Great Stuff — COPs Gone Wild

June 20th, 2013 Post by

Another great post found on Pastor Thomas Messer’s blog, Abide in my Word

 

 

Corrupt CopThe LCMS Council of Presidents (COPs) have often been referred to as the “8th Commandment Police,” which is a nickname that only slightly edges out the other nickname by which they are also affectionately known: the “Blogging Police.”

They have come to be known by these nicknames because some of the COPs have often issued missives, either in written or oral form, decrying what they deem to be crass violations of the 8th Commandment among the Lutherans they serve, especially within the crotchety realm of the Lutheran blogosphere. In fact, word has it that portions of COPs meetings have been devoted to addressing this issue, so concerned are some who belong to that high and venerable Council about this.

But, one wonders where the COPs are now? Some of their own venerable members have taken a liking to trampling all over the 8th Commandment lately, but not a peep of concern has been heard (at least, publicly) from any of the other members. Strange, that. Even stranger is the fact that those intent on setting the 8th Commandment aside in the attempt to score political points are among the loudest voices on the COPs decrying 8th Commandment violations, especially in the Lutheran blogosphere.

I guess the lesson we are to learn from this is that the COPs are above reproach. What is good for the goose is not good for the gander, since not all geese are equal in our synod. The 8th Commandment simply doesn’t apply to certain Geese, who reside in certain, plush District offices. They are above the Law (hey, wasn’t that a Steven Seagal movie?). For them, the end justifies the means. If the 8th Commandment must be obliterated in order to accomplish some self-perceived “higher good,” so be it.

The first member of the COPs to forsake all sense of decency and use the power and resources of his office to do some dirty electioneering was Paul Linnemann, District President of the Northwest District of the LCMS. He sent out an email to voting delegates in his District to tell them about the two distinct paths he has witnessed forming in our synod. It is obvious to anyone reading his email that he is a big fan of the second path he describes, which, according to him, is being trod by his fellow District President, David Maier. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Linnemann sent this email out to voting delegates in his District to campaign for Maier. And, if one didn’t know any better, one might be swayed by what Linnemann writes, for golly gee willickers, who would want a synodical president like Matt Harrison, who is “seeking to concentrate the activity and authority in the church in the office of pastor,” and who doesn’t want to engage the culture in which we live with the Gospel, but follows “a paradigm of limitation”? I mean, Harrison sounds like a big, fat jerk, especially when compared to how Linnemann describes Maier: “As the leader of the largest District in the LCMS, he has fostered a spirit of collegiality and trust among the people of his District.” That sounds wonderful. I’ll take two of those, please.

But, Linnemann’s distasteful 8th-Commandment-Be-Damned politickin’ was rather tame in comparison to the most recent diatribe from another one of the above-the-law COPs, Robert “call me Bob” Newton, District President of the California-Nevada-Hawaii District of the LCMS. There is no subtlety to Bob’s campaign email he sent to delegates in his district. He just comes right out and slams Harrison, taking a quote from him in the May issue of The Lutheran Witnesscompletely out of context in the attempt to convince voting delegates in his district that Harrison believes the preaching of the Gospel should only happen within the walls of our churches and be kept “far from the earshot of those who have not yet heard.” Yeah, because a) that is an accurate description of the dude who happens to be the first LCMS President to testify before a congressional hearing in D.C., and b) that is totally what Harrison was saying in that article – totally.

Another member of the 8th-Commandment-Breaking 8th Commandment Police Squad, Chris Wicher, District President of the Eastern District of the LCMS, said the heck with sending out an email to voting delegates in his District limited to campaigning for Maier’s election as synodical president. He went a step further and sent out a “Missional List” with suggested candidates for many of the elections to be conducted at our upcoming Synodical Convention. I mean, why limit your electioneering to the highest office in the synod when you can use the power and resources of your District office to go ahead and endorse a whole slate of candidates?

So much for fearing and loving God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way. There’s an election at stake here! We cannot let something like the 8th Commandment get in the way of our very important campaign. The future of our synod depends on this, after all! Harrison must be ousted. If we reelect him, he might pass some edict from on high which prevents us from ever saying anything about Jesus anywhere at any time, except within the confines of our churches, of course.

What a joke these men and their letters are – a disgraceful, disgusting, sickening joke! And, what hypocrisy! The “8th Commandment Police” doing such violence to the 8th Commandment themselves is like the corrupt cop who takes money from the mob, but pretends to be a cop on the up-and-up, or who, like in the pic above, claims to protect and serve citizens, while using every opportunity he can to beat the crap out of them in the name of performing his duties.

Not all cops are corrupt, of course. Neither are all COPs. Which is why it surprises me that none of the other COPs have issued public statements of concern over the unprecedented and disgraceful electioneering of their brother COPs. Will none of the other COPs speak up in defense of Harrison’s reputation being damaged by these renegades? Is this just the preview of things to come in future elections, where the COPs will become the political activists in our synod, using the power and resources of their District offices to disparage other COPs in order to campaign for their preferred candidate?

I wonder how these renegade COPs would feel about President Harrison sending out an email to all the delegates in their Districts prior to their own elections in a couple of years, campaigning against them by twisting their words, misrepresenting their positions, and endorsing one of the candidates running against them. Oh, wait, never mind. These guys believe that what is good for the goose is not good for the gander, as mentioned above. They would most certainly cry “Foul!” were someone to have the audacity to send their delegates an email campaigning against them, just as they decry all the 8th-Commandment-Breaking in the Lutheran blogosphere, but have no problem breaking it themselves.

Of course, these renegade COPs have nothing to worry about here, as President Harrison wouldn’t stoop to their level and use the power and resources of his office to actively campaign against them in their own Districts. I think they know that, which is why they don’t fear putting aside all decency and engaging in such disgraceful electioneering. But, can’t any of the other COPs chime in and call these renegades out on their despicable behavior?

And, what is the theme song for these renegade COPs? I think it’s something like:

“Bad Prez, Bad Prez,
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do
When we come for you?”
These are a few of your Ecclesiastical Supervisors, O Lutherans. Kind of changes the meaning of “ecclesiastical,” doesn’t it?

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  1. LW
    June 20th, 2013 at 16:46 | #1

    “Not all cops are corrupt, of course. Neither are all COPs. Which is why it surprises me that none of the other COPs have issued public statements of concern over the unprecedented and disgraceful electioneering of their brother COPs. Will none of the other COPs speak up in defense of Harrison’s reputation being damaged by these renegades? Is this just the preview of things to come in future elections, where the COPs will become the political activists in our synod, using the power and resources of their District offices to disparage other COPs in order to campaign for their preferred candidate?”

    This is worth repeating. Where do the rest of the district presidents stand with regard to their fellow COP member actions? Does their silence on the matter suggest agreement? The delegates to the next district conventions need to take this into consideration when they are given the opportunity to vote for the next round of district presidents.

  2. helen
    June 20th, 2013 at 19:53 | #2

    @LW #1
    The delegates to the next district conventions need to take this into consideration when they are given the opportunity to vote for the next round of district presidents.

    The district convention delegates must not read…. anything. If they did, they should have “retired” Bob Newton last year, for wasting $4 million of their “mission” money in a vain attempt to wrest the ownership of an Oakland church away from its congregation.

    Minnesota South should have voted in someone clearly supportive of ULC, (along with the money) so the sabotage of a confessional congregation could be safely considered to be stopped. [Instead, more of the same in the DP seat, (maybe not so blatant, for awhile).]

    Matthew Becker’s DP should have been “retired” for keeping Becker on the roster… but maybe he’d have to “retire” himself, too, then? Not a bad idea….

  3. Ron
    June 20th, 2013 at 20:22 | #3

    I do not understand why these people feel the need to change the LCMS. Instead if they feel what it stands for is wrong, go start their own synod, or join one of the myriad churches that believe as they do. Saddleback or Willow Creek associations may be a good fit. Is it there “mission” to wipe out all confessional churches?

    From liberal decay on one side (Jesus First, ELCA) and missional error on the other where do we turn? We of course have to trust that God will preserve his church.

  4. jb
    June 20th, 2013 at 20:28 | #4

    The 2nd commenter on Messer’s article included a link to a PDF from a Mr. List, who wrote this priceless sentence among the rest of his many:

    I am sending this to you because of my concern and love for our Synod, which has experienced such decline over the past ten years and shows signs of continued decline as we seem to become more inwardly focused.

    Besides what I am sure is only the coincidental “pack language” being used with “inwardly focused” – uh, just who was it that, 7 out of those 10 years mentioned by List as so problematic, and for all 9 years previous to Harrison, was SP?

    Heh.

  5. Martin R. Noland
    June 20th, 2013 at 22:18 | #5

    @jb #3

    Dear BJS Bloggers,

    This “Mr. List” that is mentioned in comment #3 rings a bell. Turns out he is the communications director for the Florida-Georgia District–check out his signature at the bottom of his letter. I guess that means he publishes the FL-GA newsletter.

    So that makes four district administrations, so far, that are clearly aligned against President Harrison: Northwest, California-Nevada-Hawaii, Eastern, and Florida-Georgia.

    If there is a movement to unseat these four district presidents at the next district conventions, they can’t complain, because “they who first dished it out, get big helpings in return.” I expect that some district vice-presidents are starting to polish up their resumes. I expect some circuit counselors in those districts will start polishing their political letter writing skills too.

    This Mr. John List is, I believe, the same man who co-owns “Bishop and List Interests.” I know about that company, because they used to publish–or print–newsletters dedicated to opposing President A.L. Barry. The newsletters were titled “Celebrate!” and “Forward” and they also published a voting list for the synodical convention opposing Barry(ahem-heavy satirical coughing). And this man is still on the district payroll?

    On “Celebrate!” and “Forward” see my 1998 essay, found here: http://www.confessionallutherans.org/papers/secular.html – read especially section IV and footnotes 16 and 17. “Celebrate!” and “Forward” advocated “open communion” and did everything they could to undermine the good work in mission and evangelism that President Barry was doing.

    Hmmm . . . I wonder why we have seen a decline in the synod for the past twenty years or so. Could it be that these districts, and maybe a few others, thumb their noses at the synod convention and its resolutions? Could it be they do everything they can to undermine the more conservative presidents like Barry and Harrison, who really are involved in and concerned about missions and evangelism.

    President Barry was the guy who saved the LCMS world missions program when the missions staff walked away with Seminex. President Harrison is the guy who did a transformation of LCMS Human Care and LCMS World Relief, so that social ministry always includes gospel ministry. These two have been the most mission-minded Presidents in our recent history, comparable to Friedrich Wyneken in our earliest history.

    If these district presidents would simply cooperate with the rest of us, as they agreed to do when they joined the synod, we could really turn this around. “Incessant infighting” is caused by schismatics, not by those who support the Scriptures, Confessions, and Constitution. Why can’t they get on the same page with the rest of us? I don’t know. Their motives are beyond my comprehension or pay grade!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  6. Martin R. Noland
    June 20th, 2013 at 22:53 | #6

    Dear BJS Bloggers,

    Here is an interesting question.

    Can these district presidents use their “mailing lists,” which are a significant capital asset and which belong to the national synod, to electioneer a campaign in their districts against the national synod? I think that is illegal.

    I remember a number of years ago that a synodical official was removed from office, allegedly because he had used for-personal-uses a mailing list that belonged to the synod or one of its agencies.

    Aren’t these district presidents expressing their personal opinions, and thus “using a synodical mailing list for-personal-uses”? I always thought this was illegal and could be prosecutable in a court of law. If it is not strictly illegal, it still may be prosecutable in a civil court. If it is not prosecutable in civil court, it could still be prosecutable in the synodical dispute resolution process.

    It seems like “stealing” in any event.

    Lawyers, please weigh in here–real lawyers, too, not wannabes.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  7. jb
    June 20th, 2013 at 23:34 | #7

    FYI

    John List is pictured next-to-last on the Florida-Georgia Board of Directors list.

    His letter (linked in #4) clearly reveals his position on the BoD and is, sans reprimand, speaking for the entire BoD – and he mentions the DP (and others), by name. He signs it as a member of the BoD.

    His “definitions” supporting his contentions are either by intention, or due to a shallow understanding of matters. To that, only he can answer further than, or to, the words he wrote.

    As to Pastor Noland’s inquiry, a legal-eagle’s take on this entire matter would be most interesting.

  8. June 21st, 2013 at 01:02 | #8

    Just a note to add to the situation regarding mailing lists. In the NOW district the email list of even pastors in the district is tightly held by the district. If you want to send something out like to all the pastors in a particular state regarding an upcoming pastors conference you must send it in the district office and they email it out. So, it is very obvious there is only one place for email lists of anything in the district, and it is held tightly by the district. So, whose list did DP Linnemann use. Hmmmm.

  9. Chris Enge
    June 21st, 2013 at 08:32 | #9

    @Martin R. Noland #6

    I’m a lawyer, but not your lawyer, if you’re really serious about pursuing this, you’ll have to hire someone. That being said, here’s how I’d go about answering that question. I can tell you where I’d look, but I can’t tell you the answer.

    First, any limitation on district presidents would seem to have to be in the bylaws of either the national synod or the districts. There might also be something in their call papers or contract (whichever they have). There might also be an employment manual with some kind of personal use of synod resources rule. There might be the synodical equivalent of case law, but that would be less persuasive than a clear rule in a contract or bylaw.

    Someone would have to rummage through all that stuff and find a rule. The more specific the rule the better.

    Second, the first thing a court would look for would be a plaintiff with standing. Only a person directly harmed can sue. In this case, the person potentially suffering harm is President Harrison. If he did not sign off on litigation, there’s a good chance a court would throw out anyone else. Any plaintiff other than Harrison would have to show a concrete harm.

    Third, I’m not 100% sure but I’d think that anyone who would be interested in raising this issue would be subject to the synod’s internal procedures. The Hosanna-Tabor case, which involved an LCMS church and school, stands for the proposition that the government does not appoint employees of religious organizations. I would think that principle would apply even more strongly to the selection of the leader of a large church body. A judge would have to have a compelling reason to get involved outside the LCMS process.

    Think of it this way. If you were a secular judge, would you want to police a church election?

    If somebody were going to fight this, it would cost a fortune. The energy would probably be spent better calling attention to this misconduct and defeating them in the election.

    Hope this helps.

  10. Carl Vehse
    June 21st, 2013 at 09:10 | #10

    @Martin R. Noland #6 : “Can these district presidents use their “mailing lists,” which are a significant capital asset and which belong to the national synod, to electioneer a campaign in their districts against the national synod?”

    If official action against any DPs for misuse of LCMS mailing lists is to be deal with in house, it would have to commence with the Synodical President (Bylaw 2.15.1), and would probably required an opinion on the applicability of Article XIII by the Commission on Constitutional Matters (Bylaw 2.15.3), the same ones who gave us Opinion 11-2598.

    Estimating the probability of all of that happening is left as an exercise for the reader.

  11. LW
    June 21st, 2013 at 11:01 | #11

    @helen #2
    They may read or may be ignorant of the facts or may be in agreement with the DP’s. I think that if something doesn’t effect people personally they don’t care enough to make any substantial change. Office holders who ruffle the least number of feathers are likely to remain in office.

  12. Rev. Robert Lydick
    June 21st, 2013 at 11:16 | #12

    Dr. Noland writes:
    So that makes four district administrations, so far, that are clearly aligned against President Harrison: Northwest, California-Nevada-Hawaii, Eastern, and Florida-Georgia.

    Actually the Southern District DP has also published his “opinion”.

  13. June 21st, 2013 at 11:46 | #13

    Rev. Robert Lydick:
    Actually the Southern District DP has also published his “opinion”.

    Do you have a link for that? How did he “publish” that, e.g., on a letter, in an e-mail, on a handout at a meeting, etc.?

  14. June 21st, 2013 at 12:14 | #14

    John List sends out his letter on his own letterhead. And while he does identify himself as “Florida-Georgia District Communications Director,” it seems he is not sending out his letter in that capacity, nor does he say that his endorsement of Maier is also that of District President Walton. So I don’t think this is the same as what DPs Linnemann, Newton, and Wicher did, wherein the DP himself used his office to promote a candidate. This is more of a “close association” connection to a DP, somewhat like Daystar endorsing Maier, and Atlantic DP Benke serving as editorial advisor of Daystar–it’s not quite as direct.

    So now we have a “Missional List” and a “John List.” But this raises the question: How did Director List get his mailing list? Did he use his district position to gain access to a list of addressees? That ought to be looked into. (By a “Journa List”?)

  15. helen
    June 21st, 2013 at 12:21 | #15

    @LW #11
    @helen #2
    They may read or may be ignorant of the facts or may be in agreement with the DP’s.

    Anyone who wasted $4 million of the dollars supposedly dedicated to “saving the lost” (“missionalspeak” is appropriate here) would not get my vote.

  16. Robert Hoffman
    June 21st, 2013 at 12:45 | #16

    I have several beefs here.

    #1 Has anyone who is railing against the District Presidents’ politicing done anything more than just spout about it here?

    #2 For those of you in districts outside of the ones mentioned, have you made an official complaint to your District President?

    #3 For those in the districts where this politicing is occuring, have you gone to the offending DP and personally let him know your complaint?

    I am but a simple layperson, but I have personally engaged President Linneman on this issue. I have expressed my concern to my pastor and asked that he relay the concerns. This drum banging and “straight talk” and pointing out the splinter in a brother’s eye needs to be corrected. If you are in one of these offensive districts, make your offense known either directly or indirectly to the offending party. If you are offended by the actions of DPs in another district, go to your DP and question them why they have not admonished the offending parties. It’s really easy to talk tough and say what is right to a friendly audience. It’s time to do the right thing and directly engage the offending party. Heck–that might even be Biblical, yah? <–shout out to RevFisk.

    In peace,

    -Robert.

    p.s. yes, I know that as a layperson, I am not under the direct ecclesiastical supervision of the DPs, but my brother is, as is my shepherd. While it is critically important to "say what a thing is" it is almost as critically important to say that thing directly to the offending party.

  17. Robert Hoffman
    June 21st, 2013 at 12:47 | #17

    helen :@LW #11 @helen #2They may read or may be ignorant of the facts or may be in agreement with the DP’s.
    Anyone who wasted $4 million of the dollars supposedly dedicated to “saving the lost” (“missionalspeak” is appropriate here) would not get my vote.

    Isn’t that backwards? Didn’t his actions result in losing the saved (dollars)?

  18. Jim Pierce
    June 21st, 2013 at 13:05 | #18

    @Robert Hoffman #16

    Brother Hoffman,

    To address your third point, I not only addressed my concern with DP Linnemann, but I invited him to both read and respond to my article I wrote on this topic. I also happen to know that Scott Diekmann, who is also in the NOW district, did the same. While I am guessing, I think it likely that others have also contacted him (let’s assume the best and not the worst). So we know there has been more than mere tough talk to a friendly audience. And, I thank you for taking the time to bring your concerns to DP Linnemann. With you, I hope others will also raise their concerns to him over his shameful politicking.

    P.S.—Let’s also not underestimate the effectiveness of the “tough talk” to a “friendly audience.” Assuredly the members of the COP read these articles and the comments underneath them. There is no hiding behind an audience in a public forum. The word gets out!

  19. David Hartung
    June 21st, 2013 at 14:37 | #19

    Charles Henrickson :

    Rev. Robert Lydick:
    Actually the Southern District DP has also published his “opinion”.

    Do you have a link for that? How did he “publish” that, e.g., on a letter, in an e-mail, on a handout at a meeting, etc.?

    I serve in the Southern District, and the only thing I have seen that has been sent to the voting delegates, is essentially a copy of the questions asked by the Synod, and answered by the delegates. I do know that President Schultz has strong opinions, but as far as I can see, he waits until he is asked before giving them.

  20. Robert Hoffman
    June 21st, 2013 at 15:12 | #20

    @Jim Pierce #18

    Pastor Pierce,

    I applaud you for doing so and I know you had addressed DP Linneman. Others should do so as well. We can rattle our confessional sabres all we want, but eventually we will have to put them to use…or admit we are passive-agressive, orthodox-wanna-bees and give in and buy an official Reggie McNeal crutch to base our faith upon, rather than the Word of God as explained in our confessions. I love this site and the wonderful, God-pleasing stuff that is true to our doctrine on it. This site became an island for me when I was struggling with a new PLI pastor that resulted in me leaving my beloved congregation. That being said, I have seen WAAAAAY too many posts that I believe never go beyond this site. I encourage you, brothers–say it to those who need to hear it!

    In peace,

    -Robert.

  21. jb
    June 21st, 2013 at 15:57 | #21

    Brother Robert -

    Your words are well-chosen, directed, and correctly so.

    Might I encourage you to take heart? There are those of us who have written letters and spoken to DP’s to absolutely no avail; we unite our voices and find ourselves still ignored, while we watch many faithful men (and flocks) taken to the proverbial woodshed.

    Yet, BJS is read far and wide – even HO reads it. There are a number of sites, besides BJS, that “get it” – and are also “getting it out!” I would even go so far as to motion that those coming out of the woodwork on the “progressive” side of matters instinctively understand that, and it is as much due to these sites “getting it out” in ways that could not be done several decades ago, that are causing such a commotion/conundrum for them.

    In the world ye shall have tribulation” – how aptly Jesus nailed it! But His next words nailed matters even more completely . . .

    But be of good cheer – I have overcome the world.

    Divine optimism. Most sacramental, eh?

    It always prevails. P’o’s the devil no end, but like – I care?

    Heh!

    Synod has issues; Synod will always have issues, just as every congregation has issues. The devil owns the unbelieving world, but he, in his insanity, is trying to put back the hinges on the gates of his hellish kingdom that were blown off Good Friday by Jesus. But the best he can do is paper mache an appearance of gates, and they are daily blown through and down and off again with little effort but only, that of faith.

    This election, nor any other, does not the Kingdom of Christ make. “But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.

    Divine optimism. Every effort helps – blessed by Christ. The victory is already won.

    Pax – jb

  22. Jim Pierce
    June 21st, 2013 at 16:22 | #22

    @Robert Hoffman #20

    Thanks Brother and for the record I am a layman.

  23. LW
    June 21st, 2013 at 16:24 | #23

    @Robert Hoffman #16
    Great recommendation. However, if your DP is of Yankee Stadium fame I wouldn’t bother. He has already posted over at ALPB that “reverendo bochinchero” doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  24. Martin R. Noland
    June 21st, 2013 at 17:12 | #24

    Dear BJS Bloggers,

    Mr. Robert Hoffman has excellent counsel. You do need to talk to your “brother” if he has offended you personally (Matthew 18). So if the actions of your District President has insulted or damaged you personally, or if some other DP has done the same, you really should let him know–in a Christian way–that you believe what he did was wrong.

    Maybe a more productive approach would be for those concerned about this to ask their own district president (especially if they have a good relationship with him) to take up the matter at the next Council of President’s meeting, where some of the offenders would be present, and could be dealt with in the proper manner in a brotherly way.

    In my opinion, conversations online like this are very helpful for many people. It is not a waste of time, because it helps guide people away from actions or speech that are poorly thought-out or merely reactionary. It helps others to “blow off steam” and think about the problems more rationally. It is an educational process too, as more experienced folks share what they know with the less experienced, and vice versa, so we all learn together. I see it as a type of communal-continuing education.

    BTW, many more people read these posts than ever comment on them. See the number counter above the Facebook link at the bottom of each post to see that.

    I appreciated Mr. Enge’s comments (comment #9) because it lays out the options on that level. I was not planning to initiate a lawsuit–that is not something in my makeup. But I was thinking about talking to some members of the synodical Board of Directors about this issue. Since they are in charge of all the property of synod, and that includes oversight for things like district mailing lists, I think they could issue a policy for future years that would control misuse of mailing lists, etc.

    When I was director at CHI, I had a four-foot long shelf of binders that I kept updated, with policies from the LCMS Board of Directors, CPS, CHI minutes, etc., etc. I seem to remember that there was some policy from the LCMS Board of Directors regarding the use of mailing lists and this applied to all synodical agencies, including districts. I thought it had some rationale from civil law too–which is what triggered my question. Maybe it only applied to using mailing lists for fund-raising-I don’t remember. I don’t have those binders anymore because they belong to CHI, so I couldn’t even look it up if I wanted.

    So, that is why I was wondering. Thanks Mr. Enge!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  25. jb
    June 21st, 2013 at 17:38 | #25

    Pr. Noland –

    Martin – I knew you from afar, but always respected you. You always “got it” even “way back when.” You were getting your STM the very same year I got my M.Div. Like with Marquart, we knew you just got it. You still do.

    Nothing you have said said merits the first correction, but I would add . . .

    I must, to my kiddies, teach (as well as preach the big folks who so often forget) – this:

    “The Eighth Commandment

    You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

    What does this mean?

    We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.”

    It is most difficult, lawyers or no lawyers, to believe the identified 4 DP’s (or more) have not utterly failed the most basic catechism class.

    I’d like to think the best of them – I just wish they would think the best of themselves.

    Pax – jb

  26. Carl Vehse
    June 21st, 2013 at 17:46 | #26

    The need for a policy on the use of mailing lists was first raised in the LCMS BOD May 15-17, 2003, Minutes (under para. 111, Board Committee Reports, p. 164).

    Board of Directors Policy 5.7.3, “Mailing Lists of Professional Church Workers and Lay Leaders,” was later proposed and passed in the LCMS BOD August 13-16, 2003, Minutes (under para. 126, Other Action Items, pp. 194-6).

  27. Carl Vehse
    June 21st, 2013 at 17:51 | #27

    This is from the LCMS BOD August 13-16, 2003, Minutes (under para. 126, Other Action Items, pp. 194-6):

    B. Board of Directors List Policy

    At its May 15-17, 2003 meeting, the Policy Review Committee of the Board reviewed Policy 5.7.3, “Mailing Lists of Professional Church Workers and Lay Leaders,” in response to a request from the Board for Communication Services to clarify policy regarding the use of mailing lists. The committee recommended and the Board by formal action instructed the Chief Administrative Officer to meet with the executive directors of the LCMS Foundation and Board for Communication Services and the Secretary of the Synod to study the issue and propose a comprehensive policy for the management of the Synod’s lists.

    Accordingly, the Chief Administrative Officer offered for the Board’s consideration a draft of a new policy for list management. After discussion, the Board adopted the proposed list policy with minor changes via the following resolution.

    Resolved, That Board of Directors Policy 5.7.3 be amended to read as follows:

    5.7.3 OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT OF LISTS

    The two-fold goal of keeping lists is to enhance overall Synod communication and meet regulatory requirements, while protecting individual privacy as requested.

    5.7.3.1 Gathering of Lists
    5.7.3.1.1 Lists are the property of the Synod. This includes all lists created by the Synod or any one of its agencies (Constitution Articles IV and XI
    F). All lists are to be used for the benefit of the Synod and its agencies.

    5.7.3.1.2 The LCMS Board of Directors is custodian (Bylaw 3.185) of all lists and delegates the management of lists according to these policies while maintaining ultimate authority over and responsibility for lists.

    5.7.3.1.3 Lists created independently by synodwide corporate entities, while still the property of the Synod, will be supervised and managed by those agencies.

    5.7.3.2 Management of Lists

    5.7.3.2.1 Lists of the membership of the Synod, convention delegates, elected and appointed leaders, and other volunteers of synodical agencies are the responsibility of the Secretary of the Synod.

    5.7.3.2.1.1 The Rosters and Statistics Unit of corporate Synod shall gather and maintain the mailing list of all Synod members, both voting and individual, on behalf of the Secretary.

    5.7.3.2.1.2 As the list of members of the Synod is public record, the Secretary of the Synod may allow the use of this list for outside entities as long as the Synod is fully reimbursed for its costs and effort and such use is in the Synod’s interest.

    5.7.3.2.2 Lists of subscribers for periodicals and electronic news networks are the responsibility of the Board for Communication Services.

    5.7.3.2.2.1 The Rosters and Statistics Unit of corporate Synod shall also gather a list of other professional workers in the Synod and lay leaders in the congregations including the chairman of the congregation, the chairman of the Elders and the chairpersons of the ministry areas. This list shall be gathered with the understanding that it is for the use of the Synod and will not be limited to the mailing of Reporter.

    5.7.3.2.2.2 The Lutheran Witness list may require additional privacy considerations and will be governed by the Board for
    Communication Services policies regarding The Lutheran Witness list management.

    5.7.3.2.3 Lists of donors are delegated to the LCMS Foundation on behalf of the Board of Directors and the agencies of the Synod (Policy 5.2.6).

    5.7.3.2.3.1 Recognized Service Organizations or other non-synodical organizations with a working relationship with the Synod may be authorized to use donor lists only with the approval of the executive officer of the board to which they relate and the President of the LCMS Foundation.

    5.7.3.2.3.2 Boards or agencies shall not fail to report the use of LCMS donor lists by non-synodical entities to the LCMS Board of Directors.

    5.7.3.2.4 Other lists – Synod employees, vendors, youth, etc., will be governed by the board of the agency maintaining or responsible for the list, with the understanding that lists should be shared whenever possible within the Synod to facilitate communication. As custodian of the lists, the LCMS Board of Directors will settle disputes regarding lists between agencies.

  28. jb
    June 21st, 2013 at 17:54 | #28

    Richard -

    Despite our tussles of the past, I am greatly appreciating your encyclopedic knowledge.

    Pax – jb

  29. Robert Hoffman
    June 21st, 2013 at 18:06 | #29

    LW :@Robert Hoffman #16 Great recommendation. However, if your DP is of Yankee Stadium fame I wouldn’t bother. He has already posted over at ALPB that “reverendo bochinchero” doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    Pardon my ignorance, but “Huh?” ALPB? bochincero? We should always bother.

  30. June 21st, 2013 at 18:07 | #30

    “Carl”:

    Was there not an option to sell the delegate mailing list for the 2013 convention? I thought I saw a price of $500 for any synod organization to buy this list. Given your ability to find things, perhaps you can verify this; either my memory is yet again failing, or this policy may have been violated.

    Then the question is .. did these DP’s pay for these mailing lists? I don’t know if there is any way to find the answer to this question.

  31. Carl Vehse
    June 21st, 2013 at 18:32 | #31

    Here’s the current BOD Policy Manual with Policy 5.7.3 (starting on p. 5-22; p 51 of 71). The policy is dated September 24, 2003.

    As for sale of mailing lists of LCMS members and convention delegates to outside entities, see subsection 5.7.3.2.1.2.

  32. LW
    June 21st, 2013 at 20:02 | #32

    @Robert Hoffman #29
    Sorry for my crassness and blogging assumptions. You are right we should always bother. ALPB is the acronym for American Lutheran Publicity Bureau. They have an online forum. “Bochinchero” is the noun the DP used to name an LCMS pastor. It is apparently Spanish for “gossip.”

  33. Virginia Collison
    June 21st, 2013 at 20:04 | #33

    Norm –

    Yes, I also saw the list for sale. Your memory is not failing.

  34. Martin R. Noland
    June 21st, 2013 at 21:11 | #34

    Dear Carl,

    Thanks very much for finding that information. I think you have found the policy I referred to in my comment #24 above. I do believe that the policy discussions that led to that List Policy in August 2003 is what I remembered.

    I came onto staff at CHI in early 2002, and I think the matter was being discussed in my first couple of meetings with the Council of Administrators. Probably the legal angle was being check by synod’s lawyers, especially regarding the issues of “risk management.” In any event, what you quote in comment #27 are, in my opinion, good policies.

    Carl, you pointed to 5.7.3.2.1.2. It reads regarding use or misuse “as long as . . . such use is in the Synod’s interest.” I do not believe that any mailing which tears down the reputation of any synodical officer, particularly through misinformation, is in the Synod’s interest.

    This type of activity is exactly what synodical officers have accused Herman Otten of, and on that basis, have kept him out of the synod for 50 years. That is hypocrisy with a capital “H.”

    As to who owns the mailing lists:

    5.7.3.1.1 Lists are the property of the Synod. This includes all lists created by the Synod or any one of its agencies (Constitution Articles IV and XI F). All lists are to be used for the benefit of the Synod and its agencies.

    5.7.3.1.2 The LCMS Board of Directors is custodian (Bylaw 3.185) of all lists and delegates the management of lists according to these policies while maintaining ultimate authority over and responsibility for lists.

    This means that both the mailing lists that are maintained by the Secretary of Synod’s office, as well as those acquired and maintained by district offices, are the property of Synod, and the LCMS Board of Directors are the custodians of those lists.

    So as I suspected, this is a matter for the LCMS Board of Directors to take up.

    Is this a matter of “misuse”, or also a matter of “personal use”? Here is how I see it. If the Board of Directors of the C-N-H District authorized the letter that Newton sent out, then that was a “misuse,” but not personal use, because the corporate reps approved it. If he sent the letter without their approval, then it was “personal use” of corporate property and a form of “stealing.” The same principle would apply to the other DPs and Mr. List.

    I think that the damage is done by now, in any event. I hope that the Board of Directors and Council of Presidents takes this up in the Fall, so that we don’t see this sort of scene again. If nothing else, it is totally unprofessional and speaks poorly of portions of “leadership” in our synod.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  35. jb
    June 21st, 2013 at 22:33 | #35

    Fr. Noland -

    We hoped the better, after the “Yankee Stadium” affair.

    Although admittedly not a lawyer in the world by trade (I am, in that other world, like you), I still must understand and teach the 8th Commandment and its meaning.

    John List wrote in his District capacity, and as such, spoke for his DP. That, one cannot contest. So did Prez. Schultz, as I addressed in a comment to Norm’s post.

    We will see this “sort of scene” again (often) because that is the nature of the foe we face. I harbor no illusions wearing the weird shirt I do, nor the Word I preach. Comes with the territory, and if I, as a WCW don’t get that much, who will?

    You and Richard have proven yourselves stalwarts in comments and insights. Will the Church go on under the banner of “Missouri?” Hard to say. But the Church will go on.

    And being there is . . . well being there. Thank you . . . I mean that most sincerely . . .

    jb

  36. Martin R. Noland
    June 23rd, 2013 at 00:03 | #36

    Dear BJS Bloggers,

    Before you add Southern District President Schultz’s name to the list of offenders under this topic, please see my comment here: http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=30974#comment-831387

    That leaves two advocacy letters from district presidents (NOW and CNH), with misinformation about the synodical president; one advocacy letter from a district staff person, with similar misinformation, presumably with the permission of the district president, but perhaps not (FL-GA); and one voting list from a district president (EA).

    I’d say the voting list is the least offensive, since it does not include a “slam” against the president of the synod–at least I didn’t see any. District presidents have been distributing their voting lists as long as I have been ordained, whenever there wasn’t a list from “Bishop & List Interests” or “Jesus First.”

    Before that, there was the “Frey-Lueking” organization in the 1960s that John Tietjen talks about in his memoirs. They sent out letters to members in their group, who wrote down some type of secret code in the Convention Workbook about whom to vote for–and then shared those “special picks” with friends at the convention. Their intent was to fill all synodical offices with “liberals”, and it almost worked.

    The people I really feel sorry for are the laymen and pastors in those districts: NOW, CNH, FL-GA, and EA. I am originally from CNH and I know that when my friends moved out of my hometown to someplace else in CNH or NOW, they often could not find a Bible-believing Lutheran congregation. That is why the DPs in those districts feel so secure–there is a solid majority of pastors (including district licensed lay deacons–does that mean they vote at conventions?) who back them up. Scott Diekmann and Jim Pierce are lay authors at BJS who have plenty of stories to share about NOW, where they live.

    I also know many Midwestern people who planned to retire to FL-GA and had great difficulty finding congregations that practiced close communion, traditional Lutheran hymns and liturgy, affirmed the inerrancy of Scripture, etc. Some of those folks gave up on Florida, and decided to stay in the Midwest.

    So you can’t put all your critical focus on those district presidents. A majority of the congregations and pastors in those districts support them; and really don’t want to follow the rest of the synod in its doctrine and practice. Our “divisions” are heavily weighted in certain districts.

    Again, as I said elsewhere at a BJS post today, these are the “continued aftershocks of the Seminex earthquake.”

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  37. June 23rd, 2013 at 08:03 | #37

    Robert Hoffman :
    I have several beefs here.
    #1 Has anyone who is railing against the District Presidents’ politicing done anything more than just spout about it here?

    Jim, yes, I have written DP Linnemann an open letter expressing my concerns on several points in his instructions to the district electors. As usual, all such correspondence never receives a response. Bottom line is he is just not on a different path he has a different confession. This can be determined by his words concerning the public square and essentially all views are valid, etc. Last time I checked Universalism was not one of our doctrines.

    I believe all such nonsense could be avoided if it was required that to run for DP one had to also be a good theologian, which he obviously isn’t, and I told him so. The ones suffering from the same malaise are basically politicians, not theologians. As some one noted earlier, all one has to do is get along and not rock the boat, at least not too hard. Sad, sad, and more sad.

  38. helen
    June 23rd, 2013 at 15:53 | #38

    @Gene White #37
    I believe all such nonsense could be avoided if it was required that to run for DP one had to also be a good theologian,…

    When you can get to SP by bragging that you are NOT a theologian, there is obviously something rotten in Missouri!

    It looks like, “those who can, learn and teach; those who can’t, run for the bureaucracy”.
    [We need a lot less bureaucracy!]

  39. Rev. David Mueller
    June 24th, 2013 at 15:55 | #39

    It occurs to me that DP Linneman may have gone as far as he did in his e-mail to delegates simply because he is seriously afraid that Harrison won over a significant pile of them at the NW district Q+A last summer, at least partially. I.e., he’s quite worried.

    @helen #38
    Or, to quote the guy running the show with the 2009 BRTFSSG proposals, at the IN Dist. convention: “I’m a bureaucrat, not a theologian.” (Can’t remember his name–just as well.)

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