CONCORD BOUND? by Rev. Andy Simcak

(Rev. Simcak’s posts are archived on the Regular Columns page under the heading of Texas Confessional Lutherans.)

Tucked away in the “Board Briefs of the LCMS Board of Directors,” which was tucked away in the “Reporter” of February, 2009, which was tucked away in the February “Lutheran Witness” was an article entitled, “Concord Bound.”

Many of you may not be aware that the 2007 Houston synodical convention passed Resolution 4-01A, “To Plan Summit to Restore Harmony.” The resolution assigned the responsibility “to initiate a specific plan for the sake of the whole church to restore harmony in our Synod” to the Council of Presidents and the Board of Directors.

The Committee has chosen to call itself the “Task Force for Concord.” Rev. Paul Sieveking is the chairman of the 12-member Task Force.

What is baffling to some of us is that the Task Force “has decided to slow down its planning process and to work toward a process rather than an event. It will be a process that is regularly used in public arenas, a process different from what has already been tried by the church, a process that listens to all points of view and then moves forward on the basis of all parties having been heard, a process that includes the confrontation, listening, and accountability that is found in the public square when significant issues are addressed.”

Some observations and questions:

  1. The formation of this Task Force makes it even more obvious that there is an ever widening lack of harmony in both doctrine and practice in our synod. This is not news!
  2. Why do we really need another Task Force to attempt to restore harmony? We believe and follow our synodical Constitution (Article II Confession: “The Synod and every member of the Synod accepts without reservation 1. The Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament as the written Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and practice.)” The inerrant, inspired Scriptures decide what is to be taught, believed, and practiced! (2 Timothy 3:16).
  3. Why are there not any professors from both our seminaries on this Task Force? The problems in our synod are primarily theological. The lack of seminary professors on this Task Force is a huge mistake.
  4. Would it not have been better to have the faculties or representatives of both faculties serve as the members of the Task Force? We have freely utilized the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) as well as other Task Forces to resolve matters of doctrine and practice. They can be helpful in such matters. However, when harmony is being sought in our divided synod, why weren’t the seminaries involved?
  5. We are being told that the Task Force for Concord is following “a process that listens to all points of view.” Do we really want to believe that God’s Word teaches different points of view?
  6. Why can’t we simply believe all the teachings of God’s Word as “the only rule and norm of faith and practice”? Do we have to go through a “process” to determine God’s Word in both doctrine and practice?
  7. The Task Force “will begin a process that will include hearings, dialogues, reaction, and strategy design.” What in the world is “strategy design”?
  8. Hearings will be “facilitated by a professional facilitator.” Is it good stewardship to recall foreign missionaries due to lack of funds (which has been done) and spend money on many hearings and a professional facilitator?
  9. Participants at these hearings will “be selected according to points of view.” What does this mean? Are there different points of view even though we confess that the written Word of God is “the only rule and norm of faith and practice?”
  10. The theological disharmony in our synod on both doctrine and practice may cause some of our members to doubt the teachings of our church body as the full teaching of God’s Word. It can also only hurt our efforts to convince those outside our church body that what we teach and practice is God’s Word and God’s Word alone!
  11. After the hearings are done, a draft created, orderly discussion, a vote will be taken “to which all will agree to abide.” What does this mean? We’re going to vote on doctrine? What if someone disagrees with the vote?

The Task Force for Concord will hopefully complete its task prior to the 2010 Houston convention and report to the convention.

Rev. Andrew Simcak, Jr.
President, Texas Confessional Lutherans

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.


CONCORD BOUND? by Rev. Andy Simcak — 13 Comments

  1. “public arena” and “public square” What about the church and scriptures? Are we still imitating the world around us? What does scripture say? How has the church historically dealt with such divisions? It seems like much of this mess has resulted from poor supervision that has allowed incorrect teaching and unhelpful practices to permeate churches and synod. Will getting some people who disagree to sit in a room and argue until they are so sick and tired of it that they vote for some draft so that it will end really restore concord?

  2. Sadly, this is nothing more than the church once again inviting the world in. Oh, you know, we are not of the world only in the world. Then, oh, let’s bring in worldly ways to try and resolve what God has already resolved with His Word.

  3. Worldly Ways hasn’t just been invited in, he’s officiating the meeting. Heck, Worldly Ways called the meeting and has the floor and control of the microphone. Worldly Ways is even saying, ‘Mister, I paid for that mic.’
    Maybe all we *really can* do is to ignore Mr. Worldly and his ways and simply carry on. Confess on.
    What if Mr. Worldly Ways calls a meeting but none of us shows up? Or wants a dialogue but we refuse to talk? Or starts a process, but we ignore the proscribed steps? What’s the worst that could happen, if we simply don’t engage?
    Forget ‘Resistance is futile.’ Isn’t it quite apparent that it’s engagement that’s futile?
    Mr. Worldly Ways only wants to point fingers at those of us who don’t find his ways to be in harmony with The Way.

  4. #11 is the chilling point of it all. The tyranny of the majority. We, the majority, agree that you, the minority, will agree to abide by our decision because we say so. It’s a pure power move. That’s what’s wrong with a democratically run church. You can get rid of bad bishops, but you can’t get rid of a bad majority.

  5. Don’t ya see, it’s the PROCESS that’s important. Doesn’t matter whether the CONCLUSIONS are correct, true or false. Process is all that matters. You can come up with pure garbage, but as long as the process is good………….Oh, why do I bother? Bureaucratize reigns supreme. It’s 1984 25 years late.
    Yep, it’s the World’s way, all the way down the sewer.

  6. So I read the Concord Bound article, and the last paragraph or so refers to a ‘timeline to assure…the completion of the process in a timely manner…’
    But then that’s it.
    I wonder where could we find such a timeline, or any reference to one? I wonder if this task force has heretofore published anything in any venue, as to their ‘progress’ or ‘goals’?
    [Mostly though I wonder if I’d glean anything from reading anything they might have published…the gobbledygook-i-ness already existing is sort of hurting my eyes.]
    Where’d be a good place to start looking for what they’re up to–I mean, hoping to accomplish?

  7. Susan,

    You might try calling the president’s office and ask for one of his assistants (one of them is Rev. Larry Krueger) and see if they can help you.


  8. I think that I would recommend that this new “Task Force” read, re-read and then read again Matt Harrison’s “It’s Time.” He has the right idea about how to address problems in this synod to bring about unity. What he has proposed is good, right and salutary for our synod, and it needs to be given some serious consideration.

  9. It is not a denominational church that is bad it is what that church decides to teach that makes it bad. If you want non denominationalism then you have a group of churches who decide that it is ok to believe whatever they desire and not necessarily what is believed taught and confessed.These churches have no confession as to what they believe.

    If this does not ring bells then I invite you to attend various non denominational churches and you will find that most of them have very different opinions on issues that the Bible speaks upon clearly(I.E. The Lord’s Supper). This is not very different than the situation we have here. The current LCMS leadership wants to be like a non denominational church but have the Lutheran name. This makes them non Lutheran because they have forsaken Lutheran practice for false worldly based Christianity and not Bible Based which, is a famous term our evangelical friends like to use.

    The problem is not the denomination and let me state that the church is not perfect as it is run by men who in some cases have runaway egos and are theologically unqualified to lead any church.

  10. Don’t worry Pastor Cwirla. They’ve selected a skilled facilitator to guide us all through the process. Via thesis, antithesis, and synthesis we’ll all arrive a at happy middle place that we can all live with. Never mind that it isn’t based on God’s Word.

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