Breaking: Restructuring up on Web site

Check it out here.

Update: A reader sends along his highlights from an initial reading:

No more decision making boards in the Synod. All boards merely advisory. All executives report to The LCMS President, who would also hire them. All power concentrate in hand of Synod president, who would now be elected to six year terms.

Delegate representation slashed to only less than 700 delegates at a convention.

Congregations get two delegates for every 750 members they have.

Either 100 districts, or only 20 districts. Either smaller districts, or much larger.

More political activities than ever before, since all voting delegates would be elected at district conventions, not at the circuit meetings.

Overtures no longer coming directly from congregations, but only through district convention (effective way to kill unwelcome overtures!).

Doctrinal resolutions changing anything substantial require a 2/3 vote [not bad right now, for this would probably block women’s ordination], but if they change delegate representation on the basis of the new way of electing delegates: it’s all over!!!

Bylaws can be adopted, that negate anything else, by a simple majority.


Comments

Breaking: Restructuring up on Web site — 36 Comments

  1. I just went to the webpage and what did I see? The logo is the image of green leaves nicely arranged to outline an invisible cross. It looks more like an intersection where paths from all directions will merge and unite. Oh, why is this the thing that says something to me? What are we doing to the cross of Christ? What are we doing to His Word; are we free to overrule the Word of God by a 2/3 majority vote of mere humans?

  2. Where are the “checks and balances” President K speaks of in Section 1, “What is the BRTFSSG?”. I’m starting to think the task force acronym is derived from the little known German adjective ‘bartfissig’, roughly translated as ‘exuding a stench’. Das ist sehr bartfissig.

  3. Where did the reader get the information. I guess I am too computer illiterate as I tried to get the information from the above link but could not find any information that was described in the reader’s comments. I would suspect he is correct but I would love to have solid facts. I wish to contact MO District Mirly and give him a piece of my mind. These clowns ars systematically destroying our beloved churh body, we are no longer a synod and haven’t been for decades. I suspect we are too late to save our church body and my fear is that there won’t be a split but a splintering as we conservatives seem to eat our own. I was talking with our Pastor today and he hit the nail on the head by calling these clowns politicians and I commented that they have all forgotten that their first calling was to be a servant. The laity is basically ignorant, to the glee of the Papacy in St. Louis, of the happenings and this whole scenario reminds me that Nero fiddled while Rome burned ……………….

  4. It amazes me that people can’t see K’s hands in all of this. Power would be strictly his, if this all “passed”. It truly would be “corporate” synod. Any resemblance of “church” would be out the window (even more so than it is). Most of this has been predicted by Pr’s Preus, Wilken, Rossow and even me. I am not surprised at anything in the white papers. Terms like “missional” appear regularly. Changing the name of synod was totally expected.

    Say good-bye to any semblance of “your grandfather’s church”. Now to continue to catechize the flock God has called me to serve, to see the error(s) of these actions and the impact of them even being proposed, so that we may prepare for the inevitable departure from a heterodox organization. Kyrie Eleison.

  5. Just look at the members of the Task Force. Notice a name in there? Ralph Bohlmann, and one of Ralph’s long time-allies, Will Sohns? Talk about an “old boys club.”
    Insiders report that when this stuff was presented today there was nearly unanimous negativity. Long-time Synodical executive, John Schuelke said that all this baloney has been proposed again, and shot down.

    Kieschnick’s consultants have already reported to him there is little support for any major restructuring.

    The major proposals in this thing are simply what Bohlman wanted to do when he was Synod president. He wanted to consolidate all power and authority under him, appoint the Synod executives, and turn all elected boards into advisory. Along with this, the desire has always been to push smaller/medium congregations into the background and give the larger congregations more votes. Keep in mind, most of these larger congregations support the Synod very little to begin with.

    Check the Task Force members’ names out:

    Who are the members of the task force?

    Dr. Ralph Bohlmann
    President Emeritus
    LCMS

    Dr. Samuel H. Nafzger
    Director of Church Relations
    LCMS Office of the President

    Rev. Jon Braunersreuther
    Assistant to the President
    LCMS

    Dr. Jeff Schrank
    Executive Pastor
    Christ Lutheran Church, Phoenix, AZ
    “Executive” pastor? ’nuff said folks.

    Dr. David Buegler
    Fifth Vice President
    LCMS

    Mr. Ron Schultz
    Chief Administrative Officer
    LCMS

    Dr. 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. Will Sohns
    Retired, Former President, Wyoming District
    LCMS Commission on Constitutional Matters

    Dr. Raymond Hartwig
    Secretary of the Synod
    LCMS

    Dr. Larry Stoterau
    President
    Pacific Southwest District

    Dr. Tom Kuchta
    Vice President—Finance/Treasurer
    LCMS

    Ms. Virginia Von Seggern
    Retired, Past President, Lutheran Women’s Missionary League

    Dr. Robert Kuhn
    President Emeritus
    LCMS

    Ms. Jane Wilke
    Director of Communications
    Lutheran Senior Services of Missouri

    Dr. William Moorhead
    Senior Pastor
    Pacific Hills Lutheran Church,
    Omaha, NE

  6. Please keep in mind the links being shared are to “white papers”. This doesn’t mean anything in those papers have been adopted, they are just being considered… that alone is a red flag to me… but we can rest knowing that the ideas in the white papers have not been implemented.

  7. Pastor Kumm, now is precisely not the time to give up, or give in. Time to man up, and get in there and resist this nonsense.

  8. “Allow congregations with more than 750 confirmed members to be represented by two additional delegates for each additional unit of 750 confirmed members or majority thereof, with each pair of additional delegates to be one ministerial (ordained or commissioned) delegate and one nonordained
    delegate.” — Top of Page 4

    Pardon my ignorance, but do larger congregations get more votes currently?

  9. Before everyone gets too much in a bundle …
    Read carefully from the opening paragraphs ..

    “The following proposals/possibilities are not final by any means. The task force considers its work to be
    under construction. With the expectation of ongoing feedback, the Synod’s members and leaders are
    participating as valued and active partners in this work-in-progress.”

    So before K and company get crucified how bout we do exactly what it says…. discuss, propose, provide feedback and work together for the common good. Or is that just too much like Barnabas for this website?

  10. Dan (comment #10):

    As of now, each congregation, no matter what their size, is allowed a pastor and a lay delegate at the circuit forum where the one lay and one pastoral delegate for the synodical convention is elected. Thus, small and large congregations have the same representation at this time. This change would give more power to larger congregations which tend to be more deeply entrenched in the Church Growth Movement. It is also significant to note that this change is based on democracy and not the theology of the church. The New Testament does not count one congregation more important than another nor worthy of more representation. What makes a congregation is the authority to preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments. I am opposed to this change even though I am the pastor of a 2,000 member congregation and stand to gain more influence from this proposed change.

    Pastor Rossow

  11. If what Thomas Webber reports in true, and most of this has been brought up before, keep aware of the previous articles posted here discussing the “dummy” proposal which is easily shot down but merely sets us up for the real plan. Don’t expend all our energy on foolishness only to settle for what appears to be the lesser of two evils, but is ultimately worse.

    An analysis followed by quotes from the white papers would be nice to help amateurs like me to follow along.

  12. Maybe the Taskforce would like to let Lutheran out of any proposed new name for the Synod, then any congregations that would leave and form a new synod, could use the name Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

  13. One last reiteration of something I posted in response to a previous blog entry on BJS:

    The Three Walls Preventing Reform of the LCMS
    http://www.consensuslutheran.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=455&mode=thread&order=0

    “On the Reform of Our Own Christian Estate: A Historical Review of Luther on Dissent and Reform”
    http://augustanaministerium.org/essays/stanfordpeoria04.pdf

    A Catechism on the Dissent Process in the LCMS
    http://www.consensuslutheran.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=408&mode=&order=0

    State of Confession, Trinity Lutheran, Herrin, IL
    http://web.mac.com/mdhauz/Trinity_Lutheran_Church/State_of_Confession/State_of_Confession.html

    BTW, do check out the Augustana Confraternity:
    http://www.augustanaministerium.org

  14. Thankfully these things are just PROPOSALS. However they do give an indication of where things are going. We tried the name thing a couple of conventions back. I have heard about the delegate argument for larger congregations since I was a vicar over 13 years ago. If there is anything new it is the changing of terms for the Synodical President and changing of the focus of the conventions. Even if some of what is proposed makes it to the next convention it will be shot down. I believe most people will see this for what it is, a power grab.

    I hate district conventions because they seem too orchestrated and anything worth discussing is settled by floor committees. If we streamline the process any further then fewer and fewer congregations will participate in the process. We will simply be told what to do and think from on high. The end result will be that congregations will send fewer and fewer dollars up to the Synod.

    The church I serve couldn’t care less about the synod or the district. In fact they feel a little abused by all the happenings going on in our Synod and the use of funds and other things. The only thing that really concerns them is when they need a call list. I would not be surprised if in the next white paper there is a suggestion to put even more power into the hands of the SP and the DP concerning calls. Oh wait it is already in this one in that the DP and SP have more of a say in the seminary certification process. So if a candidate doesn’t meet the standard for a missional congregation they might simply not receive a call at all.

    Thankfully these are proposals, trial balloons, or if you prefer lead balloons. Our over reaction to them will not help our cause or improve how many in our church perceive the “confessionals”, “right-wing”, “Christian News” crowd. We need to have a thoughtful, well-reasoned, calm response that makes it clear that we in no way support these proposals. The only one I really liked was to reduce the size of districts. It would serve to put more power back into the hands of the congregations, and put the drive for missions back to the local level.

    Thanks

    Faithalone

  15. Our congregation now sends ditrict only 500 dollars instead of the thousands only several years back. We have selected mission projects that suit our congregation and use budget proceeds to fund these. This church body has never been ” my grandfather’s church “. The church has always been Christ’s church, we are only earthly stewards of it. We must pray for God’s direction in our actions.

  16. Putting Your Money Where Your Confession Is…

    It is time for us to put our money and time where our confession of the faith is (Romans 16:17; Acts 2:42-45). A silent witness is really no witness. Our prayers for confessional Lutheran missions and organizations should lead us to put our money and time to supporting these organizations. Of course, our congregation should always come first for our offerings. And it is a good thing if we can get our congregation to DIRECTLY support confessional Lutheran missions and organizations. But it is important, that where we are blessed with the resources to do so, that we also support these confessional Lutheran organizations directly along with our prayers. This is not about punishment, but about our money being placed where its use is consistent with what we believe and confess. And as Pr. Wilken pointed out in an article a while back, it isn’t about the “middle man” in the bureaucracy.

    With this in mind I’d like to suggest a few organizations that can have a large impact:

    Issues Etc/Lutheran Public Radio
    Higher Things
    The Augustana Ministerium
    Concordia Theological Seminary
    The Luther Academy
    The Confessional Lutheran Education Foundation
    Lutheran Heritage Foundation
    Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary
    Pirate Christian Radio
    Westfield House, England
    Siberian Lutheran Mission Society
    Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America
    The Friends of Mercy

    Beyond this I would encourage support of our confessional Lutheran campus ministries, especially those that are chapters of Christ on Campus, of Higher Things. Support confessional Lutheran mission congregations that practice closed communion and follow the historic liturgy. Support foreign missions that begin confessional Lutheran congregations. Support faithful seminary students. Support confessional Lutheran publishing large and small.

    Remember the “mission commitment” to synod is not exclusively confessional Lutheran mission, nor is it all strictly speaking, “mission” work.

    “We believe, teach, and confess that in a time of persecution, when an unequivocal confession of the faith is demanded of us, we dare not yield to the opponents in such indifferent matters. As the Apostle wrote, ‘Stand firm in the freedom for which Christ has set us free, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery’ [Gal. 5:1]. And: ‘Do not put on the yoke of others; what partnership is there between light and darkness?’ [2 Cor. 6:14]. ‘So that the truth of the Gospel might always remain with you, we did not submit to them even for a moment’ [Gal. 2:5]. For in such a situation it is no longer indifferent matters that are at stake. The truth of the gospel and Christian freedom are at stake. The confirmation of open idolatry, as well as the protection of the weak in faith from offense, is at stake. In such matters we can make no concessions but must offer an unequivocal confession and suffer whatever God sends and permits the enemies of His Word to inflict on us”
    [Formula of Concord-Epitome, Article X,6].

    2 John 9-11 – Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching,do not receive him in your house and do not give him a
    greeting: for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deed.

    1 Corinthians 5:11 – I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an idolater, or a reviler, or a swindler not even to eat with such a one.

    Romans 16:17 – Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and offenses contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.

    Mark 6:1 – Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake off the dust from the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.

    Titus 3:10: Reject a man causing divisions after a first and second warning.

  17. Our congregation does not send any money to Synod, and instead, supports missions within our district (Wyoming). Is it a rule that districts must give money to synod, or can all monies be kept from supporting synod?

    Kiley Campbell

  18. In the interest of sparing the combox, my analysis is here, with quotes from the report, as someone asked for.

    As far as the trial balloon theory goes, I suppose the question would be, What do they want that the did not include here?

  19. Sure, just “proposals.” But what do they bespeak?
    The increasingly utter contempt for the LAITY (congegations) of this faltering lashup we call the LCMess by Il Papa and the Consortium of Perversity.
    Jist open yer checkbooks and shut yer yaps, peasants.
    Which way to he egress, P.T.?
    Ed Weise

  20. Steve (10)
    The mere fact that they proposed such tripe warrants them being retrained.
    I showed this statement to a Jesuit Priesthood prep school graduate and he said “Are they nuts?” (Obviously didn’t enter the Priesthood)
    Even he could see the error.
    I agree let’s not get wound up on poposals, but please are they kidding?

    John

  21. What do you call a leader who suddenly turns around to find that no one is following him?

    Structures and rules cannot force individuals or congregations to comply. Speaking for myself, I would hate to leave the Missouri Synod. But if our ‘leaders’ think more of their own power than of the spiritual needs of believers and the lost, then it may be time to reconsider my association with those leaders. They will turn around for my money and support, only to find me gone.

    My only prayer is that there will be a solid group to which I could attach myself. Perhaps that is why Rev. Kumm is contemplating a drastic course of action – to serve people like me.

  22. Mr. Webber (Thomas),

    You obviously don’t know me or you would know that I am not “giving up or giving in”. I am and will be fighting for what is right until there is no choice but to leave.

  23. Last night our study group watched the video and read through the documents provided by Synod’s Blue Ribbon Task Farce, especialy the document entitled “Walking Together – The LCMS Future: Proposals and Possibilities for Consideration and Discussion” on this subject.

    What struck me was that under each of the Sections, Congregations and Districts, Congregations and the National Synod, etc. they did not list the actual problems they were trying to solve by the proposals they present.

    Don’t you need to have a clear articulation of the problem, before you attempt to solve it??? Seems kinda basic to me…

    No, this isn’t my Grandfather’s Synod

  24. I was reading the “walking together” piece noted above. One thing that hit me while reading it, and while reading Rev. K. Preus’s post on July 11, 2008 (//steadfastlutherans.org/blog/?p=151) was the notion of “ecclesiastical supervision.” The “walking together” piece seems to state that as a universial accepted truth: “We are congregations who together form districts as ecclestical clusters for the sake of efficient and effective support, advice, encouragement, leadership, and ECCLESIASTICAL SUPERVISION …” [emphasis mine]

    If the synod is not church, but rather simply an organizational structure (i.e. a federation?) how can synodical officals and/or dp’s have ecclesiastical authority? I thought only churches can exercise churchly authority.

    Perhaps this question is not best answered on this thread, but on a whole new posting.

    Thanks,
    leb

  25. Re: the suggestion in the document to allow congregations of more than 750 members to have 2 additional delegates for each additional 750 members. Did anyone else catch this:

    “…with each pair of delegates to be one ministerial (ordained or commissioned) delegate and one non-ordained delegate.” (Top of page 4 of document, emphasis mine.)

    Now, larger churches are more likely than small churches to have commissioned staff members, so besides skewing the representation at convention in favor of larger churches, would it not also fairly effectively diminish the influence of ordained clergy at convention?

    If a congregation of 1,800 members has 2 pastors, are they going to send BOTH pastors and 2 laymen? Or will they send ONE pastor, one staff member, and 2 laymen?

  26. Just like when one cleans out the basement, garage, attic, etc., and discovers some old trinket from years past and begins to think, “Maybe, just maybe I can use this again.” So too is this restructing report. It is nothing more than junk that was discarded years ago. Tried and failed ideas with a leadership trying to present them as new. The best thing to do when you are cleaning house or trying to recycle bad church restructuring/theology, throw it in the trash. Purge yourself of all ideas that this item can be saved, or cleaned up and be useful.

  27. Monies sent to districts are monies sent to synod. Districts are a subset of synod. Synod is not a confederation of districts. Shuffling money and numbers, all districts send money to synod regardless of what congregations specify. When a district sends money to synod it is simply passing it up the chain in the same organization.

  28. Restructuring the synod is just so much reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. The organization is a black hole for money.

    The worship practices it promotes on the whole undermine confessional Lutheran practice – if we subscribe to AC/Ap XXIV or AC XIV. Synod basically doesn’t subscribe to AC or Apology XXIV or Augustana XIV for starters.

  29. How about a single fraction of a delegate for each congregation? That fraction should be the decimal probability of getting Word and Sacrament properly proclaimed and administered at that congregation on any given Sunday.

  30. Erling Teigen. “Confessional Lutheranism versus Philippistic Conservatism,” Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology
    Reformation/October – Vol. 2, No. 4, Pages 32-37

    Conservatism can also stand for a mind-set that tends to value the status quo most highly, so that one can only be moved in a different direction by bulldozer or cataclysm, never by theological study or intellectual honesty. Adherence to the Reformation spirit would seem rather to dictate that the Reformation is not static but dynamic, and always stands ready to reevaluate itself and to make mid-course corrections. That does not mean that the Confessions as the Lutheran understanding of Scripture need to be “reinterpreted” for a new age, but it means that the teaching and the teachers of our churches need to be reevaluated always to see whether or not their teaching is in accord with the Lutheran Confessions[…].

    While conservatism can be construed as a desire to preserve that which is good, it doesn’t necessarily work that way. The fundamental nature of conservatism is to preserve power structures and status quo. That, in fact, is the fundamental nature of bureaucracy, and not any less of church bureaucracies. The “chureaucrat” has to preserve the power structure within which he intends to function, for without the trappings of power he is lost.

    Business and bureaucracy are fundamentally conservative in that sense, and the more our church leaderships pattern themselves after the business world, the more conservative they will become. To think of ourselves in terms of “conservative” strikes me, then, as dangerous, and a stance that has taken us down the wrong path. Not only is it a stance which identifies us with stances that belong to the kingdom of the left hand, but it is a stance that locks us into a mode that is unhealthy.

  31. Re comment 20:

    High on your list should have been “Lutherans For Life”.
    http://www.lutheransforlife.org/

    By the way I just heard one of the District Presidents who is pushing the LCMS name change likes: SELC – Synod Evangelical Lutheran Church. This brings to the fore front our “evangelical” nature. He scoffed at the idea that it sounded too much like the ELCA.

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