We have made some claims on this website that President Kieschnick is not at heart a theologian. Those are serious claims. There have been all sorts of examples through the years that support this assertion. Some of those examples have come up in a recent string of comments on the site. Here are some audio clues for you to check out.
The problem with these two comments is that we do believe in baptismal regeneration and we do believe that God has elected some to salvation. (Concerning the latter, we do not believe that God has elected some to damnation.) The Bible also does not say that God has “saved” everyone. It does say that every one’s sins have been paid for.
Now I am sure that President Kieschnick believes in baptismal regeneration. We are not claiming here that he does not. I am also sure that once it was explained to him again that he would agree with the Bible and Lutheran teaching that we believe in eternal election but not double predestination.
We are not accusing him of heresy but we are accusing him of sloppy use of theological terms or a lack of understanding of such terms. We expect more of our pastors and certainly of our synodical president. President Kieshcnick has demonstrated over the years a sloppy use of theological language. He is not a first rate theologian. He has even said “I am no theologian.” I suppose that President Kieschnick and the Jesus First group that supports him would say that the synodical president does not need to be a first rate theologian but needs to be a leader. That is setting the bar way too low. He ought to be a leader but one cannot lead a Biblical and confessional denomination like the LCMS without being a first rate theologian.
It is time that we have a synodical president who is a leader, but more importantly, our synodical president needs to be a theologian. Let me be blunt about something here. President Barry was an excellent leader. I knew him personally. He was not a great theologian. Many people are talking about Rev. Matt Harrison as a good synodical president. Matt Harrison far exceeds the theological abilities of our beloved President Barry. Keep in mind however that President Barry surrounded himself with expert theologians. His two assistants, Paul McCain and Ken Schurb are two of the brightest theologians you will ever meet. They are also each incredible administrators as well.
President Kieschnick has not surrounded himself with theologians. He has surrounded himself with two bureaucrats as assistants. I know one of them personally and can vouch for his character. He is one of the purest, kindest people you will ever meet. I respect him greatly but he is not a first rate theologian.
We are not personally attacking President Kieschnick. We are also not being political. We are a group of men, the Brothers of John the Steadfast, who rank being steadfast in the word and promoting the Lutheran Confessions as the most important work of the church. President Kieschnick has demonstrated that he is not a theologian. He has also caused great wakes of controversy as he has sailed through his years as president. Agree with them or not, these wakes of controversy have brought disunity to the LCMS. We call on every reader of this website to consider these things and pray that God would bring calm, unity and theological virtue to the office of the presidency in the LCMS.