It is well known that BJS has often supported President Matthew Harrison (especially in the 2010 effort to elect him), and that at times we have also been critical of him. In considering the situations and persons involved, it is important to realize some things about this office of President of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.
The President of Synod is under orders. First, there are the orders of Scripture which govern all of the baptized. Second, since we have ordained men serve in this office they are under orders to the same Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. These two are very obvious to most folks in the LCMS. They should be. If we are a Lutheran Church then these ought to be the orders we are all under.
There is a third set of orders to which the Office of Synod President is beholden, the orders of the Synod’s Handbook – the legal operating documents of the Synod, its Articles of Incorporation, Constitution, and Bylaws. Yes, for some this means that eye rolls can happen right now, but this is the reality. Besides this there are policies and guidelines which must also be followed. All of this I am sure creates a giant legal mess which can at times have the potential to cause a conflict in the different orders the man in the office is under.
We are coming up on a District Convention year (2015) in the LCMS and much politicking for candidates will be done. Hopefully many will heed the wisdom of Pr. Hull in his call to a fat and lazy church to renew their study of the Scriptures and Confessions. That said, those legal things of this world like bylaws can be changed to reflect more and more the foundations of our Lutheran Church – the Scriptures and Confessions. This process can be worked through the Districts to garner more support at the Synod Convention the following year.
Now would be a good time to reflect upon the current legal things in relation to the Scriptures and Confessions and consider improvements. It might be wise to consider the past years events and our Synodical President’s actions in regards to them and see whether there may be better or more faithful orders to give him, as the office is subject to the orders it has. It may be good to consider if there are any of these bylaws which can cause a conflict of conscience for the President of the Synod in his attempts to remain faithful to Scripture and Confessions and yet also be obedient to the bylaws.