To Publicly Call Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker to Repentance

This resolution was drafted by Rev. Joseph Fisher for the South Wisconsin District Convention. (originally posted in facebook group We Support LCMS President Matthew Harrison)

Editor’s Note: Please submit overtures to us so we can help to publicize them throughout Synod. Submit them to your congregation, circuit, pastors conferences, or district conventions for passing on to Synod for the 2016 convention. Click here for other proposed overtures.
 


To publicly call Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker to repentance.

Whereas, Holy Scripture warns, Matthew 7:15(ESV) Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. And

Whereas, Holy Scriptures warns, Romans 16:17-18(ESV) I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. and

Whereas, Holy Scripture warns, 2 Timothy 4:3-4(ESV) For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. and

Whereas, Holy Scripture declares, 2 Timothy 3:16-17(ESV) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. and

Whereas, the CCM has ruled, “While the filing of dissent does not constitute a case for removal, the member is required to teach and practice in accord with Synod’s stated confessional position during the dissent process. If the member fails to honor and uphold the stated confessional position of Synod during the dissent process, the member becomes subject to disciplinary action due both to the violation of the doctrinal position of Synod and the offense against the other members of Synod created by such failure (Constitution Art. XIII 1). In such case it is incumbent upon the ecclesiastical supervisor of the member to exercise disciplinary action against the member who fails to teach and act within Synod’s stated confessional position, whether apart from or during the dissent process (Bylaws 2.14.4; 2.15.4; 2.16.4).” (link) and

Whereas, Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker has filed dissent yet continues to publicly teach and promote false doctrine including woman’s ordination, having published articles on his own blog, and on Daystar where he published an article titled “A Case for Female Pastors and Theologians” in which he states: “There is no legitimate biblical or dogmatic rationale for why the LCMS should now prohibit women from serving as theologians and pastors in the church.” (link) and

Whereas, Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker continues to publicly teach and promote false doctrine including, participating while vested in the installation of Charlene Rachuy Cox at Valparaiso (link) ; and

Whereas, Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker continues to publicly teach and promote false doctrine including, acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual marriage, having written on his blog Transverse Markings: One Theologian’s Notes titled “Further Sign of LCMS Times” (link)

Whereas, Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker continues to publicly teach and promote false doctrine including, promoting a figurative interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 stating in his post “The Scandal of the LCMS Mind”…”Scientific data about the reality of physical death in the animal and plant kingdoms prior to origin of human beings (e.g., fossils of animals that lived long before the origin of human beings) must lead those who interpret the Bible in light of scientific knowledge to restate the nature of God’s good creation prior to the advent of human sin (e.g., such a good creation must have included the reality of death prior to the existence of human beings) and the character of the historical origin of sin (e.g., the advent of sin is to be traced to the first hominids who disobeyed God’s will but not necessarily to their having eaten from a tree in an actual place called the Garden of Eden several thousand years).” (link ) and

Whereas, Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker has stated that he has three goals for the LCMS all of which are contrary to the Scriptures and the positions of Synod (link):

  1. to encourage members within the synod to think differently about two issues, namely, (a) the synod’s understanding of Scripture that insists that only qualified men may serve as pastor in the synod; and (b) the synod’s understanding of Scripture that requires one to interpret the creation accounts in Genesis to be literal, historical descriptions of what God did in the not-too-distant past over the course of six actual 24-hr. days (“six-day creationism”);
  2. to have the synod change its position that restricts the office of pastor only to men;
  3. to have the synod reject “creationism” in favor of a more robust doctrine of creation, one that sets forth a theological understanding that better accords with the language and genre of these Genesis texts and that better accords with what people today know to be true and valid about the natural history of our planet.

Whereas, President Matt Harrison stated on Witness Mercy Life together blog, link

“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.”

Therefore, Be it resolved that the SWD in convention request the Synod in convention to publicly call Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker to repent and recant or remove him from the clergy roster of Synod.

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.

Comments

To Publicly Call Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker to Repentance — 90 Comments

  1. @Charles Henrickson #50

    What you bring up is what I notice over and over by many in the Synod. The tendency is to jump to bylaws for answers and to get caught up in the intricacies of the bureaucratic process that plagues us. Public rebuke and admonishment of Hennings and Woolsey for violation AC XIV needs to be done. This is not an option, but a duty.

  2. @Randy Yovanovich #1

    But that would not “do” anything. That would just be “talk.” And that’s what Harrison is being criticized for with regard to the Becker case, i.e., “talk,” but no “action”–as if Harrison could just wave his hand and expel not only Becker, but Linnemann also.

    You know, the actions that we take are regulated in what are supposed to be orderly ways, that is, through a constitution and bylaws. To expel a member of Synod, there has to be a specific violation and there has to be a process that is followed.

    Woolsey’s ecclesiastical supervisor is Hennings. If you believe Woolsey has violated our constitution’s confessional standard, then a complaint needs to be lodged with DP Hennings. That would be the starting point.

  3. Harry Edmon :
    Even if this passes, Dr. Becker will do neither of the things requested of him in the overture.

    @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #13

    Pastor Prentice, my response was to Harry Edmon’s comment. Even though it’s likely that Dr. Becker will not repent, that doesn’t stop the rest of us from confessing the truth through this overture. I wasn’t referring to any action on Dr. Becker’s part.

  4. It seems to me that all we’re left with is verbal rebukes. Formal complaints and working through the DRP doesn’t seem to be the answer. If the DRP won’t penalize the most flagrant violator of what it is we believe, teach, and confess, then what good is it? – which President Harrison essentially pointed out. And a minor point of order here – we layman are nothing more than bystanders on the grand plain of synodical warfare, since we can file no charges against anybody. We can lay on our bellies at the edge of the battlefield and peer through binoculars, but that’s as close as we can get.

    Now it’s time to get back to saying something about the actual post instead of sniping at each other. You all have each other’s email addresses. If you want to continue complaining, whining, and bellyaching, email your foe who really isn’t your foe, or else I’m going to delete your comments.
    Love, The Author.
    (edited for a typo)

  5. @Scott Diekmann #4
    Perhaps if we have a groundswell of support for this at Convention, those who are trying hardest to lead us into ELCA practices will finally “get it” and jump ship.
    “we layman are nothing more than bystanders on the grand plain of synodical warfare, since we can file no charges against anybody. ” But most importantly, we can pray for and support our pastors who are on the front lines fighting the wolves and leading us as the Good Shepherd would.

  6. Scott Diekmann:
    we layman are nothing more than bystanders on the grand plain of synodical warfare, since we can file no charges against anybody.

    And that did not use to be the case. That was changed in the bylaws with the Benke Protection Act of 2004. Another reason why we need to overhaul the system.

  7. @Charles Henrickson #6
    Scott Diekmann:
    we layman are nothing more than bystanders on the grand plain of synodical warfare, since we can file no charges against anybody.

    And that did not use to be the case. That was changed in the bylaws with the Benke Protection Act of 2004. Another reason why we need to overhaul the system.

    OK, gentlemen. Let’s stop trashing Harrison, who seems to have done what he could under a system distorted to protect DP’s (not just Benke) and our subversive “PLI” [under various names].
    If there is going to be a solution, it starts at the bottom, with congregations and Pastors cleaning up their districts.
    Instead of wasting all this bandwidth castigating Harrison, what are you doing in your district?
    Wars are not won by one man; to win this one, the errant DP’s have to change. Every congregation has two votes, one lay, one the Pastor. Pastors who support LCMS doctrine need to be sure their lay delegate knows that convention is not a holiday but a serious responsibility.
    They need to talk about the issues and educate.
    And all delegates need to be there, from the opening line to the absolute end. No wandering off for photographs, or time out for a beer, while the convention is in session. A persistent presence may convince the “middle” to lean your way, (as it did in the election of Harrison, to surprise in the ranks and shock on the podium).

    This post was about a resolution for a district convention.
    That’s a good start.

  8. President Harrison, right after the first time he was elected POTS, was quick to admit that we had elected yet another in the line of sinful LCMS presidents. Of course his humble claim was true, yet thankfully we trust in Jesus and his promise to forgive him as well as all of the rest of us poor miserable sinners.

    Poor Matthew Becker does not recognize or repent of his sin of false teaching. He is so corrupted by, confused by, and confident in his knowledge that he puts it above the clear word of God. He also puts himself above us by thinking he is one of a few in the LCMS who knows better than the rest (forefathers included) what God “really” means in His word.

    Now is the time to see where everybody stands in the LCMS. Will we stand with our Father in heaven or with the father of lies? Will we stand with Scripture interpreted by Scripture or Scripture interpreted by science? Will we stand with the Lutheran Confessions or the higher critics? Will we stand with our Christian forefathers or will we stand with Matthew Becker and his supporters? Will we be humble before God or will we act like we know more than Him? Will we walk together as a bunch of sinful beggars or will we view ourselves more highly than we ought, as a bunch of self sufficient wise guys? Will we repent like the redeemed sinners we are or will we be blind to our sin?

    It’s time to speak to our pastors, congregations and to the synod. We need to stress that churchly organizations without the discipline to remove false teachers can not be part of the Church. We need to share the word of God with members of synod. We also need to speak to the members of synod in the synodic language of resolutions. We need to speak to our district presidents when they get back from their meeting. We need to speak to them and work to get God’s word and faithful resolutions presented and passed at district conventions. Then we need to speak God’s word and try to pass faithful resolutions at the national convention. God’s Word is effective. It will not return void. If resolutions pass they may do some good to help our LCMS neighbors. If they fail at least we have spoken and we will better know where we all stand. At that point each man can decide for himself if he and his house can in good conscience walk with the Missouri Synod. If we do nothing we stand for the status quo. If we do nothing we stand for and walk with the false teaching of Matthew Becker in the Missouri Synod.

  9. @LadyM #5

    I agree LadyM. As laymen, we can indeed pray and support our pastors. We can encourage them to catechize their congregants and inform their congregants about what’s going on so that the congregants won’t fall prey to the wolves. Of course, we as laymen still have the privilege of voting at our conventions. Often, a single insightful comment from the floor of a convention can sway the voters, and I’ve had many pastors tell me that people are more likely to listen to a layman than an pastor. We can also speak the truth in love, guarding our tongues, so that what we say is both truthful and doesn’t rob Christ of His glory.

  10. Nothing Synod can do will affect Becker’s teaching position at Valpo. Valpo is not a Synodical school.

    We can by this resolution make a clear statement of what we believe.

  11. @Scott Diekmann #3
    Dear Scott,
    Personally, I and I think we all do not need an overture to confess what we have taken as our divine calling, as pastors.

    Those that choose to walk “outside the bounds” must either be asked to stop and recant, or we must make a strong public stance against them.

    But this goes all ways, pastors are public people, and the rebuke and recant should be public. If confession is required, let them go to a Father / Confessor to bear their sin and receive Absolution.

    All of us have been lax.

    We allow men like Rev. Becker to speak as he does, yet we will and do speak up.

    The sad case is the men in darkness that are bounced around like Rome of late, who sign agreements with congregations, who leadership forces confidentiality clauses, etc.

    Sorry. If you are wrong, and ultimately removed from installed office or even defrocked, you may have your day in the courts of ecclesiastic appeal. If you are removed for lack of cause, you can have your day in the public square, and let us hope our fellow pastors will stand tall (and not run as many do).

  12. I don’t understand. Why restate the obvious? His words are public, rather so. We can either abstain (I’d rather & have, walked away from many a position) or act. This, I cannot help feeling, is what occurs when we, abstain from calling laity, to books, for their actions. If we refuse, & have, to call laity to the last loving gift, that can be offered, what should we expect, when it is one, who holds the Office?

    I have more respect for those who give up, what they may have been elected to, elected for, or those who hold any Office, if it in any, direct or indirect way, effects this.

    I just came home to the LCMS, to find this?! Many I know, have walked away, for so much less. If laity cannot be corrected, how does anyone think any who hold an Office, can?

  13. Richard Lewer :
    Nothing Synod can do will affect Becker’s teaching position at Valpo. Valpo is not a Synodical school.
    We can by this resolution make a clear statement of what we believe.

    Exactly.

    Removing Becker for cause from the roster does not harm him as he has a job working for Valpo.

    Removing him for cause clearly proclaims that he does not represent the LCMS. As long as he is on the roster, it appears that the LCMS endorses his every word. I exaggerate, but not much.

    I will also say that Benke should have been removed for his Yankee Stadium stunt. As a DP responsible for supervising others, he knew what he was doing was not allowed and why. You can’t have leaders at the highest levels directly contradicting doctrine. It was a pagan worship fest and Benke was praying with the pagans. And sure enough, a young pastor followed his lead at Sandy Hook. Benke and Becker are especially dangerous because of their positions. Leaders have to meet higher standards and have to be removed for violating them.

  14. @Mrs. Hume #13
    Dear Mrs. Hume,
    01) Yes, he has an academic job, this would not change. It might even help him.

    02) Yes, his statements on doctrine and unionistic practice (garbed in an installation service), that about 99.9% agree upon, should cause him to lose his position as pastor.

    03) As for adding Rev. President Benke to the discussion, I do believe this is different. We still have in Synod not yet firmly established guidelines for what is unionist in practice when these extra-ordinary conditions occur.

    Rev. Benke was removed, added back, arguments came about, due process was handled, perhaps not to everyone’s liking. I believe confession / absolution was part of the scenario.

  15. @Tim Wood #29
    Tim, and all others who are impatient with Pres. Harrison–Please learn some history.
    LCMS history: The historical-critical method (with the postulate: man’s reason above the Scripture, in short) was introduced in St. Louis all the way back in the late 40’s. When was it finally removed? 1974, in the Walkout, after a *long* process of 1st educating folks as to what was actually going on, 2nd, getting the “pieces in place” including (but not limited to) electing Jack Preus as SP and a conservative Board of Control majority (thanks, Walt Dissen!), 3rd, *investigating* the St. Louis faculty, 4th, *reporting* the results of the investigation, 5th, the key resolutions at the 1973 New Orleans convention, 6th, the suspension of Tietjen, and finally, they walked out and formed Seminex. And that wasn’t *final* by any stretch–you had the whole business of the DP’s who placed and ordained Seminex grads for the next several years, and Jack Preus did not just unilaterally suspend them. He received the authorization to do so at the 1975 Anaheim convention. And *still* we had issues with Seminex and the AELC and ELIM and such for more years.

    The Reformation took, well, let’s start it at the popular date: Oct. 31, 1517. It wasn’t “done” by the time Luther died in 1546.

    The Arian controversy: As I recall, Arius propagated his false Christology *before* the Diocletian persecution was over, and it wasn’t until 325 at Nicaea that the bishops of the church said, “Homoosias”, and Nicaea didn’t actually *settle* the issue. Arianism plagued the Church for decades, even centuries after.

    And you guys are upset that Harrison hasn’t fixed the synod in not even *5 years*?!

    Once again, you’re looking at all this from the wrong side. This is precisely the golden opportunity for all of *us* to collaborate and work to make things better. And accomplishing *this* task–getting a “win” in 2016–whether that be the removal of Becker by the synodical convention (a result I’m not expecting, because I don’t expect *his* case to last that long–though there are ways in which it could), the unequivocal rejection of Becker’s theology and the reprimand of Linneman; and/or serious strides made toward correcting the Handbook (dispute and discipline processes) so that we can actually *adhere to* our own Constitutional Articles II, III, V, and VI–as well as a few other key things–like boards of Regents elections, beginning to deal with lay deacons/ministers, etc.–*this* will send a clear message, and begin to pave the way for a *lot* of things to be addressed and corrected. And *at the same time* we can continue the “Koinonia” work, so that those who can be are “brought along” with us, and learn and grow, and, [gasp!] become more Confessional!

    Pastor Wilken, thanks for your many excellent comments here, and your very specific knowledge of what *has* taken place, e.g., Harrison’s request from the CTCR.

  16. @Rev. David Mueller #15
    Dear Rev. Mueller (I wonder if any relation on my Mom’s side???),

    Your words are true, many are impatient; yet in the culture and the time we live in, in a matter of minutes, great damage could and does occur.

    Yes, back in the day of Nicea, it took along time to even found out about error, let along fix it.

    Today we live in a world of “technical overload”, many can find out about error, even before the latest Christian News arrives.

    I do agree, we must let the current Rev. President Harrison act, and it takes time. Patience is something that the older and wiser must impart to the younger.

    But yes, if a little soul is perishing, patience is “out the window.”

  17. Pr. Prentice,

    Just a minor note — worship alongside or with other gods is technically syncretism. Unionism is associated with worship of the Triune God, together with people of a mixed confession (i.e., Christians of erring confessions.)

    On the scale of gravity, syncretism is always much worse than unionism. While one might come up with a theoretical reason for worshipping with other erring Christians, there is no valid reason to ever worship alongside other gods– it’s a clear 1st Commandment issue, and it’s always horrifically wrong.

    For the record, I’m not disappointed that anyone has failed to navigate our ridiculous bureaucracy. I am disappointed that our leaders don’t preach against (publically, loudly, and repeatedly,) the very contemporary issues of grave sin in our midst. I’m sure Solomon could have appealed to his (self imposed) political rules to explain why he allowed syncretism to infest Israel during his reign… but it sure didn’t save him and his nation from the horrible judgment that came upon them.

    Syncretism, enthusiasm, evolution, higher criticism, sexual deviance– these are all actively being promoted in our Synod, and we should be hearing more public preaching against it from every pastor in our Synod– including our Synod President, District Presidents, and the Council of Presidents.

  18. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    Regarding Synod bylaws, as you know by now, I appreciate President Harrison’s following the bylaws of the Synod, which is the will of the Synod. That indicates his willingness to cooperate with the highest human authority in our church–that is the national convention of delegates.

    Those who want to ditch the bylaws are, in fact, dismissive of the congregational-synodical form of government we have in the LCMS. I think they might be happier with a pure episcopacy–and there are some bloggers here who are members of such churches and would be happy to receive them.

    Constitutional government with parliamentary assemblies is messy, slow, and ponderous, but it has every advantage over the alternatives.

    Regarding the Becker case, this overture by Pastor Fisher is very good. Congregations need to act now to get this overture, or others like it, to the floor of their conventions this year. Use the floor of the convention to present the problems–this educates the average lay delegate more than anything else.

    Those who want to see the long picture on this case need to look at this document, which I believe Dr. Becker prepared in order to defend his position:

    http://thedaystarjournal.com/talking-points-about-doctrinal-authority-in-the-lcms-2

    In this document, you can see that Becker very clearly rejects the orthodox Lutheran doctrine of Scripture. If you reject the Lutheran doctrine of Scripture, you also jettison all orthodox Lutheran doctrine with it. This is Seminex theology all over again.

    Dr. Becker used to claim that Luther did not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. I corrected him personally on that point with Luther Works 32:11. I hope he is not still going around saying that Luther did not believe in Scriptural inerrancy.

    I was asked recently to give a presentation on the orthodox Lutheran doctrine of Scripture in Plano, Texas (Faith Lutheran Church). I gave two 45 minute lectures on the subject, which were complemented by CTS professor Dr. Cameron Mackenzie’s lectures on Luther and the Bible and the Text of Scripture. For those of you a little rusty on this topic, you might find the lectures and the Q&A afterwards helpful. Go here to find the online videos:

    http://www.faithplano.org/north-texas-free-conference/64-freeconference2015

    As to what to do about the Becker case, here are my thoughts, for what they are worth. They are not final, just what I have come up with so far as a way to get out of the conundrum:

    It is clear that the majority of the voting members of the Northwest District have been preventing Dr. Becker from having proper doctrinal accountability for some time. Whatever District President Linneman’s personal feelings or opinions on the subject, he would not have been elected if he intended to bring proper accountability to the situation.

    It is more than just the DP, folks. I am from the West Coast. Almost all my relatives and almost all my pre-college friends still live out there. I know those districts very well. Northwest District has more Seminex sympathizers than any other district in Synod–thankfully many are retiring and others are going to be with their Lord.

    In its essence, the problem is the lack of proper doctrinal accountability, which every other clergyman and pastor in the synod have–some in bucket loads.

    Every parish pastor is doctrinally accountable first to his Lord, then to his voter’s assembly, to his elders, to the President, to the Treasurer, to the Board of Directors (or church council), and then to every Tom, Dick, and Harriet who has any clout with the above. Oh, and don’t forget about the pastor’s wife. 🙂 Pastors, you tell me I’m wrong on this list of persons-to-whom-I-am-accountable! 🙂

    Furthermore, every parish pastor is accountable doctrinally to his circuit brethren, his circuit visitor, his regional vice-president, and his district president. And maybe to the LLL and LWML too! Good gosh, to whom are we LCMS pastors NOT accountable!

    There are other systems of accountability for our other clergy. District staff are accountable to the DP (bylaw 2.12.1.3). Missionaries and chaplains are formally accountable to a DP of a district in the USA, usually those from which they were called (bylaw 2.12.1.4); but also in practice accountable to immediate supervisors, like Area Secretaries. Staff of LCMS agencies are accountable to the DP where the agency office is located (bylaw 2.12.1.5). Staff of RSOs, LLL, or LWML are accountable to the DP where the staff person resides (bylaw 2.12.1.6).

    Dr. Becker fits none of these, because he is presently a Non-Candidate (NC) Inactive Member of Synod (at least since 2008), whose accountability is to the DP of the district when he went to NC status (bylaw 2.12.1.7). Thus charges against Dr. Becker are filed with the Northwest District office and his case was administered there.

    BUT, I say, does this make any sense at all? NO.

    How can a District President on the West Coast supervise the doctrine of a professor here in Indiana? Dr. Becker has absolutely no other person to whom he is accountable for doctrine. He might enjoy his “academic freedom,” and I have no problem with that for professors in private universities–but I do have a problem with that when it is an LCMS clergyman.

    I can’t say, without extensive study, whether this particular situation was by design, or by accident, but it is STUPID. There is no doctrinal accountability at all here. We are not doing the Rev. Dr. Becker any favors by giving him a free pass to teach whatever enters his mind. I certainly can’t do that, that is, teach whatever I want. My district president can’t do that. Our seminary professors can’t do that. President Harrison can’t do that. So why does Dr. Becker get off scot-free in the doctrinal accountability department? What makes him so special that he eludes the criticism of “Grandma Schmidt” that I get every Sunday?

    If Dr. Becker had proper doctrinal accountability long ago, all of this might not have happened. The problems would have been “headed off at the pass” as it were. So we are reaping the results of NO DOCTRINAL ACCOUNTABILITY sown by previous Northwest District conventions, its Board of Directors, its District Presidents, and some complicity by the Commission on Constitutional Matters when this situation was first challenged many years ago.

    My current, tentative, answer to the problem is this: 1) The rule of “no double jeopardy” does not apply to the Becker case, because there was no proper doctrinal accountability in the beginning. 2) Revise Bylaw 2.12 so that cases like Becker will not happen in the future. 3) Resend the charges against him through the corrected system of accountability.

    I think that is fair and it makes sense. It is more fair to him to have a proper accounting this way, than having the case tried in the national convention itself–which I would not want to put anyone through. Judicial cases need to have judicial process, with due process and fair judges. I always fear the Kirchenpobelherrschaft and its tendency for injustice, even cruelty.

    All for now. Thanks to Pastors Wilken and Henrickson for defending President Harrison’s actions; and to Mr. Scott Diekmann for this post.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  19. BJS just swallowed an entire posting I made.

    The “captcha” code is kind of worthless, Norm. Go by e-mail id. All you need.

    Sigh.

    Martin – I will start another flurry of comments saying this, but, I believe you are wrong in a number of respects. The lost post had all the reasons, but it is now too late to reconstruct it since I have to go to work in the early AM.

    Fr. Noland – consider the actual circumstances, and ask yourself – “How could the issue REALLY be solved?’

    Just asking. Pax

  20. Martin R. Noland :
    Dear BJS Bloggers,
    …..So we are reaping the results of NO DOCTRINAL ACCOUNTABILITY sown by previous Northwest District conventions, its Board of Directors, its District Presidents, and some complicity by the Commission on Constitutional Matters when this situation was first challenged many years ago.
    …..

    Currently the DP’s and the Board of the Directors’s of the LCMS, etc., have no accountablity at all. They can get away with anything they want. Help congegations dismiss confessional pastors, keep pastors from getting calls. Manipulate calls. No accountability at all. Our synodical president’s hands are tied with bylaws which results in confessional pastors suffering on candidate and non-candidate calls lists.

  21. @T. R. Halvorson #20
    Compose in Notepad…

    You can compose here IF you copy what you’ve written before you touch “capcha”
    so you can repeat if it gets “swallowed up”.

    [This version is a pain but some of them are a pain and illegible besides.]

  22. @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #16
    A friendly reminder:
    Pay attention to deadlines for submission of overtures! For instance, in Indiana, we have less than a month–March 1st. Late overtures do not make it into the convention workbooks, and that is the *best* place for them to actually be read by delegates. “Late” overtures won’t make it into the workbook that goes to every delegate, and may not be dealt with in any substantive way by floor committees, or by the conventions.

    Our circuit has called for a special forum in the next week and a half in order to deal specifically with these issues, since it hadn’t come up when we held our regular one in early January.

  23. @Rev. David Mueller #23
    A friendly reminder:
    Pay attention to deadlines for submission of overtures!

    Worth repeating….

    It seems to be all we’ve got, so use it. If you haven’t got one of your own, read the ones proposed here. If one of them says what you want to say, get your congregation or circuit to send it in, too.

    (It takes more than one float to make a parade.)

  24. @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #14
    03) As for adding Rev. President Benke to the discussion, I do believe this is different. We still have in Synod not yet firmly established guidelines for what is unionist in practice when these extra-ordinary conditions occur.

    The definition of “unionism” [actually syncretism in Benke’s case, since he was holding hands in prayer with non-Christians] does not change for “extra-ordinary conditions”. I suspect you can find ‘guidelines’ in Walther’s writing, for Missouri, and probably before.

    E.g., “Be not equally yoked together with unbelievers.” –St Paul

  25. mames :l don’t trust Harrison. He has been standing around doing nothing for too long.

    That comment sounds pretty ridiculous to me.

  26. Scott, I am curious, do you happen to have access to a copy of the document which charged Becker? In understanding how a (supposedly) faithful DP could have exonerated Dr. Becker, it might be helpful to see the actual charge.

  27. @David Hartung #27
    Regardless the charge in that case, the DP should be able to look at the bilge Becker has been spewing for years and and bring up his own charges. That either wouldn’t be politically expedient, though, or perhaps the president agrees with Becker? The LCMS is too secretive to let us know.

  28. LW :
    @David Hartung #27
    Regardless the charge in that case, the DP should be able to look at the bilge Becker has been spewing for years and and bring up his own charges. That either wouldn’t be politically expedient, though, or perhaps the president agrees with Becker? The LCMS is too secretive to let us know.

    Or perhaps he who initiated the process framed the charge so poorly that the DRP people really had no choice.

    Based upon what Scott and others have said, I tend to think that the DP was simply protecting one with whom he agrees, but to be fair we must also consider other possibilities.

  29. @David Hartung #29
    I understand there may be other possibilities. My argument is that President Linnemann himself, as an ecclesiastical supervisor, should have called Matthew Becker to repentance years ago, and if Becker failed to repent the president should have disciplined him. There was no need for anyone else to file charges against Becker because the president is duty bound to oversee the teaching and public witness of LCMS pastors from the Northwest District. Maybe I do not properly understand the role of district presidents in the LCMS.

  30. @Scott Diekmann #32
    Dear Scott,
    Now you get it (and I know you always did); we have so much going on in secret. This has to stop.

    All ongoings, unless family and secrets of horrible nature are involved, they should be available.

    All men on CRM, removed from office, charged, etc.; “light of day”. We work in the dark.

  31. @Pastor Prentice #33

    In a general sense I agree with you Pastor Prentice. Most of what goes on behind closed doors should be exposed to the light of day. That would keep us all “honest.” I do think for the most part that disputes between parties should be private to protect the innocent, as the opening lines of the TV show Dragnet used to say. Unfortunately, in this case there was no innocent to protect. In that case, it shouldn’t be kept private. If it’s public, then tell it to the Church.

  32. Dear BJS,
    As my OT (or First Testament studies grow), you certainly get and learn a very important appreciation of the Wisdom of God, His Torah. It has not changed, yes, culture has always eroded it, attacked it. Canaan is there from the days of the patriarchs to today.

    So here is what I think:

    01) As a pastor, I am concerned for Rev. Dr. Becker, and will call for him to repent when chance given. His soul is in jeopardy, he has strayed from the wisdom and fear of the Lord. As I will call all sinners to repent and turn to the Lord and His ways.

    02) As a fellow pastor that he is, “I don’t know him”. As he strays from YHWH and His Wisdom and Teaching, I wonder, “what god do you profess Rev. Becker?” Surely not the God of Hosts that is explicit in His Ways. God’s Wisdom is NOT man’s wisdom. Time for Dr. Becker to reread JOB and ponder, eh?

    And I have not even spoken Lutheran doctrine, it is simply God’s doctrine and teaching from the beginning.

  33. @Scott Diekmann #34
    Dear Scott (and BJS),
    As we sat around after Ash Wed. Services, many of the flock chatted about the state of some of the Synodical problems. They ask, I respond.

    One of the biggest concerns is the secrecy that goes on.

    And as I told them, pastors are public figures as we are called to a public office as the pastor. Sure, keep wife and kids out of scrutiny for the most part, but I am God’s servant, and open to attack. Yes, let me and all pastors defend ourselves. But if we err, we must be called before the people and God. Yes, prove it…and if we repent, don’t hide it.

    Yet we have been hiding the bad and moving them around. And the congregation agrees that we have become like Rome in a sense. One bad pastor ruins and causes damage to a flock, off they go to another to keep causing “the little ones to sin.”

    This must stop and must be a major part of any “fix” in Synod.

    Perhaps time to simply (in love) name names. Stop being in the dark, bring it to the light.

    Yes, the 8th Commandment will be always slapped in our face. But for the office of the public ministry, put that one to bed unless charges are fabricated.

  34. @Norm Fisher #37
    Dear Norm,
    I will discuss this at Forum (if we ever get it going). What I can do as pastor is simply call out error that I have seen and experienced.

    I am thinking about putting a section on my website, perhaps the NEWS section. Simply list it for the public to see. Yes, a note to that person is in order of course.

    But one thing I think is important on that overture, all pastors on CRM or removed from installed office, complete findings must be available.

    Yes, if they remain on the roster, the baggage (even forgiven) must go forward for the next congregation to review and make a decision.

  35. Dear BJS,
    I am also thinking, at the NID conference, adding some RESOLVES to the 1-10 RESOLVES on the table (see below):

    01) Dr. Becker must recant in public written statement about his false teaching.
    02) If he does not recant, he will be asked to resign his call in the LCMS.
    03) If he persists in staying within the ranks of the Church as a divisive entity, removal process’s will be asked for of the LCMS immediately.
    04) Of course, if Dr. Becker returns to the ways of the Lord in proper teaching of sound doctrine, we will rejoice and offer him support and prayers as he moves forward.

    RESOLVED: That in faithfulness to God’s Word and in Christian love the Northern
    Illinois District of the LCMS call the Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker to repentance of his false and divisive doctrines and that this be communicated to him by the Northern Illinois District President by sending him this resolution, and let it be further

    RESOLVED: That the President of the Northern Illinois District, on behalf of the Northern Illinois District, thank President Matthew Harrison and commend him for his faithful leadership of the Synod, and give him such encouragement, and be it finally

    RESOLVED:
    That the Convention Chaplain lead the Convention in prayer for a godly resolution to
    these matters

  36. Dear BJS,
    The Northern Illinois District sent a powerful message to Rev. Dr. Becker and all those that err in regards to the Word of God and our Confessions.

    We do not tolerate error, yet we regard the soul who errors as important, even more so those that this error offends. We call for repentance of those that have disregard for God’s Word.

    Yes, we must fix up some Synodical practice for removing pastors that err and refuse to amend their ways and that will occur later.
    So Resolution 1-05 was approved and will go into effect.
    Some of you have made comments about many, but I am very proud and supportive of the committee that dealt with this troubling situation, yes, all of them.

    As for Rev. Roger Gallup, he was allowed a minority report and for the few minutes he spoke, gave a clear and concise declaration that we must amend what was on the table, and it won the day. I will give thanks and praise for a man like Rev. Gallup who gave a impassioned, yet clear and concise appeal to the Word of God and Luther as well to all present.

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