What does this Election Mean? by Martin R. Noland

The balloting for all offices of the synod are now done.

Pastor Matthew Harrison is the new president of the Missouri Synod and Pastor Herb Mueller Jr. its first vice-president, by large margins.  Pastors John Wohlrabe, Paul Maier, Daniel Preus, and Scott Murray are the vice-presidents two to five, in that order.   83% of the Board of Directors elected were United List candidates.  75% of the Concordia University System board members elected were United List candidates.  100% of the CTCR members elected were United List candidates.  80% of the CPH board members elected were United List candidates.  100% of LCEF board members elected were Jesus First candidates.  100% of seminary regents elected were United List candidates.  70% of university regents elected were United List candidates.

What does this mean? Many pundits will opine on that question for months to come.  Then we will find out, as the new officers and boards meet and carry out their duties and face the challenges of the day.

For now, here are my thoughts about what this means:

I.   It means the passing of a generation of pastors and lay leaders into retirement (see my post at BJS at:  https://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=9889 April 12, 2010).  Look at the ages of those now elected and those not.

II. It means that people are tired of division in the synod, and they were attracted to the message of Pastor Matthew Harrison in “It’s Time” (see http://itistime.org)

III. It means that many people are tired of being restricted in what they can say about issues that affect us all. People need to realize that ALL of the synodical workers, including seminary and university professors, have a GAG order which the delegates at conventions past have approved. Referring to current bylaws, these are: 1.5.1.3, 1.5.2, 1.5.6, 1.5.6.1, 1.8.1, 1.8.2, 1.10.1-1.10.1.6. The effect of these bylaws, plus many CCM rulings over the years, is to turn all the people who work for synod, in any capacity, into “dumb robots.” They all have to repeat what the president or convention says, without any dissent, or they will be summarily fired.

I know many people at the national offices, at the seminaries, and at the universities, who in confidence, have complained about this situation to me. And I understood their situation and agreed that they needed to keep quiet to preserve their good influence where they were.

The seminary and university-theology faculty members, in particular, have felt BOUND AND GAGGED, since in the tradition of the Lutheran church they, in particular, have been called upon for judgment and debate on many things. Our LCMS theological faculty have had just the opposite of “academic freedom” in recent years!

One of the attractive things of the Harrison “It’s Time” program is, I think, a relaxing of this “binding and gagging.” I personally think that our seminary and university theology faculty members are the very best persons to debate and help the church with its issues, since they live and work in a community of peers that deals with theology and ecclesial issues.

I think that the synod needs to review its “GAG ORDERS” in the bylaws and CCM rulings, to see to what extent they are necessary and whether or not they are helping or hurting us in dealing with conflicts

IV.  Finally, I think it promises a new era of brotherhood and cooperation in the LCMS.  It will be that if all parties treat each other fairly and kindly, as true brothers and sisters in Christ, following the example of our new President.

May our Lord help us all!


Comments

What does this Election Mean? by Martin R. Noland — 38 Comments

  1. Pastor Noland,

    I appreciate your insight on just what the results of this years synodical convention represents. As a Seminary Student, and having visited our Sister Seminary, I pray that the unity we speak of will be known as well at our 2 seminaries. IMO, much of the division in the LC-MS can be attributed to different understandings of what theological education should include, and the differing standards used at each seminary. Not to say that it is not good to have some uniqueness to each seminary’s programs and I believe there exists a genuine willingness to cooperate among the two presidents. However, a more unified front regarding the important aspects of the formation of Pastors must be developed in order for more unity in our church body. Just one neophytes opinion.

  2. Pastor Noland – I find greatt irony in your third point on the gag orders imposed on our Synodical employees by previous conventions. When combined with Mollie’s “Issues.Etc Revolution” the reality of turning our workers into stone takes on unintended and/or unknown consequences. While the synodical by-laws can render the individual voices as silent as stones, we should quickly recall how our Lord warned the pharisees, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” Oh that we would dedicate our beginning to the proper study of God’s Word and subject the “jots and tittles” of convention by-laws to koinania and confession.
    Peace,
    Dennis

  3. Sem Student,

    You make a good point. As a graduate of both seminaries (M Div – CSS, 1987; D Min – CTS, 2006) I think I can fairly criticize and brag-up both institutions.

    Overall I would say that they both educate similarly. I am not sure what you think the differences are but if I had to say, it would be that St. Louis relies too much on psychology and sociology. There is a very striking difference in the curricula for D Min that illustrates this point. The faculty at both sems are outstanding but after 20 years of parish experience, when I looked at the two curricula for D Min there was no doubt in my mind that the more theological approach of Ft. Wayne would serve my people much more eternally than the sociological approach at St. Louis. I greatly encourage the St. Louis administration to re-examine thier sociological approach to the D Min program and most definetly so if this spills over into their M Div approach.

    TR

  4. Not to belabor a fact and not really knowing if this is what you are talking about Pf Rossow but I have had some conversations with a sem student and he really promotes Barth’s Neo-Orthodoxy. He seems to think that this should be fundamental theology in our Lutheran beliefs. Is this what they are teaching at CSL?

  5. Please gentlemen, don’t turn this thread into yet another St. Louis vs. Ft. Wayne debate.

    Marty,

    I think you’re right, a big cat has had the tongues of both faculties (with a few exceptions) —especially in the last three years. And the LCMS has suffered because of it. I don’t blame the faculty members, they have mouths to feed.

    Let’s put that cat out (if not down) once and for all.

    TW

    PS. nothing against real cats, only the kind that get your tongue.

  6. Pastor Wilken,

    By no means was my post intended to divide. My prayer is that with the results of this convention, we as a church would recognize the seminaries need to unify theologicaly, as a step toward our church’s unification. This will only be accomplished as Pastor Harrison has suggested in “It’s Time”.

  7. Sem Student,

    Understood. And yes, the two sems need to speak openly with one voice. I hope this will start now.

    TW

  8. “100% of LCEF board members elected were Jesus First candidates. ”

    Why did the LCEF board buck the election trend? Was there a shortage of United List candidates for that board or something?

  9. Re: the seminaries, there are yet voices within synod that speak of closing one or both seminaries. Those that would close both seminaries would have some of our CU’s begin a divinity school. It’s still floating around out there.

    Johannes

  10. John E,

    Have you brought this matter to the attention of the seminary president? (Without naming names, of course.)

  11. There are other ghosts in the LCMS attic. For one, the dispute resolution process needs fixing. Last time I looked, it took up 12 pages in the Handbook, and is a total disaster, practically undecipherable. Anyone who was there in 2004 knows what a confusing mess it turned out to be. I find it interesting and extremely significant that the BRTF and FC #8 did nothing with it, absolutely nothing. In any case, this process is designed to squelch disputes, and and furthermore the laity has been completely shut out of the process. In 1991 or thereabouts the adjudication process was dumped, and the panel, whose budget at the time was about $10,000 was disbanded–all in the name of economy. As this is the stuff of bylaws, I certainly hope that this mish-mash is un-masked, re-hashed, and de-mished in 2013.

    Johannes

  12. It seems that the dispute resolution process has devolved into “making or faking peace.” Because we stopped addressing the serious issues underlying these disputes, the gag order was necessary. Over the years, we have become unable/unwilling to deal with questions of false practice, and we will remain this way until we are willing to engage a question according to the Word of God, take time to convince the erring after such study, and willingly part ways “organizationally” with those who have already parted ways doctrinally.
    One theme that runs through church history is that emperors all too eagerly seek peace over truth in the church to achieve “union.” It seems that in our day, the leaders in many denominations are now doing this themselves. When truth cannot be fully engaged, peace must be maintained by systems and structures that effectively prevent or “gag” dispute.
    We need to remember that we are the church of the ecumenical councils, where doctrine was engaged and heresy called out. We are the church of the Reformation, where truth was measured against the pure and clear Word of God, while practice was normed by this Word along with our rich history. We are the church of Marburg, where the words of Christ made it impossible to fake “union” even superficially. We are the church of Altenburg, where we measured our own actions and theology and found them wanting. There we let the Word call us to repentance, and there our external structure was formed to protect us from some of our inherent enthusiasm. The next six decades saw us joining and separating with congregations after frank conversation.
    We need to move our “dispute resolution process” back one hundred years. The gag order that Dr. Nolan speaks of has become more distinct in recent history, but its roots go back further, at least in our practice. Of all the issues in our synod, the inability to call one another to repentance (except for the ‘sin’ of calling someone to repentance) is the key issue. We will err; we need to speak frankly with each other – not presuming that a brother is hardened in error, but that he wants to be shown the clear truth.
    Let us not let the decades of frustration form our conversation. As we become able and willing as a church to address our confession and its practice, let us first listen, then speak. Correct one another as you would wish to be corrected. When we let Jeremiah out of the cistern, he will have much to say to each of us.

  13. I hope this election means we are in a new era. I certainly hope and pray that President Harrison will have more cooperation than President Barry had. Our best years do not need to be behind us, in the distant past. What Pastor Matt Harrison has been saying about the opportunities the LCMS has today encourages me. I hope we can still correct the mistakes of the past, and move forward with the confidence that comes from God. I pray we will not lose any seminary, that we will no longer have rostered pastors teaching evolution in our classrooms, that some positive resolution for Pastor Otten can come about (after all the positive things he has done for this Synod). I pray that we can be united on teaching the Bible, catechism & the confessions, and reaching the world by God’s strength, not our own overly-planned, calculated efforts duplicated from other church associations to take over the work of the Holy Spirit.

  14. Dr. Noland, you point out the incredible success of the United List at the convention. A historian or talented journalist could write a great book about this convention and the preparations and when/how long MH and HM were projected as candidates. It would also be refreshing to know, in light of the last week, who is the United List? How did they come together? It would make it easier to send them “thank you” notes. Steve

  15. @CS #8
    I’m not sure what went on there, although I watched the delegate that nominated Christian Preus (definitely not from the JF camp) being told that the LCEF candidates had to undergo a background check. Who ultimately nominated and elected the LCEF board? I don’t know and hope that someone here can shed some light on this.

  16. I stand corrected–that’s what I get for trusting my memory. Dr. Noland does reference the Dispute Resolution Process (DRP), Bylaw 1.10, p.37 in the 2007 Handbook. Bylaw 1.10.13.1, p. 45 does indeed allow for laypersons to serve on a Dispute Resolution Panel. I was wrong about the claim that the laity is excluded from that part of the process. I’m not sure however, if a layperson who is not in some official capacity within synod or a district can be involved. In other words, the regular pew-sitter who holds no position of any sort is omitted from this process. I’ll let the lawyers among us sort this one out. See bylaw 1.10.2, page 38.

    HOWEVER–this process does run from page 37 to page 49, so it is 13 pages long. I suggest y’all read it and attempt to figure it out. There are several questionable elements in the DRP–you can read them for yourselves.

    My apologies, Dr. Noland. You had referenced this odious process. As I said above, anyone who was there in 2004 can remember the confusion that arose among the delegates, and the floor committee (I believe it was FC #7). Anyway you slice it, this is a cumbersome and troubling process. It should be fixed.

    Johannes (curses! now I’m confused again)

  17. Folks,

    Please remember that the UL has swept the elections before. It’s not the only time it’s happened. The last time it did was 1998. In 2001, Jerry Kieschnick was elected. In 2004 and 2007 Jesus First swept the elections. So let’s not get too giddy. It will all come down to delegates again in three years.

    Dan

  18. Marty,

    Thanks for your usual insightful analysis. However, I would add that what the delegates did this year is no different than what they did in 1992–or even 2001 and 2004. The average delegate wants the LCMS to be three things: faithful (whatever that means), evangelistic, and at peace. In 1992 the delegates found such a man in Al Barry, who reminded everyone of their favorite wise, godly grandfather. Meanwhile, word had gotten out about Ralph Bohlmann’s mean streak; it was evident before the 1992 convention in the fiasco at Ft. Wayne; it would be evident after the convention (and every triennium since) in the way he consistently refused to congratulate Al Barry upon his election. (Even the visiting ELCA bishops have had the common human decency to congratulate the winners of our elections.) For the next 9 years the JF crowd treated Al Barry as if he were senile and drooling on himself, but their plan consistently backfired against them. “That’s my Grandpa you’re talking about!” was the gut reaction of most delegates, who saw that it was the JF people who were the ones unwilling to live at peace. Then came Barry’s untimely death in 2001. The conservatives had not proposed strong candidates besides Barry, and when Barry died, their supporters turned to vicious infighting among themselves, while Kieschnick projected a positive image. It is not surprising that Kieschnick won. During the next election Kieschnick appeared as a peacemaker, while Daniel Preus seemed to be a troublemaker. After all, Kieschnick had defended a DP who had shown himself both “evangelistic” and “faithful” (at least to the real faith that motivates many in our country, American Civil Religion), as he participated in the Yankee Stadium Service. Most of the alternative candidates that have been nominated since 2001 seem a little too grumpy to please your average delegate. Whether they had good grounds to be grumpy is besides the point.

    The elections of the past two decades indicate that the LCMS is willing to trust strongly confessional Lutherans if they have a positive agenda and believe that they will foster peace. The problem has occurred when the average delegate thinks that confessional Lutherans are just stirring up trouble for no good reason. But, of course, we really are about concordia, harmony. We are not about fighting for the sake of fighting, but we simply want to be faithful to the Scriptures and its life-giving message, for that is where true joy is to be found. (All right, I admit that there are some confessionals who just love a good fight over the most trivial of items and aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy, but that is not what most of us are about.) When Matt eventually steps off the stage, we will need to remember this truth as we find his replacement.

    I might add that there is one other interesting phenomenon in this election: Matt Harrison is the only person to be elected president of synod without first being a district president or the president of a seminary. Just as most U.S. presidents tend to be ex-governors, so it seems that most LCMS folk prefer people who have experience herding cats (or the closest thing to it). It makes his election all the more remarkable.

  19. >>Please remember that the UL has swept the elections before. It’s not the only time it’s happened.

    There is a big difference this time. Previously there were always holdovers on the various boards, Missions, Communications, Congregational Services, etc. This year also there probably would have been a majority of holdovers opposed to Rev. Harrison’s leadership on most of those boards. THAT was the undoing of Dr. Barry.

    However, this year something totally unprecedented happened — thanks to Pres. Kieschnick, BRTFSSG, and Jesus First. They insisted on eliminating all these boards, and thus prematurely terminating the terms of all those holdover incumbents. It is therefore both a clean sweep and a clean slate unlike ever before.

    Consider that under the old system the former Board for Missions Services would probably not even have had a majority in sync with Rev. Harrison. But now the new Board for International Missions has ten all new members — ALL from the United List, and presumably supportive of his leadership. That simply could never have happened before. And the Board for National Missions, encompassing the former Boards for Congregational Services and Communications among others, has nine out of ten members from the United List.

    This was an unexpected consequence of restructuring Resolution 8-08. Or, perhaps it actually was expected, a calculated attempt to sweep from these boards all the conservative holdovers. If so it backfired big time and had the exact opposite result.

    When in the recent past has any conservative President had 95% of members of the major Synodical boards in sync with him? NEVER! Preus and Barry in particular struggled year after year with boards that were often hostile to them.

    And the icing on the cake is that there is even a solid majority in sync with Rev. Harrison on the one major, most important board of all that did have some holdovers, the Board of Directors. Dr. Barry by contrast was hobbled from the start and for most of his term by an exceedingly hostile majority on the BOD that continually thwarted him. You may also recall that even Dr. Barry’s initial 1st Vice-President was extremely hostile toward his leadership.

    Rev. Harrison in contrast is blessed with a largely unified team, on the Praesidium, the Board of Directors, and the new Board for National Missions and International Missions mega boards.

  20. @Dan #18

    Oh, Dan, please, let us be giddy for a week. Maybe two.

    Then we can get all solumn and serious again.

    But right now, I want to celebrate, and I am!

    I’m also praying for Pastor Harrison, every day. I’ll bet you are, too.

  21. @boogie #16
    What I remember being there: Christian Preus was a floor nomination for LCEF Board. His nomination was questioned because a member of the LCEF said that all candidates had to have a background check. So the nomination went away while things were being investigated. A previous floor nomination [from the JF side I am heavily thinking] went through with no questions about the background check. To the chair’s good, he pointed this out. So they went and looked and none of those nominated, including those put forth by the nominations committee had had a background check. To the Chair opened nominations for LCEF board again and the two from the floor were accepted.

    I am also thinking that if they go back over several conventions none of the candidates nominated were given background checks.

  22. Dear James, aka “Dr. Kellerman” (comment #19),

    Thanks for your usual insightful analysis, too! If more people studied Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Politics, like you have, they might be able to see a little bit deeper into church and state politics, as you have keenly done here.

    I agree that the average delegate (and the average-lay-congregational-leader) in our LCMS wants our church to be faithful, evangelistic, and at peace. There is no reason that we cannot be all three, but some folks try to pit one quality against the other, with always deleterious effects. I firmly believe, based on “It’s Time,” that President-elect Harrison wants to be all three.

    Regarding your comment about “confessional Lutherans,” I agree with you that “confessional Lutheran” as a term has gotten such a bad name, from the slander flung by those who don’t want to follow the Book of Concord and the LCMS Constitution, that it is almost unusable now. But the term has a historic and venerable use and I would hate to see that lost.

    Regarding your comment about “herding cats,” I do not envy any District or Seminary President their position, and certainly not the Synodical President’s position. President Kieschnick spoke the truth recently when he talked about the “heavy burden” of office that he has shouldered in the last nine years.

    I hope that President-elect Harrison, and present-and-future leaders of our synod (both wannabes and don’t-wannabes), carefully pay attention to what you have said here about what the average delegate wants the LCMS to be. Thank God for the average LCMS delegate!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  23. @James Kellerman #19

    I would add just a few lines to your analysis of Pres. Kieschnick’s election in 2001. He was portrayed as a peacemaker by many, including my DP. He had been invited to several district conventions in 2000, where he was openly critical of the Barry administration, and indicating very strong unionistic leanings. In subsequent elections, JF showed what a finance-driven, organization-centered, vocal-sounding minority can do.

    Re: your last paragraph, I have not seen it reported, but I believe Rev. Harrison is the first ever candidate to unseat a standing president on the first ballot.

    Johannes

  24. @James Kellerman #19
    it seems that most LCMS folk prefer people who have experience herding cats (or the closest thing to it).

    Does anybody think Matt Harrison hasn’t had “experience herding cats”? Neither organizing the rebuilding of a run down neighborhood in Ft Wayne, nor the leadership of our “Human Care” with the major disasters we’ve had, has been a Sunday School picnic.

    IMnsvHO, the “background check” baloney sounds like one last effort to take a Preus out…. any Preus will do? But I wasn’t there.

  25. Do I read the following correctly: “Resolved, That four weeks prior to the start of the convention, two of the delegates to the previous district convention from each congregation be provided opportunity to cast votes in a secure fashion for the office of President.” [http://www.lcms.org/includes/convention/resolutions/todbiz.pdf#407]

    Does that mean that the President will be elected by a lay and pastoral vote from each congregation? I had thought that the congregation as a whole, including the pastor, would cast one vote, similar to the previous nominating ballot for President.

  26. Kebas,

    You read right. Isn’t that the screwiest thing you have ever heard of? It is another way in which the Task Force sold something as increased authority of the congregation when in actuality it is increased authority for the district and the beauracrats who get a few days at the district convention to control them.

    TR

  27. However, if I read correctly, this vote will not actually take place at the District convention itself, but a month before the Synodical convention, i.e. two years after the District convention, with the votes cast by some technological means, web, email, etc., by the pastoral and lay delegates from the previous District convention?

    This raises all sorts of questions:

    –What if the lay and/or pastoral delegates are no longer part of or serving at that congregation, have moved, taken a call, died, etc.? Two years is a very long time in our transient society. Does the new pastor or another layman vote for that congregation instead?

    –Since there are over 6,000 congregations this could involve over 10,000 people. Just keeping track of the address changes over a two-year period will be nearly impossible! (I’ve done some Synodical mailings like this and you’d be shocked how often congregations actually move, let alone pastors and laymen.)

    –The convention delegates are carefully divided 50-50 lay and pastoral. However, since multi-congregation parishes will receive multiple lay votes but only one pastoral vote for President, and vacant congregations will receive no pastoral vote, how much will this skew the vote on this office toward the laity? Given the number of multi-congregation parishes and vacant congregations, I’m guessing there will be about 6,000 possible lay votes but at most about 4,000 possible pastoral votes, or a 60-40 split instead of 50-50. This is a significant change. I’m not sure if it is good or bad, but it is significant, and I wonder if the ramifications and possible unintended consequences were really thought through.

    The more I read through the 18 (out of 40) restructuring resolutions which were passed, the more it seems like a clumsily patched together Rube Goldberg train wreck (if you’ll forgive the mixed metaphors).

  28. @Kebas #29

    Rev. Kebas–

    You said: “The more I read through the 18 (out of 40) restructuring resolutions which were passed, the more it seems like a clumsily patched together Rube Goldberg train wreck (if you’ll forgive the mixed metaphors).”

    Well said! You have hit the nail on the head, and driven it deep.

    The BRTFSSG and Floor Committee strike again!! This structure is an elephant put together by a president, a task force, a floor committee, and 1200 delegates. So what did you expect? Two+ days on this subject were a joke. There will have to be massive correction in 2013. Or a special convention.

    Johannes

  29. >>There will have to be massive correction in 2013. Or a special convention.

    If I were advising Rev. Harrison, I would recommend against this. After five years of hearing nothing but restructuring, people are sick of it. Fortunately Res. 8-12A gives him and the Board of Directors latitude in amending the Bylaws, “as may be necessary to implement the spirit of the resolutions involved in the restructuring of the Synod as adopted by the 2010 convention.” I would get some reliable old hands at Bylaws, along with Dr. Hartwig of course, to make the best they can out of this muddle. But most of all I would first spend three years and more proving that we CAN do great things even with a less than utopian ideal structure. I would not have a structure committee, task forces, Son of BRTFSSG, or any such thing until about 2016. Only then would I very gradually start making some necessary incremental changes–small bites that a convention can realistically handle.

  30. @Helen #26
    I don’t deny that Matt has had his fair amount of challenges in parish ministry and in the Purple Palace, but here’s what I was getting at by my “herding cats” reference. Being a district or seminary president is qualitatively different than being a senior pastor of a large congregation or even an administrator of a part of synod’s bureaucracy. While pastors and synodical commissioners may not quite have tyrranical power over their subordinates, they tend to find it easier to get their subordinates fired than would a district or seminary president. More to the point, district presidents are in charge of up to 300 pastors, each of whom believes that he is a greater preacher than St. Paul and who will not tolerate any interference from someone beyond his parish boundaries. Seminary presidents have a worse job, i.e., managing forty or fifty prima donnas, each of whom thinks that he is the greatest scholar in Christendom since Martin Luther (and probably better than him, too), and his colleagues are all dolts or spiritual pygmies. Those who can lead a district or a seminary for some time without being tarred and feathered are usually deemed worthy of consideration for synod president. Though Matt has not taken this particular route to leadership, I do think that he is up to the task.

  31. Kebas :
    However, this year something totally unprecedented happened — thanks to Pres. Kieschnick, BRTFSSG, and Jesus First. They insisted on eliminating all these boards, and thus prematurely terminating the terms of all those holdover incumbents. It is therefore both a clean sweep and a clean slate unlike ever before.

    Just a friendly reminder that one fo the resolutions passsed after 8-08A allowed for existing board members who had unfinished terms to be eliglbe for the new National and International Mission Boards structure. These veteran folks were placed on the ballot along with the new candidates. It was helpful and wncouraging to see that most all the candidates were featured in the Biopgraphy booklet and previously featured on the JF, United and Affirm’s “voting lists.” The elections occurred and the candidates were voted in or out as previously noted. In short, there were some veteran inclumbents placed back in the new board structure even though they had previously been serving on the old board structure.

  32. Martin R. Noland :Dear James, aka “Dr. Kellerman” (comment #19),
    Thanks for your usual insightful analysis, too! If more people studied Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Politics, like you have, they might be able to see a little bit deeper into church and state politics, as you have keenly done here.

    Thanks for the compliment, but for understanding church politics I would not recommend Plato and Aristotle, who tend to be more theoretical in their musings, but Socrates instead–not the fifth century B.C. philosopher, but the fifth century A.D. church historian. Too often people think that the Nicene Creed was adopted in 325 A.D. and that was that. They are then puzzled why the same didn’t happen after the Battle of New Orleans in 1973. Reading Socrates and his contemporary Sozomen (both of whom can be found in volume 2 of the second series of the Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers) can help us understand how things happen in church history:

    1. The Christian church throughout the centuries has wanted to be faithful, evangelistic, and at peace. This is not just true of the LCMS in the past 20 years.
    2. Orthodox theologians (such as Athanasius) should expect be to misunderstood.
    3. Often the opposition are not so much opposed to orthodoxy as think that the orthodox have overstated the case. Most people who rejected the Nicene Creed weren’t radical Arians, but simply people who thought that the orthodox were lapsing into Modalism.
    4. Eventually, the radical opponents will let their true colors be known as they overreach and the mushy middle will come around to orthodoxy, especially if the orthodox are trying to talk to them and clarify their concerns. Thus, the radical Arians (Anomoeans) began saying that the Son was completely unlike the Father. Meanwhile, the middle-of-the-road Homoiousians (who taught that the Son was like the Father but didn’t want to say that He was of the same nature because they thought that was Modalism) came to understand that the orthodox Homoousians weren’t crypto-Modalists and so the two came to an agreement. Similarly, many more moderate Lutherans have noticed that much of the radical ELCA agenda has been pushed by ex-Missourians of the Seminex era; this has begun to convince the middle that maybe the more orthodox had a point.

  33. @James Kellerman #32

    Pr. Kellerman,
    In what Utopian district do you have the good fortune to reside?
    Evidently the decree from CCM that DP’s may interfere with congregations w/o consulting the elected officers or the Pastor has not reached you there?

    I have spent half my life now in Texas, (though I hail from cooler climes).
    Let’s just say that my observation of DP’s lead me to another picture of the breed.

    Where Pres.-elect Harrison will need ‘herding experience’ is with the Council of Presidents, each of whom, (to carry on with your hyperbole) thinks the occupant of White House must be less important than himself. [There may be some exceptions; my experience is limited.] 🙁

  34. A relevant quote from the outgoing POS —

    “In his office, Kieschnick has surrounded himself with collected pieces of his life. There’s a copy of the “Treasury of Daily Prayer,” two photos of himself shaking hands with President George W. Bush, a sign that reads, “Time is short; Hell is not,” a bronze Frederic Remington sculpture called “Stampede” depicting a cowboy on horseback rounding up longhorns.

    “That one reminds me of my life,” Kieschnick said. “There’s a cowboy, head down, rein in one hand, whip in the other, on a horse surrounded by mad cows.””

    Quoted from:
    Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod to take up possible radical change in its structure
    * By Tim Townsend St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    * Posted: July 10, 2010 at 6:01 pm

  35. @Helen #35
    I must stick up for the Rev. Doctor, we are in the NID and our Bishop does a pretty good job of working with all of us, perhaps we are in Lutheran Utopia. OK, it is not perfect, errors to correct and always ongoing, but so far so good. Rev. President Gilbert does a good job in a big district, with many divisions, and many times bigger egos.

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