ACELC — Our Synod Needs to be Honest with Itself

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ACELC-LogoAll earthly institutions, inclusive of the institutions of the Church, have as their primary concern the well-being of the organization itself. Within the Church of our Lord, this should not be the case. The purpose of churchly institutions like Synods is to retain the marks of the Church in its member congregations with clarity for all the world to see. In other words, the primary concern of Synods is to ensure that the congregations of their association preach the Word of God in all its truth and purity and administer the Sacraments in accord with Christ’s institution. If anything else gets in the way of this primary goal, then the institution or Synod is a failure and becomes a Christian sect; it cannot be a manifestation of the true Christian Church.

This is why the LCMS has as its first objective:

“The Synod, under Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, shall – 1. Conserve and promote the unity of the true faith (Eph. 4:3-6; I Cor. 1:10) …and provide a united defense against schism, sectarianism (Rom. 16:17), and heresy.” (Constitution of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Article III)

The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod was founded precisely so that it might retain the marks of the Church in their purity. Indeed, “walking together” as a Synod was predicated on this very proposition: that all the congregations of the Synod held the pure Christian doctrine in all its truth and purity, and administered the Sacraments rightly. Today the LCMS likes to speak about itself as though this were actually true when, in fact, it is not. The reality is that the Synod simply isn’t being honest with itself.

Permit me to make some observation that I believe would assist our Synod in dealing with reality:

First, we really aren’t a Synod in the true sense of the term anymore. As the ACELC has consistently pointed out and demonstrated with clear evidence, the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod no longer holds a common doctrine and no longer administers the Sacraments in harmony with our Lord’s institution. I wish this wasn’t the case, but it is. We have members of the Synod who hold to evolution as an acceptable way of explaining God’s creative work, we have members who hold the ordination of women to the pastoral office to be Scriptural, we have members who believe, teach, and confess that there should be no real distinction between the pastoral office and the activities of the laity, we have members who practice open communion, we have members who re-baptize their members, and the litany of errors could go on and on. This is not a Synod in any meaningful sense of the word because we simply are no longer walking together.

Second, as a Synod we remain unwilling to seek resolution of our differences and to deal with error in any substantive way. One thing the ACELC has discovered in our efforts to seek the redress of Synodical errors is that our Synod does not wish to deal decisively with its errors. It is considered divisive or schismatic to even raise the issues that divide us. Even in the pilot meetings of the Koinonia Project, if anyone speaks false doctrine, no one is permitted to call it what it is! If we cannot call error, error, then what are we supposed to call it? Is a publicly stated error simply to be described as one valid opinion among others? That is a certain course to heterodoxy (false teaching) because false teaching is validated as acceptable and cannot be corrected because it is forbidden even to call it what it is!

Third, the tragic reality for the LCMS is that we really are a heterodox (false teaching) Synod at this time. As Dr. Francis Pieper put it:

“It is God’s will and command that in His Church His Word be preached and believed in purity and truth, without adulteration…A congregation or church body which abides by God’s order, in which therefore God’s Word is taught in its purity and the Sacraments administered according to the divine institution, is properly called an orthodox church…But a congregation or church body which, in spite of the divine order, tolerates false doctrine in its midst is properly called a heterodox church…A church body loses it orthodoxy only when it no longer applies Rom. 16:17, hence does not combat and eventually remove the false doctrine, but tolerates it without reproof and thus actually grants it equal right with the truth.” (Christian Dogmatics, vol. 3, pp. 422-423)

Dr. Pieper’s description accurately describes The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod today. Unless our Synod does an about face and repents of the errors that it now tolerates, correcting them under the Word of God and our Lutheran Confessions, we shall remain a Christian sect, but we cannot be Christ’s Church. The very purpose for which the ACELC exists is to seek to encourage our Synod to repent and once again embrace God’s truth. It is the duty and obligation of every faithful member of the LCMS to speak the truth in love to our own Synod so that we may once again be the orthodox Synod that God blessed so mightily in the past. The ACELC gives congregations and pastors the opportunity to address our Synod. The more congregations and pastors speak up, the more likely it becomes that our beloved Synod may truly be a manifestation of our Lord’s true Church once again.

Rev. Richard A. Bolland
Pagosa Springs, Colorado


ACELC — Our Synod Needs to be Honest with Itself — 40 Comments

  1. Third, the tragic reality for the LCMS is that we really are a heterodox (false teaching) Synod at this time.

    What is the current list of orthodox synods in the US?

  2. Rev Bolland,
    What a pleasure it is to hear the truth spoken in love. I thank God he has given you the grace to write in boldness with discernment! Well stated and refreshing coming from someone in my own RM District too. Thank you.

    Snipped from your article:

    “The purpose of churchly institutions like Synods is to retain the marks of the Church in its member congregations with clarity for all the world to see.”
    “The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod was founded precisely so that it might retain the marks of the Church in their purity.”

    I’m persuaded from God’s Word that this has been a problem from it’s inception. To be pointed, the retaining of the marks of the Church, in their purity, is the work of the Holy Spirit not of a Synod. This work of God occurs in an individual not a church body. A church body is not the Christian Church although it may be comprised of Christian congregations and as you rightly point out false ones also. As it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” The subtle or egregious reliance (trust) in a church body to assist (cooperate with) the Spirit in His work of keeping us walking together (In Christ Jesus) is a carnal rationalism.

    I have been blessed by our Synod in many ways as others have. But many have now come to have their confidence IN the Synod even if they don’t outwardly recognize it. These things have become muddy and unclear.

    God is calling His people to repent of our thinking and believe (trust in) the Gospel alone for our walking together. Thank you for your service to Him in calling us to do the same!

    Peace in Christ,

  3. @John Rixe #1

    What does this have to do with the current situation in the LCMS? Are we supposed to tolerate error just because everyone else does? Is a little bit of error tolerable?

    Tom W.

  4. @DCO Tom #4

    I think there has always been disagreement as to what is a “little bit of error”.   I see plenty of friendly controversies even among the BJS confessionals.  

  5. May I propose that the members of the ACELC consider writing a short but informative book about this issue? Your video was very well done, but I’ve found that there’s something inherent in the pen that still gets attention when videos don’t.

    I would propose that, in each area of doctrinal/practical violation, the following formula be laid out:
    1.) the area of disputation
    2.) what is plainly laid out by Scripture and the Lutheran Confessional works
    3.) where this violation is being perpetrated (and I would go so far as to say that specific names of people and churches should be announced so as to avoid the charge of “boogeyman chasing.”)

    For your consideration, respectfully submitted.

  6. @John Rixe #1
    Dear BJS,
    LCMS…on paper, we are orthodox…perhaps a few rogue Churches and Pastors exist…we have not altered the doctrines we hold fast to, perhaps we do not know how to handle the error of sinful men that stray…

  7. Dear BJS,
    So many accuse the LCMS of false this and that…
    The world is getting tougher and tougher.
    We stand up for traditional marriage, we affirm Word and Sacrament, we affirm life. Just a few things we do in the LCMS.
    Yes, we differ a bit on what we call worship (do not get me started)…
    I do believe we hold fast to the doctrines laid down even before the Confessions, solid understandings of God from Holy Scripture.
    I am glad for the first time, perhaps I am nuts, but I will be happy to venture to Milwaukee and be a Synodical rep. and deal with all these “minor” problems.
    The LCMS is still baptizing babies, the flocks are being preached to, men and women are being married, the Eucharist is being served to the people in need.
    The LCMS is not going down…

  8. @Pastor Prentice #7

    Pr. Prentice,

    Actually, the Synod in convention voted to absolve itself from the mandates of Augsburg Confession Article XIV (authorizing those who are not regularly called and ordained to publicly preach, teach, and administer the sacraments)… at which point, they officially became a heterodox synod. It has also, through the organs of the synod president and district presidents, absolved itself from following the 1st Commandment in syncretistic public worship with the clergy of other gods.

    On a lesser level, the Synod has absolved itself of retaining the Mass (Divine Service) in all its historical reverence, also in direct violation of the Augsburg Confession– and supported it through its publishing house.

    These are not simply matters of local abuse, but of synodically approved and encouraged violation of the Lutheran Confessions. They are mostly quite recent innovations, coming to prominence in perhaps the last 30-40 years. While there are many other abuses which could be noted (and the ACELC attempts to do so) these are particularly egregious due to their synodical imprimatur.

    However, while the synod itself may in fact be heterodox, there are still many orthodox congregations still gathered together within it. Time will tell whether the synod can be reclaimed to faithful service of the orthodox congregations, or whether it becomes just a tool of the heterodox congregations.

    The fight goes on… as it always has.

  9. @Brad #10
    Dear Brad,
    Yes, I agree, we have abused the office of who can administer the Sacraments as we see it, we have abused the “emergency” act so to speak…that will be and is being dealt with.

    The Mass, well, I myself do see opportunities to vary settings in a proper worship service. This is being addressed and debated. After all Luther and others changed the Mass, to cleanup some theological problems, and to make it more understandable to the people.

    I still maintain Synod is orthodox, albeit many, both sides abuse practice. Yes, time will tell.

  10. @J. Dean #6
    How about being allowed to speak at the next convention? However, that will never happen. As our synodical president has stated repeatedly, “All is well and calm in our synod.”
    As long as you have district president’s promoting false practices (and teachings) within their own districts change will never happen.

  11. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    I think it would be helpful on this topic to see how C.F.W. Walther addressed the matter of heterodoxy in a Lutheran synod. In his essay “Syncretism,” which is now available in the book by CPH title “Church Fellowship” in Walther’s Works, he explains what he considers to be the parameters of orthodoxy.

    I don’t have the book with me today, so I can’t quote from that essay, but I have always found it helpful as the first step in considering this problem that affects all churches to some degree or another.

    Also in that essay was Walther’s very lengthy list of “Theological Problems,” i.e., specific areas where because the Scriptures are not clear (e.g., the book of Revelation) or don’t address a matter, that the church has to leave these areas of doctrine or Bible “open for discussion.” Walther’s discussion is, in my opinion, an application of the principle of adiaphora, which was originally defined in terms of practice, to the areas of doctrine and Bible. This keeps us from accusing someone of holding to false doctrine, when we simply have a disagreement in the realm of “Theological Problems” or adiaphora.

    In practice, Walther held to the principle of the Book of Concord as setting the parameters of orthodoxy for Lutherans. This was tested and reaffirmed by the Election Controversy. Walther’s approach is still relevant today, because timeless.

    I also refer you all to Johann Gerhard’s LOCI volume “On the Church” (CPH edition) which also explains how and why the heterodox are members of the church, and matters pertaining to that. Walther and Pieper both followed Gerhard’s definitions. Since I don’t have that book with me either, I can’t quote chapter or section to you. We need to follow Gerhard’s definitions and not make up our own definitions of heterodoxy, if we want to be orthodox Lutherans.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  12. @Martin R. Noland #13

    Dr. Noland,

    With all due deference to you, and our orthodox Lutheran theologians, I posit that our Confessions are adequately clear and understandable for nearly any reader to assess and apply to their own congregation, district, and synod. Clear violations of explicit and succinct articles are difficult to hide or dismiss, when the laity can read them for themselves. They may not be so perspicuous as Holy Scripture on cardinal doctrines, but they are remarkably clear.

    Without denigrating your excellent references above, a simple reading of the Augustana, the Small Catechism, and the Epitome (with their ample and succinct Biblical references) are sufficient to identify and resolve nearly all of the matters at hand in the Koinonia project… And which pop up from time to time in the local congregation. What I perceive is a simple lack of will, by too many in positions of authority, to humbly sit under the Word of God and their proper exposition in the clear Confessions. I do not think that rebellious heart will be turned bureaucratically, nor even by extensive study of our dogmaticians.

  13. @Tileman Hesshusius #12

    I think the trick is to remember that the bureaucratic entity which exists over and above the congregations, is not itself neutral, nor is it populated with neutral people. It also is not, properly speaking, the Church (I.e., it is not the faithful gathered around Christ in His Word and Sacraments… Though the individuals who compose it may themselves gather somewhere in a local congregation for that purpose). That administration which aggregates in office buildings near and far has no more claim to be lord over the congregations, than that administration which aggregates in the offices of the Vatican.

    This bureaucratic entity, which takes your money and does with it what it wills, only exists because the people of the congregations allow it to exist. All the offices and constructs which exist “above” the local congregations, are in fact far below it (circuits, districts, commissions, committees, conventions, projects, presidents, seminaries, etc.,) and can only have a valid reason to exist in so far as they remain humble servants of those congregations. When they cease to be servants of the congregations, and instead presume to be masters, those congregations in which the Office of the Keys are rightly exercised must do their duty to put them in their proper place.

    It is not any office holder in the synod which precludes any person or member from doing anything… But the people who have let themselves become enslaved by such bureaucrats, acquiescing to the deceptive illusion of their power. It is high time the congregations reminded their “leaders” that they are in fact the lowest of servants.

  14. Alex William C. Guebert’s translation of C.F.W. Walther’s 1868 article on syncretism, originally entitled “Dr. Walther’s Foreword for Volume XIV of ‘Lehre und Wehre,’ 1868,” was published in Concordia Theological Monthly 17:7, 1946, pp. 481-499, and is available online.

  15. Rev. Prentice, et. al.,

    The LCMS is properly called heterodox for two reasons:

    1. It has officially adopted error with respect to the Order of Creation. The LCMS has officially adopted error with respect to the violation of Augsburg XIV (which hopefully will finally be addressed at the next Synodical convention…but it will be a fight!); and it has officially adopted error with respect to unionism and syncretism.

    2. It tolerates errors without correction (repentance) with respect to the abandonment of the mass (which has massively divided our Synod), the adoption of a missiology of Glory, the matter of toleration of open communion of various forms on a wide-spread scale, the failure to provide proper ecclesiastical supervision (which permits error to go uncorrected), it has prevented proper correction and repentance of error by the adoption of a system of adjudication which places man-made bylaws above the Word of God, and the LCMS tolerates the unbiblical removal of pastors from their offices and at times utilized some officers of the Synod to aid and abet in the unbiblical process.

    Thus, in accord with Pieper’s definition we have “passed” the heterodoxy text with both the formal adoption of error and the toleration of error without repentance/correction.

    If these matters do not constitute heterodoxy, then I must wonder what would!

  16. In some respects an analogy can be drawn between the rank and file denial of many in Missouri to the charge of heterodoxy and the denial of President Obama to call Muslim extremism what it is. In both cases you cannot deal with the matter until you recognize it for what it is.

  17. What has amazed me over the last few years is the hatred that the ACELC has received. I have looked at what they have written and to me it seems like they are pointing out the elephant in the room. Those who hate the ACELC seem to be saying, “elephant, what elephant, I don’t see any elephant”. I think it is not so much what the ACELC has produced but who produced it. If instead of Richard Bolland associated with the ACELC say Matthew Harrison or Paul McClain was associated with the ACELC then the response would be much different. I have noted over the years in the LCMS the who is often more important then the what.

  18. Gaius,

    I think that the folks in the ACELC have become somewhat immune to the frequent criticism that has come our way. It has become something of a slightly unpleasant “background” noise and nothing more. What has bothered us is the utter silence and indifference we have received from the Synod leadership despite using virtually every permitted “avenue of redress” officially appointed for members of the Synod to use. I have come to understand that silence and indifference truly is a “response” and has contributed to my conclusion in the email article above that a church body that is unwilling to seriously address the concerns of false teaching and unbiblical practice is truly a heterodox church body where error continues to be held and tolerated.

    One of the dangers that the LCMS is on the cusp of falling into (if it hasn’t already), is what Rev. Dr. Hermann Sasse calls “The Institutional Lie”. In his 1936 essay, “Union and Confession” he writes:

    “Among the lies which destroy the church is one we have not yet mentioned. Alongside the pious and dogmatic lies, there stands an especially dangerous form of lie which can be called the Institutional Lie. By this we mean a lie which works itself out in the institutions of the church, in her government and her law. It is so dangerous because it legalizes the other lies in the church and makes them impossible to remove…It exists where the preaching of the Gospel according to the understanding of the Reformation enjoys the same right as the proclamation of a dogmaless Enlightenment religion, so long as the latter appeals only to the Bible. It exists where it is the rule that at the church which two pastoral positions one must be filled with a pastor of the ‘free’ bent, so the ‘liberals’ in the congregation do not have to go to another congregation with an ‘orthodox’ pastor. Such canon law…makes it completely impossible to distinguish between truth and error, between true and false doctrine. A church so composed can no longer see that the Gospel is plainly and purely preached and heresy opposed. It must protect open heretics when the ‘orthodox’ side denies that they possess an equal legitimacy in the church. The congregations of such a church, the youth who are educated in it, the people to whom it attempts to preach the truth of the Gospel must come to the conviction that it simply does not matter what one believes or does not believe. Since what is to be believed or not believed in the sermon is left up to the individual, his inclinations and aversions, his worldview and soon also his faithlessness will become the norm for proclamation in the church. In place of the objective message of that which God has done in Christ, subjective religious feelings and convictions soon form the essential content of the sermon. Thus the church sinks to the level of an institution for the satisfaction of the manifold religious needs of people and ceases to be the church of Christ, the pillar and foundation of the truth. It is self-evident that this falling away of the church from Gospel can also happen where its external organization still appears to be in order. For no constitution, no statute, no legal fixation of the confessional position can guard the church in the face of the defection from the true faith. Much less was this ever the teaching of the Lutheran Church, which in distinction from other confessions never knew a form of organization which God gave to his church to insure pure doctrine. We are unaware of Lutheran theologians ever teaching anything else. But the moment the falling away of the church from the Gospel finds expression also in church law and is legitimized, the entire awfulness of what we have called the institutional lie applies. For this lie makes the return to the truth as good as impossible. A church can fall into terrible dogmatic error, it can open door after door to heresy by tolerating it and doing nothing about it. With the help of the Holy Spirit, such a church can later repent, return to the pure Word of God, and take up the fight against false doctrine commanded by this Word. But if it has solemnly acknowledged the right of heresy in its midst, then heresy itself has become an organic component of the church concerned. It can then no longer fight against heresy, and a burning struggle against false doctrine in its midst would be an entirely illegal fight of one wing of this church against another.” (Sasse, Hermann, “Union and Confession”, The Lonely Way: Selected Essays and Letters, Vol. 1, Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis, Missouri, pp. 268-269)

  19. Is there an overture in the works to get the Dispute Resolution process to drop back to the 1989 scenario and start building again? It seems like such a jungle that no one can wade through it!

  20. The DRP was nothing other than an 80’s imposition of a business conflict resolution model seeking “win/win” solutions on a church body that is supposed to judge all matters of life and doctrine on the Holy Scriptures and our Lutheran Confessions. The monstrosity that was cobbled together over the decades since has proven itself to be part of the problem in addressing the issues dividing our Synod instead of part of the solution. When speaking of matters of doctrine and life, a “win/win” model simply doesn’t apply unless the goal was to never condemn false doctrine and unscriptural behavior but to find “common” ground and, having found what we hold in common to be greater than the matter of our differences, we then crafted carefully worded rulings that seek to placate all parties involved which, in turn, satisfied no one.

    If the LCMS is to adequately address the problem of the DRP, it needs to appoint one of its infamous “Blue Ribbon Task Forces” not to “fix” the DRP, but to come up with a totally new (or old) approach that actually lets God’s Word and our Symbols speak to the matters under consideration with greater force than man-made Bylaws. This is precisely why the ACELC has identified the DRP as one of our Synod’s errors because it does not consistently respect the Word and Confessions in its processes and therefore, it is an impediment to the correction of error. If you want to see some of the ridiculous actions wrought under the DRP, look at the “Evidence of Errors” documents under “Key Documents” tab on the acelc website.

  21. @Rev. Richard A. Bolland #25
    What I still don’t get is how things don’t happen when it’s proven that The Scripture and the Confessions say “X” and certain individuals are saying “not X.”

    It’s essentially tantamount to the law saying “Stealing is a crime” and the police standing around twiddling their thumbs while a thief breaks into a jewelry store in front of them and robs the place clean.

  22. @Redeemed #24: “Is there an overture in the works to get the Dispute Resolution process to drop back to the 1989 scenario and start building again?”

    Fat chance! Such an overture would restore the 1989 bylaws that designated the Missouri District President as the ecclesiastical supervisor of the Synodical President. In January 1992, Bohlmann had to have his CCM henchmen pull an opinion out of their collective keisters to tapdance around those bylaws.

    Even if such a proposed overture did exist, one of Harrison’s floor committees would trashcan such an overture before it got within 50 miles of the convention floor. Furthermore, the LCMS Commission on Handbook is already developing its own “solution” to be presented as an overture to the 2016 Convention, as noted in its September 25–27, 2015, Meeting Minutes, under 58. To Expedite Dispute Resolution and Expulsion Processes (13-036).

    The COH “solution” is to shorten the time periods required for the various stages of the DRP procedural labyrinth, but with a proviso that exceptions are allowed for “insurmountable circumstances.” (However, “insurmountable” is not defined, except for the obvious “specified time period has already passed.”)

    Oh! And that’s not including the proposed added wording to the Bylaws discussed in 57. To Clarify Bylaws Governing Concordia University System Faculty Policies and Dispute Resolution (13-033).

    Anyone interested in starting a betting pool on whether the sedated delegates at the 2016 convention will approved various Bylaw changes that will expand the 2016 Handbook to over 300 pages?

    And if anyone has access, what are the number of pages in the Handbooks of past years? It might also be interesting to look at a plot of the number of Handbook pages vs the LCMS total congregational membership.

  23. @J. Dean #26

    It’s essentially tantamount to the law saying “Stealing is a crime” and the police standing around twiddling their thumbs while a thief breaks into a jewelry store in front of them and robs the place clean.

    No,it’s like Jesus saying, “Whoever will be greatest among you should be your servant.” And instead we feed the insecure egos with bigger salaries, fancy retreats (at the expense of CEF investors) plus “expenses” galore every time they meet.
    The salaries of the district office should be no larger than the average of the district pastors (including their candidates’ “0’s”) and if they want more, raise the average.

    In the 21 years I’ve served a university library, working staff has been more than halved. [University administration…another story… and guess what? They are crying for money!]

    In the same time, the district office has added a whole new layer of bureaucracy/”administration” to harass the working Pastor who provides a Lutheran service and doesn’t encourage a “praise band” or the like. And they are crying for money.

    If our bureaucrat/administrators were truly concerned about “the lost” they would strive to emulate the top salaries of Salvation Army instead of Red Cross, Planned Parenthood and Joel Osteen!

    But their own membership is in the plastic churches!

  24. Rick and Helen,

    Is the ACELC tilting at windmills? Yes, in many respects. Do we hope that the LCMS will actually address the errors we’ve identified? Probably not all of them. What I suspect will happen (and this is just my personal opinion) is that at each Synodical convention (if a Confessional President is still in office), is that every once-in-a-while the Synod will throw the confessional men a “bone” to placate us into thinking that they are actually interested in resolving our differences in doctrine and practice. This summer the “bone” will be the attempted killing of laymen involved in Word and Sacrament ministry. Word in the halls is that the Northwest District will be fighting this tooth and nail and may even threaten to leave the Synod if they don’t get their way. (Now wouldn’t that be just tragic! – sarcasm mode off.) I don’t know if other liberal districts are also making such threats, but I wouldn’t be surprised. So it is not a sure thing that the “bone” will be caught by the dog and eaten. Look for multiple amendments from the floor of the convention to water the Task Force’s report and recommendations down.

    But let’s be optimistic and say the report and its recommendations actually pass with the same language and spirit in which it is brought. Will anyone with differing doctrine be asked to leave the Synod? Don’t hold your breath! Will there be specific language that calls for repentance for our previous unbiblical, unConfessional actions since 1989? Not a chance – despite President Harrison’s oft repeated mantra that the first thing the Synod needs to do is to repent. This obviously does not apply to our past sins as a Synod.

    So unless the liberal districts actually do leave, (best possible scenario!), then we will have a piece of paper that speaks the truth (mostly), but no one will give the thing teeth to deal with dissenters. Thus, we shall remain an impossibly divided Synod with a slightly better piece of paper.

  25. @Rev. Richard A. Bolland #29: “… every once-in-a-while the Synod will throw the confessional men a “bone” to placate us into thinking that they are actually interested in resolving our differences in doctrine and practice.”

    Yes, there are confessional Lutheran “bones” contained in resolutions passed at every convention. And most are passed by a majority vote that suggests even many delegates from liberal Lufauxran-controlled districts voted for them. But then after the convention such resolutions are effectively filed and forgotten by those Lufauxran pastors and congregations who were ignoring them even before the convention.

    And nothing is done about Lufauxran members of Synod… well, except, after more than five years, a tokenized Matt Becker. But that was after a public apology for Morris, the Memorandum of Fabulous Understanding, the Koinonia Project, giving leftist DPs choice chairmanships on floor committees which sidetracked important confessional overtures at the 2013 convention, continued supported for the radical leftist LIaRS, holding formal fellowship talks with a church body that still remains committed to the ordaining of pastrixes, etc., etc.

    The Northwest District would not leave the Synod even if the SP were to suspend or remove its DP (after all, districts didn’t leave en masse after their liberal DPs were removed over Seminex, or after a DP’s YS spiritual adultery suspension following official complaints from some 20 (out of some 15,000) synodical members.

  26. @Rev. Richard A. Bolland #29

    Oh, yes. Northwest has already started a full court press on fighting the elimination of lay deacons. CNH and PSW are joining in that chorus. Over on the eastern seaboard, the East Coast Endeavors districts are aligning to send their lay ministry training through Bronxville, to train up leaders of “Eucharistic communities”. So that is about 6 more districts. Instead of a full frontal assualt, the Atlantic people will be more subtle, with claiming their lay leaders are not acting as pastors and are under supervision, but the Bronxville program description does say these men (and women?) are trained to be able to consecrate the elements and preach.

    Why are we letting them? Anyone who reads here, ACELC, Lutherans Concerned, Issues, Etc. and others need to bring their A game. Come up with counter arguments to nullify the liberal emotional appeals. Give support to those districts the towards NOT having lay deacons. Some have been involved in past attempts to end this practice, some are working on it now. Such leaders come out of North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, (South?), with others who recently discussed this at their conventions: Mid-South and Kansas.

    Hopefully Pres. Harrison appoints quality Floor chairman. I am personally grateful that Dave Benke is retired., so he won’t be able to screw things up by throwing his weight around. He is rather smarmy. But please, don’t let Paul Linneman come anywhere near leading/being involved in some of this stuff. I know he wants to help figure out a way forward for deacons, but really he will sandbag everything to make sure deacons continue AND expand.

    All delegates out there: please be aware, and get prepared for the tasks coming this summer. At least get us moving in the right direction. Rapidly phase out deacons. Put teeth into resolutions for reprimanding errant DP’s. With the DRP items, take away the loopholes that allow liberals to promote their false theology. I wish I could be there, but I feel like I got stonewalled. I’ll be sitting at home on the sidelines. I will pray for you all to clean up messes. God bless you.

  27. Yes, Rick,

    Only 20 out of 15,000 filed formal charges against Benke, but keep in mind that was the most pastors/congregations to have ever filed charges against anyone for anything in the history of the LCMS. Not even the Seminex matter had so many filers.

  28. Confessional delegates should be familiar with the tactical use of Robert’s Rules of Order to push through Lutheran resolutions, as well as to block Lufauxran delegates (and leftist floor committee chairmen) from gutting or tabling them.

    If the convention is calm, the leftists are likely winning.

  29. @Rev. Richard A. Bolland #32: “… keep in mind that was the most pastors/congregations to have ever filed charges against anyone for anything in the history of the LCMS.”

    Yes, and since then more briars have grown in the Dispute Resolution Labyrinth, so that twenty (or even less) confessional members would shudder at the thought of attempting to try that route again, especially after reading an intimidating warning in a “pastoral” letter from the Purple Palace.

  30. @Jason #31
    Dear Jason,
    I will bring my A game – but for the Deacons question, officially, they are OK, BUT they need to be men alone, and they cannot perform pastoral duties that pertain only to called and ordained men.
    A Deacon is only in the Church he serves, and some may say Elder, all Churches react differently. Yes, we should tidy up the rules.

  31. @Pastor Prentice #38

    And therein lies the problem. Many of the “Licensed Lay Deacons” ARE performing pastoral duties. Those districts and DP’s who sponsor them treat them as ‘deployed’ staff’, either from the district or as a satellite of another congregation. Because of this, they are considered ‘supervised’ and are given permission to consecrate communion and preach by their supervisors (whoever they may be).

    And some of them are roving, filling in at places that are not their home congregation (where they are members of). They sub for pastors on vacation, congregations in vacancy. Heck, sometimes they preach in front of their own shepherd, because he think s they do well (he wants to encourage them) and he just wants a break. (so much for setting aside his call as their pastor, being rather negligent in his duties).

    Now how we parse the terms Elder and Deacon, IF they begin to perform pastoral functions, then they should be MEN ‘ordained’ into the Office of Holy Ministry, into the lesser of the Three-fold Office. But our particular Missouri Synod Lutherans, relying on the Smalcald Articles, treat the office as one office. So in effect, our SMP’s with their restrictions are functionally Biblical Deacons, as better understood within the church catholic. Otherwise we have laity (occasionally even women, I have personally witnessed it) are chancel prancing and need to be sat down.

    So please pay very close attention to the specific wording coming to the floor. I sense you have a good idea of appropriateness, so be wise as a serpent. 1989 failed by installing the ‘Deacon program’, 1995 rescinded it, only to have emotions in 2001 bring it back. 2010 had something to correct this, but it got screwed with, sent back to committee and died before coming to the floor again. Enough is enough.

    (We spent over a year on this, coming up with 34 pages, maybe too many. But really we need to end this.)

  32. @Jason #39
    Dear Jason,
    And I agree, abuse is there, and I will do my best to be a voice to correct that ab use.

    I have one Deacon (I pray for him, in hospital recovering from major surgery)…he is basically my servant and assists me in executing my office:
    01) The Church voted approval to him being the Deacon, we installed him under my pastoral oversight.
    02) He visits, I have a few shutins and I want them visited well.
    03) He assists in readings.
    04) We chat about things related to the care of the people.

    He does no duties of an ordained pastor, period. And he is only Deacon at Faith Westchester.

    Yes, I will pay special attention to all this. Some ARE breaking the rules.

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