Not LCMS? No problem at LCMS, Inc.! (Mollie)

We discussed a few weeks ago the sudden departure of LCMS World Mission executive director Rev. Robert Roegner. His interim replacement is the Rev. Tom Zehnder.

Today, Synod, Inc. sent around a call for nominations for the executive director position. This person would administer LCMS World Mission board and operations, supervising everything and everybody under that board. He would serve as spokesman for the Board for Mission Services. So check out this portion of the document, emphasis mine:

Qualifications: The following list suggests characteristics that may be helpful for this role. It is not inclusive, nor should any single item be deemed an absolute requirement.

  • Active member of an LCMS congregation, faithful to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions and supportive of the Synod’s Constitution, Bylaws, and policies.
  • Rostered, ordained clergy of the LCMS and/or proficient in theology and missiology, understanding of world cultures, cross-cultural ministry, the mission history of the Christian Church, and opportunities for outreach in North America and the world.

Um, what? It’s one thing to say that the person need not be a rostered, ordained clergy member of the LCMS or understand it’s theology. I mean, no offense, but a non-insignificant number of executives at Synod, Inc. understand Lutheran theology in any meaningful sense.

And when I served on the Board for Communication Services, we understood that we wouldn’t be able to offer a job to a confessional clergy member of the LCMS who was proficient in theology because President Gerald Kieschnick wouldn’t even let us hire any staffer who was a confessional clergy member of the LCMS who was proficient in theology. He literally blocked us from hiring qualified individuals who were also confessional Lutherans.

But it’s not a requirement that the executive even be a member of an LCMS congregation? How in the world could this not be a requirement? It’s just a suggested characteristic of a nominee? Gah.


Not LCMS? No problem at LCMS, Inc.! (Mollie) — 14 Comments

  1. Neither (as one reads after the criteria about being a member of an LCMS congregation) is it an ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT that the candidate “BE FAITHFUL TO THE SCRIPTURES AND THE LUTHERAN CONFESSINS and supportive of the Synod’s Constitution, Bylaws, and policies.”

    Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Butch Almstedt (chairman of the Board for Missions) was not intentionally trying to undermine subscription to Article II of the Constitution of The LCMS. In that case, saying that “it is not an absolute requirement” to be “faithful to the Scriptures” is just a careless, imprecise, inconsiderate, choice of words.

    But that is precisely what is at issue with Dr. Kieschnick, the Ablaze! Movement, Butch Almstedt and Kurt Buchholz. THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT WORDS OR GRAMMAR – and as a result, they do not take care to regard doctrines which precisely incorporate the Word of God into life and practice.

    When confronted with their errors, they simply say, “Oh, that is not what we meant.” Instead of taking care to say what they mean and mean what they say, they exclaim, “Well, you know what I mean,” expecting people to fill in the gaps with their own version of common sense. Trying to pin these people down is like trying to nail jello to the wall because they are so ambiguous rather than making a clear, unequivocal confession.

    The question needs to be posed: “Aren’t men like Dr. Kieschnick and Mr. Almstedt actually undermining the Christian faith with their careless speaking and vacuous methods and felicitous spending squandering of the offerings of Christ’s holy people?”

    Whether this statement was drawn up intentionally or carelessly, the net effect is the same. This reflects poorly not only on Butch Almstedt and the Board for Missions, but also on David Fiedler, interim director of Human Relations, David Strand, executive director for the Board for Communications Services and Dr. Ray Hartwig, secretary of the Synod, all of whom have their part in supervising synod’s policies and OFFICIAL communications made through synod’s official periodicals.

  2. When the posted qualifications for an LCMess executive director are so nebulous one of Jay Leno’s “Jaywalking” finalists could qualify, that also says something about the quality of the Synod’s Board of Directors.

  3. I may be wrong, but my understanding is the reason that Dr. Kieschnick keeps getting reelected is that Confessional Lutherans do not unite behind a single candidate.

    If we can unify at the next election, maybe we can fix this.

  4. “I may be wrong, but my understanding is the reason that Dr. Kieschnick keeps getting reelected is that Confessional Lutherans do not unite behind a single candidate.”

    David, you are wrong; that is not the reason. Confessional Lutheran delegates may get behind as many confessional candidates on the Synodical President ballot as they wish, as long as the total number of votes for those confessional candidates in a balloting is over 50 percent.

    What happened in the 2001 convention was that as the candidates with lowest votes were eliminated in subsequent ballots, a few delegates did not switch to a remaining confessional candidate but instead voted for Gerald Kieschnick. Whether these delegates were confessional or others who voted earlier for a “favorite son” is not known. In subsequent conventions, there simply has not been a majority of confessional delegates to overcome what can be called “delegate padding” (the approval of extra delegates from circuits known to be in favor of Kieschnick).

    Furthermore, the election at the 2010 convention probably will be decided months earlier at the circuit elections of delegates, or even earlier at congregational voters’ assemblies where delegate nominees are considered. If confessional Lutherans are not willing to roll up their sleeves and put some serious (and likely contentious) efforts into these circuit selections, the outcome of balloting at the synodical convention will (again) be a “done deal.”

    There are several confessional Lutherans who are qualified to become Synodical President. I have my own preference, but I am not going to demand dropping other good confessional candidates before the convention to unite behind some “list” nominee.

  5. There are several confessional Lutherans who are qualified to become Synodical President. I have my own preference, but I am not going to demand dropping other good confessional candidates before the convention to unite behind some “list” nominee.

    Why not? We need to start putting names out, doing a bit of “vetting” and come up with at least a few names if not one. Without orgainizing we will be stuck with whatever/whoever the JFers put out on their list.

  6. I think I’m actually more shocked over the claim by Mollie that Kieshcnik blocked any confessional Lutherans from being hired on staff. That is outrageous. I didn’t know much about synod politics or what happened over the last seven years, but I have been quickly learning.

    Who does this Kieschnick fellow think he is? What are the confessional Lutherans doing about this? Has there ever been any proposal from the confessional Lutherans to break with LCMS, Inc. to form their own synod that adheres to our confessions and traditions without any guitars, bongos, evangelistic fads, etc?

    The more I hear about what they have done to the LCMS over the last seven years, the more shocked and disgusted I become. How on earth did these people get control of the LCMS? How have they been allowed to drive out confessional Lutherans from synod government or make them pariahs in our synod?

    Has the LCMS truly become this liberal or is it simply that a handful of liberals, like in all politics and power structures, have simply wormed their way into positions of authority and have now taken over?

    This is exactly what happened to the ELCA, the Episcopalian Church, the United Methodists, and the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. The liberals took control, and then proceeded to destroy the denomination. Sounds to me like the sun is about to set on the LCMS, unless I’m seriously mistaken.

  7. Carl,

    The 2001 result was not a ‘favorite son’ phenominum. One of the confessional candidates had been vilified in certain conservative circles and so a group of delegates who had voted for one of the confessional candidates switched to Kieschnick on the last ballot. This was admitted to by several of those delegates, and was noted by several observers at the time. Part of the reason these conservative delegates felt comfortable doing this is because Kieschnick emphasized ‘conservative’ positions in his speech by highlighting all the areas in which neo-evangelicals agree with confessional Lutherans (inerrency, creation, moral issues, etc.). So these delegates thought, “well Kieschnick is really not a liberal, and I don’t want a ‘hypereuro Lutheran’ leading my synod, and we can always vote Kieschnick out in three years….”

    I say this not to argue over the past. What is done is done. I bring this up just to be clear about a larger point I’d like to make in your response to your comment about supporting a “list” nominee:

    I believe it is fine for confessionals to support different qualified confessional candidates. But we need to follow an “11th Commandment” of NOT ATTACKING EACH OTHER and agree to unite behind whomever is left standing on our side on the last ballot.

    If we can accept that 95% is good enough in this arena, then we will win. Conservatives care about ideas and principals. They want 100%. But, in both civil and church politics, conservatives only win when they accept the cold hard truth that – in politics – “the perfect is the enemy of the good.”

  8. Phillip,

    The only clear thing to me, coming from my laymen’s perspective, is that Kieschnick and his JF allies need to be defeated in the next election. The confessional Lutherans need to find one solid candidate, even if they aren’t 100%, and unite behind them to get control of this denomination out of the hands of those who are bent on destroying all of its traditions and confessions.

  9. Back to Mollie’s original article: (if that’s okay)

    How depressing. Here I was having a good Thursday with Bible class, some communion visits, and sermon writing.

    Sadly, I am not surprised. I’ve alerted others about this ‘job search’. And I sincerely hope this was a typo that somehow eluded the editors. My fear is that it is not. I agree with Mollie’s reporting/analysis following the job posting.

    Sad, but it will not deter me from evangelizing this Christmas with the true Evangel of Jesus Christ!

    Thanks Mollie for the depressing news. (I’m not attacking the messenger.) Jeremy

  10. Left Coast —

    Do not despair (for a variety of reasons). But one good one is that unlike the other church bodies you cite, LCMS laypeople tend not to let things get out of control like the layfolks in other denominations have.

    I think that one of the things that works in favor here is that even people who are inclined to like Kieschnick are pretty fed up with his management style and the disasters under his watch.

  11. Mollie,

    It seems a long way to 2010, but let us pray that the results of the 2010 election show that the laity are indeed fed up. And I couldn’t agree more that Kieschnick’s term seems to have been a complete disaster from all that I have read and heard.

  12. What I think Mollie means is that Synod is going broke, and it is not all the fault of the economy or those “speedbumps” who won’t get out their checkbooks so the SP can live in the style to which he would like to become accustomed. [Germans understand money and appreciate thrift!]

    Money has been poured down the “consultant” sinkhole and synod (not only the confessionals but the libs who have always expected somebody else to pay) has said, “Ho, hum, when are they going to learn?”

    Ans. : When 50.5% realize that Jerry only sounds like a Lutheran four months before convention and vote for somebody better!

  13. The next guy, whenever, is going to have more to shovel out than the current President-elect of the U.S.

  14. In a portion of the document not quoted by Mollie, there is an interesting equivalency made: Education beyond the Master of Divinity plus additional post graduate education including a Doctor of Missiology, MBA or its equivalent.
    Dr. of Missiology is congruent with MBA? Theology, business, it’s all the same thing?!? There’s another spot where more careful wording was warranted. I can see the value of post-grad studies, in either business or theology. Many left hand kingdom practices (like arithmetic, accounting) can aid in being a good steward, so I don’t necessarily have a problem with someone in a bureaucratic role within the church having some advanced training in these practices, but these are there to serve the kingdom of the right and some decisions won’t make sense if you do not temper these practices with theological principles. The lack of distinguishing between the two (theology and business) is not good. (I’m muttering a few other phrases, but won’t utter them in a public forum.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.