Proposed Resolutions: Committee 2, Mercy (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

July 9th, 2013 Post by

At every convention, whether district or national, there are always a large number of what I call “mom and apple pie” resolutions. They usually go something like this:

To Encourage Good Things

RESOLUTION 9-999

WHEREAS, Our committee has to come up with some resolutions that will sound nice and will pass easily; and

WHEREAS, Good things are good; and

WHEREAS, Mom and apple pie are outstanding examples of good things; therefore be it

Resolved, That we encourage everyone to go out and do good things, including, but not limited to, the thanking of moms and the eating of apple pies; and be it further

Resolved, That the President of Synod appoint a Blue Ribbon Task Force for the Study and Promotion of Good Things (BRTFSPGT), which shall report their findings to the 2016 convention; and be it finally

Resolved, That we all rise and sing the Common Doxology.

Action: Adopted, 999-1.

Now these “mom and apple pie” resolutions have their place. I’m not speaking against them.

At the same, it should be noted that there may also be a few resolutions that sound “mom and apple pie-ish,” but could carry some hidden freight that is not so good. For instance, a resolution commending this or that agency that does a lot of good work–if that agency were also to be rather liberal in its practices and policies, then delegates may want to be cautious about commending it. On the other hand, though, there’s also the problem of nit-picking. You may not agree with 100% of what some agency has done, but is it worth having a floor fight over? Maybe yes, maybe no. It depends on the particulars.

With those prefatory remarks, we move on to Committee 2, Mercy (TCFKAHC, The Committee Formerly Known As Human Care). As mentioned last time, you can find the proposed resolutions in Today’s Business.

2. MERCY (TB, pp. 60-68)

2-01: To Commend and Give Thanks for the Work of LCMS Disaster Response

Will pass easily.

2-02: To Give Thanks and Praise to God for LIRS 75th Anniversary

Will pass, but perhaps not as easily.

2-03: To Give Thanks to God and Encourage Support for the Ministries of Lutheran Services in American and Lutheran World Relief

Likewise, will pass, but not as easily. There may be some liberal things to criticize in these agencies.

2-04: To Commend the LCMS National Housing Support Corporation

Will pass.

2-05: To Allow Extension of Calls to Specialized Pastoral Ministers

Would allow BNM to serve as a calling agency for institutional chaplains, etc. Will pass.

2-06: To Encourage a Strong Finish of the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI) and Give Thanks for the Effect LMI Has Made in the Global Fight to End Malaria-Related Deaths in Africa

Will pass.

2-07: To Emphasize Biblical Teaching of Sexuality, Marriage and Family

Much needed in our society. Will pass, strongly.

2-08: To Challenge Congregations to Engage in Works of Mercy in Their Communities

Encourage congregations to put mercy into practice. Will pass.

2-09: To Encourage Christian Citizenship and Vigilance

Synod’s “Religious Liberty: Free to Be Faithful” campaign. Increasingly important in our society now.

2-10: To Speak Out Against Violence in the United States

We’re against violence.

2-11: To Encourage Districts and Congregations to Utilize the Planting Gospel Seeds While Serving Human Needs Training Process

Program to help congregations reach out in their immediate neighborhoods.

Next time: Committee 3, Life Together.






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  1. July 9th, 2013 at 15:45 | #1

    Question: are any of these resolutions geared toward a stronger committment to exclusively confessional, Lutheran theology? I realize that this is the Mercy section, and that more is set for the practice of faith, but there seems to be (like in much of evangelicalism) a presumption of doctrinal soundness without any seeming need to reinforce that doctrine.

  2. Carl Vehse
    July 9th, 2013 at 15:47 | #2

    Floor Committee 2:
    Chairman: David Benke (AT);
    District Presidents: Vice chair: Kenneth Hennings (TX); Carl Krueger, Jr. (SELC); Robert Newton (CNH);
    Voting Ordained Ministers: Karl Fabrizius (SW); John Foelber, Sr. (SE); Christopher Maronde (IW); Matthew Rueger (IE); Timothy Winterstein (MNN); Gary Zieroth (MNS);
    Voting Laymen… oops, “Laypeople”: Larry Chenault (NJ); Gregg Hein (MT); Janet Simko (MDS);
    Advisory Commissioned Minnster: Richard Krueger (MI).

    Lord, have mercy!

  3. Jason
    July 9th, 2013 at 15:48 | #3

    @J. Dean #1

    read this over at ALPB… don’t remember who the original author is…

    The Gospel assumed (presumed?) is the Gospel denied.

  4. Carl Vehse
    July 9th, 2013 at 16:06 | #4

    2-10: To Speak Out Against Violence in the United States

    Resolved, That during the next triennium the Office of National Mission produce materials to assist pastors, 42 teachers, and parents in speaking out against violence and promoting a culture of Life (John 1:4–5, 14:6).

    One hopes such materials will not be like the LCMS/CPH “Responding to Tragedy” claptrap that followed the Virginia Tech murders in 2007, including the CPH Youth Study Guide, “Guns and Teens – But I need Protection!,” which was little more than leftist propaganda lies that could have resulted in a LCMS church or school using it being liable for the consequences of its misuse.

    Maybe ONM could produce materials helping LCMS members support Second Amendment rights, like the LCMS supports First Amendment rights.

  5. Carl Vehse
    July 9th, 2013 at 16:22 | #5

    Bring the following overture (2013 Convention Workbook, p. 146) to the convention floor for approval by the delegates:

    Overture 2-06: To Remove RSO Status of Lutheran Child and Office of National Mission and Family Services of Illinois

  6. GaiusKurios
    July 9th, 2013 at 16:35 | #6

    My question is why do these type of resolutions even make it to the floor. Most are just a waste of time and do they really make people “feel good”. These are the type of resolutions that would make me as a delegate ask why am I wasting my time and money coming to this. The sad thing is that time will be wasted on these resolutions but reslutions where there should be time and effort spent will be short changed.

  7. Carl Vehse
    July 9th, 2013 at 16:47 | #7

    From the way floor committees trashcanned or sidelined a number of overtures, the indications are that any decision activities, other than rubberstamping by the delegates, are to be done instead by the Violet Vatican or a designated commission.

  8. Robert
    July 9th, 2013 at 19:13 | #8

    Please note that Floor Committee 2, in the same year in which the US Supreme Court rejected a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (1996), REJECTED Overture 2-05, which affirms traditional, biblical marriage.

    You read that right.

    From here, I see no resolution specifically affirming marriage, apart from the “God’s Gift of Sexuality Task Force” (one member of the Task Force advocates oral sex and sex toys among married couples, and believes that sex ed is part of the Great Commission), which is constituted to “to help people rediscover God’s design for sexuality and to provide hope and healing for those struggling with same-sex attraction,” according to Task Force chairman Rev. Kevin A. Karner.

    Personally, I look forward to reading Bible studies, reports, analysis, etc., that condemn me for homophobia and lack of love towards persons with same-sex attraction, as well as encouraging me to become more open to the gay and lesbian community. (sarcasm off)

    Is this still The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod?

  9. July 9th, 2013 at 20:42 | #9

    GaiusKurios: My question is why do these type of resolutions even make it to the floor. Most are just a waste of time. . . .

    It’s not just this convention, it’s most every convention (national or district) I’ve ever been to. Most floor committees try to write–or end up writing without really trying–resolutions that are relatively inoffensive and will pass by a wide majority.

    Another factor: The Synodocrats and the committees think, “What are all the good programs we’re doing that we want to call attention to? Let’s get a resolution that will feature that.” And so there’s a “thank” or “commend” or “support” resolution drawn up, it passes with 95+% of the vote, and the missionaries or the chaplains or the disaster team comes out on the stage and the people stand and give them a big ovation.

  10. July 9th, 2013 at 20:47 | #10

    @Robert #8

    If people want to see that overture resurrected, or the proposed resolution strengthened, then they should write to the committee chairman, preferably by Friday, and/or talk to any delegates they know, and express their concerns and what they would like to see done.

  11. Carl Vehse
    July 9th, 2013 at 21:06 | #11

    Rev. Jack Cascione’s Reclaim News describes the upcoming LCMS convention.

    “The 2013 LCMS Convention is over before it began. The undelegates can’t vote for the President, who now has all the power. All the resolutions are choreographed by the Floor Committees. “Controversial” resolutions are to be referred to Synodical boards for later consideration in closed session. In short, like the ELCA, the LCMS Convention is now a staged formality hardly worth attending.”

    … except possibly for singing “Kum Ba Yah” a cappella after rubberstamping some resolutions.

  12. Joe Strieter
    July 10th, 2013 at 08:32 | #12

    Am I missing something here? Nothing on abortion? Or is that someplace else?

  13. Carl Vehse
    July 10th, 2013 at 09:02 | #13

    In 2013: Today’s Business the word, “abortion,” is mentioned once in one of the six WHEREAS sections of Resolution 2-09 (p. 66) and once in one of the three WHEREAS sections in Resolution 2-10 (p. 67).

    Abortion is not mentioned in any of the Resolved sections of any of the Resolutions listed in 2013: Today’s Business .

    Resolution 2-09 hawks the Violet Vatican‘s “Religious Liberty: Free To Be Faithful” campaign and Resolution 2-10 resolves that the ONM crank out more literature speaking out against violence (which includes the mentioned “abortion industry,” but not pro-abortion politicians, judges, the fifth-column lamestream media, and political parties).

  14. Brad
    July 10th, 2013 at 10:31 | #14

    This strikes me as a tremendous waste of time and money.

    Makes me wonder why we can’t re-vamp our “conventions” to be more like the ancient councils, which only convene to decide matters of substance, and only under the Word of God.

    Of course, hard to justify, staff and fund a beauracracy when they only get together to do what’s necessary, and only when it’s needed.

  15. Jason
    July 10th, 2013 at 14:39 | #15

    Well, Pres. Harrison has to put some of these guys somewhere, especially the ones with too much political clout to simply ignore. This committee seems to minimize the amount of damage they can do, but they still try. So yes, I am not surprised with how limp-wristed some of these resolutions became. Of the 3 DP’s on here I know enough about, this is all completely predictable.

    Resolution 2-05 is causing angst in my neck of the woods. It is placing the calling of chaplain in the Synod headquarters, thereby taking it away form the districts and local congregations. I can see some necessary liabilities for doing this, but I get tired of all the Kieshnick supporters moan about St. Louis power grabs, because I think it is that their guy wasn’t reelected. You know, the same SP the cheerleaders were commending for his Blue Ribbon Restructuring, and detractors accused of a power grab. Seems roles have reverse. I guess it is whose ox is getting gored.

  16. Carl Vehse
    July 10th, 2013 at 14:55 | #16

    @Jason #15: “It is placing the calling of chaplain in the Synod headquarters, thereby taking it away form the districts and local congregations”

    That was a particularly weird decision, like assigning a general to the Pentagon in case the military people working there need someone to salute.

    “Seems roles have reverse. I guess it is whose ox is getting gored.”

    Or who now owns the ox, like Bylaw paragraph 3.9.5.2.2 (c).

  17. July 12th, 2013 at 13:45 | #17

    I have issue with the final resolve of RESOLUTION 2-03:

    That the Synod encourage congregations and individuals to support the mercy ministries of LSA and LWR through fervent prayer and generous giving of their time, treasures, and talents.

    I have no problem praying for anyone, especially when they are in need of our prayers, however my issue is centered on the encouragement of congregations and individuals supporting LWR with the generous giving of their time, treasures, and talents. I find it very difficult to financially support an organization that is clearly operating, theologically speaking, apart from God’s Word. We as a Synod should not support their false practices.

    Am I alone here?

  18. John Rixe
    July 12th, 2013 at 15:03 | #18

    @Jim Kress #17

    You are not alone. Please scan the article and comments

    http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=16481

  19. July 13th, 2013 at 12:14 | #19

    Yesterday I sent my comments to Chairman Benke and asked him to send them along to the other members of the committee, but he wrote me back and said that he would not do that. So just now I have sent the following e-mail to all the committee members (except the lay members, since I don’t have edresses for them), and to Secretary Hartwig:

    Dear members of Committee 2 (except the lay members, since I don’t have edresses for them) and Secretary Hartwig,

    Yesterday I sent Chairman Benke my comments on the proposed resolutions from Committee 2, and I requested, “Please send them along to the other members of the committee.”

    This is the reply that I received from Chairman Benke today:

    “I have received what you describe as ‘comments’ concerning resolutions to be brought forward by the Mercy floor committee. All but two are predictions of the resolution’s passage, and none offer any words that would necessitate sending them along to other members of the committee, so I will simply thank you for your thoughts.”

    I don’t think Chairman Benke’s refusal to pass along my responses is appropriate. Bylaw 3.1.8.1, section (a), states that responses to proposed resolutions should be submitted to the chairman at least one week prior to the convention, which I did. Section (b) then adds that the floor committee shall review such responses. But if the chairman doesn’t let you see those responses, how can you review them?

    Now, admittedly, out of all seven committees, Committee 2’s proposed resolutions probably require the least response. There is not much here that will be controversial, and in those cases, my comment may only be “Will pass.” But that at least tells you that I think it won’t face much of a challenge. Where I think a resolution may face more of a challenge, I say that it may not pass as easily or that it could be controversial. There’s no harm in letting you review those comments, and it won’t take much of your time.

    And I do think there are at least a couple of your resolutions that could face a challenge. For instance, a resolution commending this or that agency that does a lot of good work–if that agency were also to be rather liberal in its practices and policies, then delegates may want to be cautious about commending it. (See, e.g., my comments on Res. 2-03.) On the other hand, though, there’s also the problem of nit-picking. A person may not agree with 100% of what some agency has done, but is it worth having a floor fight over? Maybe yes, maybe no. It depends on the particulars.

    I don’t have e-mail addresses for the lay members of your committee, so please make sure that all members receive my responses. And you may ask Chairman Benke if there are other responses he is keeping from you.

    So with that, I now send to you my responses to your proposed resolutions. . . .

  20. Carl Vehse
    July 13th, 2013 at 12:36 | #20

    @Charles Henrickson #19 : “Yesterday I sent my comments to Chairman Benke and asked him to send them along to the other members of the committee, but he wrote me back and said that he would not do that.”

    Such a refusal is yet another example of John 3:20.

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