The following is a letter sent by certified mail to President Kieshcnick two weeks ago concerning his role in the trademark controversey. We have given him two weeks to respond but as of yet we have not heard from him. We hope he will change his mind but as of now, he has shown no interest in taking responsibility for his role as a member of the Board of Directors that threatened legal action against Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz. The Board of Directors has also not addressed this matter as President Kieschnick promised they would.
P.O. Box 1661
Milton, WA 98354
Rev. Timothy Rossow
Bethany Lutheran Church
1550 Modaff Road
Naperville, IL 60565
March 7, 2009
Rev. Dr. Gerald R. Kieschnick, President
The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod
1333 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-7295
Dear President Kieschnick:
We represent the 2000+ signatories of the Issues, Etc. trademark petition, a copy of which is attached, along with the signatures themselves.
While it appears that the immediate threat of continued legal action against Pastor Wilken and Mr. Jeff Schwarz has ceased, and the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod has dropped its objection to the trademark application for the Issues, Etc. name filed by Mr. Harry Madsen, there is more work that needs to be done before this matter is resolved.
To better explain, we would appreciate it if you would first read through the following comments, which are a representative sampling of comments taken from the petition:
- President Kieschnick and the LCMS Board… I have tried to put the best construction on everything as I try to understand why you would pursue this action. It seems to give the wrong impression of your intensions. I can think of no good reason, no purposeful or meaningful reason that this action is in the best interest of your neighbor or even yourself. Just let it go.
- I find myself being more ashamed of my beloved LC-MS each passing month. This use of lawyers to “handle” Christian issues is unforgivable and the synodical president is personally responsible by virtue of his office.
- This action by the LCMS Synod saddens me. It runs contrary to the interest of serving our neighbor. This action leads me to think LCMS is only concerned with the preservation of self rather than the Gospel.
- Dear Bishop Kieschnick, Although I am a Catholic, I believe that Issuesetc and its staff do wonderful work in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all while also presenting a very favorable picture of the LCMS. I would request that you withdraw any attempts to interfere with the programming of the group. It makes you appear petty and vindicative. Sincerely, Steve Griffin
- What a waste of time and resources. This really does seem to be a personal vendetta against Pastor Todd and Jeff.
- Such bullying tactics are unbecoming any Christian, much less those in a position of authority. What a shameful black eye this gives not only to all of us who bear the name Lutheran, but to the very presentation of the Gospel to the world who cannot help but look at such distasteful antics and shake their heads!
As you can see from the previous comments, your action, or inaction, has brought embarrassment and dishonor to the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod and has broadcast to the world an attitude contrary to the Gospel. We don’t believe it is possible to overstate the seriousness of what has taken place.
While we don’t intend to discuss your personal involvement in this whole saga of “continued legal action,” it is obvious that an environment was fostered that was less than charitable towards Pastor Wilken and Mr. Schwarz, an environment that is definitely “unbecoming of a churchman.”
Your February 26th memo to the LCMS Council of Presidents seems to take a step towards reconciliation, but yet it also contains what many people consider to be a sense of evasion. Stating that you did not file, initiate, support, or encourage a lawsuit does nothing to excuse the Synodical abuse that Pastor Wilken and Mr. Schwarz received. There was no lawsuit, but there was an obvious threat that no reasonable person could fail to note. Put yourself in their shoes. They feel like they have been wronged, and many other people, both inside and outside of our Synod, agree. What is in order is a public apology for their mistreatment.
While we appreciate your February 26th letter, it definitely stops short of a full reconciliation. For the sake of our Synod and the Body of Christ, please put this behind us by offering to Pastor Wilken and Mr. Schwarz a full, unequivocal apology on behalf of yourself and the Board of Directors. Please offer them your blessing as they continue to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a fallen world.
Your humble servants in Christ,
The Rev. Dr. Timothy A. Rossow