More Harrison Momentum: Kieschnick Voters Turning, Contemporary Worship Enthusiast Calls for Jesus First Apology, Etc., By Pr. Rossow

No one knows who will win the LCMS presidency but there is no doubt that Matt Harrison is gaining more and more momentum with each day as Houston 2010 draws closer. Rev. Harrison is an excellent candidate which is creating most of the momentum but there are also some unusual things going on in our synod that are contributing to the momentum.

For example, Jesus First, the group that runs President Kieschnick’s re-election campaign and which usually successfully paints conservatives as mean and cruel, is having the tables turned on them this go around. Their recent claim of mis-management at LCMS World Relief and Human Care is back-firing. Mollie Ziegler Hemingway has done a good job of chronicling this turn of events. It is contributing to momentum for Rev. Harrison.

The Harrison momentum began simply enough when various media, including this blog, started reporting on the short-comings in our synod. The momentum grew when Harrison received an uprecedented number of nominations, and now is growing again with reactions pouring in to the hardball tactics of Jesus First.

In another post Mollie mentioned a friend who is changing his vote due to the hard-ball tactics of Jesus First. On the comment string on that post there is another delegate, named Henry, who is considering changing his vote (see comment #4).

And then there is a unique call for Jesus First to apologize to Rev. Harrison and to the delegates for their twisting of the statistics from the LCMS World Relief and Human Care. Many and varied people have called for an apology but this one comes from a fellow who openly and avowedly supports the basic Jesus First agenda of change for the church (see comment #8).

Just read (although quickly) letters 8, 9 and 10 on the Jesus First website.  They and you share next door neighbor status on my favorites listing. (kind of ironical in the words of GW Bush)

Generally, I am a church growth, Great Commission guy that cares very little for traditional liturgy.  My family and I like the open shirts, drums and hip worship leaders.  I am also a life long Lutheran. 

It is one thing to make a case for your guy but quite another to stoop to the level of partisan politics and defame your opponent.  It is even worse to imply that a lack of stewardship may have existed. 

Jesus First owes Rev. Harrison and all delegates an apology.


You are correct Tim, it is “ironical” that you have both BJS and Jesus First on your list of internet favorites. (We appreciate making us one of your favorites.) To further quote “W,” it is odd “strategery” that Jesus First has adopted (unless of course they think they are falling behind) and is also a curious use of  the “interweb” that is harming their cause but contributing to the momentum to elect Rev. Harrison as our next synodical president.

P.S. – Tim: If Matt Harrison wins I just may unbutton the top two buttons on my cassock some Sunday just to get an idea of what that whole open shirt thing is like and to promote a little more unity in the synod. 🙂

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.


More Harrison Momentum: Kieschnick Voters Turning, Contemporary Worship Enthusiast Calls for Jesus First Apology, Etc., By Pr. Rossow — 13 Comments

  1. Pastor Rossow – Promoting koinenia among fellow Christians is always a goodly outreach, but at a certain point I am pressed to advise caution. When (not if) you engage in the “open shirt” experience, I would advise beginning with a single button which should permit a sufficient feel allowing a valued judgment to be made. To leap into unknown waters, exposing two (or God forbid, more) buttons at one time falls perilously close to lake Schwarmerei – waters we do not tread upon.

  2. Pr. Rossow,
    You could unbutton one or two, if you wear your round collar under it, I suppose. 🙂

    But it might look like you were late to vest….

  3. But if Rossow takes off his collar and exposes his neck, well, then . . .

    Tim Rossow: Putting the “Nape” in Naperville

    (Come to think of it, Rossow has been sticking his neck out!)

  4. In the events that 1.) Pastor Harrison wins and 2.) you loosen a button or two, I may be tempted to travel east to see you in action. I will bring good beer and my Mercy Me CD collection.

    Seriously, I think the biggest challenge is to rise above any muck and slander and focus on God’s will.

  5. Tim,

    You are correct it is good to rise above the muck.

    I look forward to seeing you but I have to say I do not know what the “Mercy Me” collection is. I checked out of the contemporary worship scene right as the Praise and Worship CD’s were coming into vogue. It was also about the time that the Mullins guy (I forget his first name) wrote the “Thank You” song. I guess that was about 1990.


  6. Pr. Henrickson–LQTM (laughing quietly to myself–my daughter-in-law taught me that one)
    I don’t usually laugh *out loud*, but Pr. “Nape” Rossow is REALLY good at it!

  7. TR,

    Sorry it has taken me a bit to get back to you. I’m not too good at this blogging stuff.

    I appreciate reading the comments to my post. Some very thoughtful contributions. Whoever it was that made the comment about only ordained guys being legit missionaries comes from a perspective that I simply cannot understand nor appreciate.

    The “Mullins guy” was Rich Mullins who wrote some of the finest biblical songs I have ever read or listened to. I could see you embracing his song called “creed.” He is one person I look forward to meeting in heaven.

    “Adapt or die” – 2 Corinthians 9.

    It is wearisome – and I would also venture borderline unchristian – to demonize various forms of worship assuming that the form is Biblically sound and doctrinally correct.

    I say to the readers of this website and have said to those who are fully behind the Jesus First website: WE ARE ON THE SAME TEAM. Jesus straightforwardly said that a house divided against itself will not stand. I’m not saying we can’t have a good, healthy argument about various topics of the synod as well as leadership, but do we not cross the line when we flatly refuse to support or Christian brothers and sisters who hold differing views?

    Personally I came through the system and grew up making fun of other denominations, “liberals”, “ultra-conservatives” and whoever else “we” didn’t agree with. With God’s help I have pledged to support others in their ministry even if I don’t share the same perspective. I will engage them in conversation if I believe them to be erring (and much of what goes on here is just that- keep it up!) but will absolutely support them as they serve the Lord with their gifts.

    It seems that even if Pres. Kieschnick was able to provide a palatable form of contemporary worship, personally fund 3,000 LCMS missionaries, cure cancer and balance the federal deficit, some would still criticize him simply because they don’t like him.

    Pollyanna-ish? Call it what you will. I’ve been called an eternal optimist before. I just don’t want to stand before the Lord and have to answer questions regarding how I did not help other brothers and sisters in Christ. The church is much bigger than 1333 S Kirkwood Rd.

    By the way, the idea with the cassock may just catch on as long as you invite people to call you Pastor Tim! Ha!

  8. Bo,

    You have missed the point. It is not a matter of not liking President Kieschnick. I do not know of a single blog post or hard-copy story that asserts that President Kieschnick is not likable. Every criticism I have heard of President Kieschnick or written myself is not about his person but about his policies and programs.


  9. @Pastor Tim Rossow #9

    This is very true. I do not know Rev. Kieschnick personally and have never even met the man, but as I have watched since he was elected in the postion of President of the LCMS I do not like what he has allowed to sneak into our precious LCMS Church I have grown so much to love.

  10. That’s cool. I understand the separation of the man from the policies. But going back to an earlier post (which is probably bad decorum – sorry!) about his leadership, I just don’t know that all the criticism is warranted. It’s probably going to be a difference of opinion and I can live with that. Thank you for praying for him.

  11. At risk of being “against” someone or something:

    This is the clearest direct experience I have had with Pres. Kieschnick. I did my vicarage in his district before he was elected SP. On vicarage placement night at CTSFW, after the service, each of the newly-assigned vicars met with their respective newly-assigned DP’s. We were all stunned (as I recall maybe 8 of us assigned to vicar in TX district) by the fact that we, excited sem students anticipating a *big* step in our preparation for our Lord’s call into the Office, were immediately met with DP Kieschnick’s “defense” of the TX district as not being a “liberal” district. He said somethign to the effect, “You may have heard rumors that the TX district is a liberal district, let me emphatically deny that, etc.” It was weird. We weren’t there to pick fights with him and to stir up trouble for his district. We had been *thoroughly* instructed by multiple professors that vicars are *learners*, not called pastors, and not to go looking to “straighten out” bad practices that we found, like arrogant jerks. We were all there excited to meet the DP of the district where we’d be spending the next year. (And a very good year I had, too!) We were quite taken aback by his unsolicited defensiveness.

    The sad thing is that ever since that evening, that has been what I’ve heard from Pres. Kieschnick, pretty much every time he’s spoken to any assembly of which I was a part. “We/I am not liberal. We are unified in doctrine, etc.”
    At some point, Shakespeare *has* to be quoted, “Methinks thou dost protest too loudly.”

    If he were simply a pastor in a small parish speaking and acting this way, he may well be on the way out because he’d lost the ability to lead–lost the trust of his people, even if what he was doing and preaching was totally correct. “Too defensive. Not humble enough.” This is the sort of thing people do say about parish pastors who act this way.

    I don’t want to be “against” Pres. K. I do believe he sincerely wants people to hear and know about the grace of God in Christ. I’m just very sad that his presidency has turned out this way.

  12. Oh, and Bo, the Sunday following his election in 2001, and frequently since then, I have made a point to include Pres. K by name in the prayers of the Church. This *is* what the Church does.

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