Comments requested from those who attended the Emmaus Conference

I found this on email list TableTalk from Cat41 (send an email to: [email protected] to subscribe). BJS posted information on it prior to the conference here and on the Lutheran Calendar here.

Pastor Randy VanMehren talking:

I just returned from an interesting conference in WA. The presenters were the presidents of the LCMS, WELS & ELS. First time they’ve held a Free Conference together since early the Sixties. Kieschnick invited WELS and ELS to consider resuming conversations but was summarily turned down. Guess he didn’t realize the depth of his sin in blessing Benke in his sin. The three Presidents have committed themselves to do this again next April. Harrison admitted at the lectern that MO has a lot of work to do internally, but it should take place as we also work with each other toward whatever realignment in American Lutheranism we can, by God’s grace and aid, can help shape.

Interesting and perhaps, one hopes, promising beginning. Time will tell.

I understand that the conference was recorded and that recordings will be available in “a while”. We don’t know how they will advertise or distribute it, but papers from previous Emmaus conferences are available here.

Pastor Schroeder’s paper is available here.


If anyone else attended the conference please comment giving your reactions.


Note: to add the Lutheran Calendar to your sidebar on your blog, add an RSS widget with the URL

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.

Norm has been involved behind the scenes in many of the "go-to" websites for Lutherans going back many years.


Comments requested from those who attended the Emmaus Conference — 37 Comments

  1. Not to showup Pastor Rydecki, who comments here on BJS, but he will be posting something later this week at Intrepid Lutherans ( Pastor Rydecki did attend along with WELS DP – Pastor Jon Buchholz.

    Others can correct me if I err, but I believe the Kieschnick invite was for more formal conversations that were turned down. The Emmaus Conference as pointed out was a free conference that has been going on for a while. Past papers and responses are available at the Emmaus website from WELS, ELS and LCMS presenters and reactors.

    Blessings all.

  2. No worries, Perry. I was too slow in getting out a report.

    I did attend the conference and will have promised report posted by this afternoon. It was nice to meet a number of ELS and LCMS brothers, as well as to run into the WELS brothers who made the trek. I was extremely impressed with all three presidents. I had never met Harrison before. Highest thanks to those of you in Missouri who elected him, and to God who graciously brought it about.

    A rousing rendition of “The Beverly Hillbillies” on Thursday evening was led by Harrison’s banjo. Nice.

  3. Sounds very encouraging!

    By the way, Pastor Buchholz is the president of the Arizona/California district in the WELS. He is a very strong confessional Lutheran and a great guy who also speaks excellent spanish!

  4. It is really nice to see the WELS, ELS and LCMS in discussions. This makes so much more sense than in wasting time in discussions with the E?CA.

  5. I attended the Emmaus Conference, held in Tacoma, Washington on May 5th and 6th. This was somewhat of an historic event since it’s the first time in ~50 years that all three synod presidents have met at the same time – President Harrison, President Mark Schroeder of WELS, and President Moldstad of ELS.

    President Scroeder presented a paper titled “Church Fellowship and its Implications for Confessional Lutherans.” Presidents Harrison and Molstad then responded, followed later by a panel discussion. There was also a banquet on the evening of the first day, held at the Hotel Murano, complete with jokes, singing, and President Harrison on the banjo.

    In a nutshell, this event was the first foray into further dialogue amongst these three Confessional Lutheran synods. There was mention made of some sort of more formal talks between the synods. President Harrison commented that the LCMS, and I’m paraphrasing here, needs to get its own doctrinal house in order first by dialogue within the LCMS, although he wasn’t averse to holding concurrent talks with the other two synods.

    The impression I got from the other two presidents, was that they were heartened to see the election of President Harrison, and are hopeful that we can discuss our doctrinal differences in an effort towards fellowship, or at least an examination of areas where we differ.

    Quoting from President Molstad’s response:

    On August 18, 2003, Rev G. Kieschnick, then president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, issued invitations to WELS and ELS to hold formal doctrinal discussions between the three church bodies. The purpose of the invitation, as related by Kieschnick, was to discuss possible ways for the church bodies to address areas of disagreement currently hindering fellowship between the churches, and also to explore ways to support and assist one another in facing contemporary attacks on the Gospel. Both the ELS and the WELS wrote letters declining the invitation.

    In my letter dated September 25, 2003, I replied to LCMS president: “In our estimation, the doctrinal differences that originally separated our two synods still remain… If it were the case that recent decisions and actions in the LCMS would appear, from our perspective, to indicate a sincere attempt to return to the scriptural position on the doctrine of church fellowship, we would be interested in holding intersynodical discussions. However, this is not the case.”

    Keep in mind this was not long after the well-publicized Yankee Stadium prayer service where Rev. David Benke, an LCMS District President, joined in conducting prayer in a worship service featuring not only a wide range of Christian denominations but also Muslim and Jewish religious leaders. Kieschnick defended the action of Benke…

    Have things changed? Is there a fresh wind blowing from the city of the Arch? We were pleased to hear of Pres. Harrison’s elections. Even with a healthy hand on the rudder, a sizable ship makes a turn slowly. Pres. Schroeder expressed his optimism in connection with the Colver article dealing with “cooperation in externals.” I am greatly encouraged by the same. It is also heartening to note Pres. Harrison’s remark in his significant 2009 volume of LCMS forefathers. Prefacing a potent but brief article by Dr. Franz Pieper entitled “Contending for the Truth,” Harrison editorially states: “Because Missouri’s position, particularly on the Gospel of universal grace, is that of Christianity in the very best sense, ‘So all Christianity on earth is basically united with us, and we fight not only for them, but also for their name.” Missouri has a sacred task to confess the biblical Gospel and all its articles without abbreviation. We could not agree more.”

    Next year’s Emmaus Conference will again host the three synod presidents. The planned topic is “free conferences.”

  6. GaiusKurios :It is really nice to see the WELS, ELS and LCMS in discussions. This makes so much more sense than in wasting time in discussions with the E?CA.

    I fully endorse your comments! We were wasting time having “conversations” with the

    Rudy Wagner

  7. WOW!!!
    I’m so glad to see something, I knew if I was patient, I’d see it at BJS or Intrepid Lutherans! I read somewhere, transcripts were verboden, as they want people to go the the Emmaus website, but the site has nothing to look at, tried, been, naught. I knew that had to be wrong, that would be rather self defeating, as not many had heard or knew of it, to begin with.

    Thank you Scott & Pastor Rydecki, I know many made every attempt humanly possible to attend, but could not (not our lot, so to speak).

    But I know many tried, and I thank you both, from the bottom of my heart, for posting, and thank Norm, for posting this article.
    I thought, Pastor Harrison’s comments, were spot on, for all concerned!!!!
    WELS has doctinal issues too, ck Intrepid Lutheran’s/archives for “Change or Die” conference. WELS just handles & speaks of it differently. Not wrongly, nor does LCMS, both just do it differently…BUT ALL 3 SYNODS ARE TALKING!!! Who thunk it possible???!!!!

    Ya never met someone you want to be close friends with, under formal/public/press covered, circumstances, it would be for naught. But, as Scott said, no one has seen this in over 50 years, and that is something to celebrate & pray for future’s for!!!

    Thank you so much Scott & Pastor Rydecki in advance, for those who knew & were patiently (or some who weren’t) waiting for commentary the historic Emmaus Conference. I do, with all my heart, pray that President Schroeder is re-elected this summer. One man, cannot right ships that were scuddled or laid waste, for years, let alone build an armada, nor as blest men as they may be, can Pastor Harrison or President Molstad.

    (I say Pastor Schroeder & Pastor Harrison, so very much NOT out of any disrespect, but they are both Pastor’s first, I don’t know anything about President Molstad, but I wager, he is at his heart also)
    I pray our Heavenly Father bless, keep, & uphold all three of these men, as should we all!
    Look what our Lord can do, with such!!!!! Insert Doxolgy here.

  8. I was privileged to attend and was heartened. Not only was the conference historic, but, Lord willing, it may have historic consequences, although perhaps not in what remains of my lifetime.

    Pres. Harrison mentioned the prayer for the church in the Litany. It’s in the ELS’ Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary also (page 137), and I will be praying it for all three synods. It was interesting that all three presidents mentioned the same problems within their synods, although to varying degrees.

    We were told at the conference that the paper and the formal reactions would be posted on the Emmaus Conference website in a week or two. It hasn’t been a week, yet! Please give them time. Pres. Harrison did not distribute a copy of his reaction but spoke more informally, so the conference committee may be waiting for a formal electronic copy.

  9. I think it would have a good thing for the leaders of the WELS and ELS to publically recognize that their own respective church bodies have a bit of work to do as well. But I’m glad Pastor Harrison was the one to make such gracious, and honest, remarks.

    Pastor Harrison also graciously did not mention that at the “Free Conferences” in the days of Walther and others, it was commonplace for their to be mutual prayer for God’s blessings on the event, a practice which today’s WELS and its confused position on “prayer fellowship” would not be comfortable doing.

    Yes, there is much work to go around among all three Lutheran church bodies.

  10. @Rev. Paul Rydecki #6

    Pr. Rydecki,
    Thanks very much for the fine summary, and I am in total agreement with your statement from your report…. “Here is my (very conditional) prediction, as well as my prayer. If the pastors and congregations of the WELS, ELS and LCMS will adopt the humility and doctrinal commitment of their respective presidents, then I have no doubt that the fellowship of the former Synodical Conference will be restored.”

    Rudy Wagner

  11. @Rev. Paul T. McCain #10
    Pastor McCain: Please take the time to listen to an Issues, Etc. program that had President Schroeder on. On the program President Schroeder said that we are not a perfect synod by any means, and there are areas that we need to clean up on.

    I think that the humility of both President Schroeder and President Harrison is something that we can all learn from. Neither seems bitter and self righteous about themselves or the synods that they represent.

    Praise God for the tone and Christian maturity that all three S.P.’s are showing.

  12. @Rev. Paul T. McCain #10
    All three presidents showed great humility and were very frank and open about problems in their own synods. They certainly didn’t take jabs at one another. I think it would be a mistake to try to make it a competition, as if “so and so was more humble and gracious than the other guy.” It kind of takes the “humble” out of “humility.”

    At one point during the reading of his essay, Schroeder himself paused to point out Walther’s practice of joint prayer in the early stages of the free conferences when it was being determined who did and who did not hold firmly to confessional Lutheran doctrine and practice. But once it was clear that some of those Lutheran synods rejected some or all of Missouri’s doctrine, that practice changed. Here’s a quote from Walther, quoted in a footnote in Schroeder’s essay,

    In 1881, Lehre und Wehre stated, “We say openly and honestly to everyone who brings different doctrine among us, even though he appeals to the confessions of the Lutheran church, ‘We do not belong together and so we must go our separate ways.’ By that we do not mean to say that our opponents are heretics nor do we anathematize them . . . But this is what we say: ‘We can no longer walk together. We cannot pray with one another any longer’ . . . For such praying is an abomination in the sight of God.?”

    All the confessional Missourians I know would agree with this statement from Walther, I think. (Correct me if I’m wrong!) There undoubtedly also exists a “confused position” on the applications of prayer fellowship in both our synods – one perhaps too strict, one perhaps too liberal. There’s no need to throw stones at one another. There is great need for humble, fraternal dialogue governed by the Word of Christ and our Confessions.

  13. I am not certain that these talks “make more sense,” than talking with the ELCA (which I agree doesn’t make much sense anymore). The WELS and the ELS routinely toss confessional pastors off their respective rosters because they dared to question some of the strange fringey doctrines of these bodies. I know some of these men. They do it to laymen too. Dr. Kieschnick tried and was rebuffed. Now are we worth talking to, because of an election?

  14. @Rev. Paul Rydecki #13 Great quote from Walther. Also when a person tries to publically look more humble than the other guy, that is self- rigteousness at its best.

    @Steven Anderson #14 You state, “Dr. Kieschnik tried and was rebuffed. Now are we worth talking to, because of an election?”

    I would assume so. Pastor Harrison is extremely confessional. That particular election makes all of the difference in the world. I’m sure that all the confessional folks in all three synods would agree.

  15. Steve #14,
    Is it worth it now, yes it is. President Schroeder & President Harrison, are Pastors first, elected officials, for but a time. Pastors first & foremost & it shows in those men, that is the only reason, anyone, from either Synod I know, can explain how this happened. 50 years, is a long time, but not long enough for some, but never will be for a few.

    Confessionals, from these three Synods, have more in common w/each other than they have w/more than they know, today or they fellowship with, on any given day. Confessionals bear a brunt, in all 3, many here at BJS can testify personally, why inflict that one these 3 men who showed the courage, in 50 years none else did?!

    Rather than offerring a critique, why can’t we Confessional Lutherans no matter Synodical membership, offer our encouragement, hopes & prayers? We post here at BJS, Intrepid, Issues Etc, for a reason, do we all not?!

    Why solidify the stereotype we all known by, let us all, offer what isn’t expected,
    betwixt those three men & who the represent?!

  16. I was blessed to be at the Emmaus Conference and I would encourage everyone to read President Schroeder’s paper. You can access it at the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary website:

    It was a great conference. President Schroeder’s paper was very humble, thoughtful and evangelical while at the same time honestly addressing the differences that have existed between the LCMS and WELS/ELS. I was also glad to listen to President Harrison. This is the first time I had met him and I was very impressed with his commitment to Scripture and the Lutheran confessions and his obvious pastoral and evangelical heart. All three presidents showed themselves to be very humble, pastoral, sincere, and solid theologians.

    During the Presidents roundtable segment of the conference each president pointed out the strengths of the other synods and the weaknesses of their own. Presidents Schroeder (WELS) and Molstad (ELS) both acknowledged our weaknesses, problems, and struggles as well. There was no expression from any of them to look better than the other or put the other down. From all three men there was encouragment to pray for each other, to be faithful to the Scriptures, as well as the intention to keep talking with one another in the future.

    Next year’s Emmaus Conference will have President Harrison as the main presenter with Presidents Schroeder and Molstad as reactors.

    The separation that exists among confessional Lutherans brings grief and sadness to many individuals and families. I pray that someday God may grant a united confession among us. With pastoral leaders such as Harrison, Schroeder, and Molstad at the helm, I am much more optimistic that this will happen. “How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity” Psalm 133:1.

  17. @Rev. Paul Rydecki #13

    Are you saying that a common prayer with family members of different faiths, Catholic, Baptist, non-denominational is always ok? I have always practiced folding my hands but remaining silent when someone of another denomination was leading a prayer, including the common table prayer. This is what I was taught as a child. It is a clear witness that I do not “agree” with the doctrine of their church. The way some Christian church bodies perceive God, is not the God I know to be through the Holy Scriptures. My friends and family have a choice to belong to a church that teaches the Bible faithfully or not. If simply stated that we do not pray/worship with those outside of our fellowship in public or private, the lines are “clearer” and also biblical. If we say “if this, than that” the lines are confusing and muddy. Then the question would be if ok in private, why not in public? How public? A habitat for humanity build? A Thrivant event? How about joint multi-denominational conference with those outside WELS fellowship, would it be proper for a WELS pastor to say a prayer before a meal or opening/closing of the conference. Is it “his” prayer or are others jointly praying with him? These are questions that aren’t meant to be nitpicky, just honest discussion starters. I find it interesting that prayer fellowship is not something that many in LCMS think of with the differences between LCMS & WELS, in my WELS circles that seems to be the 1st thing mentioned in response to such a question.

  18. @Rev. Paul Rydecki #13

    I have an honest question. In my life, I’ve found that Lutherans I’ve known for years, whom I thought were ‘solid’ (and in many ways are) actually, on an individual level, held what I thought to be some anomalous beliefs here and there. I attribute this to sinfulness, plain and simple. I am sure I not entirely blameless on this score. I know this because I am still learning and being corrected ..

    Now, if you’ve had this experience, my question is: do you stop praying with such a person?

    I realize this question could be extended to communion, but it’s not my intention to bring that up, here.

    Forgive me, but I imagine you are going to state something like it’s not about the perfection of the other person’s knowledge, but about his outward membership in a church body. But his statement of allegiance to a church body could be a little confused, just like his detailed doctrinal knowledge.

  19. It is good to see conversations between the three church bodies. I’ve been associated with all three and they are all blessed with many fine theologians and pastors. I’m not so optimistic to think that the LCMS could ever be welcomed into fellowship with WELS and ELS again. However, I would hope that some day soon the LCMS could cut all ties to ELCA and at least cooperate in externals with WELS and ELS.

  20. @mbw #19

    The understanding that I have and was taught is to base it on Biblical agreement and the membership or lack of membership of a visible church. Those in fellowship together ought to pray and worship together. Those not in fellowship should be prayed for not with. If the person states he agrees with me, but the church body he holds membership does not then he should be encouraged to find a church that he is in agreement with. Until such visible evidence, fellowship in prayer and worship should be separate. I would continue to lead the common table prayer in my home with my family as I always would even if that person were present. If I was there alone with this person, I would pray silently. ( My parents practice this, since they are different religions and their children are grown.) If I were at their home, I would remain silent while they prayed and then proceed to pray my own prayer silently.

    I admit that this practice is much easier with my Catholic side of the family. Afterall, who are they really praying to? Mary, a saint? Truthfully, it is much harder to practice with my LCMS relatives who are part of a very conservative church. I think it could also apply to a member of your family or a friend if they were involved in an unrepentant sin that you were aware of and talked to them about. If the church is unaware of what is going on and you personally know that they no longer confess an agreement of scripture. I would no longer continue in prayer or worship with that person. That would be done out of Christian love for their soul. Matthew 10:20-22

    I admit that I would most likely pray with someone, who on their deathbed, confesses Jesus as Lord and Savior and they are saved by God’s grace alone through faith given only through the Holy Spirit, no matter what visible church they had membership in. At that point, they no longer have the opportunity to change denomination. However, if they express that they had to accept Jesus or be a good enough person, I would pray for them but would not say “let’s pray together”. I hope that doesn’t sound hypocritical. What I think is hypocritical is to speak with a person about the un-biblical teachings in their church and then sit down at dinner and prayer with them as if it no longer mattered. Wouldn’t Christian love be better expressed if it was consistently applied personally and publicly?

  21. @Anonymous #18

    Are you saying that a common prayer with family members of different faiths, Catholic, Baptist, non-denominational is always ok?

    No, no. Not saying that at all. I’m saying it’s not always wrong.

    First, I think we need to make several distinctions (as Schroeder does in his essay) between public and private, between “church fellowship” and my actions as an individual Christian, and also between promoters (teachers) of false doctrine and the poor souls who are deluded by false teachers and may suffer from ignorance or weakness in faith.

    In all things, as individual Christians, we strive to be faithful to God’s Word and of service to our neighbor, and we aim for a consistent confession of our faith, compelled by the love of Christ to love especially those who bear his name. (I’m drawing from main points in Schroeder’s essay here.) How best can I serve my Methodist aunt when I go over to her house for dinner? Well, if she’s a Methodist pastorette who rejects this or that Scriptural teaching and wants to make a point of our “unity despite our differences” by holding hands and saying a prayer, then I refuse. But if she’s a simple Christian who confesses a simple faith in Christ, maybe the table prayer isn’t the best place to take a stand against the evils of Methodism and the potential danger its leaven poses to her soul. Maybe I encourage her or try to strengthen her in the Truth of Christ in other ways.

    The point is, there is no hard and fast rule, but rather sound Christian judgment in those individual settings, so that I may serve my neighbor in love without ever giving the impression that false doctrine isn’t a serious matter.

    The other point is that the historic church’s teaching on Church Fellowship doesn’t deal with my family room or my dining room. It deals with churches (or church representatives) and the things they seek to do jointly as churches: ministry, prayer, communion, preaching, teaching God’s Word – even charitable endeavors that are carried out as churches (as opposed to individual Christians carrying out such efforts as individuals, which may well be God-pleasing, whether done in cooperation with other Christians or with non-Christians).

    Pr. Karl Hess made this comment at Intrepid, and I think he says it well:
    “It is true that for many of us in the LCMS, prayer fellowship has not been on our radar. But given a little reflection, I think most confessional Missouri men would readily agree that we do not wish to act in any way that would make it appear that disagreement in the teaching of God’s word is a minor matter. Clearly praying with idolaters is sin, and praying publicly with those who teach false doctrine, as though disagreement in doctrine were not a serious matter, gives false testimony.”

  22. The fundamental problem with the WELS prayer fellowship position is regarding prayer as a mark of the church, which it is not. When prayer occurs in a setting where there is a mutual sharing in the marks of the church, of course we would not do it.

    I would go further than Pastor Rydecki does with his example.

    If I am invited to the house of an ELCA pastor, or anyone who is a heterodox Christian with the express reason being given, “Come to my house and eat a meal with me and thus we will prove to one another that our doctrinal differences do not matter” I would politely refuse the invitation and the issue of “joint prayer” would be a moot point.

    If I am however with Pastor Rydecki for the express purpose of discussion of our mutual concerns, commitments and difference, I would eagerly join him in prayer asking for the Holy Spriit’s guidance, and I would hope he would do the same.

  23. Karl Hess’ statement is operating under a false premise. That is, praying publicly with Christians who might teach false doctrine is not a testimony “as though disagreement in doctrine were not a serious matter.” Rather, a refusal to pray with another person is to deny that the person is a Christian. Put another way, to pray with another Christian to the same God to which both give a creedal confession (e.g. The Apostles’ Creed) is simply that- a prayer to the true God that both confess.

    To put prayer on par with altar and pulpit (means of grace whereby God comes to us) fellowship is to misunderstand what prayer is. I.e., prayer is not a conversation with God.

  24. Thank you Pastor Rydecki, for post #23. (& so much more)
    It’s almost verbatim, what we heard, from the WELS Pastor, who questioned us, when we asked to find pasture & welcome to WELS. Boy were we ever grilled & drilled. But this was huge for us both, and we heard this very thing that day.
    I thought if I became WELS, I couldn’t pray w/my Mom, sister, my Godparents, or my in laws ever again. How could I choose that, knowing who they are & what I know was in large part, taught to me by them!!!! False myth, not true. Doctrine & proper practice is key!!! These 3 men, proved it to us all in spades, why can’t that be good enough for those they Shepherd?!

    If even remotely, this were true, you & I & many others, would never have read or posted here. It’s why the Emmaus have been held or exists at all!
    The Emmaus Conference, wouldn’t even have seen the light of day. And no watchman, would be on any tower, if there was any tower at all, for any of the three.

    50 years, is a long time…a generation at least, left to what over that time?
    To create myth & conspiracy theorum. That doesn’t make any of it, fact. Emmause ’11, did it’s best to despell many, but those who choose to, will believe what they choose to. Don’t they?
    At the end of the day, this never would have or could have ever been an idea, let alone an historic 50 year long answered prayer,
    if our Heavenly Father did not will it to be so.
    He did, & as we pray, on earth as it is in Heaven. His Will, is the only will that is ever done or allowed. I think all 3 Synods, agree on that point, do they not?

  25. I would encourage Rev. McCain to read President Schroeder’s paper so he can more clearly understand the WELS position. The WELS does not regard prayer as a “mark of the church.” Pres. Schroeder makes this clear on page 37 of his paper. He says, “By including these other activities as expressions of fellowship, they are not being mistaken for or confused with the ‚marks of the church.? Prayer is not a means of grace, and worship itself is not a Sacrament. It must, however, be recognized that these activities all flow from and are intimately connected to the marks of the church and there-fore cannot be viewed separately from them. All involve the use and proclamation of the Gospel in the wider sense. Participation in them is confession. Our witness in applying fellowship principles must be consistent with that.”

    The WELS position is that in whatever way we confess the faith with others, we want to give a constient and loving witness to the truth of God’s Word to all.

  26. @Rev. Paul T. McCain #24

    If I am however with Pastor Rydecki for the express purpose of discussion of our mutual concerns, commitments and difference, I would eagerly join him in prayer asking for the Holy Spriit’s guidance, and I would hope he would do the same.

    Yes, Paul, I would. Wouldn’t do such a thing with, for example, a Mormon, but I would with you, a confessing believer in Christ.

  27. I’d encourage everyone, especially my fellows in the Wisconsin Synod, to listen to a paper (“Confessions – Fellowship in the Former Synodical Conference”) written and read by sainted Prof. Kurt Marquart. You can listen to it here: It’s a gem!

  28. President Schroeder: “Prayer is not a means of grace, and worship itself is not a Sacrament. It must, however, be recognized that these activities all flow from and are intimately connected to the marks of the church and therefore cannot be viewed separately from them.”

    In a Lutheran perspective, “What does this mean?” How does the relationship and manner in which prayer flows from the marks of the church result in the inability to view prayer separately from the marks of the church? And what exactly does “cannot be viewed separately” mean?

  29. Carl, my understanding of that statement is that the right preaching of the Gospel (i.e., the entire doctrine of Christ) and the right administration of the Sacraments are that which establish and preserve the unity of Christian fellowship. In that sense, prayer is viewed separately from the marks of the Church.

    However, preaching and administering the Sacraments do not encompass all the activities that flow from Christian fellowship. The unity established by the marks of the Church is expressed in joint worship and joint ministry. In this sense, prayer or other forms of worship are viewed as directly linked to and flowing from the unity established by the marks.

    That’s my limited understanding of it.

  30. @Rev. Paul T. McCain #24
    This may be taking us afield of the topic of the thread, but how would you apply these principles to prayer at a confessional reading group with this mix of attenders: confessional Lutherans; non-confessional Lutherans; a Reformed, White Horse Inn type of free grace Baptist; and a believer from a non-denominational congregation who supports the confessions? Is prayer for the Holy Spirit’s presence and work amidst the reading and discussion okay?

  31. Pr. Boehringer,

    Thanks for the link to the Marquardt lecture. It is truly a gem. He makes the point that church fellowship is primarily based on agreement around the content of faith, that is, the objective truths of God’s Word (fides quae creditur), rather than on the basis of the isolated personal faith of individuals (fides qua creditur). Pres. Schroeder touches on that on page 37 of his paper. I think that the WELS/ELS and LCMS would both agree on that.

    Listening to it leads me to think that there are still several misunderstandings between the LCMS and WELS/ELS concerning the basis for church fellowship. Lord willing, we can re-engage open and honest discussions (with a good dose of humility) between synods to help remove misundestandings, preconceived ideas and caricatures on both sides. This is what President Schroeder encouraged in the conclusion of his paper.

  32. The papers of Presidents Schroeder and Moldstad are now on the Emmaus Conference website (google “Emmaus Conference”). Evidently they are still waiting for the written version of President Harrison’s reaction. As I mentioned in my prior post, he did not submit printouts of his reaction but spoke more informally. It may be that his reaction won’t be posted to the website which, IMHO, is unfortunate. I have several pages of hastily-scribbled notes (part of which even I can’t read!) but would like to see it in writing other than my own. It gave me a greater appreciation of the history and issues involved and high esteem for President Harrison.

    During the round table discussion, the three presidents were asked to state the current problems in their own synods. They did so quite frankly. President Moldstad brought down the house (or at least the ELS members present) by mentioning the nickname he acquired during the recent Church and Ministry controversy in the ELS, “Pope John the Malefactor.”

    I respectfully suggest reading the papers and viewing the video of the discussion when it’s available, before making critical remarks one way or the other.

  33. Pastor Rydecki #36,
    My husband & I, did our utmost to jump all hoops to attend. The reason we both could not, it to our Lord & His Will, which is what all attending prayed for. We look forward to seeing or hearing Pastor Harrison’s transcripts, as we are Pastor Schoeder’s.
    I wish we could have been & heard, however, all prayers offerred, we may be gifted & blest to attend in ’12. Thank all those who were blest to attend, their words & posts.
    Pax Christi,
    Dutch & Spouse