Editor’s Note: The following is an open letter that concerns some of the problems within the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod shared from a pastor formerly of the LCMS. This is what the corporate failure to address false teachings and their fruit in our midst causes. There are two different parts of the LCMS – the churchly aspect (governed by Scripture and the Confessions and active in the proper application of Law and Gospel) and then the incorporated non-profit of the State of Missouri part (governed by constitution, bylaws, policies and procedures, and active in political application of such things). This open letter points out that the balance of these two is off.
To see examples of some of the errors that Pastor Emmons mentions within the LCMS, visit the Association of Confessing Evangelical Lutheran Congregations’ (ACELC) website.
April 12, 2015
To Whom This May Concern Within the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod:
Please accept this letter as my resignation as a rostered pastor of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS), effective immediately. With much prayer, thought and consideration, I have applied for colloquy into the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS – Mankato, MN) and have been accepted.
Simply but sadly, I find that the LCMS no longer holds to the Scriptural and Confessional principals as it once did. I cannot in good conscience serve in a church body who, rather than supporting a faithful commitment to sound doctrine and practice, allows those that do to be persecuted by their own congregations, pastors and church officials. This while all manner of heterodoxy is show-cased openly without censure. Congregational autonomy is claimed while anyone who speaks out is considered a trouble-maker and unloving. It is rather policy that all parities are to agree to disagree. This when outrageous error and all manner of heteropraxy run rampant.
In the past the LCMS was little different from the ELS. Have the scriptures changed? Have our confessions been added too, or reduced? Is evolution now an accepted theory? Does the church of the 21st century know more than the first? Has the church “evolved” ? Yet the LCMS has been operating as if this is all true. The LCMS has let the world dictate too much as to how it should think and behave.
And when has unionism and syncretism become acceptable? When has the Eighth Commandment been something used to hide public sin behind? When has cohabitation become tolerated? When have St. Paul’s words been considered inapplicable with regard to any of this, but especially regarding women’s roles in the church? Is closed Communion really an open question in the church and member congregations are allowed to take it or leave it? And why does the LCMS think it has the authority to add to the list of reasons a pastor can be removed from office?
Also, when did the church become a business to be operated in such a way that pastors become middle management (thus expendable), the congregation (the world) become the customer (who seem to be always right) and a fear of law suits that causes a shying away from proper church discipline? And so, with this model, do the larger congregations (who seem to be the most aberrant), have free-reign to do as they like? All because they give the most in support of the district and synod? This while the smaller congregations have little help, and are pressured to conform, as true success supposedly lies in change, compromise and a giving up of the what was once held to be inviolate.
The LCMS is broken all the way down to the congregational level, while its districts pretend that nothing is really wrong. Instead of church discipline, the LCMS handles everything bureaucratically rather than theologically and scripturally. It is a dark silence as everything is brushed under the rug, with little or no comment, while the world and the devil greedily look on. And what of the many other church bodies who are too glad to see that the LCMS is finally giving up its past refusal to conform. We used to be a confessing church! I pray that the LCMS once again changes direction as it has in the past. May our Lord Jesus have mercy and bring repentance. It should be my grandfather’s church, but sadly, it is not! May it be so again.
Humbly and with tears, by the Grace of Christ alone,
Rev. David R. Emmons
cc: Rev. Dwayne Lueck. President, North Wisconsin District
Rev. Ronald Mueller, Circuit Counselor, Circuit #3
Rev. Ray Hartwig, Synod Secretary
Rev. Matthew Harrison, Synod President