What Happens to the Intellectual Property in an LCMS Divorce? by Attorney Craig Parton

(Editor’s Note: BJS is proud to have attorney Craig Parton on our advisory board. Mr. Parton is a former evangelical who catechized into  Lutheranism a few years ago when he came to understand  the Biblical teaching of the sacraments. He is a Christian apologist and author of numerous books and articles including his most recent book “Religion on Trial.”)

What if the there is divorce in the synod? Click here to see an attorney’s take on who gets the intellectual property.

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


What Happens to the Intellectual Property in an LCMS Divorce? by Attorney Craig Parton — 63 Comments

  1. Now that I have mentioned the word “practice” I am sure “Anonymous” and his ilk will try to pull out the old “doctrine/practice argument, i.e. that practice is distinct from doctrine. To that I say “show me your practice and I will know your doctrine.” Doctrine and practice are not distinguishable one from the other.

    You’d have prayers to St. Plato in that church.

  2. Caveat. I have not read the posts between there and here yet.
    Anonymous #40 said
    “It is because of our fallen nature that we like to become hyper-critical over how other people prefer to worship”

    Yes it is definitely in my fallen nature to be “hyper-critical” from time to time. So I am in constant need of my Savior!

    However I DO NOT CARE how OTHERS Worship. Although it is my fervent hope that these others know and have faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I DO care how my Church Worships. But you seem to be implying that I and other should have no say in how our Church Body Worships.

  3. Pastor Rossow #50
    “The Right Rev. Jack Bauer has pretty much said it all”

    Boy howdy, and then some!

    Amen Brothers!

  4. “we use both the common cup and the “shot glasses” at our church…”

    That is what evangelical Lutherans like to do as well! We live in a world in which people like several options in worship. One size does not always fit all people. Dif. strokes for dif. folks.

  5. SHHHHHH! I think we have a company man among us. I am convinced that Anonymous is a company man since he used the term “our beloved Synod”. But that’s OK I learn more when he is answered in this forum.

    The term “Our beloved Synod” makes me want to urp every time I hear it or read it. I know I should not be that way but that’s how I feel. And we are all about “feeling” these days.

    I’m sorry but Synod can’t be beloved to me, and shouldn’t. Synod should be considered no more than the tractor that helps the farmer, nothing more. When it becomes beloved then the focus has changed. It is no longer a tool but the focus of our admiration. People forget Synod is not the Church. It is an association of likeminded churches but not THE Church. For Synod to be beloved it would have to be much greater than it is or ever was intended to be.

    Christ is our beloved Savior.
    That I can believe.

    John Hooss

  6. Anonymous,

    Based on your words in post #54 “evangelical Lutherans” also like to miss the point. The point of my comment #50 was not about options, as you make it our to be. The point was that we have changed our procedure to highlight one option (common cup) over another option (individual cups) and that this new emphasis has caused more people to choose the common cup, which flies in the face of your point about cultural preferences.

    It is striking how the stodgy confessionals (as you call us) pay close attention to the words that you and other use and make a strong effort to stick to what those words mean and you (the so called evangelical Lutheran) and others of your ilk, do not pay attention to what the words mean, as exemplified by your missing my point.

    This is so key to the differences in the LCMS today. There are those who consider words to be bearers of real meaning and language to be a God-given gift that distinguishes man from all other animals, and then there are those like you who see words as mere acts of creative self-expression that are not valued so highly and are open to subjective and personal interpretation. This squares with the two ways we see doctrine/practice handled by the two groups. The confessionals turn to scripture and the confessions as a basis for doctrine and practice and you turn to pragmatism and culture.

    This is a serious matter and I ask you to think about it and have a change of heart and mind. The future of the Christian faith is what is at stake here. God chose to communicate the faith in the inspired and innerrant words of scripture and so we need to take words very seriously. Please have a change of mind and turn to scripture and the confessions as the basis for doctrine and truth. Christ’s church needs you and your support so that all parts of the body of Christ can do thier part to make sure that the gospel is preached in its purity and the sacraments are administered according to Christ’s command. We would live to have your support here at the Brothers of John the Steadfast.

    I thank you for your interest in our site and encourage your continued participation.

    Pastor Rossow

  7. John Hooss,

    I guess I agree with you given the current understanding of and the current state of the Synod, but if we could somehow get back to Walther’s understanding of the synod as nothing other than the true visible church on earth, then I am ready to call it beloved for then it is the body of Christ, His church. http://www.reclaimingwalther.org/articles/cfw00006.htm

    As we move ahead in our discussion of and renewal of the LCMS I believe it would be beneficial for us to understand synod, or whatever we call the collection of orthodox churches, to be a true expression of the body of Christ. I do not think that we need to give up on the notion of a meaningful collection of orthodox churches. It can be more than the tractor. It is the very field and soil that gives us birth.

    Pastor Rossow

  8. St. Paul says:
    ’Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God.’
    Not the will of the human heart or the will of good intentions (or bad ones), not the will of those with ‘spiritual needs’ that muct be met before they’ll join the throng, and not the will of our Synodical betters, but the will of God.
    Not conforming to custom or to the felt needs of the weak or the most ambitious, but to the will of God.
    I don’t understand how that couldn’t appear any plainer. Unless, that is, in attempting to look at it, one fails to see beyond the end of one’s own nose.

  9. Spotted on another “lutheran” blog:

    Confessional= sort of like Piety

    Confessionalist= sort of like Pietist

    Confessionalistic= sort of like Pietistic

    Only 2 of these seem to be valid…I wonder which 2?

  10. #40 Anonymous,
    I’m not sure that we’re called to be a “smart church” as the prevailing culture defines “smart.” It appears that the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor 1 requires us to preach a message that human culture will always consider “foolish,” and a “stumbling block;” “Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”
    Jesus Christ, and Him crucified is also precisely what we receive for the forgiveness of our sins in the Sacrament of the altar. If the Lord’s Supper is real Communion between Our Lord Jesus Christ and his bride the Church, I’m having problems with your “viral dangers,” and “turn-off” comments re. the common cup. What are you confessing about the relationship of our Lord and his bride with these concerns? It’s Christ who takes our contagion of sin from the common cup, we receive only life and salvation.

    Pax Christi,
    Matt Mills

    P.S. Perhaps I’m a stodgy dead traditionalist on marriage as well as a stodgy dead traditionalist on theology and praxis, but I’ll kiss my wife (right on the lips) even when she’s got a cold.

  11. Anonymous,

    In post number 27, Pastor Wilken requested that you answer his question (for the second time I believe), and you replied to him in post number 30. However, I believe that you still have not answered his question. Why is that?

  12. Interesting that it’s “not our grandfathers’ church” but it’s still (supposedly)
    “our beloved synod”! That phrase is from horse & buggy days. We did have some affection for our horses which is harder to develop for a tractor. 🙂

  13. Anonymous,

    You and I would have likely have been good friends just a few years ago. I used to buy into this line of thinking. This whole thing about cultural relevancy is attractive. You think perhaps that it is the tool for sharing something that you deeply care about. . . The gospel. So, you bend over backwards to make your church appealing to anyone who would possibly walk in the door. Singles groups, english as a second language classes, parenting classes, financial counseling services, seniors groups and the like. All to get them in the door so you can offer them what they really need, the freeing gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I admire your zeal for sharing the gospel. But, all your efforts are failing to accomplish what you intend. All the “good” things that you may be doing are drowning out the only important thing that the church needs to be doing, that is preaching the saving gospel. And it is dividing your “synod.” Just preach the pure gospel.

    By the way, I used to identify myself as a member of the LCMS. I joined as an adult in 1992. My wife too, joined in 1998. We left in 2004. In a very short time, the LCMS changed rapidly. To say, this ain’t your grandfather’s church is putting it mildly. It would have been better said, this ain’t the same church you walked into yesterday. Yet, I didn’t leave the LCMS, they left me. I went to Concorida Seminary for a short time in 1996. I left to marry my wife, but had plans for returning after she graduated college. Our return was delayed, but I did apply for readmission. Yet, I was declined readmission. Why? I have concluded it was because the LCMS and its St. Louis Seminary have changed.

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