Proposed Resolutions: Committee 4, Theology and Church Relations (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

July 10th, 2013 Post by

We continue our journey through the seven floor committees. Committee chairmen would like to receive feedback by this Friday, if possible. Here again are documents that may come in handy for reference:

Today’s Business
Convention Workbook
2010 Handbook

4. THEOLOGY AND CHURCH RELATIONS (TB, pp. 84-99)

4-01: To Endorse Altar and Pulpit Fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Liberia

Fellowship with Liberia was recommended by CTCR and declared by President Harrison.

4-02: To Endorse Altar and Pulpit Fellowship with the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church

Liberia, Siberia. . . . What about Iberia? Seriously, there are some good things going on in Siberia.

4-03: To Recognize Lutheran Church of Togo as an Independent, Self-Governing Partner Church

Togo is good to go. BIM and CTCR recommend recognition of ELT as a partner church of the LCMS.

4-04: To Affirm Growing Mutual Relationships among International Lutheran Church Bodies

Ethiopia, e.g. Lots of opportunities opening up.

4-05: To Encourage Further Discussion with Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and Evangelical Lutheran Synod

Opportunities for discussion opening up with former members of the Synodical Conference.

4-06: To Address Questions re Service Apart from AC XIV

Does not end or phase out licensed lay deacon programs, as called for in many overtures (e.g., 4-29, 4-30. 4-31, 4-32, 4-33, 4-34, 4-37, 4-38, 4-41, 4-45, L4-74). President to establish task force to study issue, develop plan to resolve it, and report to 2016 convention. Of course, if delegates decide to take action now to end, phase out. or at least limit, district lay deacon programs, they may do so. At a minimum, Resolution 4-06 could be amended by adding a final “Resolved” such as this: “Resolved, That no new persons be admitted into district lay deacon programs between now and the 2016 convention.” For more on this issue, see my article in the July 2013 Lutheran Clarion, “Lay Deacons: Kicking the Can Down the Road?”

4-07: To Address the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod Rostered Workers Communing at Heterodox Altars

LCMS church workers should not commune at ELCA altars. Liberals will oppose this one.

4-08: To Retain Trinitarian Formula When Baptizing

Don’t change the words.

4-09: To Overrule Commission on Constitutional Matters Opinion “Interpretation of Constitution Article VI 2 b” (11-2598 CW pp. 300-303)

The CCM was wrong on this one. Receiving the Sacrament at a heterodox altar is indeed a violation of Article VI. This opinion should be overruled. Expect the liberals to oppose this resolution. (For more on this resolution and the CCM opinion it would overturn, see Pr. Martin Noland’s BJS post–and Lutheran Clarion article–“Word of God Determines Doctrine, Not Commission on Constitutional Matters.”)

4-10: To Encourage Proper Oversight in the Administration of the Lord’s Supper by Visitation from Ecclesiastical Supervisors

Visitation should see that admission to the Lord’s Supper is being done properly.

4-11: To Request Commission on Theology and Church Relations Study of Proper Role of Men in the Church and Home

Help men fulfill their responsibilities in home, church, and society.

4-12: To Thank God for the Faithful Service of Women

Calls attention to ways in which women can serve, and have served, in the church.

4-13: To Encourage Confession and Absolution for Pastors

Help pastors find other pastors who will hear their confession and offer absolution.

4-14: To Clarify the Doctrine of the Call

Called workers and congregations need to be clear on their mutual expectations and bear with one another.

4-15: To Reaffirm Synod’s Position on Creation

Versus evolution and its detrimental effects on marriage, family, and society.

4-16: To Respectfully Decline Overtures

Declines Ov. 4-06, which would restore fellowship declarations to convention. Give more time to new way.

Next time: Committee 5, Seminary and University Education.






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  1. Carl Vehse
    July 10th, 2013 at 17:00 | #1

    4-02Vote NO or table until clarification is made.

    4-04 – Add a Resolved to disclose the details of the 2010 partnership agreement with the EECMY and to answer why a LCMS rostered minister is allowed to be a member of a church that is not in A&P felowship with the LCMS and who also promotes pastrixes and training of Muslim clerics. Don’t be deflected with tapdancing and spindoctoring. Abstain from voting on this if the chair stonewalls.

    4-07 and 4-09 – Expect liberal antics; take names; know your Robert’s Rules of Order; and vote “YES” on this two resolutions.

    4-14 – The WHEREAS sections sound more like legalese on removing a called worker, rather than doctrine of the call. And nowhere is the understanding in Kirche und Amt mentioned (Why am I not surprised?).

    4-16 – Shame on Committee 4. Put Overture 4-06 back on the floor as a resolution, add Resolved that Floor Committees are not allowed sideline overtures using the excuse, “Give more time,” and vote to revoke Bylaw 3.9.5.2.2(c)!!

  2. Scott Yakimow
    July 10th, 2013 at 21:37 | #2

    Re: Article VI, in the phrase “[t]aking part in the services and sacramental rites,” the “taking part” grammatically must be of the same force with respect to both “the services” and the “sacramental rites” which are connected by the coordinating conjunction, “and”. This means that if lay participation in the sacramental rites of a congregation is simply receiving communion from, say, an ELCA congregation, then the former prohibition must also prohibit even attending the service of that same ELCA congregation as a layman or observer. Or perhaps, at best, one could sit in the sanctuary but couldn’t sing, pray, etc without then “taking part in the services” of that congregation.

    And that makes no sense as we have never prohibited people from singing, praying, and otherwise taking part in the services of an ELCA congregation (or any other Christian congregation) in a lay capacity.

    Rather, what does make sense is that the prohibition of “taking part in the services” refers to leading the services. This would mean that the second part re: sacramental rites refers to presiding or otherwise participating in the distribution of the Lord’s Supper.

    This is what can be said regarding the language in the constitution, it seems to me. Other actions the synod may want to take can be taken, but I don’t see an appeal to the constitution being determinative here regarding lay reception of the sacrament.

    Cheers.

  3. Carl Vehse
    July 10th, 2013 at 22:16 | #3

    @Scott Yakimow #2 : “Or perhaps, at best, one could sit in the sanctuary but couldn’t sing, pray, etc without then “taking part in the services” of that congregation.”

    That was done when a Missouri Synod church youth group studying doctrinal difference between Christian churches visited a number of Protestant and Roman churches (in addition to attending our own Lutheran church). I did the same when visiting a number of non-Lutheran churches and cathedrals in Europe.

  4. Joe Strieter
    July 11th, 2013 at 09:48 | #4

    Res. 4-15. As Clara Peller would have said, “Where’s the beef?” Or more appropriately, “Where’s the teeth?” This resolution is indeed toothless, and resembles similar motherhood-applepie resolutions from past conventions. As it’s written, it’s meaningless. Here’s the only two “Resolves”:

    Resolved, That the Synod reaffirm its clear and consistent position on creation as articulated in the 39 statements and resolutions referenced above; and be it further

    Resolved, That the Commission on Theology and Church Relations be encouraged to continue and complete its current study on the relationship between science and theology, taking into account the concerns noted above about the detrimental effects of Darwinian views on marriage, family, and society.

    Evolution, Darwinian and Theistic and all the illegitimate offspring between these bogosities will continue to be taught in many of our schools, and nothing will happen, except that more young people’s faith will be challenged. Teaching evolution in all its manifestations is no different from teaching that Allah is the true god. Think about it.

  5. Harry Edmon
    July 11th, 2013 at 11:21 | #5

    @Scott Yakimow #2
    Note that Article VI refers to “membership” in Synod. Lay people are not “members” of Synod as defined by the Constitution. Members are congregations, ministers of religion – ordained, and members of religion – commissioned. So Article VI applies directly to LCMS clergy.

    Resolution 4-09 points to the act of receiving communion as being a different level of participating in a service. The sixth Whereas states “To take part in the Sacrament of the Altar is to confess the teaching of that altar (1 Co 10:18)”.

    Finally, Article VI 2 starts off “Renunciation of unionism and syncretism of every description, such as:”. So is the list follows to be interpreted as the only ways, or just a list of some of the ways one exercises “unionism and syncretism”?

  6. helen
    July 11th, 2013 at 11:28 | #6

    @Scott Yakimow #2
    This is what can be said regarding the language in the constitution, it seems to me. Other actions the synod may want to take can be taken, but I don’t see an appeal to the constitution being determinative here regarding lay reception of the sacrament.

    My “home congregation” (i.e., where I was born, baptized and confirmed) was ALC. They have not left ***A, despite women in the pulpit, or since 2009 either. [I suspect the district has a strangle hold on the property "rights" or catechism is a LOT less thorough than ours was!]

    Regardless of the way our constitution can be twisted, I will not be back there for a service or to commune. I believe that communing implies acceptance of the stated faith of that altar, something I cannot do as a lay person… and certainly something no member of our clergy should be doing with ***A!

  7. Carl Vehse
    July 11th, 2013 at 21:32 | #7

    On an earlier BJS thread Post #2 notes two recent CCM conference calls agreeing to further meetings with Floor Committee 4 and President Harrison on Resolution 4-09 and CCM Opinion 11-2598, which 4-09 seeks to overturn.

    Be awake and know your Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised and Special Standing Rules (2013: Today’s Business, p. 12ff).

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