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.