Proposed Resolutions: Committee 8, Structure and Governance, 8-27 through 8-34 and Conclusion (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

July 8th, 2010 Post by

In this entry, we complete our tour of the 106 proposed resolutions from the eight floor committees, as found in “Today’s Business.” To see the previous articles in this series, go to Henrickson’s blog at steadfastlutherans.org.

We now look at the remaining resolutions (8-27 through 8-34) proposed by Floor Committee 8, Synod Structure and Governance, and we wrap it all up with a Conclusion:

8-27: To Add A New Article XIV

This new amendment on the relation of Bylaws and Constitution seems unnecessary. And is there anything lurking in the phrase “binding regulations”? I don’t know. MAYBE.

8-28: To Clarify the Preamble of the Constitution

This last series of constitutional amendments (8-28 through 8-32) should have the least chance of passing, since the proposed amendments tinker with the foundational articles of our synod. Red flags should be raised. NO.

8-29: To Amend Article II of the Constitution

The Synod’s Confession? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. NO.

8-30: To Amend Article VI of the Constitution

There is a weakening of the conditions of membership: “Exclusive use” is changed to a mere “use,” and “doctrinally pure” is dropped. “Renunciation of unionism and syncretism of every description” is weakened to “Non-participation in activities which compromise. . . .” These are not changes for the better! NO.

8-31: To Amend Article III of the Constitution

All kinds of needless, unhelpful changes to the language of our objectives! The first objective of our synod, “Conserve and promote the unity of the true faith,” etc., is demoted in its ranking. NO.

8-32: To Amend Article VII

This adds language (e.g., “covenant of love,” “collective will,” “pledge support”) that raises questions about the advisory nature of Synod to its members and how this article would be used. NO.

8-33: To Amend Bylaws 2.1.1, 2.13.1, 2.13.4.2, 2.13.4.3, 2.14.3, 2.14.4, 2.18.2, and 2.18.1

Huh? One’s eyes glaze over. This should be voted down simply because it is so impossible to comprehend. NO.

8-34: To Respectfully Decline Overtures

Here we find listed all the many overtures (Ovs. 8-02, -03, -04, -05, -06, -07, -08, -09, -10; Convention Workbook, pp. 221-224; and Ov. 8-82; TB, pp. 27-28) from congregations, circuits, and entire districts–all calling for the restructuring proposals to be rejected or deferred–overtures that the floor committee is choosing to decline.

Conclusion

Finally we come to the end of all 106 proposed resolutions from the eight floor committees! And in particular, we complete our look at the 34 resolutions from Floor Committee 8 (their 33 proposals and one declination of overtures). Of that committee’s 33 proposals, for right now I am saying “MAYBE” to four of them (8-07, 8-09, 8-22, and 8-27) and a resounding “NO!” to all the rest. In fact, it wouldn’t bother me if we said “NO” to all 33! We wouldn’t be losing anything if those four “Maybes” didn’t make it. Really, the best thing to do would be to pass one motion to decline all of Committee 8’s proposed resolutions, every one of them. It would save us a lot of time, and we could get on to other business.

These restructuring proposals put forward by President Kieschnick’s Blue Ribbon Task Force, and now his Floor Committee, on Synod Structure and Governance–as a whole, these proposals would move power away from congregations and circuits and on up the ladder of synodical hierarchy. They would move power away from the Synod in convention and into the hands of the synod president. They would introduce ambiguity into the nature of our synod and its relation to its members. “Efficiency,” perhaps, but at what cost?

These resolutions are often misleading, couched in flowery language, but, as the saying goes, “the devil is in the details”: all those thousands of strike-through lines and additions of new text buried in the back of the book. I don’t know of any delegate, not one, who has had the time to work through all of those hundreds of pages of revised text. Much less have our congregations, circuits, and districts had a chance to examine carefully and weigh thoroughly the actual Constitution and Bylaw changes in their final form. Delegates should not approve what they have not read! Haven’t we learned that lesson from Congress passing Obamacare?

And so I know what I will be doing as a voting delegate next week. I will be pressing the “NO” button–a lot! My watchwords remain: “If it comes from Eight, you must negate”; and “Just say NO to restructuring!”

Dear friends, our problems are not structural, they are theological and spiritual. We’ve been bogged down in bylaws for too many years now. This is not the direction we should be going. It’s time to get on to higher priorities: Doctrine and practice, mission and mercy, unity and growth in the faith, all anchored in the Gospel of Christ. Let’s go with that! Let’s say “YES” to that!






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  1. Rev. Kurt Letcher
    July 8th, 2010 at 16:52 | #1

    Thanks for the helpful summary! I too pray that God would guide the delegates to see that God’s will is not being served by restructuring but man’s sinful desires will be.
    Somebody get to work on framing a motion from the floor to decline all overtures from committee 8 and use their alloted time in the orders of the day for other more pressing issues.
    My next thought is will it really take us 2 extra days of going through these proposals before we see the foolishness and uselessness of them all?

  2. July 8th, 2010 at 16:53 | #2

    “Really, the best thing to do would be to pass one motion to decline all of Committee 8’s proposed resolutions, every one of them. It would save us a lot of time, and we could get on to other business.” Good idea. We could move on to working on who will be the next Executive Director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care, since the current Director will be receiving a promotion.

  3. Michael
    July 8th, 2010 at 17:57 | #3

    So what are chances Rev Harrison wins? And what day will we know if election is moved up?

  4. SH
    July 9th, 2010 at 00:28 | #4

    @Michael #3

    I heard from an inside source, expect the election to be on Sunday. I do not know how well it will be publicized, if it is moved, but don’t plan on skipping Sunday.

    From a strong poll taken by a pastor friend who is a delegate, if the election is in fact moved to Sunday, by the grace of God, Rev. Harrison has the best chance, and most likely will win.

    Blessings,
    SH

  5. July 9th, 2010 at 09:09 | #5

    8-29 is potentially the most dangerous of all these resolutions. What it does by placing the statement of faith ahead of the confessional basis is to put the material principle ahead of the formal principle, which is completely backwards.

    Here’s how it could have a drastic effect: All Scripture and the Confessions must be read through the statement of faith, and therefore anything… such as any proclamation of the law… that “doesn’t fit” can be ruled out as irrelevant. We saw this in the 60s and 70s when with the Gospel reductionism that infected our Synod during that time.

    A suggested compromise would be to simply change the order and tack on a “therefore”.

    Regarding 8-30, it shows a general lack of understanding what these terms mean. They are very technical terms that are born out of the LCMS’s experience in America (so it is not some “German thing” that does not apply to our context). I would encourage readers here to go to itunes.csl.edu and check out Dr. Rast’s presentation on this topic under the 2008 Theological Symposium.

  6. Martin R. Noland
    July 9th, 2010 at 12:18 | #6

    Dear Pastor Henrickson,

    Thanks very much for this helpful and eminently useful series on the convention resolutions. It is always very helpful to have an Epitome like this, for memory’s sake, when working as a delegate; and it is helpful to hear about what other delegates think about the possible problems in a resolution. I hope the readers of BJS share this far and wide with the delegates.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  7. Rick
    July 9th, 2010 at 15:38 | #7

    There is no need to vote for ANY of these resolutions, neither is there a reason to do so. Standing firm on voting them all down would keep from moving power to higher offices. The delicate balance between laity and ordained ministers should not be disturbed at all. None of these proposed changes would truly help the LCMS, and THERE IS A LOT TO LOSE.

    Thank you, Pastor Henrickson, for doing the hard work of looking at these proposed changes up close, and pointing out their flaws. Thank you for pointing out how words have been chosen topossibly mislead people into voting for something which may sound good on the surface.

    I pray more and more delegates will read your most helpful commentary!

  8. Michael
    July 10th, 2010 at 20:47 | #8

    @SH #4

    Thanks. I’m not a delegate. I was just wondering if the election was likely to be moved up. I’m wondering which side would be the one to make the motion to move the election. it makes sense for supporters of the current President to be in favor of having election first.

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