Shake Off Complacency, A Layman’s Reaction to Hearing Matt Harrison Speak, by John Bohot

(Matt Harrison recently spoke to a group in Houston, Texas. Here is the response of one of the attendees.)

Like many Lutherans, my initial exposure to Matthew Harrison has been through the frequent articles I’ve read in various publications about the activities of LCMS World Relief and Human Care.   Having read about the organization’s wide-ranging efforts, everything from quick responses to all-too-frequent natural disasters to long-term programs to help create sustainable health and agriculture programs, I already felt that Rev. Harrison and the LCMS WR-HC exist as clear, public examples of what the ministry and activities of the LCMS should be.

I was therefore pleased to recently have had the opportunity to hear Rev. Harrison speak upon a number of different topics, and came away deeply impressed by the depth and width of his knowledge and experience.   His extensive study of the history of Lutheranism serving as the background of the discussion, Rev. Harrison clearly illustrated to his listeners the parallel struggles of those striving to establish and maintain orthodoxy in the Church, from the period of the Reformation, to the migration of Lutheranism to North America, down to the challenges that we as Lutheran Christians continue to face to this moment.

Rev. Harrison did an excellent job of tying in the challenges of the past to those that exist for us currently in the Synod.   He clearly expounded on issues that threaten the Synod’s direction and provided a deeper look into details that we as laypeople may often not be aware of, but throughout the discussion his perspective was one of hope, outlining his views on our Synod’s situation and what we can and should do to address them.   It was a stimulating dialogue about what we, the LCMS, CAN be if we shake off complacency and get motivated and focused.   I, along with others, were left with the impression of Rev. Harrison as a sincere man with a love for The Church, humbly motivated solely by his love for the LCMS and a desire for our Church to renew our focus on the mission for which we exist.

Mr. John Bohot is a 1993 graduate of Concordia, Austin. He is Manager of Database Operations for Knowledgebase Marketing in Houston, Texas. He is a member of Memorial Lutheran Church and current serves as chairman of the school board.

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.


Shake Off Complacency, A Layman’s Reaction to Hearing Matt Harrison Speak, by John Bohot — 10 Comments

  1. When I listen to Issues, Etc. one pastor that I love to listen to is the Rev. William Weedon. Pastor Harrison reminds me so much of Pastor Weedon, in their tremendous knowledge and enthusiasm for the Lutheran tradition and the living out our Christian lives.

    I know, as Lutherans we try not to get too emotional, unless it comes only within how God reveals Himself to us in the Word and the Sacraments. But, if we ever need a kick in the pants, and a real energy boost in living out our Christian lives in the theology of the cross, listen to these two pastors.

    Who says that Lutherans don’t get excited!

  2. I am concerned with Mr. Bohot’s statement that Rev. Harrison is motivated only by his love for the LCMS. The motivation should be Christ and His Church. Sometimes there is a tendency to esteem the LCMS too highly.

  3. Shirley,
    I think if you will get Matt Harrison’s book on “Joy” or his “Christ have mercy.” you will discover that his love is for “Christ and his church”. I think the idea is that lcms needs to be Christ’s church, wherever it happens to be, (not a business).

  4. Shirley #2:

    Listen to Pastor Harrison on Issues on “Joy”, it is all about Christ and His church. LCMS is hardly mentioned at all.

  5. @Shirley, I get what you’re saying and the phrase gave me pause because I first thought of it institutionally, but if I understand, the expression of our love is to be for the church, and pastors in particular are to care for it (in the active, rather than abstract, way).

    I am not sure how we are to shake of complacency, however. Sure, don’t be complacent; but I don’t attend the synod meetings, I rarely meet other LCMS Lutherans from outside of my congregation… Ready and willing, but what to do?

  6. @Shirley #2, It is precisely because of Pr. Harrison’s trust in and confession of Christ Jesus that he loves His Church and, therefore, the LCMS.

    One of the most telling moments of this was Pr. Harrison’s on-site reporting of the Haitian circumstances following the earthquake. He was in a field next to the hospital where many of the wounded were being treated. His report showed his concern for the Gospel’s preaching and influence while spearheading the human touch of care for the people. Pr. Harrison was showing, not just telling, of how the LC-MS’s genuine concern for the people of Haiti.

    His desire is the same for us who belong to congregations of the LC-MS, that we receive the right administration of the Sacraments for our life, forgiveness, and salvation, and that pastors preach purely the saving Word of Christ Jesus to us.

  7. Shirley, my apologies for the ambiguity of my statement on my perception of Rev. Harrison’s motivation. My intent was really to get across my perception that his motivation IS based solely on his love for Christ and his Church, and as a lifelong member of the LCMS I certainly believe that the LCMS is part of the body of Christ in his Church on Earth. I’m not a theologian or a linguist so perhaps my choice of words and terms leaves something to be desired. I don’t speak for Rev. Harrison, and had never met him prior to hearing him speak, so please don’t let my observations color your perceptions of him in any negative way. I was hopeful that my impressions recorded in the article would make it clear that Rev. Harrison is NOT motivated by any personal or selfish intent. I’m sure those that have met him or know him would smile at that idea. 🙂

  8. Everything I have heard about and read from Rev. Matt Harrison sounds great to me. Certainly a breath of fresh air over what we’ve had for the last however many years. I pray he is elected if that be God’s will.

  9. @Bubbles #5
    You are here. You are aware of the problems in lcms and are not just saying, “It’s OK because we have a faithful Pastor here.”
    What you can do is try to communicate that awareness to others around you.
    (But I warn you, it’s an uphill job.)

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