Proposed Resolutions: Committee 7, Ecclesial Matters (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

We continue our look at the 106 proposed resolutions from the eight floor committees, as found in “Today’s Business.” To see the previous articles in this series, go to Henrickson’s blog at steadfastlutherans.org.

Here are the resolutions proposed by Floor Committee 7, on Ecclesial Matters:

7. ECCLESIAL MATTERS

7-01: To Encourage Task Force on Synodical Harmony

I cannot support this resolution, because the task force fails to acknowledge the main problem behind a lack of synodical harmony, and that is that too many pastors, congregations, and synodical officials have strayed from faithful Lutheran practice. That is why there is a “lack of trust.” Instead, the task force falls back on the old standby for blame, i.e., they make confessional clergy the scapegoat.

7-02: To Affirm Ecclesiastical Supervision

Next to the collective disaster that is Committee 8, this may be the worst resolution in the book. This is now the third straight convention that President Kieschnick’s floor committees are refusing to allow many, many overtures from congregations, circuits, entire districts, etc., all calling for the CCM opinions on ecclesiastical supervision to be overruled–Kieschnick’s floor committees have not let these overtures come to the floor of the convention. The CCM opinions in question give a member of synod, yes, “impunity and immunity” (my phrase) to violate the synod’s constitution, if he has the approval of his ecclesiastical supervisor. The only remedy for dealing with bad CCM opinions such as these is that they be overruled by the synod in convention. But President Kieschnick’s floor committee–once again–is not giving us the opportunity for an up-or-down vote on an overture to overrule. This is not only frustrating, it is outrageous! The committee is declining Ovs. 7-12, -13, -14, -15, and -16 (Convention Workbook, pp. 214-217), which you should read to get the full story. The convention ought to bring up one of these overtures as a substitute resolution and pass it! I suggest Ov. 7-13, which my Missouri District passed, or Ov. 7-16, which I wrote and my congregation and circuit passed.

7-03: To Provide for Removal of Individual Board or Commission Members

Could this be used as a means to remove a board member who does not “toe the party line”? I am wary of that.

7-04: To Approve Changes to the Process of Bylaws 2.14, 2.15, and 2.17

This would revise the process for choosing dispute resolution panels. This revision may not make much of a difference. The bigger issue is the dispute resolution process itself, which was changed–for the worse–in 2004.

7-05: To Clarify Bylaw re Specific Ministry Pastor Limitations

Would this make Specific Ministry Pastors eligible to receive calls beyond their specific ministry? That would seem to go against the very concept of “SMP” and would be an unhelpful loosening. What is behind the desire to change “location” to “context”? I would be very cautious about voting for this resolution, because right now it is not clear how this would be an improvement.

7-06: To Amend Bylaw 2.5.2 re Congregations Calling Pastors

This would clarify our arrangements with partner churches, that we can call pastors back and forth. Seems OK.

7-07: To Add Wording to Bylaws re Expectations of Synod Membership

I am concerned about how the language of “financial support” and “statistical information,” for example, could be used as a club against pastors and congregations.

7-08: To Study Time Limitations for Initiating Dispute Process

Should there be a statute of limitations on initiating the dispute process? Perhaps. Depends how long, I suppose.

7-09: To Respectfully Decline Overtures

The committee doesn’t mention here that they are declining Ovs. 7-12, -13, -14, -15, and -16 (CW, pp. 214-217), all of which call for the overruling of the CCM opinions on ecclesiastical supervision. See my discussion under Res. 7-02 above.

Next up: The Big One, Committee 8, Synod Structure and Governance. This may take several articles. Tell your friends to gather round.


Comments

Proposed Resolutions: Committee 7, Ecclesial Matters (by Pr. Charles Henrickson) — 8 Comments

  1. It appears that for several resolutions, this is where the rubber hits the road. Re: 7-01, one would think that “Syond” and “Harmony” should not even be an issue, but apparently, walking together now means on opposite sides of the street. I’m not so sure that currently this is an oxymoron. Re: 7-02, you are right on the money. Ecclesiastical supervision, coupled with the current dispute resolution labyrinth, is practically non-existent, in my opinion. PK didn’t like ecclesiastical supervision when he was chairman of the CTCR. Re: 7-03, I don’t have the language handy, but it bears close scrutiny. During the past few years, several BOD members have resigned, and several others have been effectively shut out of re-nomination. Re; 7-04, you’re right–the current dispute resolution process, designed largely by a JF leader, is a quagmire and has taken the laity out of the process. It should be trashed.

    Enough for a Sunday morning. Thanks for the information, Pastor.

    Johannes

  2. would 7-06 open up calling across the lines with the TAALC? We have several pastors over there who were removed for cause from the LCMS. How would that work?

  3. @Rev. Jody Walter #2
    At the 2007 Convention one of the DP’s stood up and asked your very question. He stated that a man he removed from the roster of the LCMS was now a member of the AALC. If altar and pulpit fellowship is declared, “will I now have to allow this man, whom I removed, to preach in one of the congregations in my district.” Of course the answer was yes. I think that this DP’s words were ignored by the majority who were eager for fellowship. After all, the CTCR had approved. My experience with their congregations around me has been less than good! I voted against the fellowship as I would vote against any fellowship declared by only the DP BEFORE it was approved by convention.

  4. Rev. Henrickson has described well why 7-02 is the worst resolution, beside the BRTFSSGBS of course, to be presented to the Convention.

    The Committee 7 members responsible for perverting the decent Overtures 7-12 through 7-16 into this disgusting resolution include:

    C: Lane Seitz (MNS)
    DP: Vice chair: Paul Sieveking (IW); Richard Boche (WY); Dan May (IN)
    VOM: Allan Buss (NI); Bill Lowrey (TX); Henry Simon (SE); Edward Trost (KS)
    VL: R. Neely Owen (SE); Glenn Van Velson (NEB); Gene Schnelz (MI) (Schnelz was chairman of the CCM responsible for the vacuous Jan. 1992 CCM opinion)
    AOM: Randy Raasch (SW)
    ACM: Rachel Klitzing (PSW)

    Another reason for electing Rev. Harrison as SP – He can most certainly do a better job than this in selecting a Ecclesial Committee.

  5. I see at least on name near the top that was probably in the minority. Best not to mention his name

    J

  6. Can we vote “no” on resolutions like 7-09 which decline overtures?

    If we vote no, then what?

    Can one or more of the declined resolutions be brought up?

    Are they all automatically brought up?

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