2014 ACELC CONFERENCE NEWS FLASH! — An Organization addressing the doctrinal “diversity” one conference at a time.

February 4th, 2014 Post by

News Flash #2 Screen Shot For BJS & FacebookChrist for Us: The Office of the Holy Ministry

This Feb. 25-27 in Cedar Falls, Iowa!

Come hear speakers like Rev. BRENT KUHLMAN address important issues relating to the Pastor Speaking and Serving In the Stead and By the Command of Christ Jesus!

“Sticks and stone may break my bones but words can never hurt me.”  Really?  Words.  Words.  Words.  The man put into the office of the holy ministry is given to speak Christ’s unthwartable words since that is how He relates to His sinners.  His words hurt and heal.  His words kill and give life.  Best be preaching Christ’s Word.  After all, “He who hears you hears me.” (Luke 10:16)

When the pastor baptizes according to Christ’s mandate and institution, check out what this means.  Leave it to Dr. Luther to get it right:   ‘To be baptized in God’s name is to be baptized not by human beings but by God himself.  Although it is performed by human hands, it is nevertheless truly God’s own act.’” (LC IV 457:10). The Pastor Speaking in the Stead of Christ - Rev. Brent Kuhlman  

 

Register today at www.ACELC.net !






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  1. February 5th, 2014 at 04:46 | #1

    When I clicked on the link provided I did not find discussion of Baptism or proper preaching of God’s Word. Instead I found a posting entitled “Pastoral Evaluations Need To Be Changed”. This post seemed to be almost entirely about how terrible the vast majority of District Presidents in the LCMS are. Maybe this is true, maybe it isn’t. My own suspicion is that it is probably a very mixed bag. I believe the same is true for parish pastors, seminary professors, and the laity. Some are awful. Some are great. Most are somewhere in between. And your own views and relationships and personal history likely determine who you would place in which category.

    I think the contempt and disdain that pastors routinely show for District Presidents that are not part of their clique leads any fair-minded observer to ask, so why should people respect you and YOUR office? If the answer is that some District Presidents have beliefs and practices that place them outside the proper understanding, history, and tradition of Confessional Lutheran Christianity, then the problem is not some form or system of evaluation. The problem is that you have clergy who shouldn’t be clergy. At least not in the same synod.

    All that having been said, the main argument of the piece seems sound enough. If I were a pastor in the LCMS I think I would object to this system as well. However, I STRONGLY disagree with the following quote from this piece (which is repeated in one form or another ad nauseum by a certain flavor of clergy):

    “I know of no other work environment in which the evaluation of a worker is not provided to the worker.”

    You can’t have it both ways. Either the pastoral ministry is unlike any other job and so what is or is not done in other work environments is irrelevant. OR, being a pastor is a job that we can compare to lots of other things. Pick one of these.

    For example, I know of no other work environment (with the possible and in my view unfortunate exception of certain parts of academia) in which someone expects to be paid a salary, given a home to live in, have volunteers support them, and also completely reject the idea that their performance should be evaluated according to any quantifiable metric. Please do not misunderstand me. I’m not saying this is wrong. I am not advocating that pastors should be evaluated according to numbers. My point is simply that you can’t have it both ways. Either the Office of the Holy Ministry is like other jobs or it isn’t.

    And if the laity should respect their pastors then pastors should respect their District Presidents (or Bishops or Superintendents or whatever we want to call them). If there are lots of District Presidents unworthy of this kind of respect, regardless of their office, then I submit the same holds true for many pastors. Which brings us back to the unavoidable issue that what is really going on here is that there are different factions, both within the laity and the clergy, who do not agree with or respect each other. The issue has little or nothing to do with how people relate to the Office of the Holy Ministry. I could just as easily say it is about how pastors relate to their District Presidents. The issue is simply one of authority. What is the standard and who decides? Who decides what is or is not proper doctrine and practice and who does or does not belong in the LCMS?

  2. February 5th, 2014 at 18:17 | #2

    FWIW, the home page of our website may or may not address the topic of the Conference as we are always changing the home page and inserting our latest e-mail blast, each of which covers a variety of topics that have to do with issues in our Synod. The point of the article you referenced is that the process of providing information to calling congregations in the Synod needs some change in order to be fair to both calling congregation and called pastors – not to mention that it needs to reflect the historic teachings of our Synod under the Scriptures and the Confessions. The problem seems to center on what is or isn’t proper “Ecclesiastical Supervision.”

  3. February 5th, 2014 at 18:28 | #3

    After reading your article in more detail I would have to disagree with your disagreement. I personally would have no problem in being “evaluated” if the evaluation was based on my faithfulness and perhaps how well I did certain tasks (for instance, if I was a slob and behaving unprofessionally in the execution of my office), but if I am gong to be “evaluated” then I should be able to see the evaluation. The one thing that is different about the office of Pastor and other “professions” is that we believe God calls the man to the Office and the congregation where he serves. If there are legitimate problems that need to be addressed, then these should be done with an eye toward correcting the problem. If the congregation has unrealistic expectations of their pastor, then the Circuit Visitor or District President needs to advise the congregation that what they are expecting is out of line and unreasonable. As it is now we have (I’m sure) pastors who lord it over their congregations and think that’s just fine, and we have congregations who lord it over their pastor and think that’s the way it ought to be. Far too often, I’m afraid (at least this is the way it appears), congregations are allowed to do whatever they please without the slightest slap on the hand, and pastors are deposed without cause since it’s far easier to remove a pastor and hope he receives a call somewhere else than it is to cut off a congregation when you might lose the money they are sending to the Synod.

    Obviously this is not true in every case. There are pastors who should not be pastors (why they ever were certified by the Seminary is another question that needs to be studied and answered), and there are congregations who treat their pastors like dirt. Neither of these things should be allowed to continue.

    How to solve the problem with our gigantic bureaucracy is the big question, isn’t it?

  4. February 5th, 2014 at 18:55 | #4

    This is a killer conference line-up! One of the best I have seen in my 27 years of the ministry.

    I have had a very busy Winter with lots of travel but am trying to fit in the time to make it over to Cedar Falls for this.

  5. February 6th, 2014 at 05:24 | #5

    @Rev. Drew Newman #3

    Pastor Newman,

    Thank you for the thoughtful remarks. But I do think you have somewhat glossed over or side-stepped the issue that there are indeed differing factions in the LCMS (including amongst those who call themselves ‘Confessional’, ‘conservative’, and ‘traditional’). It is not as simple as a few liberals running around here and there. If it was, I don’t think the author of the post on your website would have so much to be distressed about.

    I also think your comments here seem to be much more balanced and less hostile to congregations and District Presidents than the post on your site. It has been my experience that what I have just read from you is not what many of the people reading such blast e-mails and other internet postings are taking away from these discussions. As I referenced earlier, I have heard very similar language to that in the post on your website from others. And those who repeat those lines do not think that “the Synod needs some change in order to be fair to both calling congregation and called pastors”. They generally think that all authority (District Presidents, voters’ assemblies, Synod, conventions, etc.) is bad. Except for their own authority, of course.

    I don’t think the problem is men who are “slobs” or “behaving unprofessionally”. I think the problem is a breakdown in authority. In almost every sense of the word. Do the “historic teachings of our Synod under the Scriptures and the Confessions” call us to be ‘Waltherians’ or ‘hyper-Euro Lutherans’. I’m sure you’ve heard such labels tossed around. What do the “historic teachings of our Synod under the Scriptures and the Confessions” have to say about infant communion? I’m sure you are aware of the disagreement regarding this amongst those who consider themselves ‘Confessional’. I could continue listing more examples but I hope you get my point.

  6. February 6th, 2014 at 05:36 | #6

    Let me add that there is (in my view) a disturbing tendency amongst some LCMS clergy to reduce or restate all problems and complaints one might have with the clergy to some form of “he didn’t shake my hand”, “he’s too much of an introvert”, “he’s a slob”, “he has poor people skills”, and so on. I don’t think this is an accurate representation of the problems in the LCMS. I think these are minor complaints that mostly have to do with different personalities. I feel bad for pastors who face removal from office for such petty things. These might be reasons to fire someone in other contexts. But I do not believe this should happen in the church.

    You say, “The one thing that is different about the office of Pastor and other ‘professions’ is that we believe God calls the man to the Office and the congregation where he serves.” I would go further and say that the church is different from everything that is not the church. Pastors should be supported and cared for by their congregations. Not just treated like professionals doing a job. Similarly, parishioners should not be treated like employees or customers or trainees. The way the church handles evaluations and discipline should be based on what the church believes.

  7. February 6th, 2014 at 13:49 | #7

    Lance Brown Wrote: You say, “The one thing that is different about the office of Pastor and other ‘professions’ is that we believe God calls the man to the Office and the congregation where he serves.” I would go further and say that the church is different from everything that is not the church. Pastors should be supported and cared for by their congregations. Not just treated like professionals doing a job. Similarly, parishioners should not be treated like employees or customers or trainees. The way the church handles evaluations and discipline should be based on what the church believes.

    Lance, I don’t disagree with anything you have said. Indeed I thought that was the implication of my words. Neither the congregation nor the pastor should be lording it over the other, and when problems arise they should be resolved by sitting down together with a goal of brotherly, fraternal admonition, for force of power. If God has placed a particular man in a particular place, then I suspect he wants the two parties to work together for the sake of the Gospel and the good of God’s people in that place.

  8. February 6th, 2014 at 13:58 | #8

    Lance Brown Wrote: Do the “historic teachings of our Synod under the Scriptures and the Confessions” call us to be ‘Waltherians’ or ‘hyper-Euro Lutherans’. I’m sure you’ve heard such labels tossed around. What do the “historic teachings of our Synod under the Scriptures and the Confessions” have to say about infant communion? I’m sure you are aware of the disagreement regarding this amongst those who consider themselves ‘Confessional’. I could continue listing more examples but I hope you get my point

    Wow, were you hoping I’d write a doctrinal dissertation on your questions? ;-)

    I am of the opinion that Church polity has not been prescribed in Holy Scripture and is therefore Adiaphora. A Church is free to decide which form of governance they undertake for themselves for good order and the furtherance of the Gospel. I see advantages to both forms of governance present in modern-day “Lutheranism” (I say that because I don’t really consider the ELCA to be Lutheran, but that’s a post for another day), and I also see disadvantages because of the fact that sinful men are involved in both, and when sinners are involved things begin to get messy. As for infant Communion, while some may think this is a proper practice, I do not, and for the most part Lutherans have been agreed on this issue. Just because certain individuals may practice and promote it does not make it right. I’ll leave it there as I head for my bunker and what I suspect may be incoming fire.

  9. February 6th, 2014 at 18:50 | #9

    @Rev. Drew Newman #8

    No incoming fire. I have already taken this thread way off topic from the original post. Apologies for that. Thanks for your answers. My beef is not with you. What you have said seems fine to me. I just don’t think this is what many are taking away from these posts and discussions.

    Best wishes.

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