Wouldn’t It be Great to have Unity and Growth in the LCMS? A Sneak Peak at the Cover of Rev. Harrison’s New Book

A picture speaks a thousand words and so does a subtitle. Check out the subtitle of Rev. Harrison’s new book:

Presidential Sermons, Essays, Letters and Addresses from the Missouri Synod’s Era of Unity and Growth

We thank one of our many little moles who provided to us the pdf of the cover.

Where do I begin describing  how profound and timely this book is. Let’s start with unity and growth. The last few years in the  LCMS have been characterized by disunity and shrinking. How refreshing that Pastor Harrison is wise enough to present a study of a past era of growth and unity as a key to the present and the future. Also, it is refreshing to have a candidate for the presidency that respects the lessons of our grandfather’s church rather than mocking the past as President Kieschnick has done with his endless call to reject our grandfathers’ church.

It is also refreshing to have a serious candidate for the presidency of the LCMS who is a master of our grandfathers’ German and is able to translate these excellent sermons, essays, letters and addresses. This demonstrates a dedication to the fact that words carry truth as opposed to the recent years of leadership in the synod which have placed a greater emphasis on emotion, spin, “leadership,” and marketing than on the truth of straight-forward spoken words that are based on the Word of God.

Many of us have known what a great treasure Matt Harrison is and what a great leader he would be for the synod. If you have not gotten to know Rev. Harrison we hope you will take the time to do so.

The Rev. Dr. Timothy A. Rossow – Founder and Editor of the Brothers of John the Steadfast

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.


Wouldn’t It be Great to have Unity and Growth in the LCMS? A Sneak Peak at the Cover of Rev. Harrison’s New Book — 19 Comments

  1. Ich freue mich darüber, dass wir so eine grosse Hoffnung in Rev. Harrison haben. Ich bete jede Nacht für die Zukunft des LCMS und hoffe, dass wir einen guten President auswählen können.

  2. Wir müssen dringend alle unsere Kirchen, um wieder auf die alte Art und Weise der Anbetung, rein in die Sprache unserer frühen Reformation Führer. Die deutsche Liturgie muss wieder in jeder Kirche, so dass wir nicht über klingen wie die Liberalen oder Calvinisten.

  3. Nein, nein, @Carl stimmt. Die deutsche Liturgie ist der Weg der Zukunft. Nur durch diese Mittel werden wir einen Weg durch das Finsternis finden!

  4. “eine grosse Hoffnung in Rev. Harrison”

    I hope Rev. Harrison wins, but I don’t think that he will. Perhaps I am being a Marshwiggle here, but I don’t think he has a chance. I fear the liberals might be unbeatable force at this point, and so many in our Synod seem to be tossed about by every wind of doctrine.

    But even if this good man and faithful pastor does win, “a great hope in Rev. Harrison” is a bit much. I would think that Rev. Harrison would quickly point us to Jesus as our “grosse Hoffnung” in the Church.

    I cannot think of anyone that I would rather have as our synodical president, but I am not sure how the election of one man, even someone of Pastor Harrison’s quality, can turn around so many churches that are seemingly adrift doctrinally.

    I might be wrong, but I do not think that the state of the LCMS congregations cannot be cured by the election of one man. There has been a lack of discipline and biblical oversight in our churches for so many years, perhaps decades, and false teaching has spread wide and far. I am not sure that things can be turned around at this point.

    One man might help slow the sinking of our ship, but I do not think that he is our “grosse Hoffnung” for the Synod. We must cry, “Lord, have mercy!” It would take a miracle.


    A Marshwiggle in Michigan

  5. On the other hand, look what “one man” has been able to accomplish in our synod over the past eight years! I think there’s reason to hope that a Confessional president could get us back on course. The struggle would continue, but the election of Harrison would be a great start.

  6. “I might be wrong, but I do not think that the state of the LCMS congregations cannot be cured by the election of one man.”

    Nobody says that electing Harrison is a silver bullet, but it would be a step in the right direction.

    And I don’t share your pessimism. I will cite two reasons:

    1) Delegates. Who the circuits send will determine who gets elected. It’s quite possible that there will be more delegates open to change in the SP office this time around.

    2) Mercy. Harrison doesn’t fit the stereotypical confessional mold. He’s a theologians theologian and a confessional scholar to be sure, but regardless of where one falls on the synodical political spectrum, his emphasis on Divine Mercy appeals across the board. I would not be surprised if there are a number of delegates who go into the convention without a candidate in mind, and decide “You know what, the incumbent has been in office for nearly a decade, let’s give this Harrison guy a chance.”

    Related to Mercy, I think that his emphasis on Mercy is much more palatable to congregations than the nebulous Ablaze! movement. Few and far between are the laymen who can tell you what the Ablaze movement is or how their church is participating, but it would be much easier for them during the Harrison administration to tell you what they as a congregation are doing to show Christ’s mercy to their neighbors. And “Mercy” would spend a lot less money on consultant fees!

  7. Carl @2

    Did you really think the non german speaking wouldn’t translate your post? ;^) I always do.
    I admire your zeal for the early Lutheran church.
    Good luck going back to german.

    John Hooss

    ps it translated perfectly!

  8. “I don’t think he has a chance. I fear the liberals might be unbeatable force. . . .” –RO

    That is just factually not the case. Harrison has a very realistic chance. The liberal/church-growth/Jesus First coalition is by no means “unbeatable.” In his three elections, Jerry Kieschnick has only been able to muster 51%, 53%, and 52%. That is extremely beatable.

    The key, of course, is to elect good circuit delegates to the convention. And that task is upon us, right now. The deadline for the circuit forums is October 10, but most will be held late August-early October. And there are required bylaw steps that need to be taken in advance of the forums and that we need to be working on right now. I’ve outlined all this in my recent blog, “Electing Circuit Delegates: The Key to the Convention“:

  9. For the record, I just have a fairly limited knowledge of German. I hope and pray that Rev. Harrison wins, because I think that it would be the best for the Synod, but our only real hope is in Christ Jesus.

  10. Alex – The book is due out near the end of August or early September. Pastor Harrison’s staff has been rather busy with all the district conventions and putting the finishing touches on such a wonderful blessing to our Church does take time and effort. Soon – very soon we’ll have this treasure.

  11. Our problem, as I see it, is that we do not agree on two basic questions (from Cultivating a Life for God by Neil Cole, p. 127) 1. What is God telling you to do? 2. What are you going to do about it? At the risk of oversimplification, I think Mr. Cole is on to something important. And Pr. Harrison says much the same in his seminal paper “It’s Time”. Unity means that we have fairly congruent answers to question #1 and #2 as well. Saying that vastly different answers are OK is NOT OK. OK?

  12. The Truth is not always surrounded by an equal number of confessors; the number is an adiaphoron, an accident, a matter of no importance, — it is not to be asked how many confess, but what they confess; Word, Confession, doctrine, — that is all, everything else is subject to change. If the Church is only Apostolic, then it is great enough whatever its numbers; the word “Catholic” is not to be defined by a normal number, but finds its explanation in the doctrine of the universal grace of God, which seeks to spread the true doctrine and Church as far as possible, and would spread it if the wickedness of men did not withstand it; for, according to the unalterable determination of the Lord, His grace can be turned back by no opposition except that of the sinful heart of man.

    Quite otherwise, much truer and much loftier does it sound to say: Twelve men, unlearned, of lowly condition, in a few centuries spread among all peoples a teaching which contradicts human reason and self-love, with no other means than their faithful and united confession, and thus gathered one Catholic community out of all people and races and tongues. This is indeed a testimony to the Church, so small in its beginnings that it could be compared with a mustard-seed; this is indeed an answer based upon numbers; for it proves that to overcome the world not many men are needed, but only the almighty co-operation of the Truth; it proves, as we have said, that all depends not upon the numbers, but upon the weight, of the voices. — It is quite different now, since the Church of God has been acknowledged in the world by the testimonies of centuries; it is no longer a disgrace to bend the knee before Christ; the history of eighteen hundred years has proclaimed that the Church is the highest and most beautiful of conceptions; now the world itself wishes to be inscribed among confessors and even does confess in certain particulars; many from the highways and hedges sit down at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    Now the majority is no longer a proof of the presence of the Lord; on the contrary, it might be the case that not only on the side of Rome but also on the Lutheran side there are too many, and that the Lord before setting forth to His last great victory through the Church will have to sift and reduce His little flock as He did in the day of Midian by means of the Shibboleth of a true Confession. So little have we to fear a truth based on a majority that on the contrary we may ask who is injurious to the community, who hinders its work by his presence, who ought to leave us, who ought to be driven away. So little should we be concerned about numbers, that we ought to be happy if they go away from us who do not belong to us. It is indeed sad that some are lost through schism, but notwithstanding it is true that thousands of true confessors fulfill their calling as a pure Particular Church more easily on account of the witness borne by their spirit and life, than millions would among whom the thousands could have neither power nor voice; because sin and wickedness always are louder and more easily come to the front. If the majority counts, how should it be at the end with the Church of which it is written, Luke 18:8, When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith upon the earth?

    Wilhelm Loehe. Three Books Concerning the Church: Offered to friends of the Lutheran Church, for Consideration and Discussion. Translated from the German by Edward T. Horn. [Reading, PA: Pilger Publishing House, 1908] pages 117-119

  13. “Whether our Synod gains friends or makes enemies, wins honor or invites disgrace, grows or declines in numbers, brings peace or incites enmity, all this must be unimportant to us-just so our Synod may keep the jewel of purity of doctrine and knowledge. However, should our Synod ever grow indifferent toward purity of doctrine, through ingratitude forget this prize, or betray or barter it away to the false church, then let our church body perish and the name Missourian decay in disgrace.”
    -C.F.W. Walther, First Sermon Delivered at the Opening of Synod,
    1 Corinthians 1:4-5

    “This is something the Missouri Synod needs to remember! It should prefer to go out of business rather than to let the Church suffer harm by its continued existence. Those who want to see the synod continue under all circumstances, regardless of whether that would harm the kingdom of Christ, are not to being led by the Spirit of Christ, but by the spirit of selfishness.”

    (C.F.W. Walther, “The Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod,” The First Meeting of the Iowa District, August 20, 1879, in Essays for the Church, vol. 2, p. 62.)

  14. GK built on a foundation of 45 years of poor catechesis (Dr. Kuhn, 2001), 30-some years of Church Growthism (of which he was an enthusiastic advocate), 30 years of immersion in Christian Radio (pun intended), 50 years of erosion in worship and communion practice, a fascination with Pietism, and a well-organized, well-financed purely political campaign with ex. Pres. Bohlmann in the driver’s seat, who call themselves “Politics First”, or something like that. GK simply picked up the pieces, put them together in his image, and, the rest, as they say, is history. And now you have the whole structure business, which is simply ecclesiastical “Gerry-mandering.” Pun also intended. It’s an uphill battle….

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