Great Stuff Found on the Web — Pr Frahm points out a quote from Dr. Scaer’s “Missouri’s Identity Crisis”

There’s all this talk around the synod about the CTCR or other organizations producing the final say on this or that issue .. we of course can’t forget the fact that everything that we do has to be based on the bible and confessions and not on this or that bylaw or ruling.

Thanks to Pr John Frahm for finding and sending this quote out yesterday. It is from Dr. David Scaer from a paper that he wrote/presented in 2002.

Dr. David Scaer is professor of systematic theology at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne. He is a colorful character and is considered the mentor of many pastors in the LCMS. The following article will give you and idea why is so highly revered.

This quote comes from the first full paragraph on page 5 of:

Missouri’s Identity Crisis: Rootless in America
David P. Scaer
The 25th Annual Symposium on the Lutheran Confessions
January 23, 2002
Concordia Theological Seminary

“Doing theology solely by referencing historic and officially approved documents can become an obstacle to taking the Scriptures on their own terms and to looking to the Confessions in controverted issues. Later documents become theological playing fields and sola scriptura and confessional subscription play a lesser role in doing theology. Another step is taken by a complex cross-referencing of CTCR documents. The end product is a midrash requiring knowing the intended sense of the CTCR at the time of their composition and the emotions of the conventions adopting these documents. We are faced with an historical criticism of another kind. Church documents can never be received as secondary scriptures, so that we assume for the synod an infallibility that we deny the Bishop of Rome. Just how useful some of these documents are is another issue, as for example the ministry resolution of July 2001. A Brief Statement is valuable as the word “brief” suggests it did not claim to be exhaustive.”

David P. Scaer. “Missouri’s Identity Crisis: Rootless in America,” Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology (Volume XII, Number 1, 2003); p.37

Click here for the audio presentation

Click here for the PDF. The quote above is found on page 5 of this PDF file.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Great Stuff Found on the Web — Pr Frahm points out a quote from Dr. Scaer’s “Missouri’s Identity Crisis” — 45 Comments

  1. Two comments:
    1. Supporting Dr. Scaer’s observation, if you have never read a papal encyclical, do so and especially peruse the foot notes: yes Scripture is cited and every papal document imaginable for the last couple hundred years to support the position presented, as if Scripture was non satis est.
    2.Further, as in the Roman Church and also in the LCMS, then tradition and reason (can) become(s) equal to the authority of Scripture, not servants of the Word: a three-legged stool of authoritieS. No more Sola Scriptura.

    Great quote. Thanks.

  2. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    Dr. Scaer, as usual, is right on the mark. His “Theological Observer” articles in Concordia Theological Quarterly (before that in Springfielder) are a gold mine of information about what was going in the LCMS during those years, and in wider Lutheranism, too. Unfortunately, it looks like the “Observer” articles were not included in the new CTSMedia webpage; so you will have to go to a pastor’s library, CU campus, or seminary campus to read up on those articles.

    CTCR has “morphed” into something it was not intended to be. It started back in the 1930s as the “Committee for Lutheran Church Union”, then changed name to “Committee on Doctrinal Unity.” It had an important role, then, in holding meetings determining the possibility and terms of church fellowship with other Lutheran church-bodies. As part of that role, it also came up with documents explaining these arrangements. This is explained in: Fuerbringer and Franzmann, “A Quarter Century of Interchurch Relations: 1935-1960,” Concordia Theological Monthly 32 #1 (Jan. 1961):5-14.

    In the early 1960s, the synod restructured itself, as proposed in “The Report of the Synodical Survey Commission,” (1962). This commission proposed that five commissions be merged: Committee on Doctrinal Unity, Committe on Woman’s Suffrage, Advisory Committee on Doctrine and Practice, Committee on Finnish Relations, and Committee on Bible Versions–into the Commission Theology and Church Relations.

    The new commission was to continue the predecessor’s work in fellowship discussions with members of the Synodical Conference, global partner churches, and church federations. It was also given the task of “seeking solutions for internal theological problems which demand study.” In the latter respect, “the Commission shall be strictly advisory in this capacity, along the line of brotherly effort in the interest of divine truth.” This is, more or less, what the synod adopted as the work of the CTCR.

    In my opinion, much of the CTCR’s writing has been good and useful; a few pieces have been excellent; some has been awful. In my opinion, the CTCR documents would be much more useful and unifying to the church if they followed Walther’s example, and quoted all relevant Bible and Confession passages at the outset, and explain how they apply to the situation. Instead, especially in recent years, the CTCR quotes non-Lutheran authors, convention resolutions, and itself as an authority.

    My impression is that the theologians on the CTCR (i.e., commission members) have in recent years been frustrated. Many votes have pitted the theologians against the non-theologians, with the latter “winning” on some subject that, when published, can only be embarrassing for the synod. Some of the problem, then, seems to be the way in which the CTCR is now structured, or its procedures.

    The biggest issue, however, is that the CTCR is no longer advisory, but under the dispute resolution system, is the Final Court of Appeal on cases remanded to it. And it is often quoted as if it is not advisory, but a mandatory authority which all must follow, as if it is our own “ex cathedra” pope.

    So it is not the use of the CTCR that is the problem, but the abuse. Abusus non tollit est sed confirmabat.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  3. A couple other good quotes from this paper:

    “The synod is now really a not-for-profit organization that resembles other charitable and educational institutions. Not only do its educational institutions have a freer hand in the conduct of their affairs, but congregations are freed up to adopt their own requirements for baptism, confirmation, and admission to the Lord’s Supper. Whether or not terms like “sovereign” and “autonomous” are theologically appropriate for congregations, they do describe the state of affairs. Sadly the downside is that the synod loses its churchly character and we see ourselves as members of a mere confederation at best and a free association at worst. How we organize ourselves as a synod does affect how we understand ourselves.”
    [p.38 in Logia edition of this essay]

    “Confessional Lutheranism comes with the price of having constantly to examine, define, and defend its theological positions. Unlike Rome, the Anglicans and the Reformed, we do not have a particular polity on which we insist, and as a result we have no organizational model as a unifying principle on which to fall back.” [p.39]

  4. C.F.W. Walther said about Loehe:

    “Next to God it is Pastor Loehe whom our synod must almost solely thank
    for the happy increase and rapid strengthening in which it rejoices; it
    must rightly honor him as its real spiritual father.”

  5. Rev. John A. Frahm (#7) provided a quote from Walther about Loehe’s contribution to the synod’s growth.

    Such an undated and unreferenced quote needs to be put in context. Walther wrote the statement about Loehe in 1852. The translated quote comes from p. 65 in James L. Schaaf’s “Wilhelm Loehe and the Missouri Synod,” (Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly, Vol.45, May 1972: pp. 53-7); also in Wilhelm Loehe’s Relation to the American Church. A Study in the History of the Lutheran Mission, Ph.D. dissertation, Heidelberg, 1961).

    The statement was following the 1851 visit to Loehe in Germany by Walther and F.C.D. Wyneken in an attempt to work out their doctrinal disagreements, particularly on church and ministry, and a year before Loehe finally severed his relationship with Walther and the Missouri Synod in a letter (edged in black), which he referred to as a “funeral dirge”, following the Missouri Synod’s approval of Walther’s Kirche und Amt. (Shortly after the Missouri Synod was founded in 1847, Loehe had transferred to it the ownership of the Fort Wayne seminary.)

    For additional context, by the time he broke with the Missouri Synod in 1853, Loehe had sent 82 men to America; most of whom joined the Missouri Synod. However, Friedrich Brunn, a pastor in Steeden, Germany, also broke with Loehe when he became convinced that Walther was correct on the doctrine of church and ministry. Brunn began a preseminary school in Germany, and after Brunn met with Walther in 1860, his school eventually contributed over 230 young men to Missouri Synod seminaries, becoming pastors, teachers, and leaders throughout the Missouri Synod.

    Ultimately, in 1859, Loehe conceded that the Missouri Synod doctrine of church and ministry was that held by Luther and the Lutheran Confessions (see George Wollenburg’s article, “Church and Ministry“):

    “The sad experiences which the former Stephanites [the Missourians] had with their hierarch, [Martin] Stephan, have made their hearts very receptive to the doctrine of the ministry held by Luther and subsequent theologians, a teaching also reflected in the Lutheran Symbols, especially since this doctrine not only commends itself highly to the Christian mind but also seems made to order for American circumstances. Conversely, some of us were led by experiences of an opposite and different nature to have an eye for a different conception of ministry and church, a conception which was present already at the time of the Reformation in the church of the Reformers and had been recommended particularly in some parts of southern Germany. Where it differs from the specific-Lutheran and Lutheran-theological course (Richtung), it seems to commend itself by virtue of a more artless attachment to Holy Scripture and antiquity and by greater truth in practice.” (Kirchliche Nachrichten aus und über Nord-Amerika, No. 8 [1859]; quoted in C. F. W. Walther, “Do We Draw the Lines of Fellowship Too Narrowly?”, Editorials From “Lehre und Wehre” [Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1981], pp. 75-76)

    After the Loehe/Missouri Synod split in 1853, there were a number of articles in Der Lutheraner against Loehe as well as disagreements with the Iowa Synod and the Ohio Synod, both associated with Loehe.

    For example, in the November 13, 1869, edition of Der Lutheraner C.F.W. Walther wrote (p.49) the following in regard to Loehe’s heterodoxy regarding the office of public ministry:

    “From this one can see how grievously and dangerously the Buffalo Synod, Pastor Loehe, the Synod of Iowa, and all those err from the truth who together with them assert that the church or the Christians do not have the keys originally and immediately but through the pastors!…. For when Pastor Loehe had in his heart fallen away from the symbols of our church, then he also confessed honestly and publicly with mouth and pen that he could no longer subscribe to the symbolical books of our church unconditionally because he had found errors in them.”

  6. Good Dr.,
    how does this pertain to the quote from Dr. Scaer’s paper?
    Cordially, Pr. Ball+

  7. @The Rev. BT Ball #10

    It doesn’t.

    But FWIW, I’m reminded of the quote from Wyneken in a letter to Walther (and I’m loosely paraphrasing here) that many of the conflicts in Missouri of the 1850’s and subsequent decades were driven as much or even more so by personality as true doctrinal differences.

    It’s always easy to talk past others rather than actually listen and talk to another.

    Think I’ll go and try to get this log out of my eye.

  8. Ball, #10: Vehse is extapolating from this quote from Scaer to Loehe’s comments, but it does not necessarily logically follow. Scaer makes a very important observation, but he was certainly not saying that we should ignore the Confessions (or even CTCR documents, etc.)–simply keep them in their proper place, and realize our own tendency to turn these things into our own version of Rome’s “Cathedra” and “Tradition”.

    Does Vehse wish that Wally Schultz had referenced the Brief Statement or some earlier CTCR document or even the Confessions more in his judgment of the Benke/Yankee Stadium case? Wally did precisely what needed to be done. He founded his judgment entirely on the basis of the Scriptures. The panel that overturned his ruling did precisely what Scaer warns us about in this quote.

  9. @Pr. John A. Frahm #6
    Pastor Frahm,

    Thank you for the reminder about Dr. Scaer’s paper. I read it when it first hit the pages of Logia and re-read it again yesterday. I am hoping that everyone else will return to those pages and read them as they are written and not put too many items in between the lines. I am faily certain that Dr. Scaer would not pull any punches in anything that he writes.

  10. Wasn’t the 18th century Carl Vehse himself heterodox, or at least a demagogue (see Rast’s October 1999 CTQ article) who didn’t grasp all that the Confessions had to say on church and ministry? He certainly helped force orthodox men like Walther to struggle with these issues, but so did Grabau and Loehe.

  11. how does this pertain to the quote from Dr. Scaer’s paper?

    As I clearly stated in the beginning, my comment (#9) was in response to the undated and unreferenced quote from Rev. Frahm ((#7). One might better ask Rev. Frahm how such a quote pertains to Dr. Scaer’s paper.

    However, my response (#9) does pertain to Dr. Scaer’s paper in demonstrating that there is a clear distinction between Missouri’s Identity held by Walther, Wyneken, Schwan, Pieper, and other confessional Lutherans, and the confusion of Missouri’s Identity held by Loehists, sacerdotalists, and remnant Stephanites.

    Thus, regarding the fingerprints of Loehe (and associated with the delusion that the Synod is a church) here is one example: Dr Scaer complains about Res. 7-11 (2001):

    This prevents the Synod from expanding its financial resources at the expense of congregations, but it can also be used to show that the Synod has no responsibilities for its congregations. It allows for a bizarre congregationalism in which any number of people can constitute a legal meeting and can deprive others not in attendance of church property. This follows from seeing the Synod as an free association of congregations and not a church. Fellowship between congregations of the same faith is merely volunary and lacks a confessional center to hold it together.

    So, it is claimed that because the resolution says the Synod has no equity in congregational member’s property, the Synod has no responsibilities for (toward?) its members. What a non-sequitur!

    It allows for a bizarre congregationalism“?!? To the contrary, ignoring or denigrating Res. 7-11 allows for a bizarre congregationalism, that is, the non-congregationalism of Loehe. But the Synod’s original understanding of congregationalism is supported by 7-11. One can refer to what Carl S. Mundinger rhetorically asks in his Government in the Missouri Synod (CPH, 1947, p. 125):

    “Just how did the principles which Vehse and Walther derived from the writings of Luther work out in the day-to-day life of a Lutheran congregation? Was the Vehse-Walther-Luther principle, that laymen have the power by majority vote to regulate financial and spiritual matters, practicable? Did the theory of the ‘supremacy’ of the congregation work?” – and Mundinger answers – “Nowhere is the working of this principle better revealed than in the minutes of Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Louis, one of the mother churches of the Missouri Synod… [I]t can be said that by and large the principle of congregational supremacy was applied in the early years of ‘Old Trinity’ and that it worked.”

    For more on the problems with Dr. Scaer’s paper, see ‘Logia’ Perpetuates Missouri’s Theology and Polity Crisis (2003).

    For information on the background of A Brief Statement, one should review Carl S. Meyer’s The Historical Background of “A Brief Statement” (Concordia Theological Monthly 32 (1961): 403-428, 466-482, 526-542).

  12. Loehe was not perfect in every point and neither was Walther and neither was Vehse (historical or modern day). The historical Vehse was not someone I would aspire to emulate and was a rather episodic figure. Loehe and Walther had far more in common than they had as differences. Some of the differences resulted from them talking past each other especially on acount of the Saxon’s emotional situation with Stephan and then Grabau. As Lutherans are not lockstep on every opinion of Luther neither are we lockstep with Walther on every point.

    As we respectfully but not blindly look back at our forefathers in the faith the wisdom of Erling Teigen bears some repeating:

    A quotation from: Erling Teigen. “Confessional Lutheranism versus Philippistic Conservatism,” Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology

    Reformation/October – Vol. 2, No. 4, Pages 32-37

    Conservatism can also stand for a mind-set that tends to value the status quo most highly, so that one can only be moved in a different direction by bulldozer or cataclysm, never by theological study or intellectual honesty. Adherence to the Reformation spirit would seem rather to dictate that the Reformation is not static but dynamic, and always stands ready to reevaluate itself and to make mid-course corrections. That does not mean that the Confessions as the Lutheran understanding of Scripture need to be “reinterpreted” for a new age, but it means that the teaching and the teachers of our churches need to be reevaluated always to see whether or not their teaching is in accord with the Lutheran Confessions[…].

    While conservatism can be construed as a desire to preserve that which is good, it doesn’t necessarily work that way. The fundamental nature of conservatism is to preserve power structures and status quo. That, in fact, is the fundamental nature of bureaucracy, and not any less of church bureaucracies. The “chureaucrat” has to preserve the power structure within which he intends to function, for without the trappings of power he is lost.

    Business and bureaucracy are fundamentally conservative in that sense, and the more our church leaderships pattern themselves after the business world, the more conservative they will become. To think of ourselves in terms of “conservative” strikes me, then, as dangerous, and a stance that has taken us down the wrong path. Not only is it a stance which identifies us with stances that belong to the kingdom of the left hand, but it is a stance that locks us into a mode that is unhealthy.

  13. Wasn’t the 18th [19th] century Carl Vehse himself heterodox, or at least a demagogue (see Rast’s October 1999 CTQ article) who didn’t grasp all that the Confessions had to say on church and ministry?

    Rev. Johnson, your rhetorical question is misguided and confused. Take it from a person who is qualified to know:

    “With deep gratitude I must here recall that document which, now almost a year and a half ago, Doctor Vehse, Mr. Fischer, and Mr. Jaeckel addressed to us. It was this document, in particular, which gave us a powerful impulse to recognize the remaining corruption more and more, and to endeavor to remove it. Without this document — I now confess it with a living conviction — we might have for a long time pursued our way of error, from which we now have made our escape. I confess this with an even greater sense of shame, because I first appeared so ungrateful toward this precious gift of God. But although many with me handled with great unfaithfulness the light which was granted to us, yet God did not cease to cause ever more beams of truth to fall into our darkness; to tear us away from many a point which we, in our perverseness, sought to hold; to uncover to us great and perilous injuries, and to lead our hearts more and more in the way of truth.” – C.F.W. Walther (taken from William J. Schmelder, “Walther at Altenburg”, Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly, Vol. 34(3), October, 1961, pp. 65-81, referring to Walter A. Baepler, A Century of Grace, CPH, 1947, pp.47,48, quoting from J.F. Koestering, Auswanderung der saechsischen Lutheraner in Jahre 1838, ihre Niederlassung in Perry-Co., und damit zusammenhaengende interessante Nachrichten, A Wiebusch u. Sohn, 1867, pp.43-45)

    BTW, Rast’s claim in his 1999 paper – “All of this is to say, simply, that if there was a demagogue among the Saxons, it was Vehse” – is a ridiculous and misapplied Hatch-et job. Rast’s fairly tale notion has been repeatedly refuted by Carl S. Meyer in his Government in the Missouri Synod, by Walter O. Forster’s Zion on the Mississippi, and by C.F.W. Walther himself in Der Lutheraner, Vol. 17(8) (November 27, 1860), 57-60, trans. by Fred Kramer, in The Congregation’s Right To Choose Its Pastor, CTS, 1997, pp. 57-58.

  14. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    Before we “pick on” Loehe, we should make sure we know the real man and his real position. We can only know this through an objective study of our own church history.

    Johannes Grabau is, in most cases, the more likely culprit in discussions where someone wants to accuse a “confessional Lutheran” of having an aristocratic view of the pastoral office. Grabau’s position ended up being that of the Buffalo Synod (merged into the old ALC in the 1930s). This position was that the pastor is the final authority in all church matters, and has the right to determine matters of adiaphora.

    Wilhelm Loehe’s position was not that of Grabau’s, but of the old Lutheran church in Germany. The traditional polity of the Lutheran church had great attraction for Loehe; yet he was the one who sent out laymen as ordained missionaries with only one year of training (the Sendlinge). At the same time, he admitted that he was much closer to Walther and Missouri Synod than to Grabau on these and other subjects (see Matthew Harrison, ed., “At Home in the House of My Fathers”, pp. 65-69; compare Walther’s account, pp. 85-86.)

    Walther and Wyneken reported to the synod that, as they saw it, the Bavarian pastors who followed Loehe “allow the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions to be made more distinct (i.e., clearer and more explicit) and to be developed further.” On the other hand, the Erlangen school of Lutherans “subtracts from the symbols in almost equal measure” (see Harrison, ed., “At Home in the House of My Fathers”, p. 26). This referred specifically to the doctrines of Church and Ministry.

    Was Walther and Wyneken’s evaluation correct? There is no doubt that the Erlangen school of Lutheran theology was influenced by a “developmental” notion of theology, e.g., as found in JCK von Hoffmann. This was definitely the case in the Fritschel brothers, who became leaders of the Iowa Synod and about whom the “Open Questions” controversy developed.

    The reading I have done over the years, including some at the CHI archives, indicates that the Fritschels and their allies were organizationally connected to Loehe, but theologically closer to the Erlangen school, especially von Hoffmann. Dr. Matthew Becker’s published dissertation on von Hoffmann deserves reading and study, because of von Hoffmann’s theological influence on the Iowa Synod through the Fritschels.

    I think the most telling event was the face-to-face meeting between Walther, Wyneken, and Loehe’s in November 1851. The result of this was that:

    1) All agreed that ordination is a high and holy act, and that those who take up the pastoral ministry without ordination do so for impure reasons.
    2) All agreed that the prayer of the church that accompanies ordination is always and certainly crowned with the necessary gifts of the pastoral ministry.
    3) All agreed that all the rights and privileges and glories of the church belong, not to an individual office (German “Stand”), but to the congregation.
    4) All agreed that many individual Lutheran theologians and church orders speak of ordination in the way that Loehe did.
    5) All agreed that the best Lutheran theologians agree with the Missouri Synod theses of 1851 and were responsible for the doctrinal paradigm that Missouri espoused.
    (see Harrison, ed., “At Home in the House of My Fathers,” p. 86).

    The fraternal bond that developed between Walther, Wyneken, and Loehe was so strong that the Missouri men declined a very promising offer of the Bavarian Lutheran church leaders (Queen Marie, Dean Burger, and Harless) to financially support the Saint Louise seminary.
    Walther and Wyneken declined the offer, because they believed it would compromise their fraternal bond with Loehe. Loehe and Loehe’s allies had protested the Bavarian state church’s stand on mixed communion (see Harrison, ed., “At Home in the House of My Fathers,” p. 78-83). Their protest was known as the “Schwabach Statement” of 1848 (see ibid., p. 25 n. 8).

    [So, folks, there is some precedent among us, historically, for “Statements” that are not “Confessions,” but ad hoc responses to current circumstances (see, e.g., the NICL “That They May Be One” and the ACELC “Fraternal Admonition”).]

    Look at it this way. Walther and Wyneken would have lived in much greater comfort personally, because financial support from the Lutheran state church in Bavaria would have meant a higher and more regular salary for them and their fellow professors at the seminary. They gave that up (without consulting with their wives), because of their fraternal bond with Loehe. Nothing speaks more to their theological and personal closeness than this!

    To summarize, Walther, Wyneken, and Loehe worked together for many years, because their theology was closer to each other than to any other of the “confessional Lutherans” in those days. Grabau was off in his own corner. The Erlangen school was off in another corner.

    Walther, Wyneken, and Loehe saw each other as brothers, accepted suffering with the brother, and differed in minor respects (as most church-men do today). They saw the “lay preacher” as an anamoly, that could not be explained theologically, except that it was a matter of necessity. And we are still arguing about the “lay preacher” today.

    For more on Loehe, see Professor John Pless at CTS, Fort Wayne, who is the current co-President of the International Loehe Society (see CTS magazine, “For the Life of the World,” Nov. 2008, p. 7).

    I hope this resolves some of the confusion that has been perpetuated among us for many years. If you don’t believe me, get a copy of Harrison’s “At Home in the House of My Fathers” and read the “Trip Report of Walther and Wyneken to Germany in 1851” for yourself. 🙂

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  15. To return to the main point (which was NOT about Loehe), the statements of the CTCR have become progressively worse–not because they are necessarily doctrinally problematic (although there have been such cases) but because they argue in a midrashic manner. A case in point are the two statements that the CTCR has made about euthanasia. The first one, the 1979 “Report on Euthanasia with Guiding Principles,” simply laid out the biblical worldview concerning end of life issues. You could readily give it to any other Christian who was thinking about these issues, and indeed many a Southern Baptist and many a Roman Catholic have read the document with appreciation. Although they might understand that it was written by Lutherans, they saw that the argument was catholic and evangelical in the proper sense of those words. The 1993 “Christian Care at Life’s End,” however, was a disaster because the CTCR spent two-thirds of the document congratulating itself for getting it right in 1979. The 1993 statement did have some useful applications of the 1979 statement to more recent questions, but it was more of an exegesis of the 1979 statement than of the Scriptures and confessions. I couldn’t give a copy to anyone outside the LCMS since it would mean that I would have to explain too much about our history.

    But does it really matter that the CTCR documents are a little parochial at times? Yes, it does. The CTCR documents on fellowship, for example, have tended to creep a little further away each time from our core Lutheran understanding of fellowship, and this has often been because we have been too busy studying earlier CTCR documents to notice; if we were going back to the original sources (the Scriptures), we might have noticed the drift.

  16. To return to the main point (which was NOT about Loehe), the statements of the CTCR have become progressively worse.

    Well, one can hardly disagree with this observation, especially after looking at the recent CTCR document, “Together With All Creatures: Caring for God’s Living Earth,” a real pukefest of treehugging, multi-font tofu, wrapped in religiosity.

    Oh, but then there is that 1967 CTCR document, A Review of the Question, “What Is a Doctrine?” that intones:

    The 1956 answer to the question is still valid and useful…. While this definition has considerable merit, it does not distinguish clearly between the various usages of the term ‘doctrine’ in the New Testament, the Lutheran Confessions, and post-Reformation dogmatic theology. Nor did it fully satisfy those who were urging the question, and the matter again came before the Synod at Cleveland, Ohio, June 20-29, 1962… The very persistence with which the question ‘What Is a Doctrine?’ has been and still is being asked suggests that there is something intrinsically difficult about the question.

    The third- and second-to-last sentence in the 13-page CTCR document state:

    As demonstrated in the Theology of Fellowship, the establishment of pulpit and altar fellowship between denominations depends on unity in the faith, or what the Confessions call “mutual agreement in [the] doctrine and all its articles.” Because of the ambiguities and various usages of the term “doctrine,” the church in dealing with the question of fellowship would do well to utilize the concept “article of faith.”

    So… “mutual agreement in [the] article of faith and all its articles.” Oh now, that clears it up.

  17. While millions of disposable babies are murdered due to inconvenience, we can feel good about using curly-q light bulbs.

  18. While millions of disposable babies are murdered due to inconvenience, we can feel good about using curly-q light bulbs.

    @boogie #23

    Not very good.
    Those curly-q light bulbs contain mercury… and they crack all too easily. My apt gifted me with four of them. One was cracked on arrival; another before I could use it. Fortunately my first move had been to put them in separate ziploc bags.
    But no instructions were given for disposal. Mine are in the top cupboard, still bagged. (I’ll bet half of them are in the trash.)

  19. boogie :
    While millions of disposable babies are murdered due to inconvenience, we can feel good about using curly-q light bulbs.

    Whatever you do, do not tell anyone that you broke one. Just clean it up throw it away. The local govt. wants certain steps to be carried out to clean up the mess, typically those steps are expensive.

  20. What initiated the CTCR to produce “Together With All Creatures” was Resolution 3-06 in the 2007 Convention Proceedings, To Assign CTCR to Address Environmental Issues (p.122):

    WHEREAS, Ecological and environmental issues affect all citizens of the global community, including Christians; and
    WHEREAS, Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions speak to responsible Christian stewardship of the earth; and
    WHEREAS, There is a lack of resources in the LCMS addressing environmental issues in a scriptural and confessional way; and
    WHEREAS, There is a need for study, for service, for responsible citizenship, and for concerted action on environmental issues based on an examination of biblical and confessional resources; therefore be it
    Resolved, That the Commission on Theology and Church Relations be assigned to develop a biblical and confessional report on responsible Christian stewardship of the environment for use by Synod entities including our schools and churches as they develop resources for the church at large.

    Action: Adopted (5) (After debate was terminated without discussion, the resolution was adopted as presented by the committee [Yes: 831; No: 219].)

  21. 1. Does anyone who was at the 2007 convention know the name of the delegate who called the question before there could be any discussion?

    2. Why in the world would 831 Missouri Synod delegates vote for such a resolution without haven’t even discussed it?!?

    3. Why didn’t someone add an equally meaningful Resolved to have the CTCR develop a biblical and confessional report on responsible Christian quantum mechanics, or responsible Christian fish filleting, or responsible Christian origami,… oh… or responsible Christian maintenance of a oil well blowout preventer for use by our schools and churches as they develop resources for the church at large and for oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico?

    4. Can any CTCR theological document be taken seriously that includes a reference to a book written by Al Gore?

  22. @Carl Vehse #27

    I was a delegate to the 2007 convention; I don’t remember who called the question, I do remember that I voted no.

    Entirely problematic is the encouragement to join radical anti-hunting, anti-second amendment organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States and the World Wildlife Fund. This stuff has no business in a CTCR document.

    I think I am going to write up an overture asking for the synod’s support of the chief civil rights organization in our country – the National Rifle Association.

  23. Romans 1:22-25 is my response to environmentalism. Yes, we should be good stewards of the Creation that God has given us, but it becomes a religion in itself if we go overboard. Let’s not go the route of ELCA and ECUSA on this.

    As far as the curly-q bulbs, I tried them and won’t waste my money on them again, at least until the gov’t forces me to buy them.

    Having re-read Scaer’s article, I noticed the issue of church property ownership. We in the LCMS seem to be so anti-episcopal in polity, yet the implication I took from this paper was that the individual ownership of church properties contributes to the divide in practice (and dare I say it, doctrine). I won’t offer my opinion on this yet, but would like to see some discussion on this. I recall reading an article online a while back from Cascione (I think) implying that Scaer thinks synod should own the church properties. I will try to find the article.

  24. I found the article, but will not link to it. The debate is intense with others drawn into it, as well as back-and-forth letters. This probably isn’t the time to create another stink.

    I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Scaer. He is an asset to confessional Lutheranism. Having sat in on his dogmatics class a couple times, he makes one think (and you BETTER think before you open your mouth).

  25. We in the LCMS seem to be so anti-episcopal in polity, yet the implication I took from this paper was that the individual ownership of church properties contributes to the divide in practice (and dare I say it, doctrine).

    There’s a history behind the Missouri Synod’s congregationalist polity and the justified opposition to an episcopist polity, a history that goes back to the Saxon immigration to America and earlier. It is the ignorance or rejection of this history, and, indeed, the callous substitution for the teaching about that history with the foisting of revisionist fairy tales and outright lies that in a real sense is responsible for the deterioriation in congregational practice and doctrine.

    One of the biggest lies spread within the Missouri Synod is that the Synod’s polity and the congregational voters assembly were derived from American democracy and politics, and in a guilt-by-association, American Protestantism.

    Carl S. Mundinger wrote his Government of the Missouri Synod (CPH, 1947) describing the history of the Missouri Synod’s polity. I’ve already give one quote in my earlier comment (#16). At the end of his book, Mundinger spends most of Chapter 7 refuting the lies about the American democratic influence on Synod polity, noting, at one point:

    “Any democratic political theories which the founders of the Missouri Synod might have entertained, they did not get from America, but from the same source from which they derived their theory and church polity, viz., from the writings of Martin Luther. Walther’s political democracy was not that of John Locke nor of Jean Jacques Rousseau.”

    Even C.F.W. Walther had to contend against such attacks, as when Wilhelm Loehe in 1849 described the new Synod’s polity as “American mob rule” (“amerikanische Poebelherrschaft”).

    In Der Lutheraner, Vol. 17, No. 8 (November 27, 1860: 57-60; included in The Congregation’s Right to Choose a Pastor, Fred Kramer, trans, Concordia Seminary Publications, 1997, pp. 57-8), Walther quotes from the Evangelienharmonie of Chemnitz, Leyser, and Gerhard describing a congregational polity in which the congregation calls a pastor. Walther then notes:

    “If we had been the first to write this, our opponents would cry murder against us. They would exclaim: There you see how the Missourians introduce their American democratic ideas into the church’s doctrine. However it is well known that neither Chemnitz, nor Leyser, nor Gerhard were Americans or democrats.”

  26. @Carl Vehse #31
    Thanks for taking time to reply and for your insights. The structure we passed, 8-08 in particular, is troublesome to me. With Pr. Harrison as our leader, we most likely be okay for the next (at least) 3 years, but what will happen when the next liberal SP has this power?

  27. One of the (many!) challenges facing Rev. Harrison when he becomes Synodical President is in working to increase the understanding among pastors and laity about Missouri Synod history, polity, and its position on the doctrine of Church and Ministry.

    This has been a long-time problem even in the seminaries as noted in the findings of his official 1996 visitation of Concordia Theological Seminary by LCMS President A.L. Barry:

    “It became apparent to the visitation team that there are certain theological issues that have caused problems in the past. These issues continue to be a concern at the seminary among the faculty and larger seminary family…:

    “1) The relationship between the church and the office of the public pastoral ministry. In such discussions it needs to be recognized that in the matter of church and ministry our Synod and seminaries still stand clearly behind Dr. C.F.W. Walther’s position as he articulated it in his book Kirche und Amt. Because of this, our Synod rejects both the errors in the positions of Loehe and Grabau, as well as the errors in the position of Hoefling.”

  28. @Carl Vehse #27

    Res. 3-06 was passed on Tuesday morning. Here are my answers to your questions:
    1. I don’t know the name of the delegate who “moved the previous question,” but I can guess. Odds are that it’s the same delegate who did it regularly in 2001 and 2004, and who had almost as much face time in 2010 as President Kieschnick. Check StandFirm for details.
    2. Good question. Nobody gave it serious thought, I guess. I also voted “no,” which got rather lonely.
    3. You forgot motherhood, apple pie, and the flag.
    4. That is a commentary on the state of things in the LCMS, and on the CTCR–it also ought to strike fear in our hearts. Of course, you can’t expect that Luther, Chemnitz or Walther would be particularly concerned about environmental issues. They just could not see “the big picture.”


  29. @Andrew Strickland #25
    Whatever you do, do not tell anyone that you broke one. Just clean it up throw it away. The local govt. wants certain steps to be carried out to clean up the mess, typically those steps are expensive.

    My “mess” was already contained, but throw it away where? That’s the problem I was protesting. I read labels; do you suppose every occupant put those things in ziploc bags?
    Curley-Q bulbs are being propagated in the name of “a better environment!”
    [I suspect we’re off topic!?] 🙁

    Oh, Pr. Sterle, I should have added that “Carl Vehse” (or the good Dr. behind the pseudonym) is exceptionally adept with the computer search engines. 🙂

  30. @boogie #23
    While millions of disposable babies are murdered due to inconvenience, we can feel good about using curly-q light bulbs.

    Actually, we can’t because those “curly-q” light bulbs are being distributed with no instructions for disposal and since they contain mercury, they should not go into the trash>landfill! Rather they should be treated as hazardous material and disposed of accordingly.

    [Look for “Made in America” incandescent bulbs; there are still some out there.]

  31. @Andrew Strickland #25
    Whatever you do, do not tell anyone that you broke one. Just clean it up throw it away. The local govt. wants certain steps to be carried out to clean up the mess, typically those steps are expensive.

    Oh, by all means,”just throw it away”, Andrew! No matter if someone else is poisoned by it!
    [Better be very careful how you “clean it up” or it could be you.] 🙁

  32. Thank you, Helen, for reviving this (from 2010!), because it gives me an excuse to post once again this presious gem from Dr. Scaer, which I stumbled across in a footnote last week:

    “Recent events in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America confirm its earlier departure from the Confessions by entry into fellowship with the Reformed, Episcopalians, Moravians, and Methodists.
    – The Reverend Doctor David P. Scaer in the January/April 2011 edition of the CTQ (footnote 39 on p. 56)

    “The Lutheran Substance has evaporated, and now even the outer shell is shattering.”

    Classic Scaer!

    Unfortunately, it is a spot-on description of the ELCA…

  33. @Pastor Ted Crandall #41

    No, joke! As I lurk, I see your battles over at ALPB. So sad society is losing its way, but even some denominations. Lately it seems the other site is quickly devolving into political and social/moral arguments, mainly DEVOID of a Christological center. And it is sad to see well meaning and usually solid LC-MS theologians be nice and merciful, but some of their (our own postings) will come back to haunt us. A certain synod official stated his support of the Galesburg Rule yesterday. And I can see that slippery slope hurting Koinania.

  34. @Carl Vehse #33
    I’m not sure Pres. Harrison has gotten that well under control. If you believe what Christian News has been writing it would appear that Pres. Harrison has re-translated and re-defined Walter’s “Kirche und Amt” to erroneously state that synod is not a man-made organization, but church, the equivalent to any congregation and thus able to isue calls, etc. Dr. Kloha over at CSL has written articles in the recent past also supporting this false understanding of church. It may seem subtle, but it is a huge shift and a big misunderstanding of our Biblical and Confessional understanding of Church and Ministry.

  35. @Jason #42

    Brothers and Sisters, cherish the mutual consolation in Christ we share here at Steadfast. Here is a description of the snakepit where I’ve been having discussions with “more moderate Confessional Lutherans” [insert eye roll here]:

    “So we don’t all share the same standards. For that reason among others, I am very deliberately a hands-off moderator. This is the only forum I know of where the people assembled here would actually discuss anything together. Most places have a more particular point of view. If Mr. Teigen’s call for my replacement were heeded, what I predict would happen is that the new moderator would be more hands-on, which would be great for a while as the discussions would remain on topic, but soon the character of the forum would be such that it wouldn’t really be pan-Lutheran (with non-Lutheran but Lutheran-friendly participants, too) but would instead become like most places online. That’s why I can so confidently challenge people who get fed up with this forum to go find another forum to post on. They can’t. Most other forums would either kick them out for their views, or be an echo-chamber of their views, or be so small and inactive as to be boring. If they do discover another fourm that does what we do only better, I’ll happily give up this moderating gig and go there to read and post.”

  36. In all fairness, though, there are Lutherans who contend for the faith at ALPB. Here’s a gem from one brother:

    “You can only ‘contend’ for the faith where it is contested, and you can only do so earnestly where you are trying to win over, not defeat the other person.”

    I’m reminded of Pastor Robert Preus asking how you can be Confessional if you don’t confess, but of course Pastor Speckhard is reminding us that the father sought to unite his two sons…

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