2010 LCMS Convention Resolution 6-04

This is another in our series of resolutions to the 2010 Synod Convention, posted here to allow for discussion. If you have a comment on a specific resolution, see our Resolutions page. If the one you want to discuss is not yet posted, please contact us and we will add the resolution to start discussion.

This one has produced quite a bit of discussion on another related resolution — whether the LCMS should cease ties with ELCA on Resolution 3-03.

To Combat Malaria
RESOLUTION 6-04 (starting at line 45)
Overture 6-01 (CW, p. 207)

WHEREAS, Nearly one-half of the world’s population is at risk of contracting malaria; and

WHEREAS, Malaria affects 500 million people a year and kills one million of them; and

WHEREAS, This death rate translates into 2,880 deaths a day, 120 deaths an hour, or one death every 30 seconds; and

WHEREAS, The vast majority of those affected by malaria are children in Africa; and

WHEREAS, Malaria is a largely preventable and treatable disease worsened by poverty; and

WHEREAS, Many of the world’s wealthiest nations, including the United States, are largely unaware of the crisis of malaria; and

WHEREAS, The Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI) is an unprecedented collaborative effort to mobilize the nearly eight million Lutherans in the United States to join in the battle against malaria; and

WHEREAS, U.S. Lutherans have been called by Christ to look after the needs of the “least of these” (Matt. 25:31–46) through “cooperation in externals”; and

WHEREAS, The preventable deaths of one million people a year call out for a compassionate response; and

WHEREAS, Lutheran World Relief (LWR), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), with financial support from the United Nations Foundation (UNF), have been invited to participate in the initiative; and

WHEREAS, LMI’s goal is to combat malaria through intensified and comprehensive efforts in education, prevention, advocacy, and mobilization of resources; and

WHEREAS, The LCMS Board of Directors has endorsed a LCMS/LWR joint proposal to the UNF, including a grant request of $4 million to be made by these two entities to the foundation; and

WHEREAS, The Synod and Lutheran World Relief are developing a collaborative and coordinative memorandum of understanding regarding appropriate policies for working in concert to raise $45 million to combat malaria and to build support among their respective constituencies for the initiative; and

WHEREAS, Funds raised by the LCMS for LMI will be channeled through existing partner churches and organizations in African countries where malaria is most prevalent, as the Synod cooperates with and helps to empower, engage, uplift, and support its partners in the battle to prevent and treat malaria; and

WHEREAS, The LCMS Michigan District schools devoted their February “Hearts for Jesus” campaign to educating children about malaria and committed their chapel offerings to LMI; and

WHEREAS, Concordia Publishing House has expressed an interest in creating Vacation Bible School study materials around LMI; and

WHEREAS, The LMI initiative affords the LCMS a unique opportunity to increase the capacity of its partner churches to save lives and share the Gospel; therefore be it

Resolved, That the LCMS be prayerfully committed to the LMI goals of education, advocacy, and fund-raising to prevent and contain malaria; and be it further

Resolved, That the LCMS through its agencies, congregations, schools, universities, and seminaries support LMI; and be it finally

Resolved, That the LCMS join LMI in this life-saving effort for five years, beginning in 2010.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

Norm has been involved behind the scenes in many of the "go-to" websites for Lutherans going back many years.


2010 LCMS Convention Resolution 6-04 — 17 Comments

  1. On the 2010 LCMS Convention Resolution 3-03 thread,

    Comment #17 brings up the question of the UN partnership in LMI and the UN’s refusal to use DDT.

    Comment #18 points out the lack of information about LMI, even on its own website, and that the LCMS efforts (in cooperation with churches already in altar and pulpit fellowship) might be better spent toward the effective use of DDT and other insecticides in Africa to reduce malaria.

    Discussion on the LMI issues raised in these comments should be posted on this Resolution 6-04 thread.

  2. I agree with Carl on DDT. Even NPR has been pushing for DDT use for many years. But I would raise the question as to why we doing this LWR rather than LCMS World Relief? Is this a push to align us with LWR and push us away from have our own agency?

  3. Just wondering? If one of the “goals” as is mentioned in the last “whereas” is to share the Gospel, does this then leave the realm of “cooperation in externals”?

  4. I believe LMI was listed as one of the 10 groups to receive a portion of $1 million from Thrivent this spring. I think LMI was 10th and barely got any funds. But thankfully LCMS World Relief and Human Care was #1.

    [[ editor: see story here ]]

  5. DDT is the solution and has long been found to be safe when properly used. Even thoses of us who walked through clouds of the stuff have not suffered! Millions have died on the altar of enviornmental fanatics.

  6. Resolution 6-04 came from Overture 6-01 (CW, p.207) which was submitted by the LCMS BOD based on a decision recorded in the August, 2009, BOD Meeting Minutes.

    It is certainly reasonable to ask LCMS World Relief and Human Care Ministries Executive, Matthew Harrison, what his position is on such a resolution since he was at the BOD meeting where Lutheran World Relief President and Chief Executive Officer John Nunes noted that 989 of 1,000 ELCA delegates at its churchwide gathering had voted in favor of participation in the initiative. Nune also spoke of the “unprecedented monumental partnership” that has come together to defeat malaria, including the United Nations, Lutheran World Relief, and numerous Lutheran church bodies and other organizations. He spoke of the “global impact” eight million U.S. Lutherans could make, some Lutherans possibly seeing this as an opportunity to become more active in their local churches.

    Did Rev. Harrison make any comments on the LMI at that meeting? Does he agree with Nune’s claims? Does Rev. Harrison have a better idea of how to spend the proposed $20 million to be raised by LCMS congregations and schools in efforts to reduce cases of malaria in Africa while carrying out the Great Commission in a faithful and confessional Lutheran manner?

  7. I wonder if Jesus would have even considered cooperation in externals with anyone of the many Asian and Greek religious temple cults that instituted and practiced homosexual behavior in it’s worship services.
    After all in many congregations of the ELCA, after what goes on behind closed doors the week and night before, those same hands are used to handle and distribute the lord’s body and blood?
    Something to think about.

  8. I would suggest some research be done on LMI. The current thread and additional comments suggests very little has been done. Here are some facts:

    1. Bed nets, as acquired through LMI, are chemically treated and, while not perfect, are clearly a critical part of treating this deadly disease. To understand how best to address malaria is to understand there is no one solution. Teated bed nets, clean water, education, medication, access to health care, healthy farming, and probably 25 other components can be counted as “critical” to addressing this. LMI alone will not solve the issue of malaria. Lutherans cannot do this by themselves but there is a role for us to play. If you believe DDT is the best long-term plan, fine. There are plenty of people that agree with that position. However, the US and other countries have determined there are health risks to birds, animals, if not humans and have restricted or eliminated its use. Additionally, there have been studies that show DDT would cost roughly two and a half times more than bed net distribution. Perhaps DDT will be a part of this equation in Africa but right now, its not.

    2. The United Nations FOUNDATION is not the United NATIONS. It has its own board, its own mission statement as a “platform to connect people and ideas to solve global problems.” They support the founding principles of the UN (at its charter to prevent a third world war and beyond to focus on issues of health, human rights, etc). Often times, UNF is the voice to apply pressure to the United Nations for more involvement on particular global issues.

    3. The partnership with the UNF(oundation) offered the LCMS and its agency – Lutheran World Relief (more on that in a moment) – the opportunity to connect its 2.3 million members with the global work of containing malaria. Presumably, as evidenced by the existing malaria-related programs at both LWR and LCMS WRHC, Lutherans are supportive of their church body and RSOs engaged in this fight. LMI represents and opportunity to accelerate this involvement by educating Lutherans of all ages (with a special emphasis on young people) about this “beatable disease” and how contributions, even small ones of $10, can have a profound impact on the lives of people in Africa.

    4. Do not wonder if Matt Harrison is supportive of LMI. He has been very public in his support of LMI and, by his recent endorsement of LWR’s CEO Rev. John Nunes’ book on malaria and his role as a current member of the LWR board, I can draw only one conclusion: Matt Harrison would encourage others to be supportive as well.

    5. Addressing comments #2 and #4, Lutheran World Relief is an agency OF the LCMS. They were founded, in part by the LCMS, and continue to be identified as “a ministry of.” If you are a member of the LCMS on this site, please know that LWR is YOUR agency, and it is one to be proud of and worthy of your support. They are led by Rev. John Nunes, an ordained LCMS clergyman with an impeccable commitment to Word and Sacrament ministry as well as a burning passion to alleviate human suffering in the world. His staff, while reflecting many diverse, professional backgrounds and experiences, is equally dedicated to their mission as described in Micah 6:8.

    6. Regarding comment #4 again, this feels a bit like a celebratory comment that WRHC received more funding from Thrivent than did LMI (which, being baseball season, is a little like a 10 year veteran pitcher making more money that a rookie) I thank God for their support of groups like WRHC and Habitat for Humanity and the ELCA Hunger Appeal. There is tremendous work being done through these programs to alleviate suffering. Yes, spiritual suffering continues to plague our world and we must do our very best each day to bring the Good News to the world – and I believe it is through the dedicated work of our pastors, missionaries, and committed Christians throughout the world. While this will be lifelong work for many, the very real physical suffering that can be eliminated should be addressed as well.

    7. The partnership with the ELCA that so many here seem to fear is a partnership to rid the world of human, physical suffering . LWR, as a joint creation by the LCMS and the ELCA’s predecessor churches, does not cooperate on doctrine. Rather, it is a place that recognizes that there are very real and powerful differences between our denominations and yet we can still agree that suffering exists in the world and we have a responsibility to help reduce or end it. If my neighbor looses his home to a tornado, should I inquire about his belief on justification through faith or should I help him dig out? If a friend contracts a disease, should I ask him recite the Creeds or should I sit with him, hold his hand, bring him a blanket when he’s cold? This is not a doctrinal partnership. Anyone close to it knows that. Even some that aren’t so close to it.

    8. To comment #6, lots of questions about Matt’s position but little by way of acknowledgement that the LCMS BOD offered unanimous support of LMI and its mission. By my definition, that meant everyone was in favor, conservatives too.

  9. Paul, in response to your questions in #7. The answer is YES and YES. I would certainly be much more concered over their spiritual welfare than their physical well being. Matthew 10:28. To our Lord, the most dangerous thing in this world is false doctrine. Of course too you give aid to your neighbor, but what is the greatest way to show love? Doctrine! The kind of treasure our Lord speaks of Matthew 6.

    The Mormons are doing humanitarian work in Africa, why don’t we join them too? It’s just externals right?

  10. Interesting. In Luke 10: 25-33 I missed the part where we should ask such questions.

  11. Mr. Miles,

    You stated: “I would suggest some research be done on LMI. The current thread and additional comments suggests very little has been done

    As I noted in my comment earlier, there is little information about the LMI and its mosquito net distribution plans, even on its website. Perhaps you could provide some information or at least a link, particularly regarding your statement, “there have been studies that show DDT would cost roughly two and a half times more than bed net distribution.”

    The Jan. 2008 Scientific American article, which I referenced earlier, pointed out that while the bed nets are suitable for the middle-class Africans, the use of mosquito nets by the poor in Africa is more difficult because of how they are used (or misused). The article also indicates a need to use both nets and insecticides.

    The World Health Organization declared its support for indoor use of the DDT and other insecticides as part of a program to control mosquitoes in Africa: “DDT is still needed and used for disease vector control simply because there is no alternative of both equivalent efficacy and operational feasibility, especially for high-transmission areas.” A Washington Post article indicated a cost of $5 dollars for a once a year application for a dwelling. This appears to be somewhat less than the two and a half times more ($250) than a bed net distribution.

    Do you have a reference or link supporting your statement, “He [Rev. Harrison] has been very public in his support of LMI and, by his recent endorsement of LWR’s CEO Rev. John Nunes’ book on malaria”? Before I asked my earlier questions I did a search on the LCMS website as well as internet-wide for any statements or positions by Rev. Harrison on LMI; I found nothing.

    Also do you have a reference source for your statement that “the LCMS BOD offered unanimous support of LMI and its mission”? The August 2009 BOD minutes only noted a “general agreement to proceed.”

    BTW, are you the Paul C. Miles who is a VP of a company that offers fund-raising campaign planning services to such organizations as the LCMS and LWF for their various programs and initiatives?

  12. My 2 cents: Unless you are using bed nets for everyone (including animals, birds, reptiles)24-7, you will not eradicate malaria.

  13. Not to be a wet blanket, or anything, but why was this overture even being considered? Overtures 2-10, 2-18, and 2-19 are rejected and we cannot even so much as give Issues, Etc. an “attaboy!” because it is not a Registered Service Organization, but we can call upon the members of our congregations to dump hundreds of thousands of charitable donation dollars into the non-RSO LMI?

    I am all for doing what can be done to help eliminate physical suffering, wherever possible. I am not entirely sure it is within the Church’s vocation to eradicate malaria, but we certainly can applaud/support those who are engaged in that effort. You may or may not convince me that the UN/LMI joint effort has the most effective strategy to accomplish this task. But you certainly CANNOT convince me that it is consistent or logical to vote yes on both 6-04 and on 2-08.

  14. As I noted in my June 8th response to Mr. Miles’ June 7th comments about Lutheran Malaria Initiative:

    Before I asked my earlier questions I did a search on the LCMS website as well as internet-wide for any statements or positions by Rev. Harrison on LMI; I found nothing.

    For example, Rev. Harrison’s blog site, Mercy Journeys with Pastor Harrison has no mention of Lutheran Malaria Initiative, except for his June 1, 2010 posting, “LCMS World Relief and Human Care Gets Most Votes & Dollars!,” which lists the ten organizations to receive part of a Thrivent million dollar funding.

    In addition, I checked the It’s Time website, to see on the web page, Harrison Biographical Information (Written by Administrator Tuesday, 01 June 2010 14:59) that there is no mention of the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI) in Rev. Harrison’s “CURRICULUM VITAE,” even though as a LWR board member, Rev. Harrison attended a number of meetings including the August, 2009, BOD meeting, at which the BOD approved a motion of support for the LMI to be brought before the 2010 convention.

    However, using the Bing search engine, in the Bing cached file for Rev. Matthew C. Harrison Vitae (Written by Administrator Sunday, 22 February 2009 19:16), there is a section, “Ecumenical Activities” (under “Professional Accomplishments”), in which the first of five bullets on Rev. Harrison’s accomplishments in this area reads:

    “Lutheran Malaria Initiative, Steering Committee. Lutheran World Relief, Baltimore in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, has begun to prepare a national campaign for an effort targeting Malaria in Africa. July 2007 – present. One goal of this effort is to assist LCMS partner churches in increasing their capacity to reduce the detrimental effects of Malaria upon their own people, and on the people among whom they live.”

    I don’t know why mention of the Lutheran Malaria Initiative was removed from Rev. Harrison’s Vitae on the same day that he posted the list of Thrivent funding recipients, which included the LMI, or why no reference to LMI is now on the It’s Time site. And so far Mr. Miles has not provided a reference or link supporting his earlier statement, “He [Rev. Harrison] has been very public in his support of LMI and, by his recent endorsement of LWR’s CEO Rev. John Nunes’ book on malaria.”

  15. I still have not been able to find support for or to see any response from Paul Miles regarding his June 8th claims that “Matt Harrison… has been very public in his support of LMI and, by his recent endorsement of LWR’s CEO Rev. John Nunes’ book on malaria,” “Matt Harrison would encourage others to be supportive as well,” and “the LCMS BOD offered unanimous support of LMI and its mission.”

  16. Paul Miles is a trusted friend of mine. He knows Matt Harrison personally better than I do and probably better than most folks who have posted on BJS. I do not share Paul’s enthusiasm for the malaria project and I do not agree with his use Luke 10 but I trust his judgment on what Matt Harrison has or has not supported.


  17. Paul Miles made reference to Rev. Harrison’s “public” support for LMI and his “endorsement” of Nunes’ malaria book, and not simply that his friend, Rev. Harrison, expressed such views to him during a personal conversation.

    Yet there is no mention of an endorsement by the executive director of LCMS World Relief in CPH’s webpage on Nunes’ book. There is no public mention of LMI on Rev. Harrison’s “Mercy Journeys” blog site (except its name on the Thrivent grant list, which would have been an ideal time to say something about LMI). And the one public link on LMI, as one of Rev. Harrison’s “Professional Accomplishments,” was removed from the It’s Time website on June 1. Google and Bing searches turn up empty.

    Even on Rev. Nune’s “John’s Blog” web page on mosquito nets, there is no mention about LMI support from Rev. Harrison or from LCMS World Relief.

    Given such indications to the contrary, asking for substantiation about Rev. Harrison’s alleged support for LMI is certainly reasonable.

    Furthermore, the BOD Aug. 2009 minutes only noted “general agreement to proceed” and Resolution 6-04 only states the “LCMS Board of Directors has endorsed a LCMS/LWR joint proposal,” with no mention of “unanimous” or of support or endorsement by LCMS World Relief or its Executive Director. So, again, it is reasonable to ask for a reference to where, as Paul Miles claims, “the LCMS BOD offered unanimous support of LMI and its mission.”

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