On the Same Day the ELCA Denies God’s Word on Homosexuality the LCMS Board of Directors Votes to Join Them to Fight Malaria, by Pr. Rossow

At its last meeting on August 20-21 the LCMS Board of Directors voted to endorse the Lutheran Malaria initiative. This was at the initiative of John Nunes, the director of this pan-Lutheran group which not only partners with the LCMS but also the ELCA.

Paul says

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. Romans 16:17

It has been bad enough that we have been working together with those who deny scripture by ordaining women but now we will be working hand in hand with those who deny God’s moral law.

According to the Reporter article the synod will even be starting a pilot program in certain districts to raise money to work alongside those who create obstacles contrary to the doctrine we have received from Christ.

I raise one more question for our discussion of this matter. Even if we were doing this effort alone, is it the church’s job to bring an end to malaria? For sure, individual Christians should be moved to relieve pain and suffering but should the church have formal programs like this. The scriptures tell us that we ought to care for our brothers and sisters in the faith when they are suffering and I see many projects from LCMS World Relief and Human Care (a different organization than Lutheran World Relief) that do just that.

What do  you Brothers and our other readers think about joining with the ELCA to stamp out malaria and what do you think about the church working in general for social justice in the world? I look forward to your comments.

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

On the Same Day the ELCA Denies God’s Word on Homosexuality the LCMS Board of Directors Votes to Join Them to Fight Malaria, by Pr. Rossow — 39 Comments

  1. Should we be fighting malaria?

    I have mixed feelings about that. Listening to Pr. Harrison discuss Christian mercy has changed my mind on some things. At one point, I would have strongly objected to the church working on “affordable housing.” Now, I think it can be part of how congregations show Christ’s love to their communities because it is the right thing to do, and not part of any church growth scheme.

    BUT, this mercy work is best done locally, not globally. There are thriving confessional churches in many parts of the developing world, and we should listen to them and follow their lead on assisting with their local needs.

    And I think they would tell us that the most pressing local need is always the Gospel, undiluted and unconfused. Many Africans understand this better than many Americans, see the Episcopal Church for an example. We must not let American money become a vehicle for arrogance and liberalism like it has among the Episcopalians.

  2. I would have hoped that the LCMS would go away from doing anything with the ELCA. I have already heard comments that we must not object that much to their non-Scriptural stances since we do so many things with them!! I have asked my DP to tell to the COP this month the desires of the men in my circuit that we cut ALL ties with the ELCA–period!!

  3. The malaria issue is only part of a much bigger picture. The whole issue of RSO’s is very troubling. I know at least one LCMS pastor who is involved with a joint “ministry” and he’s very conflicted. His future might be threatened. Campus ministries are also an issue, altho I think that LCMS congregations can and ought to make a concerted effort to have some kind of campus ministry, if only to Lutherans for openers.

    As much as we may dislike the idea of collaboration with the ELCA in such ministries, this business needs prayerful and careful thought. We ought to choose our words and our actions carefully, while indeed speaking the truth in love, act out of love also–whatever that portends. After all is said and done, it seems to me that for openers, someone at or near the top of the LCMS should deliver a very strongly worded unequivocal message to the leadership of the ELCA in private.
    It’s a bad business–as usual, where such deliberate sin is, everyone loses.

  4. According to the E_CA website, “the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI) will educate U.S. Lutherans about malaria, advocate for global health initiatives, and raise funds to help combat malaria.”

    According to the E_CA’s Lutheran Malaria Initiative, the funds raised from U.S. Lutherans will be channeled through church-related entities and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The LMI document states that the funds will not just be used for mosquito nets and malaria treatments, but for a broad strategic program involving other international, private sector, and community entities. The other partner in this Initiative is the United Nations Foundation, which supports and coordinates programs involving “women’s reproductive rights” (aka murder-by-abortion).

    It simply is not clear how such an Initiative proposes to maintain separation of LCMS monies (allegedly) raised for malaria prevention and therapy from partner monies used to support other so-called related strategic activities which the LCMS may not support. Also to be clarified is whether the LCMS monies will be used in countries which do not permit LCMS missionary efforts or Christian literature distribution.

  5. Norhteasterner and Johannes,

    I appreciate your concerns. I also know that I have much to learn from Rev. Harrison.

    When I search the scriptures (I actually read through the entire Bible a few years ago looking for all the verses on human care) I find that overwhelmingly they tell us to take care of the beleivers. This is most certainly true of the New Testament.

    I am all in favor of housing. In our congregation we collect over $30,000 a year in benevolence and use it to house congregation members who would be otherwise out on the street and we could do more for our members in need if we had more.

    It is not an easy subject but I am convinced the Scriptures tell us that our human care should focus on the brethren. As Peter puts it, honor everyone (do not give uneccesary offense to those in the world) but love the brethren.

    TR

  6. I’m with Rev. Sterle–I don’t care what the ’cause’ is, it is inexcusable for us to do anything to any extent with the ELCA.

  7. Yes, I think your concerns are justified. WELSers have been long criticized for being so “reclusive” that we don’t even want to participate with heterodox church organizations in “externals.” But your quote from Romans 16 says it all. And how much heresy is OK? Will their decision to uncondemn homosexuality be the tipping point for the LCMS to break all ties (even in externals) with those who teach contrary to what we have learned from the apostles? I humbly suggest that the breaking point should happen over ANY false doctrine, not just the most blatant ones. But once compromise begins, it’s hard to pick an arbitrary stopping point.

    And I heartily agree with your reading of “brothers” as those whom we are to primarily care for. Even Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 about visiting the imprisoned, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, are talking about “these brothers of mine,” not about the world. Jesus’ words to his disciples in John 13 are to “love one another” as fellow believers in Christ, not as generic human beings. That doesn’t exclude charity to all (charity is not a light switch that can be turned on for some and turned off for others), but I think we’ve too often generalized the Lord’s instructions to his brothers concerning his brothers, thereby undermining the very special relationship Christ wants us to have with one another as members of his body.

  8. Pr. Rossow,

    Having studied the same scriptures, I agree completely! The scriptures are clear that our primary human care responsibility is to the believers. This is but one area where the “social gospel” is hopelessly confused.

    And that is the point I’m trying to make. I think the best way to go in global care is to work closely with believing pastors and congregations in the places where they are, and ask them what their flocks are most in need of. That may be housing or malaria care or AIDS; the local pastor knows his flock best.

    I think Pr. Harrison gets this.

    As far as trying to cure malaria on a global basis, that is a job for governments and NGOs and science that requires far more resources that what our churches have on hand. I pray for their success, but this is not the work of the church.

    And any cooperation with the ELCA is a poor witness to the Gospel, given the chasm between that body and orthodox Christianity. We should not do it.

  9. Why not? The ELCA has proven more than capable of working to stamp out things for quite some time.

    The authority and inerrancy of Holy Scripture, for example.

    To these eyes, it seems merely yet another time-worn effort to make certain that we may boast about what we are doing to ease the enormity of physical suffering in the world. As has been documented already, there exist more than a few organizations that operate within the framework of the LCMS church body as a whole that are more than capable of contributing to the real needs of their communities and sister congregations’ communities as well.

    But being faithful to that which comes first? What of that?

    It’s very telling that Rev. Nunes, a former contributer to Modern Reformation and one-time member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (a now-defunct organization attempting to passionately spearhead a new reformation of Biblical orthodoxy), has a hand in this; since disappearing from the pages of Modern Reformation, he has embarked on one silly venture after another, and I have never ceased to be amazed by his abrupt about-face concerning these things.

    Building someone a home is great. So is combating malaria.

    But are these really the work of the church, or more of the same neo-social ‘gospel’ that progresses ever-onward, without regard to doctrine?

    I certainly don’t happen to look for the nearest Christian brother to fix my engine when my car craps out (and it WILL, I assure you!); I look for a qualified mechanic with reasonable rates.

    In like manner, if I want to aid an organization in the ‘war on malaria,’ I’ll look for qualified physicians belonging to an organization whose primary concern is the medical treatment of it’s victims, and not some quasi-ecclesiastical flesh-boasting love-fest.

    Social justice is NOT the Gospel, nor should it be the first part of any spiritual ‘bait-and-switch,’ either; those mind-games are best left to the cults and, perhaps equally dangerous, the evangelical community at large.

    two cents,

    Sean

  10. LCMS World Relief and Human Care should be the ONLY agency our leaders consider as an avenue for mercy. We pray for the peace of the whole world in our Divine Service; and our Lord teaches us not only to pray for but to love our enemies. James questions the reality of love without action. This action reveals even more clearly the necessity of new leadership.

  11. I’ve had malaria a couple of times and it is extremely painful. I had the good fortune of being equipped to treat myself so I don’t think I was ever real danger once I understood that I had malaria and could take proper measures. Malaria is a scourge. While I acknowledge the conflicts and confusion that others have raised, the fact that many who suffer and die from malaria are Christians colors this issue somewhat for me. The village in which I lived in Kenya when I contracted malaria was mostly Roman Catholic.

  12. For years we have been told how necessary it was to work with the ELCA and before it, both the ALC and LCA. My questions is this, “How has working with them benefited us and has it been any more effective then working on our own”? I am not saying that we should not be doing anything in the relm of social ministry. But here is my pet peeve, do not confuse social ministry with spreading the Gospel. For too many congregations and denomination, social ministry such as feeding the hungry is equated with mission work. They put all the emphasis of providing food but no emphasis of providing the real food, namely the Gospel. What I am saying is that we need to give a clear witness when we do involve ourselves in social ministry. Also, I believe Scripture says that we should attend first and foremost to the household of faith. We should be doing things like supporting/providing housing for local Lutherans. Or working through our missionaries to support social ministry that would assist their work wherever in the world they may be located.

  13. Speaking pastorally, part of what I see troubling in pan-Lutheran activities – even noble causes like fighting malaria – is that it serves to “normalize” certain things (like female “ordination”) and associate them with the name “Lutheran.”

    When our people see women wearing clerical collars and using the title “Pastor,” it serves to establish that this is not only possible, but optional, and perhaps even a good thing.

    And now, we’re not only going to see women “pastors,” but likely will soon be seeing Pastor Bob and his partner Pastor Bill joining forces with the local LCMS church to fight malaria.

    There are better ways to fight malaria, and, there are worse things than malaria (such as women playing pastor and men playing wife – all with ecclesiastical blessing and the cooperation of the LCMS).

    I know of an LCMS pastor who has a call overseas to serve as a sem prof in which 30% of the pastors are women. I also know of a former LCMS lay missionary who lived there for a year taking communion from a woman “pastor.”

    Unless there is an agenda to normalize women clergy, why do we sent anyone there? We’re in fellowship with some two dozen bodies around the world, why are we exposing our young people to abominations and making them think these things are okay?

    And no, I am in no way pro-malaria, nor am I against evangelism. There are simply better ways for us to use our time, talent, and treasures than damaging the faith of our people in the process.

  14. I’d like to offer some observations and background to several of these posts. Please forgive me for jumping around to several previous comments.

    First, as it relates to LWR, this is an organization founded by the LCMS and the ELCA’s predecessor church bodies. So, if you (like me) are LCMS, this is OUR agency.

    Second, there seems to be a great deal of support around this site for a Harrison Administration. You should know that Matt sits on the board of LWR (as well as Lutheran Services in America, another pan-Lutheran organization) and has publicly stated his support for the Lutheran Malaria Initiative.

    Next, I would recommend that you inquire with Rev. Harrison his position on whether we are called to serve only believers. I would also encourage you to ask him if he believes (and is written in Scripture) if clergy have a responsibility to engage in what you refer to as “social justice.” He would refer to that as acts of mercy. Whatever the terminology, he has written several dozen booklets on the church’s responsibility in this area, clergy’s responsibility, laymen’s responsibility, etc. It is very thoughtful as you would expect from Rev. Harrison. However, I think it contradicts the posts here.

    Finally, in defense of John Nunes and his “silly ventures” (post #9), was it his involvement with Wheat Ridge Ministries, Concordia River Forest or Lutheran for Life that was so silly? I mean seriously, this man has made amazing contributions in his young life and represents our church on the world stage- yes the world – and makes us proud. I wish we had 6,000 more just like him.

    What I know about the malaria initiative, this is a very worthwhile endeavor. I agree that this should not be the primary focus of the church but no one is saying that it should. However, where does it say that the church shouldn’t be involved in it at all?

  15. Jim G,

    Matt Harrison is the best candidate the LCMS has had for president in the last 25 years, maybe even the last 50 or more. (I cannot vouch beyond 25 years.) That does not mean he is correct on everything.

    What I do know and others have vouched for on this string, is that the scriptures are quite clear that care from the church is primarily, not exclusively, to be for the church. I would welcome you or Matt Harrison demonstrating from Scripture that this proposition is not true.

    As far as Rev. Nunes is concerned, I would not cite Wheatridege as an example. They have endorsed projects that are intertwined with gay and lesbian issues. Concordia – Chicago is also shaky ground to stand on since they endorsed their faculty members signing a petition supporting William Ayers and his pagan humanist philosophy. Lutherans for Life is a fine organization and clean as a whistle as far as I can tell.

    I would rather work with the government or the Red Cross on a malaria project than with an apostate church body. It just makes no sense and only brings shame on our witness. We have a choice in this matter and we have clearly made a poor one.

    TR

  16. On the website, Rev. Matthew C. Harrison Vitae, Executive Director, LCMS World Relief-Human Care, Rev. Harrison’s Ecumenical Activities are listed:

    Lutheran Malaria Initiative, Steering Committee. Lutheran World Relief, Baltimore in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, has begun to prepare a national campaign for an effort targeting Malaria in Africa. July 2007 – present. One goal of this effort is to assist LCMS partner churches in increasing their capacity to reduce the detrimental effects of Malaria upon their own people, and on the people among whom they live.

    Board Member, Lutheran Services in America, 2001-Present. LSA is recognized by the Non-Profit Times as the largest non-profit organization in America.

    Board Member, Lutheran World Relief, Baltimore, 2001-Present; Board Development Committee, Personnel Committee. LWR is a $40,000,000 international relief and development agency of the LCMS and ELCA, which works with a host of NGOs around the world.

    Board Member, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, 2001-2004; Chair, Board Development Committee. LIRS is the second largest resettlement agency in the US, resettling thousands of legal refugees every year in the US.

    Catholic/Lutheran Dialogue, Ft. Wayne-South Bend Diocese/Indiana District, LCMS Representative of District President Tim Sims, 1996-2001. This committee hosted Cardinal Cassidy, then the Pope’s chief ecumenical officer; Chaired the planning for the dialogue event between Rome, the LCMS and ELCA at the Ft. Wayne Seminary, 1998, insisting that in fact Missouri could host the event in a way consistent with its confessional commitments, complete with morning Matins (all approved by then Synod President Barry, and District President Sims). Cardinal Cassidy presented for Rome, Eugene Brand for the ELCA, Kurt Marquart for the LCMS. See Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette, April 16, 1998, page 1; Ft. Wayne New Sentinel, April 16, 1998, page 1; Today’s Catholic: Serving the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, vol. 72, no. 15, April 12, 1998 & vol. 72, no. 17, pp. 6f.

  17. Rev. Harrison is probably better equipped to respond but I would encourage you to read his booklets on acts of mercy. Plenty of scriptural justification.

    On Wheatridge and Concordia, are we to write them off now? Should we not recommend high schoolers to consider attending CUC? Is Wheatridge not doing any good work? I know a number of parish nurses, as just one example, that have been great blessings. True, Matt Harrison may not get everything right but you seem willing to endorse him. Maybe CUC and/or Wheatridge don’t get all of it right but we can still hold them up as doing some very good work.

    Interesting that you would prefer working with the government over LWR on malaria. Considering all the things one would have to live with in a federal agency under a liberal administration I’m curious how that fits with the purity position.

  18. Jim G.,

    Pr. Rossow is right. Working under or even with the secular world (e.g., government) toward some humanitarian goal is not contrary to Scripture. If you know of passages that prohibit this, please share them.

    But working hand in hand with those who call themselves Christians (even Lutherans) but are living in sin (e.g., persistent preaching of false doctrine, condoning or practicing abortion, the ordination of women, homosexuality, etc.)is contrary to Scripture. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5 (NIV),
    “I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.”

    And the “keep away from them” of Romans 16:17 surely cannot mean “work together with them” or “pray with them” or “celebrate Matins with them”. Citizens working together as citizens on some project is one thing. Churches working together as churches is another.

  19. I do not see how there can be a continuation of joint works which invoke a “common expression of our faith”, as the Lutheran World Relief website states: http://www.lwr.org/about/index.asp, as a basis for cooperation in any endeavor. The so-called ELCA is officially apostate and has ceased being Evangelical, Lutheran and Church. The so-called ELCA has officially abandoned ‘The Faith’, for they promote separation of Christ and His Holy Word: the Bible. Christ is the Word who became flesh and made his dwelling among us. They are now officially promoting a different Christ.

    Knowing this, if the LCMS continues in such relationships, they are partnering with a dishonest, apostate agent. Do such agreements invoke the name of Christ and get signed by representaives of the church bodies? Again, that would be knowingly signing on to something with a dishonest, officially apostate agent and legitimizing their standing. The LCMS has LCMS World Relief and Human Care for acts of mercy without having to pollute it’s works with the lying, so-called ELCA.

    The continuing defiant un-Christian actions of the so-called ELCA need to have consequences.

    I pray for those Christians who are left in the so-called ELCA to flee fom this agent of Belial. I humbly pray for God’s mercy on us all.

  20. In his Does the LCMS Cooperate with Other Christians?, Rev. Harrison states:

    “Doctrine (the teachings of the Bible) matters in the LCMS. But one of those doctrines is what has for millennia been called in the church ‘cooperation in externals.’ This means that Lutheran churches may in fact cooperate with other persons, entities, institutions and churches in matters that do not require church fellowship (i.e. complete agreement in doctrine and practice – which for Lutherans is most often defined by complete agreement on the doctrinal content of the Book of Concord) and do not compromise our confession of Christ and His Gospel.

    “Thus, while LCMS churches do not have joint worship with others, we can and do participate locally and nationally in a diverse array of activities, mostly of humanitarian nature.

    “What are these humanitarian activities? The range is very broad, but let me concentrate on just one. The LCMS is a partner with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in Lutheran World Relief (LWR), based in Baltimore, Md.

    “LWR is NOT a mission agency; it is a humanitarian agency. LWR specializes in international aid and development. Through LCMS World Relief/Human Care, we provide $2 to $3 million a year for humanitarian purposes through LWR. LWR—through the LCMS, ELCA, WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) and government support—carries out some $30 million in international aid projects yearly.

    “Some projects are funded solely by LWR, working with local communities, which may or may not be Lutheran. Many projects have diverse partners. In the recent Iraqi conflict, for example, we partnered in providing funding to LWR, which in turn worked through Churches Acting Together to send aid to suffering Iraqis via the local Syrian Orthodox Congregations of Iraq.

    “Does the LCMS cooperate with other Christian churches? Absolutely! LWR is just one example. We carry out this cooperation without sacrifice to our strong conservative Lutheran identity, yet with conviction clothed in charity.”

    This publication is undated but it is doubtful Rev. Harrison would have had it included on his Vita site if he no longer maintained that position.

  21. Rev. Harrison: “In the recent Iraqi conflict, for example, we partnered in providing funding to LWR, which in turn worked through Churches Acting Together to send aid to suffering Iraqis via the local Syrian Orthodox Congregations of Iraq.”

    I couldn’t find anything on an organization called “Churches Acting Together,” but I did find on the International Orthodox Christian Charities website the Spring 2008 article, “IOCC Expands in Syria: New Program Aids Iraqi Refugees”, which does mention that in a joint effort with other organizations, the “Lutheran World Relief (LWR) has donated 9,500 baby kits worth $358,000 to the program.” Beside the U.S. State Department, another partner in this effort was the Church World Service, which lists the Lutheran World Relief as an affiliated organization of the CWS.

    The contents of the various kits that were distributed, as noted in the IOCC article, can be seen here. The costs of the individual kits correlate closely with the numbers given in the IOCC article.

    Pragmatically, by grouping together with other organizations, especially with a U.S. government organization, such relief efforts have a better (though not perfect) chance of keeping their relief supplies from being stolen or confiscated incountry, and not having to pay large bribes to corrupt third-world country officials or criminal gangs to be able to distribute the supplies to the needy or obtain relief worker protection.

  22. From the Lutheran World Relief website:

    “U.S. Lutherans, freed and empowered by God’s grace in Jesus Christ and called to respond to God’s love for all people and creation, put faith into action through the mission of Lutheran World Relief. LWR values the contribution of Lutheran theology to our understanding of faith active in love and cherishes our Lutheran heritage and identity. LWR acts on behalf of U.S. Lutherans, the ELCA, and the LCMS as a common expression of our faith through international relief and development.”

    I don’t know how you can escape the fellowship issue when you’re “putting faith into action through the mission of LWR,” valuing the “contribution of Lutheran theology,” and a “common expression of our faith.”

    It seems a bit disingenuous even to label this as “cooperation in externals” with language like that.

    Also, although an earlier comment seems to indicate that LWR is a joint effort among the LCMS, ELCA and WELS, I have been unable to verify WELS involvement, and would be surprised if WELS supported any “common expression of faith” with the ELCA.

  23. I suggest we allow Pr. Harrison to speak for himself on the matter, lest everybody “putting the best construction” (i.e. our own speculation) on his beliefs actually leads to derailing any bid for office.

  24. The problem I have with working jointly with the ELCA on this project, or any project, is the confusing message it sends to the laity. Many laymen do not know the difference between “fellowship” and working with “fellow Lutherans.”

    This confusion can easily lead to our giving a false witness. It can give those in the ELCA the false comfort that their synod’s rejection of God’s Word is OK by us. At the same time it gives some in the LCMS the impression that the faith confessed by those in the ELCA isn’t much different than ours.

  25. I would like to know where the line is going to be drawn, if at all.

    We’re obviously not going to draw the line when it comes to working with organizations that engage in women’s “ordination” and homosexual “marriage.”

    Should we cooperate in joint humanitarian ventures with Unitarians? Scientologists? Mormons? Muslims? Sikhs? Hindus? Moonies? Hare Krishnas? Wiccans? Satanists?

    At what point do we say “no” and find other ways to do humanitarian work? If we want to help abolish malaria, for example, why not take all the money we would be spending on a joint venture with the ELCA and instead donate that same amount to a non-sectarian organization devoted to fighting malaria? Why do our good works have to be intertwined with organizations that “ordain” women and bless same-sex “marriages”?

    It is *really* about genuinely wanting to address malaria, or is it about getting a photo op and credit in the eyes of the world? How about anonymously donating funds and not having synodical officials fly all over the world to pose for pictures?

    What good is it to gain the whole world of publicity and lose our soul by sending a message that women’s “ordination” and gay “marriage” aren’t really that big a deal?

    I think we need to clarify just what our relationship is to the ELCA. Is this kind of cooperation worth further confusing the public about “what Lutherans believe”? Should the witness of the faith be more important than humanitarian projects?

    Just some things to ponder…

  26. Gary wrote: “I suggest we allow Pr. Harrison to speak for himself on the matter”

    Yes, and in fact Rev. Harrison has spoken and written extensively for himself on this matter, as can be found in Rev. Harrison’s Vita. Such speaking and writtings include:

    1. Mercy Pamphlets, some of which I’ve posted links to earlier.

    2. Rev. Harrison’s intrviews on Issues, Etc., about Missouri Synod involvement in world-wide relief efforts for example:

    a. Christian Relief Workers & Proselytizing & Why Do Christians Give to Charity?

    b. Worldwide Human Relief Efforts

    c. God’s Mercy & Providing Relief to Victims of Tragedy

  27. 3. “Crossing Old Line Boundaries: The Works of Lutheran Charity” Presentation at the 2007 Confessional Symposium at Fort Wayne, IN.

    4. Concordia Theological Quarterly paper on “Crossing Old Line Boundaries: The Works of Lutheran Charity”

    5. Christ Have Mercy, Rev. Harrison’s book “written with the conviction that mercy — the mercy of Christ to and for us — and our demonstration of that mercy to those within and outside the Body of Christ is the key to the future of the Church. Mercy is the key to mission and stewardship.”

  28. Working together in externals! I am not sure we any longer really know what that means. Years ago our family physician decided that doing abortions was good for business!! We found another doctor who did not. I am firmly convinced that we can continue to carry out many acts of mercy without being tied to a church body that not only allows homosexuals, female clergy, altar and pulpit “fellowship” with those whose beliefs are often direct opposites, but especially those who openly murder babies, even for their church workers of whom we must include their female clergy! I do not need Matt giving me lessons on acts of mercy, and I have read all of his pamphlets, as God’s Word has always been enough for me. [And I like his pamphlets don’t get me wrong]

    As I see it [and I can always stand for correction] Scripture should be the means with which we judge our joining with others in anything. Where Scripture tells us we should not join, we should not join–even if it looks like one of the worlds greatest acts of mercy.

    I have never felt it wrong to be the lone church in any kind of action. But it seems that doing things in the “external” is one of the items in our history that has led us down paths we should not have traveled.

    If I have heard it once I have heard it many times: ‘But pastor, the members of such and such ELCA church do not believe like their national body!’ And of course we could say the same of the LCMS–many do not believe as does the national body and I am not too sure that the national body believes its own roots–thus many of the actions and non actions of today’s history.

    The church on earth I will admit will never be perfect. But at the same time the church on earth should not weaken God’s Word for the sake of cooperation.

  29. If elected LCMS president, one wonders whether Rev. Harrison will expand any “cooperation in externals” in
    http://mercyjourney.blogspot.com/2009/02/little-fun-with-banjo.html,bluegrass pickin’ and fiddlin’} with fellow musicians like Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Travis Tritt, Alison Krauss and Union Station (with Jerry Douglas on the Dobro), the Del McCoury Band, etc.

    We could end up with a Missouri Synod Bill Monroe and the synodical convention held at the Austin City Limits. Wow!

    Now if we can just find a First Vice-President who can play some ragtime piano.

  30. Yikes, how can anyone dare say that this is a bad thing? We’re HELPING people!!! Good for the LCMS – and who cares if the ELCA has a messed up view of homosexuality, we can still unite behind this cause. A very WELSian concept there, Rossow.

  31. “What do you Brothers and our other readers think about joining with the ELCA to stamp out malaria and what do you think about the church working in general for social justice in the world? I look forward to your comments.”

    Joining the ELCA even in social initiatives is a blunder the LC-MS needs to rectify. If the LC-MS were a non-Christian organization, then I don’t see an issue. As it stands, we have a confession of faith to profess to the world and it is not a social gospel. I also have no doubt that when we are told to mark those who cause division and teach a gospel other than the one handed down to us from the Apostles teaching (Romans 16)that we are to “avoid” those same persons (see verse 17). The issue is not with helping people who suffer from malaria. The issue is the “back door” being opened to the ELCA for continued fellowship even when we are clearly told by the scriptures that the organization and the false teachers contained therein should be marked and shunned until such a time they repent. No, what the LC-MS is doing is a terrible mistake and sends the wrong signal to people who may be in the ELCA looking to the LC-MS for some direction. If as a synod we simply wink at scriptures like Romans 16, then what are we telling those on the outside looking in about our confession of sola scriptura?

  32. One other thought I would like to add —actually a scripture:

    “And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?” Mark 8:34-36

  33. Jim Pierce,
    YOU ARE AWESOME!!! Love reading your comments. If anyone, should feel the need, to do something for those who have not, health wealth, food or safety, or KNOW NOT, do something or give something that which
    PUTS THE WORD OF OUR LORD, BOTH OT & NT IN THEIR HANDS.

    A innoculation is but for a moment, a crust of bread is eaten & forgotten, but THE LAW & GOSPEL IS ETERNITY. Many give their lives, LOVINGLY & WILLINGLY every day, for that blest Book & Word & all It affords us, what is a crust of bread, a pamphlet, or an innoculation in view of this? Not much. I am rather willing to say this, I have a disease, which has no cure nor remedy. I know full well the results of sin in the world, but I trust the Author of THAT WORLD. As I have been taught FROM HIS WORD! Two miracles, sit in the room I type in,they are 10 & 11, & I reached 40, so that makes three indeed, sin abounds but His mercy & Grace covers & negates all! Sin is curable, with the knowledge of Him who came! Forget & forsake that which is not of Him, leave any & all fellowships, partnerships, and the like, with that which has forsaken Him. Leave the ELCA & shake their dust off your feet. Depart now.

  34. My wife and I have become very concerned with the LCMS and its drift toward American evangelicalism and joint ventures with non Christans (of which ELCA is one). Spare me the shallow excuses that there are some conservatives there, if they are conservative they should have left long ago. In our explorations to find another Synod we have visited WELS and found much to be admired. One explaination for thier isolation was “just look what bad theology and ideas the LCMS has dragged into thier synod by partnering with non Christian and churches with lousy theology.” We have reached a point where we can say amen to that. Look at RSO Grace House where we are partnering with the Elca on health and wellness issues for Pastors. How can we call perveyors of liberal theology “pastors” let alone work with them? And K endorses this mess.

  35. mames,
    Great comment, totally agree, same here, kudos for saying it so plainly. A bit of wiggle room w/the confessional pastors & laity that do remain are there to fight for the foundations & their congregations. Pewsitters like us tend to just leave & go to WELS. Wonder why no one is concerned with people like us leaving?

  36. Dear Mames:

    I share your frustration.

    After Hurricane Katrina, our District provided counseling help for pastors and other church workers to help deal with the extreme stress and anxiety of what happened.

    The problem was that this was a Lutheran counseling service that was “pan-Lutheran.” I found it troubling to receive official mail from our District that made references to “ordained” women.

    This kind of thing confuses people, and I believe, pushes an agenda of a small minority in our synod: those who want to “ordain” women.

    To me, any worldly benefit we can accrue by such arrangements are not worth the price we pay in leading people to believe that we in any way endorse or recognize women clergy.

  37. I’m just a pewsitter. I do not give my mite to any organization based in St Louis or cooperating in externals (or internals) with elca. It makes people think we’re all OK and going the same place. I’m not so sure of that.
    Frankly, I’ve wondered about the uncritical praise of Matt Harrison, who has worked for lcms inc. quite awhile now.
    Is it going to be, “Meet the new boss; same as the old boss?”

  38. Wow Helen, quoting “The Who” in connection with LCMS politics – who would have guessed it?

    It is a good question you ask. I am convinced that the answer is “no.” Matt Harrison is a traditional and churchly man and has strong connections to folks like Todd Wilken that make a huge difference.

    TR

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