Proposed Resolutions: Omnibus; Committee 1, Witness (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

July 8th, 2013 Post by

The National Convention of the LCMS will soon be here, July 20-25 in St. Louis. Conventions do two main types of business, elections and resolutions. (For elections, see Biographical Synopses & Statements of Nominees, as well as the recommendations of The United List.)

Today we begin a series of seven articles on the resolutions being proposed by the seven floor committees, offering brief comments on the 116 proposed resolutions.

Throughout, it will be helpful to have at hand these documents for reference:

Today’s Business
Convention Workbook
2010 Handbook

Delegates and non-delegates alike have several ways to give their input on the proposed resolutions before the convention begins. First, you can talk to your circuit’s two elected delegates (one ordained, one lay). Second, you can write to the chairmen of the seven floor committees; their names are listed on page 11 of Today’s Business and page xvii of the Convention Workbook. (You may try e-mail as well as snail mail, since feedback is requested by this Friday, July 12.) Third, you can speak at the open hearings of the floor committees, Saturday morning, July 20, 8:30-noon, at the locations listed on page 10 in Today’s Business.

Many of the 116 proposed resolutions in Today’s Business are “mom and apple pie” resolutions that require little comment. Other resolutions, though, will need to be debated, amended, substituted for, or, in a very few cases, defeated.

OMNIBUS RESOLUTIONS (TB, pp. 42-47)

Omnibus resolutions are catch-all categories that collect and list a number of overtures that the floor committees decided not to deal with in separate resolutions. Today’s Business includes three such omnibus resolutions, A, B. and C.

A: That the following overtures be referred to the designated board, commission, or individual

Noteworthy overtures referred away: Ovs. 4-18, 4-19, 4-21 (all passed by districts), all of which would rescind 2004 Res. 3-08A, “The Service of Women.” Ovs. 4-47, 4-48, and 4-49, all of which would not allow participation in interfaith prayer services.

B: That petitioners offering the following overtures be referred to previous convention action as indicated

Referred away: Ov. 6-25. Yes, there was previous action, but this was an overture for this convention to act on, which it could, namely, to overrule CCM Opinion 02-2309 on ecclesiastical supervision.

C: That the following overtures be received as expressions of encouragement or gratitude

Encouragement/Thanks resolutions usually sail through, even though one could nitpick here or there.

1. WITNESS (TB, pp. 48-59)

1-01: To Highlight and Strengthen the Global Seminary Initiative

Excellent! What opportunities! This is Missouri’s moment, especially in providing theological education worldwide.

1-02: To Recognize and Give Thanks for Missionaries and Their Families

Should pass by acclamation, none opposed.

1-03: To Develop and Engage in a Synodwide Study of a Lutheran Theological Statement of Mission for the 21st Century

A campaign for the whole synod to study and be involved in the mission of the church. Will pass.

1-04: To Encourage Church Multiplication as Means of Making New Disciples

Plant new churches. Will pass.

1-05: To Free the Congregations and People of the LCMS for the Joy of Evangelization and the Making New Disciples

Let’s all do something to evangelize. Will pass.

1-06: To Amend Bylaw 6.2.1 (d) re Sending Workers to Foreign Mission Fields

All RSOs and auxiliaries of LCMS doing mission work shall abide by policies of BIM. Could be controversial for some who do not want to be bound by our synod’s policies.

1-07: To Support The Wittenberg Project for the Quincentennial Celebration of the Lutheran Reformation

Encourage support. Will pass.

1-08: To Work Together in Mission

Coordinate mission efforts, share best practices.

1-09: To Prepare LCMS Congregations and Pastors for Defense of Our Christian Faith

Publish and study materials on confessing the faith.

1-10: To Develop Spanish and Multi-Lingual Capabilities in the Synod

Require CUS, seminary, and continuing ed. church-work students to learn Spanish or another immigrant language. “Require”??

1-11: To Recruit and Place More Career Missionaries

We need more missionaries. Will pass.

1-12: To Recognize and Give Thanks for Military and Institutional Chaplains

Acclamation. 100%.

1-13: To Designate District Coordinators for Prison Ministry

Although New Testament verses about “visiting those in prison” likely referred to persecuted Christians who were arrested, this will pass.

1-14: To Advance Native American Ministry

Will pass.

1-15: To Encourage Further Support for Campus Ministry

Will pass.

1-16: To Encourage Captioning of All Video Materials

Will pass.

1-17: To Respectfully Decline Overtures

Ov. 1-15: University of Minnesota issue already resolved by district.

Next time: Committee 2, Mercy.






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  1. Harry Edmon
    July 8th, 2013 at 15:42 | #1

    I wrote the floor committee about 1-05. I want to know what we are being freed from. I also wrote about 1-10 and suggested they make it a “strongly encouraged” rather than “required”. It is easy to add a “required” without having to decide what will be “dropped” to make room for it in the curriculum. The faculties of the institutions are better positioned to decide if it should be a requirement.

  2. Pastor Roepke
    July 8th, 2013 at 15:53 | #2

    We do need to be careful about our wording. Resolution 1-08. The use of the phrase “share best practices” are used by government and corporations. We are a church, let us use church words. Also what works as a “Best practice in Florida” might not be a best practice in Iowa.

  3. July 8th, 2013 at 16:03 | #3

    Pastor Roepke: We do need to be careful about our wording. Resolution 1-08. The use of the phrase “share best practices”. . . .

    I too am wary of the term “best practices.” It has become a buzzword in church-growth circles, and it often refers to what I would call some of the “worst practices” in the LCMS. However, in this context, in this resolution, it does not necessarily appear to be carrying that freight. But it’s a question to ask of the floor committee, i.e.: “What specifically do you mean by ‘best practices’”?

  4. Carl Vehse
    July 8th, 2013 at 16:23 | #4

    1-04: To Encourage Church Multiplication as Means of Making New Disciples
    Plant new churches. Will pass.

    BTW, in 2004, the LCMS determined to start 2000 new churches by 2017. Between 2004 and 2013, the number of churches remained essentially the same.

    1-05: To Free the Congregations and People of the LCMS for the Joy of Evangelization and the Making New Disciples
    Let’s all do something to evangelize. Will pass.

    Includes, “Resolved, That all LCMS districts, circuits, congregations, and their baptized members be freed to work collaboratively at every level; to sponsor any of the following: a missionary, a church plant, a specialized ministry, or a mission; and to give due time and support to their chosen initiative(s)”

    When were LCMS districts, circuits, congregations, and their baptized members ever NOT free to do this?!?

    Also includes, “Resolved, That this convention direct the Office of National Mission to work aggressively to increase awareness of its services and resources…”

    Who writes this stuff?

    1-06: To Amend Bylaw 6.2.1 (d) re Sending Workers to Foreign Mission Fields
    All RSOs and auxiliaries of LCMS doing mission work shall abide by policies of BIM. Could be controversial for some who do not want to be bound by our synod’s policies.

    Bylaw 6.2.1 (d) to be changed to: All RSO and auxiliary personnel serving overseas, contracted and called, including missionaries, shall abide by the protocol documents that exist between the LCMS and its partner churches and shall abide by policies established by the Board for International Mission.

    This would include secret agreements, considered to be “privilege communications,” between the heads of the church bodies, documents which a missionary may not even have access to – a Catch-22 situation.

    Also, how would this bylaw change affect Rev. James May, and has he stated his view of it?

    1-07: To Support The Wittenberg Project for the Quincentennial Celebration of the Lutheran Reformation
    Encourage support. Will pass.

    This involves collaboration with a number of church bodies with whom we are not in fellowship. An amendment should be added requiring openness regarding all of the presumably external activities (especially for the Reformation anniversary) and financial dealings between the agreement parties.

  5. July 8th, 2013 at 16:35 | #5

    Resolution 1-05 needs to be tied in with the doctrine of Vocation. That’s where bearing witness and open doors to proclaim the gospel begin.

  6. July 8th, 2013 at 17:53 | #6

    Carl Vehse:

    BTW, in 2004, the LCMS determined to start 2000 new churches by 2017. Between 2004 and 2013, the number of churches remained essentially the same. . . .

    When were LCMS districts, circuits, congregations, and their baptized members ever NOT free to do this?!? . . .

    Who writes this stuff?

    But these resolutions make us feel good! They sound like we’re going to do something. “Hey, look, we’ve got some good goals!”

    Well, sometimes something gets done. Sometimes not.

  7. July 8th, 2013 at 18:04 | #7

    “1-11: To Recruit and Place More Career Missionaries

    We need more missionaries. Will pass.”

    What we REALLY need is to drag families through a year of elaborate and expensive application for missionary service only to unilaterally can them at the last minute completely independent of the knowledge or counsel of the regional director requesting the call.

  8. GaiusKurios
    July 9th, 2013 at 09:02 | #8

    1-05 Freed to work….. I see this as giving the green light for all type of unionistic endeavors. They want to be “freed” so like in Newtown CT and Yankee Stadium we can participate with all manner of other religions. I can see a number of new “missions” starting up with Muslims, Romans, Mormon, etc.

  9. John Rixe
    July 9th, 2013 at 09:16 | #9

    I can see a number of new “missions” starting up with Muslims, Romans, Mormon, etc.

    Respectfully this comment is goofy.

  10. wineonthevines
    July 9th, 2013 at 10:20 | #10

    Why is it that Enthusiasm, which “inheres in Adam and his childrren” seems to come out in spades at synodical conventions?

  11. Carl Vehse
    July 9th, 2013 at 10:22 | #11

    “Respectfully this comment is goofy.”

    Such an oxymoronic assertion about GaiusKurios’ comment is itself goofy. Res. 1-05, if passed, could indeed be used by LCMS Lufauxrans for unionistic or syncretic activities, since they know the possibility of any ecclesiastical supervision is minute.

    Also, besides GaiusKurios’ reference to Newtown and YS, there is the LCMS’s secret (as privileged communications) partnership agreement with the EECMY, through which we are supplying a LCMS missionary, Carl Rockrohr, to be EECMY Seminary School of Theology Dean.

    While this is occurring the EECMY, on its website, Christian-Muslim Relations Program, with the approval of its President and General Secretary (who is also a rostered LCMS member), declares among its objectives as a church – “To strengthen ecumenical efforts and to promote the “Program for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa” (ProCMuRA).”

    And the EECMY also lists among its Christian-Muslim Relations Program activities: “Training of ministers of both religions.” Thus LCMS-rostered General Secretary Berhanu Ofgaa and LCMS missionary Rockrohr, as a EECMY seminary dean, may be helping to promote islamoterrorism.

  12. helen
    July 9th, 2013 at 10:40 | #12

    @GaiusKurios #8
    I see this as giving the green light for all type of unionistic endeavors.

    Your more dire predictions may come later. First, (probably through “Koinonia”) I’d guess they want synodical convention approval for willowcreek, (Bill Hybels) saddleback (Rick Warren) and all the other non Lutheran materials and speakers that our leadership, bureaucracy (and under educated laity) are so enthusiastic about! :(

  13. John Rixe
    July 9th, 2013 at 10:42 | #13

    @Carl Vehse #11

    So you also see a number of new LCMS “missions” starting up with Muslims, Romans, Mormons, etc? This is indeed breaking news.

    I’m guessing 1.05 will easily pass and promptly be forgotten.

  14. Carl Vehse
    July 9th, 2013 at 11:40 | #14

    @John Rixe #13: “So you also see a number of new LCMS “missions” starting up with Muslims, Romans, Mormons, etc?”

    In the context of Resolution 1-05′s references to “a missionary” and a “specialized ministry” (noted in Post #4), and the discussion and EECMY links provided in Post #11, such “mission” activity is already going on. If Resolution 1-05 passes, it is possible that more of these kinds of activities would be done.

  15. John Rixe
    July 9th, 2013 at 13:27 | #15

    @Carl Vehse #14

    Quite a leap.  I believe that “Training of ministers of both religions”  refers to training in conflict management and prevention.  Context please.  

    If LCMS missionaries are helping to train folks in islamoterrorism, I agree this should be discouraged. :)

  16. Carl Vehse
    July 9th, 2013 at 14:12 | #16

    @John Rixe #15: “I believe that “Training of ministers of both religions” refers to training in conflict management and prevention.”

    There doesn’t appear to be any evidence of your narrow interpretation on the EECMY websites. From the two links I provided in Post #11, the EECMY Christian-Muslim Relations Program does have activities “[a]ddressing potential conflict areas and developing response mechanisms,” but these are separate from the “training of ministers of both religions,” as well as dialogue forums and interfaith committees.

    BTW, I didn’t say LCMS missionaries would be “helping to train folks in islamoterrorism,” but rather “helping to promote islamoterrorism.” LCMS missionaries would promote islamoterrorism by simply being directly associated, as a dean, with a [non-LCMS partner church] seminary who is involved in Islamic training.

  17. John Rixe
    July 9th, 2013 at 15:01 | #17

    http://www.eecmy.org/?home=cmr&page=cmr-activities

    My narrow interpretation seems to make more sense than your broad interpretation , but let the BJS’rs decide. :)

  18. Joe Strieter
    July 10th, 2013 at 08:19 | #18

    Carl Vehse’s “Who writes this stuff?” (See #4 above) says it all. We can posture, bloviate, argue, discuss, debate all we want, but “Who writes this stuff?” works for me. “K-I-S-S” strikes again!

    Nice job, Carl

  19. Chryst
    July 10th, 2013 at 10:36 | #19

    I think the most controversial of these (committee 1) resolutions will be 1-06.

    Some interesting discussion of it here:

    http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=4951.msg306765#msg306765

  20. Carl Vehse
    July 10th, 2013 at 11:02 | #20

    Resolution 1-06: To Amend Bylaw 6.2.1 (d) re Sending Workers to Foreign Mission Fields, which includes revising Bylaw 6.2.1 (d) giving complete authority to the Board for International Mission (BIM) over all mission work by RSOs and auxillaries (see Post #4). Res. 1-06 is based on Overture 1-11 (2013 Convention Workbook, p. 138).

    Overture 1-11 was submitted by (surprise, surprise) the BIM (Chairman: Rev. Bernhard Seter).

    Floor Commitee 1 members include:
    District President Chairman: James Baneck (ND);
    District President: Vice chair: Daniel May (IN); John Denninger (SE); Dwayne Lueck (NW); Dean Nadasdy (MNS); Roger Paavola (MDS);
    Synodical Vice Presdient: Daniel Preus (MO);
    Voting Ordained Ministers: Eric Andrae (EA); Ruben Dominguez (TX); Brandon Jones (PSW); Keith Lingsch (FG); Jeffrey Ries (NOW);
    Voting Laymen and Laylady: Neal Breitbarth (MNS); Martha Mahlburg (MI); Gerhard Mundinger, Jr. (SO);
    Advisory Ordained Minister: Ted Krey (EN);
    Advisory Commissioined Minister: Duane Nyen (RM).

  21. Jason
    July 10th, 2013 at 14:20 | #21

    Resolution 1-06 is stirring LHM and LWML. (my wife got back form their convention, told me what conversations she had, even called me while there to inform her of what the synodical convention will be doing)

    I am trying to remember where I heard this (I want to say at a dinner with Herb Mueller, which would seem logical at a meet and greet…), but part of a background is when different entities of the synod try to do their OWN mission work, and the next thing you know there are three LC-MS congregations within ten blocks of each other on foreign soil. The partner body (in Africa I think) is trying to figure out what’s up, and who they should dialogue with, i.e. who has authority or is the ranking member. Doesn’t make us look good.

    And also, just how much independence do RSO’s and Auxiliaries want? Enough freedom/license to not be LC-MS any more? I thought part of the Kieshnick restructuring was to eliminate silo ministry, and have us work together as one? I think LHM (being International LLL) does certain things, and I hear PLI tries to brand beyond the U.S. And the liberals kvetch about BJS and ACELC being synods within the synod…. really….

    And our favorite DP posted a few things that I don’t think help, may be a bit inflammatory:
    http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=4951.msg306300#msg306300
    http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=4951.msg306309#msg306309

    I personally do not have a problem with 1-06. But I am only advisory, so I do not have a vote to screw something up. ;)

  22. Carl Vehse
    July 10th, 2013 at 14:38 | #22

    @Jason #21 : “… the next thing you know there are three LC-MS congregations within ten blocks of each other on foreign soil.”

    Is that a concerned theoretical prediction on your part or from someone else, or were you told that such a situation has already occurred in a foreign country?

    Also does Bylaw 6.2.1 (d) [see Post #4 above] give BIM control of the financial components of RSO/Auxilliary mission efforts in other countries.

  23. Jason
    July 10th, 2013 at 14:47 | #23

    @Carl Vehse #22

    I heard it actually happened, but since I can’t remember , I can’t verify the accuracy of my details. But let us play with the hypothetical. In that, do individual states ratify treaties with other countries, or is that power vested only in the federal government, and in the Congress through the personages of the President and Sec. of State? It is shifting where the decision gets made, and who makes it. On the surface, I don’t see much difference, and there might be a better reason for the higher level to do so. And I know there are some side issues, as well. I think this resolution will have more emotional rhetoric than reasoned logic.

    P.S. I am also thinking along the lines of PLI having delusions of being a third seminary, to train pastors in skills the other two haven’t. Is that working together or working against? Considering what’s on their reading list, I’d be inclined to think the latter.

  24. Carl Vehse
    July 10th, 2013 at 15:25 | #24

    As it specifically refers to the Board for International Mission (BIM), Bylaw 6.2.1 (d) would appear to deal with foreign mission efforts instead of national ones. This bylaw would not be applicable for a domestic PLI seminary.

    Since the Synod is an advisory body (per Art. VII) a LCMS member church could open and support a Lutheran mission right next door to a BIM-supported mission, presuming both are in compliance with that country’s regulations, unless some secret (another concern!) LCMS partnership agreement with a (fellowship or non-fellowship) Lutheran church body in that country has legal standing in that country.

    If there are conflicts between two nearby missions or their sponsors, then that can be settled through the existing ecclesiastical supervision bylaws within the LCMS.

    Given the history of Rev. James May, his experiences in Kenya with the courts, ELCK officials, and his DP, Bylaw 6.2.1 (d) should be a concern.

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