Great Stuff Found on the Web — We built this city…again

Another post over on Priestly Rant by Pr. Ken Kelly. Visit the Lost Pastors Website here.

And, one additional comment found over on Pastor Weedon’s blog,

Remember and never forget: your District President can suggest names for your congregation, but he cannot forbid your congregation from calling any person who is eligible for call in the Synod. Let’s drop the asinine political games and give the complete list of eligible men to EVERY vacant/calling congregation.


CRMThe Lostpastors website has upset some District Presidents. There are I suppose many evangelical and “good order” reasons one could logically give to encourage men not to use the site, there is also (I suppose) recourse to the subtle use of threats. The site though is run by a layman who is well beyond the reach of any District President, and those pastors who are actively using the site have their identities password protected. The question that no one has asked though is why such a site ever became a reality to begin with, and the answer to that question is easily answered: Lostpastors is the child born from years of frustration, years of evangelical promises, and admonitions to men to wait patiently on the Lord, which unfortunately became an excuse for the absoluteness of negligence.

Had those men been treated with even a modicum of brotherly love; had they even been treated as human beings, neither that site, nor Resolution 3-10A would have never become realities.  We can’t make the cry of “Peace! Peace!” or for “Good order” or wax piously about “walking together” and at the same time act as if these men don’t exist, but we did.

The manner in which “CRM” was explained on the convention floor gave the impression that men freely elected to go onto that kind of status; that it was a matter of choice, yet all of us know there is much, much more involved. Who among us is unaware of the abuses that have taken place? Lostpastors and Resolution 3-10A are the direct result of the frustration and the desperation of being ignored for years.

Aren’t we better than this? Aren’t we called to be better than this? In speaking of the Resurrection, Gregory of Nyssa once said that the best testament to the actual event of the resurrection wasn’t the gospels; rather it was the community who believed in the gospels; a people who lived as ones resurrected by the absolute love of God in Christ Jesus. If the best we can do as called servants of Christ is to treat our men the way they might be treated by a HR Department within a corporation, to simply watch men be “fired” from parishes, then we’ve no right whatsoever to call ourselves Lutherans, let alone followers of Christ.

It was wonderful to hear President Harrison speak of the funding for Soldiers of the Cross, but it is more than simply money, and there are those qualities of personhood that money cannot buy or replace. You can’t buy a man his dignity; you can’t purchase a new soul at a Wal-Mart; and all the food in the world can’t restore the spiritual damage, to say nothing of the marital damage, done to these men. Were they all as pure as the driven snow? Of course not, no doubt some did make errors, but that error does not negate the care, compassion, and mercy due them as fellow creatures who also bear the image of God.

We’ve all heard the stories of men who have been placed on CRM being a sort of “hands-off” commodity within Districts, as if they’ve drawn the black spot; moreover we all know them, in fact I know at least one hundred of them. Despite what Synod says officially in the “What About?” series, men who are on CRM are treated as if they’ve contracted leprosy, and that is an area that District Presidents have direct control over and could stop almost immediately. A gigantic step in the right direction would be to submit those names of men to vacant congregations within districts, and to put an end to the notion of call lists being “cherry picked.”All these men on CRM have ever wanted is to be shown some modicum of support by their ecclesial supervisors, yet many have gone 18 months or more without so much as a phone call, and those who do call frequently end up becoming well acquainted with a District President’s secretary, or are told in no uncertain terms to “STOP.” This is precisely what led to the Lostpastors site, and now, if social media sites are any indication of news, the site is spreading with vacant parishes now signing up.

No doubt there’s anger over the site, and perhaps even over the work I’ve been involved in, but “grass-roots” movements only come about when people reach a sort of tipping point, and we’re there. The Arab Spring didn’t happen because people felt they were being treated fairly or that their issues were being addressed; it happened largely because people felt disenfranchised from the very system that they were asked to support. No one ever wanted a brawl, or to create trouble simply for the sake of trouble; God knows there’s enough of that in our midst. This however is an issue within our Synod that impacts real men and real women and real children now, and calls for “good order” have become an excuse for neglect.

Will we be able to actually work together to solve these problems? I certainly hope so, but now all eyes are trained on District Presidents as more and more people become aware of our men and their families on CRM. Laymen and women have begun to ask “Why?” The level of District/COP cooperation and willingness to want to reach out to these men and to actually help them is going to determine the level of support received.

If earnest work is done on Resolution 3-10A, the Lostpastors site would vanish within 12 months, there would be no need for it. Currently the level of trust by men simply isn’t there, but that could be changed easily. It is indeed possible to work together to put the lives of these men back together again, but it is going to take real effort and a real willingness to want to do so, but we can’t go backwards and we can’t continue to kick the CRM can down the road; we can’t hide behind slogans like “good order”; we can’t make institutional by-laws and rules that which determines the life or death of a man on CRM, and we must stop politicizing the Church of Christ.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Great Stuff Found on the Web — We built this city…again — 30 Comments

  1. Thank you so much Norm for posting this message citing the blogs of both Pastor Weedon and Pastor Ken Kelly. I am so very encouraged when I read of pastors taking the time to care and speak for their brothers. I want to paste in my thoughts that I shared at Priestly Rant as follows:

    I hope that the attention that has been given thus far by grass roots efforts will cause some of these DP’s to act differently and show compassion. Of course some have already reacted in a negative way and that is disheartening. But I must believe that most are fair, caring and willing to put a stop to the stigma that follows these men. Time will tell.

    I speak often about this situation because I have lived it for over three years as I watch what my son has gone through. When he had to leave because his first congregation could no longer afford his salary, of course I was sad for him but also trusting in the system to help place him just as they place new graduates from the seminary. He loved that first congregation and they loved him – they had requested him by name because he served his vicarage in the same town. I was confident that another call would soon come for him.

    In the meantime, he was recruited in the late summer of 2012 to serve as a career missionary – a call that he enthusiastically embraced. He was recruited by another missionary and also in contact with the man who wanted him in his geographical area. My son and his wife began a very long and likely expensive process of testing, evaluation and interviewing. He was contacted by his synod to write his bio and prepare to attend the new missionary orientation that took place this summer. He and his wife were even asked to make several last minute trips to St Louis to finalize his file. One week before he was to leave for St Louis, he received a phone call that at the last moment he had been uninvited to the orientation because a mysterious someone in authority had blocked his acceptance. He was crushed. I began writing some letters to inquire just what went wrong? My son also did some investigating. Finally he was able to learn that the reason he was ultimately rejected was essentially because of his past CRM status. He has been serving as worker/priest for the past year and yet his past status of CRM made him undesirable?? Why in the world would this status be used against him from serving as a missionary?

    Likewise why is this status keeping some 200+ men from serving as they have trained and desired? Why is there such a stigma? If some are indeed unfit for ministry and I am sure there are such cases, why can’t supervisors man up and let these guys honestly know? Those who are without calls for other various reasons and who are ignored by their DP’s – why are they left to feel helpless and hopeless and not even allowed to contact vacant congregations on there own? I see many “vacancy” pages at each of the district website and most of them have a notice posted “do NOT contact these congregations about the vacancy!” What?? Why not?
    All that I have learned about the call process has pretty much ruined the trust I have in my synod to treat men honestly and fairly. I expected much more from an organization that calls itself Christian and uses the pious slogan of Witness, Mercy and Life Together. As for me and my husband, all we have learned has made us seriously consider whether the LCMS is what we thought it was. I am truly fearful that our synod may be dying. Much of the convention was hard to even view, as so much time was spent in back patting and collective self promotion. 3-10 did pass but I feel like it was rushed through without allowing amendments to be suggested that would have made some of the efforts dealt with quickly. Some who queued for their minute at the mike had important and helpful things to say. But at least it passed – though it will lead to a long period of meetings,expensive travel and lodging. Meanwhile what about these men? While I appreciate the work the committee did, it should not have even been necessary. The Lost Pastors site should not be necessary either.

    I have written many letters to people that I thought would care and respond to me, answering my questions and concerns. Thankfully ONE pastor did respond to me and that was Pastor Carlos Gonzales – who personally called me the very day he received my letter, answering my worries and assuring me that someone did care for me and for my son. I wanted to cry with relief that someone took the time to call! An emergency grant was issued to my son, allowing him to exist for a few more months and avoid bankruptcy and to get some much needed medical care.

    But what my son and so many others need is more than money. They need to have their dignity restored and they need care and attention from their DP. If they do not have that, then they need the ability to reach out for a tool that can help them. They need to move forward free of the terrible stigma that many did nothing to deserve. Those who somehow messed up or failed in some way need to be forgiven and helped to either move out of the ministry or to move back in. My son moved back to Fort Wayne and now has a new DP who seems to “get it” and has met with my son, acting in the caring role he is assigned. Time will tell and at least my son is surviving and holds hope of once again being able to serve as he is trained.

  2. You are in deep trouble, Mr. Fisher… now I’ve got the song “We built this city” from Starship stuck in my head!!!!!

  3. @J. Dean #2

    Hey! I’ve got the same problem. And blame Pr. Kelly for it! I’m “innocent”!


    P.s. as long as you remember the CRM pastors each time you sing it, I’m fine with that.

    JB has a great idea — every month wrap up a $20 bill and mail it to aid the Lost Pastors. 67 cents a day. Any of us can do without $20 a month. Think what would happen if 1000 of us did that each month! Money won’t solve the problem, but it sure will help.

    Mail $20 each month to:
    Rev. Ken Kelly
    711 Chestnut Street
    Johnstown, PA 15906

  4. Thanks Norm, for calling our attention to the article.

    From the above article: “The manner in which “CRM” was explained on the convention floor gave the impression that men freely elected to go onto that kind of status; …”

    During the convention, I listened carefully to the explanation of CRM and I also noticed that the person explaining it could not bring himself to say that often CRM pastors have been unjustly removed from congregations.

    One of the 3-10A WHEREAS, says “As of January 2013, 207 ordained and 611 commissioned church workers on candidate status, along with some on non-candidate status, were seeking calls…”

    If we have 207 ordained pastors seeking calls, remind me again why we need SMP and Lay Deacons. ???

    God’s blessings,
    Ginny Valleau

  5. Equally distressing is the 611 commissioned church workers seeking calls. What’s up with that? Do we have a glut of Lutheran teachers?

  6. @Ginny Valleau #4
    I am afraid it comes down to a couple of things.

    1 – Pastors are expensive. It is an unintended consequence of districts protecting their pastors – we made ourselves very expensive. SMP and Lay Deacons are cheaper because their education level doesn’t demand higher compensation by district standards.

    2 – Politics – Some of the guys who ended up on CRM ended up there after a very volatile situation. Those kind of situations tend to give plenty of ammo to anybody to think the worst of the man involved. Doubly true if the man was not healthy at the time (very likely). Sadly, it leaves a lingering bitter taste, so that even if the man improves upon himself DP’s are still hesitant.

    3 – Control – SMP and Lay Deacons give a lot of control to their governing bodies. People like to be in control – please do not confuse this with me accusing folks of being power hungry ( I happen to really like my current DP – who does unfortunately support SMP). I think it is more along the lines that people like to be able to pick from people they know.

  7. @Ginny Valleau #4
    My take, as being one in the system (a DELTO man), pre-SMP:

    We need SMP and Deacons (if done correctly), to take care of the Churches that truly cannot afford a full-time position. I am a worker/priest, not illegal, not desired, but it works. And we have a Deacon, the true term for an Elder. But he is only Deacon at my Church, for this specific flock.

    I am not going anywhere, and perhaps some day we get back to a size we can afford someone?

    Funny, they say 207 pastors, are there really 207 congregations that can afford a full-time man? Let alone all the pastors, wanting to move between calls?

    With all the thinking that goes on here, perhaps there should be a moratorium on pastors accepting calls, until the CRM is down to zero. Fat chance that will occur though.

  8. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    I don’t think this needs to be an “us-vs.-them” issue. I am from the West. I know that there are congregations in small towns out there that need pastoral care, and they cannot afford a full-time-pastor-by-themselves.

    Some of these situations could be managed with one pastor serving a two, three, or four point parish. The record I think was held by the pastor in St. George, Utah who served six widely-spaced congregations in the southwest quarter of Utah.

    There are vast areas in the West that have few people, and those that live there are not far above the poverty level, even though they work hard and dangerously. They really cannot afford a pastor, when there are only a few families involved, and none at a middle-class wage or asset level. I think of all the miners, the lumbermen, the small-acreage farmers, the small-town shop-and-cafe workers, etc. The West is a different world from the Midwest (which includes Texas) and the East in this way, though metropolitan areas and some big cities are very similar.

    The other issue is all the teachers, deaconesses, and other church-workers. 611 is a whole lot, but I am not surprised. I assume this is mostly teachers. That number really requires some explanation by the church authorities, especially since we have so many schools who have comparatively large numbers of non-rostered teachers.

    I think that the convention did the best work it could in adopting Resolutions 3-10A (CRM issues), 4-06A (district licensed lay deacon [DLLD] issue), and 5-03E and 5-04B (S.M.P. issues). SMP will begin revision now; CRM and DLLD will need work, research, etc., with reports coming early 2016.

    In the meantime, I encourage people to support the “Lost Pastors” website: It may prod some of the District Presidents to do something in their niche of the synod; and that will be progress.

    Thanks very much for posting this, Norm!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  9. @revaggie #6
    Doubly true if the man was not healthy at the time (very likely).

    Very likely for anyone if they are systematically harassed long enough by a minority determined to have the victim out!

    So, when that systematic harassment has occurred, the Pastor is in hospital with a quadruple bypass… [and the harassers aren’t satisfied with that; they want to deduct two weeks’ salary, until Concordia Plan kicks in, because he’s out of their reach!] you’re saying that it’s the Pastor’s fault for having a heart attack!?


    [I will definitely agree on the issue of “control”.] 🙁

  10. I’ll just mention Augustana Ministerium once more:
    They’ve been quietly helping men who got drummed out of Missouri for quite a while now.
    My “67 cents a day” (and more) will go to their organization.

  11. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    Since the convention did adopt Resolution 3-10A, I think I will share with all of you something I learned when I was on C.R.M. in 2008-09, for about 14 months.

    One of the district presidents whom I know well (and I know quite a few) suggested that I take the first call offered to me. He said he noticed that congregations were reluctant to call pastors over the age of 50. I fit into that category by a good margin . . .

    He continued, something to this effect, “I know that this is age-discrimination according to civil law, but those laws don’t apply to congregations when it comes to calling their ministers of religion. That is a U.S. Constitution First Amendment issue, so congregations are free in this regard. We [i.e., district presidents] know that there are many good reasons to call pastors who have more experience than others, but that is not the common wisdom in most congregations today. We [i.e., district presidents] can encourage congregations to consider certain men, but we increasingly find that congregations pass by our more experienced pastors, especially those over 50, in favor of the younger ones.”

    I share this for several reasons.

    First, and foremost, it demonstrates the truth that in the LCMS the calling of ministers is controlled by the local congregation. In order to remain a member of the LCMS, they have to call from within the roster (Constitution VI.3), but within that roster, they have freedom to call whomever they want.

    Second, if there is going to be a change in the calling of C.R.M. church-workers, it will have to happen with the cooperation of the local congregation (or local school, in cases of teachers). If congregations hoist the flag of “Don’t Tread on Me,” C.R.M.s will stay where they are.

    Third, it demonstrates that many district presidents are thinking and acting soundly in these matters. You can’t blame those particular DPs for failure to act, when they encourage a congregation to call a C.R.M. candidate, and that congregation crosses him off the list just because he is over 50. Or because he is under 30 with little experience under his belt.

    As for those who are presently on C.R.M., don’t be “picky” if you receive a call. In both cases when I was on C.R.M., I took the first call received. You need to be “mobile,” and be ready and willing to go for the first call received–the only exception is where the total compensation is so miserly that you would be eligible for “food stamps.”

    My sense of things is that the majority of our District Presidents are trying to do the right thing here. They know that the last three of the objectives of the synod (Constitution III.8-10) fall especially on their shoulders. These DPs are doing what they can, within the constraints of our church polity. But much more can be done, as the posted web-site and Resolution 3-10A will demonstrate.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  12. @Martin R. Noland #12: “He continued, something to this effect, “I know that this is age-discrimination according to civil law, but those laws don’t apply to congregations when it comes to calling their ministers of religion. That is a U.S. Constitution First Amendment issue, so congregations are free in this regard.”

    The right of congregations to depose (or to refuse to call) ordained or commissioned ministers for reasons which actually include such things as age, sex, physical handicap, race, or other conditions normally protected under employment discrimination laws has been reaffirmed recently by the Supreme Court under the “ministerial exception” based on the First Amendment’s religion clauses.

    In the case of the Missouri Synod, only the Synod’s ecclesiastical supervision, including the Dispute Resolution Process, is available to settle disputes about such discrimination… and we know how well the ES/DRP has worked in the past. 🙁

  13. @John Rixe #5

    How are comissioned workers as distressing as pastors? Many of them are not primary breadwinners for their family. They are also not necessary for the church to exist. They are unknown to our confessions and their training often puts them at odds with our confessions.

    On an unrelated note. Problematic in the push to get CRM guys calls is the fact that while some or most of them are faithful pastors whose congregations ran out of money or ran out their pastor, some of them are abusive men who taught false doctrine and mistreated their people.

    The problem is that DPs refuse to deal with them on both sides and instead throw the lot of them in CRM jail. If we let out the shepherds, we let out the wolves too. I can’t help but think that with finding calls for CRM men, we need to start getting rid of the ways in which our Dispute Resolution Process helps public sin avoid public rebuke, and come up with a way to defrock those who were removed from calls for heresy or gross misconduct.

  14. @Martin R. Noland #12
    be ready and willing to go for the first call received–the only exception is where the total compensation is so miserly that you would be eligible for “food stamps.”

    Confessional CRM’s get offered that kind, when the DP doesn’t want confessional Pastors at all.

    [You assume there will be a “first call”. You’ve led a sheltered life, Pr. Noland, despite two CRM’s.]

    I don’t know why there weren’t resolutions to “restructure” the DRP, back to previous practice this time, but I hope and pray there will be some passed next time. Plus one to rescind the policy that puts all power in the hands of the DP, because nobody can pursue wrongdoing without the DP’s permission!
    [And if he’s the problem!?]

  15. @Libby North #15
    Bravo, well said, well said, especially on the part of CRM jail. Good men, with bad men; and yet to a calling congregation, one big pot.

    I think one problem is the legal ramifications of dealing with CRM, that’s a whole other problem that may never be dealt with.

    For every good CRM man, many bad CRM men (and most likely just a few) will destroy a poor unsuspecting congregation.

  16. @rev. david l. prentice jr. #17
    For every good CRM man, many bad CRM men (and most likely just a few) will destroy a poor unsuspecting congregation.

    As I have seen them, you’ve got your proportions backwards on this. (And you can’t decide whether it’s many or few?)

    I know a half dozen well; only one would be a problem to me…. because he didn’t have his whole heart in it. And even he was popular in his vicarage congregation.

    I haven’t seen any “destroyed” congregations….I’ve seen some that are considerably smaller since they thought “Word and Sacrament aren’t cutting it; we’ve got to try something else.” And brought in CG…

  17. @helen #18
    OK, 5% are men that are bad (just a number), don’t belong in the ministry, perhaps that is what I should have said. Yet, one bad man spoils the pot of good men.

    And trust me, there are congregations that have been destroyed or deeply hurt by some men, and not because they brought in a worship style. And to these men, whether they are confessional, contemporary, pharisee by nature, they don’t belong in the ministry.

    Helen, you see one side, I have seen the other…and it IS a problem, we ALL agree.

  18. yes, thank our Lord for the SOTC leader who has called us as well after standing for the Savior and losing everything but HIM

  19. @helen #16

    Dear Helen,

    I guess our Lord will have to judge whether I have led a “sheltered life” or not. I was not complaining in comment #12–I was trying to explain that I did understand the C.R.M. pastor’s situation, because I have been inside that process which is normally not divulged to outsiders. My counsel to the C.R.M. candidates in that comment is the same they first received prior to placement at seminary.

    If my experience and knowledge is not welcome here, then I will stop commenting.

    I know! I’ll send another former New Yorker, Pastor Charles Austin, to help the conversation on this blog. After reading his articles and comments over on the ALPB “Your Turn” forum, I think he knows more about the LCMS, ELCA, and all things Lutheran than I do. I see he has already commented something about the teddy bears . . . 🙂

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  20. Brothers and sisters in Christ:

    What bothers me is that one man may be seen as a pharisee, a problem pastor, a bully, and a man greatly harming the congregation he is at. It may be true about the particular man. However, these charges may be false. These charges may be held only by a vocal and powerful minority in a congregation. These charges may simply mean their pastor teaches as a Lutheran while the congregation wants him to teach like an Anabaptist. These charges may be a bad case of breaking the 4th and 8th commandments against the pastor. It takes pastoral care and insight to determine the nature of the situation.

    However, in these situations, in our system, the pastor – justly or unjustly – is held to account while the congregation gets off scot-free. Pastors are bullied, pressured, and cornered into resigning and going on CRM. Congregations rarely have to answer for what they do or say. That in itself is wrong. When’s the last time you heard of a congregation that was called to repent, or suspended from membership in the LCMS because they would not repent? Never? Me neither. But I do hear of pastors going on CRM, or who are on CRM, quite often. And almost as often, I hear of unjust reasons for the pastor being on CRM.

    There has been some recent research done in the area of unjustly removed pastors. According to some of the research I have seen, this is happening at a pretty large level in our country in various denominations. It is not only a Lutheran-only situation, sadly. But whenever I see this, I also remember history. Since the Reformation and there have been various denominations acting independently, what is amazing is that the same theological issues effect everyone at the same time in a particular age. It’s like the theological challenge is in the air that everyone breathes, whether Lutheran, Catholic, Reformed, or Anabaptist. And so the fact that there are multiple claims of the unjust removal of pastors in our age is telling.

    Another thing to consider that the research shows is how much damage and harm comes to a pastor in this church-crisis situation. David, you talk about congregations that have been “deeply hurt”. And maybe there is some hurt. But is it at the level of Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder, which affects unjustly removed pastors? Or severe depression, lower self-confidence and higher percentage of future burnout that unjustly removed pastors endure? I don’t know your situation, I’m just asking. I’m not challenging your statement that harm is endured by some congregations. I’m just sharing some of the research I have seen about unjustly removed pastors.

    Food for thought.

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Beemer, NE

  21. @Rev. Robert Mayes #22

    I don’t disagree. Many or most of these men are good pastors who were perhaps overharsh, or whose congregations were evil, or whose congregations just ran out of money.

    But if just one of these pastors was removed from a faithful confessional congregation because he was preaching heresy, and if the DRP got everything swept under the rug, as the DRP is wont to do, and a faithful, confessional congregation calls from the CRM pool and gets this heretical pastor, won’t more harm be done to the faithful men on the list?

    I think both issues need to be solved together, because otherwise we may face a far worse situation with the CRM list in the future, and since, as Rev. Noland pointed out, the congregations are the ultimate determining factor of whether men will make it out of CRM, we need to make sure that drawing from that well isn’t poisonous before we start pushing congregations to do it. No one goes back to a poisoned well once the corpses start piling up.

  22. @Rev. Robert Mayes #22: ” Congregations rarely have to answer for what they do or say. That in itself is wrong. When’s the last time you heard of a congregation that was called to repent, or suspended from membership in the LCMS because they would not repent?”

    You are correct. In fact what we have read and heard about last year is how the Missouri Synod abandoned a commissioned minister who had been unjustly removed by a congregation and, in fact, the Synod had supported that congregation’s unethical action through an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court, when the Court was considering whether the congregation’s action fell under the “ministerial exception” or not.

    And if the Synod’s support of the congregation in the SCOTUS case was so that the “ministerial exception” would be retained by the Court, and so that the Synod itself could go ahead and provide the needed ecclesiastical supervision of the congregation for their conduct… we’re still waiting to read or hear about that.

    Maybe you were right when you answered your own question: “Never? Me neither.”

  23. @Libby North #23

    Libby, thank you for your good response. Too often emotion can drive the engine of this debate, and false suspicions raised where they should not be. You are absolutely correct about real fear preventing congregations from calling men on the CRM roster, whether deserved by these men or not.

    Yet while there are men who are rostered pastors that teach false doctrine, such as decision theology or synergism instead of divine monergism in justification, I sadly wonder if many of these men are on CRM or not. I sadly wonder how many men who do teach falsely are considered “good” pastors in their districts, and encouraged in their efforts in their congregations.

    Perhaps one thing that would help congregations is going back to some older, mid 19th century ways of determining a man’s orthodoxy. Rick may be able to help me more on this, but I understand that congregations in the 1800’s often heard two or three sermons from candidates on their call lists, along with a few children’s catechetical sermons, followed by discussion on how the candidate would handle various pastoral issues. Doctrine was determined not just by lip service to the Confessions, but whether it formed the basis and content of his sermons, etc. It was only after all this that the man was called. If we went back to this today, I think it would help a lot in the process for CRM men and for wary congregations. Some things would have to be worked out (such as, who pays for the travel expenses of the candidate to come and preach and visit, etc.). But it could work out.

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Beemer, NE

  24. @Carl Vehse #24

    Rick – Yeah, that whole situation was truly shameful. Another thing that should have been addressed better.

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Beemer, NE

  25. @Martin R. Noland #21
    If my experience and knowledge is not welcome here, then I will stop commenting.

    Rev Dr. Noland, that’s hardly likely or necessary, based on a post from me!

    I withdraw my comment, (which was based on the appearance to me that, yes you may have been on CRM, but no you haven’t been treated like a pariah in your district, because Illinois seems to support confessional Pastors). I don’t really know your situation.

    I just looked up your present (?) church on
    If the numbers are correct, you seem to have taken your own advice.

    [Sometimes I feel that your view of the bureaucracy is a little too rosy, but maybe I should work harder on “best construction”!]

  26. Problematic in the push to get CRM guys calls is the fact that while some or most of them are faithful pastors whose congregations ran out of money or ran out their pastor, some of them are abusive men who taught false doctrine and mistreated their people.

    Should these two categories even be on the same list?

    I mean there is no similarity in these cases.

  27. @Mrs. Hume #28
    Should these two categories even be on the same list?
    I mean there is no similarity in these cases.

    The similarity lies in the fact that the DP did not properly investigate, or censure the congregation (even when the CC had investigated and found no wrongdoing on the Pastor’s part). Or the DP was well aware of financial problems before putting out a call list.

    And, meanwhile, blameworthy men are likewise not investigated and removed, which has the practical effect of punishing the innocent to protect the guilty. 🙁

    It should be noted that the accusation of “false doctrine” (without examples) is easy to whisper well after the fact, as self justification for the congregation which wants to call another pastor.

    If “teaching false doctrine” was not pointed out before the pastor was removed and examples verified by the CC/DP it probably didn’t happen.

  28. @rev. david l. prentice jr. #7

    Pardon me for being late to the party…

    You wrote: “We need SMP and Deacons (if done correctly), to take care of the Churches that truly cannot afford a full-time position. I am a worker/priest, not illegal, not desired, but it works. ”

    And there are no CRM guys willing to be worker priests?

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