Grading President Harrison’s First Term: A-, by Pr. Rossow

In light of the recent encouragement of District President Linnemann of the Northwest District, to unseat President Matthew Harrison and replace him with David Maier, I thought it would be helpful to grade Harrison’s first term according to the standard he is accountable to – the LCMS Constitution and By-laws. As Jim Pierce and Scott Diekmann have shown in other posts, DP Linnemann used an unusual metric by which to measure President Harrison – his ability to engage the culture. That is an interesting measurement but really has nothing to do with the president’s stated duties.

I give President Harrison a grade of A-. It might have been a lower grade had he not been given the huge distraction of spelling out and implementing the Blue Ribbon proposals from the last convention that almost totally reworked the structure of synod. He and his staff have done an incredibly fine job with that task.

His grade might have been higher had he handled the Newtown issue better. We shall share more about that below.

Overall, for a first term, President Harrison has performed his duties very well. Many traditional LCMS members were looking for him to shake things up more than he did but my guess is that he has chosen to take the first three years to build trust in all corners of the synod before making too many bold moves and I nave taken that into consideration in assigning my grade.

I have provided the text of the two major sections of the Constitution and Bylaws that involve the duties of the president. I have given a grade for most of the sections of the Constitution and only for those things in the Bylaws that go into more detail than the Constitution. (The Constitution and Bylaws are in italics and my comments are in plain font.)

Feel free to offer your own grade in the comment section below.

Overall Grade: A-

Constitution Article XI.B – Rights and Duties of Officers

1. The President has the supervision regarding the doctrine and the administration of

a. All officers of the Synod; b. All such as are employed by the Synod; c. The individual districts of the Synod; d. All district presidents.

Grade: A  I give Harrison an A grade here for two reasons. He has done an excellent job of filling positions in the International Center, hiring faithful and talented employees. The one interaction that we know of for sure with District Presidents is the Newtown incident. We will have critical comments on that below but in terms of providing oversight for DP Yeadon on that matter, Harrison was definitely Johnny on the spot.

2. It is the President’s duty to see to it that all the aforementioned act in accordance with the Synod’s Constitution, to admonish all who in any way depart from it, and, if such admonition is not heeded, to report such cases to the Synod.

Grade: A  Harrison worked faithfully to have the aforementioned parties comply with the constitution.

3. The President has and always shall have the power to advise, admonish, and reprove. He shall conscientiously use all means at his command to promote and maintain unity of doctrine and practice in all the districts of the Synod.

Grade: C-  Here President Harrison let us down. I am thinking of the Newtown incident. He get’s “A’s” on the previous two subsets but when it actually comes to admonishing and reproving, the grade is nearly failing because we still have ministering among us a pastor who clearly violated Scripture and our by-laws (the Newtown syncretism and unionism) who has gone without the president’s reproving. We are left with disunity of doctrine. As I say, the grade would be worse were it not for the second “once in a lifetime incident” that occurred a few weeks later. I am referring to the Boston Marathon tragedy. I have no proof to offer you but I am convinced that President Harrison’s clear statement that Newtown was syncretistic and unionistic (even though he left the errorist without reproof) was the main motivation for President Yeadon and the people of First Lutheran in Boston to hold their own service rather than following the unionistic and syncretistic model in Newtown. Had there been unreproved syncretism and unionism in Boston I would be calling for the defeat of Harrison. Given the exact opposite was the case, with genuine care and compassion expressed by the LCMS in Boston without syncretism and unionism, President Harrison gets part of the credit, a major part. (Thanks to President Yeadon as well.)

4. The President shall see to it that the resolutions of the Synod are carried out.

Grade: A+ (see #7 below)

5. When the Synod meets in convention, the President shall give a report of his administration. He shall conduct the sessions of the convention so that all things are done in a Christian manner and in accord with the Constitution and Bylaws of the Synod.


6. It is the duty of the President, or an officer of the Synod appointed by the President, to be present at the meetings of the districts, to advise them, and to report at the next session of the Synod.

Grade: B  In my own district (Northern Illinois) Harrison and First Vice President Mueller hit a home run with their presentation. I have heard first hand reports from other districts however, that Harrison was weak on supporting the historic liturgy and instead gave too much room for alternative formats.

7. The President shall perform all additional duties assigned to him by the Bylaws or by special resolution of the Synod in convention.

Grade: A+  Harrison and his team (mostly the three assistants Vieker, Colver and Below) could not have done better defining and implementing the structural changes mandated by the last convention. We cannot overestimate the amount of time and attention this demanded. The fine work they did on this outweighs most of whatever anyone wants to criticize them for.

8. When matters arise between meetings of the Synod in convention which are of such a nature that action thereon cannot be delayed until the next convention, the President is authorized to submit them to a written vote of the member congregations of the Synod only after full and complete information regarding the matter has been sent to member congregations by presidential letter and has been published in an official periodical of the Synod. If such matters

are related to the business affairs of the Synod, such a vote shall be conducted only after the President has consulted with the synodical Board of Directors. In all cases, at least one-fourth of the member congregations must register their vote.


By-laws Article 3 – National Organization and Responsibilities

Responsibilities and Duties—Ecclesiastical As the chief ecclesiastical officer of the Synod, the President shall supervise the doctrine taught and practiced in the Synod, including all synodwide corporate entities. The President of the Synod has ecclesiastical supervision of all officers of the Synod and its agencies, the individual districts of the Synod, and all district presidents.

(a) He shall see to it that the resolutions of the Synod are carried out. After the national convention has determined triennial emphases for the Synod, he shall, in consultation with the Council of Presidents, identify specific goals for the national office that will support and encourage ministry at the congregational level.

(b) In the districts of the Synod, he shall carry out his ecclesiastical duties through the district’s president.

(c) He shall at regular intervals officially visit or cause to be visited all the educational institutions of the Synod to exercise supervision over the doctrine taught and practiced in those institutions.

(d) He shall meet regularly with the Council of Presidents and, as deemed necessary, with individual district presidents or small groups of district presidents to see to it that they are in accordance with Article II of the Constitution, adopted doctrinal statements of the Synod, and doctrinal resolutions of the Synod. He shall receive regular reports on this subject from the district presidents. In cases of doctrinal dissent, Bylaw section 1.8 shall be followed. The President shall be the chief ecumenical officer of the Synod.

(a) He shall represent the Synod, in consultation with the appropriate board or commission, in official contacts with all partner churches by aiding, counseling, and advising them and by strengthening the relations with and among them.

Grade: A  President Harrison and his international assistant Al Colver have done a great job reaching into all corners of the globe to extend confessional Lutheranism. Along with Harrison and Colver we need to credit the Fort Wayne Seminary (John Pless in particular) for seeing and then capitalizing on nascent confessional movements around the world and providing teaching and materials to support them. We should also mention here our favorite mentor of international Lutheranism – James May and his Lutherans in Africa organization.

We do have one caution. We need to look carefully at the burgeoning Lutheranism. It is not always what it seems to be. The Mikane Yesus group in Ethiopia for example, is turning away from liberal Lutheranism, which of course is good. But their clear Pentecostalism is quite troubling. They are a long way from being confessional Lutherans.

(b) He or his representative shall represent the Synod in official contacts with other church bodies.

Responsibilities and Duties—Administrative The President shall oversee the activities of all officers, executives, and agencies of the Synod to see to it that they are acting in accordance with the Constitution, Bylaws, and resolutions of the Synod.

(a) He shall at regular intervals officially visit or cause to be visited all the educational institutions of the Synod and thereby exercise oversight over their administration as it relates to adherence to the Constitution, Bylaws, and resolutions of the Synod.

(b) He shall meet regularly with the Council of Presidents and, as deemed necessary, with individual district presidents or small groups of district presidents, to see to it that their administration is in accordance with the Constitution, Bylaws, and resolutions of the Synod. He shall receive regular reports on this subject from the district presidents.

(c) He shall call up for review any action by an individual officer, executive, or agency that, in his view, may be in violation of the Constitution, Bylaws, and resolutions of the Synod.

(1) If he deems appropriate, he shall request that such action be altered or reversed.

(2) If the matter cannot be resolved, he shall refer it to the Synod’s Board of Directors, the Commission on Constitutional Matters, and/or the Synod in convention as he deems appropriate to the issues and party/parties involved. (3) This provision in no way alters the President’s constitutional duty to report to the Synod those who do not act in accordance with the Constitution and do not heed his admonition, as prescribed in Article XI B 2 of the Constitution.

(d) He shall serve as leader of the Administrative Team (see Bylaw section 3.5) and shall report to the Board of Directors on the activities of the team.

Responsibilities and Duties—Ecclesiastical and Administrative The President shall have responsibilities and duties that are both ecclesiastical and administrative.

(a) He shall report in person or through a vice-president or other officer of the Synod to all district conventions and to that end formulate the report that is to be made.

(b) He shall make provisions for new district presidents and members of boards and commissions of the Synod to be acquainted with their duties and responsibilities.

(c) He shall carry out his constitutional responsibility (Art. XI B 1–4) for the supervision of the doctrine and administration of all officers, executives, and agencies of the national office.

(d) He shall personally or by way of a representative have the option to attend all meetings of all commissions (except the Commission on Constitutional Matters), the boards of all synodwide corporate entities, and the Board of Trustees—Concordia Plans (Board of Directors—Concordia Plan Services), including executive sessions (the President or his representative already serves as a voting member of the mission boards and serves as a voting member of the Board of Directors of the Synod and the Board of Directors of Concordia Publishing House). (1) The President’s representative shall normally be a member of the Administrative Team. (2) The President shall, in reasonable time, receive notice of such meetings, the proposed agenda, and minutes thereof.

(e) He shall engage in consultation with each mission board, commission, and the governing board of each synodwide corporate entity to reach mutual concurrence on a slate of candidates for the position of chief executive or executive director.

Grade: Harrison has worked diligently on this matter.

(f) As ecclesiastical supervisor, he shall provide leadership to all officers, agencies, and national office staff of the Synod. Through the Chief Mission Officer, he shall (1) coordinate the content of communications, public relations, and news and information provided by the Synod. (2) coordinate and supervise all fund-raising and planned giving activity by the national Synod and its agencies. (3) serve the Synod by providing leadership, coordination, and oversight for pre-seminary education programs, seminary education, and post-seminary continuing education, and by providing advocacy for pastoral education and health within the Synod.

Grade: B-  We clearly need a much stronger hand in this area.

(g) He shall consult with the vice-presidents, as elected advisers, whenever important and difficult Synod, inter-Lutheran, and partner church questions arise.

(h) He shall establish the duties and responsibilities of the First Vice-President in consultation with the First Vice-President.

Grade: President Mueller is an excellent right hand man for Harrison but the Koinonia project is far behind “schedule” and also needs a stronger hand.

(i) He shall make an official report at each meeting of the Synod in convention.

(j) He shall approve the draft of the Convention Proceedings before it is published by the Secretary of the Synod.

(k) He shall have the right to authorize the vice-presidents to perform the duties of his office and hold them responsible for their performance. Accountability, however, shall always remain with the President.

(l) He shall exercise executive power when the affairs of the Synod demand it and when he has been expressly invested with such power by the Synod in convention.

(m) He shall be authorized, in the event that the affairs of the Synod require the exercise of executive power for a purpose for which there is no specific directive of the Synod, to exercise such power after consultation with the vice-presidents, the Board of Directors of the Synod, or the Council of Presidents, whichever in his judgment is most appropriate. Any member of the Synod shall have the right to appeal such action to the Commission on Constitutional Matters and/or the Synod in convention, whichever is appropriate. The Lutheran Church Extension Fund—Missouri Synod is exempt from this bylaw.

(n) He shall, in the interval between meetings of the Synod in convention, appoint special boards or committees whenever the purpose for which the Synod has been organized requires or when conditions arising in the course of time demand such action.

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.


Grading President Harrison’s First Term: A-, by Pr. Rossow — 56 Comments

  1. Herrison may not be perfect, but those of us still with our toes in the ELCA would trade Herrison’s dirty socks for our dear leader. At least Herrison’s dirty socks wouldn’t be leading us towards Gomorrah.

  2. Anybody who elects a synod president and then thinks they’re going to run him afterwards always has a certain amount of iffyness in that picture.

    J. A. O. Preus II
    You and Your Synod
    Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois

  3. I just read through the latest Reporter. I’m concerned that our church body is becoming so enamored with Caesar.

    It’s one thing to go to Washington and demand that the state obey the constitution and respect the rights of churches, it’s quite something else for the church to transform itself into a lobbying organization to try to get specific bills passed that would give tax-appropriated funds to the church for its pet projects.

    There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution authorizing the federal government to collect tax funds from Americans (and taxes are collected by compulsion) in order to fight disease around the world. That is a very good cause indeed – which is why it should be supported voluntarily, out of love, from “cheerful givers” – not expropriated by compulsion through the state apparatus. Moreover, in case nobody has noticed, Washington is broke. Where is the money going to come from for the American people to support Lutherans fighting malaria? If Christians can disagree about certain appropriation bills in congress, does the LCMS leadership have the right to lobby for those bills?

    It may make for some good photo ops for our leaders to be seen in the Presence of Senators and Congressmen and in the shadow of Columned Marble Walls – but let’s not forget that our Lord’s Kingdom is “not of this world.”

    It is one thing to advocate for protecting human life. Of course, nothing is ever addressed about black-ops and torture and drones and provocative and imperious blowback-ridden foreign policy and the military-industrial complex. It is one thing to advocate for the natural right to private property, though the church never has anything to say about the absolutely fraud-based social programs paid for by morally (and literally) bankrupt ponzi schemes – not to mention the unconscionable practice of devaluing the currency through the federal reserve system – which openly violates Scripture. It is one thing to defend human dignity and human liberty, but the church utters not one peep about the NDAA that allows the president to arrest anyone – including citizens – without trial, without due process, without the right to a lawyer – and hold them in secret prisons indefinitely. Similarly, the church seems to have nothing to say when it comes to the Orwellian surveillance society we now live under – a system that has been used by governments to crush Christianity when the church became the opponent of state worship.

    When it comes to such matters, the cat seems to get the LCMS’s tongue. It seems that the church will not make any statement unless it is cleared by its own GOP gatekeepers.

    The church should not be shilling for the Republican Party (or any party), nor should she be so enamored of being seen as Important in the eyes of the world. The state has a pretty abysmal record when it comes to dealing with the Bride of Christ – and coziness with the state has resulted in chaos in the Lutheran world. Every state church (and many Lutheran churches were) has become apostate – even to the point where faithful Christians are enduring persecution at the hands of government bureaucrats. This is what happens when you lie down with dogs.

    The church ought to understand better than any other institution the pitfalls of dancing to Caesar’s tune and cozying up to state power. John F. Kennedy summed it up best when he said: “In the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding on the back of the tiger ended up inside.”

    Maybe I should just toss the Reporter into the trash when the next one comes.

    Larry Beane
    John 18:36
    Gottesdienst Online: A Blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy
    January 1, 2013

  4. @“LC-MS Quotes” #3 ,

    Here are some links to LCMS articles related to Rev. Beane’s complaint about LCMS lobbying federal funding for the Lutheran Malaria Initiative, a joint effort between the LCMS, LWR, and the United Nations Foundation:

    The December 27, 2012, Reporter article, “Lutherans advocate for anti-malaria support in D.C.

    The November 27, 2012, LCMS World Relief and Human Care Mercy Forever official blog article, “Lutheran leaders from U.S., Africa advocating on Capitol Hill today for the fight against malaria

  5. A good and thoughtful analysis– thank you. Was there a reference link to Pr. Linneman’s remarks?

    My only quibble with the analysis above, might be in this section:

    “Responsibilities and Duties—Ecclesiastical As the chief ecclesiastical officer of the Synod, the President shall supervise the doctrine taught and practiced in the Synod, including all synodwide corporate entities.”

    As our district appears quite hostile to Pr. Harrison, we don’t seem to have much of his supervision in what is taught and practiced here… and I’m guessing that’s true of the other districts that are quickly becoming Willow-clones and overrun with Enthusiasm. I have a hard time seeing this graded as an “A.”

  6. When Harrison went to Washington, D.C. to lobby the federal government to give money to fight malaria in Africa, David Becker commented in an article titled “Beane Says That the LCMS Is Becoming Enamored with Caesar” (CN, January 21, 2013, p. 1). “It is indeed true that Harrison was absolutely horrible. Totally violating the doctrine of the two kingdoms as taught by Jesus and historic Lutheranism. Harrison in my view actually went far beyond what ELCA and the Roman Catholics do as far as religious lobbying. I think the LCMS should lose its tax exemption based on what Harrison did.”

    Christian News
    “Bureaucratitis Grows”
    Monday, June 10, 2013

  7. @Brad #7
    As our district appears quite hostile to Pr. Harrison, we don’t seem to have much of his supervision in what is taught and practiced here… and I’m guessing that’s true of the other districts that are quickly becoming Willow-clones and overrun with Enthusiasm

    Expect miracles, do you? Did your district elect a confessional DP who would work with Harrison and not against him?
    There is no enforcement behind that “supervision” unless the districts at the congregational/pastoral level assist by electing Lutheran officers.
    We have what the majority voted for…….and that same majority is electing the SP under the “new world order”.

    Harrison isn’t the advocate of Willow-clones; people who think they can out maneuver the Holy Ghost in “growing” the church do that.

  8. Wow. With a job description that lengthy, I’m almost willing to give anybody an A+ who can survive it a year with their mental sanity still intact!

  9. I was very impressed with President Harrison’s testimony and answers to questions at the hearings about religious freedom regarding the Affordable Health Insurance Act. Have any of you watched this? He towered above all of the other speakers on the panel, and represented us extraordinarily well. Here is a link to those hearings. President Harrison’s initial remarks begin at about minute 41, and there are many of his answers to questions in the minutes that follow. I cannot remember ever having seen our church so boldly and effectively represented in the public square before. Nice to see us out there engaging the culture so well.

  10. Res. 2-09 (2013: Today’s Business, p. 66-7), To Encourage Christian Citizenship and Vigilance, includes the following:

    Resolved, That the Synod gathered in convention show its strong support by delegate vote for the 10 “Religious Liberty: Free to Be Faithful” campaign and for the Synod leaders as they speak on these issues; and be it finally

    Resolved, That this convention give thanks to those working with it in the civil realm (Beckett Fund, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and all others who share the Synod’s concerns) for their support and help in defending the religious freedoms accorded by God and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

    Some resolutions prepared by the Floor Committees at the request of the President’s Report, Part II (see 2013: Today’s Business) approving of and encouraging support for previously mentioned projects:

    Wittenberg Project, Res. 1-07

    Lutheran Malaria Initiative, Res. 2-06

    Koinonia Project, Res. 3-01

    International Lutheran Conferences and increased ecumenical efforts, Res. 4-04

    Boy Scouts of America: No mention in Convention Workbook. One late overture (South Wisconsin District’s L2-11 Overture to consider alternative), but not including in any resolution offered in Today’s Business.

  11. @helen #10

    No, not expecting miracles, per se. Just trying to survive as a Lutheran congregation, in a part of the country where Lutherans (as measured by Scripture and Confession,) are few and far between. We discuss the things happening at the Synod level, including having a Confessional synod president… but our people often ask what difference it makes, when we live in a district that constantly deluges us with enthusiastic materials and programs, for everyone from our youth to our leaders.

    I doubt our district will elect a confessional president– our tide has already turned. But what hope do the remnant of Lutheran churches in the Northwest have, if they have no recourse to the synod at large? Blogs are fine and dandy diversions and news outlets from time to time, but the business of living faithfully at the congregational level is brutal in a district that is, at brass tacts, non-Lutheran.

    But I suppose our future looks much like our current situation– we keep private lists of faithful pastors and congregations that we can recommend to our people, and the list of those to avoid. We live out a cold war, of sorts. What kind of synod is that? When our families travel from one LCMS district to another, and I don’t have the private lists of local faithful clergy and congregations, how do I advise them to find safe harbor for Word and Sacrament? It certainly isn’t by the LCMS shingle on the door…

  12. Res. 2-09 is the only place in 2013: Today’s Business where the HHS Mandate is mentioned (once):

    WHEREAS, Recent years have witnessed increasing challenges to the right to the free exercise of religion as protected by the First Amendment, such as actions taken by federal, state, or local governments that mandate that religious employers provide contraceptives which include abortifacients under their employee health insurance plans (such as 77 Fed. Reg. 8725 – HHS Mandate)

    Res. 2-09 has no reference or indication of (prayerful or other) support for members of LCMS churches, who own their own businesses and are faced with being forced to pay for employee abortions or abortifacients.

  13. John Rixe :
    @Brad #14
    “how do I advise them to find safe harbor for Word and Sacrament? ”

    I stumbled on that site about a year ago and thought it was a great idea. I contacted our pastor who has now submitted our congregation twice but it is not listed yet. Is the list not updated very often? We are St Timothy Lutheran Church in Huber Heights, Ohio, Our pastor is Rev. Dennis Dobbins. We are confessional and liturgical… just finished Bible Class studying the Augsburg Confessions and yes we certainly pass the “fussy family” test.

  14. Resolutions 7-01, 7-02 and 7-03 are trying to get more visitatoin to happen, so that DP’s and C’ls (to be renamed Circuit VISITORS) see what is going on. 5-05 appears to give SP and Synod Secretary input/oversight into the University System, and 5-11 involves the SP into seminary faculty appointments. 4-06 implies SP’s ecclesiastical role, 4-07 says stop communing at e_ca altars (or else?), 4-09 tries to clena up that understanding, with 4-10 tightening up our commion practices through visitation, with the SP “exhorting” DP’s. The ideas appear to clarify and maybe give some teeth to Pres. Harrison’s oversight abilites. Maybe he will have a firmer hand is guiding us towards unity.


    I stumbled on that site about a year ago and thought it was a great idea. we certainly pass the “fussy family” test.

    Thank you Norm Fisher, for adding us. I see this as an excellent resource to use before attending a church such as when traveling, visiting etc. I apologize for the thread hijack 🙂

  16. Wow…a A-? You sure are an easy grader Rev. Rossow. I would assign Harrison a C+/B-. I think he has done a good job handling all the change wrought by the Blue Ribbon recommendations. For that I would give him an A. He is working to restore financial stability to the Synod but we are not there yet. I would give him a B for a good effort so far. Koinonia has been a joke. Three years wasated and nothing has been done. It should have taken one year tops to lay the foundation. By now we should have had two years of serious discussion. Grade F. The CT issue/joint worship service. At frist he did well by taling with the pastor and requesting hm not to participate. At that point he got an A+ from me but then what followed was a disaster. He handled it ham handed. Grade D- Talks with the break away groups from the ELCA are okay. I personally do not see much coming of them since really these groups are the ELCA as of January 1, 2009. I do not believe they have even thought of tackling the whole issue of women’s ordination. What is frustrating is that so much time and effort went into talks with others but the same time and effort did not go into somethithat would would/should benefit the LCMS, namely Koinonia. Grace C-. As far as not promoting liberalism and CoWo and Chruch Growth I would give him an A. As far as trying to roll back liberalism and CoWo and Church Growth I would give him an F. Case in point would be Matthew Becker. Nothing is being done to Becker. Harrison has not stpped in nor does it appear made the DP’s do their job. This is a clear cut case so why is nothing being done? When looking at all the areas above, the grade comes out as a C+ or B-

  17. @Brad #14
    As a member of a NoW District confessional Lutheran Church, I’m wondering if non geographical might be the answer. English District perhaps? (I speak the language after all.)

  18. @Matthew Mills #21

    That’s a fascinating idea. Is the English District still confessional? I wonder how their DP would be viewed, if they started absorbing congregations from other districts… visions of the Anglican’s “cross jurisdiction incursions” are running through my head.

    Regarding the list/link provided– many thanks. Seems pretty small… I’m guessing it’s not comprehensive yet.

  19. @ #20

    May 30, 2013
    Dr. Matthew Harrison, President
    Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
    1333 S. Kirkwood Road
    St. Louis, Missouri 63122-7295

    Dear President Harrison:

    Shortly after you were elected I as the pastor of an LCMS congregation filed charges of false doctrine vs. Matthew Becker. They were sent to his district president. When nothing was done I sent them to you and all of your vice presidents together with many pages of documentation.

    Becker remained on the LCMS clergy roster and has become more outspoken than ever. When you were installed at Concordia Seminary in September 2010 with others elected at the 2010 convention your assistant Jon Vieker informed me that I was not to participate in your installation-communion service. No liberal like Matthew Becker was ordered not to commune.

    God’s blessings,
    Herman Otten
    Galatians 6:14

    “Will Harrison Answer Christian News”
    Monday, June 10, 2013

  20. @GaiusKurios #20

    Dear Mr. Kurios,

    How do you know that nothing has been attempted in the case you mention? I don’t know that anything has been done, so I am not saying it has. But you do need to understand the synod’s process for discipline and adjudication before you pass judgment on our officers.

    Dear BJS BLoggers,

    I am going to use hypothetical characters here, since I have no personal animosity toward anyone involved.

    If the intent is to get Dr. X to teach in accord with LCMS, OR, to be removed from the roster, then the synod has two routes for that action:

    1) His district president (hereafter DP) may take action against him, either by himself or when information is given to him. This can lead to restriction, suspension, and or expulsion. But the DP may also decide not to act at all or just give a minor rebuke, with no action thereafter.

    Now if the synod president received complaints about Dr. X, he would talk to the DP about the situation. He might have encouraged the DP to take action. When that did nothing, the synod president might have rebuked the DP privately. And this might lead the DP to seek to get rid of the synodical president, because he is concerned about his own future.

    And all of this would be utterly confidential. Neither you nor I would know that this was going on.

    Ultimately, the synodical president cannot do anything, unless he removes the recalcitrant DP. But if the guy who replaces the DP (1st VP of that district) is of the same mind, the whole process starts right over. The synodical president might have to, in certain districts, remove all the Vice-Presidents, one at a time–and then you have to say, “Was that worth it?” No.

    2) Someone could bring charges against Dr. X, and if they had standing to make a complaint, it would go through the DRP. The best legal minds would advise Dr. X to use the CCM for a friendly ruling that would end the case in his favor. And that would be the end of it.

    So the lesson to be learned here is: If your DP is willing to protect you and you have a “friendly” CCM, you can get away with all the false doctrine you want in the LCMS. No exagerration here. That is how it works, ever since the LCMS got rid of the Adjudication/Appeals system in 1992.

    This is not President Harrison’s fault. Anyone who understands the LCMS structure and governance knows that President Harrison’s hands are tied by the bylaws and the present DRP is ineffective for these type of cases.

    I am sorry that I have to keep beating the same drum. I delivered an essay on the DRP system back in 1994, titled “Law and Due Process in the Kingdom of the Left and the Kingdom of the Right,” published here:

    The case that is mentioned (at end of comment #20) demonstrates why the Bohlmann administration decided to revise all those bylaws back in the years 1983 to 1992. The synod could now decide to revise these bylaws again, but that won’t come up at this convention. We will have to live with the present system for at least the next three years.

    In any event, don’t blame President Harrison for things he does not have the authority to accomplish. Please! Thank you!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  21. Just to pick one utterly random hypothetical example from the top of my head, let’s assume some liberal midwestern Lufauxran university visiting professor, who happens to be a well known member of the extreme left wing of the Missouri Synod, is placed on restricted or suspended status while an ecclesiastical supervision investigation is being done for repeatedly stating or posting a number of heterodox or heretical statements.

    Using the WAG formula, how long does one estimate it would take before word of the restricted or suspended status and ecclesiastical supervision hit the major Lutheran blog sites?

    1) less than an hour.

    2) 1 to 6 hours.

    3) 6 to 24 hours.

    4) 1 to 7 days.

    5) more than a week.

    6) nothing would be posted.

  22. Jim Cox: In 1975, at the Anaheim convention, a resolution was presented to deal with district presidents who had ordained graduates of Seminex. Eight district presidents were to be fired if they did not comply with Synodical rules. They refused to comply. For Jack it was a time of anguish.

    George Wollenburg: He was not a man who enjoyed what had to be done.

    Jim Cox: The day came when Jack had to fire four of the eight district presidents because of their continued practice of ordaining Seminex graduates.

    A. L. Barry: There were decisions that had to be made, that really tore within him. It did bring him to tears. But he felt that he still had to make them for the good of the church and for the truth of God’s Word. And so he made them.

    Warrior of God-Man of Peace
    The Life and Times of J. A. O. Preus
    LCMS, 1995

  23. @“LC-MS Quotes” #26
    Eight district presidents were to be fired if they did not comply with Synodical rules. They refused to comply. For Jack it was a time of anguish.

    But only four got fired. He should have anguished a little more; it might have saved a lot of anguish since.

    @“LC-MS Quotes” #23
    Becker remained on the LCMS clergy roster and has become more outspoken than ever. When you were installed at Concordia Seminary in September 2010 with others elected at the 2010 convention your assistant Jon Vieker informed me that I was not to participate in your installation-communion service. No liberal like Matthew Becker was ordered not to commune.

    I don’t blame Otten for being sore. He cooperated (for a change), supported Harrison and then got slapped down while real miscreants continue preaching heresy undisturbed.
    [If he needs forgiveness for anything, giving it is overdue.]

    But I hope he will realize that there is no better option for Synod and while defeating Harrison might please him, it won’t make things better!

  24. It is not easy to figure out who the eight were. google and Wikipedia I was able to ascertain most. Four were fired, but three others resign very quickly, because they showed up on AELC stuff. So they left just before a second round of firings happened. I never have fully figured out about the last guy. However, a few others were rather sympatheic, but did keep their heads down. Even though they remained, they were also fine with accepting back through colluquey the Seminexers who left. Nothing was clean during that era, even on the victorious side.

  25. The names of the eight district presidents are listed in the Gettysburg Times, April 5, 1976 article, “Fired Districts Church Heads Will Defy Preus Ouster”:

    Four district presidents “were removed for ordaining graduates of Concordia Seminary in Exile (Seminex)”:

    Atlantic District, Rudolph P.F. Ressmeyer
    Eastern District, Herman R. Frincke
    English District, Harold Hecht
    New England District, Robert J . Riedel

    Four dissenting presidents were not ousted because, Dr. Preus said, they did not personally authorize ordination of Seminex graduates:

    Northwest District, Emil G. Jaech (remained president until retiring in 1982)
    Southern Illinois District, Herman F. Neunaber (joined the AELC in 1976, bishop of the Great Rivers Synod)
    Colorado (Rocky Mountain) District, Waldemar Meyer (left office in 1976)
    California-Nevada District, Paul Jacobs (resigned in protest in January 1977, became bishop of the Pacific Regional Synod of the AELC, died in September, 1977)

  26. @Carl Vehse #29
    Well, the newspaper got that rationale at least partially wrong. I know for a fact that Paul Jacobs, for instance, personally authorized ordination of Seminex grads.

    I read somewhere else (sorry, but I cannot recall the reference at present–if I find it I will document it) that the four who were not ousted survived on a technicality–they had not authorized Seminex grad ordinations since the synodical convention passed the resolution authorizing President Preus to fire those who did so, although they had authorized them before that.

  27. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    Ms. Broome (comment #30) gets many of the facts correct from her memory, which is pretty good considering that these things happened almost forty years ago. I think this demonstrates that although newspapers are handy, and often online, their reportage of religious events is often jumbled or simply ignorant. Read Ms. Mollie’s Ziegler-Hemingway’s contributions to the “Get Religion” blog (at ) to see how poorly religion is reported today.

    Anyway, the persons involved in the case that “Carl” and Ms. Broome discuss are mentioned by name and in detail in John Tietjen’s Memoirs in Exile (Fortress Press, 1990). Robert Preus gave a very sympathetic and generally approving review of that book in the first issue of LOGIA. That book review was reprinted in LOGIA’s 20th anniversary issue, Trinity 2012 (go to: for your own copy).

    Resolution 5-02A at the 1973 Anaheim Convention required the synod president to remove district presidents who continued to ordain Seminex graduates (see August Suelflow, Heritage in Motion (CPH, 1998), 184-186). 5-02A did not just authorize JAO Preus to remove them, it mandated that any who continued to ordain Seminex graduates after the adjournment of the 1973 convention should be removed by the synod president.

    Tietjen reports that of the four who Preus did not remove in April 2, 1976, Jacobs and Jaech had both ordained Seminex graduates in January 1976 (see Tietjen, p. 267). Therefore according to 5-02A, Preus should have removed Jacobs and Jaech, but did not. People have speculated about various reasons for Jack’s hesitancy in the case of the Northwest and C-N-H districts.

    My guess is that Jack had good reason to believe that Jacobs and Jaech were going to quit, or be removed by their district anyway, whereas he knew that the four that he did remove (Ressmeyer, Frincke, Riedel, and Hecht) could not be dealt with in any other way.

    I know a little about C-N-H because that was my home district, and I had relatives in the LCMS clergy in C-N-H in those years. There was a very strong conservative organization called “California Doctrinal Concerns,” led by layman Ed Weise (now sainted), who were a significant voice at district conventions and a major thorn in the flesh to Jacobs. You can see that Jacobs did quit in January 1977, which he probably would not have done if he had better support in his district.

    For the Northwest district, I seem to remember that there was a group based in Coos Bay, Oregon, named something like “Association of Loyal Lutherans Northwest.” Steenbock is the name I remember with that group, I don’t know if he was clergy or a layman. The fact that Jaech did not quit like Jacobs, until retirement in 1982, could have been for personal reasons, or that he had more solid support in his district. The history of that district since 1982 makes the case for the latter interpretation.

    In any event, the point to be made here is that JAO Preus did not remove a district president purely on his own authority, although he could have done that. He waited until he was given an express and detailed mandate (in the form of a resolution) from the synodical convention, and then he carried it out step-by-step according to the letter of the law. There are many good reasons for his caution.

    Nowadays there is a much more complicated process for removing district presidents from the synod by expulsion (bylaw 2.15; 2010 Handbook, p. 80-86); however, this does not pertain to the mere “removal from office”, i.e., demoting a district president from his office to simple clergy status in the LCMS. I am not sure how that would work, though I am sure the process has changed since Jack had to deal with it in 1976.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  28. Martin R. Noland :
    In any event, the point to be made here is that JAO Preus did not remove a district president purely on his own authority, although he could have done that. He waited until he was given an express and detailed mandate (in the form of a resolution) from the synodical convention, and then he carried it out step-by-step according to the letter of the law. There are many good reasons for his caution.

    As per my earlier comment, I came out of my delegate orientation feeling like this. My impressions form the “concerns raised” are that Pres. Harrison is moving cautiously and pastorally, not in a political or possibly vindictive manner. Convention mailings have been a prayer book, copy of the Augsburg Confession, and Thesis 8: The Church from Walther’s The Church and the Office of the Ministry. He is trying to teach us what we should be doing, and a few resolutions to help clarify his abilities and role. I see certain parallels with Prues. I am hopeful the conversation goes in the directoin of faithfulness to Scripture and the Confessoins, which means maybe a little apllication of the Law.

  29. “… moving cautiously and pastorally, not in a political or possibly vindictive manner”

    These are not necessarily the only two choices or the correct choice.

  30. The generalities of praise and positive criticism are more of the same back slapping found in our inbred leadership. Pr Rossow’s criticism of our Synod Pres is so short sighted, but we have done this for decades with other presidents. We still have heresy running rampant in PNG, we still have salt water LCMS pastors flaunting unionism and syncretism.
    Our Church is dying – FACT! Is our president providing leadership to reverse course? If we desire him to be Doctrinally pure and to lead doctrinal campaigns, then vote him again. Where is the the Barnabas of the early church, a mentor to Apostles and evangelist to the heathens.

  31. Dr. Noland,

    If the convention resolution mandated that President Preus remove those district presidents that ordained Seminex graduates after the close of the 1973 convention, and if DPs Jacobs and Jaech ordained Seminex graduates as late as January 1976 but were not removed by President Preus, then in what way is it correct to say that President Preus carried out the 1973 convention resolution “step-by-step according to the letter of the law”? It would seem to me that he did NOT carry out the resolution when he declined to remove these two DPs but instead placed himself above the expressed will of the synod in convention.

  32. Let me describe the matter of the whole eight.

    In studying resolution 5.02a — when I came to Southern Illinois and met with the board of directors, I immediately sensed from the comments that some of the people were making, which were later stated by President Neunaber himself, that he was trying to make the distinction between those who had actually performed an ordination — signed a document authorizing it and been there and installed — and those who had only been sympathetic toward it or supportive of it or made other noises.

    The resolution was quite explicit in the way it spoke and I simply felt that if I were to move on him or President Jaech, I would find myself bogged down in litigation over who did what for the next hundred years and the whole importance of 5.02a would be lost because we wouldn’t be talking about what 5.02a talks about — namely, constitutional government in a church body — but we would be talking the real or alleged violations of the Synodical president. And I didn’t care to have that bucket poured on my head. Not because I don’t deserve a lot of buckets poured on my head, but because of the way this game had been orchestrated and I didn’t choose to walk into it.

    With regard to Meyer and Jacobs, who both had told me they had authorized and done it — they signed the cards, they participated, they were there and did it — but both had told me they had not done it since Anaheim. And I took that as a sign of good faith along with many other things they said — especially in the private conversations we had — to indicate that I had good reason to believe they would not persist in it.

    There were some very peculiar things that happened in this little interchange with Jacobs. The way we operate in Synod — and this will happen to all of you guys when you get ordained — the ordinator sends in a filled out and signed card. On such-and-such a day I ordained and installed so-and-so at such-and-such church. You sign and then you date it. This young man — I forget his name now — was ordained on the first of February and a card was sent by the ordinator who was some preacher who signed his name so badly I don’t yet know who did it. He’s was one of these check signer types, about like Walter Campbell signs his name. But it was not Paul Jacobs. That arrived in the office of statistics on the 9th of February. Then came a card signed by Jacobs which came to my attention on the 24th day of February, the very day that my letter of February 23rd went to the printer. Here was the signature of Jacobs but no date on the card. He just put February 1976, but no date as to when it had been done. He then wrote me, in a letter dated February 27th, which was then within the 60 day limit.

    These cards coming to me were purely accidental. The statistical department doesn’t come over to me every day and say, “Hey, we’ve got some cards.” They take care of that. It was only purely by an accident that either of these cards came to my attention. Officially, personally, I never heard one word about this action until Jacobs wrote me a letter dated February 27th, seven days after the expiration of the 60 day limit. And I guess I got the letter on March 3rd. We’re still using the Pony express between here and the West Coast.
    I had been with him at the Council of Presidents February 9th and following. I had been with him at the meeting with the Board of Directors February 13th and following, and I had stated before that board that I did not intend to remove presidents who had not authorized after Anaheim. I felt that 5.02a looked to the future. It did not say deal with everybody pre-Anaheim. We were in a chaotic state. The resolution spoke very clearly of the future, post-Anaheim. I put that charitable interpretation on it. So, again, I was with him on the 9th and 10th, I was with on the 13th, I was with him one other time as I recall, and I was with him on the 25th. Oh, yes, I called him on the morning of the 23rd and told him I was not removing him. In all those occasions, he never said a word to me about this action of February 1st. So that’s about where we stand.

    I talked to him this week. He was in. I wouldn’t want to say that he deliberately deceived, but I’m getting some nasty letters from people and I’m very glad to tell you that I did not do any deception either. He said he was sorry if he embarrassed me. I said I’m not the one to be embarrassed. I acted in good faith. And that’s where we’re at now. I think we’ll just wait for a while and see what happens. I think the Cal-Nevada District is very apt to act about like Southern Illinois did. In that case, I think it’s much better to let the districts express themselves rather than my having to do it if there’s any case of doubt.

    J. A. O. Preus II
    “The Synodical Situation”
    Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois
    March 1976

  33. @“LC-MS Quotes” #37 ,

    J. A. O. Preus II
    “The Synodical Situation”
    Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois
    March 1976

    Was this a published article from a volume of The Springfielder, some other journal or book, or a separate publication?

  34. Dr. Noland,
    Point taken. I should have said, “It appears that nothing is being done to Becker.” I suppose DP Linnemann could have slapped Becker on the wrist behind closed doors. But I have seen no outward evidence that anything has changed with Becker. I would have at least thought that Harrison could have persuaded DP Mays to get Becker out as vacancy pastor of the church in the Indiana District. That move at least would have given me hope that more was going on behind closed doors to deal with Becker. I cannot for the life of me understand how Becker could have been allowed to serve as vacancy pastor. It is not like his views and teaching are hidden and DP Mays does not know about them. Can you help me understand why Becker was allowed to become vacancy pastor?

    I do agree with you that Harrison is stuck with a broken system. But I also would have thught that he would be pushing for a complete overhaul of the broken system.

  35. @ #38

    Not from “a published article from a volume of The Springfielder, some other journal or book, or a separate publication.” From an audio recording in the CTS-FW library holdings.

    George Black: In order that we might make the best use of our time, I’d like to get started pretty quickly so that we can ask all the questions that we’d like to ask. Our speaker today, of course, needs no introduction. I could use an introduction from him more than give him one. I’m sure that he would like to know as he is known. And maybe he’ll get a little bit of a chance to do that from our questioning. He also has graciously accepted an invitation to join us in the soup. Those of you that don’t have a class afterwards might want to congregate around the table. I had a joke but I decided that I’m going to skip that. We’ll leave the jokes to John Frahm tonight. Without further ado, the president of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Dr. Jacob A. O. Preus.

    J. A. O. Preus: It’s very nice to be here. Coming back to Springfield is always coming home. And especially meeting in this gymnasium. I have many happy memories about this building. At one time we had a basketball team. And the first year that Warren Wilbert was coach we actually won quite a number of games. This building was built in the late 1940s at a cost of $29,000. And at one point one of the board members suggested that probably the best thing to do with it was to knock it down. He said it didn’t cost much anyhow. The dining room was built in 1922 at a cost of $16,000. It shows you what you could do for your money in those days. When the thought of knocking it down was broached, then Harold Olsen — I think known to some of you as the man who has served on the Board of Control longer than anyone in the history of the seminary and was on the original board for the move to Springfield in 1876, I guess it was — he protested very vigorously. And we always referred to this as the Olsen Memorial Gymnasium. We built it for $29,000 and remodeled it for, I think, $450,000 and use it a couple of years. Olsen is now planning to figure out some way to move it Fort Wayne. So it’s nice to be here in this historic building.

    The letter that came from Mr. Black suggested you wanted something on Synodical matters, the mission of the church, the general state of Christendom, and I think two or three other subjects. And you wanted them all in 20 minutes. As one who has been a professor here, I know how easy it is to do that and probably even have some time left over. Well, I’ll just say a few things and then you can bat the questions back and forth when you get your turn.

    J. A. O. Preus II
    “The Synodical Situation”
    Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois
    March 1976

  36. @ #39 “DP Mays”

    Daniel P. May
    M.Div., Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois, 1970

  37. @GaiusKurios #39

    Dear Mr. Kurios,

    I can’t really answer all your questions, because I am not in a position to know all their answers.

    Dr. Becker is presently listed as “Non-Candidate” and as being a member of the “Northwest District.” If Valparaiso University is not an LCMS-RSO, I don’t believe that he could hold his membership in the LCMS through his position there. That would mean his synodical membership would remain in the last district where he served. This is according to LCMS bylaws; there is nothing irregular about his status in that respect. I don’t know if Valpo is an LCMS-RSO, but I suspect not since it is not listed on page 729 of the 2013 Lutheran Annual.

    All the fuss that people make about his holding membership in the Northwest District is really a complaint about the inflexibility of our bylaws for someone in his situation. It doesn’t really make sense to me that a university professor of religion, who is a bona fide LCMS clergyman and fully in agreement with our theology, should be unable to become a member of the district where he resides, unless a parish calls him as one of their pastors. The pertinent bylaws express the notion that the LCMS doesn’t want its clergy being professors anywhere except at one of its own colleges or seminaries.

    By the way, Dr. Becker is not listed as the pastor of Immanuel in Valparaiso, so if he did serve there, it was in a vacancy capacity, and that would not determine his district of membership. I hope this explains a somewhat complex situation.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  38. @ #42

    LWR president resigns, announces position at Valparaiso

    Lutheran World Relief (LWR) President and Chief Executive Officer Rev. Dr. John Nunes will this fall assume the Emil and Elfrieda Jochum Chair at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind.

    Nunes, 50, announced his resignation from Baltimore-based LWR May 16. His last day will be Sept. 1. Nunes, an ordained LCMS pastor, is LWR’s fourth president and has led the organization since 2007.

    Valparaiso is an independent Lutheran university about an hour’s drive from Chicago.

    The announcement marks the return of Nunes to academia. Nunes taught theology at Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill., before joining LWR.

    June 2013

  39. @Martin R. Noland #42

    Dr. Noland,

    At the risk of heading down a bunny trail– could you point me to the bylaw you reference for this statement:

    “The pertinent bylaws express the notion that the LCMS doesn’t want its clergy being professors anywhere except at one of its own colleges or seminaries.”

    That was a new one to me. I didn’t realize LCMS clergy were restricted in their teaching at non-LCMS colleges and seminaries.

  40. I wonder what the grade will be based on some decisions he makes regarding what the ELCA has done by recently electing a gay bishop? A talk is one thing, a note is another; but perhaps (not sure if he has the authority) it IS time to “just cut the ties” with the ELCA. Now I am not saying what he should do exactly, but this appears to be getting toward the last straw of working together. Yes?

  41. @rev. david l. prentice jr. #46

    There are a couple of resolutoins for convention. One is about visitation to check on communion practives. Another states no rostered member of synod shall commune at an e_ca congregation. Smallsteps, but in the rigth direction. Hopefully with a new staff just added to St. Louis, RSO’s can be looked at more closely. There are probably a couple of them that we should divest from. At least last time we voted to declare the e_ca heterodox, and the synod office has called them apostate. People need to know what that means, because it does have some teeth about letting them go, to be consumed by their own sins, and not drag us down, too.

  42. @Jason #47: “Another states no rostered member of synod shall commune at an e_ca congregation.”

    There are actually two relevant resolutions:

    Resolution 4-07, To Address the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Rostered Workers Communing at Heterodox Altars (2013: Today’s Business, p. 92), which resolved “That rostered LCMS church workers shall not commune at ELCA altars.”

    Resolution 4-09, To Overrule Commission on Constitutional Matters Opinion, “Interpretation of Constitution Article VI 2 b” (11-2598 CW pp. 300-303) (2013: Today’s Business, pp. 93-4), which resolves, in part, “That the LCMS in convention overrule the opinion “Interpretation of Constitution Article VI 2 b” (11-2598).”

    Because the CCM Opinion 11-2598 was so egregious, a motion should be made at the convention to replace the resolution’s first

    Resolved, That the LCMS in convention respectfully thank the members of the CCM for their work”

    with a

    Resolved, That the LCMS in convention ask for the resignations of the chairman and all who were voting members of the Commission on Constitutional Matters on February 12, 2011.”

  43. An F or an A- for Harrison

    Christian News gives Harrison an F. Why?

    1. The acceptance of evolution in the LCMS. …
    2. Lack of Doctrinal discipline as shown by Harrison’s refusal to take any action vs. … Matthew Becker. …
    3. The growth of sacerdotalism in the LCMS. …
    4. Harrison asked the ecumenical liberal John Nunes…to write the prelude to his Little Book of Joy…
    5. Harrison and his staff regularly promote Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King as great Christians even though both of them denied such Christian doctrines as the deity and resurrection of Jesus Christ. …
    6. Harrison and the LCMS’s CTCR were responsible for inviting the Anglican Allister McGrath to be the key speaker on Reformation Day, 2012…CN published plenty of documentation showing that McGrath accepts evolution, denies inerrancy of the Bible, promotes women serving as pastors and undermines in his writings the scriptural doctrine of justification by faith alone.
    7. Harrison was eager to speak at a Walther conference when he was running for LCMS president. He then ignored the Walther Conference and sided with the sacerdotalist Loehe men in the LCMS…
    8. When Harrison testified in Washington, D.C. he became the first LCMS president to declare that the LCMS has never opposed Birth Control. …
    9. Harrison has long been a major promoter of the Wittenberg Project. Neither his office nor any other office at the LCMS’s International Center will say just how much money has so far been collected, how much is in the treasury for the project, and what has the amount that has been collected been used for so far. …
    10. A Harrison appointed convention committee says in Today’s Business that there are no reasons for a 21st Century Formula of Concord which affirms the ancient creeds, the Book of Concord of 1580, but also speaks to the issues of our day, evolution, abortion, homosexuality, higher criticism, universalism, etc. Harrison’s appointed committee chairman would not permit those who wanted to present reasons for such a 21st Century Formula of Concord to testify at a committee hearing (CN, May 27, 2013).
    11. The “President’s Report” in Today’s Business-Proposed Resolutions shows that never before in the history of the LCMS has a president exercised so much power and influence in getting committees to follow his decrees. “Bureaucratitis Grows,” Christian News, June 10, 2013.
    12. Harrison has not repudiated the influence of CPH’s Paul McCain, referred to by some as the LCMS’s high salaried ($186,000 a year plus benefits) “unelected ruler.” …
    13. Under Harrison the LCMS has become enamored with Caesar (CN, January 21, 2013). Rev. Larry Beane wrote after Harrison met with members of Congress to get support to fight malaria that “The Church ought to understand better than any other institution the pitfalls of dancing to Caesar’s tune and cozying up to state power.” David Becker wrote after Harrison’s trip to Washington to fight malaria: “Harrison was absolutely horrible.” Note what Harrison wrote in the foreword of Two Wars We Must Win, by Bill Hecht, (Christian News, June 3, 2013.)
    14. Harrison insists that both LCMS seminaries are the best seminaries in the world even though both praise Bonhoeffer, who denied the resurrection of Christ as a great confessional Lutheran and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis’s Concordia Journal has published a “partnership” issue with Valparaiso University. Valparaiso has an ELCA president, denies the inerrancy of the Bible, promotes evolution, and universalism.
    15. While Harrison administration has never banned any liberals like Matthew Becker from communion it has banned the editor of Christian News from communion.
    16. During the CN editor’s 55 years in the ministry, no LCMS administration has ever refused to answer more letters and phone calls than the Harrison administration.
    17. Harrison apologized for taking the scriptural position in the syncretistic Newtown, Connecticut Prayer Service with non-Christians. Like a true church politician seeking election, he apologized for defending the scriptural position under pressure from liberals and unionists in the LCMS.
    18. Harrison has turned out to be a deceptive double-talking church politician. When he began his campaign for LCMS president, he and a top assistant and their wives spent the better part of a day at the editor’s home, Christian News office, and Camp Trinity to persuade the editor to promote him for president. He knew that CN was the only publication in the LCMS reaching almost all congregations each week. He told the editor that he was a solid, consistent, confessional Lutheran and a close friend of Kurt Marquart, who long insisted that Otten won his case with the seminary. He also indicated that he did not support the unscriptural ruling of the Council of Presidents panel which ruled that the editor of CN is an impenitent sinner who should not be allowed to participate in any ordination or installation, should not preach in any LCMS church, and whose church was under the threat of suspension from the LCMS as long as the editor insists he told the truth about Jesus First leader, Charles Mueller, Sr.
    19. After Harrison’s strategy worked and he received about twice as many nominations as Jerry Kieschnick the aide who came with him to New Haven, the first editor of the Steadfast Lutheran, urged CN to cease publication.

    Herman Otten
    Christian News
    Monday, June 17, 2013

  44. I loathe all the same things noted by Herman Otten above but by this standard Al Barry gets an “F” as well, after all, he is the one that gave Paul McCain his start in the LCMS as his right hand man and Barry hardly rid the synod of false teaching. By this same standard, Walther himself may not even pass.

    So, I get the point. We are not where we ought to be but we are already light years beyond Ablaze.

    Thanks for the insightful post Herman, uh, er, I mean “LCMS Quotes.”

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