A New and Disturbing Revelation from the BRTFSG: Religion and Cultural Pluralist Consultant is the Guiding Force Behind the Blue Ribbon Proposals, by Pr. Rossow

October 28th, 2009 Post by

I hope to work my way through the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Structure and Governance’s (BRTFSG) Final Report (pdf)  one section at a time and provide some analysis and commentary. We begin with the introductory pages where we find a disturbing revelation. The proposals to remake our synod are based on the advice of non-Lutheran consultants, one of whom is religion and cultural pluralist David Roozen. Cultural pluralism and its cousin multiculturalism are sociological approaches to understanding human behavior which promote a diversity of viewpoints (truth systems) and reject the idea that there is one foundational truth.

As far as I can tell the content of pages 16 -19 of the Final Report have never been seen before. I was studying this document with my elders Monday night and was surprised to learn that this non-Lutheran consultant had great amounts of input into the process even before the original proposals were written. Every member of every LCMS congregation needs to know that synod money and time was spent on hiring consultants who do not understand nor subscribe to the truth of the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions and that their ideology is at the heart of the proposals.

Here is the introductory quote on the Task Force’s use of consultants:

As the members of the task force deliberated, we sought to understand what other Christian denominations are doing in the areas of structure and governance. To facilitate that research, the task force engaged external consultants known for their work with other church bodies in these areas. The following summarizes the findings from the consultations that guided the task force in ultimately arriving at the recommendations contained in this report. (p. 16)

So our Lutheran Church Missouri Synod BRTFSG proposals to restructure our denomination are guided by what other Christian denominations are doing and the work of Dr. David Roosen, a cultural and religious pluralist. Here is the first paragraph from Dr. Roozen’s faculty page on the Hartford Institute website.

“There is as much ignorance as there is concern about intolerance today. The most fully developed literature we have on the subject is that of dealing with race and ethnicity. Although of critical importance in its own right, this literature also provides a necessary foundation for our engagement of other “others” – e.g., gender, faith, class, sexual preference. They and We: Racial and Ethnic Relations in the United States by Peter I. Rose, a text I use in my American Pluralism course, is a readily accessible introduction to this literature.

Isn’t it nice to know that a religious and cultural pluralist has guided the proposals to restructure the LCMS? Here is some of his garbled sociological speak:

Organizations that optimize the participatory and relational aspects of their work tend to be more adaptive today than those that optimize efficiency and control. (p. 16)

Accordingly, national denominational identities and related structural issues become less important to increasing numbers of laity. If such national matters are to receive attention at all, therefore, it will be, by default, from clergy. (p. 16)

That last quote has the founder of the LCMS, C. F. W. Walther, rolling in his grave. Walther, drawing from Luther and the Biblical theology of the Reformation created a structure and governance model for the church that placed laity and clergy together under the headship of Christ and His word. Roozen uses sociology to conclude that the clergy need to have a stronger role and this principle shows up in the proposals as a move to centralize power in the synod. (We will have more on that in future posts.) It is also important to note that keeping the laity ignorant and elevating the clergy in the current generation of the ELCA that brought about the vote of apostasy in that church body last month.

Here were a few of the conclusions that the Task Force drew upon from Dr. Roozen. These made my elders chuckle as we studied the final report together.

Build an explicit recognition of local and personal predispositions into major initiatives. (p. 17)

In other words, ask them what they want and give it to them. This is the typical tactic of the Church Growth principles that have been bringing the LCMS down in the last several years. Here is another one:

Hire “story-tellers” who can engagingly and narratively connect LCMS history and identity to the real life experiences of members. Make the sharing of such stories a priority concern of LCMS national communication efforts—personal, electronic, and print. (p. 17)

When you need to hire “story-tellers” to get your denomination members to feel attached to the synod you have already lost the battle. There is something stinky and smelling in the LCMS that has brought this about. It is the very pluralism that Dr. Roozen represents that has caused our laity and even pastors to give up on the parochial nature of the LCMS that has been our strength from the days of our grandfathers. President Kieschnick and his Church Growth principles are the problem, not the solution. Pluralism weakens the denomination. Parochialism strengthens it. By the way, I am not just talking about parochialism for parochialism’s sake as Dr. Roozen does. This is no sociological truth. I am talking about Biblical parochialism, the scandal of the particularity of the cross that Dr. Hummel so convincingly taught in years gone by in our synod. This is the same scandal of the cross that is effectively and Biblically portrayed in the traditional liturgy of the Divine Service and that is absent in President Kieschnick’s new measures of seeker sensitive “worship.”

Getting back to Roozen’s proposals here is a downright scary one that I can’t wait for all the Concordia trained teachers to read (Speaking of parochialism, hopefully this recommendation will turn the vast army of day school teachers in our synod against the silly sociological approach to church structure proposed by President Kieschnick’s Task Force.)

Determine whether the LCMS parochial school or the Concordia University System is more important for sustaining a strong LCMS identity. (p. 17)

Ironically, as a commenter pointed out yesterday on another string, some of the sociological principles set forth by Dr. Roozen actually fly in the face of the more prominent initiatives of President Kieschnick. Dr Roozen suggests that we

Deepen clergy’s capacity to connect LCMS history, identity, and ministry to local ministries. (p. 17)

But President Kieschnick says that we need to undo our grandfather’s church.

Dr. Roozen places a high value on parochial education of the clergy:

Give priority to clergy-training support and supervision. (p. 17)

But President Kieschnick has sought to undo clergy education by inventing his own short cut into the ministry which gets men ordained in one fourth the time of the traditional model of our grandfather’s church (the Specific Ministry Program).

I encourage you to read carefully pages 16-17 of the Blue Ribbon Final Report. They are scary. Confessional pastors and laity have known for years that President Kieschnick and his cadre of Church Growth consultants and pastors have been building the church on secular principles but it is down right stunning to see his Task Force (President Kieschnick appointed the entire BRTFSG) come out and say so clearly say that they have built their recommendations on the recommendations of a practitioner of pagan multicultural sociology.

As I will demonstrate in future posts, there are several BRTFSG proposals that are harmful for the LCMS. But even before going there it is disappointing to see already in the introduction that the proposals were driven by an unchristian sociological approach to religion and culture. This is the stuff of the 1970’s rehashed folks. In the 1960’s through the 1970’s the LCMS allowed liberalism to creep into our denomination and we gave up on the inerrancy and efficacy of the word of God by allowing science to convince us that most of the miracles of the Bible were not true. Now in the 1990’s and 2000’s President Kieschnick has  allowed liberalism back into the sheepfold, this time allowing the liberal sociological principles of multiculturalism to drive the restructuring of our church.

You, the members of LCMS congregations are being deceived. You are being told that this is only a matter of structure and governance and so it is not a matter of great theology. This is why the BRTSFG thinks they can rely on a multiculturalist for advice. But Luther and Walther did not think that church structure was a matter of mere sociology. Luther staked his life against Rome’s heterodox theology of church structure. When Walther writes about church structure (The Proper Form of a Christian Congregation) his work is dripping with scripture. The BRTFSG plops in a few scriptural principles at the beginning of the document and then one hardly sees anymore scripture after that and even worse they then trump scripture with multicultural sociology. Wake up Missouri, your church is being taken away from you!


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  1. Dutch
    October 28th, 2009 at 09:28 | #1

    Pastor Rossow,
    In a previous post, I said there were “dark” spiritual forces at work, I truly meant what I said. Once these policies (not precept, policy) are applied, if you have an ounce of wit, in the Holy Spirit, you see them all for what they are, & you see the red flags, & yes, it is most SCARY. We blinked, & tolerated wrong doing for too long and now it is the norm.

    How sweet, how kind, how encouraging, how loving of my Synod, to take, what I was taught, instructed & remember how I was raised, in the LCMS…now…

    I am Ignorant & Intolerant for the knowing?! Ha, so were many before me, much better & more Faithfull than I !!!! Me thinks thou dost protest to much St Louis! How very odd, they departed from the Word, so far, that they must look to outside the Word, outside their denom, outside their foundations, to find their heretical but personally acceptable answers. Ears are being tickled folks, and the ones in charge are demanding it now from us!!! Funny, I was taught to look UP, not outwards, for answers in Faith. They have replaced the Trinity with man, as many others have done, to their own destruction. Who again is the ignorant one? Not I, thee. “I charge the Cromwell, fling away from thee, ambition, for by that sin the angels fell” Shakespeare.

    And that quote from Walther, (term used loosely) is taken so out of context it beggars belief!!! As I said before, we have departed for what we once stood against. I can almost see the lampstand being taken away. Do they? No.

  2. October 28th, 2009 at 09:38 | #2

    So the wise man the task force listens to believes that intolerance in areas of gender and sexual preference has not been adequately addressed in the literature? We know how the e*ca has solved that problem. And they think we should take him seriously?! Give me a break. Thanks very much, Pr. Rossow, for providing this commentary. May Pastors and Elders across the Synod follow your example.

  3. Concerned Deaconess
    October 28th, 2009 at 09:46 | #3

    Kyrie Eleison!

  4. October 28th, 2009 at 09:58 | #4

    In addition to voting for a complete rejection of the BRTFSG Final Report, the 2010 convention delegates should be encouraged toward efforts to remove these BRTFSG members from any synodical position and for these BRTFSG members never to hold any elected or appointed position in the synod again:

    Dr. Ralph Bohlmann, LCMS President Emeritus
    Dr. Samuel H. Nafzger, Director of Church Relations, LCMS Office of the President
    Rev. Jon Braunersreuther, Senior Assistant to the LCMS President
    Dr. Jeff Schrank, Executive Pastor, Christ Lutheran Church, Phoenix, AZ
    Dr. (hon.) David Buegler, Fifth Vice President, LCMS
    Mr. Ron Schultz, Chief Administrative Officer, LCMS
    Dr. (hon.) William Diekelman, First Vice President, LCMS
    Mr. Tim Schwan, Vice President, Church & Community Outreach, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
    Rev. Robert Greene, Chair, Retired, Former President, Lutheran Social Services of the South
    Dr. (hon.) Will Sohns, Retired, Former President, Wyoming District, LCMS Commission on
    Constitutional Matters
    Dr. Raymond Hartwig, Secretary of the Synod
    Dr. Larry Stoterau, President, Pacific Southwest District
    Dr. Tom Kuchta, Vice President—Finance/Treasurer
    Ms. Virginia Von Seggern, Retired, Past President, Lutheran Women’s Missionary League
    Dr. William Moorhead, Senior Pastor, Pacific Hills Lutheran Church, Omaha, NE
    Ms. Jane Wilke, Director of Communications, Lutheran Senior Services of Missouri

  5. Dutch
    October 28th, 2009 at 10:07 | #5

    Mr Vehse,
    What a novel idea. Hold those to account for their choices and actions. Consequences…for wrong doing? How intolerant, how ignorant of you. (sarcasm, only sarcasm)
    How sad it is, that there is no allowance for a “vote of no confidence” in our Synod.
    Where is the courage? Where is the bravery? Have we, who fight, forgotten the Blest Armor, so lovingly provided for such a battle as this?

  6. Rev. Thomas C. Messer
    October 28th, 2009 at 10:15 | #6

    Pr. Rossow,

    Thank you. I had the same reaction as I read through this section. I am glad that the task force was honest enough to actually put this into writing, but amazed that they would actually think doing so is a good thing and would be well received. The scary thing is not that they would employ the use of “church consultants” who do not share a common confession of the faith with confessional Lutherans (we should expect nothing less from this group), but rather that they would unashamedly announce it, believing that they will be applauded by our synod for doing so. Even scarier is the thought that they might actually receive the praise they think they deserve from many for doing so.

  7. October 28th, 2009 at 10:18 | #7

    We shouldn’t be surprised that these proposals were engineered by a non-Christian consultant. It is the modus operandi of the current administration. This is in keeping with the “I’m not a theologian” mindset. If you claim you’re not a theologian, it gives you license to ignore theology and use the ways of the world to do what is right in your own eyes. Ablaze! was initially suggested by consultants as a fund raising operation. Transforming Churches Networks is based on the “theology” of non-Lutheran experts, with the predictable result that it doesn’t point to Christ and His Gospel, but rather to the Law, which cannot save. We seem to be in love with consultants. What happened to the simple words of the Bible to drive what we do? The Bible has become too meager and bare, tossed aside for the glamour, and exorbitant price tag, of today’s politically correct mareketeers and consultants. You get what you pay for. When you hire non-Lutheran and/or non-Christian consultants, you will get non-Lutheran and/or non-Christian results. We, as a Synod, have sworn before God to stand on our Confession, the same Confession professed by the Apostles. It’s time that the LCMS and its Confession were reunited. I suggest we elect someone to lead the LCMS who takes our Confession seriously, someone who understands the theology, yes, the doctrine of Christ, that should undergird all that we do and say as we walk together. I still want to be a Lutheran. How about you?

  8. Steven
    October 28th, 2009 at 10:41 | #8

    As former ELCA, now LCMS, I would diagnose the problem with that body not to be elevated clergy per se, but the elevation of an ignorant laity (and you only need to find a few) to vote upon the authority of Scripture aided and abetted by this elevated clergy. So, you combine both an agenda preserved/protected by an artificial elevation (special knowledge) and an encouraged ignorance and over time the outcome desired can be easily achieved. The item that caught my eye was the “story-tellers”. Much of the “theological” argumentation in the ELCA the past 8-10 years over sexuality and biblical authority has involved anecdotal story-telling by the revisionists endorsing their views.

  9. Pastor Tim Rossow
    October 28th, 2009 at 10:42 | #9

    Scott,

    Right on! I didn’t have time or space to review the second set of consultants (p. 17). We spent, most likely, hundreds of thousands on non-Lutheran consultants to interview select members of our synod about what is working and what is not working. You mean to tell me that we can’t just do that ourselves? I am reminded of your comment that the Bible has become to meager amongst us.

    TR

  10. Steven
    October 28th, 2009 at 10:46 | #10

    Also, is Hartford a UCC seminary? I couldn’t exactly tell from the website, but it is/was Congregationalist. That’s not the sort of diversity the LCMS needs.

  11. Anonymous
    October 28th, 2009 at 11:10 | #11

    “As the members of the task force deliberated, we sought to understand what other Christian denominations are doing in the areas of structure and governance. To facilitate that research, the task force engaged external consultants known for their work with other church bodies in these areas. The following summarizes the findings from the consultations that guided the task force in ultimately arriving at the recommendations contained in this report. (p. 16)”

    1 Samuel 8:5 (paraphrase) – And The BRTFSSG said unto the LCMS: Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways; now restructure our governance like all the denominations.

  12. October 28th, 2009 at 11:34 | #12

    The LCMS has a history of “borrowing” stuff from un-Lutheran sources – especially in terms of evangelism, missions, and more recently in terms of worship forms AND THEOLOGY. Now non-Lutheran structure is being imported.

    It seems to me that 2010 is going to make some things clear about the LCMS. Will we turn back to Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, Lutheran liturgy and chorales, or will we irretrievably become a mainline protestant denomination that is run by statistics, programs, and the financial bottom line?

    The COP Theses on Worship have been well-intentioned but haven’t helped much to clarify things as the distinction between evangelism and justification by grace through faith is not made clear.

  13. Dutch
    October 28th, 2009 at 11:41 | #13

    Question for anyone. Can someone please explain to me, why (!) there are women listed?!! In high places, in what Carl listed?!!! Why, if they are not to dictate doctrine, teach men, and cannot preach, why is it, they are allowed to dicate to all the Synod on theology,doctrine, precept, and goverance? I’m a girlie, but… I do know my Scripture, & I know His Word & that is huge mistake of Biblical Proportions!

    Women should not, ever, be elevated to a place, to dictate to Synod, District, Pastor, or His Church in any high or dictating position ever! It is a false position for men to put a woman in, it is a false position for a woman, to allow herself to be put in.

    Or does what Paul & Peter, spoke of, no longer inerrant, has that too become adiphoric? This gets to the very heart here. Is ALL Scripture, even the bits that make us uncomfortable or the rest say nay to, is it still inerrant at Synod or not? Yes or no, there is no in between in this. For Christ or against, we can sit on no fence with this. I for one, a woman, say…God Forbid such.

    Seeing all this just breaks my heart. I had to leave my church, to ensure our sons were instructed Biblically. My husband had a grand chug in the arm in this article. He, now conceeds, what he chose for his sons & wife, was right. He can no longer protect & preserve what Christ claimed, not in the church he & I grew in & loved. How sad, my sons will never know, what we both did. I pray Christ, enables us, to ensure they learn what we knew, in spite of this. May Christ be merciful to us.

  14. Michael Mapus
    October 28th, 2009 at 11:53 | #14

    @Steven #7

    As an ex-elca lutheran myself and now LCMS for 8 years, you just nailed their method (jello story telling) to the wall. Mix that in with their ignorant laity (I can say that, because I was once one myself) you have a recipe for disaster. What’s frightening, is this idea is being entertained by our current leadership and our “well meaning, but ignorant” laity could possibly fall for this.

    Pastor Rossow,

    Do you have a plan on getting your analysis out to the delegates?

    MM

  15. Rev. Thomas C. Messer
    October 28th, 2009 at 12:19 | #15

    @Scott Diekmann #6

    Bingo, Scott! If I would have time earlier, I would have said the same thing, although I doubt I could have done so as well as you did.

    You are not alone – I still want to be a Lutheran, too (and I’m pretty sure there are a few others out there as well).

  16. Nathaniel Jensen
    October 28th, 2009 at 12:51 | #16

    Three thoughts.

    Can anyone tell me whether church government is and adiaphoron or not?

    “As the members of the task force deliberated, we sought to understand what other Christian denominations are doing in the areas of structure and governance.”
    Maybe they should read Walther’s “The Evangelical Lutheran Church is the True Visible Church of God on Earth”

    As for the Task Force members, let them be anathema.

  17. October 28th, 2009 at 13:05 | #17

    Church government is an adiaphoron, as long as it stays within the boundaries of Scripture.

    Anathematizing the Task Force members is a bit of an overreaction. Some of them may disagree with what’s been put out there. For the rest of them, some thorough Catechesis would be in order.

  18. johannes
    October 28th, 2009 at 13:55 | #18

    @Scott Diekmann #7
    Scott–congratulations!! You win the single malt! Or bourbon. Or warm milk. See my question in posting #22 under “TCN & Necessary Roughness, etc.” viz. “2. Has anyone yet identified the real problem with TC–and with all CG schemes? Maybe I missed it, but I don’t think I’ve seen it yet. Yes, I do know what it is, but I’m waiting.”

    j

  19. Michael Mapus
    October 28th, 2009 at 14:16 | #19

    @johannes #18

    I’ll take a crack at it. These programs and those who support CG, DO NOT believe that the Word of God can do what HE says HE can do.
    MM

  20. October 28th, 2009 at 14:17 | #20

    Could I get chocolate milk?

  21. johannes
    October 28th, 2009 at 14:21 | #21

    Well, gee whiz, I suppose. What do you take in it?

    Michael, you’re very warm, but…..

  22. George in Wheaton
    October 28th, 2009 at 14:40 | #22

    Something that apparently has never occurred to the members of this Task Force is that pursuing members under the guise of “asking then what they want and then giving it to them” results in temporary growth, at best, with a fickle and lackluster laity (perhaps a lackluster clergy, as well). Even American evangelical church-growth proponents like Willow Creek discovered this the hard way – they’ve bent over backward to attract curiosity seekers only to have many of them disappear out the back door because they’ve offered them nothing to sustain and nurture them spiritually.

    Worse yet, what often happens in an environment like this is that local churches wind up with a mix of members and “regular attenders,” the latter being something that is ironically encouraged among evangelical denominations. This, of course, flies even more in the face of what seems to be the most basic intent of the current LCMS administration, which is to use the growth models to make up for monetary shortfalls; regular attenders typically don’t contribute much to the coffers.

    None of this makes any sense, even from a business standpoint.

  23. mike ames
    October 28th, 2009 at 15:22 | #23

    Having had my belly full of multiculturalism in academia and the corporate work place I certainly do not want to see it in place in the LCMS. They specialize in mumbo jumbo “expansionist” speak taking layers of verbage to disguise what they really mean and to make themselves appear intelligent and to providce themselves with a veneer of legitimacy. We layman call this baffling with bs. It is in direct contradiction to the clear Word of God and razor edge of Law and GOspel which applys to everyone regardless of curtural background. Sadly some seem to be, unlike Paul, embarrassed by this very Gospel. Me thinks these leaders have too much time on thier hands and possibly the change needed in stucture would be to go to a part time leadership and vote into higher offices informed layman, rather than egocentric MDiv.s. I have met too many LCMS Pastors of late who find our confessional statements to be too cumbersome to deal with. Along with many other comitted confessional Lutherans I am watching and praying that the LCMS does not fully leave me.

  24. Rev. Scott Hojnacki
    October 28th, 2009 at 16:25 | #24

    The SP and his associates can discuss at great length their opinions about on which doctrines we agree and which we disagree (BJS and the like do the same, albeit from a different perspective). However, on this one great point of doctrinal disagreement, there is a significant and sad lack of discussion, much less agreement.

    The proponents of such a non-Lutheran-consultant-driven church are firmly convinced that there is no doctrinal issue, that they can remain faithful to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions because CGM/TCN/CW/etc. deals exclusively in non-doctrinal matters (or can be “Lutheranized” if necessary). Ask them, and they will say that the Gospel hasn’t changed, only the method of delivering that Gospel.

    We attempt to counter this assertion by showing that doctrine and practice are necessarily intertwined, that they can’t be strictly segregated and compartmentalized in such a way, and that adopting the practices of the heterodox and the wisdom of the world inevitably results in doctrinal decay. Ask us, and we will say that the Gospel itself is compromised when the Means of Grace are not administered in accordance with Christ’s institution.

    Unless *this* disagreement can be resolved, there is no hope of achieving unity on the other matters. And there is little hope of resolving the issue when the former position is assumed and the latter is disallowed.

  25. Heartbroken
    October 28th, 2009 at 17:00 | #25

    Hey Scott #7–
    I blinked and thought you had written “You get what you pray for” instead of “you get what you pay for.”

    I pray that the LCMS learns that the gifts Christ left his Church of Word and Sacrament are sufficient and timeless.

    Why change the means that have been instituted to grow the Church? It’s been working for thousands of years. Why should we care what other denominations are doing?

    I pray that our synod wakes up and realizes this.

  26. Anonymous
    October 28th, 2009 at 17:45 | #26

    If there are folks in the LCMS that really like what these consultants ahve to say, why don’t they just stop kidding themselves that they are Lutheran and have an honest confession and join said other denominations? I have only glanced through the Blue Ribbon Doc, but others have indicated that it could be greatly imporved from a business or growth standpoint. In that case, I think we need more of a Willow Creek or Saddleback approach. I mean, we have a number of LCMS congregations that are Willow Creek association members and utilize Willow Creek materials for Sunday School and other education programs. Why waste funds doing studies, etc or inventing our own interpretation of things? It would be much less reinventing the wheel and much easier and more efficient to have these congregations take more of a leadership role in leading churches in these leadership and effective church programs. I think the problem in the LCMS is there are so many influences from other denominations that there is confusion as to what denomination the LCMS should pattern itself after. This is divisive at best and the LCMS should unify and decide what will work best for them in the future.

  27. Dennis Peskey
    October 28th, 2009 at 19:37 | #27

    @Rev. Scott Hojnacki #24
    Some believe you can have Law without the Gospel;

    Some believe you can have faith without works;

    Some believe you can have practice without doctrine;

    Law alone is death; faith without works is dead;
    Any practice divorced of doctrine leads only to death.

  28. bruce
    October 29th, 2009 at 00:54 | #28

    Holy buckets!! Here I’ve been bobbing around, outside the reef, checking out the LCMS as a possible shelter from the storm, and what do I see? The pirates have landed and convinced the natives that their island paradise needs more rum and pretty baubles! Lord help the LCMS! Kyrie Eleison! and then some!! Well, I’ll set my sails and hope the next island is safe.

  29. bruce
    October 29th, 2009 at 01:05 | #29

    Oh yeah, I’ve been out of work for 15 months. Any chance of getting some of those “hundreds of thousands” for my opinion? Heck, I can probably give just as good advice for say, 25K. At least you’d be gettin’ what you paid for.

    HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS!!!!!! Come on.

    Has the LCMS no confidence in it’s own ability to discern, and must it now go the way of King Saul, to divination from other than the prophet of Israel?

    From outside, looking in, this is frightening!!

  30. Dutch
    October 29th, 2009 at 10:05 | #30

    Bruce,
    I am so very glad you came, read, and made your mark. Pirate speak lol. Thank you so much, for your point of view. I often wonder what this looks like, to people on another ship. Your view is just as unerving as it is for us in our boat, the USS Missouri. Read your Scripture daily, read your Luther’s Cathecism, pray DAILY, w/o ceasing. When the world around us looks like it is being pulled down, Christ Himself may very well be refining & re building something bigger, better, stronger, faster, & more Faithfull to Him. By you, or by many. Stick tight, hang in there, & keep coming back to BJS. It is a safe bolt hold, in a very uncertain realm.

  31. Rev. J.R. Wheeler
    October 29th, 2009 at 11:28 | #31

    Concerning the consultants, I believe here is the data. I e-mailed Dr. Kuchta.

    “The amount paid to outside consultants was 409,703.
    This was paid with a grant from Thrivent.”

    When guys like me complain about the Synod’s money being spent on consultants it can be said, “It wasn’t’.

  32. October 29th, 2009 at 11:33 | #32

    But of course, if they didn’t spend the $409,703 on those outside consultants, the money could have been used elsewhere to better further Lutheranism …

  33. Rev. J.R. Wheeler
    October 29th, 2009 at 11:41 | #33

    Norm, you are absolutely right. This was a waste of money, and right now I am sick to my stomach about it because indeed “it could have been used elsewhere” in and for a much better way.

  34. stub
    October 30th, 2009 at 08:18 | #34

    We do need pastors who are “story-tellers,” who can tell the story of the Church and the mighty deeds of God in history.

  35. Dutch
    October 30th, 2009 at 09:00 | #35

    Oh, this is such a hot button for me! History vs stories. Stories are false, history is proven fact!!!!

    We DO NOT need storytellers, WE NEED HISTORIANS. Aesop’ Fables, Greek & Roman Myth, Hans Christian Andersen, A.A. Milne, Reverend Awdry, those are storytellers. THE BIBLE IS A LIVING BREATHING HISTORICAL BOOK!!!! Science, archeology, and all the like, are proved incorrect when they chance to prove the Lord false! He will always prove Truthfull, our God does not lie or make up stories! HE CANNOT LIE.
    “Bible stories” is a terrible term. Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, those are fictional, stories, fun fables, not history & not fact. Only St. Nicholas is a somewhat fact.

    The Bible is HISTORY. I can make up a “story” in my head for my kids at nightime, I can read fairy tales, fables that have a moral to the story. God’s Word is Bigger & Better than that! IT IS HIS TRUTH, OUR TRUTH, WHAT WE STAKE OUR VERY LIVES BY!
    No, we need not hear stories, we need to learn our history. Nothing thrilles a kid, than to know this person actually, factually, DID what the Book says they did.

  36. helen
    October 30th, 2009 at 11:53 | #36

    #31 & #32
    Every nickel of a Thrivent grant was taken out of the profits on a Lutheran’s “savings” or “investment.” We can supposedly control a few nickels by sending in matching gift forms, but if a liberal cause comes up against, e.g.,Issues Etc., which one do you suppose gets funded?

    Does Thrivent report anywhere on what it matches or gives grants to? Just a breakout of funds given to the various synods would be instructive. Funds given within lcms inc. would be even more interesting. How much of our self destruction is being “funded by Thrivent” with our own money?
    Investments & savings listed by synodical membership would be an interesting point of comparison!

    [I got out of CEF when I saw it was financially sponsoring a retreat in MPLS largely dominated by elca and non lutheran speakers, a venture that I could not see as earning interest for the depositors of CEF.]

  37. Lil
    October 31st, 2009 at 08:18 | #37

    Some folks in No MN are helping young churches in No. Haiti (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti). What they couldn’t do with $403,000! (Maybe plant new churches? Maybe pay their pastors? Maybe even pay their district presidents?)

    Thanks to Pr. Rossnow or whoever can help with understanding the BRTFSG. It would be great for us delegates. I am on page 14, and something keeps looming in the foreground:

    What, exactly IS Synod? I always thought it was a conglomerate of congregations. I keep reading in the BRTFSB how Synod should work with the congregations as if it is a completely separate entity. I must be terribly naive.

  38. Pastor Tim Rossow
    October 31st, 2009 at 08:47 | #38

    Lil,

    Glad to hear you are a delegate!

    Your hunch that there is someting wrong with the definition of synod is a good one. We originally formed synod as what you said – a collection of congregations. We formed it so that there would be efficiency in training pastors, sending out missionaries and to establish a synod president (and eventually district presidents) who would be responsible to the word of God and those congregations to chedk up on the congregations to see to it that they were remaining biblical.

    Under President Kieschnick and even before him, we have started to slip into the notion that the synod stands alone as a seperate entity and provides services for those congregations. That is not what we formed synod for.

    Now I do not go so far as to say that synod cannot be called “church” as some do. I follow the conservative and confessional theologian Kurt Marquart who taught that the Bible uses the term “church” for congregations, groups of congregations (synod) and of course the Una Sancta. None the less, you have correctly discerned that the BRTFSG proposals centralize power in synod in a way that goes beyond the intention for synod.

    I will keep adding to my analysis of the document. I may get another post out today yet.

    TR

  39. Paradox Focused
    November 4th, 2009 at 23:43 | #39

    To Dutch,

    Is history what saves people or is it the proclamation of a message rooted in history?

    To Everyone,

    Do the Confessions prescribe or describe a structural model? Did Walther prescribe a structural model for all times or for his specific context? Is a structural model what will unify the synod or maybe something more simple? Can organizational truth be found outside of the synod?

    -Paradox

    “It is not war or disease that destroys the world, but answers.”
    –Macellarius

  40. Pastor Tim Rossow
    November 5th, 2009 at 08:33 | #40

    Paradox,

    Those are intriguing questions but that is about all. What do you mean? What is your point?

    TR

  41. Paradox Focused
    November 5th, 2009 at 13:31 | #41

    THANK YOU for answering my questions with questions. Too many people talk without thinking.

    It is simply important to ask the questions which we often dismiss or avoid. How else can we faithfully say that we have taken the proclamation of the Gospel seriously?

    -Paradox

    “Questions are most humble deeds.”
    –Macellarius

  42. Steven Bobb
    November 5th, 2009 at 15:29 | #42

    Paradox, are you quoting Macellarius the metal/death rock band or the World of Warcraft virtual (yet imaginary) character? Or maybe the fleshmonger/butcher of ancient Rome?

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