Uncle Sam Says It’s All Over – It’s All Over but Coming Clean with Confession and Consideration of Resignation, by Pastor Rossow

It looks like all of the temporal aspects  of the Issues, Etc. trademark case have been taken care of, now we just have to hope and pray that the far more important spiritual matters are handled in a godly manner by President Kieschnick and the Board of Directors.

We want to thank Alex, one of our readers, who just left us these three links to the United States Patent and Trademark Office that prove that the temporal chapter is concluded. I have never felt so pleased reading official government documents. These documents  clearly spell out that the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, our synod, has dropped its challenge to the trademark application.



Thanks to all of your prayers, e-mails, and petition signatures President Kieschnick and the Board of Directors have changed direction on the trademark issue.  We thank God that finally  the right thing has been done. It was not right to fire Todd and Jeff during Holy Week last year. It was not right for President Kieschnick and the Board of Directors to try and stop a free and open application for trademark  but it is right that the matter has now been dropped.

We now ask the Board of Directors and President Kieschnick to bring a churchly conclusion to the matter,  confess this sin, come clean on how much it cost the synod, and then consider resigning their posts for having put the synod through this. The synod has been wronged. We need to have reconciliation. President Kieschnick and the Board need to confess the sin of using lawyers to do something that they should have done personally. They also need to confess that what they tried to do was wrong in the first place. It was wrong to try to leverage the trademark issue  against Todd and Jeff, leverage that  actually didn’t even exist. The synod cannot stand to have such unrepented sin in its midst. The synod may not be able  to stand to have folks like these running things.

I have a personal story that relates to this matter.  A few years ago our church council decided to dismiss me from my call. They had no grounds for this. Even my liberal district president supported me against their efforts. Get a load of this, we had a voters assembly with 710 people in attendance. I can share more on this some other time. What is important for this synodical issue is this.   We went through a time of reconciliation in our congregation and the church council confessed their sins to the congregation. All but one of those church council members have moved away or left the church  since losing their cause, but they did  stand before the parish and share their shortcomings and the parish forgave them. (The one who is still with us was the one who took time every week to talk to me personally during that difficult time, even though he disagreed with me. That is also a story for another time.) Since that time of  reconciliation and since they have left their leadership positions we have experienced unity like never before. Our elders have also just approved some very impressive goals for the congregation in the next few years and God-willing we will be able to accomplish them. We are unified behind the Gospel and the Lutheran Confessions and are advancing the kingdom of God.

Personally our local church struggle showed me that  even though I had to stare  down the worst a pastor can be faced with,  trust in the authority of God’s call, the support of numerous confessional laymen  and the power of God’s  Gospel, got me through this severe tentatio.  Corporately our local church struggle showed that  we needed confession and absolution and we needed for new leaders to step in. The LCMS needs the same, or at the very least some soul searching honesty on behalf of the President and Board of Directors.

President Kieschnick and the Board of Directors owe the church a confession and an explanation as to why they pursued this issue in the first place. It is clear from the attorney’s letter that they were trying to leverage the situation to get something out of Wilken and Schwarz. That is ungodly and has brought sin into our synod that needs to be repented.

It seems odd that we have verification from the usually slow-moving government on the temporal aspect of this matter before we have heard or read anything from the Board of Directors.  Maybe they have to consult their lawyers for the proper verbiage. Since they are still writing, we hope they will take this post to heart and include a confession to the synod and ask us for forgiveness. Is there some good reason they would not do this?

We thank God that the temporal aspect of this issue has been resolved. We pray now that those involved will clean up the the far more crucial spiritual aspects that need to be taken care of for the health of the church. Memos that use semantics to  sidestep the real issues will not bring the honesty and healing called for in this situation.

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.


Uncle Sam Says It’s All Over – It’s All Over but Coming Clean with Confession and Consideration of Resignation, by Pastor Rossow — 22 Comments

  1. I said it somewhere else, brother. Some of these characters act like it would kill them to humbly confess and ask for forgiveness. Christendom has the great treasure of absolution. May it be that simple confession and absolution will be a part of every Christian’s life. We are not here to “spin.” We are not here to make excuses. We are here to be forgiven. And, forgiven, to forgive one another; and, forgiven, to announce Christ’s forgiveness to a world hopelessly mired in self and sin. May the Lord give us leaders who quit trying to be worldly-type “leaders” and instead live as penitent Christian men.

  2. Thanks to the editor of and contributors to this blog, and apparently to a number of its readers, for keeping us informed. It’s a lot of what we laity have been wanting, Syond-wise: to be informed as completely and truthfully as can be done.

  3. I doubt that any delay in posting the Minutes of the BOD meeting is due to any legal consultation. Simply put, Dr. Hartwig is an honorable man and the production of the Minutes, along with his involvement with the COP over the weekend, must have taken a lot of his time and energy. I’ll charitably await the posting of the Minutes on Synod’s web site.
    Having said THAT, however, I don’t really expect any statement of remorse or contrition or plea for forgiveness. Not at the “corporate” level. Does past history lead to that expecting such eventuality? Not for me, though I won’t give up hope of a miracle! Maybe some individual members will have the courage.

  4. You said: “The synod may not be able to stand to have folks like these running things.”

    Actually, with folks like these running things for much longer the synod may not be able to stand.

    You also said: “President Kieschnick and the Board of Directors owe the church a confession and an explanation as to why they pursued this issue in the first place.”

    AMEN to that! Let’s be “church” and live and act in confession and forgiveness rather than “corporation” that lives and acts with lawsuits, nuanced memos, and petty vindictiveness.

  5. I agree concerning Ray Hartwig but why can’t board members address this matter peior to minutes coming out? What pastor’s congregation would allow him to wait until the board minutes came out to address a crisis situation in the congregation?

    I also agree with you about the minutes. I doubt very much that they will say much.

    Pastor Rossow

  6. What a wonderful post. Pastor Rossow states: “Since they are still writing, we hope they will take this post to heart and include a confession to the synod and ask us for forgiveness. Is there some good reason they would not do this?” There is no good reason they would not ask for forgiveness, but there is a bad reason they would not do so, and that is the sin of pride. Pride is a sin of which we are all experts at times, and one for which we can never be too watchful. Carrying a mirror in your pocket, especially during this time of Lent, is not a bad idea.

    Through tentatio, what I feel has been our collective struggle as brothers in Christ in this case, God has graciously strengthened us and steeled us for the days ahead. I pray that He will forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us, that we may recall that we are baptized into His death, and rise with Him to new life, to sing His praises and serve our fellow man.

  7. Pastor R #5,
    I don’t know what Synod’s BOD protocol is, but I do know, from experince elsewhere, that what happens at Board meetings is to be held confidential until the publication of the official minutes. In a way, that’s generally a good thing. Prevents misquoting, misunderstanding, rumoring and such. Stops some of the “parking lot politicking” in some parishes I’ve known of!

  8. Amen Pastor Rossow! May a confession of wrong in this matter be the break in the dam that allows all the wrongs of Ablaze!, syncretism, missionary recall, political maneuvering, etc. to spill out from our Synod so they may be addressed by the Good Shepherd who will wash them all away and leave or synodical union of Christian congregations standing united in His Word and standing strong as bold, confessional witnesses to His life, death, and resurrection in this fallen world.

  9. It sounds like the legal advisors to the synod missed a chance to give appropriate advice that the synod shouldn’t pursue this matter in this way. Maybe the lawyers should be reminded of their duty to their client and be reprimanded or replaced also.

  10. “I said it somewhere else, brother. Some of these characters act like it would kill them to humbly confess and ask for forgiveness.”

    The nature of a corporate executive mentality includes delegation. In this way credit for right actions can be linked back to the CEO’s decision, and blame for bad actions can be isolated somewhere down the line of delegation. Plausible deniability is the touchstone for this procedure. Thus in demonstrating this view of an effective leader (delegator), a corporate executive can never admit to being wrong.

    Countless examples of this principle can be seen in corporate America (Scott Adams has made a fortune drawing such example caricatures in his cartoon strip, Dilbert). Other examples can be seen in the military, where the blame for bad battle decisions usually can be pinned on some junior officer or NCO. Expect a plethora of examples in the current U.S. adminstration when the 0bamessiah’s proffered miracles end up as poisonous snake oil.

    And SteadfastLutherans has been providing examples from the corporation of the Missouri Synod.

  11. Califiowan #7,

    That does make sense but I guess the point is that protocol ought to be the servnat of Christian love. I know many parish constitutions that state that Roberts Rules is the rule but it can be trumped by Christian love.

    Oh, and thanks for realizing that I was not shooting you the messenger in comment #5. It is both nice and rare in this day and age to dialogue with objective and thick skinned folks.

    Pastor Rossow

  12. It’s my opinion based on the facts as we know them, the statements of Todd Wilken, and the legal documents that have been produced for review, that President Kieschnick has been, in the best possible light, disingenuous and duplicitous in this whole affair and at worst willfully deceptive. Todd has suggested that he has solid information from reliable sources that Keischnick was the one who pushed for the initiation of legal action against Harry Madsen for the trademark, and that he was the one who pushed the threat of legal action against them personally to get them to the table to sign away their right to criticize LCMS, Inc.

    In light of all this, my opinion is that it seems quite obvious that President Keischnick is not fit to be the man at the head of a Christian denomination and that for the good of the Synod he should resign immediately. I would suggest the same goes for the board of directors. This entire affair, from Holy Week of last year to this most recent offense, has been an embarrassment, shown a pettiness and vindictiveness that is consistently un-Christian, and has demonstrated that this man and his B.O.D. are not fit to lead the second largest Lutheran denomination in America.

  13. Pr. Rossow,

    Thank you for your diligent pursuit and report of the facts in this matter. I apologize if I seemed to imply otherwise on another thread. I wanted only to wait for official documentation before commenting.

    What you have linked to here is most useful: the actual legal documents pertaining to the case. I also eagerly await a statement from the BOD regarding their involvement in the resolution of the matter. (The regular minutes may not be helpful if the discussion took place in “Executive Session”).

  14. Regarding resignations and such:
    There are a few GOOD men on the Board and I’d hate to see them go, my good Friend Bob Kuhn amongst ’em. Who, if I understand correctly, was the one who introduced the motion to withdraw the opposition to the trademark application, which was approved by a UNANIMOUS vote of the Board.
    As for the Teflon Pope and his minions, well, that’s another crate of apples.

  15. Scott,

    You do not have anything to apologize for. We are all trying to contribute the best we can to make sense out of all of this.

    Pastor Rossow

  16. Bob Kuhn is indeed a good man. We had him preach at our church a few year ago to celebrate the dedication of our new church and school.

    Pastor Rossow

  17. If anything I said was a little too critical of the entire B.O.D, I apologize as I should have made it more clear what I meant. What I should have qualified is that anyone on the B.O.D. who signed off, in agreement with the PotS, on the pursuit of legal action either for the trademark, or was okay with the legal threats against Todd & Jeff, should also resign.

  18. I’m no lawyer (for this I thank God) but I possess a certain degree of comprehension for the English language. I find more remorse from the serpent in Genesis 3 than the reason stated for LC-MS.inc’s withdrawal; “Opposer The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod withdraws the above-captioned
    Opposition with prejudice, for reasons unrelated to the merits of this proceeding.”

  19. Dennis P.,
    “For reasons unrelated to this proceeding.”
    Translation: “They got their collective corporate butts in one big bind.”

  20. I thank God today for good civil government, here with regard to the Patent and Trademark Office. While I’m sure this matter was perfectly routine from the Government perspective, justice has been done. The intellectual property that is represented by the trademark “Issues, Etc.” rightfully belongs under the control of Todd Wilkin and Jeff Schwarz.

    Secondly, I give thanks for the wise and Christian members of the Board of Directors who were able to act as a check on the power of the Synod President. This is a perfect lesson about why we should not allow additional, unchecked executive authority to the SP.

    Finally, I pray that those responsible for instigating this needless strife and division repent of their sins, sincerely and in public. Barring that, they should be removed from any position of responsibility in the church.

  21. Repent? Who, us in the Violet Vatican?
    We didn’t do anything wrong; we wouldn’t think of it!
    Didn’t you just read us telling you so?

    And all our little imitators are repeating it around the lists. They think BJS should repent for causing a fuss (and not being sufficiently gullible.)

  22. Careful, Helen, the Snark Patrol is out to getcha. (And the rest of us who might just use cynicism and/or satire on occasion.

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