The official news source for the LCMS, the Reporter, has released a summary of the work of the convention floor committees who met this last weekend. Critics of this website have thrown up a constant smoke screen to cloud the concerns raised on this blog site by asserting that the final resolutions have not been released and so any concerns expressed ought to be dismissed. Well, the resolutions are now prepared for the convention and have been released so let the final discussions begin. What is glaringly evident in the release of the floor committee’s work is that the concerns raised here for the past year have not been imagined but are very real.
The job of a floor committee is to organize the resolutions submitted by the congregations, districts and boards of the synod so that they are more manageable for the delegates but instead, these committees appointed by President Kieschnick have politicized the process and edited, massaged, combined and in some cases even dismissed numerous resolutions submitted for the convention. Over the next few weeks we will offer news and commentary on the work of these floor committees, particularly Committee #8 (Structure and Governance). It is crucial for all delegates and all members of LCMS congregations to understand what the decisions of the floor committees mean for the synod.
First, it is now clear that our blogger Mollie Ziegler Hemingway was correct in her reporting yesterday that Committee #8 has indeed rejected all of the resolutions that would hinder, slow down or dismiss the proposals for restructuring produced by President Kieschnick’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Structure and Governance. Jesus First leader and supporter of President Kieschnick, Chuck Mueller, criticized Ziegler Hemingway yesterday on this website for jumping the gun and questioned her reporting. He was wrong. Committee #8 has done what Mollie’s sources told her they did and what she accurately reported. The Brothers of John the Steadfast blog site continues to be honored to have a blogger/reporter writing here with the credentials and integrity of Mollie Ziegler Hemingway. (Pastor Wilken has just posted a story that lists the dozens of resolutions that Committee #8 rejected.)
We will discuss some of the more crucial resolutions in future posts. For now let’s consider the interesting matter of the proposal to rename the synod. It is less important than many of the proposals but it is emblematic of the politicized work of the floor committees. Despite more than 50% of the survey respondents at the district conventions being opposed to a name change and/or ambivalent toward it, the committee has decided to go ahead with a resolution that will prepare a new name for the synod to be voted on at the ensuing district conventions and the next national convention.
Here is how the Reporter summarized the decision of Committee #8 on the renaming issue:
Stating that “a church body may periodically see the need for a name change to more effectively reflect its character, breadth, and mission,” another proposed resolution asks the Council of Presidents and Board of Directors to consider alternative names for the Missouri Synod from a suggested list and agree on two names that would be voted on by delegates at their next district conventions. The alternative name receiving the most votes would be proposed as a resolution at the next national convention.
There are more important issues than a name change but we highlight this one because it so clearly illustrates how President Kieschnick’s committees work. Changing the name of a 160 year old institution is a big thing, particularly since Lutherans all around the world look to the name “Lutheran Church Missouri Synod” as the moniker of confessional Lutheranism and as a beacon of conservativism in the overwhelming flood of liberalism in worldwide Lutheranism.
Rather than respecting and preserving such, the Kieschnick appointed committee has decided to move ahead with this issue. We believe this is because President Kieschnick, according to his own words, opposes our grandfather’s church and instead favors a progressive approach to church that seeks to meet people’s felt needs, adjusts the style of the church to fit the whims of the pop culture and turns its back on the traditions that have served to preserve the Gospel for generations in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. “LCMS” stands for a church that preaches Christ crucified and delivers the means of grace in the 2,000 year old tradition of the church whether the culture likes it or not. “LCMS” stands for a humble group of immigrants that in 1848 rejected the errors of 19thcentury European enlightenment thinking and then one-hundred and twenty years later rejected the false teaching of the modernism that rejected the miracles of Christ and the authority of the Bible. “LCMS” stands for a group of humble believers that reject the pop culture version of Christianity today that reduces the faith down to a few common Methobapticostal principles of life-changing and feel good experiences of worship. But President Kieschnick’s floor committee is proposing that we come up with new names that would mean sacrificing the name that has stood for one-hundred and sixty years against the whims of culture. We are not surprised by this. This is what we have come to expect from President Kieschnick’s leadership. He promotes a new and alien style in the LCMS and his Task Force and now his Floor Committee #8 has decided to promote a divisive issue where surveys indicate that there is nothing remotely close to a mandate from the people to change a generations old moniker.
The floor committees’ proposals are now on the table. Let the final discussion begin. Please share this website with your friends and neighbors and particularly those who are delegates, so that they can get the side of the issues that the floor committees are burying.