The LCMS Convention: Floor Committee Intrigue, by Scott Diekmann

And so it begins. An overview of the 104 convention resolutions prepared by the eight floor committees for the 64th Regular Convention of the LCMS has been released by Reporter Online. The biggest news may not be what’s in them, but what isn’t in them. In what seems to be a growing tradition in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, the floor committees did whatever they wanted to do, ignoring the majority of the overtures presented to them by congregations and Districts across the Synod.

Pastor Todd Wilken’s partial list of resolutions Floor Committee 8 ignored is rather stunning (Floor Committee 8 is responsible for Structure and Governance):

  • To Foster Greater Unanimity in Decisions re Structure
  • To Postpone Consideration and Implementation of Task Force Report
  • To Exercise Care and Delay Implementation of Structure Changes
  • To Allow Time to Study Task Force Recommendations
  • To Submit BRTFSSG Report to All Congregations for Study and Defer Action until Following Convention
  • To Proceed with Task Force Proposals Only If Full and Timely Disclosure of Proposed Revisions Is Provided
  • To Reject Blue Ribbon Task Force Recommendations
  • To Defer Proposed Restructure/Reorganization To 2013 Convention
  • To Delay Implementation of Certain BRTFSSG Proposals
  • To Consider Recommendations of BRTFSSG as Separate Items to Be Voted on Individually
  • To Consider Alternate Restructure Plans and Proposals and Decline Recommended Changes To Synod Constitution
  • To Retain Existing Synod Constitution
  • To Reject Proposed Changes to Articles II, III, and VI
  • To Retain Current Constitution Articles II-IV, VI-VII
  • To Align Synod Structure with Walther’s Church and Ministry
  • To Affirm Integrity and Dignity of All Congregations
  • To Respect All Congregations Equally
  • To Give Congregation Overtures Equal Consideration
  • To Reject All Proposals That Limit or Hinder Participation of Congregations
  • To Retain Congregational Orientation of Synod
  • To Remove Task Force Proposal re Constitutional Subscription
  • To Delete Reference to Constitution from Proposed Article VII
  • To Reject Coercive Language in Handbook
  • To Retain Current Congregational Representation
  • To Maintain Present Form of Delegate Representation
  • To Retain Voting Delegates as Lay and Pastoral
  • To Retain Current Article V of Constitution
  • To Reject Any Proposed Changes re Voting Delegates to Synod Conventions
  • To Reject Proposed Change re Voting Delegates To District Conventions
  • To Reject “Associate Members” Recommendation
  • To Clarify Voting Rights of the Preaching Office
  • To Preserve Fifty Percent Lay Vote
  • To Have Every Congregation Represented at Synod Conventions
  • To Allow Vacant Congregations Two Lay Delegates
  • To Oppose Dissolution of English District
  • To Retain Present District Structure
  • To Retain Current District Alignment
  • To Retain or Increase Number of Districts
  • To Continue Current Practice of Election of Circuit Counselors
  • To Return to Use of Title “Circuit Visitor”
  • To Increase Convention Quorum Requirement
  • To Continue to Allow Congregations To Choose Vice-Presidents
  • To Elect Officers by Direct Vote of Congregations
  • To Change Composition and Increase Duties of Board of Directors
  • To Give Careful Consideration When Addressing BRTFSSG Recommendation 18
  • To Delay Implementation of BRTFSSG Recommendation re National Office Structure
  • To Reject Proposal for Advisory Boards
  • To Retain Board for Pastoral Education
  • To Reject Any Proposal for Name Change
  • To Keep the Name “The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod”
  • To Retain Name “The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod”
  • To Decline Further Study of LCMS Name Change
  • To Retain the Name “The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod”
  • To Reject Any Proposal to Change Pastoral Candidate Certification

The Reporter Online states that “all eight committees’ proposals primarily respond to reports and a total of 251 overtures.” In the case of Floor Committee 8, it seems like they didn’t respond – instead, they excised. Part of their report goes on to say

One of the major resolutions coming out of Floor Committee 8 calls for the realignment of the Synod’s national ministries around two mission boards. In the preamble to the resolution, the committee states that the “current operational structure of the Synod’s boards and commissions and the relationship of staff coordination and accountability begs for improvement.”

It seems that, in light of the complete disregard for any and all objections to the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance recommendations, it is the floor committees’ accountability that “begs for improvement.” Their statement is an allness statement that is based on somewhat of a false premise.

In case you didn’t catch it, the committee is still planning to deconstruct the Synod by eliminating the “existing program boards and some staffed commissions.” They also propose to amend the Constitution Preamble, and Articles II, III, VI, and VII, and add an Article XIV, the wording of which has not yet been released. These constitutional amendments are most troubling, and need to be thoroughly scrutinized once the final wording is released in early June.

Committee 3, Theology and Church Relations, recommends the Synod continue to sit on its hands and do nothing about the ELCA’s embrace of homosexuality by proposing “continuing cooperation in matters of physical need with other Lutheran churches, including the ELCA, ‘with theological integrity’ and request the CTCR, in consultation with the Praesidium and other entities, to develop theological criteria for assessing cooperative endeavors toward a report on current ‘cooperation in externals’ by the next Synod convention.”

Committee 4, Administration and Finance, presents a helpful resolution which in part, recommends “Bylaw amendments to facilitate convention preparations, including earlier deadlines for reports, floor committee appointments, convention nominations and distribution of the Convention Workbook and Today’s Business, as well as providing that they be posted on the Synod’s Web site….”

Committee 5, Seminary and University Education, has come up with another novel way to circumvent the proper training and formation of pastoral candidates for our Synod by suggesting this:

Following a 2007 convention resolution that called for a task force study of the Synod’s current lay deacon program, another resolution asks that the program be continued and includes recommendations for providing a “reasonable way through which deacons, who are preaching and administering the sacraments, might be examined, called, and ordained within three years of beginning their service.”

The way in which we conduct our business as a Synod seems to be completely non-functional. To allow floor committees this much control over what is presented to the convention seems criminal. And to allow proposals, some of which are new, and many of which have huge repercussions, to be presented this close to the actual vote is a mistake. We are rushing decisions that require much more thought than time allows. Instead of deconstructing the structure of the Synod, maybe we should be deconstructing the timing and operation of the convention. Generally speaking, the success of a home improvement project is directly proportional to the amount of effort placed in the planning phase, and much less related to the actual implementation of the plan. The same should be said for Synod Conventions.

This was originally published on Scott Diekmann’s blog, Stand Firm. Head over there for more excellent articles!

About Scott Diekmann

Scott is a lifelong LCMS layman. Some of his vocations include husband, dad, jet driver, runner, and collector of more books than he can read. Oh, and also chocolate lover. He’s been involved in apologetics for over a decade, is on the Board of Regents at Concordia Portland, and is a column writer for the sometimes operational Around the Word Journal. He’s also written for Higher Things Magazine, The Lutheran Clarion, and has been a guest on Issues Etc. as well as the KFUO program Concord Matters.


The LCMS Convention: Floor Committee Intrigue, by Scott Diekmann — 37 Comments

  1. Each convention under Kieschnick has grown more and more scandalous! A shocking report! Thank you.

  2. Perhaps a motion from the floor to censure the committee members or the synodical president should be considered. According to Demeter’s Manual of Parliamentary Law and Procedure:

    Serious grounds for censure against presiding officers (presidents, chairmen, etc.) are, in general: arrogation or assumption by the presiding officer of dictatorial powers – powers not conferred upon him by law – by which he harasses, embarrasses and humiliates members; or, specifically: (1) he refuses to recognize members entitled to the floor; (2) he refuses to accept and to put canonical motions to vote; (3) he refuses to entertain appropriate appeals from his decision; (4) he ignores proper points of order; (5) he disobeys the bylaws and the rules of order; (6) he disobeys the assembly’s will and substitutes his own; (7) he denies to members the proper exercise of their constitutional or parliamentary rights.

    According to Robert’s Rules of Order, a motion to censure is an exception to the general rule that “a motion must not use language that reflects on a member’s conduct or character, or is discourteous, unnecessarily harsh, or not allowed in debate.”

  3. Carl,

    I suspect President Kieschnick would like nothing better than an attempt to censure him from the floor.

    Better for the delegates to dispassionately vote President Kieschnick’s Task Force proposals down, one-by-one, and then elect a different president.


  4. Until Today’s Minkey-Business is in our hands, we don’t know where the resolutions orginate. The infamous 2007 Res. 1-01A Re: Revitalization (read: transformation) came not from Floor Committee #1, but from the Board for Mission Services, as I recall. The floor committees do have a lot of power, but rarely originate the resolutions–there’s a board, commission, or some other entity lurking back there someplace.

    A motion to censure will go nowhere. Smile, be nice, address the Chair as “Reverend President,” and stick to the task at hand.


  5. A motion to censure will go nowhere.

    You’re right; a moton to censure probably wouldn’t even get more than 3 seconds of an open mike. It would make a great bumper sticker or lapel button, though. 😉

  6. A moton to censure would play into his hands. It is best to stay with the issues. We who are confessional Lutherans need to always remember we have to conduct ourselves as true to the Word of God. If we get out of line it will be used against us. Some will try to provoke us to anger. From my experience of being a delegate 3 times to a Synodical convention there will be a number of delegates who are uninformed on the issues. You do not want to turn them against you. Be kind and genial and speak the truth in love.
    It does no look good for him at this time. The convention is still about 6 weeks away. Do not let your guard down.

  7. There are two ways an institution runs. Either it runs from the bottom up or from the top down (I know this is an exaggeration). Historically, the LC-MS has run from the bottom up. In recent years, since probably 1960, there has been a drift to the top down method of running an institution. President K is a top down kinda guy. He wants to run the show. He WILL run the show – he has shown us that innumerable times in the past. The resolutions rejected and others to be put forth also easily confirm this point. If you like Donald Trump, Lee Iacocca running your ch you’ll love the next triennium if President K is reelected.

  8. Here we are with our lap tops and computers, but alas the many many lay people don’t even get a whiff of this ..til the convention is about to begin.. this why some of us keep up with BJS so we can inform many members that are supportive of the GRANDFATHERS CHURCH….but just how long we shall see!

  9. Given that most delegates who will vote for President Kieschnick are opposed to ELCA’s new teaching and practice re: homosexual “relationships”, the lack of a vigorous resolution clearing Committee 3 is particularly scandalous.

    In the past, Rev. Kieschnick has burnished his conservative “credentials” (if you will) by passionately affirming his belief in 6-day creation, inerrancy, and proclaiming his opposition to abortion and homosexuality. Many of his supporters may be neo-evangelical in their worship practices and in their view of the Office of the Holy Ministry, but they are NOT soft on moral issues.

    One can certainly and fiarly object to the actions of Committee 8, but they were advancing the position of the side which has power right now – the side that appointed them to office and whose side most, if not all, of them presumably are “on”. (I know, I know, it is distressing to talk of “sides” in the church, but what other language can be used here?)

    But, with Committee 3, I doubt that the mushy “let’s study this for three years and see how we might put window-dressing on continued cooperation with ELCA in externals” resolution expresses the majority of Kieschnick supporters – let alone that of the whole convention.

    I suspect a more rigorous motion from the floor, should it be allowed, would gain overwhelming approval from the convention.

  10. I doubt that the mushy “let’s study this for three years and see how we might put window-dressing on continued cooperation with ELCA in externals” resolution expresses the majority of Kieschnick supporters – let alone that of the whole convention.

    Let’s see… hmmmmm. Has mushy studying something repeatedly ever been done in the last 50-60 years or so in the Missouri Synod?

  11. Carl Vehse :
    “I doubt that the mushy “let’s study this for three years and see how we might put window-dressing on continued cooperation with ELCA in externals” resolution expresses the majority of Kieschnick supporters – let alone that of the whole convention.”
    Let’s see… hmmmmm. Has mushy studying something repeatedly ever been done in the last 50-60 years or so in the Missouri Synod?

    Let’s see…..

    How about service of women?
    How about Pres. K’s neutering of “For the Sake of Christ’s Commission” (re: CG)?
    How about previous resolutions re: the ELCA?
    How about licensed deacons?

    This “mushy studying” is termed “The Conversation” by ELCA Bishop Hanson.

  12. I was reading the resolution of Committee 3 and I agree with you Phillip. They seem to be “let’s study this for three years”. When the Word of God has spoken there is no more study. We can look at the theological history of the ELCA and you can see where the “let’s study this” can lead or any church that has moved from the Word of God to the ways of this evil world.
    They study and study till they get a new spirit and the new spirit tells them sin is no longer sin. The new study takes them down the path to new enlightment from the devil. We need to be on guard for the new spirit. The Church and the world will never be a peace.
    “The haughty spirits, Lord, restrain
    Who o’er They Church with might
    would reign
    And always set forth something new,
    Devised to change They doctrine true,” THL, 292, v. 6.

  13. The Floor Committee’s work isn’t necessarily as “scandalous” as some make it out to be.

    Kieschnick’s Task Force recommendations aren’t just going to go away. They have to be voted up or down. One can either put the issue to a vote in favor of restructuring or against restructuring. Naturally, after all the hard work and money Kieschnick has invested in those plans, he would look even more foolish than he already does if he presented the issue in the negative. He’s going to see this through. That’s not scandalous. His theology is scandalous, but not the fact that the Floor Committees are presenting what appear to be one-sided resolutions.

    It isn’t unfair to present only one side of these matters. It wouldn’t make any sense to present an equal number of overtures for the restructuring as overtures against restructuring. In fact, that would only make things more confusing not more fair.

    By presenting only one side of the issue, Kieschnick and the Floor Committees have simply lobbed the softball on to the convention floor. It’s there to be voted down — if it doesn’t simply get amended to death — or put into “omnibus” by default (which allows the elected president to do what he pleases with it).

    The best way to censure Kieschnick is to defeat him. If you don’t have enough votes to do that, then motions to censure may well express how irate you are, but they will also demonstrate how impotent you are.

    The best way to deal with the restructuring overtures is to defeat them — not deflect them or amend them or to submit alternate overtures. If you don’t have enough votes to defeat them, then it is rather pointless (for any number of reasons) to complain about how unjust and unfair all this is.

    Defeat them. And that not by political means nor by clever stratagems, but by Law and Gospel rightly divided which alone has the power to

    “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” 2 Cor. 10:4-5.

  14. @Rev. Joel A. Brondos #15
    “The best way to censure Kieschnick is to defeat him.” Indeed. He even said so in his book. Maybe once that’s been accomplished somebody will work towards amending the rules to make the LCMS convention process more equitable and less prone to manipulation. If you’ve got some great program that’s so wonderful, people surely will vote for it based on its merits without having to promote it in a one-sided and biased manner – full financial, organizational, and theological disclosure would be in order.

    So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!
    Psalm 90:12-13

  15. Phillip Magness :
    But, with Committee 3, I doubt that the mushy “let’s study this for three years and see how we might put window-dressing on continued cooperation with ELCA in externals” resolution expresses the majority of Kieschnick supporters – let alone that of the whole convention.

    Why not? It expresses the unanimous opinion of the LCMS’s seminary presidents:

    April 15, 2010 ……………….. LCMSNews — No. 35

    Statement discusses ELCA decision to ordain homosexuals

    The task force statement discusses the potential for the ELCA’s decisions to affect “involvement in inter-Lutheran cooperative relationships and activities with the ELCA.” It calls for distinguishing “between joint participation in Word and Sacrament ministry” and “cooperation between churches in matters of physical need,” and then lists five questions to help LCMS congregations, districts, and other organizations determine whether to continue inter-Lutheran cooperative projects.

    That is, the task force does not advocate the end of joint work with ELCA, but ‘more discussion’. Who is on the task force?

    Commissioned and approved by: Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick, President, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Composed and edited by: Dr. Joel D. Lehenbauer, Executive Director, LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations Dr. Dale A. Meyer, President, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri Dr. Dean W. Nadasdy, LCMS Vice-President/Pastor, Woodbury Lutheran Church, Woodbury, Minnesota Dr. Samuel H. Nafzger, Director of Church Relations, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Dr. Dean O. Wenthe, President, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana Dr. John C. Wohlrabe, LCMS Vice-President/Pastor, Concordia Lutheran Church, Geneseo, Illinois Rev. Larry M. Vogel, Associate Executive Director, LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations

    So, who has changed since you supported them (Wenthe, 2001; Wohlrabe, 2007) for president, Wenthe and Wohlrabe, or you? What does Matt Harrison think of this position?

    (Personally, I think it is perfectly consistent for the LCMS, absolutely nothing other than I would have expected.)


  16. EJG,

    You raise a very good point. Either the three names you put in bold were outvoted (best construction) or they gave into sinful institutional pressure. Either way, it needs to be changed.

    As to Harrison, he put out a statement that we cannot keep the status quo. Here is what we posted a few months ago:


  17. @Carl Vehse #2
    Censure may not be the way to go, but considering President Kieschnick’s involvment/handling of:
    1. The TF proposals and the resolutant FC 8 proposed resolutions;
    2. The callous negation of overtures from a large segment of districts, circuits and congregations;
    3. Not only allowing two resultions (1 from FC 4 and 1 from FC 8), appearently submitted by the BOD, but PK also as a voting member of the BOD could also have taking part in the discussion and voting on this resultion that:
    a. Establishes an unprecedented hierarchy of the priesthood of all believers, by proposing to establish an order for electing clergy, commissioned, and lay members, and
    b. Appears to preferentialy correct a supposed affront to one of the esteemed members by proposing that two members from a district may be elected to the BOD.

    The right of the convention conferred by Synod Constitution may be in order.
    (Article XI. A. 4. “Conventions of the Synod and of the districts have the right, in extraordinary cases, to elect a chairman other than the regular presiding officer.”).

  18. I may be confused, but I see a major distinction between “Word and Sacrament ministry” and
    “cooperation between churches in matters of physical need.” Don’t we already practice this distinction?

  19. Yes, MPC, there is a distinction. Not sure how much I agree with it, but it is there and, in some cases I can accept it. For example, I’m all for working with the Bapticostals on supporting CareNet.

    However, in practice, most of these joint LCMS-ELCA activities compromise our confession.

    Case in point: a soup kitchen in North Carolina. I asked a brother how he could continue to participate in such an endeavor given the ELCA’s new teaching. He (sadly) used the institutional excuse: it’s OK because it is “externals” and he was told “nothing had to change”. But it needs to change because the people involved in this act of mercy will not distinguish between us & ELCA. So the appearance that a Lesbian ELCA “pastor” is validated by us cannot be avoided.

    We must remain above reproach. Our confession is not compromised when we join with the Baptists in funding ultrasounds and other pro-life services for crisis pregnancies. But it is compromised when fund activities in the community that are represented by those who reject the Sixth (or any) Commandment.

    The most loving thing we can do for our brothers and sisters in the ELCA is to call them to repentance. It’s what we did in the NID – with support from all quarters. I’m sure the convention would do this out of the strength of our convictions if only our leaders would be so courageous.

  20. MPC,

    There is a distinction between word and sacrament stuff and other stuff. The first is more important but that does not make cooperation in other things acceptable. I really look at it pretty simply – why would an organization like the LCMS want to join in with the ELCA in anything? We are about far different things. The only reason I can think of for doing things with them is because it makes us feel good because unity, false or true, usually makes us feel good. Another reason may be so that we can witness to them.

    Neither of these reasons are good ones. Feeling good is no good reason and if we want to convert others we do not need to go to all the effort to join with them in some mercy venture.

    So there is no good reason to do this and there are excellent reasons not to join with them. I think it is really intuitive. It is just despicable to work with people on projects in the name of Jesus when those people reject just about everything Jesus said and taught. it is not right.

    Am I off base here?


  21. You’re on, exactly, Pr. Rossow!
    We can’t do joint projects with —a and then complain that the secular media and the man on the street think we’re just “more of the same, piled higher and deeper.” How would they know we weren’t?

  22. How about Lutheran World Relief? Our women’s group has been making quilts and assembling health kits for Lutheran World Relief for decades. Is that a problem now? I’d really like to know what to tell someone if they ask me, so I hope you can give me some insight.

  23. In addition to such things as soup kitchens, crisis pregnancy centers, and LWF projects, what about the areas of cooperation between Missouri Synod and E_CA military chaplains?

  24. @Pastor Tim Rossow #22
    I think you are way off.

    The motivation for service ought not be does it make us feel good nor should the motivation to discontinue service be our feelings.

    Justification leads to a question, “What do you want to do knowing that you are totally free in Christ from sin, death, and the devil?”

    Jesus calls us to love God and our neighbors. I’d like to do that. Our motivation is our neighbors and their needs. It’s not our feelings that matter or our feelings about the other people who come to serve. It sounds simple to just cut of all shared service, but in real world terms it’s simply impossible. You can’t decide who will also answer God’s call to serve their neighbor. That’s not your choice it’s the Holy Spirit at work in the whole Body of Christ. You can choose to walk away from the service; but be honest will that help or hurt your neighbor.

    Just look at the shared areas of service between the ELCA and LCMS. There’s good ministries that have grown because of the time, treasure, and people dedicated to serve. Major investments of all 3 have been made by the ELCA/LCMS in disaster response, health-ministries, and the like. The more complex the service your congregation chooses to engage in the more likely you are to work with others.

    The more desperate and immediate the need, like after a disaster, the more likely people are to come to help who you disagree with.

    The question is would you stay and help if someone you disagree with wants to help too; or would you leave?

  25. Justification leads to a question, “What do you want to do knowing that you are totally free in Christ from sin, death, and the devil?”

    I think the question is “What does God want me to do knowing that I am totally free in Christ from sin, death, and the devil?” Answering that question comes under the Holy Spirit’s Third Use of the Law.

  26. @Carl Vehse #29
    I like your rephrasing of the question because it turns us back to God, but then I look at this issue at hand, the ELCA and the LCMS sharing service or not sharing service.

    Even if you change the question the is still how we exist, with our neighbors and how we ought to act towards our neighbors, “love your neighbor as you love yourselves.”

    Hearing Jesus’ words ought to drive us to our knees seeing our failure to serve our neighbors as we would have our neighbors help ourselves.

  27. JUP @#28,

    I don’t understand your point about emotion. I too say it is the wrong motivation.

    Concerning your second point about justification, I believe you are proposing a sort of gospel reductionism. The Gospel of justification indeed sets us free but NOT to absolute freedom. I cannot use the Gospel to cancel out the law. God’s word of law on church fellowship is clear that we are not to join with the heterodox. The Gospel does not negate this.

    I think it is also useful to consider your last line. It is a compelling argument until you realize that it works on an individual basis but not on a denominational basis. If I find myself at a tragedy I don’t stop and ask every individual there on the scene about their confession of faith – I simply start helping out. That is not what we are talking about here. We are talking about intentional decisions by our church body about who we will associate with directly when it comes to human care. To return to your original point, it actually cancels out the Gospel when we join in on mercy programs with those who reject that very same gospel.


  28. @Conv. Delegate #31
    “The first issue of Today’s Business is online”

    WOW!! I just did the Evelyn Wood read-thru of Today’s Minkey-Business. Our delegates have a huge job ahead of them. Delegates, it will take a lot of study before the convention, and loads of stamina and study during the convention. There’s even a “Convention version of the 2007 Handbook.” Wow. Didn’t we see something like this a couple of conventions ago? A convention version of the handbook with strike-throughs all over the place and substitutions galore. BRTF-driven changes are in floor committees other than #8, as well. Looking at just the proposed structure changes, there is no doubt that a genuine special convention should have been called–several days. BUT–looking at the proposed structure changes, they are a bad deal for the synod. Oh yeah, another thing–there’s no doubt that this format has been planned for a long time. A long time…

    Smarter people than me will review these resolutions and publish their opinions. This needs to happen quickly.

    Johannes (Glad I’m not a delegate this time)

  29. So, if Resolution 3-03 (Today’s Business, pp. 65-6) is defeated, does that rejection of the second Resolved,

    That, in keeping with the basic principles set forth in the task force statement, cooperation in 35 externals with other Lutheran churches, including the ELCA, continue with theological integrity,”

    mean that cooperation with the E_CA in externals must then cease and desist?

    Otherwise, it is no different than a Resolved that the Missouri Syod continue to live on the same planet as the E_CA with theological integrity, because, no matter which way the vote, nothing would change.

  30. @Pastor Tim Rossow #32
    My point about emotion is that much of the “break all ties” with the ELCA language is based in anger. Anger is a powerful motivation but not always the best reason for a church to act; most especially in the area of shared service.

    My second point about Justification setting us free is more practical than theological.
    There’s no gospel reductionism going on here. There are just 2 practical questions that free people are able to ask themselves:
    1) What’s the best way to honor Jesus’ command to love God above all else?
    2) What’s the best way to honor Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves?

    My third point is that intentionally ending joint service doesn’t resolve anything at all or change the situation in the ELCA; in fact it may just make it harder for some in the LCMS to serve.

    The more complicated the service, engaged in for the sake of the neighbor, that a congregation or group of congregations undertakes, especially disaster response (but certainly not limited to disaster response), the more likely you are to engage in that service with a broad group of people and organizations who also come to serve at the command of the Holy Spirit.

    You spoke of a disaster with the word IF, saying, “If I find myself at a tragedy I don’t stop and ask every individual there on the scene about their confession of faith – I simply start helping out.” That response makes sense IF you stumble onto an accident; but many have committed to serve, for the sake of our neighbors, by being prepared to respond, together with others, to disaster. Lutheran Disaster Response is just this kind of organization; working in coordination with other church bodies to serve better after a disaster.

    I think that you are completely right to say that this issue in the end isn’t about individuals. It’s about how individual Christians, congregations, and denominations respond to Jesus’ Commands. For me the question is does the LCMS have a place at the table in planning a response; or does the LCMS step away because it would mean working with those who don’t share the same understanding of scripture as the LCMS?


  31. I think we step away from the table and do this work ourselves, in conjunction with other orthodox Lutheran church bodies, and, in some cases, with orthodox Christians.

    The best way to honor Jesus’ command to love God above all else is to uphold His word and speak it courageously to the ELCA.

    The best way to love our ELCA neighbors as ourselves is to let them know they are offending the Holy Spirit.

    If they were just offending us, that’s be another story. But they are offending God and we need to act accordingly.

  32. If they were just offending us, that’s be another story. But they are offending God and we need to act accordingly.

    This is another good reason for defeating another Resolution 3-02, deceptively titled, “To Support Confessional Lutheranism at Home and Abroad.” Encouraging confessional Lutheranism is a good idea, but Resolution 3-02 proposes a bad idea,

    Resolved, That the LCMS commend groups such as Word Alone, Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC), Lutheran CORE, and others for their courage and faithfulness in maintaining their confessional identity by opposing the ELCA’s recent decision,”

    which should NOT be in the resolution. With this, Resolution 3-02 seeks to commend heterodox E_CA breakaway groups that still continue to falsely call and ordain females as pastors.

    If this Resolved is not removed, Resolution 3-02 should be defeated.

    By including this Resolved, Resolution 3-02 is a shameful resolution and it is disgraceful that the Floor Committee would even include it in Today’s Business.

    Floor Committee 3 includes:

    C: Jon Diefenthaler (SE)
    DP: Vice chair: Bob Newton (CNH);
    Terry Cripe (OH); Terry Forke (MT)
    VOM: Jon Dunbar (IW); Thomas Eckstein (ND);
    Andrew Fields (FG); Scott Sommerfeld (MI)
    VL: Gregory Miller (MO); Damon Tobias (RM);
    Jesse Yow (CNH)
    AOM: John Kieschnick (TX)
    ACM: Sara Cunningham (IN)

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