CLCC Introduces a Seminar on Parish Structure, by Kari Anderson

The Confessional Lutherans for Christ’s Commission (CLCC ) has produced a new seminar which is available to download files at . This PDF download is free to anyone. Members can also download the PowerPoint version to use in their congregation. The seminar is:      

Organization Structure of LCMS Churches. This seminar is the first of our Lay Leadership series. It can be used in a seminar setting, self-study, or as a presentation before a conference or similar meeting.  

  • Part 1, Vocation In The Royal Priesthood
  • Part 2, Your Constitution and Bylaws
  • Part 3, The Call Process

As a presentation these three parts will require approximately three and one half hours, including questions and answers. Additional parts will be added in the future, such as financial management, church discipline, etc.

The objective of this seminar is to educate the laity in the fundamentals of their unique LCMS church polity, a topic that has not been widely taught for far too long.

This seminar is available in handout format as a PDF document to anyone requesting it by clicking on the Part numbers listed on the CLCC Website. Members, (individuals or congregations), may also download a PowerPoint version of the seminar from the member’s page.

There is no cost to members for downloading  any part, in either format.

Please visit our web site at . Check out the other seminars we offer. Get in touch with us with any questions. I’ll get it to the person who can answer

Kari Anderson-PR for the CLCC

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.


CLCC Introduces a Seminar on Parish Structure, by Kari Anderson — 5 Comments

  1. Below are some comments and clarifications on the Part 1 set of slides. The comments are listed by Slide # – Bullet item. References are to the authors indicated in Slide #3.

    #5-1 The Missouri Synod congregational form of government was also in response to the failures of Stephan and his supporters to follow Luther’s writings on church doctrine and congregational principles. (Mundinger, p.125)

    #6-1 The five clergy were actually not clergy at all since they had resigned from their office when they left Germany. Two days after Stephan was deposed, his former assistants requested calls from the Missouri Saxon congregations (Forster, p. 431), and considered requesting ordination from the Swedish Lutheran Church (Forster, p. 432)

    #7-1 The delicately phrased “moment of truth” was actually two “moments of truth” when two women at separate times on May 5, 1839, confessed their adulterous affairs with Stephan. In the following days other women produced “moments of truth” either with statements admitting adultery with Stephan or that he had attempted to seduce them. (Forster, p. 392)

    #7-2 Stephan was excommunicated and deposed as bishop, on May 30, 1839, for adultery, maladministration of funds, and false doctrine. (Forster, p. 418)

    #7-3 Also complicating matters was the fact that Stephan’s former assistants attempted to continue the hierarchical rule through the Gesellschaft. (Forster, p. 430)

    #7-4 Following the deposing of Stephan at the end of May, there were no real leaders among the clergy during the twenty-two months of confusion and misery that ensued. However, in March, 1840, Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Louis, did obtain copies of the 1839 Protestation document by Dr. Carl Vehse, Heinrich Fischer, and Gustav Jaekel. (Forster, p. 507) This document discussed the rights of a Christian congregation. Later in April, 1841, Trinity’s future pastor, C.F.W. Walther, came forward as a pastoral leader with a series of propositions previously contained in that Protestation document. (Forster, pp. 520-525)

    #8-1 A full-length film, “Call of the Cross,” about the Saxon immigration, was made in 1938 to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Saxon immigration. Some frames from the movie are shown in Forster’s book, Zion on the Mississippi.

    #8-2 The new form of church government was directly influenced by the principle of decentralized government championed by Dr. Carl Vehse in the Protestation document. (Mundinger, p. 125ff, 160)

    #8-3 This point needs to be emphasized (Mundinger, pp. 212-3), against false claims of Missouri Synod polity being based on American democracy, made even in Walther’s time, (C.F.W. Walther, The Congregation’s Right to Choose Its Pastor, Concordia Seminary Publications, Fred Kramer, translator, 1997, pp.57-59)

    to be continued…

  2. #10-1 The basic polity of the Missouri Synod congregations has been significantly changed by a number of bad CCM opinions, including the Jan, 1992 opinion (Ag. 1915). and the subsequent aggregating of power by the synodical president. The recent BRTFSSG proposals, if enacted would destroy the existing polity and install a de facto Stephanite episcopal polity within the Missouri Synod.

    #10-4 This is the doctrine of “Ãœbertragungslehre” (Mundinger pp. 9, 213-214), as exposited in C.F.W. Walther’s Kirche und Amt, which under Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions has been the official position held and taught within the Missouri Synod.

    Slides #11 – #22 The foundation principles of a local congregation are based on the doctrine of church and ministry, as exposited in C.F.W. Walther’s Kirche und Amt, which under Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions is supposed to be the official position held and taught within the Missouri Synod.

    #18-2 Walther’s Thesis VI, on the ministry: “The ministry of the word is conferred by God through the congregation as the possessor of all ecclesiastical power, or the power of the keys, by means of its call which God Himself has prescribed.”

    #20-3 Not only elders, but the congregation as a whole, as indicated in Walther’s Theses IX and X, on the Ministry.

    #21-2 “The demand for lay participation [the voice of the laity] in the government of the Church did not come until September 19, 1839 [the date of the Protestation document]. The demand came from a group of laymen led by Dr. Eduard Vehse.” (Mundinger, p.204)

    #22-1 Walther, Theses I and VII, on the Ministry

    #22-2 Walther, Thesis IX, on the Ministry

  3. I take it you are a direct descendant of some of these people. Thank you for your input. Is Dr Carl Vehse your great or great-great grandfather?

  4. Thank you for the comments, on behalf of myself and others who were involved in the development of Lession 1. We knew it wouldn’t be perfect on the first go-around, but we thought it to be more important to get this out in the public instead of doing more polishing and additional reviews. If a revision is warrranted we will certainly do that, as we do for all of our seminars.

    Personnally, I view your comments as spot on and I don’t think anybody involved with the make up of the lesson would disagree with you either. The difficulty we faced was keeping it crisp as an overview of that early period of time. If you think something specific in your comments needs to be added for the next edition that would enhance the lesson, we would be pleased to receive those specifics. I will do a review of your specific comments, as I know some of the other contributors will do, and make adjustments where we can, too.

    The context of Lesson 1 was only to show the historical background of congregational polity, not what it is today. Specifically, if we got into CCM decisions, as an example, someone would accuse us of being politcal, which we are not. We leave it to the hearers and readers to fill in some of these blanks, as well as read the reference matterial, to have a more complete understanding. Certainly, some of your points would be addressed by the instructor as talking points and in response to questions. Thank you very much for that contribution.

  5. “Is Dr Carl Vehse your great or great-great grandfather?”

    As has been pointed out previously on, and in other Lutheran blogs my pseudonym is taken from Dr. Carl Eduard Vehse, who along with Fischer and Jaekel prepared the Protestation document in September, 1839, in response to the continuing Stephanism of the Missouri Saxon pastors. Except for Mundinger and Forster, Missouri Synod books and articles discussing this 1839 period have largely ignored or denigrated the contributions of Vehse, Fischer, and Jaekel, and the significance of the Protestation document, which can be read in Vehse’s 1840 book, The Stephanite Emigration to America.

    C.F.W. Walther, after he had read the Protestation document more carefully while recovering from an illness in 1840 and at the time of the 1841 Altenburg Debate, expressed this view:

    “With deep gratitude I must here recall that document which, now almost a year and a half ago, Doctor Vehse, Mr. Fischer, and Mr. Jaeckel addressed to us. It was this document, in particular, which gave us a powerful impulse to recognize the remaining corruption more and more, and to endeavor to remove it. Without this document — I now confess it with a living conviction — we might have for a long time pursued our way of error, from which we now have made our escape. I confess this with an even greater sense of shame, because I first appeared so ungrateful toward this precious gift of God. But although many with me handled with great unfaithfulness the light which was granted to us, yet God did not cease to cause ever more beams of truth to fall into our darkness; to tear us away from many a point which we, in our perverseness, sought to hold; to uncover to us great and perilous injuries, and to lead our hearts more and more in the way of truth.” (William J. Schmelder, “Walther at Altenburg”, Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly, Vol. 34(3), October, 1961, pp. 65-81, referring to Walter A. Baepler, A Century of Grace, CPH, 1947, pp.47,48, quoting from J.F. Koestering, Auswanderung der saechsischen Lutheraner in Jahre 1838, ihre Niederlassung in Perry-Co., und damit zusammenhaengende interessante Nachrichten, A Wiebusch u. Sohn, 1867, pp.43-45)

    Giving the reoccurring Stephanism, on the left and right within the Missouri Synod today, “Carl Vehse” is an appropriate pseudonym.

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