ACELC Posts Convention Overtures, by Pr. Rossow

The Association of Confessing Evangelical Lutheran Churches has produced some very thoughtful overtures for the upcoming LCMS Convention next summer.

We encourage you to study these carefully, bring them to your elders and voters, edit them as you see fit and then consider submitting them from your congregation for inclusion at the convention.

You can find the overtures by clicking here.

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

ACELC Posts Convention Overtures, by Pr. Rossow — 45 Comments

  1. RESOLVED, That the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod in convention state, in accordance with Scripture, that women may serve only in humanly established offices in the church that do not exercise authority over men.

    For example, let’s say a female chemistry teacher at one of our synodical universites serves in the “humanly established” office of college professor. Does this mean that in order for her “not to exercise authority over men” she must only teach female students?

  2. @#4 Kitty #1 : “Does this mean that in order for her “not to exercise authority over men” she must only teach female students?”

    Only if the Missouri Synod declares the chemistry department of that synodical university to be a church, and the office of chemistry professor to be the Office of Public Ministry (AC.XIV). In such a case only tenured male chemistry professors would be allowed to be officiants at chemistry lecture communion services, although female chemistry professors would be allowed to help set up the communionware while overseeing chemistry labs.

  3. Carl,

    LOL!

    However, according to Jerry’s Kids the female chemistry professor would also be allowed to assist the male chemistry professor in administering the chemicals and she could also serve on the board of chemistry deacons/elders since those offices are not listed in the chemistry textbook.

  4. So we do vote on doctrine?

    I’d say that we already have, in our Scriptural and Confessional subscriptions, an official position on the vast majority of these issues. What we lack are Churchmen in leadership positions with the Christian courage to enforce adherence to those positions. By voting on doctrinal issues clearly delineated in Scripture and our Confessions we set the precedent that doctrine is up for grabs, and that our subscriptions are basically meaningless formal statements made for sentimentally historical reasons. That’s a slippery slope we should avoid.

    Advent Blessings+,
    -Matt Mills

  5. Regarding the proposed resolution on Lay Ministry, I have been to a few LCMS churches where laymen read the Scripture passages, but do not lead the worship, preach a sermon, or administer the Sacraments. It seems like there are significantly deeper and involved practices of Lay Ministry at work, but is this reading of Scripture considered Lay Ministry?

    Thanks,
    Spenglergeist

  6. @Matthew Mills #5

    Sadly, we do. That is what happens when you pick the uniquely ill-fitted American idea of democracy as the form of church polity.

    (I’m not sure if episcopacy is any less ill-fitted, but is it at least differently ill-fitted)

  7. @Joe Olson #7

    Since the office of the Holy Ministry involves two things: preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments, I am not sure how you could conclude that reading the Holy Scriptures in a public worship setting is not the part of the duties of the Office.

  8. @Matthew Mills #5: “By voting on doctrinal issues clearly delineated in Scripture and our Confessions we set the precedent that doctrine is up for grabs, and that our subscriptions are basically meaningless formal statements made for sentimentally historical reasons.”

    C.F.W. Walther’s Thesis X on the Ministry: “According to divine right the function of passing judgment on doctrine belongs indeed to the ministry of preaching. However, also the laymen have this right, and for this reason they also have a seat and vote with the preachers in church courts and councils.”

    This should not be misinterpreted as voting on doctrine clearly delineated in Scripture and our Confessions, but rather understood as voting on whether what is being publicly taught in a church or synod agrees with doctrine clearly delineated in Scripture and our Confessions.

    That is why church voters should be taught about the Lutheran Symbols and the doctrinal positions of the LCMS. Those who have no knowledge of the topics in the Symbols, e. g., the Treatise or the Formula of Concord, have no business being delegates to district or synodical conventions. At voters assemblies nominees for convention delegates need to be challenged about their familiarity (and quia agreement) with the Lutheran Symbols.

  9. @Carl Vehse #9
    How often has the Synod in Convention affirmed our adherence to closed communion, and how’s that working for us Carl? Of the 4 LC-MS congregations in the Anchorage Bowl, one practices closed communion, and the other 3 are pretty much wide open (you could probably get one of those to commune pets in cases of “genuine pastoral emergency.”) Who here thinks that X+1 times is going to be the charm? People who are willing to ignore the Scriptures and Confessions will also ignore a 51%-49% (or even 60%-40%) vote that goes against their self-referenced position.

    I, for one, think that “because it never works” is a pretty good reason to stop doing something. So, I think we need to stop having symbolic feel-good votes reaffirming by 51%-49% that the LC-MS is a Confessional Lutheran Synod. If you need to vote about something, vote that the SP be required to expel from the Synod all congregations and pastors whose doctrine and/or praxis are manifestly non-Lutheran, but that’s basically also already in our constitution isn’t it.

  10. @Joe Olson #7: “That is what happens when you pick the uniquely ill-fitted American idea of democracy as the form of church polity.”

    In his Government of the Missouri Synod (CPH, 1947) describing the history of the Missouri Synod’s polity, Carl Mundinger spends most of Chapter 7 refuting the fairy tale notion, still being hawked today, that American democracy influenced Missouri Synod polity. Mundinger states:

    “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 spurious 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.”

    In addition to an understanding of the Lutheran Confessions, delegates to the district and synod conventions should be expected to have a knowledge of Missouri Synod history, so aberrations to LCMS polity are not foisted off on them.

  11. @Matthew Mills #10: “How often has the Synod in Convention affirmed our adherence to closed communion, and how’s that working for us Carl?”

    Matthew, the repetitive resolutions make the Missouri Synod position on closed communion very clear. The fact that a number of Missouri Synod churches, as well as some District officials, ignore that position, says more about Synod and District Presidents not carrying out the sworn responsibilities of their office. Would being called “Archbishop,” wearing a mitre and carrying a crosier at official gatherings make a big change in enforcement? I think not.

  12. @Carl Vehse #12
    Would I prefer a more historical polity? Yes I would, but that being said the real problem is (as it always is) sin, and fallen human nature, not our amerikanische Poebelherrschaft (a great term btw. Thanks.)

    So what is preventing the SP from enforcing our doctrinal standards? Maybe that’s a more reasonable place to start if our goal is fixing the situation. My main point here is: I don’t think the solution is another 55%-45% vote affirming our adherence to closed communion.

  13. Carl Vehse :The fact that a number of Missouri Synod churches, as well as some District officials, ignore that position [closed communion], says more about Synod and District Presidents not carrying out the sworn responsibilities of their office.

    Add to that negligence their zeal to “discipline” Confessional pastors (e.g., Wallace Schulz) and congregations (e.g., ULC) and it becomes clear that the LCMS in many ways already has an episcopal polity.

  14. Matthew Mills :So we do vote on doctrine?
    I’d say that we already have, in our Scriptural and Confessional subscriptions, an official position on the vast majority of these issues. What we lack are Churchmen in leadership positions with the Christian courage to enforce adherence to those positions. By voting on doctrinal issues clearly delineated in Scripture and our Confessions we set the precedent that doctrine is up for grabs, and that our subscriptions are basically meaningless formal statements made for sentimentally historical reasons. That’s a slippery slope we should avoid.
    Advent Blessings+,-Matt Mills

    We don’t vote to establish new doctrine (anything opposing Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions is supposed to be null and void), but the Synod has regularly voted to support existing doctrine.

    Note that some people talk about The Confessions and Constitution/By-Laws as the ultimate authority, yet they forgot about all that stuff in the Bible that’s not in the Confession. Confessional Subscription includes Holy Scripture.

  15. Johan Spenglergeist :Regarding the proposed resolution on Lay Ministry, I have been to a few LCMS churches where laymen read the Scripture passages, but do not lead the worship, preach a sermon, or administer the Sacraments. It seems like there are significantly deeper and involved practices of Lay Ministry at work, but is this reading of Scripture considered Lay Ministry?
    Thanks,Spenglergeist

    The LCMS’s own website says that there is no “Thus Saith the Lord” about laymen reading Scripture during the worship service and that it is up to the individual congregation.

    http://lcms.org/page.aspx?pid=699 – click the Worship/Congregational Life tab to read the Congregational Life pdf.

  16. Tim Schenks :
    The LCMS’s own website says that there is no “Thus Saith the Lord” about laymen reading Scripture during the worship service and that it is up to the individual congregation.

    Yes, and another “council” has decided that a woman can be an elder in the LCMS and serve as President of the Congregation. It’s on our website! 🙂

    It may not be a “Thus Saith the Lord,” but some practices are wiser than others.

    Immediately undoing longstanding errors a newly called pastor finds in a congregation is not the answer, but better practice should be the longterm goal.

    What usually drives the push toward lay readers (such a practice is an innovation) is a push toward giving the congregation a chance to do more. That is a mistake, because in Divine Service our focus should be on receiving the gifts from God, not on us doing more.

    “Don’t believe every quote you read on the internet.”
    — C.F.W. Walther

  17. “What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” 1 Cor 14:26

  18. @Carl Vehse #11

    Having the congregation call a pastor is a far cry from voting on doctrine at the congregational level or at the synodical level. We can all say we don’t do that, but we do. We do it at every convention. Simply because we normally vote the correct way does not mean were not voting on it. If the resolution that says the LCMS practices closed communion because that is the Biblical practice were to fail at at convention, the would mean that the LCMS no longer has a doctrine of closed communion. Sure, it wouldn’t change what right doctrine actually is, but it would change the LCMS’ doctrine.

    I do not reject our current polity as anti-scriptural, but I also do not attempt to support it on the basis of some pretend historical precedent.

  19. @Tim Schenks #15
    Humm, interesting distinction, but I don’t think it holds water. If we attempt to vote “to support existing doctrine,” and lose 49%-51% haven’t we de facto voted “to establish new doctrine?” I’ll say it again, these overtures set the precedent that doctrine is up for grabs, and that our Scriptural and Confessional subscriptions are based on our ability to organize politically. That is a sandy foundation.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  20. @Joe Olson #19
    Does the fact that we have consistently voted to affirm closed communion (55%-45%) really mean that the LC-MS “has a doctrine of closed communion?” Because that’s not what I see on the ground here in the NoW District. And if I’m right in saying that “feel good votes” don’t change the reality on the ground, why do we keep having these votes, and what should we be doing instead to make a real difference?

    Writing more anti-heterodoxy laws when we don’t have the courage to enforce the ones we’ve already got on the books seems like a waste of time to me. We’re whistling in the dark.

  21. @Joe Olson #19,

    The point of my Post #11 was to show the complete fallacy of the fairy tale notion that the Missouri Synod congregational polity was based on or derived from American democracy.

    The claim that a church body, such as the Missouri Synod, with a congregational polity may make erroneous decisions, or that the leaders of that church body may fail to carry out their responsibility for proper supervision, applies also to other church body polities.

  22. Joe Olson :
    If the resolution that says the LCMS practices closed communion because that is the Biblical practice were to fail at at convention, the would mean that the LCMS no longer has a doctrine of closed communion.

    “Let’s be honest. Our seminary graduates are taught the position of synod (and we believe the Scriptures and Confessions) that non-LCMS members should not ordinarily be communed. But a graduate may well be called to a congregation that has been communing non-Lutheran folks every week at the rail for decades! It’s a touch subject…”

    — Mathew Harrison in The Lutheran Witness, November 2012, p. 1)

  23. Matthew Mills :@Tim Schenks #15 Humm, interesting distinction, but I don’t think it holds water. If we attempt to vote “to support existing doctrine,” and lose 49%-51% haven’t we de facto voted “to establish new doctrine?” I’ll say it again, these overtures set the precedent that doctrine is up for grabs, and that our Scriptural and Confessional subscriptions are based on our ability to organize politically. That is a sandy foundation.
    Pax Christi+,-Matt Mills

    That’s why Walther wrote that when voting on something, they should first ask whether this should be something they should be voting on.

  24. @Tim Schenks #25
    Which drives the specific question: click the link, read the overtures and ask yourself “are these things we should be voting about?” What do we as Lutherans believe teach and confess about open communion, rejection of the liturgy, laymen pretending to preach and administer the sacraments, treating the called stewards of Christ like day-laborers, joining in prayer w/ pagans and infidels, et cetera? Are these Scripturally and Confessionaly “open questions?” If we want to vote about money, or the color of the carpets, that’s one thing, but I believe these are bad overtures not because they aren’t true, but because they are absolutely true. That’s why these are not issues that we can in good conscience put to a vote.

  25. In the Lutheran Witness article President Matthew Harrison states:

    But a graduate may well be called to a congregation that has been communing non-Lutheran folks every week at the rail for decades! It’s a touchy subject. If a young pastor doesn’t have the best people skills, is a bit insecure and elects to try to change things too soon, it’s likely to be a disaster. Both seminaries have been working very, very hard to prepare students for these and many other challenges. Part of that preparation is helping graduates to understand themselves and how they are likely to react to challenging and potentially conflicted situations. Not only new pastors, but experienced pastors get into problems in congregations when they push forward change too quickly. As a Synod, walking together, it’s particularly important as a congregation is preparing to call a pastor that the circuit counselor, vacancy pastor or even district president let the congregation know (very charitably, to be sure) that its practice in this or that area needs to improve before they call a new pastor.

    Compare this to what President C.F.W. Walther wrote in his 1848 Der Lutheraner article:

    “When a rightly believing Lutheran preacher is given a new congregation, and he does not want to immediately allow any member of the same to the table of the LORD until he has spoken to each individual and has determined from each one’s own mouth that he knows what the holy LORD’s Supper is, that he acknowledges that he is a poor sinner, that he believes in his heart God’s Word, that he deeply longs for grace and the forgiveness of sins in Christ’s blood, that he also has an earnest intention to follow Christ in leading a holy life, unblemished by the world, and the like, in this he might immediately meet strong opposition that seldom then results in anything but an ensuing schism so that he often sees he might have not other option than to immediately hit the road as he’s being accused as if he had wanted to lord it over the congregation!”

    “So then? Is it right for a preacher to rather suffer all those sorts of things, yes even to prefer to lose his office, than to have to allow everyone to the holy LORD’s Supper without examination? Is the liberality of many preachers in this country today in this regard really so worthy of blame? We answer: Yes!”

    “So what are those preachers doing who admit all without distinction? They prove themselves to be unfaithful, frivolous stewards over God’s mysteries, they seize God in his office and promote themselves to be lords over his holy sacrament, when they are only his servants. Woe to them, if in time this does not occur to them, for ever and ever! A day will come when they will have to repent this in terror, that they have destroyed his goods and they have abused them for their own impure goals.” [Emphasis added]

  26. A good start would to put a stop to pastors who say things like we don’t always have to follow that book exactly like it says referring to the Bible. Specifally this was said in reference to that verse in Timothy regarding women over men. Until men like this are held accountable, nothing will change. Until DP are held accountable nothing will change. Pass stuff all you want, but it does no good if those pastors are not held accountable.

  27. @Carl Vehse #28
    “If a young pastor doesn’t have the best people skills, is a bit insecure and elects to try to change things too soon, it’s likely to be a disaster.” (Harrison)

    President Harrison does seem to be saying the new pastor should continue, at least for a little while, the congregation’s practice of open Communion…

    “…he often sees he might have no other option than to immediately hit the road as he’s being accused as if he had wanted to lord it over the congregation!” (Walther)

    President Walther seems to be saying the new pastor shouldn’t do it, not even once!

  28. Well, here is President Harrison’s advice: “As a Synod, walking together, it’s particularly important as a congregation is preparing to call a pastor that the circuit counselor, vacancy pastor or even district president let the congregation know (very charitably, to be sure) that its practice in this or that area needs to improve before they call a new pastor.”

    That is not a call to a new pastor to continue open Communion. Rather, it is a call to fix it at the ecclesiastical supervision level before a new call is initiated. I’m thinking that this should be part of the self-study process prior to generating a call list or going any further in the call process. And I would agree with that approach, though even better would be to prevent the situation from arising in the first place.

  29. Harrison (2012): “Not only new pastors, but experienced pastors get into problems in congregations when they push forward change too quickly.”

    Walther (1848): “So then? Is it right for a preacher to rather suffer all those sorts of things, yes even to prefer to lose his office, than to have to allow everyone to the holy LORD’s Supper without examination? Is the liberality of many preachers in this country today in this regard really so worthy of blame? We answer: Yes!”

    Harrison (2012): “As a Synod, walking together, it’s particularly important as a congregation is preparing to call a pastor that the circuit counselor, vacancy pastor or even district president let the congregation know (very charitably, to be sure) that its practice in this or that area needs to improve before they call a new pastor.”

    Walther (1848), quoting Martin Luther’s rebuke in his Admonition to the Parsons to Preach against Usury from the year 1540 as pastoral advice on dealing with those (in a congregation) who push for open communion: “So also why should I put my soul on the line for you and to you, and condemn myself on account of your sin… It wouldn’t even do you any good, and would damn me, if I would thus absolve you… Therefore repent and do the right thing. If not, you can just as well simply go to the devil without me and my absolution than that you should doubly go to the devil with my take absolution and me along with you, without making me guilty along with you. No, sir, you go ahead, I’ll stay here. I am not a parson so that I can go along with everyone to the devil but rather to bring everyone with me to God.”

    Merry Koinonia!

  30. I am quite certain that Harrison would not disagree with Walther on this. President Harrison’s point is not so much about open communion as it is about teaching before changing. It is sage advice. In the meantime, Harrison would not encourage a pastors to commune someone he knows is openly opposed to the teaching of the real presence.

  31. I am intrigued by the debate about voting on doctrine. Mills is right. We do not vote on doctrine. Here at Bethany Lutheran we wrote that right into our constitution.

    On the other hand, I think these overtures are more about practice than doctrine. Also, I am convinced that the more of these sorts of overtures that congregations submit, the greater the chance that floor committees will be motivated to bring them to the floor and the clearer it will be that the LCMS historically and in 2013 does not stand for this nonsense.

  32. Koinonia has been a disappointment and it has not moved as quickly as we all thought.

    Having said that, it is something that will take time. Harrison has been busy working on other matters and there is clearly a slow, steady and positive move in this synod toward confessional purity.

    There are a lot of things going on with Koinonia right now. There are programs being worked in several districts. I am not holding my breath until they are successful but on the other hand, I am not going to dismiss the work out of hand. It is good work that is going on and it will bear some fruit. How much I do not know.

    Having said that (can I have 2 “Having said that’s” in one post?), there is no doubt that the key to confessional subscription is district presidents who will act for what is right and discipline erring pastors and congregations. It is a matter of will. We all know the right doctrine. The DP’s need to just start sucking it up and standing up for the right practice of right doctrine. I remember the first time I had to face the issue of closed communion as a young pastor. It was not pleasant. But once you do it once it makes it easier and easier each time to stand up for what is right. Too many of our DP’s are cowering wimps who do not make that first stand that ingrains the habit of good practice.

    Having said that, I will now end this comment. 🙂

  33. @Carol Broome #31
    Perhaps President Harrison should listen to his own advice (modified for his level of supervision):
    As a Synod, walking together, it’s particularly important that if you have district presidents preparing call lists for congregations that the synodical president should let the district presidents know (very charitably, to be sure) that their district’s practice in this or that area needs to improve before they receive any new pastors.

    @Pastor Tim Rossow #34
    Lay ministers preaching and administering the sacraments isn’t doctrine Pastor? The sad fact is that it is absolutely obvious to anyone w/ eyes that the LCMS in 2013 DOES stand for this nonsense, despite the long list of resolutions to the contrary. (Might this also be a good spot to sneak in a: “Leitourgia Divina adiaphora non est?”)

    Fight the Good Fight,
    -Matt Mills

  34. A couple of notes from John Warwick Montgomery’s Tractatus Logico-Theologicus:
    6.752 To make “obedience” a mark of the church is to confuse law and gospel.
    6.753 But not to discipline false doctrine in the church is to defeat the very reason for its existence; indeed, a church which cannot identify and root out heresy is a church which no longer understands orthodoxy.
    6.754 The presence of false teaching per se does not make a church apostate, since human teachers will never be perfect; what does constitute apostasy is the unwillingness of a church to discipline false teaching once it has been recognized as such.

  35. @Carol Broome #31
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but, if the ecclesiastical supervisor does not do his job and the new pastor finds himself with a congregation that is still practicing open Communion, then the new pastor is most certainly being encourgaged by President Harrison to continue open Communion as long as it takes to avoid electing “to try to change things too soon,” which is “likely to be a disaster.”

    I don’t know how else to read plainly the delicately vague way he wrote about this “touchy” subject…

    Let me make it even plainer: Is President Harrison calling on new pastors to never practice open Communion, not even at the very first Divine Service with his new “congregation that has been communing non-Lutheran folks every week at the rail for decades”?

  36. @Pastor Ted Crandall #38
    His statement is unclear on that point, taking as it does the position that that situation should be avoided, which I would agree with. We can’t go further than he does without asking him himself I guess.

  37. @Pastor Ted Crandall #38: Let me make it even plainer: Is President Harrison calling on new pastors to never practice open Communion, not even at the very first Divine Service with his new “congregation that has been communing non-Lutheran folks every week at the rail for decades”?

    Pres. Harrison was very clear in the paragraph that any heterodox practice such as open communion by a congregation “needs to improve before they call a new pastor.” And President Harrison identifies the circuit counselor, vacancy pastor and, ultimately, the district president as having the responsibility to see that this improvement is done.

    But as Carol Broome noted, Pres. Harrison’s answer in his Lutheran Witness” article is unclear regarding a new or experienced pastor who comes into a church in which open communion is being practiced:

    “But a graduate may well be called to a congregation that has been communing non-Lutheran folks every week at the rail for decades! It’s a touchy subject. If a young pastor doesn’t have the best people skills, is a bit insecure and elects to try to change things too soon, it’s likely to be a disaster… Not only new pastors, but experienced pastors get into problems in congregations when they push forward change too quickly.”

    In Lutheran terms, and in light of C.F.W. Walther’s position, what do these statements by President Harrison mean?

  38. In his Lutheran Witness paragraph of ten sentences, Pres. Harrison specifically refers in the opening sentence to “weak or even wrong doctrinal understanding.” Emphasizing this in the second sentence, it is clear that Pres. Harrison is not talking about adiaphora such as liturgical chanting, vestments, or pot-luck suppers.

    The third and fourth sentences narrow the focus to the heterodox practice of open communion, which the fifth sentence describes as “a touchy subject.”

    The seventh and eighth sentences note that both seminaries work hard to prepare seminarians with (presumably) confessional Lutheran standards and methods to stop such heterodox practices, which are oddly described as “potentially conflicted situations.”

    The sixth and ninth sentence associate “disaster” and “problems” not with the heterodox practice Walther described using Christ’s words (Mt. 7:6), but with “try[ing] to change things too soon” and “push[ing] forward change too quickly.”

    The final sentence in the paragraph then strangely jumps back in time to before a new or experienced pastor is even called to shepherd the church. Of course, if the three people specified in that final sentence had actually carried out their responsibilities earlier, the issue discussed in the previous nine sentences of that paragraph would not exist for that congregation.

  39. Carl Vehse :
    The sixth and ninth sentence associate “disaster” and “problems” not with the heterodox practice Walther described using Christ’s words (Mt. 7:6), but with “try[ing] to change things too soon” and “push[ing] forward change too quickly.”

    Which part is unclear?

  40. Pastor Tim Rossow :
    …the key to confessional subscription is district presidents who will act for what is right and discipline erring pastors and congregations. It is a matter of will. We all know the right doctrine. The DP’s need to just start sucking it up and standing up for the right practice of right doctrine… Too many of our DP’s are cowering whimps who do not make that first stand that engrains the habit of good practice.

    Don’t DPs also have an ecclesiastical supervisor?

  41. I’ve enjoyed reading Matt’s posts, as usual. The problem fundamentally, is that the bottom line for the Synodical leadership in the past 5 decades or so, is keep the peace in the LCMS and keep the synod together. This is also true in many churches. IMHO, the general fear in these types of people is that if we actually stand up for doctrine, and stop people from communing, or stop churches from unbibilcal practices, battles will ensue, and people will leave, churches will split, maybe even the synod would split.

    I would hate to assign motive to the desire to keep the good ship Missouri together, but there’s no doubt some people could end up out of a job. AS a result, don’t expect things to change or the situation in the LCMS to get better.

    ((( one sentence removed by moderator )))

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