will probably be outed because many of the congregation have listened to gossip, rumors and hearsay (sins) with very little personal experience in the matter. Yes the pastor has sinned but he has asked for forgiveness but most of the people have their mind set on getting rid of him anyway.

    Involving the CARE process offered by the district has just stalled the process and put off the inevitable. People wanted to wash their hands of the matter and sluff it off on the synod but it backfired. It really doesn’t make any difference. They are still initiating agendas that will “push” the pastor further away. One issue, since we have a small church they want to have the pastor get involved in a dual parish, while involving him in an increase of responsibilities. ????

    We had donations earmarked for “missions”. They doled it out the last voters meeting in the tune of $110K to fluff missions but made excuses that they couldn’t afford the pastors full salary. We are spending around $4500 dollars on the CARE counseling and finding that we could have done this by ourselves without this extra cost. We ahve good elders but they are being brow beat by the general populace.

    Sorry it’s a little rambling because there are other variables. But it is so convoluted that is confusing

  14. Pastor does not properly format his reports for council meetings and the minutes can not be approved.

  15. “Pastor is not working hard enough to reach the community.”

    Unfortunate mess in this case. The pastor was a confessional man in a “Progressive” church. The congregation fabricated the above reason to cover their real motives. I showed up as this was happening and didn’t get it at the time…….for that I’m ticked off at myself for not seeing it.

    The DP’s who allow such things to transpire are derelict in their duties as far as I’m concerned.

    Accountability, accountability, accountability………………..

  16. Randy :“Pastor is not working hard enough to reach the community.”
    P>

    I can see both sides of this, although, using it a an excuse to remove a pastor is disgraceful!

    REMAINDER REMOVED BY MODERATOR FOR BEING OFF TOPIC

  17. @ moderator

    REMAINDER REMOVED BY MODERATOR FOR BEING OFF TOPIC

    THANK YOU! I felt like I was loosing my mind this last week.

  18. @A Layman #16

    I completely see where you’re coming from, but in this case, the pastor was a Word and Sacrament man in a CoWo community (Small town taken over by “That Church” and “New Life Church” – Rick Warren look-a-likes in the Mid-South. He 100% Fits the Bill for an sinful removal of a pastor. Fortunately, he’s doing well now, but that doesn’t negate the fact that we, the congregations, have a duty to protect pastors that bring the pure Word and Sacraments to us.

  19. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #3

    “Reason” 99:
    “He told the Cong. President’s daughter with the live-in boy friend, to do a JP wedding tomorrow and the church would recognize/celebrate it whenever they got the big wedding organized.”

    [oops! You covered that one!] 😉

  20. This is a very serious topic that needs to be on the front burner in any discussions of koinonia. Just in case you were wondering, this is THE topic for next year’s ACELC Conference.

    “Announcing the 2015 ACELC Free Conference and Business Meeting, February 10-12, 2015 at Holy Cross Lutheran, Kansas City, Missouri: “Office of the Holy Ministry, Part II” (Unbiblical Removal of Pastors)”

    Clint

  21. I’m writing a book about this from the removed LCMS pastor’s perspective. Hope to have it done before the end of summer.

    Oh, and another unbiblical reason: Pastor meets a woman online and so is considered immoral.

  22. Rev. Alan Kornacki :I’m writing a book about this from the removed LCMS pastor’s perspective. Hope to have it done before the end of summer.
    Oh, and another unbiblical reason: Pastor meets a woman online and so is considered immoral.

    Walther removed a pastor for writing a love letter, according to At Home in the House of My Fathers. Was that the same thing in its time?

    Actually, for your congregation to remove you for that reason and yet remain a member congregation of the Synod can boggle the mind.

  23. @Tim Schenks #23

    I think you raise a great point. If congregations, despite warning, flaunt the membership requirements of the Synod, every one of them that unjustly boots a faithful pastor should be immediately ejected from membership. They could only be returned to membership, upon their very public repentance for their very public sin.

    Of course, it’s hard to get a political system to prune its own branches… so it grows every more corrupt and unhealthy, until the laws of nature destroy it all together.

    Pr. Sheer is right– we’re not playing with a fine point of esoteric theology here, but a life or death issue before a Holy God. I think far too many have lost sight of that fact.

  24. @Rev. Alan Kornacki #22
    Oh, and another unbiblical reason: Pastor meets a woman online and so is considered immoral.

    Pr. Kornacki,
    This one raises one rather obvious question. 🙁

    I guess I’ll finally have to read “At home in the house of my Father.”
    (And stop buying so many books that I can’t keep up!)

  25. @Brad #24
    I think you raise a great point. If congregations, despite warning, flaunt the membership requirements of the Synod, every one of them that unjustly boots a faithful pastor should be immediately ejected from membership.

    Of course, in a “Lutheran” world, such congregations would be effectively “quarantined” by the refusal of other pastors to take their “call”. (Of course, that would entail giving the removed pastor a shred of belief in his side of the story, rather than refusing to listen to it.) 🙁

    ;

  26. @John E #13
    I’m disappointed that there were not any comments or advice on this ongoing and very disturbing event. This is not speculative and something that happened in the past. This is here and now and very devastating to the “church” as a whole. Synod’s abuse of extracting money when money is already given to them through donations for congregation support.

    I know it’s more of a local problem with rescinding a call and trying to “out” a pastor but isn’t that what Pastor Scheer’s article is all about? TO me the deviousness of the parishioners to get rid of their pastor is deplorable. They have sinned as much as the pastor has sinned with their gossiping, backstabing and spreading hearsay rumors. I’m appalled and saddened by this event. Some of the elders have been neutral on this even, and the others don’t want to make waves, when the synod gave the congregation advice which seemed to finalize the problem. THe congregation and elders are going to do what they want in spite of the counseling.

    Please some comments.

  27. @John E #27
    John, there isn’t much we can do about this exact case. It is a matter of authority. We can as baptized Christians share what the Word of God says, but individual cases of discipline are the jurisdiction and authority of our Synod (or District) leadership. They however report to conventions and elections. They are also Christian men accountable to the Word of God and the Lutheran Confessions as well.

    The best bet would be to contact those with the authority to deal with it (Circuit Visitor, District Vice Presidents, District President). Do not be afraid to share Scripture with them – the Word of the Lord has great power to help in every need.

  28. @John E #27

    Summon the faithful remnant, and plant a new, faithful congregation.

    Of course, there’s probably some bureaucratic reason why you can’t do that, but if the congregation as a whole is heading into flagrant, public, scandalous sin, by staying with them you become complicit. Leave the dead to bury their dead.

    I’m sure your new, small, but faithful congregation, living on a shoe-string budget, will find a faithful pastor to bring Word and Sacrament to you.

  29. @ Pastor Scheer

    Not to correct you, Pastor, but perhaps put a finer point on your post.

    “They however report to conventions and elections. They are also Christian men accountable to the Word of God and the Lutheran Confessions as well.”

    I believe you are saying the congregation is accountable to God. And without repentance for this very damnable sin, they are putting themselves in terrible danger.

    I believe in The Problem of Pain, Lewis describes many people view God as a senile old man. While this anthropomorphism is dangerous in its own right, the misconception that God won’t correct people/sin in this life is the bigger mistake (though I don’t speak for Him or know His will).

    We all report to God. He can and does protect all of us one way or another.

    Prayers for the church in question. May they all come to do His will.

  30. Sometimes the phrase “the congregation” is actually code for “those members of the congregation who hate the Pastor”, be they many or few.

    Often there will be a group of Christians within the congregation, who have not consented to their decision and action, and are seeking the kingdom of God (Luke 23:51). Sometimes this group is not really all that insignificant, numerically speaking.

    It is just that often this group will not be taken seriously, and not be taken into consideration – perhaps because it is more or less assumed that they are not going to leave the congregation anyway, and thus effect the precious numbers, nor can they be expected to cause as much trouble for the District as unbelievers will if they don’t get their way.

    Or it might just be that they have not played as much politics as the Pastor’s enemies – or that a faithful Pastor has not done as much in terms of politics as his enemies (and the “brother” Pastors who support them), but has rather tried to work things out discreetly and in Christian love and conversation in order to protect the congregation as much as possible from the consequences of the conflicts there.

    Or it might be that the faithful lack the theological clarity or the fortitude to argue against what is being presented to them by the District President as objective truth, and as the best interest of the “congregation”.

    And it might be that they have been misled into thinking of themselves as much fewer and much more insignificant than they actually are after they have heard and seen the Pastor’s enemies constantly being referred to as “the congregation” and “you” so often that they do not know anymore what is up and down – “you” can be Presidential code also, meaning: “those of you who hate your Pastor”.

    And even for this group, for various reasons, valid or invalid, joining another church will sometimes not be an option.

    The existence of a such group within the congregation would make it problematic, in my view, to put an entire congregation under discipline – except where the vote to remove a Pastor for unscriptural reasons was, in fact, unanimous.

    Of course it will be the duty of the congregation’s new Pastor, as best he can, to hold before the eyes of those in the congregation responsible for the sinful removal of his predecessor the evil and ungodliness of this, and of the sinful activities and attitudes engaged in in preparation for it, and the dangers facing them because of what they have done to themselves, and because of that which what they have done has done to them.

    And there might be a lot of “deprogramming” to do, there – probably not much less than what it takes to bring a rescued/kidnapped cult member back in touch with reality.

    Particularly if the part the District President chose to play was to support and encourage ungodly attitudes against the former Pastor, and against faithful Law/Gospel preaching and teaching based on the Word of God, and against reverence in worship, and against faithful Communion and wedding practices.

    But then – if ungodliness is entrenched by the affirmation of the legitimacy of ungodly activities and attitudes, and evildoers and unbelievers and non-Lutherans in the congregation have already been encouraged, and those who have more good will than clarity have been misled – well, any faithful Pastor coming into a such situation will have his work cut out for him already as it is …

  31. We need to care for our Pastors. This article doesn’t give many answers, but it does describe a very bad situation.

    Shouldn’t the situation be handled openly and publicly so that the whole congregation knows what is going on? I’m assuming most of it is kept “private” among boards, etc. But this does not stem wrong gossip from happening. If more people knew what was going on, more people could rise up to help if possible.

    http://www.poopedpastors.com/blogs/mobbing/

  32. @Jais H. Tinglund #32
    Pr. Tinglund,

    I appreciate your thoughtful observation. A thought comes to me as I read it, though: do we not better protect our pastors (and especially young seminarians) but putting these erring congregations under discipline? By promoting a call process to such congregation, it would seem that we are sending one faithful pastor after another to the wolves, no less than if we were sending them to congregations outside our fellowship.

    It would seem to me, that the greater act of love, both for the congregation in grievous error and the pastors who might be consumed by them, would be to publicly warn against them by making formal the separation their unrepentant sin has already created.

  33. Abby :
    We need to care for our Pastors. This article doesn’t give many answers, but it does describe a very bad situation.
    Shouldn’t the situation be handled openly and publicly so that the whole congregation knows what is going on? I’m assuming most of it is kept “private” among boards, etc. But this does not stem wrong gossip from happening. If more people knew what was going on, more people could rise up to help if possible.
    http://www.poopedpastors.com/blogs/mobbing/

    I think you make a good point here.

    If the truth is kept private or confidential, that allows falsehood to rule the entire public sphere.

    The truth must be publicized.

  34. Sometimes much of the set-up is being done in secret through phone conversations between the District President and the Pastor’s enemies.

    Sometimes much preparation is done also through secret gatherings to which some of the Pastor’s enemies invite others whom they suspect also hate the Pastor, at which they can coordinate which spin to put in things, and which stories to tell the District President, so that more members, for example, can claim to have witnessed what one member says happened once, etc ..

    Such meetings might even take place with the District President’s approval. Quote (with reference to Matthew 18:15-17, after somebody had suggested that it should have been followed): “That is only one way of doing it.”

    So it might be that a large portion of the congregation is actually unaware that anything is going on, until it is suddenly announced that the District President will visit the congregation to discuss the conflict between “the congregation” (code, see above) and the Pastor.

    I should mention that the situation of which I have the most knowledge, in which ungodly attitudes and activities, and teachings contrary to those of the LCMS, met with approval and support from the District President, did not actually result in the removal of the Pastor.

    But I suspect that in many cases the Pastor’s enemies (which might include the District President) have their ducks in a row and the conclusions are more or less drawn already long before anything is actually said or done officially and in public.

    And you are absolutely right.

  35. @Brad #34
    I think you are right.

    And I do not think that recent graduates should be thrown to the wolves claiming to be sheep in a such congregation.

    I have not thought it through very much (I am not much of bureaucratic personality – which does not necessarily mean that I am not capable of being very pedantic), but I do have a vision of congregations with a record of not destroying Pastors and housing much hostility to or ignorance of the faith being designated as what they acutally are, part of the “Mission field” and have a Pastor assigned to them.

    It seems to make sense to me. But I am not entirely sure how it could be worked out in detail without violating the congregation’s right of calling. Again, I have not thought all that much about it.

  36. @Jais H. Tinglund #36

    “Sometimes much of the set-up is being done in secret through phone conversations between the District President and the Pastor’s enemies.”

    There should be more accountability over the DPs. But I don’t know how. We have our politics too. Unfortunately.

    Anyway, the Lord is in charge. He does help when someone is fired wrongly.

  37. My opinion: In the final analysis, the abuse pastors receive at the hands of the congregations is the inevitable result of Missouri’s polity and her understanding of the Pastoral Office. Walther’s thesis that the congregation is the supreme authority undermined the Office from the beginning. My own study of the New Testament has led me to believe that in the debate between Loehe and Walther concerning Kirche und Amt, the former was correct.

    Obviously all the theological issues can’t be adequately analysed here, but in my mind it’s no surprise that Missouri’s canonization of Walther’s emphasis on congregational supremacy would lead to the “pastor-as-employee,” “hire-and-fire,” “the-congregation-owns-the-keys-and-merely-loans-them-to-the-pastor-for-a-time” mentality at work in our parishes today.

  38. @Robert #40

    I apologize to everyone for my previous post. My comments were out of place. I shouldn’t have used this forum to dispute with Walther on the Office of the Ministry, which is the official teaching of our synod. I suppose I just wish the Office was held in higher regard in those places where pastors are seen as employees first and stewards of the mysteries second (if at all).

  39. That being said, two more points,

    1. For clarification, I need to state publicly that my views on Kirche und Amt, wherever they may lack complete agreement with Walther, are my own and do not represent the views of any faculty at Fort Wayne. They held to the correctness of everything in that work.

    2. My mea culpa above isn’t meant to be a retraction. I do believe there are weaknesses in some [emphasis on “some”] of Walther’s theses where Loehe provides insights that are closer to the Scriptural truth regarding the relationship of Church and Office. But it was ill-advised to post those thoughts on this forum. I apologize in advance for any contentiousness that results.

  40. @ Robert

    If that is indeed a slam on Fort Wayne as well as the Pastor, I will pray for you Robert. It’s a shame you feel the need to make character assassinations from afar, if that was a personal attack.

    Having personally spent time on the Fort Wayne campus, as well as in the classrooms there – I can personally attest to the exemplary level of erudition and character of the staff and students.

  41. @Pastor Brian Stark #39
    Obviously all the theological issues can’t be adequately analysed here, but in my mind it’s no surprise that Missouri’s canonization of Walther’s emphasis on congregational supremacy would lead to the “pastor-as-employee,” “hire-and-fire,” “the-congregation-owns-the-keys-and-merely-loans-them-to-the-pastor-for-a-time” mentality at work in our parishes today.

    I’m not a product of either seminary (except for “summer school”) and that thought re inserts itself in my mind fairly often. We revere Luther, but we admit he was sometimes wrong. Maybe in 350 years we’ll say the same about Walther, if the Lutheran faith lasts that long.

    Likewise, with half the original pastors in the midwest products of Loehe, (and Walther glad to have them) it’s more than possible that Loehe may have been right, about some things.

    @Big Boy #45

    Fort Wayne Seminary originated to give Loehe’s “Sendling’s” additional training. I shall assume nothing rude was meant by the remark, because I have two CTS graduates in the family. 🙂

  42. Rev. Alan Kornacki :
    I’m writing a book about this from the removed LCMS pastor’s perspective. Hope to have it done before the end of summer.
    Oh, and another unbiblical reason: Pastor meets a woman online and so is considered immoral.

    If he is not married, why is meeting a woman online considered immoral?

  43. CTCR document “Theology and Practice of The Divine Call” is a most useful resource for the governing body of any congregation. A must read for any congregation struggling with these issues. Google LCMS Divine Call.

  44. Pastor Brian Stark :My opinion: In the final analysis, the abuse pastors receive at the hands of the congregations is the inevitable result of Missouri’s polity and her understanding of the Pastoral Office. Walther’s thesis that the congregation is the supreme authority undermined the Office from the beginning. My own study of the New Testament has led me to believe that in the debate between Loehe and Walther concerning Kirche und Amt, the former was correct.

    If you would read more Walther instead of Löhe you might have noticed his comment that the Voters’ Assembly will only work if its members know and follow the Word of God. It might also be found in Walther’s Form of a Christian Congregation.

    For those of you wanting to return to an episcopal polity, our current polity with local congregations remaining independent within an advisory synodical structure was established in the absence of a state Church. Church Councils, Boards of Elders, etc. replaced the territorial “Princes” and consistories, which I’m sure had problems of their own, while District Presidents and Circuit Counselors/Visitors replaced the Superintendents and Visitors.

  45. Jais H. Tinglund :Sometimes much of the set-up is being done in secret through phone conversations between the District President and the Pastor’s enemies.

    I’ve seen that happen. The DP called up the pastor and said “I have sixteen anonymous letters or calls complaining about you.” But then we (the board of elders) asked sixteen or more people to send positive letters to the DP. That pretty much ended the matter.

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