We have reviewed reactions to the Harrison election from President Kieschcnick, District President Diefenthaler and now we have two contrasting letters to consider both of which were sent in as letters to the editor of local newspapers.
For sure, the basic principles at work in these two letters include “sour grapes” and “to the victor go the spoils” but there are also much deeper themes involved. I look forward to your reaction to these two letters.
The first is from an LCMS pastor in Texas and was submitted to the Houston Chronicle.
July 26, 2010
I normally would not do this, but I have too! This letter is in response to the July 16 article on the “New President to lead Missouri Synod Lutherans” (section F10)
First and foremost, please understand that the “majority” of Missouri Synod Lutherans are not happy with this outcome. The article states that a good majority of our congregations supported Harrison for president. The fact is this was a sad political campaign in the church where a politician, Harrison, beat out a real pastor, Rev. Kieschnick, as the spiritual leader of the second largest Lutheran body in the word! You see, those of us in ministry to serve God, love people, and just to plain have fun in this world that God has given us, really don’t care about politics. Sad to say, this is how Harrison became president. Maybe we need to wake up!
Yes indeed, the sadness of politics has won out in our church body: a pastor, “running” for office. Harrison says in your article that it was not a political campaign. But indeed it sadly was! We’ve always had a saying in our church body, if someone wants to be president of the church that bad; it has to be the wrong person.” Please understand the sites and information you quote in your article DO NOT represent the majority of the Missouri Synod…
…Under the leadership of Rev. Kieschnick, a native Texan, our church grew, became more loving, and started an outreach effort that truly focused on the Gospel being brought to people where they were, in their daily lives, hurts, and burdens. He was a pastor and a missionary. Harrison says, “This election will bring a tumultuous change for our synod.” He is right. This is later shown in the fact that in the article it says he looks back to Luther and history for our future? One thing is for certain, we as Lutherans need to look more at the Bible, God’s Word, for our now and future. This constant looking back gets us nowhere.
Yes indeed, a sad day for our synod. Please know that this man does not represent the vast majority of our Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Our congregations each day are places of love, refuge, and hope. We truly are all sinners gathering together to feed on God’s Word and Sacrament, all in the same boat. I personally apologize now for what the next three years will bring from the “leadership” of our national church body, but as for me and the church I am blessed to serve, we will follow Jesus, love Him with all our heart, and celebrate each day the joys He gives us, carrying each other through the hard times of life, and in the end, look forward to the glorious day Jesus calls us home to Heaven! And no matter what may be heard, we Lutheran still believe, “One Lord, one Church, One God and Father of us all!’ For united, all Christians stand, in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord! To God be the glory!
In the shadow of the cross,
Rev. Travis Pittock, pastor
Faith Lutheran Church -Huntsville, TX
The second letter is from a group of pastors in North Wisconsin headed up by frequent BJS commenter Pastor Jody Walter.
Letter to the Editor
2010 Convention of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
This will be the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod’s finest hour. Bold new leadership is taking the reigns for a bold new direction. Rev. Matthew Harrison, age 48, director of LCMS World Relief, was elected, on the first ballot, by more than 100 votes, at the convention which met, July 10-17, in Houston, Texas. This is a historic election and represents a generational shift in the Missouri Synod. Rev. Harrison succeeds Rev. Gerald Kieschnick, age 67.
Rev. Harrison is an excellent theologian who has written numerous books and pamphlets, as well as translating many older writings. His writings include books like /“At Home in the House of My Fathers” /and /“Lord Have Mercy: How to Put Your Faith into Action” /as well as pamphlets like “/Second Thoughts About Living Together…”/ Much of this work was done to explain the role of human care ministry in the Christian Church. He reads directly from the Greek text of the New Testament when he preaches. He is also known world wide as a man of incredible compassion. He truly has a heart for those in need, particularly for those who need to hear the Gospel. He is also known for his ability to draw people together around the Word of God. He is a true unifier and bridge builder. Many of our partner churches around the world are excited at this news and look forward to working with Pastor Harrison in his expanded role.
Under Rev. Harrison’s leadership the Missouri Synod is returning to our theological and missionary roots. As Rev. Harrison has said, the world is begging for what we have. He will make certain that we provide the solid confessional leadership for which many churches around the world look to the Missouri Synod.
This is the time to be part of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. We are a Scriptural and confessional church, teaching and practicing historic Lutheranism. The Missouri Synod has 2.5 million members in congregations all across the United States. We are boldly stepping out into the world with the proclamation of Jesus Christ, crucified for our sins – folly to the world but the power of God unto salvation for those who believe. This will be Missouri’s finest hour. Come and be part of this exciting future.
Rev. Jody Walter
Pastor Immanuel, Frederic/ Immanuel, Cedar Lake
delegate to the 2010 LCMS convention
Rev. Gerald Heineke
Pastor – Our Redeemer, Webster/Trinity, Danbury
Rev. Clinton Hoff
Pastor St. Matthew, Almena/ Silver Creek, Amena
Rev. Ronald Mueller
Pastor Salem, Barron
Rev. Lenonard Wildauer
Pastor Christ, Lampson
Rev. Bob Pfeil
Pastor Emeritus, Hayward
Rev. Mark Schoen
Pastor Shepherd of the Valley, St. Croix Falls
Rev. Burt Harger
Pastor Emeritus, Rice Lake