“If I were President Harrison I would…,” by Pr. Rossow

I hope you will take me up on this offer to complete the above sentence. I make this invitation not so much to instruct President Harrison, although he could do worse than paying attention to the amassed confessional wisdom of BJS readers. He is going to do what he deems best and overall there is no doubt his decisions will be a blessing for Lutheranism. Rather, I offer this question to help us all continue to fine tune our sense of what is best for the LCMS and to facilitate this important discussion amongst our BJS readers.

Pastor Wilken got us going with his post last week on honesty and patience. There was a lot of wisdom shared in the post and the comments and thought it might be good to continue that discussion. I will lead off. Feel free to comment on my thoughts or better yet complete the sentence with your own thoughts.

If I were President Harrison I would…

  • Meditate daily and deeply on the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions to stave off the flaming darts of the evil one.
  • Teach the principles of authentic Lutheran doctrine and practice at every opportunity available to the president.
  • Resist the temptation to think of the LCMS as two (or more) distinct factions and instead focus on what it means to be authentically Lutheran and use the formerly marginal but now (due to the Task Force changes) significant authority of the office of president to lead the synod by
    • thinking like a Lutheran (Christ-centered/cross-focused, Law/Gospel, sinner/saint, two kingdoms, etc.)
    • speaking like a Lutheran (preaching, teaching, publicity)
    • acting like a Lutheran (piety, spirituality and worship)
  • Work the Koinonia program as described in “It’s Time.”
  • Surround myself with authentically Lutheran associates and confidants and fill all appointments with authentically Lutheran people. These are positions of influence and need to be recognized as such. You do not appoint folks who have fundamental differences with an authentically Lutheran position in the sprit of unity. (It took me twenty years to learn this. For instance, for years I foolishly promoted men as elders who were not fully developed and not entirely authentically Lutheran and expected that they would grow into that position. It just does not work that way.)
  • Spend the first couple of years teaching about authentic Lutheranism and identifying non-Lutheran practices and piety and only after that, slowly and deliberately exercise supervision in beginning with extreme cases of unscriptural practice in the LCMS (e.g. open cases of unionistic worship) and over time extend the reach of supervision to more and more situations.
  • Be personal and genuine. Do not take yourself too seriously.

What I am suggesting is a slow and steady approach that teaches first and then acts. I learned this in my first call. The congregation I was sent to did not use any translation except the KJV. One can do worse than that but the congregation was also missing out on the benefits of updated translations. Within the first year I taught a class on how the Bible came to us. At the end of that class “Clarence” the emeritus elder (yes, they had emeritus elders), a staunch supporter of reading only the KJV, slowly stood up and asked the greatest leading question I have ever heard in a Bible class: “Pastor, based on what we have learned in the last few weeks is there any reason we could not use some of these other fine translations?” I taught first and then let the elders and voters act. It doesn’t always work so well but it is certainly the evangelical approach to change and reform.

There are my thoughts. Let me know what you think ab out them or better yet submit your own list in the comment section below.

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.

Comments

“If I were President Harrison I would…,” by Pr. Rossow — 83 Comments

  1. Pastor Tim Rossow :Johannes #45,
    You are dead wrong or at least misguided and so is everyone else who grinds your “the LCMS is not the church” axe. Let me explain.
    Yours and others’ logic on this seems to be this: the church administers the word and sacraments therefore, only that/who which does this is the church. Therefore the church is totally circumscribed by local congregations and thus the synod is not the church. Please correct me if I am misrepresenting your view on this.
    According to this logic, pastors, boards of elders, church councils, or any other person or entity in the church are not a part of the church because they are not the entities that administer word and sacrament. (I am not quite sure who or what the church is then.) They should only do left hand kingdom stuff then because they are not the church. My point is that this ruling the synod out of the “church” is done so on some shaky logic. For sure, we do not want to equate the church with something temporal like the pope, the synod, pastors, elders, voters assemblies, etc. But on the other hand, we do not divorce the church from these physical entities. The church is where the Gospel is preached in its purity and the sacraments are administered according to Christ’s command. We have invented the synod as a means to supprt that work.
    Is the LCMS a congregation? Of course not. We should not mistake it for a congregation but who is doing that? No one I know. Is the LCMS a part of the church. Of course it is, just as pastors, boards of elders, church councils, or any other person or entity in the church are “parts” of the church and so we can and do expect them to do churchly things.
    This divorce of church from the synod is certainly helpful so that we keep from letting any erson or entity have authority over the word of God. That is what the distinction is for and that is it. It is not intended to defend the notion that the synod will not do churchly things or is limited only to the left hand kingdom.
    I site no less of a Waltherian than Kurt Marquart who in his book on the church will have nothing of this distinction because it is so silly. He simply refutes it by noting that the word “church” is used in the Bible to refer to the local congregation, a region of congregations and all congregations. He then goes on to say that things like synods are fine to have and are indeed church.
    I am all for reminding President Kieschnick and President Elect Harrison and my bishop that they have no authority over my congregation other than the authority of the word but that does not mean thier work is limited to the left hand kingdom. That is just silly. Congregations are free to establish offices that are responsible for doctrinal supervision and we have done just that in the LCMS with the office of SP. The first duty of the synod president is to supervise the doctrine and practice of all DP’s and synod staff. The doctrinal buck stops with him in our synod. Does that make him a pope? No it does not because he has no doctrinal authority other than the word of God. Is that right hand kingdom work? Yes it is.
    Please help me see where I am wrong.
    TR

    Pastor Tim: Good morning.

    Your explanation of the synod as “The Church” is excellent. My differentiation would have been better explained by segmenting the sacramental church from the business operation run in the name of the church. There have also been references on this board to Synod Inc. which probably better identifies the entity in which I was referring.

    Tim

  2. @Jim Pierce #35

    Good morning Jim:

    I cannot claim any insight into the convention election other than to look at two items:

    1. The vote follows on the heals of the 2008 presidential election where “change” was viewed more importantly than status quo. This may well repeat in the fall election cycle.

    2. Both Pastor Harrison and the restructuring measures were passsed. It was predicted on this forum that this would be a zero sum equation. Restructuring was to equate to the current administration while no restructuring was to equal a Pastor Harrison victory.

    Again, I offer no insight just the view of an outside stakeholder who watched the events unfold.

    Tim

  3. Hi Everyone,

    The distinction between kingdom left and right is a theological distinction which describes the life of the Christian in the sinful world.

    Where my systematic icon, Dr. Marquart, has brought to light is that two kingdom theology is not a platonic duality – as if the distinctions exist in their own vacuum.

    The key is the left and rights primary and secondary purpose.

    e.g
    church
      primary – sin/grace – morality is not its goal
      secondary – order – freedom to love which produces acts of mercy
      iow we do left hand
    society
      primary – order – structure – love – freedom – morality
      secondary – religion – “god” – why American Religion is good in any form
      iow the society does religion

    Marquart rightly points out that synod is also church because it does provide the structure solely for the purpose of doing Lutheran in an orderly manner in the world.

    Only Lutherans understand how the distinction and all of history – serves the church and has one ultimate purpose identify sin and forgive it through the means. This is the wisdom of the church, to understand the distinctions and proclaim them without divorcing them into platonic dualism so they are not intwined.

    Marquart points out that the civil order is the “scaffold” so the church can do her work.

    All other Christian denominations grossly confuse law and gospel and therefore, the two kingdoms.

    Sell

  4. #54:”Marquart rightly points out that synod is also church because it does provide the structure soley for the purpose of doing Lutheran in an orderly manner in the world.

    Marquart WRONGLY points out that synod is also church. The Missouri Synod is NOT a church, but a synod of churches. The erroneous notion that the Synod is a church seems to occur around the Loeheist/sacerdotalist fringe and the liberal/high church fringe within the Missouri Synod. There are a number of clear and plain indications that the Missouri Synod is NOT a church, some of which are:

    1. The original organization (Die Deutsche Evangelische Lutherische Synode von Missouri, Ohio, und andern Staaten) was a “Synod” of sixteen congregations and twelve pastors, along with eleven advisory members (ten pastors and one teacher); there was no mention of “church” in the name.
    2. The Missouri Synod in its Constitution does not define or refer to itself as a church or provide the authority for its members to act as a congregation.
    3. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod properly means the Missouri Synod organization of congregational and individual members who belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
    4. The Evangelical Lutheran Church is a church which individual congregations assert in their name identified in their church constitutions.
    5. The Missouri Synod has only church workers as individual members. No individual confessional Lutheran laity who are not recognized church workers may join the Synod.
    6. In his First Presidential Address, C.F.W. Walther clear distinguishes between the individual churches included in the membership of the Synod, the larger evangelical Lutheran Church, particularly as it exists in the United States, and the organization known as Synod.
    7. The Missouri Synod has a congregational polity, not an episcopal polity; the synodical president is not the pastor of all synodical pastors, or even the COP. The synodical president is not authorized as synodical president to officiate AC.XIV duties of a called pastor.
    8. The Missouri Synod has no called pastor to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments to its individual members. The pastors who do serve the individual members of Synod are called through separate congregational churches in which synodical members hold congregational membership.
    9. The Church is a divine institution; the Synod is only a human institution.
    10. The Missouri Synod can only be referred to a “church” in a metonymic sense.

  5. @Carl Vehse #56

    Thanks, Carl, wherever and whomever you are. You and I may be a minority here, but welcome to the club. I’m sorry that this discussion has gone down this rabbit trail. If the webmeister wishes us to cease and desist, we can take it up somewhere else.

    In any case, I am preparing a less-than-acerbic response to some of the posts above, that I hope will clarify my rash statement, and will post it later. However, I leave with this question:

    With respect to “The Church”, which statement is more accurate: “The Southern Antarctica District (SAD) of the LCMS exists to fulfill the Great Commission.” Or “The Southern Antarctica District (SAD) of the LCMS exists to assist its congregations to fulfill the Great Commission.”?

    Thanks again, Carl, for backing me up.

    Johannes (apparently not-so-dead wrong, but getting confused)

  6. Another reason:

    11. A church, as a divine institution, has the the God-given right and authority in the power of the keys to excommunicate (Thesis VII on the Church; Thesis VI on the Ministry). The Missouri Synod, as a human institution, does not.

  7. @Pastor Tim Rossow #49

    You say, “You are dead wrong or at least misguided and so is everyone else who grinds your ‘the LCMS is not the church’ axe…” I’m afraid that you have misunderstood my comments. The whole point of my post (#45) is that doing “churchly things”, and being a part of “the church” does not make a person or an entity “the church.” I believe that is where you have misunderstood me.

    I said: “Boards of Directors operate in the Kingdom of the Left Hand in service to the Right Hand Kingdom–they are NOT the church. Districts [I should have added ‘synods’] exist to enable their constituent congregations to preach the Gospel and Administer the Sacraments, thereby making disciples (new and maturing)–they are NOT the church.”

    You respond: “For sure, we do not want to equate the church with something temporal like the pope, the synod, pastors, elders, voters assemblies, etc. But on the other hand, we do not divorce the church from these physical entities. The church is where the Gospel is preached in its purity and the sacraments are administered according to Christ’s command. We have invented the synod as a means to support that work.” Hello? Is there an echo in here? Aren’t we both saying the same thing in effect—that we don’t equate the church with the synod? Where have I divorced the church from the “physical entities?”

    You further said: “This divorce of church from the synod is certainly helpful so that we keep from letting any person or entity have authority over the word of God. That is what the distinction is for and that is it. It is not intended to defend the notion that the synod will not do churchly things or is limited only to the left hand kingdom.”
    You rebuke me for saying that Synod is not The Church, and you say that the two are NOT divorced, and later you have the two divorced. Which is it? Where did I say that the synod (or districts or boards or commissions) do not do churchly things?

    My statement about left-hand kingdom work was in specific reference to Boards of Directors—that is where most of their work is done—but it is always in service to the right-hand kingdom—that does not make their work “un-churchly” nor did I intend that. Legal entities we call districts (or synods) exist for the purposes that both you and I have said. But the confusion still exists, and your statements have to a large degree confirmed what I said. I repeat: doing “churchly things” does not necessarily define am entity doing such things as “The Church.” The recent Synod Board of Directors controversy was based largely on left-hand kingdom issues–but in service to the right-hand kingdom. Does that make the BOD “the Church?”

    I may not have expressed myself as clearly as I should, however, your response has hardly cleared the matter up. I’m perfectly willing to accept correction if I have blundered, but it hardly calls for a whack upside the head with an ecclesiastical 4 x 4. Perhaps the tone of my original post was understood to have a similar “4 x 4” quality. It was unintended and, moreover, I did not refer to those with whom I disagree as “dead wrong, misguided, or axe-grinders”. It was an attempt to clear up some confusion—apparently it failed.

    Johannes (Wrong?—maybe. Misguided?—perhaps. Axe-grinding?—hardly. Confused? You bet! And very curmudgeonly this morning.) And thanks again, Carl.

  8. Johannes,

    While the Missouri Synod is not a church, I am not sure that the Synod can be placed entirely into the “Kingdom of the Left Hand,” which is Christ’s Kingdom of Power.

    There are aspects of the synod, when it does assist, aid and help coordinate the preaching of the Gospel in and through its member churches that fall into the “Kingdom of the Right Hand,” that is, Christ’s Kingdom of Grace, just as parents teaching their children the Gospel are also doing this within the Kingdom of Grace, although other aspects of parenthood may fall within the Kingdom of Power.

    In any case I do not think that the Synod will be operating in Christ’s Kingdom of Glory.

  9. @Carl Vehse #60
    Of course, we agree. I am not saying that the LCMS is only of the “Left Hand” kingdom. As you have correctly stated above, it ain’t THE church either. We are on the same page, and I don’t believe we’re straining at gnats, because, in my experence, confusion of the kingdoms has resulted in some awful stuff. For instance, TCN, which plainly puts the Pastor in the Kingdom of Power, as the CEO, a la our Baptist friend and frequent speaker/consultant, Paul Borden. Having worked in, with, and under various synodical & district entities, I can tell you from first hand experience that there is a ton of confusion and just plain ignorance among well-intentioned, faithful, hard-working people about the two kingdoms (or three, if you will). One common manifestation of this is that the Gospel is often regarded as Law, and is administered that way.

    Thanks for your clear thinking and helpful posts on this subject. And my apologies to the rest of the contributors for this rabbit trail.

    Johannes (blog threadly-challenged)

  10. I should add that the confusion over what is “church” is where the confusion about kingdoms often originates–this is the reason for my concern. From there, all kinds of mischief can happen, most of it unintended.

    j

  11. Since Marquart has been mentioned, I would like to quote from his book “The Church and Her Fellowship, Ministry, and Governance.” I think this quote will be helpful, since I think there is a misconception as to what he means with the idea that synod is church.

    A word must be said here about local churches in relation to larger church-bodies, for instance at regional, national, and international levels. Geographical or political boundaries have of course in principle no significance for the Church. The traditional Lutheran distinction is between “simple church” (ecclesia simplex) and “composite church” (ecclesia composita). The “simple” church is the local church, the gathering round a particular font, pulpit, and altar. The “composite” church is composed of several “simple” churches. The local church is the minimal entity that can be unambiguously identified as a church. On the other hand, local churches do not cease to be churches when they act together as, say, “synods,” in their common churchly confession and work. Such synods are clearly churches—”composite” churches—because they are made up of churches. A “synod” in the sense of a deliberative assembly (“convention,” nowadays) is “representative church” (ecclesia repraesentativa), and this not because large numbers of “Christians” are present and occupied somehow with God’s Word, but because the churches are officially represented, first of all by their public teachers and then also by other competent delegates. All this was quite clear to the founders of the Missouri Synod, who placed “the example of the Apostolic Church (Acts 15:1-31)” at the head of their synodical constitution and later, in founding the Synodical Conference, wrote into that body’s constitution as its “aim and purpose” the “consolidation of all Lutheran synods of America into a single, faithful, devout American Lutheran Church.”

    Those who urge that nothing beyond local congregations can really be a church, often to so without adequate theological reflection, simply in order to avoid the spiritual tyranny of a “super church”—whatever that is. This well-meaning argument is badly mistaken, however. It is precisely as churches that synods are controlled by faith and love, and therefore cannot tyrannize anybody. The more this churchly constitution and its constraints are forgotten, and replaced by political notions of majority rule and commercial chains of command, the more scope there is for worldly, carnal power and all its works. This goes to the heart of the question of the nature of church government. (pp. 202,203)

    Again, I found the above very helpful as to what Dr. Marquart means with the idea that synod is church. He is definitely not equating synod with the invisible Church of Christ (and neither was Dr. Rossow to be fair), nor is he denying that synod operates at times in the left-handed kingdom—local congregations also do this.

    I hope the above is helpful and the above book is a good read if anyone reading this post hasn’t had the chance to go through it.

  12. Jim,

    Thanks for providing the quote. I was doing the argument from memory. Marquart really helps us out on this whole thing. The synod is the church according to Scripture. Enough of this “the synod is not the church” stuff. It is well intentioned, and I agree with the goal of the statement as it is used by most, but it is in the end untrue and not a helpful statement.

    Rev. President Harrison – have at it. You are at the head of the true visible church on earth, insofar as there is one. Supervise us! But of course, do so with Scripture. If you stray, we will let you know.

    TR

  13. Hi Everyone,

    In prepping for this week’s sermon, I was reading up again on justification and of course, it’s hard to beat the sainted Robert Preus’ writings. I have to do this regularly because of my flesh.

    I realized I needed to clarify my “If I were Harrison…” point. The reason why I would love to see an emphasis on the sacramental life is two-fold. It is Justification. It is the Word of God. That’s the point about the sacraments are the gospel.

    I came across this article by Klemet Preus about Justification and his father, Robert Preus. Boy was it great to read again.

    Here is a quote from Pastor Klemet Preus,

    (talking about baptism, the pastor, the liturgy, etc.) It is nothing, baptism is nothing, the pastoral office is nothing and means nothing if we are not talking about the substitution of Jesus, the obedience of Jesus, the merits of Jesus, the suffering of Jesus for us, the payment of the cost of our redemption by Jesus, the reality of the cessation of God’s wrath because Jesus drank the cup down to the bitter dregs, the objective reconciliation and justification, the reality of that verdict of forgiveness, and the real imputation of that real righteousness so that we can say without any doubt at all, I am righteous! I am righteous, clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ himself. This is Lutheran theology, and there is no sacramental or incarnational theology worth talking about that isn’t talking about this.

    http://www.christforus.org/Papers/Content/justificationRPreus.html

    Sell

  14. Sorry!!! It was ROLF Preus’ paper, not Klemet’s. Just saw Klemet at Higher Things a few weeks ago… geesh. It’s time to go to bed.

  15. In the excerpt from his The Church and Her Fellowship, Ministry, and Governance Marquart claimed: The “composite” church is composed of several “simple” churches… Such synods are clearly churches—”composite” churches—because they are made up of churches.

    Marquart’s argument is an example of the logical fallacy, “affirming the consequent.” It assumes that because the consequent exists, the antecedent exists as well. The fallacy Marquart employed can be seen using a similar example: A baseball team is composed of athletes. A football team is clearly a baseball team because a football team is made up of athletes. How did this fallacy get past the book’s editorial review?

    The confusion also shows up in the use of “composed of” and “made up of.” What does these terms mean? An episcopacy is a church structure composed of churches, and having a hierarchical set of bishops (pastors). Such an episcopacy is not the same as the Missouri Synod, whose synodical administrative leader are not pastors of the synod, and which is an advisory organization of individual and congregational members. Thus Marquart’s definition of a synod does not apply to the Missouri Synod.

    It is a good thing that we still have Dr. Carl S. Mundinger’s Government of the Missouri Synod (CPH, 1947) to rely on for refuting erroneous revisionist notions of Missouri Synod governance. The distinction of the Missouri Synod from an episcopist system is illustrated by Mundinger’s description Missouri Synod governance (pp. 185-6):

    According to a definite set of regulations the President is to visit every congregation belonging to Synod at least once every three years… If the Synod is unsuccessful [in correcting an erring pastor from proclaiming false doctrine], the pastor in question must be expelled from membership in the Synod, and — here the Missouri system differs from that of other Lutheran synods in America —his congregation must deal with him on the basis of Matt. 18:17-20 and, if necessary, excommunicate him. The right to depose a pastor from office remains definitely in the hands of the congregations.

    As the Missouri Synod grew, triennial visits to each church by one man quickly became impractical and district presidents were used. But the principle remains today. The Missouri Synod is an advisory body and will determine individual and congregational membership in the synod, but not whether church members or pastors are to be excommunicated or deposed; that authority remains with the church. The Missouri Synod is not a church.

  16. In the excerpt from his The Church and Her Fellowship, Ministry, and Governance Marquart also claimed: All this was quite clear to the founders of the Missouri Synod, who placed “the example of the Apostolic Church (Acts 15:1-31)” at the head of their synodical constitution

    The quoted phrase and its Scriptural reference do not indicate or imply the Missouri Synod is to be or, in fact, was established as a church.

    Marquart: … and later, in founding the Synodical Conference, wrote into that body’s constitution as its “aim and purpose” the “consolidation of all Lutheran synods of America into a single, faithful, devout American Lutheran Church.”

    A couple of brief, selective excerpts from a document of a Synodical Conference, which no longer exists, without more detail context are not sufficient proof that its organizers, including Walther, regarded the Missouri Synod is a church. Furthermore, the writings from and about the Synodical Conference provided in Moving Frontiers (Carl S. Meyer, CPH, 1964, pp. 260-267, 285-286, 288-290) show no view that the Missouri Synod was regarded as a church or becoming a church.

    The rest of Marquart’s rhetoric simply ignored the reality that a church is a divine institution and acts in authority from God’s command, and that a Missouri Synod is neither a divine institution nor does it have the authority to do what a church has the authority to do.

    The eleven points made earlier on the distinction that the Missouri Synod is not a church remain valid.

  17. Carl Vehse :Marquart’s argument is an example of the logical fallacy, “affirming the consequent.” It assumes that because the consequent exists, the antecedent exists as well. The fallacy Marquart employed can be seen using a similar example: A baseball team is composed of athletes. A football team is clearly a baseball team because a football team is made up of athletes. How did this fallacy get past the book’s editorial review?

    I don’t think Marquart has committed that logical fallacy. He is arguing that synods are “composite churches.” He has defined a “composite church” as a set of “simple churches.” The argument is if several simple churches are in fellowship together they form a “composite church.” It is in that sense Marquart argues that synod is church. So his argument is, if several simple churches “act together,” then they comprise a complex church. A synod is several simple churches acting together. Therefore a synod is a complex church. That is a valid argument form and that is what Marquart is arguing.

    He also asserts that there is another sense in which synods exist as church and that is in the sense of a “representative church.” I understand him here as basically arguing that synods is a “church” in a legal sense, but I could be wrong.

  18. Marquart’s argument first states that a composite church is composed of churches. Where he employs a logical fallacy is when Marquart then claims that since the synod is made up of churches, the synod is a composite church, that is, a church. Such an argument is a fallacy known as “affirming the consequent” because it assumes that all groups composed of churches are composite churches. This has not been proved and, in fact is not true in the case of the Missouri Synod.

    As I pointed out earlier there are different types of organizations whose members may include churches, but these organizations are not necessarily the church. This is especially true for the Missouri Synod, which differs from the church in at least eleven ways I previously noted. In a like manner, a men’s organization is made up of men. But unlike an individual man the organization does not have a wife and children, have a driver’s license, vote in elections, belong to Army reserves, etc.

    Having an entity represent a group of church does not make the entity a church. A pastor or lay delegate to a convention may represent his church at a convention but that person is not the church. Again, the Missouri Synod is not the church except in a metonymic sense.

  19. 1Ki 2:3-6 “And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that the LORD may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said, ‘you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’

    “Moreover you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed. And he shed the blood of war in peacetime, and put the blood of war on his belt that was around his waist, and on his sandals that were on his feet. Therefore do according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray hair go down to the grave in peace.”

  20. @Carl Vehse #72

    Rick, no he has not committed the fallacy you attribute to him and I provided a logical form of his argument bearing that out. You obviously disagree with Marquart, but I think I have shown why we can give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the logical form of his argument.

  21. @Carl Vehse #72

    I was in a hurry when I typed the above and I wanted to point out why Dr. Marquart isn’t “affirming the consequent.” In earlier chapters of the book I quoted from above, Marquart distinguishes the invisible church from the visible church. The descriptions of “simple,” “composite,” and “representative church” obviously for Marquart apply to the visible church. The point here is that the argument I understand you to be presenting as Marquart’s is not. Marquart is not arguing “A composite church is comprised of simple churches. A synod is a composite church. Therefore, a synod is church.” Instead, he is arguing something that looks close to the syllogism I just presented, but the terms of the argument are quite different. He argues, 1) “The ‘composite’ church is composed of several ‘simple’ churches…. 2) “[S]ynods are clearly churches—’composite’ churches—because they are made up of churches.” Or, as I broke out the argument, “(P) If several simple churches ‘act together,’ then (Q) they comprise a complex church. (P) A synod is several simple churches acting together. Therefore (Q) a synod is a complex church.” The consequent isn’t being affirmed in this argument. Marquart is not arguing that a synod is the visible church anymore than he is arguing that a simple church is the visible church. Instead, he is arguing that certain combinations of circumstances, or certain “groupings” of “simple churches” do not make them any less church. A synod is not church in virtue of large numbers of Christians acting together with the same purpose, or what ever, but rather a synod is church because the “simple churches” which comprise it do not cease to be part of the visible church in virtue of gathering together around a common confession of faith.

    However, I do see your point, but I don’t think you are making your case by focusing on a fine point of validity in an argument. In fact, even if the logical form was in error, we could still seperate out the premises and argue for their truth, so an invalid argument form only tells us he has a bad argument. We could still look at the information contained in the premises to see what Marquart is saying and if a good argument can still be had—hence, giving him the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, I believe your disagreement with Marquart is over his definitions of churches and in particular over his definition of “synod.” I think for you to make a stronger argument against his definition, you will need to show why his definition—and not just the logical form of his argument, since a valid for of his argument can be had as I show above—is wrong.

    I won’t bore you, and other readers, with this anymore. So I will sign off on this particular debate. 🙂

  22. Carl Vehse :Marquart’s argument first states that a composite church is composed of churches. Where he employs a logical fallacy is when Marquart then claims that since the synod is made up of churches, the synod is a composite church, that is, a church. Such an argument is a fallacy known as “affirming the consequent” because it assumes that all groups composed of churches are composite churches.

    Actually, I think that this is more along the lines of the fallacy of composition – drawing an illegitimate conclusion about the whole based on some attribute that is shared by all of its constituent parts. The question is whether the property of “being church,” which we believe that every individual congregation has, is also possessed by organizations of multiple congregations, such as the Synod. Obviously the answer depends on exactly how we define what “being church” means. An analogy as food for thought: Every member of a congregation has the property of being human; would it therefore be right to say that the congregation itself has the property of being human?

  23. If I were President Harrison: I would insist that my salary be based upon the district guidelines of the Missouri District at perhaps 150% of the scale for the years in ministry! I would further ask that the BOD rewrite the manuel that establishes the salary of all those at the International Center so they would be more in line with the general salaries of those in the active ministry whether that be pastoral of teachers etc.

  24. @Rev. Roger Sterle #79

    Pastor Sterle,
    That is easier to say when you are in the parish as the (underpaid, probably) Pastorl
    The salary increases demanded by the last administration, in the face of lay-offs among the laity, might be foregone in the future. It would yield a hundredfold in good will among us pewsitters.

    As a matter of practicality, though, I will be thankful if synod just stops paying non Lutheran consultants for generic protestant /business advice!

    Frankly, given the Augean stable that the convention created for Rev. Harrison, he deserves every penny presently earned while he cleans up the mess.

  25. If I were President-elect Harrison, I would concentrate on the job and not read too many blogs! 🙂
    Not being President-elect Harrison, I will try to pray for him and his assistants often as they rebuild the “structure” of lcms. May they be supported by their friends and defended from all enemies …”the devil, the world and our own sinfulness”!

  26. @Pastor Tim Rossow #26

    Rev. Rossow:

    Has this thread simmered enough? With the installation of Rev. Harrison just hours away, how about a thread that addresses my recommended question: “If Rev. Harrison were me, he would want me to…”?

    As Rev. Harrison looks out to the faces of those gathering tomorrow, as a leader what do you think he would say to each member of Synod as instruction so that we can heal? How should I deal with those with whom I disagree? How do I forgive those who have overtly or covertly hurt our unity as a Synod under the bloody cross of Christ?

    Alas, for some reason I think my counter-question has fallen into a black hole.

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