Invited Guests from Around the Synod Take the BRTFSSG Survey and Share their Responses with Commentary ““ Today’s Guest: Rev. Andrew Simcak, Jr

We have invited over thirty people from around the synod to take the BRTFSSG survey and share with us their responses and comments. (You can take the survey yourself by clicking here.) Our list of invitees includes seminary professors, congregation chairs, lay elders, men, women, and even the top positions in the synod (yes, all the way to the top). The responses are starting to come in. We do not know how many will take us up on the invitation but hope it will be a good sampling of LCMS notables and regular folks. If you are interested in sharing your responses with commentary please e-mail me. We may not be able to post all responses but we would love to hear from you.

Today’s guest is Rev. Andrew Simcak, Jr from Tomball, TX. He is the Chairman of the Texas Confessional Lutherans.

The Survey on
The Blue Ribbon Task Force’s Proposals

 
Andrew Simcak
Zion Lutheran Church Tomball, TX

1) Affirm in our governing documents the mission and purpose of Synod     Strongly Disagree
Preamble: While the proposed reasons are fine, I am convinced that “Gospel reductionism” is rearing its sinful head in the suggested Preamble. We already fought and by God’s grace won that battle in the 70s. Doctrinal decisions were made at the Jerusalem Council. I am in favor of retaining the present wording.
 
Article III Objectives: 1. Retain “Objectives”
 
2. Retain the present ranking of # 1 and # 2 in their present order. The Task Force is lowering “conserve and promote the unity of the true faith.” This should be # 1. See my comments about “Gospel reductionism” in the Preamble.
 
B.1. and B.9. what’s wrong with “pastors, teachers, and other professional church workers”? There is only one office of the Holy Ministry! Everyone is NOT a minister! It is not proper to be saying in effect that pastors are not the only ministers. This is a far departure from the Holy Scriptures and our grandfather’s church.
 
B. 4: explain missionaries: missionaries are ordained men who preach God’s Word and administer the Sacraments. Wives of pastors, lay well diggers, lay teachers of English etc. etc.are NOT missionaries!
 
Article VI Requirements of Membership: Retain in its entirety the present Article VI. The proposed article does not fully describe “unionism and syncretism.”
 
Article VII Relation of the Synod to Its Members: Retain the present wording of the entire article. I fail to see the justification for any changes.
 
Article VIII Synodical Meetings:
 
C. Resolutions at Synodical Meetings: Leave as is. My suggestion is to submit any and all disagreements to our two seminaries for clarification on all doctrinal matters. We don’t need the CTCR. We have the seminary professors who teach our pastors the Scriptures and Confessions.
 
ALL doctrinal statements should be 100% approved!
 
2.1) Doctrinal resolutions of special significance and doctrinal statements will require a two-thirds vote at Synod convention.     Strongly Disagree
Why have God’s Word if we have to decide what is God’s Word? If God says it, I believe it, and that settles it!
 
2.2) Reaffirm, clarify, amplify and strengthen constitution (Art VIII) and bylaws to enhance doctrinal unity.     Strongly Disagree
 
3.1) Congregations are the voting members of the Synod.     Strongly Agree
 
3.2) Ministers of Religion (ordained and commissioned) are members of the Synod who are eligible to serve as delegates of congregations to conventions of the Synod and in districts.     Strongly Disagree
 
3.3) Lay people, though not rostered members of the Synod itself, are closely linked to the Synod through their affiliation with member congregations of the Synod.     Strongly Agree
 
4) Consider a New Name for Our Synod     Strongly Disagree
Why change a name that is now universally known?
 
5) Voting delegates at conventions shall be one of the called pastors of the congregation and one lay person or minister of religion- commissioned of the congregation.     Strongly Disagree
 
6.1) Multiple-congregation parishes being served by one or more pastors are entitled to one pastoral vote, with each congregation in the parish having one non-ordained vote.     Strongly Disagree
Matthew 18, 20: “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.”
 
6.2) Congregations with a pastoral vacancy are entitled to a vote by the vacancy pastor and one non-ordained vote.     Not Sure
 
6.3) Congregations with more than 1000 confirmed members are entitled to two additional votes, at least one being a lay person.     Strongly Disagree
 
7.1) Establish a fixed number of total voting delegates to the national convention at approximately 650.     Strongly Disagree
 
7.2) Amend the bylaws to delete the “advisory delegate” category from national conventions and reduce the number of “advisory representatives”.     Strongly Disagree
 
8.1) Determine each district’s number of delegates according to that district’s percentage of the total number of congregations and confirmed members in Synod.     Strongly Disagree
 
8.2) Allow each district to determine how delegates would be selected.     Strongly Disagree
 
8.3) Whichever method or system a district uses to choose its delegates, it would choose an equal number of ordained and non-ordained delegates.     Strongly Disagree
 
9.1) Encourage the submission of overtures from congregations to their district conventions through circuit forums.     Strongly Disagree
 
9.2) Encourage the submission of overtures from congregations to the national convention through their district conventions.     Strongly Disagree
 
9.3) While all overtures submitted would still be considered, resolutions from circuit forums and district conventions would receive priority at district and Synod conventions, respectively.     Strongly Disagree
 
10) Hold district and national conventions in a four year cycle.     Strongly Disagree
 
11) Allow Flexibility of Circuit Structure     Strongly Disagree
 
12) Consider future district configurations (give the job to the COP to report to the 2013 convention)     Strongly Agree
 
13) Establish Five Regions in Our Synod     Strongly Disagree
We most certainly do NOT need any more synodical bureaucracy!
 
14.1) Implement process for quadrennial Synod Priorities     Not Sure
 
14.2) Realign national Synod ministries into two Mission Advisory Councils     Strongly Disagree
 
14.21) International Missionary Advisory Council and National Mission Advisory Council.     Strongly Disagree
 
14.22) Council staff execs report to Synod President     Strongly Disagree
Let’s not give any more power to the President. He now already has too much power!
 
14.3) Provide coordination with districts for certain ministries.     Strongly Agree
 
14.4) Transfer some responsibilities to districts     Strongly Agree
 
14.5) Transfer most BUE and BPE responsibilities to regents and BOD (CUS would continue with certain responsiblities) .     Strongly Disagree
 
15.1) Involve the totality of congregations in selecting candidates for the Synod President and First Vice President     Strongly Disagree
How can the Synod come to a thoroughly discussed decision if we don’t have knowledge of any proposal? This proposal should be overwhelmingly be set ablaze for many reasons, one of which is that it hasn’t even been proposed!
 
15.2) President and First Vice President elected as a team.     Strongly Disagree
 
16) Election of Synod Vice-Presidents Regionally     Strongly Disagree
Let the will of the members of Synod prevail.
 
17.1) The Board of Directors composed of 17 voting members, as defined in the presentation.     Strongly Disagree
Let the will of the members of Synod prevail.
 
17.2) First Vice President, Secretary and VP-Finance/Treasure are non-voting members.     Strongly Disagree
Why should such important synodical officers be denied voting privileges? I can’t think of a solitary reason.
 
18.1) Elect or appoint all Synod and district officers and board members to four year terms.     Disagree
 
18.2) Have no term limits for district presidents     Strongly Disagree
We live in a democracy. Let the people in each district decide. That is their privilege and responsibility.
 
18.3) Have no term limits for any national board and commission members.     Strongly Disagree
 
19) Expand the certification process for pastoral candidates.     Strongly Disagree
 

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.

Comments

Invited Guests from Around the Synod Take the BRTFSSG Survey and Share their Responses with Commentary ““ Today’s Guest: Rev. Andrew Simcak, Jr — 2 Comments

  1. Re: Doctrinal resolutions, Rev. Simcak writes:
    Why have God’s Word if we have to decide what is God’s Word? If God says it, I believe it, and that settles it!

    Although this statement sounds good, in reality, and in practice it is more in line with the Baptists and Pentecostals. That is the reason they refuse creeds and confessions after all, “because God’s word is clear …” Although God’s Word is clear what is not clear is what YOU think God’s word is saying on a particular subject. Just because you think God’s Word says one thing, doesn’t mean that you’re right and often is the club that ends all discussion as if it should be obvious to everyone that “I’m right.” Personally, I think the 2/3rds majority is a safeguard against doctrinal slippage and prevents any one small group from grinding their own axe. In a way, the early councils were deciding bodies, or voting bodies where the truth of God’s Word was upheld by the prevailing work of the Spirit through these men as they considered what God’s Word was saying. I don’t find it offensive.

  2. Pr. Simcak:

    I support your disagreement with the BRTFSSG when it comes to voting on doctrine.

    Frankly, it bothers me when we believe that we can determine doctrine by majority vote.

    According to the Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration,
    The Summary Formulation, Basis, Rule, and Norm, Indicating How All Doctrines Should Be Judged in Conformity with the Word of God and Errors Are to Be Explained and Decided in a Christian Way.

    Notice, only Christian errors, not doctrine, are to be decided through human process and this is still guided by God’s Word; this is the Christian way.

    Moreover:
    The primary requirement for basic and permanent concord within the church is a summary formula and pattern, unanimously approved, in which the summarized doctrine commonly confessed by the churches of the pure Christian religion is drawn together out of the Word of God.

    Furthermore:
    Since in ancient times the true Christian doctrine as it was correctly and soundly understood was drawn together out of God’s Word in brief articles or chapters against the aberrations of heretics, we further pledge allegiance to the three general Creeds, the Apostles’; the Nicene, and the Athanasian, as the glorious confessions of the faith — succinct, Christian, and based upon the Word of God — in which all those heresies which at that time had arisen within the Christian church are clearly and solidly refuted.

    If we hold to Holy Scripture, allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture and to the Lutheran Confessions, there is no need to seek a vote on doctrinal issues. God has spoken for Himself and we are to listen to Him, not our emotions, desires, cultural proclivities or other human frailities.

    IMHO, voting on doctrinal issues has put us where we are, a church divided.

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