Letter to President Kieschnick Asking for an Apology, by Scott Diekmann & Pr. Rossow

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.

Scott Diekmann
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
International Center
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
Scott Diekmann

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.


Letter to President Kieschnick Asking for an Apology, by Scott Diekmann & Pr. Rossow — 9 Comments

  1. Have you tried submitting this letter for publication in The Lutheran Witness or The Reporter?


  2. How about similar letter to LCMS Board of Directors and/or Sherri Strand and her law partners?

  3. This letter does what it should – try to provide a scenerio where it is encouraging President Kieschnick to do a very Christian thing – apologize. I hope this is received and acted upon befitting a Christian. I hope it is not ignored and left as a symbol of how far off track LCMS leadership has veered off track.

  4. Being lawsuit happy is expected from some of the corrupt corporations in America-not from the LCMS! It is very sad that this is happening. The reason that I became an LCMS Christian is because of Issues Etc. I thought that suing fellow Christians is unscriptual “do not cast your pearls before swine”. The leadership of the LCMS need to get up from the mud, and behave like lving Christians-in my opinion.

  5. The Board of Directors seemed content to let the program go on, with its name. Nothing in the minutes suggests that they changed their minds.
    The legal hounds come when called. Don’t bother.

    The buck for this, as much else, should stop at the top.

  6. Why is this letter public? Has anyone tried to personally talk to President Kieschnick and verify that he received his letter? There could be an assistant that blocks these things (and previous issues or lawyer communication) from getting to his attention.

    In Christ crucified,
    Luther Gulseth

  7. Good question Luther,

    It was sent certified to guarantee that it was received. In addition, I have spoken on several occasions to one of President Kieschnick’s assistants and he has assured me that he has passed communication on to the president.


  8. The letter was received. I conclude that President Kieschnick read it, since I received correspondence from his office on the potential sale of KFUO-FM at the P.O. Box that I used for the return address. The only way they’d have that address is by receiving the letter. It’s unlikely that office personnel would have mailed me the KFUO information on their own, although I suppose it’s possible. If I were the assistant, that’s one letter I wouldn’t have buried.

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.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.