ACELC — What About the “Koinonia Project?

Here is the email that the ACELC sent out two days ago:


“Every day that error is tolerated without challenge, the roots of that error deepen!”

These words, spoken recently by a fellow pastor, reminded me of the Pastors’ Conference I had just attended in which First Vice-President Herb Mueller addressed us regarding progress on the “Koinonia Project.” In Draft 10 of the Summary of the “Koinonia Project” we find the following words in bold type:

In the “Koinonia Project” several representative groups will meet together to work on a basis for agreement that includes the following:

  • A clear statement of the controversy – what is the real point at issue?
  • A clear statements of what we affirm together;
  • A clear statements of what we reject; and then,
  • An agreement of what we will therefore DO together.

This material then needs to be studied and worked on together throughout the Synod so that the Word of God has its way with us in our life together, our witness to Christ and our service for the world.

A tip of the hat is due the “Koinonia Project” for this confessional Formula-of-Concord-like approach to the deeply rooted errors that are tolerated among us and grow deeper by the day. What disturbs me, however, is not the confessional Formula-of-Concord-like strategy, but the naivete of those who have been given (according to the Constitution and Bylaws) the charge to be “ecclesiastical supervisors” in the Synod. Consider the following …

The ACELC, speaking the truth in love, has already done the bulk of this work in the documentation we have presented to the Synod, beginning with ten areas of controversy in the LCMS set forth in our July 15, 2010, “Fraternal Admonition” letter to the Synod. Following shortly thereafter the ACELC published an “Evidence of Error” document for each of the ten areas of controversy, and, in addition, we have filed three official dissent documents with the CTCR for those areas where the Synod has officially adopted false doctrine. The ACELC has also forwarded a full set of our documentation to the Praesidium, appealing to them “to deal with these errors in an evangelical manner.” And the ACELC continues to bring about genuine discussion and debate regarding the issues that are dividing our Synod in our annual conferences and website resources.

What’s my point? Simply this … leaders (i.e. those Synod has elected to serve in what the Bylaws call “ecclesiastical supervisor” positions) lead on the basis of, and in the order of, Scripture, Confessions, Constitution, and Bylaws as the Synod has previously established. When one compares the work done by the ACELC with Scripture, Confessions, Constitution, and Bylaws in each of the ten areas of controversy, the conclusion is manifest. The ACELC has already (in the above referenced documents) set before the Synod a clear statement of the controversy, including clear statements of what we affirm together and clear statements of what we reject. Put all this documentation together with the fact that all members of Synod (when they became members of Synod) have already sworn to an agreement of what we will therefore DO together … and it leaves us with an elephant in the room no one in Synod seems willing to deal with!

To borrow a line from Pastor Todd Wilken’s recent Issues, Etc. Journal article, “Behind the Music The REAL Worship War,” … What does this confess?

What does this confess … when in each of the ten areas of controversy the ACELC has already set forth: Synod’s original position; at least three supporting witnesses for that position that always include Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions; actual evidence of errors that are advocated and/or practiced today in the Synod with impunity; and the ACELC response to these errors in light of the witnesses and the Synod’s current indifference to these errors? What does this confess … when Synod’s leaders do not or will not acknowledge the evidence and deal subsequently with said evidence in accord with the accountability that is bound to their office? What does this confess … when we as Synod (or Districts) continue to elect (or re-elect) leaders who simply do not acknowledge the elephant in the room, or refuse to deal with it?

This is what it conjures up in my mind: Adam’s failure to be pastor to Eve; Aaron’s debacle as high-priest to God’s people when Moses was on the mountain; Eli’s negligence as priest who honored his two sons more than he honored the Lord; Judas Iscariot’s rejection of Jesus’ words, opting instead to betray Him for 30 pieces of silver; and Peter’s triple denial of even knowing Jesus on the night of His betrayal.

But thanks be to God, … none of this persuades me to cease confessing the Father’s faithfulness in sending His only begotten Son to reconcile the world to Himself … none of this persuades me to abandon the confession of the Son’s faithfulness in carrying out the will of the Father even unto death at Calvary … none of this persuades me to renounce the Holy Spirit’s faithfulness in delivering the message of reconciliation in Jesus Christ through faithful administration of Word and Sacraments … none of this dissuades me (or the 21 congregations who have joined the ACELC) from continuing to proclaim Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected for the forgiveness of sins using the historic liturgies of the Church even while we call the Synod to repent and return to its historic teachings and practices.

But what pray tell are we to conclude regarding those who, although elected to positions of “ecclesiastical supervisor,” simply refuse to acknowledge the elephant in the room or refuse to deal with it? Remember … “Every day that error is tolerated without challenge, the roots of that error deepen!”

Pastor Bruce G. Ley
Documents Chairman, ACELC

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