What is the Synod’s position on baptismal regeneration? by Mollie

April 23rd, 2009 Post by

President Kieschnick’s most recent letter to pastors includes this request:

What is the Synod’s position on .

It is not at all unusual for me to be asked the Synod’s position on . and name your topic-cloning, admission to the Lord’s Supper, gambling, etc., etc., etc. To help answer such questions in an official way, the Office of the President is preparing a booklet that will cite the Synod’s position regarding these matters of faith and life as determined from Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.

To make this resource as helpful to you as possible, I invite you to write to me and tell me if there are any particular matters of doctrine, practice, theology, or ethics, that you would like to see included in such a document. Careful consideration will be given to your suggestions. While in some cases the Synod has not specifically or formally addressed certain issues in official doctrinal statements or resolutions, the Commission on Theology and Church Relations has provided opinions and developed resources addressing such topics, which will also be referenced in this resource. You can write to me at the International Center or send me an e-mail (president@lcms.org). Thank you for your assistance! I believe this resource will be helpful to our Synod’s walking together.

I think such a resource would be very helpful. If we could get, say, a pamphlet on the topic I mentioned in the headline, I can think of some people who could use that!


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  1. April 24th, 2009 at 01:07 | #1

    I seem to remember a previous president doing something similar. Then again, President Barry answered questions from a Scriptural point of view. It seems like President Kieschnick is going to answer from the constitution and by-laws.

  2. phw
    April 24th, 2009 at 06:57 | #2

    Yea…I enjoy the What About…? series. Start there.

  3. Bubbles
    April 24th, 2009 at 08:34 | #3

    How does this relate to the FAQ section of the LCMS web site, which I’ve found quite helpful (I hope I’m not saying the wrong thing).

    Is the president himself allowed to create a book on the “official stance” of the LCMS?

  4. Steve Dunham
    April 24th, 2009 at 09:32 | #4

    Maybe he could start the series with a stance on suing (or threatining to) fellow Christians (especially one that is an ordained minister)

  5. Todd Wilken
    April 24th, 2009 at 09:36 | #5

    What good are “official positions” when the leadership of the LCMS allows pastors’ and congregations openly to ignore and deny them?

    And what good are “official positions” when the president of Synod can have them suspended at will by a hand-picked CCM?

    Does Dr. Kieschnick intend to see to it that the “official positions” of Synod (such as closed communion) are upheld?

    TW

  6. rev. eckert
    April 24th, 2009 at 11:33 | #6

    It would be interesting to say the least if Dr. Kieschnick asked for clarification on our position on baptismal regeneration.

    About 2001 or 2002, he was on the Hank Hannigraf (sp?) radio show. Kieschnick was asked if Lutherans believe in baptismal regeneration. He responded that we do not. He later said that he had been confused by the line of questioning, and had meant to say that we do believe in it.

    A “best construction” of Kieschnick’s words will accept his explanation. However, would he have been less confused if he had a little pamphlet handy entitled “Do Lutherans Believe in Baptismal Regeneration?”

    Just a thought.

  7. April 24th, 2009 at 12:25 | #7

    Lutherans have *confessions* and *creeds* not “official positions.” Corporations have “official positions.” Synod Inc could have official positions on finances and such, but not on doctrine. No doubt we need summaries of Scripture – but “official positions” aren’t it.

    Our stance is on the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints, otherwise it is sectarian. Lutherans do not talk about “denominations” but rather “confessions.” If we cannot say our doctrine is catholic in the original sense of the word, then it is pointless. We should not be teaching “what we as Lutherans believe” or what “we as Missouri Synod Lutherans believe” (as the restructuring proposal suggests), but the apostolic doctrine. That doesn’t change. “Synod” doesn’t have doctrine that belongs to it. If anything be true, “synod” is owned by doctrine. We don’t interpret Scripture, Scripture interprets synod and us. The restructuring proposals, in abandoning the parish as the indivisible unit of synod structure, also abandon thusly the marks of the church (gospel) as the identity of synod, to be replaced by “missional” activity – law. All this then also replaces Scripture and Creed with the human institution of “synod” and the body politic, however put together by the personalities in power.

    The Brief Statement, while “official,” doesn’t really have a functional life in the LCMS. We cannot delegate theology to the CTCR in terms of it doing our theology for us. The CTCR is not the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Roman Church.

    We seem to have this institutional fear to simply let Scripture and the Book of Concord speak directly. We have to have new study documents triennium after triennium, many times on the same subject matter, as if Scripture (God) is going to say something different this time. It is more an opportunity for church-political tinkering – will to power kind of stuff.

  8. Mollie
    April 24th, 2009 at 12:31 | #8

    When I posted this, I was trying to make a subtle joke about that Hannegraff interview.

  9. April 24th, 2009 at 12:32 | #9

    Should we really say, “THE synod”? Let’s just say “the LCMS.”

  10. April 24th, 2009 at 12:33 | #10

    I remember the stuff about the Bible Answer Man thingy. I think there is a bigger issue about “official positions” here that also relates to troubling things in the past as well as the language of the Blue Ribbon proposals.

  11. Elnathan
    April 24th, 2009 at 16:00 | #11

    Window dressing! It’s all window dressing in preparation for the synodical convention next year. When has the PotS expressed concern for doctrine in recent months/years? Saying, “walking together” is as close as he can come. The PotS knows he will be running against a very popular confessional candidate and he needs to sway a few votes in his direction. You can’t imagine the hoopla that will accompany this document. Let’s see, I predict: Miss America (earlier I predicted Miss America would somehow be involved with the PotS?) and President K at the start of the convention (pre-vote) entering the arena riding in a convertible passing out copies of this new/wonderful/inspiring document that will unite us all. To steal a phrase from an old movie: “It don’t mean a thing.” Cynically yours,

  12. Elnathan
    April 24th, 2009 at 16:08 | #12

    I forgot! Where are the protests from the left (Jesus Fist and DeathStar) regarding this document? The whiners moaned and groaned volumes when the Synod adopted the “Brief Statement.” They groused, but largely ignored President Berry/” “What About” series. Want to bet they defend and heap praises on this “new revelation” from the Lutheran Pope? I want two to one odds! Opps! I forgot we’re against gambling! Oh, well send the BJS folk free Subway’s if I’m right and I’ll do the same if I’m wrong.

  13. April 28th, 2009 at 06:12 | #13

    Does Dr. Kieschnick intend to see to it that the “official positions” of Synod (such as closed communion) are upheld?

    Only my opinion, but I think this is really about a policy based doctrine, aka the creation of an LCMS canonical law.

    This follows well with Kieschnick’s post modern world view, as when he told his first Missouri district convention, “You have no right to interpret doctrine. That is the responsibility of the church in community.”

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