Issues expected to come before the Convention of the Minnesota South District

(This anonymously written article is circulating around the internet. If you know of anyone in the Minnesota South Distirct you may want to cut and paste it and send it to them. Better yet, just send them the BJS link and have them read it here. Pastor Rossow, BJS Editor)

  1. The Restructuring of Synod Structure and Governance: We recommend that you listen carefully to all the recommendations made by President Kieschnick’s task force to restructure our Synod.
    1. Resist the recommendations which give more power to the president such as appointing the program boards or decreasing the number of elected officials.
    2. Resist the recommendations aimed at changing the historic formula of equal lay and pastoral representation. This change is unnecessary. Any attempt to give more representation to larger congregations would undermine the very principles upon which the Synod was originally formed—namely, that each congregation is divinely established by Christ who works graciously even where only two or three Christians are gathered in His name.
  2. theAlley: theAlley is a new congregation established by Woodbury Lutheran Church and is funded largely by the District. The District Board of Directors voted not to admit theAlley into membership of the Synod. We recommend that you affirm the decision of the Board of Directors.
    1. Based upon public written statements by the pastor of theAlley, their communion practice is not limited to members of LCMS congregations and those congregations with whom the Synod is in fellowship (understanding that unique pastoral exceptions may occur occasionally). Rather the policy of theAlley according to its written documents is to give communion to all “who are repentant of their sins, are seeking forgiveness in the body and blood of Jesus and have examined their hearts.” This position is not the position of the Synod.
    2. In theAlley’s public statement of faith located on its website, there is no mention of justification by faith, Baptism, Holy Communion, absolution, the power of the Gospel or any of the distinctively Lutheran articles of faith. Their confession is weak and not clear.
    3. theAlley refers to itself as “the Alley Lutheran Church” in their communication with the District and District congregations. But in their bulletins, on their website and on their church sign they continue to use the name “theAlley” without the name Lutheran, despite the continued encouragements of the Board to comply with a 1995 Synod resolution which requires LCMS congregations to boldly use the name Lutheran.
  3. Close(d) Communion for Mission Churches: The Board of Directors passed a resolution requiring mission congregations to show the Board their willingness to practice close(d) communion by providing samples of communion announcements. We recommend that you affirm the decision of the Board of Directors. Our Synod has repeatedly affirmed the Biblical practice of close(d) communion. Some new missions have not practiced close(d) communion, notably theAlley. The Board action simply makes it necessary for congregations to walk together with the Synod before they can expect subsidy with your funds. The President of the District is responsible for the supervision and enforcement of close(d) communion, a process which is necessarily slow and patient. Funding, however, is a fiduciary responsibility of the Board. This is an entirely different matter based upon different criteria, although complementary to that of the District President. Funding should not be blindly given by the District to congregations that do not walk together with the Synod.
  4. Use of Lutheran Service Book by English-speaking mission congregations: The Board of Directors passed a resolution which requires consistent use of the LSB by English speaking congregations in order to receive District subsidy. We recommend that you affirm the decision of the Board since 95% of the congregations of the District use a hymnal. The Synod encourages the use of the LSB through a resolution adopted at its 2007 convention. The Synod’s decision requires the District through the Missions Committee and Missions Executive to encourage the use of the LSB to subsidized congregations—an endeavor they have not done as is evidenced by the number of new missions which do not use any hymnal.

    The Missions Committee and the Missions Executive have expressed their belief that congregations grow faster without hymnals. In no way has the Board ever expressed a desire to impose the LSB on existing unsubsidized congregations. No existing subsidized congregation has been deprived of expected subsidy because they have not adopted the use of LSB. The Board believes that the congregations of the District desire to see their funds be used to establish new congregations which use hymnals.

  5. Campus Properties: A motion was brought to the Board of Directors by the Missions Committee asking that the properties of the campus ministries be sold. This resolution was brought without any discussion with the campus ministries themselves. A task force was subsequently appointed which is currently researching the issue. We recommend that the convention retain these properties. We further recommend that the District Convention pass a resolution which would require that the sale of campus properties could only be done with the approval of the District in Convention. This would prevent the Missions Committee or the Board of Directors from being authorized to sell the properties. The two campus ministries were purchased and built using donations from individuals and congregations of the District. Therefore the sale of the property should be left to the individuals and congregations of the District through its Convention.
  6. 2004 Synod Resolution 3-08a: The Synod adopted resolution 3-08a at its 2004 convention. This resolution allows congregations to have women elders, presidents, and vice presidents. At the 2006 District Convention, a decision was postponed to request the Synod to reconsider Resolution 3-08a because this resolution is controversial, far-reaching, divisive, and possibly unbiblical and was passed hastily at the Convention without adequate study. These far-reaching changes need to be reconsidered both for the unity and the purity of the Synod.
  7. Board of Directors elections: We encourage you to elect men and women to the District Board of Directors who:
    1. are not afraid to assert the historic and Biblical values of our Synod,
    2. believe that God is able to extend His kingdom even when the historic liturgy is used,
    3. believe in and willingly practice close(d) communion,
    4. recognize their unique fiduciary responsibilities as Board members, and
    5. respect the District President and are willing to disagree with him on occasion.

Please read the minutes to the Board of Directors on the District website for a record of how various Board members voted on the important issues outlined above.

(For stories on theAlley Church from the BJS archives click here.)

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.


Issues expected to come before the Convention of the Minnesota South District — 15 Comments

  1. I believe this is a reference to plans to close the University Lutheran Chapel in Minneapolis.

  2. Our synod should absolutely not subsidize congregations that place no value on the historic liturgy of the Christian church. I think part of the teaching function of the church includes holding up an order of ceremony as a best practice, and the best practice is Divine Service with communion every Sunday. If the synod is going to subsidize a new congregation, it should at least recognize some value in the synod’s teachings.

    I am troubled though, that fellowship is denied in part because of their order of service. Did Luther or the LCMS ever refuse fellowship with a church body because of this? We teach and exhort for unity in liturgy, but do not refuse fellowship. Cut funding, Yes, absolutely. Uphold the norm of using Divine Service. But do not make it law.

    On the other hand, open communion is a requirement due to the danger to those who communion improperly. TheAlley [Lutheran] is not in fellowship so long as it puts communicants’ souls at risk by failing to examine and caution communicants about the danger of communing without fellowship.

  3. I can not believe some of the people’s thought on this website. Lets get down to it… I mean if you want to be frank about our traditions and ways almost every Church in the country should not be part of the synod. I mean they only have the word Lutheran in their name. They should change their name from St. John Lutheran Church to St. John Lutheran Missouri Synod Church. I mean we don’t want anyone to think we are ELCA or WELS… Right? so instead of attacking the Alley lets attack all the other Churches who are ashamed to say they are LCMS in their name on the side of the road.

  4. Troubled Lutheran,
    It isn’t only that the “Lutheran” may be ELCA or WELS.
    It is that Lutheran is systematically being removed from the names.
    Now I will give an example

    I cannot speak for the preaching at this congregation since I have not attended there, but will comment on the web site.

    This is an LCMS congregation. They receive ABLASE funds.
    Can you find on the site where they proclaim LCMS and are fellowship with LCMS?
    PS this is also the church that is opening other churches across the Mo district into the SID.

    I’m not picking on these people in particular; it’s just that I am aware of this situation.

    Also, Troubled, I think that more churches that say Lutheran on the sign also proclaim which branch the are affiliated with more than not.



  5. I believe the resolution permitting women in congregational offices such as Elders and President ought to be rescinded.
    But you don’t make much of a case for it when you encourage women on the Board of Directors of District and Synod!

  6. No, we don’t want anyone to think we are elca.
    Sometimes lcms is problematic enough!

  7. Bill & SHG:
    The Sale of Campus Missions debacle refers to both University Lutheran Chapel (ULC), Minneapolis (on the U of MN campus) and the Campus Lutheran Chapel (CLC), Mankato. The proposal to sell the 2 properties came from a member of the missions board of MNS. The MNS board of directors required that a full analysis of the situation should be conducted; the conclusion of which was that the properties should not be sold…at this time. The door is still open to a future sale; the temptation of money (at the expense of a faithful congregation of the LCMS) will probably mean the the idea will rear its head again in the not too distant future.
    ULC has steadily seen its support from MNS reduced over recent years, to the extent that it is now truly paltry, though the congregation does appreciate having the building provided to it by District. ULC, unlike CLC, is a full member congregation of LCMS, calling its own Pastor, and ministering to both its students and permanent members. CLC’s pastor is called and placed by the District and serves only the students of Mankato State university – I believe they “take the summer off.”
    The MNS district has for a number of years been at odds with the way in which ULC carries out its mission – ULC is a confessional, faithful, “traditional” congregation – the District would love ULC to adopt praise bands and happy clappy services and church growth Ablaze garbage. This will not happen with the current congregation members and Pastor. ULC has been at the U of MN since before the existence of the MNS district and has a proud history of young men choosing to become Pastors, having gained a wonderful grounding in how ULC serves the Lord, something that they take with them as they follow their call.
    Pray for ULC and CLC as the the MNS District prepares to go into convention in June.

  8. Regarding questions on #4, information is on the ULC website, one of the 2 campus ministries affected by this decision (Mankato is the other). I’ve had the opportunity to worship at both and even though there are some differences, they both serve the secular university community that surrounds them. They have both had International Sutdent Ministry and Lutheran Student Fellwship chapters that have shared the Gospel with unbelievers in these communities, whether students, faculty, visiting scholars and doctors, or in the neighborhood as a whole.

    Many baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and sadly funerals, have occurred by the pastors shepherding these congregations and have saved those who may have been lost forever. The facilities facilitate these activities that may not be able ot occur due to restrictions by the secular university facilities that are available to the student organizations (ie LSF) affiliated with these congregations. They are also in walkable locations to both campuses allowing students, visitors and the like who woudlnt’ have cars to attend off campus congregations to be able to be nurtured with the Word and Sacrment, especially in the winter environment.

    Please keep both congregations and the district as a whole in your prayers.

    In Christ,

    Luvable Lutheran

  9. Friends of University Lutheran Chapel, Minneapolis

    University Lutheran Chapel

    ULC Minneapolis under Rev. David Kind is building upon the good foundation left by Rev. John Pless, now at CTS Fort Wayne.

    The campus ministry at Mankato has also gone through good times and bad times. It went through a good time in the 1990s through two confessional pastors — Rev. Mart Thompson and Rev. Mick Matthews. There is now pietistic contemporary worship and such going on at CLC Mankato, despite the fact that there are also ELCA and WELS campus ministries at MSU and parachurch groups. I hope CLC returns to being liturgical and confessional.

  10. The MN South District cannot close ULC as a congregation, but only sell the building. Unlike CLC Mankato, ULC Minneapolis is a congregation. The MN South District administration has had a vendetta against ULC ever since Pless arrived. This is not the first time MN South has tried this. The MN South District administration is operating under Fuller Seminary, gospel reductionistic, church growth/charismatic thinking. That’s not new. Much of the wise ideas that come out of the LCMS Council of Presidents originate in the MN South office in Burnsville and are distributed through their website.

  11. Why wouldn’t a confessional Lutheran be embarrassed to say they are LCMS? Why should confessional parishes be in fellowship with those charismatic, pietistic, church growth methodology, open communion, feminist heretics?

    Why haven’t we elected churchmen to be ecclesiastical supervisors to do the tough things that need to be done rather than pestering confessional parishes? How are confessional pastors and parishes not compromising their faithfulness failing to deal with the situation?

    2 John 9-11 – Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching,do not receive him in your house and do not give him a
    greeting: for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deed.

    1 Corinthians 5:11 – I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an idolater, or a reviler, or a swindler not even to eat with such a one.

    Romans 16:17 – Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and offenses contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.

    Mark 6:1 – Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake off the dust from the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.

    Titus 3:10: Reject a man causing divisions after a first and second warning.

    When we remain in fellowship with heretics and Lutheran-Reformed unionists, how are we maintaining a clear confession? It isn’t about whether LCMS is on the church sign or not, but about what is taught, practiced, and denied. We can dialogue until we are blue in the face, but finally dialogue can only go so far – until we must finally say no more.

  12. Thanks for posting this. I’m MO district myself but I have a lot of MN South district friends that didn’t know about this and have been thankful to get the news.

    I’m particularly disturbed about point #6 concerning the resolution that grants women the chance to be an elder. How can we possibly reconcile that resolution with the clear Word of God laid out in Titus that an elder is to be the husband of one wife? It blows my mind that this is even an issue when God’s Word seems SO very clear.

  13. I’m thankful that this article is circulating.

    The phrase that jumped out at me was this one under #7 Board of Directors elections:
    ” b. believe that God is able to extend His kingdom even when the historic liturgy is used,..”

    While I applaud the overall intent of the article, and while I too have found myself trying to make a case for faithfulness from the wrong perspective, it was a reminder of the degree to which most of us are affected by the current that we’re moving along in, in the LCMS today!

    I would like to say that God extends His kingdom through the Historic Liturgy. If there are those who would like to introduce alternative means, the burden of proof rests squarely on their shoulders. The responsibility to require that proof before considering change rests on ours. Unfortunately, at this point, we find ourselves trying to stuff the genie back into the bottle.

  14. Regarding #10, I concur as I’ve been shepherded at one time or another by 3 of the 4 faithful pastors. Keep in mind that every 3 years the district officers, board members, etc usually change so it isn’t the same mix of folks that stays constant along with the decisions that are made. Granted there may be influential members that are reelected.

    That said, at about the time that Pastor Pless too the call to CTS-FW, ULC and the MNS had a difference of perspective on whether or not the congregation was able to call its own pastor. A decision was made at the synodical level that recognized ULC as a congregation with those priviledges. They subsequently called Pastor Kind to shepherd them.

    What is interesting about this whole proposal is that it effects both mankato and ULC equally.


    Luvable lutheran

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