Decreasing Missions in the LCMS, by Rev. Bryan L. Hopfensperger

Convention delegates recently received “Delegate Letter #10” from Jesus First. In the last paragraph of the article entitled “Kieschnick Has Earned Re-election” author David S. Luecke writes that “…a vote for someone other than Gerald Kieschnick is inevitably a vote for less mission in the Synod. The issue is as simple as that.” In 1971 the LC-MS counted 356 career missionaries overseas. Today we have a mere 29. Missionaries today are required to raise their own funds; whether when home on furlough or via sending out mass-appeals from the mission field. It could be said that this is a sad result due to the significant drop in the dollars being remitted to the Synodical coffers by member congregations. Might it not be said that the increasing bureaucracy (and related salaries) could partly be to blame? Might it not be said that the exorbitant amounts of funds being misdirected to unnecessary programs, movements, etc. could be partly to blame?

The number of missionaries, though, is somewhat of a ball-and-cup game. It seems that every man, woman, and child in the overseas mission field (no matter what their function) is considered a missionary. College students eager to take a trip to see the world are considered missionaries. Financial gurus staffed at overseas mission stations are considered missionaries. With this rationale, it can be touted that the number of missionaries has increased significantly! Isn’t the mission of the Church always Word and Sacrament ministry through the Office of the Holy Ministry? Isn’t this what the Lutheran Confessions state in Articles 4 and 5 of the Augsburg Confession…

[Art. 4] Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Rom. 3; Rom. 4.

 

[Art. 5] That we may obtain this faith, the Ministry of Teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. For through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Ghost is given, who works faith; where and when it pleases God, in them that hear the Gospel, to wit, that God, not for our own merits, but for Christ’s sake, justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake.

Luecke’s comment that “…a vote for someone other than Gerald Kieschnick is inevitably a vote for less mission in the Synod” certainly pulls at the heart. But even a mere scratch of the surface shows that Pres. Kieschnick’s tenure has not done much to support the mission of the Church either.

Rev. B.L. Hopfensperger
St. John & Trinity Lutheran Churches
Washburn, IL 61570

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.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Decreasing Missions in the LCMS, by Rev. Bryan L. Hopfensperger — 11 Comments

  1. Add to this record the fact that one missionary was brought whom because he broke the rule of teaching about Christ and baptizing people and doing Bible Study. Shame on them!! Although, I will always allow for the fact that the mission board may have some information that is unknown to the general public, even those who have spoken directly to the missionary who was brought home!

  2. Well put. It is pretty tiring to hear the JFers use their “holier than thou” speech to denigrate Pr. H. THANKS.

  3. Such a statement, even tho not naming PK’s opponent(s), is not worthy of David Luecke, nor of an organization that claims to be Gospel-centered.

    j

  4. Add to the “exorbitant amount of funds being misdirected”, the cost of studies and task forces galore!

  5. In the past decade has Synod, Inc. given more money to missionaries or to consultants? I am under the impression it has received money from the fund raising efforts of missionaries while paying out millions to consultants. Am I correct?

  6. CS,

    You asked, “In the past decade has Synod, Inc. given more money to missionaries or to consultants?”

    Great question.

    TW

  7. “…a vote for someone other than Gerald Kieschnick is inevitably a vote for less mission in the Synod. The issue is as simple as that.”

    Shame on David Luecke for passive/aggressively reducing our Synod’s substantive opposing views on practice to a focus-grouped buzzword.

    FYI, David: People don’t like condescension.

    Which is good news for Matthew Harrison.

  8. Speaking of consultants and missionaries here is an interesting note I found on the LCMS site.

    http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=6445

    “LCMS World Mission has no fulltime missionaries in India anymore. However, our partner church, the India Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELC), still values and desires LCMS expertise in its ministries. Four years ago, LCMS World Mission responded to IELC requests by providing consultants in the areas of administration and education. Previous to that, a theological consultant also had been serving for three years. These Consultants have been on a three-year contract, and LCMS World Mission is now discussing with the IELC what further consultancies they would like. In addition, LCMS World Mission regularly sends theologians to help lead the in-service training, pastoral training, and spiritual ministries of the seminary.”

    I give them credit for recognizing a difference between consultants and missionaries.

  9. Pastor Hopfensperger,

    Thank you for exposing the falsehood in the propaganda authored by David S. Luecke and distributed by a group which goes by the ironic name “JesusFirst.” Oh, that they would put Jesus first. Then, hopefully truthfulness would follow as well. It is great when others go overseas in support of our missionaries, but when beaurocrats choose to redefine words in hopes of fooling delagates with slick, cleverly chosen words, it is time for them to change their name. Those who recognize Jesus’s prominance recognize the need to get more missionaries out to reach the lost with Word and Sacrament, and they will accurately report the growth or decline of missionaries truthfully, not using distortions to try to keep ‘their man’ in office. These past nine years are like a bad dream!

  10. “…a vote for someone other than Gerald Kieschnick is inevitably a vote for less mission in the Synod. The issue is as simple as that.”

    The arrogance in that statement approaches insanity.

  11. Jonathan Schultz :“…a vote for someone other than Gerald Kieschnick is inevitably a vote for less mission in the Synod. The issue is as simple as that.”
    The arrogance in that statement approaches insanity.

    But, will our delegates notice? How will they respond to such arrogance? With indiference and apathy? Or, will they have the integrity and courage to stand?

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