Nominations are heating up! (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

January 9th, 2010 Post by

It may be bitterly cold outside this January, but in the Missouri Synod, nominations are heating up! These next few weeks are prime time for congregational nominations for the offices of President, First Vice-President, and other Vice-Presidents. Some congregations nominated in November or December, and others will nominate in February or early March, but I would not be surprised if 60-80% of the congregations submitting nominations will be doing so sometime between now and the end of January.

Are you interested in the direction our synod will be taking over the coming years? What happens at the synodical level sooner or later does impact what happens at the local level. If you are concerned–and you should be–then you need to show up at your congregation’s meeting and give your input on synodical nominations. Many congregations do not even bother to submit nominations, but you can take initiative to make it happen. Make sure “synodical nominations” gets put on the agenda for your voters’ meeting, talk to your congregational president, talk to your pastor, etc.

The official nominating ballot, which all congregations received from the Office of the Secretary, has space for two nominations for President, two nominations for First Vice-President, and four nominations for Other Vice-Presidents. (The same name can be nominated in any or all of those categories but can be nominated only once within a category.)

So, whom to nominate? Theoretically, any of the ordained ministers of the synod are eligible to be nominated, but realistically, the ones with the best chance of being elected will probably come from two sets of names, representing two different directions our synod could take.

If you like how the synod has been going in the nine years of the Kieschnick administration and want us to continue in that direction, then you would probably go with the slate recommended by Jesus First:

THE JESUS FIRST SLATE
President: Gerald Kieschnick, William Diekelman
First Vice-President: William Diekelman, Jeffery Schrank
Other Vice-Presidents (4 of 5): Victor Belton, David Buegler, Luther Brunette, Paul Maier, Dean Nadasdy

On the other hand, if you think President Kieschnick’s approach has not been working and that instead we should move forward in the direction called for by Rev. Matthew Harrison in his paper, “It’s Time: LCMS Unity and Mission (The Real Problem We Face and How to Solve It),” then you would probably go with the slate recommended by the United List:

THE UNITED LIST SLATE
President: Matthew Harrison, (Herbert Mueller)
First Vice-President: Herbert Mueller, (Matthew Harrison)
Other Vice-Presidents (4 of 5): John Wohlrabe, Daniel Preus, David Adams, Scott Murray, (Carl Fickenscher)

Now your congregation is certainly free to nominate other names, but realistically, it’s likely that all of the six officers elected in July will come from these two sets of names. The question is, which ones? The more nominations a nominee receives to get on the ballot, the more likely it is that he will be elected in July. So the congregational nominating process is important. And your initiative, and your voice at the voters’ meeting, can make a difference.

The deadline for nominations to be received is March 10. (If your voters’ meeting already met and didn’t nominate, most congregations have a provision for calling a special meeting.) Nominations must be submitted on the official nominating ballot and sent to the address printed on the accompanying envelope. (If your congregation has misplaced its ballot, you will have to contact Secretary Hartwig’s office.) I detailed more of the nuts-and-bolts of the process in my November 2 article, “Nominating ballots have now arrived!”

The convention starts six months from now, in the heat of Houston on July 10, but now in frigid January, it’s time to nominate!






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  1. Carl Vehse
    January 9th, 2010 at 17:01 | #1

    I would recommend Wallace Schulz be nominated for first vice-president.

  2. Helen
    January 9th, 2010 at 19:29 | #2

    The more nominations a nominee receives to get on the ballot, the more likely it is that he will be elected in July.

    I don’t think we can afford to nominate any man “for the honor of the thing”.
    The “noughty decade” is over; let’s not drag it out another 10 years in Missouri!

  3. January 9th, 2010 at 19:36 | #3

    @Carl Vehse #1
    Your congregation is certainly free to nominate whomever. And I have no objection to Schulz as one of the VPs. I just think the reality of the situation is that the 1VP elected in July will be either Bill Diekelman or Herb Mueller. Schulz will probably make the ballot of five, but my guess is Mueller has a better chance of defeating Diekelman.

  4. January 9th, 2010 at 19:44 | #4

    Helen :I don’t think we can afford to nominate any man “for the honor of the thing”.

    I’m not sure I understand what you mean by that, Helen. I didn’t say to nominate merely for “the honor of the thing.” I’m saying to nominate in order to enhance the chance of election– first, to get on the ballot, and then, with a strong number of nominations, to make an impression on the voting delegates. I think it is a good thing to get some people elected over other people. It makes a difference. I think it will make a significant difference, for example, whether Kieschnick or Harrison gets elected.

  5. Tim
    January 9th, 2010 at 22:13 | #5

    Has anyone done up or posted a talking points presentation that one could use in making the case to their congregation that “It’s Time”?

  6. Helen
    January 10th, 2010 at 14:16 | #6

    @Charles Henrickson #4

    Charles,
    I was agreeing with you.
    Nominate to win. Wallace Schulz may be a good candidate and deserve to be one, but if he’s a nominee, people who can’t keep their eyes on the goal (and those who intentionally distract them) will be rehashing 2001,

    The best way to deal with 2001 is to get a different group into management of synod.
    IMHO, of course. Any number of people know more about “Missouri” than I do, beginning with my friend “Carl Vehse”.

  7. Carl Vehse
    January 10th, 2010 at 15:15 | #7

    While Rev. Schulz’s past trials, positions, and accomplishments have served to demonstrate his personal character and Lutheran credentials, Wallace Schulz should be nominated because of what he can accomplish with the Missouri Synod in the future.

    As for “2001” (a euphemism for the syncretic heresies and spiritual adultery of the Kieschnick regime) Rev. Schulz would be the best person for a desparately needed Missouri Synod catharsis.

  8. Ariel
    January 11th, 2010 at 16:44 | #8

    Wait a minute, is the Paul Maier on the Jesus First ticket the same Paul L. Meier who wrote all those historical Christian apologetic books such as “In the Fullness of Time”? I would be really let down to know that; it was Maier’s books that affected me the most as a History major in college.

  9. Rev. Joseph Eggleston
    January 11th, 2010 at 18:42 | #9

    Ariel,

    I believe the gentleman is one and the same. He is a fine churchman. There is nothing to be let down about, unless your can’t bear the thought of persons who you may disagree with also finding Dr. Maier’s works and credentials worthy.

  10. January 12th, 2010 at 15:27 | #10

    Rev. Joseph Eggleston :
    I believe the gentleman is one and the same. He is a fine churchman. There is nothing to be let down about, unless your can’t bear the thought of persons who you may disagree with also finding Dr. Maier’s works and credentials worthy.

    Dr. Maier is a good historian, but a questionable theologian. As “Paula Kammerstein” pointed out back in 2003:

    WHAT IS THE “PRAESIDIUM”? DOES JERRY KIESCHNICK HAVE THE SUPPORT OF THE SYNOD’S PRAESIDIUM?

    The Praesidium consists of the president and vice-presidents of the synod – and only one of the five vice-presidents supports Dr. Benke’s participation in “A Prayer for America ” and Dr. Kieschnick’s defense of Dr. Benke. His name is Paul Maier.

    Rev. Maier is the son of the famous Lutheran Hour speaker, Dr. Walter A. Maier. Though Paul Maier has written some very helpful books, unfortunately, he is not conservative like his father. He is well into his 70s, and was ambiguous during the synod’s struggle over the inerrancy of the Bible in the 60’s and 70’s. He himself has participated in unionistic services. He now supports the Jesus First radicals, and publicly associates with liberal groups trying to change the Synod’s doctrine and practice.

    (Funny how much has changed since 2003; then, “only one of the five vice-presidents supports Dr. Benke’s participation in ‘A Prayer for America’ and Dr. Kieschnick’s defense of Dr. Benke,” but now, only one doesn’t. Yes, as long as a time as Missouri’s been sliding, that last big step came very suddenly.)

    Again, Dr. Maier showed his ‘political hack license’ back in the Nov. 2005 issue of “Jesus First,” where he wrote: “Through careful politicization, our right-wing extremists have managed to control the LCMS for the last thirty years, or until the July 2001 Convention.” Ah, yes; the LCMS had been victimized by Al Barry (and even before that…going back to that evil action of J.A.O. Preus in sinfully investigating the St. louis seminary and forcing all of those pious and intelligent professors to run away and form Seminex, yea, back to 1971 Missouri has been dominated by the hateful ‘right’), but was finally set free by Jerry Kieschnick.

    So, the fact is, Jesus First supports Paul Maier because he’s one of them. That doesn’t mean that he hasn’t done anything good, or that he’s not going to heaven, etc. It just means that he’s a false teacher through whom the Lord of the Church has, nonetheless, blessed his people in certain ways. His false teaching makes “In the Fullness of Time” no less valuable than a pastor’s secret atheism would invalidate your Baptism. At the same time, “A Skeleton in God’s Closet” or “The Flames of Rome” are not good reasons to re-elect the man.

    EJG

  11. January 12th, 2010 at 15:44 | #11

    BTW, Pr. Eggleston,

    I see that you were just ordained in 2008, so I’m taking it that your parish had its multitude of ‘problem behaviors and associations’ well in place before you got there…but your lack of awareness about Paul Maier seems to fit in fairly well with the Ablaze![tm] partner church logo and reference on your Reformation Fair site, the fact that your parish is in the midst of a district-led ‘renewal process’, the lovely description of your labyrinth, and your newsletter’s listing of your “Board of Elders,” to wit:

    Board of Elders

    Doris Ochs
    Gail Burck
    Cindy Hofflinger
    David Hofflinger
    John Jakupciak
    Gwen Nolte

    I’m hoping that this is all just a fluke of initial placement and that you are struggling to return the parish to Lutheran orthodoxy by researching these errors here and elsewhere so that you can winningly refute them. If such is the case, please know that you will have our prayers, and if they reject your presentation of God’s truth, our support in whatever ways we can provide it.

    EJG

  12. Ariel
    January 12th, 2010 at 17:29 | #12

    Welp, that’s depressing. Oh well. I guess he’s still a good historian.

    A couple of Lutheran friends I knew in college had recommended “A Skeleton in God’s Closet” to me. I resolved to check it out, and never had (preferring “In the Fullness of Time” instead). After looking through the amazon.com page for it, I’m glad I hadn’t. Urgh…it looks like the same kind of pseudo-intellectual Dan Brown drivel, with a slightly more theological bent to it. No thanks :-/

  13. January 12th, 2010 at 17:43 | #13

    Ariel :
    A couple of Lutheran friends I knew in college had recommended “A Skeleton in God’s Closet” to me. I resolved to check it out, and never had (preferring “In the Fullness of Time” instead). After looking through the amazon.com page for it, I’m glad I hadn’t. Urgh…it looks like the same kind of pseudo-intellectual Dan Brown drivel, with a slightly more theological bent to it. No thanks :-/

    Really, it’s not a bad book…almost an anti-Dan Brown sort of thing, in fact. My only recommendation/insistence is that no one read it halfway through and then stop. Dr. Maier’s protagonist is faithless because of his historical pursuits, but in the midst of his unbelief there is the contrast of his (LCMS-pastor) father’s faith, and a resolution to the story that makes you want to read the sequel (but to be disappointed by the sequel in other respects, too).

    And, yeah, generally speaking, he’s a decent historian, though some things in “In the Fullness of Time” struck me as unsupported. Then again, he’s done far better with that book than I could ever even imagine myself doing.

    EJG

  14. January 13th, 2010 at 10:47 | #14

    Paul Maier’s Skeleton in God’s Closet (1995) was a good novel. The second in the series, More than a Skeleton (2003), had less plausibility. In it the main character, Jonathan Weber, was also used by Maier to slip some liberal spin on the Kieschnick/Benke YS heresy.

    At a recent seminar Maier has announced his third Skeleton novel, Skeleton in Rome, would be published later this year. Maier said that in this new novel one of the lost fifty codex copies of the Bible, which Constantine authorized Eusebius to prepare, is discovered in Constantinople (now Istanbul). This newly discovered codex contains an extra book that begins, “In this third treatise, O Theophilus,…” The Skeleton in Rome also will deal with the ‘original ending’ of the Gospel of Mark.

    I hope the new novel will be more in line with the suspense of the first novel, but I am concerned, after Maier’s wishy-washy (if not sympathetic) answer at the seminar to a question about women’s ordination in the Missouri Synod, that in the third novel the extra book will seem more like it was written by members of ‘us-Firsters or (Shrill)Voices/(Di)Visions.

  15. jim_claybourn
    January 13th, 2010 at 17:37 | #15

    @Rev. Eric J. Stefanski #11

    hmmm . . . .

    the PIC site seems to be unavailable.

    Either it’s been overloaded, or is down for modification??

  16. January 13th, 2010 at 18:03 | #16

    Here is the Wayback Machine’s cache of the labyrinth silliness. And here is the Google cache for the Jan., 2010, PIC newsletter that includes the elders’ names.

  17. Anonymous
    January 13th, 2010 at 20:54 | #17

    It doesn’t matter if Wally Schultz is the best candidate for 1VP. Carl is making a logical argument. And I don’t necessarily disagree with him. But the reality is this: most people are not rational or logical thinkers, including convention delegates. And that is not to put anyone down – we all do it – we often make snap decisions and form first impressions on silly things that we’ve seen or heard (whether it’s true or not).

    The die is cast on Pastor Schultz. The story on him is already written. It’s similar to Dan Quayle and potatoe. It’s completely unfair, but it would be near impossible to change that narrative. As wrong as this is, it is reality. And it would take a herculean effort to undo that perception. It’s not going to happen. If you want to re-elect the incumbents, challenge Herb Mueller’s candidacy for 1VP. That’s the single best way to re-elect the incumbents.

    And you have to look at what “they’re” doing. Nobody on “their” side is looking to put someone up against Diekelman. They’re presenting a united ticket.

    We have a political process in the LCMS, like it or not. The time for striving for political perfection has passed. At this stage, do not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. If that happens, the perfect and the good BOTH lose and bad wins.

  18. January 13th, 2010 at 21:39 | #18

    “The die is cast on Pastor Schultz. The story on him is already written. It’s similar to Dan Quayle and potatoe.”

    I will presume that is the hooey being gossiped by heterodox liberals and ‘usFirsters to pseudosentient convention fence-sitters, and that it is not the story being told around the campfires of confessional Lutherans.

    “The time for striving for political perfection has passed.”

    I’m not expecting perfection, but I want some confidence that whatever confessional Lutheran is elected, there will be some serious boot-kicking of liberal synodical keisters (sufficient for subsequent suborbital trajectories of said keisters). I have historical confidence that Rev. Schulz would do that. I’m waiting for some confidence that other confessionals to be nominated would too.

  19. Rev. Joseph Eggleston
    January 14th, 2010 at 17:44 | #19

    @Rev. Eric J. Stefanski #11

    Pr. Stefanski,

    You and I can have different opinions on Paul Maier’s credentials or theology, and there would be nothing wrong with discussing those differences. But I fail to see the positive construction of posting links to my parish’s web site and pointing out what you perceive as errors. You know very little about what is taught here, so I would ask that you inquire first and post links later, if at all.

    Even if I had been here for 20 years, and were responsible for every aspect of my congregation’s ministry, my supposed errors are not pertinent to a discussion of Synod nominees. A discussion based on the merits of the arguments is always preferable; so please, let’s keep it there.

    I appreciate your prayers, and yes, we do have many challenges which we are addressing, some with district help. I am not going to respond directly to each of the “multitude of problem behaviors and associations” which you point out, again, because I don’t see them as relevant to the topic. Please inform away, however, regarding nominees for Synod office. I’m as interested as anyone in learning more.

  20. Rev. Joseph Eggleston
    January 14th, 2010 at 17:49 | #20

    @Ariel #12

    Ariel,

    Paul Maier, along with Hank Hanegraaff, wrote a very handy critique of the DaVinci Code. He is most certainly not in the same category as Dan Brown. It is titled “The Davinci Code Fact or Fiction?”

  21. January 16th, 2010 at 16:54 | #21

    Rev. Joseph Eggleston :
    @Rev. Eric J. Stefanski #11
    Pr. Stefanski,
    Even if I had been here for 20 years, and were responsible for every aspect of my congregation’s ministry, my supposed errors are not pertinent to a discussion of Synod nominees. A discussion based on the merits of the arguments is always preferable; so please, let’s keep it there.

    They most certainly are pertinent, as they give us an insight into why you evaluate a candidate as you do. Paul Maier has favored open Communion and has written for the disgusting rag of the blasphemously-named Jesus First political action committee. No, he’s not in the same category as Dan Brown, but he’s also not in the same category as his father.

    Now, if you will notice, those last two sentences speak to the nominee and his lack of qualifications for office in a Lutheran organization; my previous post is relevant because you were either ignorant of the facts or chose to ignore them in your glowing endorsement of his qualifications, and your doing so necessarily brings the question of “Why would he say Dr. Maier should be re-elected when he has a history of endorsing false teaching and false teachers?”

    If you’re embarrassed by your parish website (I would be), you should change it. It is a part of what you teach as pastor, and, as pastor, you are responsible for its content. Your defense of it in #19 makes it even more ‘yours’.

    EJG

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