District President Herb Mueller to Preach at BJS Conference

The Brothers of John the Steadfast (BJS) are pleased to welcome Southern Illinois District President Herb Mueller to preach at the Vespers service on the first night of our annual two day conference, February 12-13, 2010 in Naperville, Illinois.

BJS started the tradition of having a bishop preach at the conference when it welcomed Northern Illinois District President Dan Gilbert to last years conference. This year it looks like we will have a second DP joining us to preach the Divine Service. Look for an announcement on that in the days to come.

Herb Mueller has served the SID as president since the early 1990’s. He is a great friend to Issues, Etc. which is also BJS’s favorite new media   organization. President Mueller has led the Southern Illinois District to be a solidly confessional and traditionally Lutheran district. To get a sense of his strong leadership you can read his presidential address to the district convention this year by clicking here.

President Mueller is also a highly touted candidate for the presidium of the LCMS. We know of hundreds of congregations who have already nominated him for the office. Among most traditional and confessional Lutherans the buzz is that Matt Harrison is the leading candidate for the presidency and President Mueller is the leading candidate for office of First Vice President.

In addition to preaching the Vespers service we hope to have some time for questions and answers for our distinguished guest preacher.

To learn more about the conference or to register  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.


District President Herb Mueller to Preach at BJS Conference — 11 Comments

  1. You referred to Herb Mueller as “bishop.” (Yes, I know the New Testament word.) When did we start calling DPs “bishop,” and what for? Or, were you using “bishop” in a general sense?

    At the BRTFSSG meeting, last week, the Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio DPs were introduced as such, but the English District DP was introduced as the bishop. What gives?

  2. Greg,

    I think the the English district may have made that an official title.

    The reason I use the term “bishop” and “district president” interchangeably is because words mean things. They carry baggage. If we would stop viewing our denomination leaders as governing/administrative types (“president”) and more as the doctrinal supervisors (“bishops”) that they are, we would make some headway toward restoring the LCMS to the doctrinally pure denomination it should be.

    The best that I can tell, the people who dislike the term “bishop” fear that it means some sort of power beyond God’s word. People have abused the term (e.g. Martin Stephan, the Roman church, etc.) but that does not mean we should give up on it. There is no authority in the church except for the word of God. No bishop (i.e. supervisor of doctrine and practice), whether he be a parish pastor, a circuit visitor, a district president or the synodical president, has any authority but the word of God. As we like to say in the parish I serve, “even a third grader, armed with the word of God can rebuke an erring pastor (bishop).”

    Of course we do give our pastors, circuit visitors, district presidents and synodical president certain left hand kingdom powers that are outside of their authority as a bishop. In my parish I chair the board of elders. We give DP’s the right to add names to call lists, etc. So no matter what you call these folks, we do give them other authority. That is the real question – what left hand kingdom authority are we going to agree to grant to our bishops? As bishop, there only authority is the word of God. That is what they should focus on and that is why they should be called “bishops.” The other stuff is secondary and should only be granted through the channels of the chosen polity – in our case, voters assemblies, district conventions and synod conventions.

    This of course has lots of implications for the Blue Ribbon proposals. President Kieschnick according to the handbook is first and foremost the bishop (supervisor) of doctrine and practice in the synod. The synod in convention through its constitution, by-laws and handbook has also given him certain limited left hand kingdom type authority. President Kieschnick and his Task Force wish to drastically increase that authority. The denomination through its channels of polity needs to weigh these proposals carefully. I for one, vote to reject this increase in authority and wish the president would focus more on the primary work of his office – supervising doctrine and practice in the synod.


  3. Pr. Rossow,

    I have no problems with the title of Bishop. What I do have a problem with is that our DPs most certainly are Left-hand Administrators. We don’t choose our DPs with the intent and purpose of them being ecclesiastical supervisors. They are chosen for political objectives. A problem we have in this is that the LCMS is a corporation, a legal entity, and not a church. We’ve not, imho, resolved the whole issue of Church as it relates to the American Lutheran experiment. I contend that the fruit of this tree is what we’re seeing now within the devices of the Purple Palace.

    People who knee-jerk at the term “bishop” are part of the problem. They keep us from getting to the point where we might select men who are committed to the orthodox Lutheran faith. Men who would be loving, caring and principled pastors to the congregations who chose them. Rather than “Synod in this place.” which is what we have now.

    For the most part, I believe the DPs want to do the right thing, and believe they are doing so. But, when they see their position as ‘top-down’ authority, “I am Synod in this place and this is what you’re going to do.” rather than ‘bottom-up’ authority, “I am Synod in this place, so what are your concerns so that I might bring them to the other representatives of the Synod?” The point is, “Synod in this place” can be either top-down or bottom-up. Bishops are bottom-up, Administrators are top-down. I pray we begin to elect Bishops and not Administrators as DPs, perhaps it is happening, and perhaps it is too little too late.

  4. Since the Lutheran Confessions make no distinction between “bishop” and “pastor,” I’m willing to call a DP “bishop” –IF he is one, that is, if he is a pastor.

    Does he serves as a called pastor of a congregation? Does he faithfully administer the Word and Sacraments (and sees to it that the congregations he oversees do the same)?

    If yes, I’ll call him “bishop.” Otherwise, he deserves the title “president,” nothing more.

    By this standard, few of our DPs qualify as “bishops.”

    I agree with Pr. Rossow, words do mean things. But “bishop” means “pastor” and nothing else. We shouldn’t apply the term where doesn’t belong, especially not honorifically.

    Calling DPs who aren’t pastors “bishop” won’t make them act like pastors; it will only make them think that they are churchly princes –which most of them already think anyway.


  5. @Todd Wilken #5
    I’m not sure I can agree with Rev. Wilken’s last paragraph–I would guess that “many” but not necessarily “most” DP’s envision themselves as churchly princes. But no matter which of us is correct, I will safely predict that reducing the number of districts has a fat chance of passing, regardless of its relative merits. No way! I doubt that it will even be presented to the convention.

  6. The Princes in Synod … which is not Church…. will be clinging to their seats.

    But how is it to their advantage to make the SP Emperor? 🙁
    If he’s going to continue to spend they will have to cough it up, I should think.

    [Don’t look at us pewsitters! We can’t afford royalty.]

  7. Thanks for the thorough response, Pastor Rossow.

    I was taught at seminary (FW ’96) that we deliberately don’t use “bishop,” in favor of “president,” to show that the position is more administative than theogical; that the DP does not have the kind of power that has been historically associated with bishops.

    The same goes for “pastor” versus “father.” Frankly, I am greatly perturbed by my brothers who use “father” for themselves, and even request their parishioners to call them such. There is loads of (bad) theology behind “father,” and we LCMSers know it – and the same goes for “bishop.”

    “Bishop” – overseer – is a dandy term; it’s even the NT term: woo hoo! But, we sinners have screwed it up so that we can’t use it any old way we want.

    So, I have a problem with us using “bishop.” I reject it. I disagree with the English District, if they have made it official (I heard that, already, a few years ago). And, I struggle with my brothers – doubly so with those for whom I have the highest regard, theologically – who decide to use terms which we, who are supposed to be walking together – years ago chose to avoid, for good reason.

  8. we chose, years ago, to avoid certian “styles” of worship, but those seem to be agreeable these days to more than not, so…

  9. @Carl Vehse #8

    I have been looking for discussion on a “pew rent” proposal; so far I haven’t seen it.
    I’ve also been expecting a decision [by the CCM?] that synod owns the pew I sit in.

    The “all gifts are given to synod” reasoning for the proposed BOD assessment at Pentecost certainly conveys that attitude.

    I fully expect these and other “sleepers” to be incorporated in the fine print of this thing. Therefore I heartily hope it will be killed and buried.

    And a new beginning made.

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