The Tsunami Is About to Break


In 2008, the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod canceled Issues, Etc.  That single event galvanized an entire generation of do-nothings like me to sit up and take notice. People began to take an interest in what was happening in their Synod. The ensuing confessional tsunami in some ways redefined the face of the LCMS at the 2010 National Convention, including unseating the Synod President. But it wasn’t enough. This week has been a sobering reminder of how much more needs to be done.

The recent decision of a group of three men in the Northwest District not to initiate formal proceedings against the poster boy for aberrant doctrine in the LCMS is our next wake-up call. Today our Synod President, Matt Harrison, rose to the occasion, stating that

The system of doctrinal discipline in the LCMS is not functioning as envisioned and implemented by our Fathers. It must be repaired.

We will not allow the truth of the Gospel to be undermined by our own infighting, inactivity, or egos. It’s time for the next confessional tsunami to arrive. Please join with me in supporting President Harrison as we work together to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

Your eternal debtor in Christ,

Scott Diekmann


Photo credit: Vern on flickr; Creative Commons license 2.0.

About Scott Diekmann

Scott is a lifelong LCMS layman. Some of his vocations include husband, dad, jet driver, runner, and collector of more books than he can read. Oh, and also chocolate lover. He’s been involved in apologetics for over a decade, is on the Board of Regents at Concordia Portland, and is a column writer for the sometimes operational Around the Word Journal. He’s also written for Higher Things Magazine, The Lutheran Clarion, and has been a guest on Issues Etc. as well as the KFUO program Concord Matters.


The Tsunami Is About to Break — 13 Comments

  1. Thanks Scott. Maybe it’s time for a special convention. That might wake up some people to the seriousness of the issue at hand.

  2. Dear Scott,
    You spoke one word that really causes so much problems: ego!!!!!!
    We ALL have it to varying degrees. And it is one of the hardest to handle.
    There is no more “rush” to the system than an ego boost.
    I do support the Rev. President.

  3. Can somebody please post the proper and orderly way to accomplish this? I guess that Dr. Harrison can’t simply sign an executive order.

  4. I’m just a simple layman, so feel free to pass over my musings.

    This whole bureaucratic mess has me thinking… so long as church governance and structure aren’t opposed to the pastoral directives given in Scripture, isn’t it somewhat of an adiaphoron? Maybe it’s time we reconfigured what is needed for His church in the current era. The Holy Spirit guided us into Walther’s experiment, which was right for the time, people, and place. But maybe –now that our leadership finally reflects what we publicly confess– maybe it’s time we adopted a more monarchical form governance. A unified voice against the muddle of post-modern pluralist babble. It sounds nice on paper, anyway.

  5. It is such a relief to hear President Harrison speak out boldly and plainly against one of the false teachers in our church body. Better late than never! I support him 100%.

  6. Thanks, Scott, for the post. I think all of us support Pres. Harrison in thought and word, but how are we supporting him in deed? For example, it amazes me there no resolutions at the last synod convention (at least none I heard of) to dump DRP and replace it with some direct and simple procedures based on Scripture and the confessions. Why did none of our great thinkers think to do this? That would have a big help that could have eliminated the current mess and the good ship LCMS back on a straight and narrow course, paraphrasing past words from a Vice President.

    That said, cannot some of great thinkers think to do this for next years convention?

  7. @Gene White #7
    One thing to keep in mind is that the Dispute Resolution Process (DRP) is actually distinct in the LCMS Bylaws from all of the rules governing ecclesiastical supervision and the associated process for discipline leading to expulsion. The latter are what actually came into play in this case.

  8. New to BJS and unfamiliar with LCMS Bylaws and governance, ecclesiastical or otherwise, I’m wondering how those of us who care about the Lutheran Confessions (truly a National Treasure next to the Holy and inspired Word of God) are going to make the system work for us to effect the change necessary to bring back to the Synod unity of orthodox doctrine AND practice.
    It seems that there are two ways. Borrowing from the Kingdom of the Left, there is always a grassroots bottom-up effort that we can employ, similar to the Tea Party struggling against the destructive socialist propensities of the current administration and there is a top-down model wherein the leaders at the highest levels turn the wheel to move the ship of Synod back to a corrected course.
    A grassroots movement will only work if a significant number of people are given direction on how to move synchronously and on message. But what if we’re outnumbered? What if confessional Lutherans are in the minority? (I know you’re thinking of how Luther and God became the majority, but work with me for now.)
    Let’s say you attend a church light years away from the heart of confessional Lutheranism surrounded by reformed and LCMS churches are few and far between. And let’s say that there are 130 communicant members, most of which are not life-long Lutherans but are from various reformed or evangelical backgrounds, with a little Roman and Orthodox sprinkled in, and most of which were attracted by the personality and preaching of the pastor, who has a quatenus view of the Book of Concord of which there is one copy in the church library and you’re pretty sure whom he sided with in 1974. He uses lay lectors and allows women elders. He is a chancel prancer and doesn’t always wear vestments, and never a clerical collar. Church growth methods and contemporary worship are embraced and practiced in addition to the Liturgical Divine Service to placate old-school conservatives. In this church, a grassroots initiative would likely split the congregation because any efforts to rally behind the Lutheran confessions would be perceived as legalism and sexist. Such an effort would be viewed by the congregation in the same light as close communion which it doesn’t currently practice. Without adequate catechesis of the members, it would not end well. The catechesis ship has already sailed for most and minds have been made up.
    So that leaves a top-down effort. I’m sure that President Harrison is doing everything in his power to effect positive change in the direction of confessional unity but is also dealing with the results of too many of our people having intermarried with the Canaanites, so to speak. Also, the New Measures of the Second Great Awakening are too irresistible to some, including a recent SP whose initials are GK. They have been drawn by the sirens’ song of the church growth movement and suppose that the LCMS can safely navigate through the waters of heterodox practice and win some souls along the way. When will we declare as a Synod that the CGM experiment has failed and give it a formal burial? How long, O Lord? Do any of you have hope that the 66th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod July 9-14, 2016 will be the beginning of the end of Ablaze, FiveTwo, and RSOs like TCN? Will the Association of Confessing Evangelical Lutheran Congregations (ACELC) be allowed to sit at the table of discussion and debate? I hope and pray that our beloved Synod can be wrested from the hands of those who want to fundamentally transform the LCMS into just another seeker-sensitive, purpose driven, growth oriented, number crunching, entrepreneurial minded, doctrinally detached, future embracing, church that has forsaken its past.

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