Comment #50 over on the Five Plus Two Makes Three post caught my eye. I think it is worth posting for all to read. It is from a BJS reader named Vanessa. (This is the same Vanessa who authored the post earlier today.)
Unfortunately, when I called the synod office and asked what Pres Harrison was planning to do about the situation with FiveTwo, I was told he couldn’t really do anything. I was told the dispute resolution process needed to be used. When I asked how anything could happen when DPs are in line with the heterodoxy, the answer was basically that the process isn’t perfect but it’s all we’ve got. I was also told that we should handle this at conventions.
Basically the conversation was disappointing. I’m gearing up for my next phone call, though…
Good for you Vanessa. Keep calling. Maybe some good will come of it.
Her phone call raises some huge questions. What does it mean when an orthodox synod is not able to stop heterodox teaching and practice? You may tell me to be patient and wait until we fix the dispute resolution process. I am not buying that. I think it will help but it won’t solve the problem because there are other deeper problems and questions.
What does it mean that for at least fifty years we have elected District Presidents in numerous districts who show little interest in rooting out heterodox teaching and practice?
What does it mean when an orthodox synod president refuses to publicly speak out against heterodox teaching and practice? How hard is it for him or for District Presidents to speak and write publicly against false teaching and practice in the synod?
How hard is it for seminary presidents and professors to publicly speak out and write against false teaching and practice in the synod? Is there something restraining them? You can tell me it is Matthew 18 and I will believe you for two moments – the moment of one going to the brother and the moment of two or three going to the brother but then I will stop believing you because it never gets to the third and final moment – tell it to the church. I will give you your two moments. I am waiting for the third moment but it never seems to come. Do we not trust Jesus when he tells us in that same passage, Matthew 18, that once the two or three gather together in his name to rebuke sin He is with us.
Yes, that is what that passage means. Look it up. It is not a justification for Small Group Ministry. It is Jesus’ words of promise for President Harrison, all District Presidents and all Circuit Visitors that when there visits come to moment three He will be there to verify their action of excommunication.
What does it mean when a synod develops a process/procedure for addressing heterodox teaching and practice instead of just turning to God’s word? Do we submit the inspired, inerrant, holy Word of God to a procedure? What does it mean when a pastor or layman armed with the truth of Scripture meets with his Circuit Visitor, District President, or Synodical President to rebuke false teaching and practice and is not heard?
What does it mean that our so called orthodox synod refuses to accept the plain and simple words of Scripture captured in Walther’s Thesis #8 on the Church in his book Church and Ministry, adopted by the Synod in convention (as if that means anything) as pure doctrine. Walther says “…every believer must, at the peril of losing his salvation, flee all false teachers, avoid all heterodox congregations or sects and adhere to orthodox congregations and their orthodox pastors wherever such may be found.” This is not buried in the text of the book somewhere. This is one of the eight theses on the church!
What does it mean that it is more likely that I, the one who raises these questions, were I to go into our synod’s procedure for resolution, would be the one to get spanked in the end for being so mean rather than the practitioners of heterodoxy? What does it mean for our synod that there are more District President’s who look down on me for raising these questions than support it and actually do something about them?
Vanessa was frustrated by asking questions and so am I. Vanessa is going to keep calling. Good for Vanessa.