Great Stuff — The End of Doctrinal Review as we know it

A great post found on Rev Schmidt’s blog:


It has not happened yet, not by a long shot; but mark my words, it will happen.  It will not happen by convention resolution or by edict of the Synod President, nor will its disappearance even be noticed.

No, what will happen is that doctrinal review of publications in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod will end because there will simply be nothing left to review.  Oh, maybe there will be some commentaries that will need review, and of course The Lutheran Witness and Portals of Prayer will still need to be reviewed; but hard core theological textbooks, the kind that are published and then used in classrooms for a generation or more?  They will be no more.

It is not that there will no longer be any theology to discuss; we are living in the end times, and the continuing depravity of sin will demand that the unique Lutheran voice that only The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod can offer is needed now more than ever.  But our voice will no longer come through printed books.

Where will that voice come from?

It will come through blogs and internet videos; produced by local pastors in their own congregations, where they are their own doctrinal review.

And this is quite possibly for the best.  The cry of the Church, both at the local congregation and at the higher-up Synodical office level, and even at the Seminary level is that the Church needs a more immediate response to the issues in the world.  We simply cannot wait for a book to be written, and then sit in doctrinal review for a year or more, and then finally be published when the original issue is long forgotten.

Blogs and internet video are instantaneous, and allow for the word to get out faster and go farther than ever before.  Blogs and internet videos are the modern day equivalent of the tract in Luther’s day: what once took months to get the word out, can now be done in moments.

What of the official doctrinal review process?  It is thanked for its years of praise-worthy service to the Church and sent home.

Granted, the internet is available to everyone, and when you have every pastor in the Church able to post statements on any and every issue that makes the evening news or the morning paper, there are going to be some statements that are wrong, others that need to be clarified, and then some that are simply brilliant.

So the question would be, wouldn’t doctrinal review be helpful to weed out the good from the bad?

The answer is yes; no one ever said doctrinal review was bad.  The doctrinal review is just happening in a far different manner than it did before.  Instead of a board in St. Louis filtering through every item that comes out, now, every pastor and layman in Synod is the doctrinal review.  The system is now charged with policing itself.

This is not a proposal by any means; it is a picture of the future.  The reality is that blogs (like this one) and internet videos (like my Church Bells are Ringing page) are already putting out statements and devotions and studies without any review at all.  They are simply being policed by the system.

Just like the capitalist system that drives the American economy, the good videos and blogs will rise to the top, and those that are weak and lacking will sink to the bottom.

Let me be the first to thank the doctrinal review committee for their service to the Church.  They have served admirably over the years.  But times are changing, and the committee will soon be out of a job.

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