The Politics of Balancing the LCMS Budget have Begun, by Pr. Rossow

President Harrison faces a huge deficit. Many people will be upset as he tries to balance the budget, including me I suppose. The memo below from Dr. Meyer looks like the first example of this.

Overall I trust Harrison’s judgment and encourage others to do so as well. President Meyer has what seems like a good point, that the gentlemen did not see this coming but, having witnessed lots of HR moves over the years here in white collar Naperville, Illinois, I can assure you this is typical and good practice. Do you really want to know six months ahead of time that your position is getting terminated?

Our synod bureaucracy is bloated to the point that we are ill. These things are necessary. There is no way to keep everybody happy. It is going to hurt, just like it is going to hurt when we start to clean up our Concordias. Kyrie Eleison.

To Regents, Faculty, Staff, and Students

I was informed late Friday morning that the President’s Office of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has terminated the Advisors for Personal Growth and Leadership Development at both seminaries. Rev. Mark Logid holds this position on our campus. Rev. Logid had not been prepared for this announcement; there was no prior consultation with the seminaries and no consultation with Rev. Glen Thomas of Pastoral Education in the International Center. Needless to say, eyes have been wide open in amazement.

I visited with Mark and Pat and assured them that the Seminary will be a safety net as they work through all the questions and implications of this announcement for their future. There is One who sees that future and He will keep His promise in Romans 8:28. On our side of heaven, however, the present is filled with a swirl of emotions and confusion. I know that Mark and Pat will have our demonstrations of the care and concern that make the Seminary a great community.

At present, Rev. Logid’s last day at work in his position is scheduled to be May 15th. Please continue to cooperate fully with him and, of course, remember Mark and Pat in your prayers and with your Christ-centered encouragement.

Dale A. Meyer
President, Concordia Seminary
801 Seminary Place

 

Here is the original announcement from Pastor Harrison:

April 15, 2011

Dear Friends and Co-Workers in the Lord:

Lenten greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In the months since we communicated with you last fall about the reorganization of ministries based at the LCMS International Center (IC), the staff in the Office of the President has been working diligently, thoughtfully and prayerfully to consider all recommendations put forward by the Restructuring Work Group. At this time, I want to let you know that we have finalized a plan for restructuring which fulfills the requirements of Resolution 8-08A, the action adopted at the 2010 Synod Convention mandating reorganization.

As we worked to finalize this plan, it became clear that some additional staff positions would be eliminated. These eliminations have to do with the manner in which work will be realigned under the plan for the restructured national office operations. These decisions affect positions in the following current ministry units:

  • Pastoral Education
  • LCMS World Mission

It is with deep sadness that I must announce that four positions will be eliminated effective May 15. Today, representatives from the Department of Human Resources met with affected employees and shared this news on an individual basis. We thank God for these dear brothers and sisters in Christ and ask for your prayers as our colleagues absorb this news.

Starting the week of April 25, unit executives of the program areas will begin meeting with their staffs to go over the details of the reorganization plan. We are planning to hold larger employee forums for the entire building and other synodwide corporate entities in the very near future. Please watch for the announcement of those events. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact Val Rhoden-Kimbrough, ext. 1360, or Barb Below, ext. 1413.

As this next chapter in the life of our Synod begins to unfold, please join me in praying for the blessing of our loving and merciful Lord God. He alone is the Rock on which we build and the Illuminator of our path as we walk toward our new future together.

Peace be yours in Christ Jesus,

Rev. Matthew C. Harrison, President

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

The Politics of Balancing the LCMS Budget have Begun, by Pr. Rossow — 127 Comments

  1. I would say it was private. There was a restricted, defined group of recipients. That group did not include Rev. Rossow or anyone else frequenting BJS.

    How’s that for an answer?

  2. “How can I like or dislike this response? It doesn’t answer the question.”

    No, it didn’t give you the answer you wanted.

    You know, Rev. Wilkin, there’s an old saying about doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results…

  3. I’m sorry.

    I’m old. I’m tired. It’s late. Going on with this just isn’t worth it, because it’s all about being right, not seeking an understanding.

    You win.

  4. You’re saying that Dr. Meyer sent his memo complaining about President Harrison to the entire Seminary community (Regents, Faculty, Staff and Students, numbering several hundred people, located all over the country), and that memo was private?

    TW

  5. John,

    It isn’t about being right. It’s about what is right.

    Dr. Meyer made a very public complaint against President Harrison.

    Had he done this privately, no one but Dr. Meyer and President Harrison would know about it now.

    But Dr. Meyer didn’t make his complaint privately. Instead, he chose to take his complaint public, to the several hundred people comprising the Seminary Regents, Faculty, Staff and Students.

    From that point, the matter was public.

    President Harrison’s apology was equally public. And rightly so.

    I understand that you are frustrated that a student vicar sent this information to BOJS. You assume that he didn’t ask permission to do so. We don’t know if it did or not.

    I’m saying that no permission was necessary. Dr Meyer himself already made the entire matter public.

    Had Dr. Meyer kept his complaint against President Harrision private, your frustration with the vicar would be completely justified. But that isn’t the case.

    TW

  6. I do not think debating “public/private” in this case is fruitful.

    There is a certain responsibility the seminary owes the church. The seminary publicly trains pastors for the church at large and is therefore accountable to it. To that extent, all seminary open communication (including mass emails, what is taught in classes, what is happening in chapel, content of open seminary forums such as Rev. Tieman, Rev. Bearss, the DAs, and the like) ought to be made public to the church at large.

    To be charitable to Pres. Meyer, he has attempted to send mass emails keeping employees abreast of decisions of the board and of various committees. Perhaps his mass email was simply in that vain with no malice intended. (I concede I do not know him very well.)

    To be charitable to Pres. Harrison, he apologized for any wrongdoing he may have caused.

  7. My sinful nature wants to ask if you can read, and that’s not helpful. Please forgive me for my sinful thoughts against you, and for the tone of our string of exchanges.

    You and the Brothers win. Like I said, it’s clear that this is really about about who is right, who can win, not about doing the right thing in a confusing situation.

    For what it’s worth, here’s my personal view: President Meyer should never have sent his original email. He should have called Harrison or gone over to his office and had it out behind closed doors – privately. Meyer’s email should have simply said that budget cuts and restructuring at Synod have forced a decision to eliminate two staff positions funded by Synod but attached to the seminaries. It should have said the cuts would potentially impact many people. He was right to promise help and support to those directly affected by the loss of employment. But his choice to disclose personal or community frustration over a personnel matter beyond his scope of authority was a bad one. Instead of absorbing chaos and giving back comfort and hope, his email created more chaos. It was a bad choice.

    Harrison has handled this whole thing with tremendous grace and humility.

    My frustration was not with Harrison, or Synod, or finances, or BJS, or even you. Its that this whole situation was poorly handled in a number of ways. My frustration peaked over the possibility (innocent until proven guilty and all) that a vicar and future pastor forwarded internal communications to BJS without clarifying with Meyer if that course of action was appropriate given the nature of the situation. If that vicar didn’t have the courtesy, integrity or wisdom to seek clarification whether Meyer was okay with more people knowing, I seriously doubt his ability to keep personal and confidential matters to himself. Everybody loves a scandal.

    So, you win. You’re right. Meyer’s memo was public because he failed to keep it truly private – between himself and President Harrison. And it all showed up on BJS, whether he intended it to or not. And the question of whether a pastor should first seek permission before disclosing a possibly private matter is left unanswered. And I’m off to bed with still-bleeding knees.

    Sleep well. God grant you a truly Good Friday.

  8. And again, I was writing while you were submitting. My last comments were made before I read your #107.

    Good night, Rev. Wilken. I’m shutting down now.

  9. John,

    You wrote,

    …the question of whether a pastor should first seek permission before disclosing a possibly private matter is left unanswered.

    No. The answer to that question is clearly “yes.”

    But this was never a private matter.

    TW

  10. I think I see a logical fallacy starting here…

    John Clark, I think you started your complaining one post too late. The original letter by Pres. Harrison is titled “Friends and Co-Workers in the Lord.” That’s a pretty ambiguous greeting, and depending on one’s own interpretation (particularly those who believe everyone a minister), this first letter is not internally confidential. It never claimed to be limited, even though it was probably sent to a very small group of people. I am kinda doubitng it was sent to the student body, But the real problem is we don’t know. So how did this first letter become public? And why weren’t you complaining then?

    Next we have Pres. Meyer’s letter. Now his letter is self evident to a very specific target audience. Pr. Wilken may be over-playing how public it is, but when distibuted to a large enough group, it will leak. We live in a sinful world. Somehow this letter then got out, and this is the letter that seems to have started the bruha. Again, we don’t know, and why weren’t you complaining then?

    Finally we have Pres. Harrison’s follow up letter. Again we have a specific audience: only the Board fo Regents. Pres. Meyer isn’t necessarily included, that depends on his privy to BoR meetings and materials. Hoever, Pres. Meyer does claim teh Harrison gave permission if not outright encouragement to share this letter. Harrison seems to have a contentment with sharing, to willingly have his letter, initially rather private, to be put out in a more public distribution. John, now is when you decide to lodge complaints. Why the delay?

    So what now appears to me, and what I think Pr. Wilkin is pointing out (correct me when I am wrong), what is the standard to condemn behavior? When should condemnation be enforced? Who should be condemned for such behavior? Should A Vicar be called to the carpet? Maybe, but how would I know? Yes, it does breech a sence of confidentialitty, but so did the first two communiques, So where is the line drawn? At the behavior, or when we have a target we can single out? Have you ever thought that in the atmosphere of what has been going on, A Vicar may have been confused, or did not know? If he didn’t know, where were you earlier to set boundries so he wouldn’t have crossed them?

    When God gave the Commandments, he did not say “And thou shalt not be like Moses, who murder’s Egyptian officals.” He said, “Thou shalt not kill.” He determined the behavior, He did not personally assail the individual. And even though we may have a sense of right and wrong, it always comes from outside of us, from God. He gave us the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), but Scripture reveals He didn’t write the law onto our hearts until Jeremiah (Jeremiah 33), around the Fall of Jerusalem nearly a millennium later. Good form would be to be upfront and open about bad behavior, not trying to trap someone in their ignorance. I think this is one part of the consternation here.

  11. As I seem to have become a bit of an argument point, let me answer as per my reasoning here. I sent this information in because I thought it was a necessary component to our conversation. I think Pres. Harrison did a nice job handling this situation. In answer the some of the detractors about whether I sought permission for this, I did not. I am willing to admit that this should have been done. However, not in an attempt to justify my actions, I did not request this permission because I assumed that such a permission had already been met by the original posting of the documents which started this thread. Now I am more than willing to accept my lumps should they come and to admit and repent for my lack of foresight. I appreciate the defense I have been given. Again, to highlight the goal of posting such information, it is for the building up of our community, that we learn from one another, even when we sin against them and need to repent. A Blessed Good Friday to you all.

  12. While a bulk-email to students is tantamount to public release of the email, seminary student confidentiality, of course, does pertain to the secret seminary handshake.

  13. If you want privacy, don’t use email or the internet in any way, shape, or form.

    If you want privacy, even telephones don’t give you that.

    If you want privacy, you get a face-to-face, one-on-one meeting in a cave somplace (preferably another county), and check for bugs, and I don’t mean the six-legged kind.

    If you want privacy, even a hand-written letter, delivered by hand, in said cave, is a bit of a risk.

    As one who has had cause to want maximum privacy and security, I can testify that even such measures as I have outlined here are not fool-proof (no insult intended). When you reprimand an employee/associate for an indiscretion with no written communication, and delivered in the corporate cave, and within a few hours it gets broadcast to the entire department/corporation, you realize that privacy and security are almost impossible. You also get a profound sense of betrayal.

    I’m not justifying anyone’s breach of confidentiality here–just stating the facts of corporate life, as I have experienced them. I have the scars to prove my point.

    Johannes (shhhhhhhh! The walls have ears!)

  14. Since privacy is hard to come by, be smart enough to know your words will likely be public. Compose yourself in such a way that withstands such public scrutiny. Also, rising to the top of a corporate, military service, church, govenment or whatever, you will eventually need to know how to play politics, which is often about messaging. Think before you hit SEND.

  15. @Todd Wilken #45

    > I know what it it like to go years now without knowing the real reason for my firing.

    Since you don’t know why, please don’t say that what seemed totally obvious to me is NOT why.

    I was proud of you. You may or may not recall that I called in often, cheering you on. But I was surprised in a way that it did not happen sooner. You were goring the ox named “Rick Warren” – and others.

    What happened to you was bad, but much worse was done to others for no better reasons. I am not minimizing what happened to you. I am only proving that the SP was totally capable of doing what was done to you. Why would you let him off the hook just to blame others much lower down?

  16. Todd Wilken :MBW,
    I don’t understand what you’re talking about.
    TW

    He’s saying (1) it was SP that did it, not his surrogates, and (2) what took him so long to do it?

    It’s a terrible thing to be fired without cause. The questions never get answered, and they stubbornly hang around in the subconscious, if not the conscious. I still replay some of the disasters of my days in the corporate jungle, one of which earned me a stay in the hospital. And I have lots of questions. On the other hand, I rejoice that I’m “outahere” and look at all the good things that have happened to me since I walked out the door (of my own volition).

    No doubt, Rev. Wilken has had the same experience, and perhaps Dr. Noland, too. Well, what’s done is done, you’ll probably never know the “whys”, and despite the nagging questions, you’ve moved on, brillliantly, I might add. I’m sure you’re the better for it, Rev. Wilken, and so are the rest of us.

    Johannes

  17. MBW & Johannes,

    I have no evidence that the former SP had anything to do with the cancelaton. Only one person at LCMS Inc. has ever claimed responsibility the decsion.

    If anyone else at LCMS Inc. was involved in the decision, they haven’t been man enough to admit it.

    TW

  18. Dear Johannes, Todd, et.al.,

    Johannes, thanks for sharing your experiences. You are right about the “subconscious” effects and the person affected needing to deal with that.

    It is a little different for church-workers who decide to stay in the church. You can’t say “I’m outahere,” although some do that. This discussion may benefit others similarly affected by loss of their call for reasons other than their own fault or a RIF.

    If you stay with the church-body, then you have to draw a “mental fence” around those responsible and say “Whoever caused this, they are not my brothers; my brother would not do that to me.” You draw that mental fence so you can still affirm as brothers all the rest of the church (in our case the synod). You also need to stop wishing for whatever you used to like about that job; and thank God every morning for the one you have now.

    Todd and Wallace Schulz were a bit different than my situation. In their cases, it is perfectly obvious to anyone who watches the synod that Todd and Wallace were punished by synodical leaders for “doing the right thing.” There is no ambiguity or confusion there. There is no stronger evidence of the corruption and evil hearts of leaders than when they punish good men for “doing the right thing.”

    In my case, I was just doing a good job (at least that is what my board told me the previous year), not “doing the right thing,” like Todd and Wallace. So who knows? God does . . . and that is all I care about. If I have enemies, He will deal with them in due time. That is not my business.

    All of this confirms the wisdom of the Lutheran church for 500 years, which has demanded that when pastors are terminated, that the charges must be brought before the church by two or three witnesses (1 Timothy 5:19-20), and that due process be followed. Damage is done both to the innocent pastor and the congregation when this is not followed, and the effects hang on for generations. Robert Preus wrote an excellent little book on the Lutheran doctrine of the call and the deposal of pastors, after he was terminated. Every pastor should have that book in his library.

    May you all have a blessed Easter and rejoice in the glory of our Lord’s resurrection!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  19. Todd Wilken :
    MBW & Johannes,
    I have no evidence that the former SP had anything to do with the cancelaton. Only one person at LCMS Inc. has ever claimed responsibility the decsion.
    If anyone else at LCMS Inc. was involved in the decision, they haven’t been man enough to admit it.
    TW

    I agree with you – he gave overwhelming evidence that he saw the forty days of purpose as a plague and thought you were doing great work.

    He was powerful too – moving heaven and earth to help Dr Benke.

    But somehow he was powerless to help you.

  20. @Martin R. Noland #119

    > All of this confirms the wisdom of the Lutheran church for 500 years, which has demanded that when pastors are terminated, that the charges must be brought before the church by two or three witnesses (1 Timothy 5:19-20), and that due process be followed.

    Dear Dr. Noland,
    I ask this with no guile: isn’t it different when an ordained man takes a job?
    I mean, as opposed to a congregational call.
    Note that I do not really approve of the way people are ‘terminated’ (appropriate word) these days.
    But aren’t you exposed to that possibility when you are actually hired to a job (that is, again, not as pastor of a congregation)?
    I say this knowing that a lot of people probably do not understand that you do not _hire_ a man as your pastor – you call him for a lifetime, subject to the conditions you enumerated.
    Thank you.

  21. Dear mbw,

    You ask a good question, and it is along my own line of thinking. First a little background.

    There are many people in the LCMS who have believed that the only legitimate use of the “divine call” is into the parish ministry. There is no doubt, and I think everyone agrees, that the parish ministry, i.e., congregation and its pastor, was instituted by Christ, and has been affirmed by the whole Christian church up until modern times.

    The question for Lutherans is: “Is there a “divine call” to positions that are not a pastor-serving-a-congregation?”

    Dr. John Wohlrabe, LCMS 2nd Vice President, did some important work on this question for his dissertation many years ago at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis. It was also published in a shortened form in a monograph the 1990s. I don’t remember the monograph title off-hand.

    Dr. Wohlrabe demonstrated that the LCMS extended the use of the “divine call” to teachers and other church-workers, mainly for practical reasons that were to the benefit of the institutional church. Whethere they were for the benefit of the church-worker is another question.

    The Wisconsin Synod, ELS, and ELCA have answered this question in different ways, and I am not an expert on their positions, so won’t try to state them here.

    You ask: “Is it different when a pastor takes a “divine call” to serve the church in positions other than parish ministry?” There is a good bit of disagreement on this very question.

    If you believe, as “strict congregationalists” do, that “synod is not church” and that the only “divine call” is to the parish, then there is a BIG difference between a parish and other call. In that case, a pastor taking a job to serve, let’s say as Lutheran Hour Speaker, has no personnel rights whatsoever, and serves completely at the pleasure of his board. Then the use of the term “divine call” for that position is a sham and a lie. Then he is a “Minister of Religion” for tax purposes, but not really a pastor at all. But if that is the case, why should anyone listen to a non-pastor Speaker of the Lutheran Hour?

    If, on the other hand, you believe that “synod is church” as much as a “parish is church,” then there is essentially no difference in “divine calls” to one or the other. Then the clergy who accepts a “divine call” to one should have the same rights and responsibilities in one position as the other.

    Right now, I believe that, with reference to all positions that are not strictly parish calls, the LCMS wants to have it both ways at once. The synod wants the benefits of hiring clergy for various positions in the synod and its agencies (many laymen of traditional mindset trust clergy because of their divine office and respond to their requests for funds), to use the language of “divine calls,” to have the ritual of “divine installation,” and to have the institutional tax benefits of employing Ministers of Religion; but it ALSO wants to have the right to fire such clergy “at the pleasure of the board” (bylaw 3.11.1), without Unemployment Compensation, with the option of withholding severance benefits for any reason, and without providing real assistance for future employment.

    In the matter of appeals, the Dispute Resolution Process is biased to protect synod and its agencies, against clergy employees, as I have written elsewhere (“Law and Due Process in the Kingdom of the Left and the Kingdom of the Right,” in “God and Caesar Revisited,” available here: http://www.shop.logia.org/product.sc?productId=18&categoryId=19).

    I am not exagerrating this at all. This is exactly how the synod treats its clergy right now. Unlike Todd and Wallace, I was in a Director position, so I know these bylaws and regulations, since I had to administer them for my employees (we had three clergy employees when I was called). Also you need to realize that clergy who serve in the universities and seminaries have their own rights and protections, similar to tenure but not as solid, described in bylaws 3.10.4.6, 3.10.4.7, 3.10.5.5, & 3.10.5.6.

    LCMS clergy who end up in situations like myself, Wallace Schulz, Todd Wilken, other clergy who are terminated or whose position is eliminated, or whose parish call is revoked, are dumped into what some people call “the black hole of Calcutta.” Since pastors cannot “pound the pavement” for “divine calls” in the LCMS, they are dumped into a bureacratic category called “C.R.M.” and have to wait for a call, without employment, salary, or benefits for a period of time; if they ever receive a call.

    Those like myself who decided in high school or college to devote their life to the church have no other marketable skills to fall back on. We don’t have the skills for the “worker” end of the “worker-priest” equation. Also, if he is truly committed to the Lutheran church of his birth–AS I AM–he cannot take up a clergy job in another denomination. Besides, would you want to call a pastor who had served as a Baptist preacher while he was waiting for a call? I wouldn’t! I don’t know the longest tenure of clergy in C.R.M., but the regulations state that they may not exceed four years (bylaw 2.11.2.2.a).

    So the guys that end up like me, Todd, and Wallace can wait for a call, for awhile. But then bills pile up, mortgage falls behind, and then what? If no call emerges, and you refuse to change your church confession, then that is the end of your vocation as a pastor. Period. And again, no marketable skills for the general job market.

    The church may treat its best employees in the worst way, because, with respect to Ministers of Religion, it is not subject to the same employee-law regulations as other businesses. That is the First Amendment in practice. I am not saying I am one the “best employees” of the synod, although I think Wallace Schulz and Todd Wilken vie for that honor (I think both have won the Confessional Lutheran of the Year Award).

    The synod was not always this way. It used to treat all its church-workers with much greater respect and would do anything to prevent a termination. Why do you think the guys at Concordia Seminary got away with what they did in the 1960s and early 1970s? The Seminex experience soured many people in our church on the clergy, and those effects are still being seen.

    The synod has fallen into bad employment practices in the last two decades, primarily because Dr. Ralph Bohlmann wanted to get rid of Dr. Robert Preus, at any cost, with any means. They “duked it out” through the old system, then Preus won his case in the Commission on Appeals. Bohlmann and the Board of Regents refused to reinstate Preus and a constitutional crisis ensued. Bohlmann and his friends realized that they needed to fortify their position and gave us the new clergy employee system. The way things stand today are due to Bohlmann and his friends. Thanks, guys!

    I am hoping for better days in the future, so that all LCMS church-workers know that, if they do their job, uphold our doctrine, and are not guilty of moral failings, they will be protected. Isn’t that a primary purpose of synod (LCMS Constitution III.9 and III.10)?

    I hope that this explains what happened to Todd and Wallace, and to other clergy that end up in the C.R.M. position in our church. Thanks for your excellent question!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  22. The question for Lutherans is: “Is there a “divine call” to positions that are not a pastor-serving-a-congregation?”

    Confessional Lutherans will quickly answer that question by referring to… (now let’s not always see the same hands)… the Lutheran Confessions, and specifically AC.V and XIV. The Missouri Synod clearly recognized this in its 2003 CTCR document, “Theology and Practice of ‘the Divine Call'”, when it states at the beginning (p. 5):

    As Christ has established the office of the public ministry, so he also places individuals into that office (AC XIV). Accordingly, this placement into the office of the public ministry has been designated historically as a “divine call” or “call and ordination.”

    A related footnote (p.5) states:

    This term, the office of the public ministry, is equivalent to ‘the pastoral office.’ Within this office are contained all the functions of the ministry of Word and sacrament in the church”([The Ministry: Offices, Procedures, and Nomenclature, CTCR, 1981], 12). Conclusions may then be drawn about calls of individuals into auxiliary offices to the extent that these participate in and support the office of the public ministry. As the Commission has noted in its 1981 report, auxiliary offices are those established by the church: “Those who are called to serve in them are authorized to perform certain of the function(s) of the office of the public ministry. These offices are ‘ministry’ and they are ‘public,’ yet they are not the office of the public ministry.

    Thus it can be quickly determined that, within the Missouri Synod, the SP or DP, as the SP or DP, does not have a “divine call” as the “divine call” is understood by the Lutheran Confessions and the Missouri Synod. The SP and DP are eligible to receive a divine call through a congregation, constrained only by bylaws limitations related to their elected executive office.

    Unfortunately, not all Missouri Synod members are in Koinonia on this position. One extreme wants to evolve the divine call to mean “everyone’s a minister,” with pastors being their CEOs, and the other extreme wants to merge the divine call into an episcopal polity.

  23. @Martin R. Noland #122

    Dear Dr. Noland,
    Thank you very very much for all of the information and thought you have provided.
    I wish I have a tenth of your education and knowledge.
    It does seem clear that the call of a man as sole pastor to a distinct local congregation is unique, whether we name other things ‘calls’ or not.
    And since that is true, then referring to the local congregation uniquely as ‘church’ follows.
    Both words can be and are legitimately overloaded. But the unique distinction of the local understanding of both still holds.
    It also seems clear that whether or not you refer to his situation as a call, heading a radio show does not make you a pastor, even if you’re trained and were ordained. If we want a pastor to supervise a radio program such as Lutheran Hour or some other one, we should hire a man for that job who is a working pastor over a congregation.
    Then, and only then (I say) one has what one wants: a pastor over a radio show (or a radio station).
    How employees are treated when they are to be relieved of their duties is another question. Current practices in the US reflect hard hearts in the general populace and are a scandal, like a lot of other things.

  24. @Martin R. Noland #122 adn Tpdd and others

    At times we have talked about what to do at next convention. Can we roll back everything? Sure, but it would not be that practical, and would look like sour grapes. I am thinking of Daniel Prues’ description of the blood bath in MN South. Maybe there are elements of the massisive resturcturing that will be good, and I do not htink many are in the mood to go through all that again.

    I think we start target specifics. First and more most we must reelcet Matt Harrison. Then I think resolution should be brought up to fix certain critical areas. CTCR work being transferred to the seminary faculties could be one. I think the CCM got a little too much power, and would like to see the convention be able to determine certain directions, and be able to overturn such rulings. For this thread, the DRP needs overhaul. Considering some of the history, much shared from Pr. Noland, a more Biblical reorientation to Matthew 18 would be helpful. And tank TCN, which allows numerical growth as another way to depose a pastor.

    Depending on how much adiaphora our sturucture is, I find it more important to fix and clear the abuse in the system. If we can bring more fairness and Godly justice (Not tobe confused with Dr. Goodine’s secular justice) we can build up a stronger synod, encourage faithful and dedicated (confessional?) pastors, and close legal loopholes to allow insidious undermining of the Confessions. Then we can have a safer environment where Prs. Martin, Wilken, Schulz and Prues do not get fired for political power plays. We can also then figure out the definiton of church, and/or help find calls for professiosr and Lutheran Hour speakers to still be pastors.

  25. On his Mercy Journeys blog, Pres. Harrison hints that the May issue of The Lutheran Witness will not look like this, but more like this.

    Another clue may be in the April 2011 issue of the BOD’s Board Briefs, in the article, “Facing Financial Reality.” Of 33 districts reporting pledges for the 2011/12 budget year, 9 have pledged a total increase of $72,000 in synod support, five have pledges unchanged from last year, and 21 districts will be reducing their pledges by a total of $1,711,000. According to the Brief:

    “The elimination of program boards and some commissions in itself does not begin to provide the relief necessary to balance the 2011/2012 budget… For this reason, the board supported preparing a budget that matches the former structure, with adjustments to the new structure to be made when possible throughout the coming year.”

  26. So glad to see our Synodical Prez taking Synodical finances seriously, as commanded! Thank you!
    Tough also are family and local congregational finances. Happily, on both levels, no debt here, thus I am able to make the following offer: with all seriousness, and in the spirit of w-m-lt, I offer Rev. and Mrs. Logid a secondary safety net……….a place to live in Hutchinson Ks (with us in our parsonage [four kids gone/going to college]); the opportunity for part-time work, as I have it; the opportunity for your wife to find employment, as my wife recently found it; and a vibrant, alive, orthodox/liturgical church with PC/A, weekly Holy Supper and meat and potatoes Law/Gospel preaching.

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