Constitution changes ratified

March 19th, 2011 Post by

From the LCMS Reporter:

Synod Secretary Dr. Raymond L. Hartwig announced March 17 that two amendments to the church body’s Constitution that were adopted by 2010 LCMS convention delegates have been ratified by the required two-thirds majority of Synod congregations that participated in the ratification balloting.

Hartwig told Reporter that the ratification-vote outcome means that those amendments “become effective immediately.”

On the ballot, the measures were referenced as “Amendment A” and “Amendment B.”

A total of 2,081 LCMS congregations’ ballots for ratification of the two amendments were returned to the Secretary’s Office. Amendment A received 1,592 votes in favor of ratification, with 477 congregations against the change and 12 congregations not voting. Amendment B received 1,564 votes in favor of and 495 against the change, with 22 not voting.

Amendment A dealt with the new position of chief financial officer and the end of the treasurer position. Amendment B dealt with the relationship between the Constitution and Bylaws.






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  1. David Hartung
    March 22nd, 2011 at 13:15 | #1

    Johannes :
    Unfortunately, the congregations should be aware of the “politicking”, and should be concerned. At least one of these amendments is about power–or more accurately, the concentration of power. Indirectly, the laity is being marginalized. One of my favorite whipping boys is the dispute resolution process, 13 pages of gobbley-gook in the 2007 Handbook (pp. 37-50). The laity has effectively been removed from this process. As Martin Noland notes above, now floor nominations for Treasurer have been removed–another “shot” at the laity–at least in part. More power to DP’s and SP in both cases.

    Think about this for a few minutes. (this will be oversimplified, I know) we have two basic divisions within our synod, the very conservative, and the very conservative people and pastors seem to be concentrated in the smaller churches, circuits and such. This group staunchly defends what they see as being the time tested traditions of our Church. On the other side we see the larger churches circuits, etc. The larger churches seem more willing to try new things, worship style, music, church government, etc. They see these innovations as enhancing their ability to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven in their communities.

    Both sides have what they perceive as very sound theological foundations for their practices, but the two are mutually incompatible, or at least they seem to be.

    Those who wish to maintain the “traditional” vision of our church body have an advantage. At the national convention every circuit, large or small, is represented by one clergy and one lay representative. This tends to favor the conservatives. The Blue Ribbon suggested changes were ostensibly to even the playing field, as well as to save money.

    These changes are perceived by many as nothing more than an attempt to shift the balance of power. The efforts by Synod conservatives to maintain the status quo were also seen as an attempt to protect their power. Thus a large number of our fellow Lutherans simply wanted nothing to do with the whole mess.

    While I firmly believe that there is much more to this debate than power politics, I am also one hundred percent certain that this “power politics” is a large part of what is driving things. For proof one only has to look at the comments in this thread.

    Many of the things being discussed must be discussed, I just wish that the was taking place in a more cordial atmosphere.

  2. Johannes
    March 22nd, 2011 at 13:24 | #2

    @Carl Vehse #49
    @Rev. Mike Trask #50

    The work of being a delegate is daunting. After three conventions in a row, I’d “had it.” Last year, our circuit’s delegates were very well-prepared, but they knew what lay ahead–long hours, interminable debate, arcane resolutions, convoluted amendments, and lots of politics. In 2001, PoliticsFirst warned us delegates that the unscrupulous convention chair (Dr. Robert Kuhn) might try to ram thru some pet resolutions on the last day, when attendance was dropping and attention spans waning. (It didn’t happen). Of course, on the last day of the 2007 debacle , the delegates were bamboozled via parliamentary slight-of-hand into giving up their franchise re: a special convention.
    The last couple of days are indeed difficult, and clearly there is too much business to be considered, even from the very first day. Meaningful debate is practically impossible, and I would guess that few delegates are swayed by the arguments.
    The attitude expressed by Rev. Mueller (“Let’s get on with business”) is very common and tempting. As he says, it’s also very dangerous. Delegates have to steel themselves to do the hard work of conventioning up to the final gavel–it’s their duty.
    I can only imagine how difficult the 2010 convention must have been. The amount of business that those delegates had to consider was excessive by any measure. A special convention would have been a better venue, but of course, the BRTF was not ready, so, the 2007 delegates having given up their franchinse, the whole synod structure is now up for grabs. The combination of structure revisions and election of Matt Harrison was serendipitous, but I predict that the 2010 convention will go down as the most significant convention since New Orleans. We’ll be feeling the aftershocks for years to come.

    Johannes

  3. Carl Vehse
    March 22nd, 2011 at 13:41 | #3

    @48: “But some of the laity objected vigorously enough to derail that idea. Am I understanding you?”

    There were only three laity who objected; they had no significant support from any other Saxons. (A year later Adolph Marbach raised separate and different issues that led to the Altenburg Debate). Vehse, Fischer and Jaeckel submitted the Protestation document on congregational rights to the pastors on September 19, and an addendum in early November. The three laymen received the following response from the Missouri Saxon pastors (taken from Vehse’s Stephanite Emigration to America (pp. 113-115):

    We, Evangelical Lutheran pastors, have under date of 19 September and 9 November of this year received from Dr. Vehse, H.F. Fischer, and Mr. Jaekel a writing of protestation wherein it is laid upon us that we had sought to impose and still wished to uphold the “false and sectarian Stephanistic system of church government.”

    We must indeed with sadness of heart acknowledge, as we have already done openly and on occasion, that we have unknowingly allowed ourselves to be used as tools to further hierarchical Stephanistic designs through which the congregation has been hindered in exercise of important legitimate rights.

    Just as it was our sincere purpose from the moment the secret misdoings of Stephan were uncovered by God’s grace to reveal and to free ourselves and the congregation from the network of lies cast about us, so we now affirm before the omniscient God and the congregation that we now wholeheartedly renounce and detest such ungodly priestly domination and tyranny over souls, now that its true nature has increasingly been brought to light.

    We would not in any way minimize earlier sins in that regard, of which we have made ourselves culpable, and we pray God that he will not bring us into judgment concerning them. Those, however, who with inexplicable bitterness still burden us with having persisted in such wrongs might consider whether they are themselves ready to answer to that same rule by which they seek to judge us.

    Whatever of that false leaven might in the future still be found among us, may God help us to cast out, though we may have been made mindful of it by others.

    Further, we declare that for the sake of peace among us we have renounced any form of episcopal organization within our church, though it may be permitted in the Word of God and is in accord with precedents of the older church, –whatever might be said in favor of such organization.

    We shall now bend our efforts to help our congregations to attain to a proper awareness as well as to a proper exercise of their rights, and we wish for ourselves and for them who hear us grace and wisdom, love and faith, strength and blessing from the gracious hand of God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

    Wittenberg, in Perry County, 20 November 1839

    Gotthold Heinrich Loeber, Pastor
    Ernst Gerhard Wilhelm Keyl, P.
    Ernst Moritz Buerger, P.
    Otto Hermann Walther, P.
    Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther, P.

    To the pastors’ claim of renouncing “any form of episcopal organization,” Vehse comments in his book:

    One can give up only that which one has. What one does not have and is not properly one’s own, one cannot give up. The choice of a bishop or adoption of an episcopal form of church government is a matter for the congregations, not for the pastors. The clergy may accept the office of bishop or an episcopal form of church government if the congregation decides to confer it upon them and if they find it to be for good. Herein we see clear evidence that the position of the clergy has been erroneous.

    Today Stephanites and clueless laity are going right back to a polity system that miserably failed.

  4. Johannes
    March 22nd, 2011 at 13:46 | #4

    @David Hartung #51

    You make some valid point–there is no doubt about the politics.

    My concern is less about which group gains or maintains power, than the inherent danger in concentration of power. For instance, a 2004 proposed constitutional amendment would have effectively given the CCM the power to run the Board of Directors. The members of the CCM are appointed by the SP. The Board of Directors is elected by the Convention. It doesn’t matter who the president is–this was simply a gosh-awful amendment (it was defeated).
    As Pr. Anderson has noted, Justification is paramount. My position is that we should view concentration of power (for any reason, even “efficiency”) as a threat to the Gospel.

    It would be great if the atmosphere here could be more cordial–it does get pretty heated. But this is one of the best venues to get some of these issues aired.

    j

  5. Martin R. Noland
    March 22nd, 2011 at 16:57 | #5

    @David Hartung #51

    Dear Mr. Hartung,

    Thanks for your comments. It is difficult to reply to your comment, because I don’t know what sort of religious background you have, whether you have had courses in religion and theology, or how much you know about the Lutheran church. If you think, however, that conflicts in the LCMS are just about “traditions,” then you are really missing the main concerns here at BJS.

    As far as I am concerned, the issue is whether the LCMS will still be Lutheran by the time my children are adults, and looking for a Lutheran church. I cannot recommend them to go to the ELCA, because of its disregard for biblical authority, its ordination of women and gays, and its blessing of homosexual unions. It has, in my opinion, simply ceased to be Christian.

    The LCMS has different issues. Beginning with David Luecke’s book “Evangelical Style and Lutheran Substance” back in the 1980s, more and more LCMS people believe that we can ditch all sorts of things that Lutherans used to consider essential, and replace them with stuff coming out of the Evangelical non-denominational churches. This is not just a matter of vestments, church decorations, church music, church architecture, but rather ditching EVERYTHING that is Lutheran, including our doctrine. As one example, if a pastor is not teaching Luther’s Small Catechism to confirmation classes, then he IS ditching our doctrine.

    Since the breakup of the synod in the late 1970s, the liberals have accused the LCMS conservatives of being Evangelical-fundamentalists. This is more true than most people realize. Depending on how old you are, and what your religious experience has been, you may not realize how the LCMS has changed in this way.

    For me, the preservation of the Lutheran church and its doctrine is not a matter of traditions. It is the FACT that ONLY Lutheran doctrine can give certainty of salvation and that ONLY Lutheran doctrine is not mixed with human philosophy or “enthusiasm”–it is biblical doctrine, pure and simple. That is always its practioners’ criterion and goal.

    The eccesiology and worship and other core traditions that have typified our church have grown out of Lutheran biblical doctrine. The ecclesiology, worship, and core traditions of Evangelicalism, which are making an incursion into our church, have grown out of the false doctrines of the Evangelicals–and that makes them immediately suspect.

    We do use hymns from many religious traditions, but only after they have been carefully reviewed and censored based on Lutheran criteria. So we can use other customs and worship practices, too, after they have had the same review. It is not the use of these things that is wrong, but their uncritical use. Formula of Concord Article X also has important criteria for discernmentl.

    LCMS pastors and church-workers have solemnly vowed before God and the church to teach and practice according to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. The confessions were written and accepted precisely so that we have as little conflict as possible in the church. Whoever breaks their ordination vows are the cause of trouble and disunity, not those who keep their ordination-commissioning vows.

    People think that you can “have your cake and eat it too.” But it doesn’t work that way in religion–it doesn’t work that way in most aspects of life.

    I came from a congregation that was in the 1960s the largest LCMS congregation in the California-Nevada-Hawaii district. It was the biggest, and was strictly Lutheran, until some people in the congregation decided that we should start imitating the Evangelicals.

    We went to Billy Graham crusades; we went to Bill Gothard Institutes; we invited the Present Truth 7th Day Adventists to our church; we invited people from Azusa Pacific College to counsel our youth; we went to California L’Abri; some of our people got involved in the Jesus Movement; some of our people became charismatics; we participated in Bible Study Fellowship; we sent our children to the Evangelical “Valley Christian” high school.

    So guess what happened – almost all of those people are long gone. Not Lutheran anymore, any-how, any-way. There are still some faithful Lutherans at that church, including my parents and sister, but it is nowhere near as big as it used to be, and it had to close its large Lutheran school about five years ago. The pastor there today is a great man–all the damage was done before him; all the pro-Evangelical folks left before him.

    So all I am saying, and I have seen it happen plenty of times, is that if people keep ditching the “traditions” (your term) of the Lutheran church, pretty soon it won’t be Lutheran anymore. And when those who care realize it, it will be too late.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  6. March 23rd, 2011 at 00:52 | #6

    @David Hartung #51

    David,

    You wrote:

    Both sides have what they perceive as very sound theological foundations for their practices

    What, again, are the “very sound theological foundations” of those who are abandoning historic Christian theology and forms of worship?

    I might have missed something, but I haven’t heard any theological, much less sound theological foundations for such things. All the arguments are pragmatic and cultural.

    TW

  7. Steve
    March 23rd, 2011 at 01:08 | #7

    Yeah. What he said. ;)

  8. Steve
    March 23rd, 2011 at 01:45 | #8

    Clarification (as this Wilken character beat me to the next reply): What Rev. Martin Noland said.

    Actually, I must give Rev. Noland’s credit (or, if I must be Lutheran, I must give credit to God alone): It was an article written by him in the late 90’s on Church Polity in a Lutheran journal which I had read as a seminary student (don’t have the title on hand) that immediately “converted” me from what I now realize was fascist thinking that a hierarchical, top-heavy form of church polity was the way to go in both efficiently and effectively “forcing” Lutheran doctrine and practice back into the LCMS. He ably showed how doctrine must never be subordinated to polity if it is to be preserved in all it’s purity. Rather, whatever the form of polity, it must be subordinate to and subservient of the primary reason why we are still here on earth: to preserve, defend, and promote the pure doctrine of the Scriptures (in its own terms of Law and Gospel). As the biblical scholar Ernst Kasemann once described the work of the ministry which Christ has given His church to do by His Holy Spirit: The application of the fruits of the atonement. So thus the question becomes simply, “What polity, in our current context of North America, best serves to promote and further this work which Christ has given His church to do?” This is how Walther posed the question in his first presidential address (albeit perhaps being a little excessive in political rhethoric of democratic demogogery in that address). Noland also ably showed me how Walther actually had much more wisdom behind his ecclesiology/synodical polity than some confessional Lutherans would like to give him credit for, stating that the chief Lutheran doctrine of Justification must be preserved at all costs, and despite the potential/actual problems of a de-centralized form of synodical governance on the congregational level, a centralized-form of top-down governance in which only a few control and dictate doctrine and practice for all the rest is the quickest way to the loss of pure doctrine throughout the whole synod, as the case of the history of the ELCA up to the present clearly demonstrates. With a de-centralized, more “congregational” form of governance (a term that I hope the blessed Dr. Marquardt doesn’t turn over in his grave for me using) where the congregations (consisting of pastor and laity) drive the synodical ship, Noland decisively points out how it is much harder for pure Lutheran doctrine and practice to be as quickly corrupted, as well as as extensively throughout a whole synod of congregations as has largely happened in the ELCA.

    But I rant and do Noland’s thoughts injustice by my paltry rehashment of them. The Point is: Thanks be to God for wise souls and theological minds like Dr. Noland’s, who realize that preserving the pure doctrine which saves means infinitely more than promoting any form of polity, if that promotion of polity be for the benefit of some at the potential expense of all in terms of salvation.

  9. Jason
    March 23rd, 2011 at 05:56 | #9

    of recent posts…

    Yes, Todd, but people on the CoWo side absolutelty THINK tehy are sound in their theology, and will not give on it. I a semi-argument I have running with someone on multiple threads, the problem is what I see as a narrow-mindedness, a GOspel Reduction. And similarly a Confessions Reductionsim, where only Justification matters, barely anything else, and adiaphora is the mechanism to get around most other things, i.e. everytthing is practically an adiaphora.

    Steve, you ended you last post well. Polity is somewhat of an adiaphora. It doesn’t completely matter which exact form is used, but and insofar as that polity follows and does not undermined Scripture and the Confessions. ANd I see TCN, policy governance, and BRTF as doing that undermining. These programs have latnet in their design the use of metrics, and I have seen in some congregations when trying to twist their constitutions to them, a just cause to fire a pastor is numerical growth, NOT on how faithful said man is to Christ and His Word. And it incredibly saddens me how quickly and easily convention and congregation approved these measures. To me, these ideas really shouldn’t have had that much light of day.

    In the end the Koinania Project will not be 100% successful, from a certain point of view. Not everyone will happily get on board or like it. I think it will be similar to Seminex. We’ll see how many willl voluntarily leave, and how many will stay in and likely try to subvert some of its outcomes. I was only two yeards old durign the wlakout, but it sometimes sounds liek the battle was as much political as theological. Koinania sounds theological first adn foremost, and if we can keep it going long enough, hopefully we can get to a same page, reverse 40 years of bad catechesis, and lessen the politics of th synod. Hey, I can always pray for God’s Will, not ours, and for His peace to come among us.

  10. David Hartung
    March 23rd, 2011 at 11:18 | #10

    Martin R. Noland :
    @David Hartung #51
    Dear Mr. Hartung,
    Thanks for your comments. It is difficult to reply to your comment, because I don’t know what sort of religious background you have, whether you have had courses in religion and theology, or how much you know about the Lutheran church. If you think, however, that conflicts in the LCMS are just about “traditions,” then you are really missing the main concerns here at BJS.
    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

    I am an SMP vicar with a big mouth and the ability to fumble (badly) a computer keyboard.

    I understand what the purpose of BJS is, and some of that purpose I find myself in agreement with. What I was trying to do was to explain some of what I hear when I speak to the average “man in the pew”.

    Very often, perception is reality. In this case, I suspect that man of our fellow LCMS Lutherans see nothing more than political wrangling, and power grabbing.

  11. Martin R. Noland
    March 23rd, 2011 at 11:22 | #11

    @Steve #58

    Dear Steve,

    Thanks for your kind words. You explained your points very well, and did “my thoughts” great honor by repeating them in your own words. That means you understood them and remembered them.

    Since this blog post is, originally, about polity, and you focused on that, I have a couple more thoughts for the bloggers reading this post.

    Lutheran pastors are distinct, I think, for their “un-holiness.” By that I mean that in Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions, celibacy and monasticism teaches people that priests are more holy than laity, and therefore can better be trusted than laity to govern the church. Although Anglican and Episcopalian clergy are not necessarily celibate, they claim the gift of “holiness” via episcopal ordination and succession, and are also called like the others “priests.”

    Strictly Anabaptist traditions don’t have professional clergy.

    All churches stemming from Wesley: Methodists, Baptists, American Evangelicals, holiness groups, Pentecostals, etc., see their minister as “holy,” and more to be trusted than mere laymen. That is why these traditions give greater powers to their clergy than older Reformed churches: German-Swiss-Dutch Reformed, Congregationalists, and Presybterians.

    In Lutheranism, the pastor has specialized training in Bible and theology, and he makes solemn vows to teach and defend the faith of his church. But he is not assumed to be more “holy” than laymen, nor necessarily wiser than they in governing the church. So, until Lutheranism came to America. the top human authority in Lutheran churches were lay princes or kings. Since we don’t have princes and kings in America, the Lutherans here constructed various types of polity.

    The Buffalo Synod had an ill-fated episcopal system. The Ministeria (PA and NY) in their early years were synods of exclusively pastors. Laymen were added in the 19th century. Most Lutherans synods since the 19th century have had both clergy and laymen with representative forms of government. But the Missouri Synod was noted for its “congregational” polity, which gave the laymen great authority in governing congregations and the synod.

    Hermann Sasse says this about the LCMS:

    “The secret of the missionary successes of Missouri is the living congregation of the Missouri Synod. Whatever objections one may be able to raise against Walther’s understanding of the doctrine of the congregation, we find there a measure of understanding of the essence of the New Testament ekklesia . . . here the Lutheran thought is taken seriously, that not the faith and ethos of men create the congregation, but the means of grace, through which God calls the congregation. . . Here, where the Lutheran church became popular (volkstuemlich), the Lutheran Confessions also became popular. It was no longer the property of the teachers of the church, but once again it belonged to the whole congregations. This probably explains why by and large the relationship between pastor and congregation is better in this church than in any other. The hierarch, who potentially is present in every pastor, and Herr Omnes [Luther's nickname for the lay boss], who is to be found also in the best Christian congregation, cannot gain the upper hand where Luther’s doctrine of the means of grace is still taken seriously.” (Hermann Sasse, “Scripture and the Church,” tr. & ed. Ron Feuerhahn and Jeff Kloha [St Louis: Concordia Seminary, 1995], 199).

    We have been extremely blessed in many ways in the LCMS, as Sasse observes, because of our New Testament-based polity. If we depart from that in significant ways, the clergy-heirarch and/or Herr Omnes will gain the upper hand; the relationship between pastor and people will worsen; the confessions (and doctrine) will again become the exclusive preserve of the clergy; and people will believe that the “faith and ethos of men” are what creates, grows, and sustains a congregation.

    Thanks again for your kind words, Steve, and for prompting additional thoughts.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  12. David Hartung
    March 23rd, 2011 at 11:23 | #12

    Todd Wilken :
    @David Hartung #51
    What, again, are the “very sound theological foundations” of those who are abandoning historic Christian theology and forms of worship?
    I might have missed something, but I haven’t heard any theological, much less sound theological foundations for such things. All the arguments are pragmatic and cultural.
    TW

    As I am not a part of that camp so I cannot answer that question. I do feel comfortable, however in pointing out that they would probably disagree with you, and accuse you of defending tradition simply for tradition’s sake.

    This was my point. Each side believes that they have sound theological arguments underpinning their position, and that the other side has strictly not theological arguments.

  13. David Hartung
    March 23rd, 2011 at 11:29 | #13

    Martin R. Noland :
    @Steve #58
    In Lutheranism, the pastor has specialized training in Bible and theology, and he makes solemn vows to teach and defend the faith of his church. But he is not assumed to be more “holy” than laymen, nor necessarily wiser than they in governing the church. So, until Lutheranism came to America. the top human authority in Lutheran churches were lay princes or kings. Since we don’t have princes and kings in America, the Lutherans here constructed various types of polity.

    I agree with your point here, but I must point out that the very conservative pastors in our area have appeared to place themselves in a superior class to lay people. Some even referring to themselves as “Father”.

  14. Martin R. Noland
    March 23rd, 2011 at 11:59 | #14

    @David Hartung #63

    Dear David,

    Thanks for clarifying your background. That is very helpful for conversations.

    You are right to be offended by those “very conservative pastors” who place themselves in a superior class to lay people and refer to themselves as “Father.” Frankly, I am offended by them, too, assuming that you are not distorting the situation. But I do know of some who fit your description.

    Our clergy today are tempted to exalt their status by a “Romanizing influence” and by an “Evangelical influence.” Common to both is the idea that the minister is holier than the layman. I have written against both errors, equally, in my essay on “Laymen’s Rights in Lutheran Congregations,” posted at BJS in series (10/22/09, 10/23/09, 10/26/09, 10/29/09, 11/3/09). You can use the search function at this website to find that essay in five parts. I hope this helps a bit.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  15. David Hartung
    March 23rd, 2011 at 13:08 | #15

    Martin R. Noland :
    @David Hartung #63
    Dear David,
    Thanks for clarifying your background. That is very helpful for conversations.
    You are right to be offended by those “very conservative pastors” who place themselves in a superior class to lay people and refer to themselves as “Father.” Frankly, I am offended by them, too, assuming that you are not distorting the situation. But I do know of some who fit your description.

    I try very hard to not distort things. I have been the victim of such distortion, and it is not at all fun. I am human however, and do sometimes slip up.

    Our clergy today are tempted to exalt their status by a “Romanizing influence” and by an “Evangelical influence.” Common to both is the idea that the minister is holier than the layman. I have written against both errors, equally, in my essay on “Laymen’s Rights in Lutheran Congregations,” posted at BJS in series (10/22/09, 10/23/09, 10/26/09, 10/29/09, 11/3/09). You can use the search function at this website to find that essay in five parts. I hope this helps a bit.

    Thanks, I will check out your essays. I make no promises on when this will be. Between the responsibilities of the parish, and two professors named Just and Bushur, I seem to have more than enough to fill my time! :)

  16. David Hartung
    March 23rd, 2011 at 13:09 | #16

    Hmm, it seems that there is no way to edit a post once posted; Oh well. :)

  17. Johannes
    March 23rd, 2011 at 13:48 | #17

    David Hartung :Hmm, it seems that there is no way to edit a post once posted; Oh well.

    Ask Norm, and he can help. He’s gotten me out of a couple sticky posts.

    j

  18. Michael L. Anderson
    March 23rd, 2011 at 13:55 | #18

    @Carl Vehse #53

    Today Stephanites and clueless laity are going right back to a polity system that miserably failed. — Dr. Rick Strickert

    The very existence of this thread … with its prominent Christian anxieties concerning what men can do unto self-labeled “steadfast” men … calls into serious question that faith placed in any polity devised by mortals, including one of a 19th century Constitution-and-Bylaw variety.

    ” …we declare that for the sake of peace among us we have renounced any form of episcopal organization within our church, though it may be permitted in the Word of God and is in accord with precedents of the older church, –whatever might be said in favor of such organization.”

    The bow to the freedom-granting Word of God is evident, as well as the admission of something favorable, to be found in a polity. Accordingly, I urge patience in drawing any hasty conclusions, as to “miserable” failures. We may be careening towards another, without a bishop to blame.

    A failure subsequent to a faith placed in a committee or constitution, is no more virtuous than a failure resulting from a fawning adoration of an old narcissist, eventually stuck on a row-boat.

    The failures involve less the polities, than the followers blind to their loyalties to such. In the above quote, the renouncing pastors ome off better than their bullying laymen who, according to Professofr Forster, stirred and inflamed a “mob psychology” along the Brazeau.

  19. Rev. Roger D. Sterle
    March 23rd, 2011 at 13:57 | #19

    @Rev. David Mueller #46
    That resolutions were changed on the fly is a reason that some of us went to individual committee chair and asked that they at least publish items on the internet so they could be viewed over night and not be as much of a surprise. Well come were on the net, but not until too late for over night reading!! But they did try. Having gone to three convention now, I am of the opinion that the floor committees at times do not do their job to the fullest degree. Granted that things can change after discussion on the floor. When their is a tremendous amount of discussion I am of the opinion that the memorial/resolution should be taken from the floor and brought to a different convention.

  20. Johannes
    March 23rd, 2011 at 14:35 | #20

    @Rev. Roger D. Sterle #69
    “When there is a tremendous amount of discussion I am of the opinion that the memorial/resolution should be taken from the floor and brought to a different convention.”

    I would add “and substantive potential revision” to that statement.

    No doubt that the work of being on a floor committee can be a heavy load. But you make a valid point–after the FC has chewed on a given resolution for a few hours why do they think the delegates don’t need just as many hours to chew on it. Might be a good idea to draft a new standing rule nixing such shenanigans. If a delibrative body can’t have time to deliberate, what’s the purpose? I’m always suspicious of resolutions and motions that “can’t wait,” anyways.

    J

  21. Rev. David Mueller
    March 24th, 2011 at 16:19 | #21

    @Carl Vehse #49

    @Rev. Mike Trask #50
    As the Guinness commercials put it, “Brilliant!”

  22. Rev. David Mueller
    March 24th, 2011 at 16:38 | #22

    @Steve #58
    To build on Steve’s comments, building on Dr. Noland’s: Ya’ll really need to read through a good-sized smattering of the essays and sermons in Harrison’s book, “At Home in the House of My Fathers.” The thought that keeps striking me as I read stuff written by everyone from Walther to Pfotenhauer (I think Pfotenhauer is my favorite, actually. Used ideas in his “Passing Rainshower” sermon *heavily* in a sermon last fall.) is that these guys really *did* trust that the *Word of God* would preserve the unity of our synod. They did some things that would be considered phenomenally fool-hardy from an earthly standpoint, “risking” our unity via polity because they really believed God’s Word has the power It claims to have.

    “Would to God that I might even As the martyred saints of old With the helping Hand of heaven, Steadfast stand in battle bold!”

  23. Rev. David Mueller
    March 24th, 2011 at 16:47 | #23

    @David Hartung #62
    But precisely in accusing Wilken of tradition for tradition’s sake, they set up a straw man and demonstrate that they have not listened to him with anything like open ears and minds.

  24. Rev. David Mueller
    March 24th, 2011 at 16:52 | #24

    @David Hartung #63
    Having been a pastor for a decade, now, I understand how the term “father” really does *fit* for a pastor, in many ways, such that it can be used both respectfully and even *affectionately*. There is *nothing* wrong with that term in and of itself, nothing more wrong than the term “pastor”. (And, no, no one in my congregations uses that term for me, nor do I ever suggest that they do. “Pastor” is a very good term, too, and I’m perfectly content with it.)

  25. Rev. David Mueller
    March 24th, 2011 at 17:04 | #25

    @Rev. Roger D. Sterle #69
    Pastor/Father Sterle (:)), Yes, the floor committees, especially last year, have had Herculean tasks, and worked even harder than us poor slobs on the floor. I have to give them credit for doing the best they could, given the way they assumed they should go about their job–tweaking and adjusting and so forth to try to take into consideration good points made at open hearings, and on the floor of the convention, etc. I do not at all mean to cast aspersions on their integrity. But I think you are right–the task is impossible in the manner our floor committees have been trying to do it for a long time, and the result is resolutions that *can’t* gain a lot of trust, even from people who vote *for* them.

    Johannes,
    “But you make a valid point–after the FC has chewed on a given resolution for a few hours why do they think the delegates don’t need just as many hours to chew on it.” An outstanding point, and well said. In ’04, 8-01a was gargantuan, and we had much less than a day to read through it and find what changes had been made.

  26. Todd Wilken
    March 25th, 2011 at 10:08 | #26

    David,

    You wrote:

    This was my point. Each side believes that they have sound theological arguments underpinning their position, and that the other side has strictly not theological arguments.

    What either side believes they have is irrelevant. What do they have?

    Those defending historic Christian theology and forms of worship, actually do have Lutheran theological arguments, from Scripture and the Confessions.

    What do those abandoning historic Christian theology and forms of worship have? Cultural arguments and one-size-fits-all arguments on “adiaphora.” That’s it.

    TW

  27. helen
    March 25th, 2011 at 10:22 | #27

    @David Hartung #60
    I am an SMP vicar with a big mouth and the ability to fumble (badly) a computer keyboard.

    Yes, but how did you get to that…? Did you have a Lutheran education :) or (at the other extreme) a six hour catechetical class, including lunch, from some CG pastor anxious to make his ‘quota’ for the month or year? :(

    I don’t mean to be intentionally rude, but it does matter!

  28. David Hartung
    March 25th, 2011 at 10:41 | #28

    helen :
    @David Hartung #60
    I am an SMP vicar with a big mouth and the ability to fumble (badly) a computer keyboard.
    Yes, but how did you get to that…? Did you have a Lutheran education or (at the other extreme) a six hour catechetical class, including lunch, from some CG pastor anxious to make his ‘quota’ for the month or year?
    I don’t mean to be intentionally rude, but it does matter!

    Yet you are being very rude, as well as deliberately confrontational.

  29. helen
    March 26th, 2011 at 15:08 | #29

    @David Hartung #78
    Yet you are being very rude, as well as deliberately confrontational.

    Well, David, I think you evaded a question about your background.
    If you want to tell us about it, I’ll apologize for being blunt.

  30. David Hartung
    March 26th, 2011 at 21:13 | #30

    @helen #79

    Miss Helen,
    After reviewing the posting, I can see where you may think I was “evading”. Such was never intended and I ask your forgiveness for giving such an impression.

    For most of my life, I have been one brand of Lutheran or another, For about three years, I was actively Methodist and for about 15 years I was Southern Baptist in name, and actively so for about 4 years. For the past 20 years I have been an active Missouri Synod Lutheran. The decision to leave the SBC and return to the Lutheran church, specifically the LCMS was made due to my wife’s and my growing understanding that of Scripture.

    Since returning to the LCMS I served my home congregation as Council member, usher, lector, Elder, and choir director. I successfully completed the ten district level DELTO courses and served a small Mississippi delta congregation as a licensed deacon. I am now in my second year of SMP training, hopefully to be ordained within the next 10 or so months.

  31. helen
    March 29th, 2011 at 07:11 | #31

    @David Hartung #80
    Thank you, David!
    Sorry for the blunt interrogation!

    I have been around the larger synods a bit myself. Beginning with the ALC, where I grew up, I’ve participated as a member in the discussions of every merger antecedent to —a except that last one, having moved (as baggage, you might say) from one synod to another as churches were available where we transferred. Eventually, we landed in the LCMS and stayed.
    I’ve a fair number of Baptist, Methodist and “other” among my relatives but have never been anxious to join any of them or go back to —a.
    Fair exchange? :)

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