It’s Time and Unnecessary Wrangling. What is the State of the Synod?
In this article regarding the ACELC a commenter makes an excellent point, writing “…the district would not feel the need to hide such things…”.
I think the comment raises a real issue we have in the synod over transparency. President Harrison certainly talked quite a bit about how the IC ought to have an open door policy, but where is this transparency? For example, the latest updates coming out of the IC regarding the KP have not been anything other than obscure.
President Matt Harrison states in his “It’s Time” a solution to working out the issues we face in the LC-MS today:
“It is time for us to move beyond political efforts and especially generalities.” It is time to stop “beating around the bush.” It is time for a serious, decade-long effort—a non-politically organized and driven effort to regain theological and practical unity in the Synod.23 This route is the hard route. It will take time and effort. It will take courage. It will take men and women of integrity. It will also result in a Synod 85% united and on the path to even greater unity, precisely at a moment when such unity is needed like never before—so that we can cease the incessant, internal wrangling, and take advantage of the open doors which the Lord is holding before us. The Lord’s mission of the Gospel will advance toward eternity, despite us. He’ll get it done with or without us. If we turn from that sacred mission, he will raise up others to accomplish it. Will we be part of it? (ibid. p. 10)”
I have personally sought to ask hard questions of our Synod President* (questions dealing with the state of the KP and over issues such as what is being done about Dr. Matt Becker and others openly confessing women’s ordination) and I was met with resistance to answer any questions thought to involve “unnecessary wrangling.” Is it really unnecessary wrangling to ask what the President of the Synod is doing at a national level to fix these rather large, albeit extremely difficult, problems such as those pointed at by the ACELC?
Speaking as a layman who sees many problems at work in the Synod, I would like to know what is being done to publicly address these very public problems. However, what I am finding is that there is little to no transparency at the IC and Matt Harrison doesn’t seem willing to publicly engage these issues. Now I understand that recently it was made clear that the Synod President should not be meddling in the business of districts (we see this with the whole apology fiasco occurring over the Sandy Hook ordeal where an LCMS pastor engaged in unionism and was reproved by Harrison).
However, and if I am not mistaken, the Synod President can still publicly uphold the Confession of the LC-MS and ask the COP to do the same. So, why isn’t this happening with regard to hard issues facing the synod? We see enough statements coming out of the IC regarding the Boy Scouts, abortion, and homosexuality, but where are the public statements responding to the heterodox practices going on in the synod itself? I personally haven’t seen them and when seeking to get some answers on some of these issues, I have been shut down. So much for transparency.
Where is the courage? What happened to “not beating around the bush?”
It has been “time” for five years now and I don’t think it impatient, or unreasonable, to ask our synod President for a straight forward update on what is being done at a national level to publicly address real problems facing the synod. Problems which are, in fact, dividing us.
It is my hope and prayer that we can at least arrive at the 80% unity President Harrison thought possible five years ago, but unless there is the open and frank conversation he said we should conduct, then I don’t see how that is possible.
*Edit: I approached President Harrison to answer some questions in an interview for Steadfast Lutherans.