Some Thoughts…Harrison, District Presidents, Special Conventions

light-bulb-1433915-mWe have already spoken about words and deeds, so here is a post about thoughts, my thoughts…

President Harrison has done a good thing by coming out publicly with his words concerning some of the false teachings in the LCMS.  He confessed boldly.  This action is a good one for starters.  I have held back my criticism (mostly born of my sinful cynicism and skepticism) of the situation because in all honesty I think what he did was praiseworthy.  I try to use that as standard operating procedure, praise what is worth praising, criticize that which needs criticizing.  Both are necessary, both can be motivated by love.

Some folks have suggested a special convention.  With 18 months to the next one [Milwaukee 2016] it seems unlikely.  For one, the expense I would imagine would be staggering, and I am not sure how fast a convention could be put together (thinking here of how long to figure out circuits/delegates, venues, accommodations, etc.).  For two, the COP has to approve such a measure with a super majority vote.  This was not even accomplished with a very sympathetic COP to President Kieschnick concerning restructuring.  Even if you grant the Harrison administration a slim majority in the COP now, it certainly does not have a super majority.  If the Convention is what people are looking for the best thing will be the next regular one in 18 months.

Some folks have suggested removing the District President of the Northwest District.  This could be a good option, if it could happen.  Reading through the bylaws makes it a confusing mess.  Is there cause according to them?  I posted the pertinent bylaws earlier which allow for this process to happen.  The result could be as disappointing as the Becker case.  President Harrison has noted how the process has failed and encouraged reform (replacement?).  The other thing about this process is that it would be conducted in relative quiet and even could be starting up now, we wouldn’t know.

For now my suggestion would be to contact your District President to show support for President Harrison’s statement and encourage them to boldly support it.  A little encouragement cannot hurt, especially when we see that bully pulpit used for the advancement of the Evangelical Lutheran Faith.

In discussion of this, keep in mind Lutheran “discipline” is always mindful toward the exercising of both keys, binding and loosing – the goal for involved parties is repentance and forgiveness – a treasured gift from God that makes angels rejoice.  This doesn’t mean compromise or agree to disagree – but the truth upheld and all parties coming to the same mind and confession by the work of the Holy Spirit.

As always prayer is the order of the day for any Christian.  God has commanded it and promised to hear it.  Our ascended Lord Jesus rules over all things with his power.

 

 

 

 

About Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Joshua Scheer is the Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is also the Editor-in-chief of Brothers of John the Steadfast. He oversees all of the work done by Steadfast Lutherans. He is a regular host of Concord Matters on KFUO. Pastor Scheer and his lovely wife Holly (who writes and manages the Katie Luther Sisters) have four children and enjoy living in Wyoming.

Comments

Some Thoughts…Harrison, District Presidents, Special Conventions — 32 Comments

  1. Kudos to the South Wisconsin District President- Pastor John Willlie for coming out publicly in strong support of President Harrison’s statement regarding the NW District!

  2. I would say ditto to Robert Trapp’s comments about DP John Willie. I hope you all will contact your DP and encourage them to go and do likewise. I believe that the Council of Presidents are meeting next week. It would be good if they heard from you before then.

    I also wanted to thank the editor Joshua Sheer for his very balanced approach to this subject. It has added more light than heat to the subject.

  3. Pr. Scheer’s post is a thoughtful response to other posts and comments here on BOJS that have issued demands. Pr. Harrison needs our prayers and support, not our ultimatums.

    TW

  4. Robert Trapp :
    Kudos to the South Wisconsin District President- Pastor John Willlie for coming out publicly in strong support of President Harrison’s statement regarding the NW District!

    Could you please provide a link to his statement?

  5. Success should not be our only metric here, or even the primary one. We need to be thinking of:

    1. Calling sinners to repentance.
    2. Taking a PUBLIC and vociferous stance on false doctrine byusing the Office of the Keys (Kingdom of the Right) and the Constitution (really a KOTL thing, but that enables us to enforce the KOTR)

    This feels a lot like Ezekiel 3:16-21.

    We all (but foremost President Harrison and the COP) are the watchmen of Synod and need to say “Oh wicked Synod (and men within it), you will surely die!” and then attempt the actions to show we mean it. If we are unsuccessful politically in actually enforcing the necessary discipline, but have vigorously fulfilled our vocation, then we will have been delivered themselves, as God says to Ezekiel.

  6. The real solution for the Northwest District DP is for those of us who are voting delegates to that convention to elect a new DP in June. It is a faster and cleaner way to deal with the situation than DRP. Now whether we will or not is another question. The District is slowly becoming more confessional, but I am not sure we have the votes.

  7. @Harry Edmon #7

    Political means seem to be failing us, Dr. Edmon. Then again, by a miracle of the Lord, Pres. Harrison did get elected. All systems of governance have their pluses and minues. Our inability to act swiftly and decisively against false teachers, seems to be the curse of our governance struction (although, no doubt, it would be MUCH better if the Constitution were changed for efficiency.)

  8. Harry Edmon :
    The real solution for the Northwest District DP is for those of us who are voting delegates to that convention to elect a new DP in June. It is a faster and cleaner way to deal with the situation than DRP. Now whether we will or not is another question. The District is slowly becoming more confessional, but I am not sure we have the votes.

    How many of the delegates to the Northwest District Convention even know about President Harrison’s comments?

  9. Is there even a reasonably available alternative to the incumbent NOW president on the ballot?

  10. @Carol Hack Broome #12
    He wouldn’t have a chance of winning if there was.

    I’ve been asking if it’s time for the NoW District Confessional remnant to go “non-geographical” en masse (I do speak English after all.)

  11. @Matt Mills #16
    According to the dreaded Bylaws (specifically 4.1.1.4), the transfer of congregations between districts requires the approval of the board of directors of both districts. Any bets on that happening in the NoW District?

  12. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    This is an excellent post by Editor Joshua Scheer! I agree that asking your district president, in fact, all synod and district officers, to stand with President Harrison in this matter is the right way to proceed at the present. Let us show some unity for once!

    There may be time for some congregations, district conferences, or circuit forums (see bylaw 3.1.6.2 and 4.2.1.b) to submit relevant overtures to their district about these matters. Remember that districts may submit overtures to the Synod about synodical business, but such overtures start in congregations or circuit forums. I think sample overtures should be showing up here soon . . . 🙂

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  13. I don’t know if it’s been posted on the web anywhere, but this is the email that I received, and from the wording it’s reasonable to assume that the contents are public, especially since several others here have referenced this.
    ————————————
    A Matter of Importance from the South Wisconsin District-LCMS:

    Last evening the following was posted on the WMLT Blog of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. And I share it with you because I know that you share my love for our church and my determination that we remain faithful to Holy Scripture and our Lutheran Confessions.

    Regarding a recent decision of a panel not to proceed with charges regarding a public false teacher in the LCMS

    When a public teacher on the roster of Synod can without consequence publicly advocate the ordination of women (even participate vested in the installation of an ELCA clergy person), homosexuality, the errancy of the Bible, the historical-critical method, open communion, communion with the Reformed, evolution, and more, then the public confession of the Synod is meaningless. I am saying that if my Synod does not change its inability to call such a person to repentance and remove such a teacher where there is no repentance, then we are liars and our confession is meaningless. I do not want to belong to such a synod, much less lead it. I have no intention of walking away from my vocation. I shall rather use it and, by the grace of God, use all the energy I have to call this Synod to fidelity to correct this situation.

    Matt Harrison

    Well said, Rev. Dr. Harrison! Very well said! I have thanked President Harrison for his faithfulness and his good confession, and do so once again here!

    It should go without saying that we in the South Wisconsin District stand shoulder to shoulder with President Harrison in this matter. It is the right thing to do. It is about faithfulness to Holy Scripture and our Lutheran Confessions. May our Lord bless our confession of His saving name !

    May our Lord have mercy upon us!
    Rev. Dr. John C. Wille
    President, South Wisconsin District-LCMS

  14. Thanks for sharing Tina, so we can read it first hand.

    @Harry, Are write in candidates allowed. That is, could your candidate still make the ballot via a write-in campaign?

    Thank you Pr. Scheer for your candid thoughts.

    In our fast paced world, where mail no longer take days to traverse from coast to coast across our country, but rather emails travel world wide in an instant, we have become attuned to fast processes. However, as we’ve seen some processes take time and no matter how “fast” we’d like them to transpire, certain steps need to be completed in certain ways and getting certain people together in the same place, also takes time due to schedules, etc. Rarely, do things happen overnight.

    Encouraging all to be patient and pray for all involved, including those preparing and representing at this year’s district conventions, and preparing and representing at the next synodical convention that God’s Will is done. At times, God’ Will does not occur as we’d like to see it, but since he always has our good in mind, often there are unrealized/unseen blessings (to us at the time) that result when God’s Will occurs according to His way.

    Continued prayers and patience In Christ, LL

  15. @Martin R. Noland #18

    That is exactly what I did. I wrote to my district president and asked for him to stand behind President Harrison and give him his full support. I also asked that he seek prayers from the congregations and pastors of our district.

    But I was admonished in no uncertain terms, that the matter is a private matter and as such is of no concern to me. I was told that “Spreading rumors, like being partner of the same, is a violation of the 8th commandment which does apply in what you have brought to my attention, not to mention the 4th commandment and as always the 1st commandment.”

    I was also directed to “kindly inform the individual or individuals of this [information] and cease and desist.

    Consider yourself so informed and directed.

  16. The Eastern District President is likely too busy to concern himself with fighting heterodoxy within the synod since he’s currently focused on Church Growth initiatives with LHM. To me it looks like the Eastern District is going to bring Congregation President’s to a conference and fill their minds with Church Growth crapola, then send such men back to their pastor’s and congregations. Make no mistake, much of the synod is broken.

    http://lcmsed.org/12955-Eastern_District_Presidents_Conference

    The Eastern District “Best Practices” Conference is designed for you, the president of your congregation! This conference will help you understand and to put into practice the changes needed to lead your congregation into the future that God has in store for it.

    Led by Mr. Bruce Sutherland, Regional Manager of Lutheran Hour Ministries, you and other congregational presidents from across the Eastern District will dialogue about what it means to attempt to create a congregational culture of outreach…
    •That equips you and your congregation to connect to the lost in your community;
    •That better enables your church to share the Gospel; and,
    •That helps your members grow to be more fully devoted followers of Jesus.

    Immersed in inspiring worship and surrounded with warm fellowship, we will spend time with Bruce and with each other exploring three of the way that change can be effected in our respective congregations:

    •Through Culture – How to transform your congregation’s view of “outreach”;
    •Through Community – How to better understand, serve and impact your neighborhood for Jesus; and
    •Through Connection – How to intentionally pursue guests to connect them to the life of your church.

  17. I can just picture the Blessed Apostle saying “gee, we should really deal with this false teaching, but the cost is just too high! Better wait a few years until a regularly scheduled convention!”

  18. @Luvable Lutheran #20
    According to the Northwest District bylaws write in candidates and nominations from the floor are not allowed in the election of the District President and 1st Vice-President. Only the 5 candidates that received the most nominations from congregations and are willing to serve are on the ballot. The deadline for congregational nominations has already past.

  19. Rev. James Kusko :
    @Martin R. Noland #18
    That is exactly what I did. I wrote to my district president and asked for him to stand behind President Harrison and give him his full support. I also asked that he seek prayers from the congregations and pastors of our district.
    But I was admonished in no uncertain terms, that the matter is a private matter and as such is of no concern to me. I was told that “Spreading rumors, like being partner of the same, is a violation of the 8th commandment which does apply in what you have brought to my attention, not to mention the 4th commandment and as always the 1st commandment.”
    I was also directed to “kindly inform the individual or individuals of this [information] and cease and desist.
    Consider yourself so informed and directed.

    How sad that the leaders of our church body no longer can distinguish between private and public sin. Our forefathers recognized the use of “nominal elenchus,”not only the naming of sin, but the naming of the sinner publicly. See for instance 2 Timothy 4:14, Rev. 2:15, Matthew 16:6, even, John the great apostle of love, 3 John 9-10

  20. @Rev. James Kusko #21
    This response makes me wonder if charges have been filed against Harrison. His assertion that discussing a public ruling and a public statement on the part of President Harrison constitute “spreading rumors” only makes sense in my mind if the Dispute Resolution gag order is once again in effect. Which would mean that somebody filed charges against somebody after President Harrison made his statement.

    I hope I’m wrong. I really do.

  21. Tim Schellenbach :@Rev. James Kusko #21 This response makes me wonder if charges have been filed against Harrison. His assertion that discussing a public ruling and a public statement on the part of President Harrison constitute “spreading rumors” only makes sense in my mind if the Dispute Resolution gag order is once again in effect. Which would mean that somebody filed charges against somebody after President Harrison made his statement.
    I hope I’m wrong. I really do.

    @Tim Schellenbach #26
    Actually that might be the best thing to happen. Might bring everything to a head, as they say.

  22. Maybe it means that some additional charge has been filed against Dr. Becker. Who knows? I certainly don’t.

    But also, if the teaching of Dr. Becker were not so well documented by Dr. Becker himself on the internet, it could be alleged that descriptions of his teachings were just the spreading of gossip. In this case, though, this public teaching is fully accessible to everyone, directly, not through hearsay. So the DP is mistaken, I believe.

  23. According to our church’s annual, the District President of the Eastern District is Rev. Chris Wicher. His office is

    5111 Main Street
    Williamsville, NY 14221-5295

    Perhaps a few letters to him explaining why this is not “private sin” might be appropriate.

    Or email

    [email protected]

  24. Thank you Tim,
    In post 19! I am so thankful & grateful, to be back home, in the LCMS. Not to mention, in the Congregation, I was raised in, yet also in the South Wisconsin District!

    Thank you so much, again, for the post of what you received. I cannot thank you enough.

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