Believe it or not, there will be more business to conduct in Houston than electing a new president and dealing with restructuring proposals. Other elections and other resolutions are on the agenda, as well. So in this series of articles, I plan to look at the 106 proposed resolutions put forward by the eight floor committees, as found in “Today’s Business.”
Now I am just one delegate among 1200, and this will be just one man’s take on these many resolutions. It will not necessarily represent how I will finally vote on these things, since I may be missing something that I’m not seeing right now, and I’m open to being persuaded by good arguments–plus, some resolutions may end up being amended. But this can be a helpful exercise for us in “thinking out loud,” and I invite your conversation here as we consider the proposed resolutions together.
So let’s go! We start with the resolutions proposed by Floor Committee 1, on Missions:
1-01: To Celebrate Fan into Flame Blessings and Commit to Its Completion
Where has the Fan into Flame money gone? We’re not told. What sorts of Ablaze! and other projects has it supported? For example, I know of a $25,000 Ablaze! grant that went to a church plant that is very questionable, theologically. Is that what we want to “celebrate”? I don’t.
1-02: To Provide Guidance for Future Direction of Ablaze!
While of course no one is against mission, that does not mean we give a free pass to the Ablaze! program, which has objectionable aspects (e.g., the scoreboard for “critical events”) that make it hard for me to “commend” it. Also, if Ablaze! were a spontaneous “movement,” as claimed, how did a convention “establish” it and how does a board “plan its future”?
1-03: To Increase Outreach to Immigrants at Congregation Level
Outreach to immigrants is a good thing. The only question I have concerns the programs used for outreach to, and education of, immigrants and ethnic groups. Will they be theologically sound and substantive, or will they be weak and watered down?
1-04: To Respond to Opportunities for Outreach to Muslims
Outreach to Muslims–great. But again, my question concerns the specific program mentioned, POBLO. I would need to know more about POBLO, that it is a worthwhile program, before I could commend it.
1-05: To Affirm and Encourage our Military Chaplains
I have known a number of our fine LCMS military chaplains. I think they do a great job. I certainly want to “affirm and encourage” them to carry on faithfully.
1-06: To Encourage Participation in Operation Barnabas
This has to do with ministry to the families of our armed forces. Unless there is some problem with Operation Barnabas in particular, I will vote for this resolution.
1-07: To Encourage Inter-District Dialogue in the Establishment of New Church Starts, Satellite Worship Sites, and Specialized Ministries Across Geographic District Lines
This could be a helpful resolution. I know of cases where church starts and satellite sites have “invaded” existing parish territories–even across district lines–causing problems. This resolution would better regulate and supervise such actions, it looks like.
1-08: To Encourage the “Wittenberg Project” as a Gospel Witness Opportunity
Good idea, if it is run well–particularly, as we head toward the Reformation anniversary in 2017.
1-09: To Respectfully Decline Overtures
One overture from the Convention Workbook that the committee is declining, but which I would favor to be brought up and passed, is Ov. 1-11, “Ask CTCR and Seminaries to Evaluate Transforming Churches Network” (CW, pp. 151-152). From what I know of TCN, it is a theologically very poor program, which–unless it is itself “transformed”–ought to be discouraged.
Next time: Committee 2, District and Congregational Services.