Convention 2013: Today’s Business now online (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

May 24th, 2013 Post by

 St. Louis, July 20-25, 2013

The first issue of Today’s Business is now online. This is about a week earlier than I, for one, was expecting. The print edition will follow, being sent to convention attendees sometime within the next couple of weeks.

Today’s Business contains Part 2 of the President’s Report, i.e., President Harrison’s specific recommendations to the convention floor committees when they assembled on May 17. The main part of Today’s Business consists of the Proposed Resolutions that those floor committees then prepared, based on the overtures and reports that had been submitted for the Convention Workbook. Delegates to the July 20-25 LCMS Convention will be considering many of these proposed resolutions. This is the first issue of Today’s Business. Subsequent issues will follow during the convention itself.

Even if you are not a delegate to the convention, you can read the proposed resolutions and give your input on them to your circuit delegates and to the convention floor committees. As is explained on page 2 of Today’s Business: “delegates and representatives should participate in meetings of the circuits or groups that they will be representing to receive reactions and suggestions regarding the business contained in this book. Suggestions or concerns that come to mind after studying and discussing the proposed resolutions may be submitted in writing to the chairmen of the appropriate floor committees (names and addresses are included in this issue of Today’s Business) at least one week prior to the convention.”

In other news, an e-mail on Voting Instructions: 2013 LCMS Presidential Election was sent Friday to the electors who will be voting in the upcoming June 22-25 election. If you are the pastoral or lay elector from your congregation, you should check it out.

For all things convention-related, go the National LCMS Convention page at the synod’s website, and take it from there.






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  1. May 25th, 2013 at 21:40 | #1

    Judging from the lack of resolutions on laymen practicing Word And Sacrament ministry in the
    Synod, one might conclude that the floor committee thinks it’s a topic that doesn’t need to be addressed.

  2. Benji1517
    May 25th, 2013 at 22:31 | #2

    I don’t know how this stuff works or what gets voted on, but I saw this in there:

    L4-74 (Pg35) To Replace District Lay Ministry/Deacon Programs with SMP Program

    WHEREAS, The rationale for the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) program is stated in the resolution that
    authorized it (2007 Res. 5-0lB): “The needs for providing pastoral ministry in specific and specialized situations
    where a traditionally prepared seminary candidate or pastor is not available continue to multiply;… [this program
    seeks to] find a way to meet the existing and expanding needs for pastoral ministry, especially in the variety of
    contexts of mission and ministry in today’s church”; and
    WHEREAS, The Synod-approved convention resolution for the SMP program states that we can never sacrifice
    our Lutheran Confessions in providing pastoral ministry and cites Augsburg Confession Art. XIV, “It is taught
    among us that nobody should publicly teach or preach or administer the sacraments in the church without a regular
    call”; and

    WHEREAS, The SMP program leads candidates to pastoral ministry with a divi.ne call and ordination, and lay
    ministry/deacon programs only lead to never-ending annual renewals of licensure from a human authority in
    opposition to Scripture (Acts 20:28); and

    WHEREAS, The lay minister/deacon does not make an ordination vow to God; and

    WHEREAS, Lay ministry/deacon programs do not provide authority for a candidate to hear the private confession
    of sin and proclaim absolution; and

    WHEREAS, The lay minister/deacon does not promise in an ordination vow to “never divulge the sins confessed
    to [him]” (Ordination Rite, Lutheran Service Book: Agenda, p. 166); therefore be it
    Resolved, That the Synod President phase out district lay ministry/deacon programs by December 31, 2014; and
    be it further

    Resolved, That all lay ministers/deacons who wish to remain in positions that exercise pastoral functions enroll
    in the SMP program by December 31, 2014, and complete the program according to required timelines established
    by the seminaries.

  3. May 26th, 2013 at 05:30 | #3

    To Appoint a Task Force to Study the Call Process for Returning Missionary and Military Chaplains and Other Rostered Church Workers without a Call

    RESOLUTION 3-10

    WHEREAS, Ordained missionaries and military chaplains have diverse experience and skills in preaching the Gospel to various peoples; and

    WHEREAS, Ordained field missionaries and military chaplains serve in a temporary position which eventually comes to a conclusion and are available for and desire pastoral calls; and

    WHEREAS, There are other categories of ordained and commissioned church workers who are also available for calls and service to the church; and

    WHEREAS, It is poor stewardship that these gifts from God are not being fully utilized because a call has not been received in a timely manner; and

    WHEREAS, As of January, 2013, 207 ordained and 611 commissioned church workers on candidate status, along with some on non-candidate status, were seeking calls; therefore be it

    Resolved, That the President of the Synod appoint a task force to address these matters; and be it further

    Resolved, That this task force study the need for a placement process for returning military chaplains and missionaries; and be it further

    Resolved, That this task force also study the candidate status and non-candidate status of all church workers to aid and encourage congregations and other entities in calling qualified candidates in a timely manner; and be it further

    Resolved, That this task force include but not be limited to representatives from the Council of Presidents, the seminaries, and the Concordia University System; and be it finally

    Resolved, That this Task Force make a report and recommendations to the Synod no later than six months prior to the 2016 Synod convention.

  4. Jason
    May 26th, 2013 at 05:34 | #4

    @Scott Diekmann #1

    THe lack of a resolution could indicate that the Floor Committee thinks it is just fine to let lay people play pastor. Athough Benji1517 highlights there is some work to resolve this issue. The Lay Minister to SMP resolution is interesting. The seminaries get more recruits (and money), I like the idea of Koinania (all districts one the same page, not some do and others do not) and it does get W&S into the ministerium and out of the laity. I’m sure this will be on the the hotly debated issues.

  5. Carl Vehse
    May 26th, 2013 at 14:16 | #5

    Overture 4-06 (2013 Convention Workbook, p. 165) seeks to restore to synod conventions the sole authority for declaring fellowship by removing Bylaw paragraph 3.9.5.2.2 (c), which currently gives such authority to the synodical president.

    However, in the 2013: Today’s Business (pp. 98-99), Floor Committee IV, Theology and Church Relations (Dr. Scott R. Murray, Chairman) placed that Overture in the following resolution:

    RESOLUTION 4-16

    WHEREAS, The floor committee has considered all overtures assigned to it and has concluded, for various reasons, that certain overtures should be declined; therefore be it

    Resolved, That the following overtures be respectfully declined for the reasons given:

    … 4-06 To Restore to Synod Conventions Sole Authority for Declaring Fellowship | Give more time

    Shame on Floor Committee IV for doing this. Overture 4-06 needs to be pulled out of this resolution and presented as a Resolution to the synodical convention. If delegates don’t care, then they might as well just pass out t-shirts.

  6. Carl Vehse
    May 26th, 2013 at 17:26 | #6

    In 2013: Today’s Business, there is a late proposal (pp. 37-8), L4-77 – To Overrule CCM Opinion “Interpretation of Constitution Art. VI 2 b” (11-2598) re Closed Communion, submitted by the South Wisconsin District Board of Directors.

    Here’s some background on the vacuous CCM opinion, 11-2598.

    The SWD overture concludes:

    Resolved, That the South Wisconsin District Board of Directors requests that the 2013 LCMS convention overrule CCM Opinion 11-2598; and be it further

    Resolved, That the LCMS in convention respectfully thank the members of the Commission on Constitutional 4 Matters for their work.

    A motion incorporating the first Resolved certainly needs to be made and passed. The second Resolved not.

  7. Carl Vehse
    May 27th, 2013 at 10:44 | #7

    Overture 6-25, To Overrule CCM Opinion 02-2309 (2013 Convention Workbook, p. 244), resolves “That the Northern Illinois District East Region Pastor Conference memorialize the Synod in convention to eliminate CCM Opinion 02-2309.”

    As many no doubt recall, Opinion 02-2309 was the CCM version of the failed defense used by many Nazi war criminals at the post-WWII Nuremberg Trials.

    In 2013: Today’s Business Overture 6-25 has been dumped into Omnibus Resolution B:

    WHEREAS, A number of issues have been presented through overtures to which the Synod in convention 3 has previously spoken; and

    WHEREAS, After careful consideration of these matters, there appears to be no valid reason to change or 6 alter the stated position of the Synod; therefore be it

    Resolved, That petitioners offering the following overtures be referred to previous convention action as indicated.

    … Ov. 6-25 To Overrule CCM Opinion 02-2309 | Previous Convention 2010 Action 7-02

    In the 2010 Convention Workbook (pp. 214-217), there were five overtures, 07-12 through 07-16, which sought to overturn 02-2309 (and other defective CCM opinions), However these overtures opposing 02-2309 were derailed by Floor Committee 7 (Chairman, Lane Seitz) and a resolution approving 02-2309 was substituted and present to the convention:

    2010 Res. 7-02 (2010 Convention Proceedings, p. 148) resolved: “That the Synod affirm that CCM Opinion 02-2309 and related opinions should not have been and shall never be understood to grant immunity to any member of the Synod, or to allow such member to act with impunity, or to give permission to act contrary to the Holy Scriptures, the Lutheran Confessions, the Constitution, or the Bylaws of our beloved Synod.” (This tapdancing says nothing different than 02-2309 and the then existing Bylaws.)

    During the 2010 convention a substitute motion to overturn 02-2309 from the floor attempted to replace 7-02, but the substitute motion was defeated (465; 646).

    The current Floor Committee again derails Overture 6-25. The machinations of episcopist bureaucracy continue for the Missouri Synod.

  8. Carl Vehse
    May 27th, 2013 at 10:48 | #8

    The reason for the previous and current Floor Committee machinations is that the 2007 Convention delegates approved [905; 292] (2007 Convention Proceedings, pp. 161-162) Resolution 8-01 (Floor Committee 8, Chairman Lane Seitz [there seems to be a disturbing pattern here!]), which included the followed boldfaced addition to Bylaw 3.9.2.2[c]:

    “An opinion rendered by the commission shall be binding on the question decided unless and until it is overruled by a convention of the Synod. Overtures to a convention that seek to overrule an opinion of the commission shall support the proposed action with substantive rationale from the Constitution, Bylaws, and resolutions of the Synod. All such overtures shall be considered by the floor committee to which they have been assigned and shall be included in a specific report to the convention with recommendations for appropriate action.” [Emphasis added]

    The synodical delegates during the Kieschnick (and Bohlmann) years have seriously damaged the polity of the Missouri Synod and will make it very difficult for the Convention to restore the Synod polity. From the previous vote tallies these actions were not done solely by liberal delegates but with the conscious or unconscious support of supposedly confessional delegates (you know who you are!)

    Sadly, from the indications in 2013 Today’s Business, it is likely that this 2013 convention will continue toward strengthening a CEO/episcopist structure of a Lutheran church organization that used to be called the “Missouri Synod.”

    Start wearing those t-shirts.

  9. Carl Vehse
    May 27th, 2013 at 13:12 | #9

    Here is the Wayback Machine‘s copy of the CCM Opinion 02-2309 referred to in Post #7.

  10. Martin R. Noland
    May 27th, 2013 at 13:30 | #10

    @Scott Diekmann #1

    Dear Scott,

    Check out Resolution 4-06, pp. 90-92 in “Today’s Business.” It takes the concerns expressed in the related overtures and sends them to a Task Force to be appointed by the synodical president. I think this is the best solution to a difficult problem.

    What I mean by that is, when two orthodox Lutheran seminaries with the “best and the smartest guys on the block” can’t agree about something, it is a difficult problem. You send difficult problems to committees. As long as President Harrison decides who will be on that committee, I am confident of the outcome.

    ———————————————————————-

    Dear BJS Bloggers,

    I have to disagree with “Carl Vehse” again. In my opinion, 2013 Today’s Business is a light-year’s leap in improvement over previous iterations of the same publication. And I have read every one of those since my ordination in 1984. I have done only a quick read of the document “2013 Today’s Business,” and as in the most-recent past, may have missed some things because of the electronic document format.

    I do agree with Carl in one point he makes: The synodical delegates during the Kieschnick (and Bohlmann) years have seriously damaged the polity of the Missouri Synod and will make it very difficult for the Convention to restore the Synod polity.

    There is much work to be done in the matter of synodical structure and polity. The present Commission on Handbook (COH) created a bunch of overtures for 2013 that fix many of the gaping holes and conundrums created during the Kieschnick years, especially the 2010 restructuring.

    These fixes for the gaping holes and conundrums are, as far as I can tell, “no-brainers” that everyone should be able to agree on. I think all of these fixes are now in resolution form in “Today’s Business,” and I have yet to find fault with any of them. Many thanks to the COH for doing their duty.

    —————————————————————————

    If you want a quick introduction to “Today’s Business,” look at the instructions to the Floor Committees from the President’s office, pp. 16-28. I think that this is the first time we have ever seen these instructions in print. Publishing them is a big improvement in the matter of “transparency” of government.

    Here we can see how President Harrison and his administration tried to guide the Floor Committees in their crafting of overtures. Here are some examples that I noticed:

    p. 17, lines 32-36 – urges more effective apologetics in a non-Christian culture.

    p. 18, lines 34-40 – urges compassionate care for persons with homosexual temptations, while disagreeing with the political demands of the gay movement.

    p. 19, lines 31-33 – urges proper behavior when blogging

    p. 20, lines 33-34 – indicates that the President’s office is working on the issues that many have expressed about the TCN program.

    p. 20, lines 36-45 – urges congregations to desire what is best in worship.

    p. 22, lines 19-33 – deals with the problems associated with the district licensed lay deacons and the 1989 Wichita Res. 3-05B (resulting in Resolution 4-06, 2013 Today’s Business, pp. 90-92).

    p. 22, lines 35-43 – deals with Constitution Article VI and syncretism issues

    p. 22 line 45, to p. 23 line 6 – deals with issues of closed communion

    p. 23, lines 44-51 – addresses Lutheran identity at CUS schools

    ———————————————————————-

    Plus, here is one resolution I couldn’t help noticing:

    p. 93-94, Resolution 4-09 – addresses the CCM ruling (11-2598) that stated that the reception of the Lord’s Supper is not a matter of church fellowship under Constitution VI.2b

    SAY WHAT!! Where did this one come from? It’s the first time I heard about it. I wonder who is protecting whom from the consequences of a constitutional violation?

    I had to look up that CCM ruling, which is on pp. 300-303, in the “2013 Convention Workbook,” under the title “Interpretation of Constitution Art. VI 2 b (11-2598).” The question at issue is Question One, p. 300. You can find the Workbook here: http://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=2337

    I think that this CCM ruling just proves it is time to retire all those guys on the CCM, or dismantle the CCM–pronto! In my opinion, there was some good use for the CCM in the old days, prior to the added powers it was given in 1962, 1967, and 1992. Who are these current CCM guys, anyway? Have they read any Lutheran theology?

    Any discussion that I have ever read in Luther, orthodox Lutherans, Walther, Pieper, Marquart, CTCR, and almost all the other American Lutheran theologians always understand the Sacrament of the Altar to be the essence of church fellowship. Syncretism and unionism is always understand in those same theologians to be “false” church fellowship.

    When and how did receiving the Sacrament not become a matter of church fellowship?

    ———————————————————————

    So far, I can’t find any Resolution that I have a problem with. I will have to read these more carefully in the next couple of weeks, to see if there are any pitfalls that could use amending, but overall, this is a very, very strong set of Resolutions. The President’s Office and the Floor Committees and their Chairman have done yeoman’s service here. Every one of them should be thanked personally for a job well done.

    Thanks also to Pastor Henrickson and Norm for posting the 2013 Today’s Business for our information!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  11. Carl Vehse
    May 27th, 2013 at 15:17 | #11

    @Martin R. Noland #10: I have to disagree with “Carl Vehse” again. In my opinion, 2013 Today’s Business is a light-year’s leap in improvement over previous iterations of the same publication.

    My earlier comment (in Post #8) didn’t address the improvement distance leaped by 2013: Today’s Business over previous iterations. It simply noted that from the indications in 2013 Today’s Business, it is likely that this 2013 convention will continue toward strengthening a CEO/episcopist structure.

    I do agree with Carl in one point he makes:The synodical delegates during the Kieschnick (and Bohlmann) years have seriously damaged the polity of the Missouri Synod and will make it very difficult for the Convention to restore the Synod polity.

    Perhaps, although we both acknowledge the difficulty in restoring synod polity, our difference of opinion may be in whether, or not, even a small improvement in restoring synod polity will be made in 2013. The killing of Overture 4-06 by Floor Committee IV, and the lame reason given, suggests not.

    Plus, here is one resolution I couldn’t help noticing:

    p. 93-94, Resolution 4-09 – addresses the CCM ruling (11-2598) that stated that the reception of the Lord’s Supper is not a matter of church fellowship under Constitution VI.2b

    SAY WHAT!! Where did this one come from?… I think that this CCM ruling just proves it is time to retire all those guys on the CCM, or dismantle the CCM–pronto!

    So we seem to agree again, as that ruling was explained (see Post #6 above) on BJS Post #10 from February 22, 2013, and ridiculed in more detail on this June 2012 LQ thread.

  12. Carl Vehse
    May 27th, 2013 at 15:30 | #12

    @Martin R. Noland #10: Here we can see how President Harrison and his administration tried to guide the Floor Committees in their crafting of overtures…

    p. 18, lines 34-40 – urges compassionate care for persons with homosexual temptations, while disagreeing with the political demands of the gay movement.

    Actually, “homosexual temptations,” “political demands,” and “gay movement” are not mentioned anywhere in p. 18, lines 34-40. The vague and undefined buzzwords are “same-sex attraction,” “same-sex issues,” and the general phrase, “sexual sins.” The text on p. 18 also does not directly refer to those who are openly homosexual and homosexual advocacy and recruitment.

    In addition, except for one late overture, L2-11, regarding the (at the time) proposed change to Boy Scout membership, and a single mention in Resolution 4-04, the word, “homosexual,” and its variations do not appear in any Resolution to be considered in 2013: Today’s Business. The increased use of “same-sex” instead of “homosexual” is a significant, and puzzling, change from 2010. From other expressed concerns about the direction of the convention, there appears to be a purpose for the change in word usage; it is not likely coincidental. Did these replacement phrases come out of the President’s task force on “same-sex” issues?

  13. Carl Vehse
    May 27th, 2013 at 21:41 | #13

    In 2013: Today’s Business (p. 42) Overture 2-06, To Remove RSO Status of Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois, got dumped into Omnibus Resolution A by Floor Committee #2 (Chairman Benke!), where it will be referred to the Office of National Mission, who hasn’t removed the RSO status of that organization in the last three years.

    Pathetic…

    BTW, who in the world was responsible for appointing the chairmen of the Floor Committees?!?

  14. Jason
    May 28th, 2013 at 05:25 | #14

    @Carl Vehse #13

    Pressident Harrison is at least responsible for appointments to the committees, not sure if he can pick the chairmen. Benke is too big of an elephant in the room ot avoid, but I thought he got a spot where he could do the about least amount of damage. Can you imagine him on Committee 4, dealing with SMP, women’s roles, Wichita deacons, and district layminister/deacons? I’ll gladly take him there, compared to other spots he could have had.

  15. Carl Vehse
    May 28th, 2013 at 08:25 | #15

    There are 35 districts and nine floor committees. Are we reaching the bottom of the barrel after eight?!?

  16. Carl Vehse
    May 28th, 2013 at 11:03 | #16

    In Posts #6, #10, and #11, the issue of CCM Opinion 11-2598 was discussed. A reference was made to a late overture L4-77 (2013: Today’s Business, pp. 37-8), which resolved to overrule Opinion 11-2598. There was another late overture, L4-73 (pp. 34-5), which pointed out the disagreement between the CTCR and CCM on this issue and resolved that, in agreement with the CTCR, and contrary to the CCM, “persistent communion at an ELCA altar by a rostered member of Synod can be grounds for suspension.”

    Those overtures have been incorporated into:

    Resolution 4-07, To Address the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Rostered Workers Communing at Heterodox Altars (2013:Today’s Business, p. 92) [Note: it should also include apostate altars], which resolved that “rostered LCMS church workers shall not commune at ELCA altars,” and

    Resolution 4-09, To Overrule Commission on Constitutional Matters Opinion “Interpretation of Constitution Article VI 2 b”(11-2598 CW pp. 300-303) (2013:Today’s Business, pp. 93-4).

    In Resolution 4-09. the first Resolved (“That the LCMS in convention respectfully thank the members of the CCM for their work”) should be removed, and both resolutions overwhelmingly passed by the convention.

  17. May 28th, 2013 at 20:51 | #17

    @Martin R. Noland #10
    Thanks for your response Dr. Noland. I don’t think the first WHEREAS of resolution 4-06 is truthful. It reads “WHEREAS, All our congregations and all our pastors unanimously confess the doctrine of the Augsburg Confession as a true and clear exposition of the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ.” If that statement were true, the resolution would not be needed, because we would have no laymen violating AC XIV. Some of our Districts have purposely set up programs which specifically violate AC XIV. That this happens on a district-wide level makes me wonder how including the Council of Presidents in the task force will resolve our heterodox stance. Apparently, at least some of the people working on formulating the resolution would agree that we are not adhering to our own Confession. I find it embarrassing that we will in a roundabout way imply that we have a heterodox practice, but yet allow it to continue for another three years. This delay allows districts to further catechize their own members on the “benefits” of their heterodox practice, making it that much harder for any ultimate action to be taken by the Synod. Is it acceptable to continue to contravene the clear teaching of Scripture, as long as we have the hope that it might get fixed at some point in the future? I like the catechetical part of the resolution, it is the “later rather than sooner” part that isn’t so good.

  18. Carl Vehse
    May 28th, 2013 at 21:15 | #18

    @Scott Diekmann #17: I find it embarrassing that we will in a roundabout way imply that we have a heterodox practice, but yet allow it to continue for another three years. This delay allows districts to further catechize their own member on the “benefits” of their heterodox practice, making it that much harder for any ultimate action to be taken by the Synod. Is it acceptable to continue to contravene the clear teaching of Scripture, as long as we have the hope that it might get fixed at some point in the future?

    Good points, Scott, although they caused some confusion. For a while I thought you were talking about the Koinonia Project.

  19. John Rixe
    May 29th, 2013 at 10:09 | #19

    @Scott Diekmann #17

    Although there may be differing interpretations of AC XIV, don’t all pastors and congregations unanimously confess the doctrine of the Augsburg Confession?  For example (unrelated), some interpret that girl acolytes are clearly forbidden by the Bible and confessions while others with the same subscription and loyalty interpret that’s an open question.

  20. Martin R. Noland
    May 29th, 2013 at 13:43 | #20

    @Scott Diekmann #17

    Dear Scott,

    Thanks for your comments. I think many folks who read Resolution 4-06 might end up thinking the same things. I was not the author of Res. 4-06, so I can’t tell you what they were thinking–I can only go on what the Floor Committee said in that resolution.

    The way I read Resolution 4-06 is that the first Whereas establishes the doctrinal authority for the rest of the resolution. It is kind of like “Okay, guys, you agreed to accept the Book of Concord, now here is what we have to do to be faithful to it . . .” That first Whereas does not stand alone by itself, and should not be interpreted in isolation.

    Regarding including the Council of Presidents, Resolution 4-06 does not do that. The penultimate Resolved gives the President of the Synod the power of appointment. He can appoint anyone he wants from the list of offices suggested. I know a couple of District Presidents who would be great additions to this Task Force; they are completely competent and orthodox. So if he is re-elected, Harrison gets to pick who is on this Task Force, and the Council of Presidents as a group has no say whatsoever.

    As to the three-year delay, I think that is reasonable, considering the fact that we have had “district-licensed-lay-deacons” now for about 24 years. Some young adults in those congregations have had no other “pastors.” It won’t work to simply “defrock” them all–we will lose all the congregations too, and that is something like 10% of LCMS congregations.

    How to handle a long-standing problem with multiple ramifications like this is not unlike a great aeronautial engineer looking at his magnum opus, with its tails and head in the rafters of his factory, only to realize he never thought about trying to get the plane out of the factory. Firing up the jets and letting go the brakes would only lead to disaster.

    There was no “exit strategy” planned in 1989 when the “district-licensed-lay-deacons” were adopted. If the LCMS is going to exit that program, it had better come up with an exit strategy that will cause as little damage as possible. That is what Resolution 4-06 does.

    By the way, it is easy to confuse the SMP and the “district licensed lay deacons” program, since they are both non-M.Div. pastors, no matter what you call them. I have confused them in discussions previous, so I apologize in advance if and when I have contributed to confusion.

    On the “district-licensed-lay-deacons” and the SMP, see also a related discussion here at BJS “On the Office and the Sacrament” here: http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=29950

    I hope this helps the discussion a bit.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  21. John Rixe
    May 29th, 2013 at 15:35 | #21

    Are you folks saying there are some DP’s and pastors who deliberately, consciously, and intentionally oppose some AC teachings?  I’m still confused.

    AC XIV is not all that clear to this low-information-layman. Couldn’t a reasonable person maybe interpret “regularly called” to include lay deacons?

  22. Martin R. Noland
    May 29th, 2013 at 22:28 | #22

    @John Rixe #21

    Dear Mr. Rixe,

    I can’t speak on behalf of the other bloggers here. Nor can I tell you what the leaders of synod or the convention delegates were thinking in 1989 at Wichita. I was in New York that summer, doing graduate work on a Ph.D. at Union Theological Seminary.

    After the LCMS convention was over that summer, a couple of ELCA students or clergy–including I think Richard John Neuhaus, who was still Lutheran–came up to me and said things about the Wichita convention lay deacon program like, “Well, we see Missouri Synod has finally proven its ambition to be more Baptist than the Southern Baptists”–stuff like that. Of course, that was the summer that the ELCA had its first convention, so they had their own “fish to fry.”

    Why do people misquote or misunderstand the confessions? In some cases, it is pure stubbornness and disagreement. Here is one example. Many people in the LCMS quote only one paragraph out of the Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article Ten, section 9. This pertains to worship and changes in worship. They think that this one paragraph justifies jettisoning the entire Lutheran worship and church music tradition. The rest of that article is very clear about criteria for Lutheran worship, but they ignore those statements entirely, and they get mad when you recite the rest of the article–as I often do.

    I have been on the receiving end of a lot of anger regarding this Lutheran worship business. I am not complaining, because it is my job, or rather, part of my job. Why I mention it is because the “anger” indicates people don’t have a rational response based on fact. They could persuade me with reason, facts, or Scripture, but all they have is “anger.” That should tell you something about the strength of their case.

    How do you explain this feigned ignorance of a clear confessional doctrine and real anger against those who do uphold the Book of Concord? I think that question is simple–the people who quote only FC SD X, 9 disagree with the Book of Concord.

    What is the problem in the case of AC XIV? First, AC XIV is not a detailed statement. The Augsburg Confession was not written as a general statement of the Lutheran position, but as a statement to show where Lutherans and Catholics agreed and disagreed. In the matter of AC XIV, i.e., how a man is to enter into the pastoral office, the Catholics and Lutherans agreed, so little more needed to be said. The same is the case for the Apology and the Smalcald Articles.

    What does rite vocatus in AC XIV mean? Luther explains that the most common cause of misunderstanding of a text is that we don’t know a term’s meaning. In the area of Biblical hermeneutics, he advocated the “historical-grammatical” method of determining a term’s meaning. That means you have to look at the common use of that term in its day; and also look at its immediate grammatical context to see if it is being used literally or figuratively, and look for other grammatical clues to meaning.

    When you apply Luther’s method to AC XIV, the result is that “rite” means “properly” and “vocatus” means “invited to serve and be placed into the pastoral office.” “Properly” would be defined by 16th century canon law, which included a novitiate, training, examination, call, ordination, and installation. Johann Gerhard explains all this in his “Theological Commonplaces,” On the Ministry: Parts One and Two, and is especially instructive in the matter of the competencies to be tested or examined.

    The LCMS M.Div. program follows the rule of “rite vocatus.” The LCMS “district-licensed-lay-deacon” does not. The LCMS SMP program needs some tweaking to follow “rite vocatus.”

    I would say that most people are confused on this subject of AC XIV, not that they intentionally try to oppose this teaching–but I could be wrong.

    I think what usually happens is that someone reads a historic text, like the Book of Concord, and think that they can read it like a 21st century newspaper. They see a term like “properly called” and think whatever they think the term means is the actual meaning. They don’t realize that historic texts require historical interpretation to get the meaning right, especially for two technical terms like “rite” and “vocatus.”

    I think a lot of people who supported the Wichita resolution were like this–they wouldn’t admit it–but their reading of the historic texts was superficial. The clergy don’t have problems reading the Scripture, because they use that every week and they know Greek (well, at least they learned it some point awhile ago–many have forgotten their Greek). But just because clergy are fluent in the New Testament doesn’t make them fluent in the Old Testament Hebrew, or in the historic languages of the Lutheran Confessions.

    We have very few people left in the LCMS today who can read German and Latin fluently, much less do adequate translation in those languages. The AC is in both German and Latin. If you don’t know at least some Latin, you will be baffled by what rite vocatus means; but very few pastors or DPs will admit ignorance–it is too embarrassing.

    Another example. Just look at all the people who were fooled a couple of years ago by the Large Catechism, Creed, section 66 being twisted to say “heathen, Turks, Jews, or false Christians and hypocrites . . . believe in and worship only the one, true God.” The people who knew German and Latin immediately weighed in and said that this was preposterous. Anyone who knew German or Latin knew this right away; those who were ignorant went along with the crowd. Was the person who misquoted the Large Catechism ignorant, or confused, or was he twisting the confessions to suit his own purpose? I don’t know. You need to ask him.

    These examples prove why it is absolutely vital that all persons serving as pastors, no matter what the synod calls them, should be able to read the Greek New Testament. If they can’t read the Greek, their reading of the New Testament will be superficial–i.e., it will be based on what they have heard from their own pastors, not on what they know themselves from the Greek text. They will be easily swayed by any or all of the heresies that have plagued the Christian church since its founding. Nearly all of the Christian heresies played “word games” with the Scriptures. Only those pastors who know the Greek can refute those heresies, or any new ones, adequately.

    If we lose the biblical and confessional languages, we will lose the Lutheran church.

    I hope this helps a bit.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  23. Benji1517
    May 29th, 2013 at 23:11 | #23

    @Carl Vehse #13
    Carl, I am new to the LCMS, forgive my ignorance. Will you explain what this LCFS Illinois stuff means? What is RSO status? Does this mean that my dollars will go toward helping take children from Christian homes and place them in foster care with pagan families, including homosexuals?

    Are some of the dollars that I give to my local congregation in turn given to the Synod going to support these practices?

    Do dollars donated directly to LCMS World Relief support this?

  24. John Rixe
    May 30th, 2013 at 07:18 | #24

    @Martin R. Noland #22

    I hope this helps a bit.

    This helps a lot and clears up any misunderstanding of “unanimously confessing the doctrine of the Augsburg Confession.”  I always appreciate your patient, thoughtful, fair explanations.

  25. Carl Vehse
  26. Carl Vehse
    May 30th, 2013 at 08:00 | #26

    @Benji1517 #23,

    You can find out more about LCMS RSOs in the 2010 LCMS Constitution and Bylaws, Bylaw 2.4 – Recognized Service Organization (p.204-205), or at the LCMS webpage, Recognized Service Organizations.

  27. Benji1517
    May 30th, 2013 at 12:52 | #27

    @Carl Vehse #26
    Carl,

    I read all of that and I only have more questions (along with some acute nausea). Is our church actually placing children in pagan homes for care? Why would we EVER consider this a good work? Is this truly MORE merciful than allowing them to be aborted or exposed and torn apart by wild dogs atop the refuse heaps?
    Why would the church place children in pagan homes, instead of raising them in a Christian orphanage if there were not enough Christian families?

    What I can’t tell is my dollars are going to support this. Do I need to mark my envelop with “NOT FOR SYNOD” when I bring it to the local congregation?

  28. Carl Vehse
    May 30th, 2013 at 14:20 | #28

    @Benji1517 #27: “Do I need to mark my envelop with “NOT FOR SYNOD” when I bring it to the local congregation?”

    I used to do that during some of the more pathetic synodical administrations in the past.

    Unfortunately the bureaucrats wised up and have gotten a lot of congregations (i.e., dozing congregational voters) to establish congregational budgets with a percentage to Synod out of the general offering contributions, rather than a fixed dollar goal.

    As for dealing with LCFS and the alleged choice of adoption-by-pagans or murder-by-abortion, we will have to see if the delegates (50% called pastors, 50% laymen) at the convention demonstrate their Christian stand.

  29. Debbie Harris
    June 2nd, 2013 at 17:15 | #29

    @Jason Harris #3
    Is this the same as http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/kick+the+can+down+the+road.html If you kick the can down the road, you delay a decision in hopes that the problem or issue will go away or somebody else will make the decision later. :)

  30. luvable lutheran
    June 3rd, 2013 at 07:31 | #30

    At 2010 convention, there was a resolution situations of Lutheran adoption agencies being forced to comply with state laws regarding placing adoptions into same sex “families.” I believe it was initiatated from LCFS (or similar agency) being told to place all children including into same sex families in Massachusetts or to close or be denied funding or other status. (I can’t find exact resolution, but 2010 resolution 3-03 speaks to aspects of this concern.)

    In the last 3 years, a number of states have passed laws promoting, recognizing or otherwise legalizing aspects of same sex marriage, relationships, etc. I suspect now the issue, problem, situation has impacted many more RSOs and Lutheran organizations being forced to comply with new laws, regulations, etc issued by these states.

  31. Carl Vehse
    June 3rd, 2013 at 08:51 | #31

    At the 2010 Convention, Resolution 3-03 (2010 Convention Proceedings, pp. 115-6) was a Pecksniffian exercise, which ignored the stated (p. 115) opinion of the CTCR that “On the basis of the clear teaching of Scripture regarding homosexual behavior and about God’s will and design for marriage and the family as foundational units for society as a whole, it is the express opinion of the CTCR that a policy of placing adopted or foster children into homosexual contexts would stand in opposition to the official doctrinal position of the LCMS.”

    Resolution 3-03 “Resolved, That, in keeping with the basic principles set forth in the task force statement, cooperation in externals with other churches, including the ELCA, continue with theological integrity,” in addition to having the CTCR do more in-depth theological studies.

    During the debate on the motion, a motion was introduced to consider Overture 3-05, To Terminate All ELCA/LCMS Cooperative Ministries While Continuing to Reach Out to ELCA Church Members (2010 Convention Workbook, p. 166), as a substitute resolution. Overture 3-05 “Resolved, That the LCMS terminate all cooperative ministries between the LCMS and the ELCA.”

    Delegates voted down the substitute motion [Yes: 495; No: 653]. During continued discussion during Session 7, John Nunes, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lutheran World Relief spoke in support of Resolution 3-03, which was adopted [Yes: 961; No: 175].

    Shame on Rev. John Nunes and on 961 delegates of the 2010 LCMS convention (you know who you are!).

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