Anything but Dull – Convention Report – 2015 Montana District LCMS – Part 1

This is Part 1 of a report on the 2015 Montana District LCMS convention. Part 2 will report on Resolution 5-04 “To Call Upon the Synodical President to Invoke the Procedure for Expulsion from Synod the Rev. Paul Linnemann, District President of the Northwest District.”

The Montana District of the LCMS held its 33rd convention June 22-25, 2015 in Billings, Montana. I was the lay delegate from Trinity Lutheran Church, Sidney, Montana and was assigned to floor committee 5, the Committee on Administration and Special Overtures. That assignment sounded drab to me, but events proved it to be anything but dull.

The convention dealt with several major issues, and one momentous issue. One of Montana’s resolutions earned mockery from the Synodical President later at the Michigan convention.

Equally with our committee’s stances and actions, I always will remember the oneness of confession, gentleness of spirit, and strength of character among its 22 members, and the openness of procedure by its leaders.

Likewise on the floor, I always will remember the amazing experience of seeing debate work. So often, debate does not work because opponents do not listen to each other, they talk past each other, few people’s minds are changed, and unity does not develop. In Montana, people listened to each other. When they spoke, they actually answered what those on the other side of a question had said. When better arguments came to light, you could see minds being changed and unity developing. Montana Lutherans are independent minded people who work together.

Frequent worship and confessional study were a large part of influencing both the tone and substance of the convention. The orders for Morning Prayer, the Service of Prayer and Preaching and others without the Sacrament were followed. The pastors who preached spoke on assigned texts that revolved around the convention’s theme, that there is no other name given among men by which we must be saved, than the Name of Jesus. The sermons each had the individual flavors of their authors, but each sermon was a pearl on the string of the theme.

The convention read and studied the Smalcald Articles. In each session, the Convention Reader read aloud a segment of this confession while each delegate had the text in hand, and then groups at tables had discussion guided by prepared study questions and pastors at each table.

One of the lessons of the Smalcald Articles became very important in floor debate on a momentous matter. For there to be a denial or loss of the chief article of the faith upon which the church stands or falls, it is not necessary that an enemy of the Gospel directly say, “I deny the chief article.” False teaching on other articles can involve a denial or loss of the chief article. Dr. Matthew L. Becker’s teachings are like that.

The discussion guide was titled, “On Making a Public Confession.” We were reminded that making a public and true confession is vital. The necessity of confessing the faith became the mainspring driving the convention’s actions on various issues, including its resolutions concerning Dr. Becker and his supervisor, Northwest District President, Paul Linneman.

Resolutions from committees adopted by the convention, leaving aside for the moment ones dealing with heresy, include:

Resolution #1-01
To Address the Fear of Decline of Church Membership

Resolution #1-02
To Encourage the Identification of Church Planting Opportunities within the Montana District

Resolution #1-03
To Establish a Task Force to Study Opportunities for Chaplaincies for Montana Detention Centers

Resolution #1-04
To Provide Ongoing Support for International Missionaries Called from the Montana District

Resolution #2-03
To Encourage the Establishment of American Heritage Girls Chapters

Resolution #3-04
To Encourage People and Pastors of the Montana District to Stand Firmly Against the Culture of Death and Support Those Voices That Actively Challenge It

Resolution #3-05
To Support Pastors and Laity in Firmly Confessing the Biblical Understanding of Human Sexuality

Resolution #3-06
To Assist Congregations in Their Privilege to Welcome All People Regardless of What Sexual Identity They Profess

Resolution #4-03
To Uphold Our Stated Confession of the Office of the Ministry
Resolved, that congregations with lay men (non-ordained men) not under a supervisor in a field education or vicarage program who are preparing sermons and preaching publicly and/or administering the sacraments be instructed by their District President, for the sake of the Gospel and our agreed confession, to stop no later than October 1, 2016; and be it further
Resolved, that all Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod District training programs preparing lay men to preach publicly and administer the sacraments in the church, be brought to an end no later than October 1, 2016; and be it finally
Resolved, that the Montana District in convention memorialize the synod in convention in 2016 to make this resolution its own

Resolution #5-06
To Commend for Study the Report on Worship
(Questions to ask and factors to consider before abandoning or changing the historic liturgy)

The following delegate resolution was adopted:

Resolution Delegate–01 To Memorialize Synod at the 2016 Convention to Direct the Synodical Board of Directors to Address Budget Redistribution and Synodical Organization in Order to Better Fund Our Seminaries, The Global Seminary Initiative, and Missionaries

Apparently it was Resolution Delegate-01 that earned the mockery of the Synodical President at the Michigan convention on Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Decide for yourself by viewing video of his remarks here, specifically beginning at timestamp 18:20. Apparently, it plays well in Michigan to mock Montana, and that is Life Together.

The following resolutions regarding heresy were adopted:

Resolution #3-01
To Allow for the Review of Acquittals
(Memorializes to the 2016 synodical convention language for the amendment of Article XIII of the synodical constitution)

Resolution #3-02
To Adopt a New Method for Dealing With Charges of Heresy Apart from the Existing Expulsion Process
Resolved, that the President of the Synod appoint a task force comprised of one professor from each seminary, two District Presidents, one parish pastor, one commissioned minister, and three laypersons (one of whom shall be an attorney) to develop bylaws for dealing with heresy to be presented to the 2019 Synodical Convention; and be it further
Resolved, that all charges of heresy be brought directly to the Praesidium of the synod for a determination as to whether such charges have grounds to be considered under the bylaws for dealing with heresy; and be it finally
Resolved, that the Montana District meeting in convention memorialize the Synod in convention in 2016 to make this resolution its own.

Resolution #4-01
To Call for Members with Confessions Contrary to that of the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions to Leave the Synodical Union Voluntarily

Resolution #5-03
Out of True Love for the Reverend Matthew L. Becker to Call on Him to Repent and Recant

Resolution #5-05
To Emphasize Effective Ecclesiastical Supervision in the Districts of the Synod
Resolved that the Montana District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod memorialize the 2016 convention of the same to direct that this triennium’s program agenda for the Council of Presidents, that is, the entire part of its meetings not devoted to various Bylaw-mandated administrative tasks and deliberations, be organized by the President of Synod and not by the Council of Presidents or a subcommittee thereof; and be it further
Resolved likewise to memorialize Synod that the program agenda devised by the President for the Council shall be, in whole and in part, concerned with advancing the “unity of doctrine and practice in all the Districts of Synod” and with counsel regarding the “doctrine and administration of Synod,” with opportunity for input and mutual counsel by other members of the Council, but within the program agenda set forth by the President under this directive of the Synod; and be it finally
Resolved likewise to memorialize Synod that the President of Synod shall through Synod’s official publications deliver pertinent, detailed, timely, and regular reports of the Council’s progress in working toward “unity of doctrine and practice in all the districts of Synod.”

Part 2 will report on Resolution 5-04 “To Call Upon the Synodical President to Invoke the Procedure for Expulsion from Synod the Rev. Paul Linnemann, District President of the Northwest District.”

About T. R. Halvorson

T. R. Halvorson was born in Sidney, Montana on July 14, 1953, baptized at Pella Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sidney, Montana on November 8, 1953, and confirmed at First Lutheran Church in Williston, North Dakota in 1968. He and his wife, Marilyn, are members of Trinity Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Sidney, Montana. They have three sons and six grandchildren. T. R. farms at Wildrose, North Dakota, and is Deputy County Attorney in Sidney, Montana. He has been a computer programmer; and an author, conference speaker, instructor, and consultant to industry in online legal information. He is among the authors of the religion column in the Sidney Herald at Sidney, Montana. He is the Editor of LutheranCatechism.com.

Comments

Anything but Dull – Convention Report – 2015 Montana District LCMS – Part 1 — 39 Comments

  1. Some comments on the 2015 Montana District Convention Proceedings, Part 1:

    1. Resolution 3-06 appears to recognize only “What Sexual Identity They Profess,” which would leave out those who profess multiple sexual identities, or none.

    2. Rather than correctly defining “lay men” as men who have no Divine Call to Public Ministry, as indicated in the 2nd and 6th Whereas, Resolution 4-03’s 3rd Whereas and its first Resolved seems to misleadingly define “lay men” to be “non-ordained men.” As C.F.W. Walther noted during the presentation of Kirche und Amt at the 1851 Synodical Convention:

    “If [a preacher] has laid down his Office voluntarily, then in that case he lost all the authority of the Office. If the Call of the congregation has ended, to which he was called, then his Office authority ends, because there is no universal Call for the whole Church; only the Apostles had this Call.”

    As noted in the 1851 LCMS Proceedings (p. 172), installation and ordination serve the same purpose: to confirm the Divine Call.

    3. In addition to mocking the Montana District, the LCMS Synodical President also made this condescending comment to the delegates at the Michigan District: “Boys and girls, I would love to go back to the past, but it ain’t gonna happen!” (@ 18:14)

  2. Bah, regarding the call process, there is no shortage of pastors. There is only lack of: communication, transparency and honesty, and there is an excess of politics surrounding the call process. Should those issues be corrected, there would be no congregation in need of ordained ministers. God does provide for His church, only we seem to despise His gracious provision. I am an ordained minister in Brazil. I keep hearing about these 40 or 50 parishes with no pastor, yet here I am, waiting for a call for the past 2 years and half. While I do have a call presently, it is clear its time to move on, especially on account of health issues. The truth is, it seems its rather 50 parishes without a pastor and 50 pastors without a call. Meanwhile church authorities continue to play heavy hand at “directing” the calls. And usually after their own taste, after all why would they have a guy they don’t like close to them?

    You say “Call”? I say the way it is being done it looks more like “The Mighty Powers of the Gatekeepers”. Sounds like a cheap movie title too. Also I am just waiting for the guy who will come and say “(…) it seems obscure, but be patient, because it is the will of God”. God’s obvious will is that His Word and Sacraments be administered by His ordained instruments to His chosen people. Whatever hinders that cannot be God’s will. Moreover we are also bound to consider only God’s revealed will, and not His hidden will. So when we don’t do the things we should do better(we know them because of God’s revealed will), and we explain that failure ( and accommodate ourselves) on account of God’s hidden, mysterious will, we are in error.
    I am sorry if this sounds like an outburst. I also know it is not the main topic of the discussion but, the OP did touch the issue of lay people conducting services, so this is my reaction to that.

  3. @Carl Vehse #1

    The SP’s mocking and condescending comments seem pretty mild compared to the comments (including mine) we see daily on the blogs around here. 🙂

  4. @John Rixe #3

    Your post concedes that the SP’s comments were “mocking and condescending,” and then compares them to comments “see[n] daily on the blogs around here.”

    Whether aimed at duly-elected district convention delegates in session, or on some Lutheran internet blog, such comments (opined “pretty mild” or otherwise) have another parameter to be considered — validity.

  5. 4. Mr. Halverson, do you know the reason Floor Committee 2 declined to bring Resolution 2-01 back to the floor for a vote? Resolution 2-01 stated, in part:

    Whereas; the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is no longer serving three of the purposes for which it was founded; therefore be it
    Resolved, that the Montana District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod calls the Council of Presidents and the entire Synod to repentance for failure to uphold the objectives of Synod as stated in Article III.

    5. Also, was there any written copy of Rev. Charles Lehmann’s motion, “To Dissolve the LCMS”? None of the delegates seconded the motion (Proceedings, p. 18).

  6. @Carl Vehse #5

    As to 4. I do not know the reason but perhaps could find out.

    As to 5. If memory serves, that was in the pre-convention workbook, in which case I have it at home and could produce it, but not until next week because I am away for some days. It was an interesting resolution.

  7. @T. R. Halvorson #7

    Yes, Rev. Lehmann’s Overture 2-02 is in the 2015 Montana District Convention Workbook (p. 115). The Overture include, in part:

    RESOLVED, that the Montana District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod memorialize the 2016 Convention of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to direct the LCMS Board of Directors to file articles of dissolution and a request for termination to the Secretary of the State of Missouri by July 31st, 2017.

    Respectfully Submitted By

    GRACE LUTHERAN CHURCH
    THREE FORKS, MT
    HOLY TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH
    BELGRADE, MT

    Rev. Lehmann’s congregations also submitted:

    Overture 2-03 (p. 116) to memorialize the 2016 LCMS convention to strike bylaws 2.14 through 2.15 (inclusive) from the bylaws of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod;

    Overture 3-03 (p. 119) to memorialize the 2016 LCMS convention to appoint a Blue Ribbon Task Force to study the problem of how to expel false teachers from the Synod; and,

    Overture 3-04 (p. 120) to memorialize to the 2016 LCMS convention proposed Constitutional changes to allow the SP to review and, with legitimate cause, the LCMS convention to expel LCMS members who are acquitted through the regular procedures of the charges of being open and manifest heretics.

  8. @John Rixe #10

    Of course not. But what probably does need to be addressed (probably in a dedicated post to that topic,) is why these two congregations would feel so compelled as to submit it. Whether the disillusioned folks here are right or wrong in their assessment, it is probably worth discussing why they have come to the conclusions they have… and to hear it from them, if possible.

    I imagine the Montana District President has his work cut out for him, in pastorally tending to these congregations.

  9. Has anyone attempted to rate the (36?) LCMS Districts scaling from solidly confessional to missiologically focused? How outnumbered are the confessionally leaning Districts? Do we even know what we’re up against next year at the National LCMS Convention? Are there any statistics available based on voting? Is there a clear picture of the Synod’s direction? My DP, and therefore District, is big on church planting, a more acceptable (it seems) form of CGM, which works by setting up a honeypot service to attract the unchurched Starbucks crowd with guitar-and-amplifier music and a relaxed, no-obligation atmosphere. Are there any current examples of churches that started out in a bar or movie theatre transitioning into a liturgical, Word and Sacrament ministry? I would think that would be hard as nails.

  10. @Mark #12

    I kinda track that. I pay attention to who the DP’s are, have looked up most conventions online (so like 30 districts to read workbooks and proceedings), read practically every post here and on a few other blogs.

    So to see how some chat about church planting, missional v. confessional language, lay deacons, reactions to the Becker situation and such. I have an idea of how I observe the districts, and the presidents who lead them. These are just my opinions, but I have lots of reasons for having them. This is an amalgamation of issues/people. (also see them in roughly three camps, but do see degrees of intensity) And with a some newly elected leaders, we’ll have to see if the districts shift some.

    STRONG CONFESSIONAL
    Brian Saunders, Iowa East
    Terry Forke, Montana
    James Baneck, North Dakota
    Scott Sailer, South Dakota
    John Wille, South Wisconsin
    John Hill, Wyoming

    CONFESSIONAL (Conservative)
    Jamison Hardy, English
    Daniel May, Indiana
    Peter Lange, Kansas
    Richard Snow, Nebraska
    Dan Gilbert, Northern Illinois
    Barry Henke, Oklahoma
    Timothy Scharr, Southern Illinois

    MIDDLE (maybe mushy, maybe uncommitted)
    Mark Miller, Central Illinois
    Steven Turner, Iowa West
    Roger Paavola, Mid-South
    Donald Fondow, Minnesota North
    Robert Hagan, Missouri
    Dwayne Lueck, North Wisconsin
    Terry Cripe, Ohio
    Allen Anderson, Rocky Mountain
    Andrew Dzurovcik, SELC
    Kurtis Schulz, Southern

    MISSIONAL
    Derek Lecakes, Atlantic
    Chris Wicher, Eastern
    Greg Walton, Florida-Georgia
    David Meier, Michigan
    Dean Nadasdy, Minnesota South
    Tim Yeadon, New England

    LIBERAL (boarding on ELCA)
    Robert Newton, C-N-H
    Anthony Steinbronn, New Jersey
    Paul Linnemann, Northwest
    Larry Stoterau, Pacific Southwest
    Jon Denniger, Southeastern
    Ken Hennings, Texas

  11. @John Rixe #13

    John,

    I think it would be interesting to hear, in their own words, why they would seek the dissolution of the synod. Ancillary questions, in my mind, would be akin to yours– what now, since the LCMS is not likely to consider disbanding? I have to imagine that any group of people convicted enough to propose such a thing, have thought through what they intend to do should their appeal fall on deaf ears. That’s a pretty passionate and draconian proposition for a pair of congregations to send up to their district… I can only assume there are some pretty passionate people and some interesting thought behind it.

  12. @Mark #12

    That, in my humble estimation, is the $64,000 question no one wants to ask publicly in our synod, because everyone (of nearly every camp) is afraid of what the answer is. The liberals are afraid they are in the minority, and probably don’t have a consensus between their various factions to take control. Likewise the conservatives are afraid they are in the minority, and probably don’t have enough consensus between their various factions to take control. Of course, this tells me that we are likely split almost right down the center, with the synod teetering between orthodoxy and liberalism/enthusiasm.

    I expect we’ll continue this cold war until one or the other camps think they have the upper hand. The leading indicators to that shifting balance will likely be those places where the cold war turns hot… like the Seminex, Yankee Stadium, Newtown, Becker, etc. previous debacles brought the various cold warring factions into the light.

  13. @ Pr Brad

    It seems to me that any members of a group that promotes its dissolution should get out now and make themselves and everybody else happier.  I don’t want to hear their reasons if that is their weird proposed solution.

  14. Do we even know what we’re up against next year at the National LCMS Convention?

    Good question, Mark.  I’m not aware of any big contentious issues coming up this time.

    In his report to the Board, Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison wrote that he attended 21 of the 2015 LCMS district conventions and that First Vice-President Rev. Dr. Herbert C. Mueller Jr. was at the remaining 14, with the regional Synod vice-presidents “at nearly all of them.”

    “The district conventions were extremely calm and positive across the board,” Harrison told the BOD, which he sees as reflections of “a very positive mood across the Synod. I think it’s a good sign.”  – LCMS.org 8-27-2015

  15. @John Rixe #17

    Ah, but that’s what makes it interesting to me. Peculiar questions and assertions tend to reflect peculiar thinking. As an odd duck myself, I suppose I have an interest in peculiarities.

    Besides, if someone does the institutional equivalent of asking me to put a gun to my head and pull the trigger, after disregarding such an assertion, I can’t help but be curious what inspired such a request.

  16. @Jason #14

    Probably need something a little lower titled, “heretics.” We could add the English and eastern to that one and any other dp’s who believe in women ordination, open communion and firing of clergy.

  17. @Tileman hesshusius #22

    Part of my guess work is that the districts are not homogeneous, and not necessarily identical to their DP’s. English has a new DP, so I do not know him well. I get hints he is not as leftist as Stecholz was. I think Wicher is liberal, but I am not sure is the district as a whole is as far as he is. And I didn’t have Atlantic as bad because Benke is no longer running the show, and the district opted to NOT have a Metro area DP. So I softened my opinion of that area.

    But in general it is my sense that the COP is in thirds. The Right is barely ahead of the Left, with the Center smaller yet. It depends on how the sides frame issues and how the center perceives it. While some issues will receive heat, other items can have a much better chance of correcting without negativity focused on them.

    As always: be active, PAY ATTENTION, nominate your good lay persons for delegates, be involved in the upcoming circuit forums. A quality voting delegation can make more God pleasing decisions at convention, and won’t be swayed by the emotional worldly pleas.

  18. @Carl Vehse #1 “3. In addition to mocking the Montana District, the LCMS Synodical President also made this condescending comment to the delegates at the Michigan District: “Boys and girls, I would love to go back to the past, but it ain’t gonna happen!” (@ 18:14)”

    Dr. Strickert, Pr. Harrison’s comment was in reference to funding the Synod’s missionaries.

  19. Yes, as noted, SP Harrison’s “Boys and girls…” statement at the Michigan District Convention was at the end of his long answer to a question asked by Rev. Robert Appold (St. Matthew Lutheran Church – Grand Rapids) about the Synod’s funding plan for missionaries. Harrison talked about how it was done in the past and how it’s done today in his administration.

    Following the “Boys and girls…” statement to the Michigan District delegates, Harrison then launched into his mockery of the Montana District for passing Resolution Delegate-01 (p. 65 of the Montana District 2015 Convention Proceedings).

  20. @Carl Vehse #25

    Dr. Strickert, you need to listen further along to his comments about the lack of thankfulness of people in the Synod, as well as their negativity on the Internet. I think he was addressing you.

  21. Thanks so much for the reference, Mr Schenks.   It starts at timestamp 38:00.  Pr Harrison describes thanklessness “for me the most serious problem we face”.  

    Actually the whole video (only 42 minutes) is worth watching.  I learned a lot about such subjects as CRM status, funding of missionaries, Lutheran identity, SMP program, Bible class attendance, prayer, thanklessness, etc.

    Here again is the link.

  22. @Tim Schenks #27

    Sometimes some statement about negativity and a lack of thankfulness is taken out of its context and applied as a label elsewhere to someone’s comments, instead of properly providing substantiation for why the substance of such comments are incorrect.

    Sometimes “negativity” is an easy label to apply to those comments which one doesn’t like.

    President Harrison’s public “Boys and girls….” statement and his mockery of the Montana District convention delegates stand (or fall) on their own, without deflection.

    However, Mr. Schenks, if you feel a later statement by President Harrison was specifically addressing me, you may provide the time location in the video and I’ll listen to it.

  23. @John Rixe #28

    During 38:00-39:00 in the video President Harrison refers to prayers for the church and for the Synod, and to Luther’s comment about the Gospel raining down on an area for a period of time and then disappearing due to thanklessness.

  24. @John Rixe #31

    Although your command perhaps was not expressed in a Christlike or thankful manner, I did listen to few more minutes of the video.

    SP Harrison refers to specific thanklessness toward the congregation, pastor, people, “foo-foo pizza,” and the district (contrasted to his earlier comment @18:20 toward the Montana District delegates):

    “And you know when you refuse to support the district you’re just saying, ‘I don’t thank God for that [the district].’ Even if you have challenges or difficulties, you’re part of the family.

    “And what’s more significant, I think, according to the theology of St. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, is you are saying, ‘I won’t have the blessings from heaven.’ “

    Pres. Harrison’s statement about the internet was just a phrase—”The chatter on the internet, the thankless, angry chatter that goes on there”—he attached (@ 40:26) to his comment on thanklessness.

    The context of his earlier comments suggests Harrison’s “chatter” phrase was concerning attacks on the Missouri Synod and Lutheranism, and thus the phrase would more likely refer to “chatter” on various Lufauxran websites (e.g., ALPB, DayStar, OrdainWomenNow, Ichabod).

    If someone wants to assert that Pres. Harrison’s “chatter” reference was aimed instead at various articles, documents, conference presentation links, or comments posted on Lutheran websites (e.g., ACELC, BJS, LQ), then some substantiation of that assertion is needed.

    Perhaps the time link to the “negativity on the Internet” comments Mr. Schenks may provide will help clarify things.

  25. @John Rixe #28

    “We cannot perform a nobler service to God than to offer
    thanks. While praise and gratitude to God are the believers
    highest service both on earth and in heaven, ingratitude
    is the most shameful vice and the greatest contempt of God.”
    – Luther      LW volume 14 page 51

  26. @Carl Vehse #31

    “And you know when you refuse to support the district you’re just saying, ‘I don’t thank God for that [the district].’ –Matt Harrison at Michigan District Convention

    To lapse into Minnesotan, “He’s got that right.”

    Texas policy is to support “mission starts” that hide the name Lutheran, which is just as well because they don’t have Lutheran services either.
    Confessional Lutherans are marginalized, but expected to thankfully pay for the apparatus that is extinguishing Lutheran faith in Texas!?

    Somehow, that remark sounds like summoning up St Paul to “Support the Judaisers!”
    We know St Paul said and did no such thing but quite otherwise!

    Lord, have mercy!

    One of the first things the Harrison administration did was to put an envelope into Lutheran Witness, and invite individuals to make a gift directly to Synod. Good idea! (What happened to it?) Did it get lost when Lutheran Witness also became shy about being prominently Lutheran on the cover, and in its contents?

  27. I thank God for my district as well as my former LCMS congregation because while they usually soft-pedalled the Gospel and means of grace while sustaining the law the Holy Spirit still used the word proclaimed by them to lead me to repent of some of my unbelief and to appreciate and seek out a Lutheran congregation which shows me my sin, but focusses on its answer, the crucified and risen Lord.

  28. @John Rixe #35

    Stop giving gifts to the synod and focus directly on missionaries that you know of out in the field. Or focus your gifts on church plants you know of or focus your gifts on supporting the families of fired pastors.

  29. Dear Jason,

    I understand your desire to categorize our district presidents (DPs) and districts, as found in your comments #14 and 23 above. But I think that most all of the DPs would be surprised by your categorization of them.

    Dear BJS Bloggers,

    I would think that any LCMS pastor, synodical officer, or DP who: 1) upholds the plenary authority and inneracy of the canonical Scriptures; 2) unconditionally subscribes to the Lutheran Confessions; 3) agrees with the historic doctrinal statements of the LCMS, i.e., the Church and Ministry Theses (1851), Election Theses (1881), Brief Statement (1932), and Statement of Scriptural and Confessional Principles (1973); and 4) conscientiously follows Article VI of the LCMS Constitution–is “strongly conservative.”

    Looking at the list in comment #14, and from what I know about many of the DPs, I think that most of them fit the “strongly conservative” category, at least by my four-point definition of that term, which I just gave above.

    No doubt we still have “liberals” and “strongly liberals” in the LCMS. Just look at this: http://thedaystarjournal.com/a-call-for-discussion I was very surprised to see that they included non-LCMS people in their statement–that tells me that the folks signing that statement have more loyalty to non-LCMS synods (probably ELCA) than to the LCMS. Why don’t they just join the ELCA? I don’t understand. I would join the ELCA, if I believed as they do.

    I was glad to see no presently-serving-DP on that list of signatories. Not too many years ago, you would find a few LCMS DPs on that Daystar statement. So this is some progress, at least from the perspective of those of us who were active in the LCMS in the 1970s.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  30. Quote: Apparently, it plays well in Michigan to mock Montana, and that is Life Together.

    I did not take this as a mocking of Montana but the idea that the Synodical budget is bloated with money wasted on unimportant things and that the financial situation in the Synod’s national office is a matter of shifting money from one area to another. If that is what Montana suggested, it should be challenged. The Synod is not rolling in dough but most all the money in the total budget is in the form of restricted monies that can only be spent for what they were given (largely all for mission support) and the shrinking part of the Synodical budget is what goes for overhead. The truth is otherwise. The Synod has an ever smaller part of the pie to cover that overhead and fewer people working at the Synodical headquarters than in the past. Synod agreed to cover the debt of the college system and that debt service consumes a couple of million of those smaller unrestricted dollars that could be directed somewhere else.

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