Commentary and Review of 2013 LCMS Resolutions by Martin R. Noland

Editorial comment: Pastor Charles Henrickson has done a great job working through all the resolutions and presenting comments on them. Pastor Martin Noland was asked by a friend to prepare his comments, and we felt another perspective might be helpful.

 

convention-2013All resolutions have my approval and should be adopted, except where otherwise indicated; but please note suggestions for amendments where given.

1. WITNESS (TB, pp. 48-59)

1-01: To Highlight and Strengthen the Global Seminary Initiative

Excellent! This is where the LC-MS has much to offer its partner churches where their seminaries are miniscule or poorly funded; it offers some of their students more advanced training in the USA at our two seminaries; and it also benefits mission fields who can send their candidates to partner church seminaries in neighboring countries, as is presently happening in some areas.

1-02: To Recognize and Give Thanks for Missionaries and Their Families

Recognition and thanks.

1-03: To Develop and Engage in a Synodwide Study of a Lutheran Theological Statement of Mission for the 21st Century

This is an educational campaign for the whole synod to study and be involved in the mission of the church. This is intended to be Scripture-centric following the example of the Bereans. I am looking forward to using this study in my congregation.

1-04: To Encourage Church Multiplication as Means of Making New Disciples

I like the emphasis on circuit congregations working together to plant new congregations. That approach is both cooperative and local.

1-05: To Free the Congregations and People of the LCMS for the Joy of Evangelization and the Making New Disciples

We always need to be about our Father’s business in the area of outreach, but I like this one, again, because it emphasizes the circuit level, which is both cooperative and local.

1-06: To Amend Bylaw 6.2.1 (d) re Sending Workers to Foreign Mission Fields

Excellent! This requires all LCMS Recognized Service Organizations (RSOs) and LCMS Auxiliaries (LLL and LWML) doing mission work to abide by the policies of Board for International Mission (BIM) and the church-and-country-specific “protocol documents.” Our Lutheran partners overseas want to deal with one person, or one board, when they work with the LCMS. We want to work with one church in a single country, based on mutually-agreed-upon policies (“protocols”), in order to avoid confusion or conflict. If RSOs or auxiliaries do not follow those policies and protocol documents, it undermines the relationship the LCMS has with the partner church and can easily produce conflict. If an organization does not want to follow BIM policies and protocol documents, it doesn’t have to be an RSO. This resolution needs to be adopted.

1-07: To Support The Wittenberg Project for the Quincentennial Celebration of the Lutheran Reformation

This is a long-term project that will take years to bear fruit, but is worthy of support. 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, will help move the project along, both in terms of interest, publicity, and funding.

1-08: To Work Together in Mission

This is the best way to help districts and congregations involved in mission projects reap the experience of the national mission offices. It will help protect our missionaries (both long and short-term) overseas and result in more effective work.

1-09: To Prepare LCMS Congregations and Pastors for Defense of Our Christian Faith

Our church has for too long assumed that the surrounding culture is Christian, and its evangelism tools have been developed with that in mind. LCMS Lutherans living in the metropolitan coastal regions have been dealing with “secularization” for a long time. It is time that the rest of the church wake up to this issue and “tool up” accordingly.

1-10: To Develop Spanish and Multi-Lingual Capabilities in the Synod

This requires all CUS church-work students, seminarians, and church-workers doing continuing education to learn Spanish or another immigrant language. Resolution could be improved (i.e., amended) by letting those who already have that ability to “test out,” since many students learn Spanish in high school or can acquire it through a self-study program.

1-11: To Recruit and Place More Career Missionaries

This emphasizes the importance of long-term stability in the mission field and the development of sophisticated and high level skills that only come through making mission work a career.

1-12: To Recognize and Give Thanks for Military and Institutional Chaplains

Recognition and thanks.

1-13: To Designate District Coordinators for Prison Ministry

Looks to be a good idea.

1-14: To Advance Native American Ministry

Missions to Native American people was the first mission work of the LCMS; and it deserves continuance today with these special people who are rooted in the history of our native land.

1-15: To Encourage Further Support for Campus Ministry

This gives synod recognition to all organizations involved in this area, as well as highlighting the new initiative known as “LCMS U.” Since campus ministry is normally supported at the district level, this is a very important reminder to district board of directors to take care of this work in their budgets, communications, etc.

1-16: To Encourage Captioning of All Video Materials

Looks to be a good idea.

1-17: To Respectfully Decline Overtures

Ov. 1-15: The University of Minnesota Lutheran Chapel issue has already been resolved by that district; although it continues to need financial support. We can’t let University Lutheran Chapel “die on the vine” due to neglect of its district; but support at the national level would change how campus ministry is funded. Alumni of the chapel and other interested individuals need to work together to build financial support.

 

2. MERCY (TB, pp. 60-68)

2-01: To Commend and Give Thanks for the Work of LCMS Disaster Response

Recognition and thanks.

2-02: To Give Thanks and Praise to God for LIRS 75th Anniversary

Recognition and thanks.

2-03: To Give Thanks to God and Encourage Support for the Ministries of Lutheran Services in American and Lutheran World Relief

Recognition and thanks.

2-04: To Commend the LCMS National Housing Support Corporation

Recognition and thanks.

2-05: To Allow Extension of Calls to Specialized Pastoral Ministers

The situation of “ordained and commissioned ministers currently serving in 26 ministries of chaplaincy, pastoral counseling, and clinical education without a divine call for ministry” needs to be resolved, and this resolution accomplishes that.

2-06: To Encourage a Strong Finish of the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI) and Give Thanks for the Effect LMI Has Made in the Global Fight to End Malaria-Related Deaths in Africa

Recognition and thanks.

2-07: To Emphasize Biblical Teaching of Sexuality, Marriage and Family

It is difficult to find good materials on this subject, since Lutherans approach this subject through a Gospel emphasis that is often lacking in other Christian resources. Having distinctly Lutheran materials would be helpful.

2-08: To Challenge Congregations to Engage in Works of Mercy in Their Communities

Encourages congregations to be directly involved in charitable work, in addition to charitable work they support with their mission dollars.

2-09: To Encourage Christian Citizenship and Vigilance

Asks for support of synod’s “Religious Liberty: Free to Be Faithful” campaign. Aggressive legislation and executive mandates by the government against Christian churches and Christian morality indicates that this is a timely matter.

2-10: To Speak Out Against Violence in the United States

In some sense obvious, but raises the question of whether certain movies and video-games should have age restrictions. Resolution could be amended to be more focused.

2-11: To Encourage Districts and Congregations to Utilize the Planting Gospel Seeds While Serving Human Needs Training Process

Emphasizes the importance of doing evangelism with charitable work, and gives examples of how that can be done effectively and inoffensively.

 

3. LIFE TOGETHER (TB, pp. 69-83)

3-01: To Expand the Koinonia Project

As President Harrison commented on his July 12, 2013 “Issues, etc.” interview, many LCMS pastors and teachers from the mid 1950s to mid 1970s did not get proper training in Lutheran doctrine and practice. This project is successfully bringing those mis-education issues to light, and thus bringing a measure of healing that has long been overdue. “Koinonia,” in this sense, is a long-term project, and this asks the synod to continue supporting the work. I agree it needs to continue.

3-02: To Respect One Another and Put the Best Construction on All Things

I heartily agree that private conversation needs to precede filing charges or initiating discipline. Issues are often clarified, or resolved, when they are first confronted privately in this way. I think the main intent here is to curb improper-and-public Internet usage. Maybe that intent should be a bit clearer. Something should also be said about the fact that pastors are supposed to “rebuke and correct” in their job description (2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Timothy 4:2), but that there is a proper way to do this, depending on the case. The wisest counsel about the “rebuking and correcting” function of the pastoral office is found in John Gerhard, On the Ministry, Part Two, sections 268-272 (CPH ed., pp. 104-114). The resolution could use a bit of amendment in these ways.

3-03: To Support, Commend, and Increase Witness, Mercy, and Life Together Ministry of Lutheran Schools

Recognition and thanks.

3-04: To Authorize a Blue Ribbon Committee on Lutheran Schools

In my opinion, this is one of the most important resolutions for the convention. The old ways of financing parochial schools are failing, partly because parents are not satisfied with modest resources and doubled-up faculty (e.g., four teachers for 8 grades). If our parochial schools are going to survive, they need help in many ways, at the highest level, and a Blue Ribbon Committee is the way to do it.

3-05: To Address Responsible Internet Use in Congregations

Congregations and schools need this reminder, and some need help, in developing specific and realistic policies to serve as a “curb and guide” to all church workers, officers, staff, and volunteers.

3-06: To Adopt Mission and Ministry Emphases for the 2013-2016 Triennium

This resolution, or one like it, is required due to the 2010 restructuring. The “Witness, Mercy, Life Together” emphasis is just getting started, so I agree with continuing it.

3-07: To Further Promote Mission Awareness, Support, Collaboration, and Coordination for Rural and Small Town, Urban and Inner City, and Suburban Ministry

This resolution, or one like it, is required due to the 2010 restructuring. This gives guidance to the Office of National Mission.

3-08: To Reaffirm Faithful Church Revitalization as a Priority of the Office of National Mission

The seventh whereas reports that the “working group has identified strengths and weaknesses of TCN and called for a substantial review and rewrite” (my emphasis). This is progress. “Revitalization” is a necessary work, as important as starting new missions. There are behavioral or attitude problems that exist in some of our congregations or lay leadership; other problems are due to declining demographics or funding. Though not intractable, they are often difficult problems to resolve. More work needs to be done on developing better methods of handling various types of situations; and this resolution is a step in the right direction.

3-09: To Continue to Support and Promote Black Ministry in The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod

This is a very important show of support for an important and historic ministry in the LCMS, dating back to the post-Civil-War Alpha Synod and the work of Rosa Young in central Alabama. The process of appointing a Director of Black Ministry is complicated, since it needs to involve the constituency. People don’t realize that Black Ministry was, more or less, eliminated by the 2010 restructuring. It is only because of President Harrison’s personal connections with many African-American leaders that this did not turn out to be a disaster for synodical relations with the African-American congregations and their pastors.

3-10: To Appoint a Task Force to Study the Call Process for Returning Missionary and Military Chaplains and Other Rostered Church Workers without a Call

This is long overdue. This seeks to improve the call process for returning chaplains and missionaries and for those church workers on candidate status (C.R.M.). The benefit to synod is that it retains experienced workers and talent. The issue of placement of C.R.M. candidates is much more complicated than it looks. From the “management” side of things, it is difficult for ecclesial supervisors (District President, Circuit Counselor) to determine whether church-workers are “at fault” at all, or to what degree they are “at fault,” when they are removed from office by a congregation/school or when they resign due to conflict. In almost every case, the congregation or school has plenty of arguments and “evidence” to justify their action; and the church-worker and his family has similar arguments and “evidence” to protest it. Such arguments and “evidence” from both sides are usually impossible to evaluate. Because it is a situation of one against many, the “one” loses. “Management” also has the problem of potential liability if it agrees with arguments and “evidence” from the terminating congregation or school, which turn out later to be slander or libel—as one district president recently discovered to his great chagrin. I think the best solution is the task force proposed by the resolution, which can consider and address all possible variables and cases, and make a proposal for 2016. In the meantime, the resolution could be amended to give chaplains, missionaries, and graduate students returning to parish/school duty a distinct status, or terminology, so that calling bodies don’t assume they are C.R.M. due to conflict or problems.

3-11: To Support Church Workers

This encourages congregations to meet district salary guidelines for called workers. Church-worker wives and children are praying that this one will pass.

3-12: To Affirm Our Worship Treasures Old and New and Commend the Document, Text, Music, Context

This commends a superb resource for evaluating worship materials, which follows the pattern set by the Lutheran confessions.

3-13: To Update Synod’s Catechetical Materials

This would update the 1991 edition’s “Explanation” section. It would also produce a more comprehensive adult edition, which in my experience, would be useful.

3-14: To Encourage Daily Family Devotions

This commends CPH resources for family devotions.

3-15: To Encourage Study of Lutheran Confessions to Celebrate Reformation

This authorizes the preparation of official resources to promote study of the Lutheran Confessions, especially looking toward the 2017 Reformation anniversary.

3-16: To Express Thanks to the Office of the President and Offices of National and International Mission

Recognition and thanks.

3-17: To Thank and Commend the Lutheran Church Extension Fund

Recognition and thanks.

3-18: To Commend Concordia Publishing House

Recognition and thanks.

3-19: To Respectfully Decline Overtures

 

 

4. THEOLOGY AND CHURCH RELATIONS (TB, pp. 84-99)

4-01: To Endorse Altar and Pulpit Fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Liberia

Fellowship with the Liberian church was recommended by CTCR and declared by President Harrison, and should be endorsed by the convention. Declaration of fellowship is always a historic occasion and a time of celebration.

4-02: To Endorse Altar and Pulpit Fellowship with the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church

Fellowship with the Siberian church was recommended by CTCR and declared by President Harrison, and should be endorsed by the convention. There have been many German-Russians there for centuries. This is another historic occasion, this time with a Slavic-speaking church.

4-03: To Recognize Lutheran Church of Togo as an Independent, Self-Governing Partner Church

The Board of International Mission and CTCR recommend recognition of the “Eglise Luthérienne du Togo” as a partner church of the LCMS. This should be approved by the convention. This is another historic occasion, this time with a French-speaking church.

4-04: To Affirm Growing Mutual Relationships among International Lutheran Church Bodies

President Harrison has talked about a “tectonic shift” in world Lutheranism. That means that large “continents” (i.e., large Lutheran churches) once bound together or connected, are now separating. Where will they go? What will they do? This authorizes LCMS officials to continue discussions, while such churches are still open to listening to us. These types of opportunities only come once every one or two centuries. This may lead to fellowship or partner church status, or it may not, but if the resolution is adopted, we will be able to say that we did our duty of confessing our faith to our closest Christian neighbors, i.e., our fellow Lutherans.

4-05: To Encourage Further Discussion with Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and Evangelical Lutheran Synod

This authorizes formal discussions with former members of the Synodical Conference. The LCMS shares with the WELS and ELS a firm commitment to the same doctrinal authorities, i.e., the entire canonical Scriptures and the entire Book of Concord, as norms of doctrine and practice; and it once shared resources, schools, hymnals, and missions with them. President John Behnken admitted that the LCMS had not always treated WELS and ELS as partners when they were members together in the Synodical Conference. Maybe the LCMS has learned from that mistake–we will see.

4-06: To Address Questions re Service Apart from AC XIV

In my opinion, district-licensed lay deacons should all be moved into the S.M.P. program (on that program, see resolutions 5-03 and 5-04). The S.M.P. program will give them, in almost all cases, better training than what they had previously received. It will also ensure a uniform standard of doctrine and practice. How to accomplish this, while avoiding “applecart upset” at the congregations served, is a complicated task. Giving this to a task force to resolve all of the various issues is the right solution. At the end of the process, the goal should be that uniquely pastoral functions are regularly performed only by pastors, though training requirements for pastors may vary.

4-07: To Address the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod Rostered Workers Communing at Heterodox Altars

LCMS church workers should not commune at ELCA altars. If they want to commune at an ELCA altar, they should join the ELCA—it is as simple as that, and is common sense. When you commune at an ELCA altar you are confessing that you are in intimate fellowship with a church that now has an openly gay bishop (R. Guy Erwin was elected May 31, 2013 to a six-year term as bishop of the ELCA Southwest California Synod). The gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender agenda is just the “tip of the iceberg” of problems in doctrine and practice in the ELCA. The ELCA today is a sad spectacle to watch, as one of the largest Lutheran church-bodies disintegrates before our own eyes. It is a historic occasion, of a different sort.

4-08: To Retain Trinitarian Formula When Baptizing

This is important, because many “Christian” churches are altering the baptismal formula, which becomes a problem for transfers from other church-bodies.

4-09: To Overrule Commission on Constitutional Matters Opinion “Interpretation of Constitution Article VI 2 b” (11-2598 CW pp. 300-303)

In my opinion, this is the most important resolution at this convention. The CCM was absolutely and clearly wrong on this one. There is no gray area in this issue. When a rostered church worker receives the Sacrament at a heterodox altar, it is always a violation of Article VI. LCMS Article VI is in agreement with the ancient and early church in this matter (see Werner Elert, Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries [CPH, 1966]), and with the Lutheran Confessions (Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration X, 5-6 and VII, 33). This opinion must be overruled. If it is not overruled, then any church-worker can commune anywhere—which is just ridiculous! Then we will cease to be a church that confesses with its actions, but only with its mouth—and that may not last much longer, if we let Opinion 11-2598 stand. Church-workers who don’t intend to comply with Constitution Article VI should be honest with themselves, their church, and with God. If they cannot comply with a “condition of membership,” they should leave voluntarily—it is the right thing to do, in that case.

4-10: To Encourage Proper Oversight in the Administration of the Lord’s Supper by Visitation from Ecclesiastical Supervisors

This is the best way to get the LCMS back to its traditional, and thoroughly Lutheran, practice of closed/close communion.

4-11: To Request Commission on Theology and Church Relations Study of Proper Role of Men in the Church and Home

Like resolution 2-07, it is difficult to find good materials with a Lutheran and Gospel emphasis in this area.

4-12: To Thank God for the Faithful Service of Women

This calls attention to ways in which women can serve, and have served, in the church. An appropriate amendment could add something in the resolved section to encourage pastors and congregations to be more involved in the LWML.

4-13: To Encourage Confession and Absolution for Pastors

Pastors need this service as much, sometimes more, than any other Christian.

4-14: To Clarify the Doctrine of the Call

Called workers and congregations need to be clear on their mutual expectations. This adds some work to district presidents and circuit counselors, i.e., having meetings with congregational leadership with regard to mutual responsibilities of church-workers and calling body, but it is necessary “preventative medicine.”

4-15: To Reaffirm Synod’s Position on Creation

As the resolution says, LCMS has clearly and repeatedly rejected Darwinian evolution, theistic evolution, and related ideas. Since some members continue to disagree with the synod’s clearly and repeatedly stated position, it needs to be reaffirmed. Encouragement to the CTCR to work on this area helps puts that work among its top priorities.

4-16: To Respectfully Decline Overtures

 

5. SEMINARY AND UNIVERSITY EDUCATION (TB, pp. 100-25)

5-01: To Encourage Continued Faithful Witness by the Concordia University System

This is one of the most important resolutions the synod will consider. This authorizes the LCMS President to appoint a task force to strengthen confessional Lutheran identity of our Concordia Universities, and to also help strengthen their connection to congregations and their funding.

5-02: To Support and Encourage Participation in Post-Seminary Applied Learning and Support Initiative

The PALS program is for new pastors and their wives and is designed to help those folks transition into the challenges of ministry.

5-03: To Establish an SMP Oversight Committee

This authorizes the LCMS President to appoint an oversight committee for the SMP program. This needed due to the 2010 restructuring, which eliminated oversight for this program.

5-04: To Continue and Strengthen the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program

This works together with resolution 5-03. It ensures that the SMP pastors serve where there is a real need, e.g., ethnic, isolated, and certain mission situations, instead of serving as “cheap hires” for large congregations. It ensures that residential education will not be jeopardized through lack of students and that the vast majority of our pastors will retain the high standards people have come to expect from LCMS clergy.

5-05: To Amend Bylaws Regarding Boards of Regents and Concordia University System Board

This requires that CUS Board of Directors members and CUS Regents have specialized qualifications in areas such as theology, education, finance, law, etc. This resolution restores the previous practice that first-time full-time theology CUS faculty appointments get approval at the national level. Schools would need to demonstrate that they are actively working to preserve Lutheran identity and to support the objectives of Synod. This resolution guarantees that the additional appointed members are always appointed by synod/district elected members, as is the practice at the seminaries (LCMS bylaw 3.10.4.2 (4)).

5-06: To Revise Bylaw 3.10.5.6 re College and University Faculties

This revises policies regarding faculty appointment, conduct, and termination–e.g., a faculty member removed from Synod is removed from the faculty also.

5-07: To Thank God for the Affiliation of Concordia University Wisconsin and Concordia University Ann Arbor

Recognition and thanks.

5-08: To Establish a Standard for Continuing Education of Pastors

I am all in favor of continuing education for all pastors, and other church-workers. But who is going to pay for it? Congregations will have to pay for it financially, and also in finding substitute service during a pastor’s time off for study. Wealthy or modestly endowed congregations, and their church-workers, will welcome this. Congregations with meager resources will be hard hit by this proposal—some are just barely getting by. If the congregation refuses to pay, will the pastor be penalized in some way? Professional organizations, e.g., lawyers, engineers, and doctors, can mandate continuing education because members of those guilds have some of the highest compensation in the USA. LCMS church-workers, in many cases, have some of the lowest compensation for people of their skill and degree level (master’s level). The church-worker should not be put into the position of “begging” for this benefit. I think this resolution does introduce some conflict into the church-worker/congregation relationship where there are meager resources. There should be some amendment to address such situations where financial resources are sub-standard to non-existent.

5-09: To Revise Bylaw 3.10.5.5.2 re Election Process for College and University Presidents

This revises the process so that electors meet at the beginning of the process to discuss expectations. CUS President would participate as a guest in the election.

5-10: To Amend Bylaw 3.6.6.5 re Procedure to Consolidate Colleges/Universities

The CUS Board of Director will replace Council of Presidents as a decision-maker in procedure to consolidate, relocate, separate, or divest a school.

5-11: To Amend Bylaw 3.10.4.7.3 re Appointment of Seminary Faculty

Initial appointments to seminary faculty will require advance approval, which was the historic practice in the LCMS until it was eliminated in the 2010 restructuring.

5-12: To Encourage, Promote and Support the Recruitment of Hispanic and Spanish-speaking Students and Faculty, into Church Work Professions

The largest and fastest growing ethnic population in the USA seriously needs church-workers who are adept in that culture and language. The LCMS has done some excellent work in this area, but we can hardly keep up with the opportunities.

5-13: To Encourage the Recruitment of the Highest Caliber Candidates for Pastoral Ministry

The definition of “young men who are regarded as the highest caliber among their peers” is vague. High school and college youth often think this means athletic men with sexual prowess and experience. Candidates for the pastoral office need to be self-controlled in sexual matters, among other things. And youth are not always the best judges of character. Perhaps the committee did not mean “regarded as the highest caliber by their peers,” but “of the highest caliber in comparison to their peer group.” The ethical and character standards of pastors is superbly explained by Johann Gerhard in On the Ministry, Part Two, sections 275-284 (CPH ed., pp. 116-131). The resolution should be amended to clarify its vague expressions.

5-14: To Conduct a Study of the Alternate Routes to the Pastoral Ministry

This resolution authorizes the LCMS President to appoint a task force to study the eight non-M.Div. routes to pastoral ministry, and make recommendations.

 

6. ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE (TB, pp. 126-143)

6-01: To Promote Financially Healthy Universities, Seminaries, and Church Workers

This is definitely an important and worthy resolution, primarily addressing the issue of debt.

6-02: To (Joy)fully Fund Career and GEO Missionaries

Good resolution, and helps fill a growing need and gap in missionary service.

6-03: To Address Board of Directors Budget and Management Responsibilities

Good – from the Commission on Handbook.

6-04: To Restore the Secretary of Synod as a Voting Member of the Commission on Constitutional Matters (CCM)

The Secretary has more, and better, knowledge of the inner workings of the synod than just about anyone else. His presence on this commission should count for something.

6-05: To Revise Definitions in the Handbook

Good – from the Commission on Handbook.

6-06: To Address Synod Handbook Issues re Synodwide Corporate Entity Governing Instruments

Good – from the Commission on Handbook.

6-07: To Address Synod Handbook Issues Regarding Required Background Checks

Good – from the Commission on Handbook.

6-08: To Clarify the Appointment Process for Various Representatives and Offices

Good – from the Commission on Handbook.

6-09: To Clarify the Process for Appointment of the Executive Directors of the Offices of National and International Mission

Good – from the Commission on Handbook.

6-10: To Clarify Appointment of Chief Executives of Synodwide Corporate and Trust Entities and Executive Director of Commission on Theology and Church Relations

Good – from the Commission on Handbook.

6-11: To Strengthen Nominations Process for Boards of Directors of Synodwide Corporate Entities

Good – from CPH. The idea of specific skill sets is a good one. The Committee for Convention Nominations needs to know what skill sets those are, which might change in a triennium. This keeps the Committee for Convention Nominations up-to-date with the needs of these entities, each of which has distinctly different work.

6-12: To Amend Bylaw 3.7.1.3 re Membership on Concordia Plans Board

Good – from the CPS.

6-13: To Amend Bylaws re Removal and Filling of Vacancies of LCEF Board Members

Good – from LCEF.

6-14: To Amend Bylaw 3.6.5.2.1 re Terms of Office of LCMS Foundation Board Members

Good – from LCMS Foundation.

6-15: To Amend Bylaws re Removal and Filling of Vacancies of LCMS Foundation Board Members

Good – from LCMS Foundation.

6-16: To Encourage Conversation and Education About Commission on Constitutional Matters Opinions

I have to admit that I have lost confidence in the CCM, especially due to its Opinions 11-2598 and 13-2699. I cannot tell if the problem is with the members of the commission, with its many powers, or its processes. This resolution will at least require that the CCM defend its actions before other synodical leaders before things get out of hand. I would like someone to give me a clear explanation why this commission needs to have the power of “binding” opinions, and if so, for what cases. This resolution does not solve the problem, but it should be adopted.

7. STRUCTURE AND ECCLESIASTICAL MATTERS (TB, pp. 144-181).

7-01: To Set Forth Clear Mutual Expectations in Carrying Out Office of Visitation

This came from the 8-07 Task Force. It returns the LCMS to its original ideas about what we today call “ecclesiastical supervision.” This is an excellent resolution.

7-02: To Return to the Use of Title “Circuit Visitor”

This resolution accompanies 7-01, and is also good.

7-03: To Establish Visitation Circuits to Best Meet Needs of Congregations

This also came from the 8-07 Task Force, and is also good.

7-04: To Adopt General Principles for Judging Viability of Districts

Good – from 8-07 Task Force and three districts.

7-05: To Allow E-Meetings for Voting by Circuits, Districts, and Synod Agencies

Good – from 8-07 Task Force and three districts.

7-06: To Provide Process for Placement of Candidates

Good – from 8-07 Task Force and three districts.

7-07: To Respond to 2010 Res 8-05B To Change Process for Electing Delegates to Synod Conventions

Not a good idea, it should be declined. This was one of the proposals in the 2010 restructuring that got tabled. “Electoral caucuses” is just inviting more “politics.” I thought these people despised “politics in the church.” Go figure!

7-08: To Respond to 2010 Res 8-05B To Establish Number of Delegates to Synod Conventions

Same as 7-07, from the same source, and should be declined.

7-09: To Resolve Bylaw Issues Remaining from 2010 Convention Restructuring Decisions

Good – from Commission on Handbook.

7-10: To Adopt Four-Year Convention Cycle

I like the three-year cycle of synod, district, and circuit. We have barely got used to the circuit gatherings, and we are going to change the cycle again? If we add another year before conventions, that means another batch of mandatory business that will need to be handled at the convention, and the other business will be tabled. I would decline this resolution.

7-11: To Address Handbook Issues re Expulsion Process (Bylaws 2.14, 2.15, 2.16, 2.17)

Good – from Commission on Handbook, but it should be amended so that in cases of expulsion (bylaws 2.14 and 2.15), ALL MEMBERS of final hearing panels should be REQUIRED to be theologically trained (see my comments on resolution 7-14).

7-12: To Address Handbook Issues re Dispute Resolution Process (Bylaw Section 1.10)

Good – from Commission on Handbook.

7-13: To Address Handbook Issues re Bylaws Pertaining to District

Good – from Commission on Handbook.

7-14: To Address Handbook Issues re Synod Conventions

Good – from Commission on Handbook.

7-15: To Address District Membership/Ecclesiastical Supervision Issues (Bylaw 2.12 et al.)

Good – from Commission on Handbook.

7-16: To Strengthen District Boards of Directors

Good, it brings this set of boards in line with synodical agencies and boards in the matter of member skills sets.

7-17: To Amend Bylaw 3.1.4 to Include All Officers of the Synod

Good resolution, to cover the expenses of appointed officers, who were always present at the convention. This covers an oversight of the 2010 restructuring.

7-18: To Study Doctrinal Training for Reconcilers

Good – many, if not most, of the cases that come before dispute reconcilers have an element of theological or church practice involved. How can these reconcilers adjudicate these affairs, if the last theology they studied was the Catechism prior to Confirmation? Congregations don’t require their members to study theology beyond that. This resolution is good, because it asks for a study of this issue.

7-19: To Respectfully Decline Overtures


Comments

Commentary and Review of 2013 LCMS Resolutions by Martin R. Noland — 26 Comments

  1. Noland: “2-07: To Emphasize Biblical Teaching of Sexuality, Marriage and Family

    It is difficult to find good materials on this subject, since Lutherans approach this subject through a Gospel emphasis that is often lacking in other Christian resources. Having distinctly Lutheran materials would be helpful.”

    Yet, the chief purpose of this Task Force is to look for ways to minister to homosexuals. It’s simply erroneous to suggest that there is a paucity of distinctively Lutheran materials on marriage and the family.

    Concordia Publishing House has numerous new and recently-published resources, already, on Christian marriage and family, including https://www.cph.org/p-17596-marriage-by-gods-design-dvd-kit.aspx?SearchTerm=marriage, https://www.cph.org/p-487-marriage-is-like-dancing.aspx?SearchTerm=marriage, https://www.cph.org/p-1251-devoted-to-god-and-each-other.aspx?SearchTerm=marriage, https://www.cph.org/p-22454-5-things-you-can-do-to-make-your-marriage-stronger-kindle-edition.aspx?SearchTerm=marriage, https://www.cph.org/p-20036-we-are-not-blended-we-are-pureed-kindle-edition.aspx?SearchTerm=marriage, https://www.cph.org/p-1488-the-lutheran-difference-marriage-and-family.aspx?SearchTerm=marriage, not to mention https://www.cph.org/p-2280-the-power-of-we-dvd-and-cd-rom.aspx?SearchTerm=the%20power%20of%20we.

  2. “3-01: To Expand the Koinonia Project
    As President Harrison commented on his July 12, 2013 “Issues, etc.” interview, many LCMS pastors and teachers from the mid 1950s to mid 1970s did not get proper training in Lutheran doctrine and practice.”

    It is noteworthy that the time frame of the “mid 1950s to mid 1970s” corresponds to the opening and closing of Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Indiana (1957-77).

    “The [Anaheim] convention first resolved to ‘phase out’ the preseminary program at Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, as a separate institution and to open a similar program at Concordia Lutheran College, Ann Arbor, Michigan, giving this school a four-year college status. Both the faculty and Board of Control of the senior college were to be dissolved. Then the convention voted to transfer the seminary at Springfield to the campus of the former senior college by June 1, 1977, and to dispose of the Springfield property and use the proceeds to recover the cost of relocation.”

    Erich H. Heintzen
    Prairie School of the Prophets: The Anatomy of a Seminary, 1846-1976
    CPH, 1989
    Special thanks to Martin Noland and Ken Schurb who served as editors and proofreaders.

  3. “2-07: To Emphasize Biblical Teaching of Sexuality, Marriage and Family

    It is difficult to find good materials on this subject, since Lutherans approach this subject through a Gospel emphasis that is often lacking in other Christian resources. Having distinctly Lutheran materials would be helpful.”

    Regarding sexuality, it will be good to have some Confessional Lutheran sources made available.

    Dr. Robert Gagnon’s book is good for research, but unfortunately he, as a PCUSA theologian, embraces “higher criticism” of the Bible and doesn’t believe that Jesus spoke all of the words recorded of Him in the Gospels.

    Regarding marriage and the family, we should stick to Lutheran sources as well, and not advocate the use of books written by Debi Pearl like the Hausvater project does: http://www.hausvater.org/book-reviews/268-a-hausmutter-reading-list.html

    http://www.hausvater.org/events/262-hausvater-project-family-retreat-2012.html

    Debi Pearl is the wife of pelagian Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Michael Pearl. Pearl teaches sinless perfectionism, follows Charles Finney, denies original sin, and advocates beating children with plumbing supply line in his book “To Train Up a Child.” A Baptist family who followed his book beat their adopted daughter to death.

    Here’s Pearl describing his beliefs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pHqAG_jWm9E

    On top of all that, the Hausvater project website is linked to at the right on BJS. This is but one example of how we Lutherans need to do more research before we advocate something or someone. What are Ryan MacPherson and his wife, as claimed “Confessional Lutherans,” doing advocating the writings of outright heretics and cultists? Is this not just as bad as Lutherans adopting liberalism, seeker-drivenism, charismaticism, etc.?

  4. @Nicholas #3

    Nick, you simply don’t make sense. Dr. Gagnon’s arguments about marriage and sexuality, insofar as he makes them from clear passages of Scripture, are entirely sound. Sound premises, sound conclusions.

    As for Dr. MacPherson, I would suggest that he has thoroughly reviewed the materials that he and his wife recommend. It’s simply uncharitable for you libel Ryan and his wife, who are faithful confessional Lutherans.

    It is your logic that is unsound. Even St. Paul made use of the arguments of Greek, pagan poets and philosophers in order to support the clear presentation of the Gospel.

    Besides, marriage is Law, and even unbelievers can use their reason to understand some things about marriage.

    My guess is that you don’t even know the origin of the term “sexuality,” or how dangerous it is.

  5. Dr. Noland,
    I am rather confused by you contention that the CCM got it wrong in their ruling re. Art. VI of the constitution. This would be the first I have ever heard of an individual communing at a heterodox altar constituting Kirchen / Glaubensmengerei (or as we now translate it Unionism or Syncretism). The publicity that this ruling has received from both sides seems terribly duplicitous, especially since the opinion said in no unclear terms in the conclusion that members of synod are not to commune at heterodox altars. Article II would seem to be the locus of membership violation, and seemingly that is where the CCM is pointing ecclesiastical supervisors to take action.
    I would add to the above, I would also advocate 4-09 be passed by virtue over the vast confusion on this ruling. It at minimum needs a rewrite.

  6. “2-07: To Emphasize Biblical Teaching of Sexuality, Marriage and Family”

    President Harrison writes in The Lutheran Witness, November 2011: “Our LCMS birth rate mirrors that of the broader population of the U.S., which is at an all-time low. So, how do we best encourage our young people to treasure marriage and have children? How do we make the point in a freeing and Gospel-oriented way? How do we encourage those capable of having more children to do so? How do we take concrete action in our congregations to care for children and encourage young parents? How do we encourage the adoption option? “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). It can be a God-pleasing act to have a large, loving, orthodox Lutheran family, and those who are able should not be diverted from this by any self-imposed “green” limit of 2.1 children per couple (The Faith Flourishes…Even Amidst Opposition).”

    This is an early statement on what he has repeated a number of different times in different venues. What the president is not directly bringing up to the Synod by name is the word contraception. That is the issue at the heart of what the president is not directly saying.

    If there are to be resources published on this subject matter by CPH, will they address the historic Christian teaching against contraception? Does the statement that “many LCMS pastors and teachers did not get proper training in Lutheran doctrine and practice” include the subject of contraception? As with the adoption of the doctrine and practice of open communion in recent times, the doctrine and practice of contraception among Lutherans is also quite recent.

    Any new materials published on the subject of “Biblical Teaching of Sexuality, Marriage and Family” by CPH should not be, generally speaking, authored by pastors and theologians trained “from the mid 1950s to mid 1970s,” and through the 1980s because of their pro-contraception attitude. That attitude, on the part of so many LCMS pastors of the last two generations, has helped give the Synod the current situation that President Harrison describes. Some of the younger pastors trained over the last 10 to 15 years are more willing to at least re-consider the commonly accepted doctrine and practice of contraception, let alone embrace the historic doctrine and practice against contraception in some cases.

    The Missouri Synod had one prominent voice “from the mid 1950s to mid 1970s” and beyond who taught against contraception: Robert D. Preus. He was largely ignored. He was also one who lived the “large, loving, orthodox Lutheran family” that President Harrison commends in his article.

  7. 1-17 – I have to respectfully disagree with Pastor Noland on this one.

    The University Lutheran Chapel Minneapolis situation is a unique situation. I viewed it as the “canary in the coal mine”. It was the victim of “show of right” rather than honoring the Christian intention of the founders and sacrificial donors. The convention voted, with a strong majority of 58% (!), to consider reversing the sale. If the chair had not used a questionable parliamentary trick to force a 2/3 vote for this, it probably would have passed and the chapel would still be standing. The 2 Million dollar “settlement” was the BEST the convention could do after that and was in no way any kind of Biblical restitution for the harm done. All this happened in the full view of our church body. While legally it may have been considered a “settlement”, Biblically, in my opinion, no way. We have an obligation as a church body to make this right. Very coherent arguments can, and have, been made for the fact that treating ULC uniquely is a right and salutary thing to do. I think it was completely wrong to put the 1-15 Overture into Omnibus to decline this overture and not allow the entire delegation to consider this and to vote. If ULC had been flattened by a tornado or flood, there would have been a big full color spread in the LW and a synodically supported national campaign to “build it back.” If we can raise big bucks for mosquito netting (which any secular organization such as the Red Cross could equally do), we can certainly raise the additional money that ULC Minneapolis needs to be made whole. Maybe no one else sees this particular issue as the line in the sand, but I do. Whoever has ears, let him hear….

  8. I respectfully disagree with your assessment of 7-03. The 2010 Convention rejected a nearly identical measure in 8-02 by amending it and totally reversing the intent of the BRTFSSG by actually inserting language into the Bylaw that required geography to be a consideration in the composition of circuits (8-02A). This resolution seems to me to be either superfluous (because the Bylaws already call for this) or a backdoor attempt to incrementally circumvent the express will of the 2010 Convention. The Synod is not best served by lumping all of the PLI congregations together into a circuit, regardless of their geographic location. We walk together in all of our differences and oddities, and by walking together as circuits, we broaden our understanding of each other and strengthen each other in applying the Word in our many and varied circumstances. The intent of 2010 Resolution 8-02 ended up undermining that walking together, and I fear that 7-03 is more of an attempt to do the same.

  9. “2-10: To Speak Out Against Violence in the United States
    In some sense obvious, but raises the question of whether certain movies and video-games should have age restrictions. Resolution could be amended to be more focused. ”

    In the late 1980s, shocked by the proliferation of obscene and violence-strewn lyrics on many rock and rap albums, the Parents Music Resource Center won agreements from the recording industry to put parental warning labels on albums. Even this modest concession to shell-shocked culture was too much for libertines, who denounced the move as “censorship.”

    Robert H. Knight [A draftsman of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Wikipedia.]
    The Age of Consent: The Rise of Relativism and the Corruption of Popular Culture
    Chapter 14 Music: Roll Over, Apollo
    Spence, 2000

    In view of the charges of “pietism” by some on BJS when a critique of much of “rock music,” its lyrics, and negative influence has been raised previously, would the Synod be engaging in some form of “pietism” by addressing “certain movies and video-games?”

    The very resolution title “To Speak Out Against Violence in the United States,” has a direct relationship to the issue of rock music. Much of rock music, too, has been associated with violence and undesirable behavior “in the United States.”

    If this resolution passes, does that make the Missouri Synod a “pietistic” church body?

  10. “4-01, 4-02: To Endorse Altar and Pulpit Fellowship with…”

    What does it mean to be in altar and pulpit fellowship?

    Altar and pulpit fellowship allows church bodies to partake in the Sacraments together. Full doctrinal agreement is required for this form of fellowship in order to preserve the integrity of the witness to the Gospel of Christ as it is revealed in the Scriptures and confessed in the Lutheran Confessions.

    What are the criteria for entering into fellowship with another church body?

    Altar and pulpit fellowship is a relationship based on agreement in both doctrine and practice between two institutionally viable church bodies.

    What is the process?

    Entering into altar and pulpit fellowship is not a decision that is made lightly. It involves a lengthy process of formal doctrinal discussions between the two church bodies and input from other involved parties. Following this, if the president of the Synod and the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations are in favor of the agreement, the issue is forwarded to the next LCMS convention for final approval.

    Megan K. Mertz
    “Partners in the Gospel”
    Lutherans Engage the World
    July-August 2013

  11. “3-13: To Update Synod’s Catechetical Materials”

    Beyond the Lutheran Service Book, did the Synod in convention ever declare officially the use of the English Standard Version as the only translation to be used in all CPH publications? Or was this a unilateral decision on the part of CPH?

  12. Concerning 1-10: To Develop Spanish and Multi-Lingual Capabilities in the Synod, This requires all CUS church-work students, seminarians, and church-workers doing continuing education to learn Spanish or another immigrant language. Resolution could be improved (i.e., amended) by letting those who already have that ability to “test out,” since many students learn Spanish in high school or can acquire it through a self-study program.

    I have to be opposed to this resolution. I would agree to it if it said “encourages” instead of “requires”. Not everybody has the gift to learn a language. Also if I want to take some continuing education classes and I have to take a immigrant language, guess what, I am not going to take continuing education classes. Learning languages is not a gift given to me by God. I have enough trouble with English.

    Also what is considered to be “Proficient” in the language?

    Need to be careful of unintended consequences of resolutions such as 1-10

  13. I note nothing on the omnibus resolutions, like Omnibus Resolution A which contains Overture 2-06.

    Overture 2-06 attempts to overcome the lack of action on LCFS by Office of National Mission via a resolution but Omnibus A refers it right back to Office of National Mission. LCFS is a purely LCMS ( ie. not pan Lutheran ) entity which complied with IL mandates on same sex adoptions.

    The backstory…..

    In 2006 CTCR said in its May 2, 2006 opinion “it is the opinion of the CTCR that a policy of placing adopted or foster children into homosexual contexts would stand in opposition to the official doctrinal position of the LCMS”

    In 2007 the synod voted resolution 6-03A “To Care for Foster and Adoptive Children in a Pure and Undefiled Way by Not Placing Children in Morally Ambiguous Contexts”

    In the 2009 CTCR opinion “Theological Implications of the 2009 ELCA Decision” reference was made to the preceding.

    In 2010 in the Synod in resolution 3-03 again referenced the above.

    In 2011 LCFS decided to ignore it all and comply with IL law, having been told by Barb Below, assistant to the president, in comments reported in the Chicago Tribune that the Synod would not cut ties if they went ahead and complied with IL mandate. The Synod president acknowledged he was aware of LCFS decision and it was a travesty but no visible corrective action has been forthcoming.

    So now in 2013 an attempt is made from the IL district to bypass Office of National Mission who has not acted and sever RSO status. But the national synod is poised to scuttle that resolution by referring it all back to Office of National Mission.

    The conclusion will be inescapable. Both the administration and the national synod in convention are Ok with the path of the LCFS in IL. While they won’t come out and say so they refuse to take any corrective action, and stop any attempts to do so at the national convention. They will however sever RSO status of other entities during this period if not enough LCMS are on the board.

    Anyway just pointing it out in hopes that some action gets taken to address this at convention.

    Best Wishes.

  14. 2-11: To Encourage Districts and Congregations to Utilize the Planting Gospel Seeds While Serving Human Needs Training Process

    Emphasizes the importance of doing evangelism with charitable work, and gives examples of how that can be done effectively and inoffensively.

    This is admirable, but it is also dangerous. One of the problems with the evangelical movement is that, in the process of doing evangelism and charity side-by-side, oftentimes charity overshadows evangelism, and in the process can proscribe it. People will go do charity work such as rebuilding homes or feeding the poor with little more than “Jesus loves you” as the gospel, and then come back home and think they were doing “missionary” work; and as good as it is to be charitable, an emphasis MUST be maintained that charity is not the gospel.

    It is not as hard as one thinks to start down the road of the “social gospel” road, where people believe that they “shared the gospel through their acts of service.” While charity can enhance the process of evangelizing, a distinction must be maintained between the two, and the faulty premise of evangelicalism that the charity is what wins people to Christ (rather than the Holy Spirit working through the preached Word of God) has in several cases done more harm than good to evangelism.

    I would remind you that which the Scriptures state over and over: that it is the gospel that saves. Not charity. Not good works. Not feeding the poor or rebuilding disaster areas. Those things are wonderful and helpful, and they are excellent ways to love our neighbors. But any secular organization like Habitat for Humanity or even FEMA can do similar things to alleviate problems, and as I’ve seen in the evangelical church, the gospel will take a backseat to the charity, which is essentially the good becoming the enemy of the best.

    So while I understand the purpose of this resolution, and commend the attitude and intention behind it, I also would caution that the good intention of this proposal could end up turning Lutheran evangelical efforts into social gospel events in the long run if this effort is not kept in check by proper doctrinal understanding of gospel proclamation. When you start believing that you have to “add something” to the gospel, you’re taking the first step, innocently or not, in the direction of believing the gospel to be ineffective and sufficient for salvation.

    I still maintain that an emphasis on the doctrine of Vocation should be renewed in Lutheranism, as it does a great deal to teach the individual believer about his/her role in the world and how it intersects with bearing witness for Jesus Christ on a daily level. Why is there little talk of vocation any more? Something to think about…

    Anyway, take this from an ex-evangelical who has seen roads paved with good intentions take those who travel it in the wrong direction: tread carefully on this one, my Lutheran brethren.

  15. “2-10: To Speak Out Against Violence in the United States
    In some sense obvious, but raises the question of whether certain movies and video-games should have age restrictions. Resolution could be amended to be more focused.”

    Colossians 3:1-11 (AAT)–1 Now if you were raised with Christ, be eager for the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right of God. 2 Keep your mind on things above, not on earthly things. 3 You see, you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, your Life, appears, then you, too, will appear with Him in glory. 5 Kill, then, what is earthly in you: sexual sin, uncleanness, passion, evil lust, and greed, which is idol worship; 6 these are bringing down God’s anger. 7 Once you also practiced them when you lived in them. 8 But now also get rid of all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, and dirty talk. 9 Don’t lie to one another, seeing that you have put away your old self and its ways, 10 and have put on the new self, which is continually renewed in knowledge to be like Him who created him. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is everything and in everything.

    In view of this text, it is appropriate for the church to publicly address “certain movies and video-games,” rock music and the popular entertainment culture in general.

    This is not “pietism.” This is living as God’s people and as His church being instructed by the teaching of St. Paul in Colossians 3.

    If this is “pietistic,” then Luther’s Small Catechism is also “pietistic.”

  16. @Noreen Linke #8
    What happened to the congregation at ULC last year was wrong, and although her district in convention was appropriately generous to ULC in that circumstance, which is praiseworthy, the fact remains that this faithful congregation is worshipping in rented quarters while bravely continuing their flagship campus ministry via a student house. The issue has been of great concern throughout the Synod, and that being so, I believe that the Synod in convention deserves an opportunity to express concern and tangible support for ULC.

    Additionally, we all have the opportunity to pray for and financially support ULC personally and at the congregational level, and we should do so. We confess the Communion of Saints together, and it’s only right that this should drive us to action.

  17. Pastor Roepke: Concerning 1-10: To Develop Spanish and Multi-Lingual Capabilities in the Synod. This requires all CUS church-work students, seminarians, and church-workers doing continuing education to learn Spanish or another immigrant language. . . . I have to be opposed to this resolution. I would agree to it if it said “encourages” instead of “requires”.

    I agree with you. Amend “require” to “encourage,” and it would be OK. Otherwise, I would vote no on 1-10.

    BTW, if there’s a big wave of immigrants from Sweden, I will be ready! In fact, I may propose a resolution requiring everyone to learn Swedish!

  18. Carol Broome :
    What happened to the congregation at ULC last year was wrong, and although her district in convention was appropriately generous to ULC in that circumstance, which is praiseworthy…

    Wasn’t it the same district in convention that had the power and authority to stop it, but instead allowed what “was wrong” to happen? We are to praise them for generously paying the congregation after they stole their church? I’m confused…

  19. 3-10: To Appoint a Task Force to Study the Call Process for Returning Missionary and Military Chaplains and Other Rostered Church Workers without a Call

    Noland: “This is long overdue. This seeks to improve the call process for returning chaplains and missionaries and for those church workers on candidate status (C.R.M.). . In the meantime, the resolution could be amended to give chaplains, missionaries, and graduate students returning to parish/school duty a distinct status, or terminology, so that calling bodies don’t assume they are C.R.M. due to conflict or problems.”

    I believe this cannot be put off for three years. At minimum, it needs to be amended to allow returning chaplains, missionaries, graduate students and those pastors who lost their congregations and became CRM due to the failing economy – to be matched up with vacant congregations as soon as possible. I am especially concerned about the CRM men who lost their congregation through no fault – such as my own son Jason. The men in the above categories could be placed in congregations before the end of the year or within 90 days of returning to the states/completion of graduate work/separation from the military.

  20. It appears that Resolutions 4-07- To Address the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod Rostered Workers Communing at Heterodox Altars and 4-09 To Overrule Commission on Constitutional Matters Opinion “Interpretation of Constitution Article VI 2 b”(11-2598 CW pp. 300-303) have been withdrawn from convention consideration by Floor Committee 4.

    The alleged reason (2013 Today’s Business, Issue 2, p. 231) is: “Since the Commission on Constitutional Matters suspended its Opinion 11-2598, floor committee 4 will not offer resolutions 4-07 and 4-09 on the floor of the convention.”

    Until the CCM opinion is officially recanted or reversed, Resolutions 4-07 and 4-09 should still be considered and passed. This alleged action by the CCM and Committee 4 looks squirrelly.

  21. Documented events and statements are pretty much all that we can track.

    TMMV (Telepathic mileage may vary)

  22. 3-10: To Appoint a Task Force to Study the Call Process for Returning Missionary and Military Chaplains and Other Rostered Church Workers without a Call

    Noland: “This is long overdue. This seeks to improve the call process for returning chaplains and missionaries and for those church workers on candidate status (C.R.M.). The benefit to synod is that it retains experienced workers and talent. The issue of placement of C.R.M. candidates is much more complicated than it looks. From the “management” side of things, it is difficult for ecclesial supervisors (District President, Circuit Counselor) to determine whether church-workers are “at fault” at all, or to what degree they are “at fault,” when they are removed from office by a congregation/school or when they resign due to conflict. In almost every case, the congregation or school has plenty of arguments and “evidence” to justify their action; and the church-worker and his family has similar arguments and “evidence” to protest it. Such arguments and “evidence” from both sides are usually impossible to evaluate. Because it is a situation of one against many, the “one” loses. “Management” also has the problem of potential liability if it agrees with arguments and “evidence” from the terminating congregation or school, which turn out later to be slander or libel—as one district president recently discovered to his great chagrin. I think the best solution is the task force proposed by the resolution, which can consider and address all possible variables and cases, and make a proposal for 2016. In the meantime, the resolution could be amended to give chaplains, missionaries, and graduate students returning to parish/school duty a distinct status, or terminology, so that calling bodies don’t assume they are C.R.M. due to conflict or problems. ”

    C.R.M. does not necessarily indicate a problem. I will keep pleading the case of my son Jason and many other men who lost their first congregation through NO FAULT – but due to economy failing in 2008. Churches closed and some could no longer afford their pastor. Right or wrong, these men had to leave! Each man needs immediate and individual consideration and not to be simply placed on this mysterious and nonexistent call list that is C.R.M. They do not deserve to be ignored, forgotten and classified as somehow being rejects.

  23. There should have been an extra Resolved added to Resolution 4-15: To Reaffirm Synod’s Position on Creation, to recant the CTCR’s tree-hugging pukefest, “Together with All Creatures,” which promoted, among other heretical notions,

    “We are the first generation in history to see the population of the world double in our own lifetimes.” (p. 89)

    Good riddance to TWAC!

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