The final report of the BRTFSG is out. (PDF) I will need some more time to thoroughly understand it but I thought I would open the discussion with a curious sample. I am sure that the Task Force has good intentions for the LCMS but here is an example of the sort of top down control that they are proposing and the manipulation of ideas to justify it.
The final report proposes that District Presidents nominate the circuit counselors.
Recommendation #3: Restore Circuits to Their Primary Purpose – …Because circuit counselors are the ecclesial extension of district presidents, the task force recommends that circuit counselors be nominated by district presidents in consultation with the respective district praesidium. The circuit forum (with an associate-member vote and a lay vote from each congregation of the circuit) shall elect the circuit counselor…
I can see a lot of good in this if the DP nominates someone who will actually supervise doctrine in the circuit (the chief role of the circuit visitor/counselor and the very reason the synod created circuits in the first place). But take a look at the explanation given for this proposal by the Task Force.
Prior to the 2009 district conventions, the task force believed that, owing to the significance of circuit counselors serving as the ecclesial extension of district presidents, it would recommend that district presidents appoint circuit counselors. However, 52 percent of survey respondents disagreed with that part of the proposal, despite overwhelming support for allowing districts flexibility in determining circuit configuration (only 22 percent disagreed). It was always the task force’s intention that the final recommendations would reflect the voice of the people of the Synod. Consequently, the task force amended the original proposal to return the election of circuit counselors to circuit forums and district conventions, with the district presidents participating through the nominating process. This recommendation is critical to the success of the entire restructuring process. The Synod must restore the effectiveness of its circuits.
So 52% of the respondents dissaprove of the District Presidents appointing the circuit counselor. The Task Force wants the voice of the people to be heard so they rework their proposal to allow the people to vote on whoever the District President nominates. This is not the voice of the people. This is a ballot limited by the District President. Am I off base here? Am I misunderstanding this? This appears to me to be a manipulation of ideas to make it look like everyone wins.
Speaking of the manipulation of ideas, take a look at the sloppy logic that is used to support this. It reveals their top-down-control agenda.
the task force believed that, owing to the significance of circuit counselors serving as the ecclesial extension of district presidents, it would recommend that district presidents appoint circuit counselors.
If one were to apply this logic consistently then the Synodical President should nominate the District Presidents because the synod established circuits for the same reason it established districts. Districts were established because the Synodical President could not visit all the congregations (how far we have fallen – when was the last time the District President or even the Circuit Counselor visited your congregation?) and as the Task Force reminds us, this is why cirucits were formed, because the District President could not effectively visit all the congregations. Wouldn’t that be a great synod of the people’s voice where Synodical Presidents fix the ballot for District Presidents and District Presidents fix the ballot for Circuit Counselors?
It is this same top-down-control that made its way into the ELCA a generation ago that has led to their more efficient ability to choose apostasy over orthodoxy. I am all for efficiency but we must always remember the church is a family and not a business.
More to come, much more to come…