Convention 2016: It’s Time … for 2016 Convention Deadlines (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

Convention 2016: It’s Time … for 2016 Convention Deadlines

About a week ago, Secretary Hartwig’s office sent out this convention postcard mailing:

Mailing No. 12: Jan. 15, 2016

It’s Time … for 2016 Convention Deadlines

With the arrival of the new year, three important LCMS convention deadlines are rapidly approaching for your congregation:

Feb. 9, 2016 — President and first vice-president nominating ballots must be received by this date by the Synod’s auditor, Brown Smith Wallace. Official ballots must be used and signed by two congregation officers. Blue return envelopes were provided in your congregation’s nominations packet.

Feb. 9, 2016 — Regional vice-president, Board of Directors and mission board nominating ballots must be received by this date by the Office of the Secretary of the Synod. Official ballots must be used and signed by two congregation officers. Yellow return envelopes were provided in your congregation’s nominations packet.

[Note: If a nominating ballot has been spoiled or lost, a duplicate ballot must be obtained from the Office of the Secretary in sufficient time to meet the Feb. 9 deadline.]

Feb. 20, 2016 — Overtures (proposed convention actions) are due to be received by the Office of the President for inclusion in the 2016 Convention Workbook and must be signed by at least one officer of the congregation. Overtures received after the Feb. 20 deadline are included in convention business only if judged to be a matter of overriding importance and urgency and not covered by overtures already submitted.

Raymond L. Hartwig
LCMS Secretary

Now today I’d like to point out a couple things about the official nominations ballots:

1) Note that the LCMS Presidential Nomination Ballot and the LCMS Regional Nomination Ballots go to two different places. So use the pre-addressed envelopes accordingly. (Of course, make sure the ballots are filled out properly, dated, and signed by the congregation chairman and congregation secretary.)

2) Note that the ballots provide for two nominees for every position. Thus your congregation may want to make use of both slots. For example, if your congregation is in the Central Region (Regional map), you may nominate two persons for Lay Member, Board for International Mission. The United List has recommended one name: Dr. Kristine Bruss, Topeka, KS (KS). But you may want to nominate a second name also, perhaps: Jerry M. Frese, Lansing, KS (KS). Mr. Frese was appointed to the BIM in November to fill out a vacant term. But he would need to receive sufficient nominations now to appear on the ballot at the convention.

Also, a request about convention overtures: My congregation is having its voters’ meeting on January 31. I would be interested in seeing any good overtures on issues such as these: phasing out licensed lay deacons; tightening and upgrading the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) program; strengthening Lutheran identity at our Concordias; reforming the Dispute Resolution Process (DRP) and doctrinal discipline; rescinding 2004 Res. 3-08A on the service of women; etc. Feel free to post such overtures, or at least links to them, below.


Convention 2016: It’s Time … for 2016 Convention Deadlines (by Pr. Charles Henrickson) — 31 Comments

  1. The 509-page 2016 Convention Workbook is now available.

    Here are some overtures of interest (among many others not listed here) in the 509 pages of the Convention Workbook.:

    4-25 To Investigate Organization Named FiveTwo in Light of Synod Constitution Article II
    5-11 To Reaffirm Standard for Pastoral Admission to Lord’s Supper: Full Agreement in All Articles of Christian Doctrine
    5-09 To Evaluate Theological Implications of Practice of Cremation (submitted by the English District)
    5-10 To Avoid Practice of Communing Infants and Very Young Children
    5-12 To Direct District Presidents re Errant Communion Practices
    5-14 To Reaffirm 1947 Convention Resolution re Intinction
    5-27 To State Women Have No Authority Over Men in Church Humanly Established Offices
    5-31 To Condemn and Renounce Employment of Women in Military Combat
    11-01 To Review LCMS President’s Authority
    11-02 To Review Powers of Synod President, Secretary, CCM, and District Presidents
    11-03 To Amend Bylaw re Responsibilities of Commission on Constitutional Matters
    11-13 To Create Term Limits for Synod Elected Officers
    11-30 To Declare CCM Opinion 13-2694 re Doctrinal Resolutions Null and Void
    12-02 To Return to Pastoral-Based Model of Governance
    12-15 To Form New Dispute Reconciliation Process
    12-42 Omnibus Overture #1 (Dispute Resolution)
    14-03 To Declare It Contrary to Holy Scripture to Join in Prayer with Those Who Deny Jesus Christ
    14-04 To Change Name of Synod to Concordia Lutheran Synod
    14-15 To Inform Synod Members of Objectives of Islam
    14-17 To Inform Synod Members re Deception of Alternative Sexual Lifestyles

  2. Here the gauntlet of twenty floor committees for the 2016 Synodical Convention:

    Committee 1: National Witness
    C: Mark Miller (CI);
    DP: Vice chair: Derek Lecakes (AT);
    VOM: Roy Coats (SE); Eloy Gonzalez (TX); Thomas Harries
    (KS); Eric Linthicum (SE); Thomas Park (MNS);
    VL: Dennis Eickhoff (IN);
    ACM: Peter Keyes (MNN).

    Committee 2: International Witness
    C: Donald Fondow (MNN);
    SVP: Vice chair: Nabil Nour (SD);
    VOM: Robert Roegner (EN); Matthew Wurm (SD); Karl
    Ziegler (NEB);
    VL: Clara Ball (MI); Donald Hutchinson (SI); Ann Winkler
    ACM: Lucas Tanney (IE).

    Committee 3: Mercy
    C: Lee Hagan (MO);
    DP: Vice chair: Kurtis Schultz (SO);
    VOM: Douglas Christian (IN); Christopher Stout (SE); Bruce
    von Hindenburg (PSW);
    VL: Deochand Bhagwatprasad (AT); Robert Hering (NEB);
    AOM: Bernard Seter (ND);
    ACM: Ruth McDonnell (MO).

    Committee 4: Life Together
    C: Dan Gilbert (NI);
    DP: Vice chair: Richard Snow (NEB);
    VOM: Christopher Amen (SW); Ronald Bogs (TX); Paul
    Egger (IW); Scott Schilbe (MNS);
    VL: Peggy Beyer (NEB); Kent Seetin (IW);
    ACM: Allen Piepenbrink (MDS).

    Committee 5: Theology & Church Relations
    C: Scott Murray (TX);
    SVP: Vice chair: Daniel Preus (MO);
    DP: Kenneth Hennings (TX);
    VOM: Stewart Crown (CNH); Sean Daenzer (ND); Daniel
    Galchutt (KS); Ryan Wendt (MT);
    VL: Roni Grad (EN); Willis Myers (SO); Andrea Pitkus
    (NI); Bill VanEss (SW);
    ACM: David Buchholz (MO).

    Committee 6: Seminaries
    C: James Baneck (ND);
    DP: Vice chair: John Hill (WY);
    VOM: Benjamin Ball (SI); Daniel Grams (EN); Herbert
    Mueller, III (IE); Jacob Sutton (IN);
    VL: Charles Randow (SE); Leslie Sramek (SI);
    ACM: Dale Fish (MI).

    Committee 7: University Education
    C: Timothy Scharr (SI);
    SVP: Vice chair: John Wohlrabe (SW);
    VOM: Steven Briel (MNS); Steven Washington (SO); Keith
    Witte (OH);
    VL: David Hawk (IN); Mark Stern (NI); Charmayne
    Zieziula (EA);
    ACM: Ruth Otten (NI);
    AL: Gerhard Mundinger (IN).

    Committee 8: Parochial Schools
    C: Dean Nadasdy (MNS);
    SVP: Vice chair: Christopher Esget (SE);
    VOM: Peter Bender (SW); Mark Nebel (SI); David Speers
    VL: David De Young (NI);
    ACM: Heather Judd (WY); Darin Koenemann (IN); Michael
    Staub (TX).

    Committee 9: Finance
    C: Daniel May (IN);
    DP: Vice chair: Barrie Henke (OK);
    VOM: Brian Noack (AT); Terrence O’Brien (CI); Aaron
    Richert (MI);
    VL: Dennis Melstad (SD); James Tuell (RM); Robert Wurl
    ACM: William Sharpe (ND).

    Committee 10: Stewardship: Funding the Mission
    C: Dwayne Lueck (NW);
    DP: Vice chair: Andrew Dzurovcik (SELC);
    VOM: Kenneth Bomberger (MI); David Kuhfal (NEB); Derek
    Roberts (MDS);
    VL: Jason Gehrke (SW); Timothy Gibson (OH); Loren
    Johnson (IW);
    ACM: James Scriven (NOW).

    Committee 11: Structure & Administration
    C: Terry Cripe (OH);
    DP: Vice chair: Jamison Hardy (EN);
    VOM: W. R. Rains (OK); Joshua Willadsen (MDS);
    VL: Frank Delgado (MT); Paula Krueger (NW); Ben Rolf
    (MNS); Marvin Schulteis (KS);
    ACM: Mark Bender (MO).

    Committee 12: Ecclesiastical Supervision & Dispute Resolution
    C: John Wille (SW);
    DP: Vice chair: Steven Turner (IW);
    VOM: Steven Billings (SW); Jeffery Grams (WY); David
    Mumme (MNS); Bruce Timm (MNN);
    VL: Eric Held (SO); Jon Kohlmeier (IE); Craig Timm (NW);
    ACM: Martha Milas (CI).

    Committee 13: Routes to Ministry
    C: Roger Paavola (MDS);
    DP: Vice chair: Allen Anderson (RM);
    VOM: Paul Clark (MI); Roger Gallup (NI); Kent Schaaf
    (CNH); Aaron Schian (EA);
    VL: Donal Pugh (RM); George Trammell (SI);
    AOM: Bruce Keseman (SI);
    ACM: David Berger (MO).

    Committee 14: Church & Culture
    C: Terry Forke (MT);
    DP: Vice chair: John Denninger (SE); Anthony Steinbronn
    VOM: Paul Gregory Alms (SE); Adam Filipek (MO); Paul
    Undlin (MI);
    VL: Alan Brodbeck (NEB); Paul Lagemann (EN);
    AOM: John Pless (IN);
    ACM: Erik Ankerberg (TX).

    Committee 15: Reformation
    C: Peter Lange (KS);
    DP: Vice chair: Scott Sailer (SD);
    VOM: Mark Bersche (OK); Dallas Dubke (CNH); Kevin
    Martin (SE); Richard Serina, Jr. (NJ);
    VL: David Mietzner (PSW);
    ACM: Ashley Jensema (KS).

    Committee 16: Family, Youth & Young Adults
    C: Timothy Yeadon (NE);
    DP: Vice chair: Robert Newton (CNH);
    VOM: Raymond Connor (NW); Justin Panzer (KS); Jay
    Winters (FG); Philip Zielinski (OH);
    VL: Rebecca Mayes (MO);
    AOM: Jacob Gilbert (SW);
    ACM: Jonathon Pickelmann (SW).

    Committee 17: Preaching & Church Worker Continuing Education
    C: Brian Saunders (IE);
    DP: Vice chair: Larry Stoterau (PSW);
    VOM: Paul Beisel (IE); John Telloni (SELC); Richard Zeile
    VL: Gary Euren (MNN); Steve Hunt (NOW); Mark Polzin
    ACM: Leann McClain (TX).

    Committee 18: Worker Wellness
    C: David Maier (MI);
    DP: Vice chair: Paul Linnemann (NOW);
    VOM: Allan Buss (NI); John Fleischmann (AT); Russell
    Johnson (MI); Jonathan Manor (NE);
    VL: Jeffery Albright (FG);
    ACM: Betsy Karkan (NI).

    Committee 19: Registration, Credentials & Elections
    C: Gregory Walton (FG);
    DP: Vice chair: Chris Wicher (EA);
    VOM: Paul Biber (SELC); Bradley Stoltenow (RM); David
    Zirpel (IW);
    VL: Jon Dhuse (PSW); Jay Meyer (KS);
    ACM: Caren Vogt (NJ).

    Committee 20: Committee for Convention Nominations
    C: Ronald Garwood (WY);
    O: Vice chair: Russell Sommerfeld (NEB);
    Secretary: Martin Noland (IN); Roger Gallup (NI);
    Dennis Heiden (MNS); Marvin Henschel (OK); William
    Meyer (AT); Mark Miller (CI); Dale Sattgast (SD);
    L: Dennis Coerber (NOW); Lee Dreyer (IW); William
    Gaik (FG); Gregory Miller (MO); Thelma Myers
    (SELC); David Piehler (NW); Richard Parker (CNH);
    Stan Weir (SO).

    Key to Abbreviations:
    C = Chairman; SVP = Synod Vice-President; DP = District President; VOM = Voting Ordained Minister; VL = Voting Layperson; AOM = Advisory Ordained Minister; ACM = Advisory Commissioned Minister; AL = Advisory Layperson

  3. From the President’s Report, pp. 2-3:

    Demythologizing the Mission: The Brutal Facts of the LCMS Forty-Year Decline

    Folks, the LCMS has been declining for some forty years. No LCMS district has shown any increase in the number of the baptized in nearly twenty years. A couple of years back, I requested our internal Rosters and Statistics people do a thorough study on the performance of each district over the past forty years, with a focus especially upon the last decade. While districts vary in the percentage of decline, the trend line for all of them is the same. It’s even the case in the two largest districts (Texas and Michigan), which have planted the most congregations over the past forty years. We noted that the decline of the two Iowa districts was identical from 2002 to 2012. This was intriguing because Iowa East tends to be quite conservative and Iowa West less so. This and other factors has led me to believe that our decline could hardly be pegged to closed Communion or worship practices, much less our doctrine or our biblical positions on social issues.

    After discussing the results of two more studies, the President’s Report continues:

    After the third study was done, I asked for just a little more information. I asked for a county-by-county report on the birth rates for each district area of the LCMS. Guess what? The district/state with the highest birth rate in the past ten years (South Dakota), happened to be the best performing district of the LCMS (only a 4 percent decline from 2002–2012). New Jersey had the lowest birth rate over the past decade, and the district accordingly showed the greatest losses over ten years (33 percent). What’s more, the performance of each district lines up almost exactly with the birth rate of each area….}

    The brutal fact is, we could elevate our evangelism performance to that of the Mormons, and we would still be looking at numerical decline in 33 of our 35 districts. Sober facts. These are not excuses. These are facts.

    [Emphasis in original]

  4. Early [pre-confirmation] communion has been discussed on BJS and other Lutheran blogs in the past.

    It is therefore a welcomed sight to see in the 2016 LCMS Convention Workbook (p. 347), Overture 5-11, To Reaffirm Standard for Pastoral Admission to Lord’s Supper: Full Agreement in All Articles of Christian Doctrine, which states in part:

    Whereas, C. F. W. Walther (first president of the LCMS) comments on 1 Corinthians 10:17, writing, “… Therefore one who goes to Holy Communion in a Lutheran church declares openly before the world: I hold with this church, with the doctrine that is confessed here, and with all the confessors who belong here. The pastor who administers the Sacrament to him declares the very same thing” (C. F. W. Walther, “Communion Fellowship,” Essays for the Church, vol. 1, p. 215);
    Whereas, The LCMS has repeatedly reaffirmed that to administer the Lord’s Supper in accord with Christ’s institution is to do so admitting only properly instructed Lutherans to our Lutheran altars, thus requiring full agreement in all articles of doctrine prior to establishing fellowship at the altar (1967 Res. 2-19; 1983 Res. 3-12; 1986 Res. 3-08; 1995 Res. 3-08; 1998 Res. 3-05.); and
    Whereas, Many LCMS congregations today have sadly abandoned the standard of full doctrinal agreement for admission to the Lord’s Table by limiting that agreement only to a selected few doctrines, or by eliminating any limiting Communion statement at all, or by opening the Communion Table to all baptized Christians, and the like, thus abdicating their pastoral oversight responsibility toward the spiritual well-being of those communing or proclaiming a unity in doctrine which does not exist; therefore be it
    Resolved, That the LCMS reaffirm that the standard for pastoral admission to the Lord’s Supper is full agreement in all articles of Christian doctrine.”

    Such full agreement in the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church is made by the catechumen at the time of his confirmation and is a requirement in the constitutions of Missouri Synod congregations for all communicant members.

    One would hope that with Scott Murray and Daniel Preus heading up Floor Committee 5, Overture 5-11 has a good chance of surviving.

  5. There are fifty overtures dealing with the “certified lay minister” program, ranging from ending the program to overtures calling to continue and encouraging the program.

    The overtures will be converted into one or more proposed resolutions by Floor Committee 13: Routes to Ministry.

  6. @Carl Vehse #6

    There are fifty overtures dealing with the “certified lay minister” program, ranging from ending the program to overtures calling to continue and encouraging the program.

    I haven’t looked at them yet, but my guess is that the bulk of the those overtures are coming from the Northwest District (along with one or two other districts that lean that way), all calling for the preservation and promotion of the licensed lay deacon program. In other words, it’s an organized “astroturf” campaign, flooding the workbook with lots of overtures to make it look like there is a genuine grassroots groundswell.

    My congregation did submit an overture to bring an end to district licensed lay deacon programs. We wanted to give the floor committee grist for their mill.

  7. @Charles Henrickson #7

    Of the fifty overtures on the Certified Lay Deacon (CLD) program, here’s the breakdown of overtures by source:

    Districts – 18
    Seminaries – 2
    Circuits – 4
    One of more congregations – 26

    Of the 18 District-submitted overtures, NOW submitted 4 of them (in addition to NOW congregations submitting 9 others) to continue the CLD program. In addition to NOW, the following districts submitted overtures to continue the CLD program: FGD, TX, SED, ED, CNH, PSW, NJ. The NID, CID, and SID submitted overtures to go the CLD-to-SMP route. The MI district submitted an overture to create an ordained deacon category. The MT district submitted an overture to stop the CLP program. Some districts submitted more than one overture.

    Here’s the breakdown of overtures by the position of each toward the CLD program:

    Continue the CLD program – 34
    Have the CLDs go through the SMP program – 8
    Ordain CLDs – 2
    Stop the CLD program completely – 3
    Do more study for the 2019 convention – 3

  8. Title IX of the United States Education Amendments of 1972 states (in part):

    “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

    However, Title IX does provide for a specific exemption for religious schools. The Title IX religious exemption states:

    “Title IX does not apply to an educational institution that is controlled by a religious organization to the extent that application of Title IX would be inconsistent with the religious tenets of the organization.”

    A Title IX exemption is automatic for any school that requests it. Neither the traitorous Department of Education nor the traitorous Department of Justice have the authority to deny it.

    The U.S. Department of Education has published a list (updated as of April 26) of 232 faith-based colleges and universities that requested and were granted a religious exemption from Title IX.

    Curiously, even though the universities or colleges in the Missouri Synod’s Concordia University System (CUS) have Title IX coordinators, NOT ONE CUS school is listed among the 232 as having a Title IX religious exemption. So why hasn’t any CUS school applied for and received a Title IX religious exemption which would allow the school to use “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” restrictions in decisions regarding students and employees at the school?

    Such a Title IX religious exemption would have spared Concordia-St. Paul the shameful embarrassment brought when President Tom Ries issued a tapdancing ‘apology’ about the pressured resignation of a bisexual 908 student ministry coordinator. It would also have saved President Ries and university pastor Tom Gundermann, from having to throw an unnamed presumably Lutheran 908 student president under the bus. Neither Ries and Gundermann have been removed from their positions at Concordia-St. Paul.

    The only mention of Title IX in the 2016 Convention Workbook, is in Overture 7-19, To Enable Concordia University System to Maintain Doctrinal Integrity in Face of Existential Threats (pp. 373-374). There is NO MENTION of applying for a religious exemption to Title IX, but the Overture does refer to the Ries/Concordia-St. Paul debacle. Overture 7-19 states, in part:

    Every one of our Concordia universities receives funds from the federal government under the condition that they abide by Title IX (a 1972 law which, among other things, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex). Recently, however, the U.S. Department of Education has unilaterally reinterpreted the term “sex discrimination” to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Based on this new interpretation, an entire school district in northern Illinois was forced to change its policies about what is sexually appropriate or risk the loss of federal education dollars. The same rule change could, at any moment, be applied to other schools which are obligated to follow Title IX….

    Lest we think that the Concordia University System is immune from such financial exposure, we note an incident at Concordia in St. Paul. In late 2015, a student was disciplined for inappropriate sexual behavior. As a result, the university experienced pressure both from within the student body as well as from national media. They were being pressured to apologize for the discipline, change their student policies, and allow LGBT advocacy groups to operate on campus….

    Resolved, That in the event that there are any challenges to our schools that would hinder our capacity to teach and confess our faith and to have ethical standards in accordance with that faith, the Synod authorizes, in advance, that the Concordia University System may take all necessary actions up to and including the consolidation of our colleges and universities in order to be faithful to our calling, and that any remaining school or schools may not take any federal money or risk any commitments in any programs that would compromise either the teaching or practicing of the Lutheran Confessions.

    Board of Directors
    Wyoming District

    So, why hasn’t the LCMS-CUS applied for a Title IX exemption (it is really easy to do) rather than deal with such overtures at synodical conventions?!?

  9. The 2016 Convention Workbook also includes the triennial reports of all of the Synod’s Districts. These reports make interesting reading. For example, here’s the first paragraph of the Texas District report (p. 122):

    “The Texas District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has studied its viability since the last convention by reflecting on the questions suggested by the Synod. We thank God for blessing our viability to carry out His mission and to support and serve congregations and preaching stations throughout the district.”

    Don’t worry about reading the lengthier Koinonia Project report (pp. 55-57). You’ll have plenty of time to read about it, as the report itself notes:

    Three years ago, we reported that the “Koinonia Project” is a long-term initiative of the President’s Office under the Constitution of the Synod, Art. XI B 3, which enjoins the President to “conscientiously use all means at his command to promote and maintain unity of doctrine and practice in all the districts of the Synod.”….

    Again, this is a decades-long initiative.

  10. @John Rixe #11

    You, not me, described the paragraph as “so unusually interesting.”

    I said, “These reports make interesting reading,” and quoted the first paragraph of the Texas District report.

    And I used the phrase “interesting reading” in the sense of a “Where’s Waldo?” exercise in trying to find comparative, quantitative data in the District reports.

  11. One of the documents presented in the 2016 Convention Workbook is “A Theological Statement for Mission in the 21st Century,” in fulfillment of 2013 Res. 1-03A (2013 Convention Proceedings, p. 100) and adopted by the Board for International Mission on Feb. 24, 2014.

    Within “A Theological Statement” is Section 11. On being Lutheran today for the sake of Witness, Mercy, Life Together.

    The Gospel and Baptism must traverse the world,” [Werner Elert. Structure of Lutheranism (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1962), 386] said Luther. This is what Lutheran missions cares about — faithfully preaching repentance and faith in Jesus’ name, baptizing and teaching so that those who belong to Christ in every nation are built up in His Word and fed with His body and blood. Mission is, to use the words of Wilhelm Löhe, “the one church of God in motion,” calling, gathering and enlightening unbelievers through the pure teaching of the Gospel. This definition lies at the heart of what it means to be Lutheran in mission. Lutheran mission is defined by an unqualified (quia) subscription to The Book of Concord as the correct exposition of the Holy Scriptures. We are in harmony in the one biblical Gospel and the Sacraments instituted by Christ. Rejecting theological pluralism and its offspring universalism, Lutheran mission is grounded in the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ, knowing outside of His Word, which is spirit and life, there is only darkness and death.

    It’s not clear whether the ironies included within this paragraph are meant as an inside joke or whether the various entities approving the text did not recognize such ironies.

    The ironies here are A Theological Statement‘s references to Werner Elert and Wilhelm Löhe, both of whom were not orthodox Lutherans.

    The paragraph’s third irony is the statement,

    “Lutheran mission is defined by an unqualified (quia) subscription to The Book of Concord as the correct exposition of the Holy Scriptures.”

    This is a correct statement, but one that was ignored by the CTCR and the Synod President when they approved altar and pulpit fellowship with Den Lutherske Kirke i Norge (The Lutheran Church in Norway), who does not hold an unqualified (quia) subscription to The Book of Concord as the correct exposition of the Holy Scriptures. So much for the Purple Palace “rejecting theological pluralism”! 🙁

  12. In the LCMS 2016 Convention Workbook (p. 71), Section F. Expressions of Dissent, CTCR Response to the ACELC’s “Dissent Women Redux 2014-01-27” the CTCR states in part:

    At its Dec. 11, 2015, meeting, the CTCR approved a “nonformal” response to the ACELC’s dissent referencing the CTCR’s Dec. 12, 2014, response to President Harrison’s request for a “CTCR Review of 2005 Task Force Guidelines for the Service of Women in Congregational Offices” (see I A 9 above). In its response, the CTCR asks the ACELC to hold its dissent in abeyance as it studies and discusses the CTCR’s response to President Harrison (which the commission sees as addressing many of the issues raised in the ACELC’s “Dissent Redux”). The CTCR also reaffirms in its response to the ACELC its commitment to continue and complete a thorough study of the role of women in the church that further addresses various questions and concerns raised in the ACELC dissent.

    Coincidentally, on the very same Workbook page (and continuing on into the next), in Section 2. Current/Pending Requests for Church Fellowship, the CTCR presented verbiage on its relationships and fellowship talks with the Ethiopian Evangelical Church—Mekane Yesus. Despite the previous comments to the ACELC about the service of women in congregational offices, nowhere in the three paragraphs of verbiage did the CTCR mention to the delegates reading the Workbook that the EECMY leadership (including an LCMS ordained member as General Secretary) continue to encourage the EECMY to maintain and expand the number of pastrixes in the EECMY.

    These mixed messages do not help the credibility of the members of the CTCR.

  13. The LCMS has posted a 15-minute video, “Licensed Lay Deacons and a path forward for the LCMS,” featuring 2013 Res. 4-06A Task Force Chairman Larry Vogel, Mid-South District President Rev. Dr. Roger C. Paavola, and others commenting on the LLD program and the Task Force Report to the Synod (2016 Convention Workbook, pp. 235-265).

  14. @Pastor Prentice #19

    Sounds like our “leadership” will be satisfied to have our “preachers”
    as uneducated as backwoods Baptists…

    But they’ll be ordained !!!

    Kyrie, eleison!

  15. @helen #20

    The Purple Palace could use those ordained “backwoods Baptists” and any flatlined lay delegates at the 2016 convention to help endorse Harrison’s declaration of A&P fellowship with Den Lutherske Kirke i Norge (The ‘Lufauxran’ Church in Norway), which claims there is “something wrong in the attitude of parents and church if one does not want to have the [full immersion] baptism,” as the LKN practices, and which does not hold a quia subscription to the Book of Concord of 1580.

    In the meantime, of course, real Lutherans will vote “NO” to whatever resolution encompasses Overture 5-01, To Endorse Altar and Pulpit Fellowship with the [Lufauxran] Church in Norway (2016 Convention Workbook, p. 341).

  16. Excerpted from the LCMS webpage on the Synodical President election process:

    Four weeks prior (June 11) to the national convention, the Secretary of the Synod, using lists of delegates in attendance at the prior year’s district conventions as submitted by the secretaries of the districts, shall provide, via a secure and verifiable method, opportunity for two voting delegates from each congregation in attendance at the previous district conventions who remain members of the congregations they represented, to vote for one of the three candidates for President.

    Just as with other political elections in the secular world, the Missouri Synod’s election process for Synodical President has hamstringed the voter, even in this computerized age, with only a half vote.

    In restricting each of the voters to a half vote, the Missouri Synod also deals with the case in which the top candidate of three does not receive a majority of half votes. Missouri Synod Bylaw then requires an additional election with the top two candidates, serving to provide the winning candidate with a majority of half votes cast.

    Convention delegates should demand bylaw revisions to allow each voter in elections for the various offices to have a full vote, rather than the current half vote.

    In a rightful and full election process the voter should be able to fully cast one vote either for or against one candidate of the voter’s choice. For each candidate the number of negative votes are subtracted from the number of positive votes and the candidate with the more positive net number (or least negative net number) of full votes is elected. The facade of Bylaw can be removed. The only time the election would not provide a winning candidate is when a tie occurs. A bylaw can resolve this with either another election or by some other means.

  17. @Pastor Prentice #23
    Most seminarians graduate with an M. Div., not a PhD. (But I can name PhD’s who were wasted during the Kieschnick decade.)

    I have thought it through. We have two seminaries and besides this year’s classes, more than 200 pastors, unjustly removed, waiting for a call. When each and every one of them has a call in line with his abilities, we can talk about ordaining “licensed lay deacons”. If we still need them.

    What are we going to get for those 200+ ? Another “study”?
    Is there a video on that subject?

  18. @Pastor Prentice #23

    Where did she suggest that? I may have missed it.

    I think her concern is more akin to someone with a high school diploma performing open heart surgery. Pastors are called to be doctors of the soul, after all.

  19. @T-rav #25

    @helen #24
    To both of you,
    In fact, “I get it”…and I see the abuses, in so many ways. But we need to fix a few holes here and there, rectify a few wrongs, here and there.
    If we had a dictator / king, all would be fixed, but still many would complain, if they fell on the “wrong” side.

    01) For the 200 on CRM you say, whatever, by our polity, we cannot assign them to a Church, names can only be offered.

    02) If there are LLD’s in the field, in so remote a place, perhaps let them finish out. Then, remember Circuit Riders???

    03) I agree, all LLD’s should be in SMP (or go there), and it is specific, under a “full pastor”. OK, we have some issues with that. And if you want that SMP tag off, finish your studies, get that MDIV. OK, what about me??? My alternate route DELTO did not qualify for graduate grade transcripts (Wheaton College now “may” take some as an elective.)

    I myself see no need for LLD’s, we have an avenue for those that choose to be in the pastoral role.

    04) All pastors should in good order keep studying, we have plenty of opportunities for that. As time permits.

    So you see some of my thoughts going into convention.

  20. @Carl Vehse #22

    You should take a look at overtures 11-07 — 11-10. These are an overhaul of the elections bylaws which would standardize election procedure and simultaneously correct misuse in current practice. Since you seem interested in giving the voters the greatest ability to voice their preferences, I particularly encourage you to look at 11-09 (re: the president of synod).

    The suggestion there is better than yours because it would allow each voter to give a fully-ranked ballot. Your suggestion allows voters only to identify their favorite and least favorite candidate.

    There were two background papers written to support the changes suggested in these overtures. They give a great deal of background information to the interested reader. I would be glad to send them to you or anyone else, or even posted online for review or comment.

    A decent summary of the papers is —
    1) election theory is complicated.
    2) There are flaws to every system of voting…
    3) but some systems are better than others.
    4) The basic procedure outlined in the LCMS bylaws is pretty good…
    5) but the effectiveness can be severely undermined by “shortcuts.” (some of which have been regularly used at synod and some district conventions)
    6) The best procedures can only be implemented when voters submit fully-ranked ballots.

    The procedure you suggest is interesting, but deeply flawed. It would allow a coordinated minority to hijack elections in the following way. Consider three candidates for Synod President — Andy, Bob, and Chuck. Suppose that 60% of the synod prefers Andy while seeing Chuck as most undesirable. Suppose on the other hand, that the other 40% prefer Bob and Chuck, but coordinate to pool their votes toward Bob, while voting unanimously against Andy.

    The result could easily be that Andy would receive 60 – 40 = 20% while Bob would receive 40 – 10 = 30%, so Bob wins. This is no mere hypothetical situation. With the system described above, we would be inviting tactical machinations in nominations and voting. If this disturbs you, it should.

    Overtures 11-07 — 11-10 were carefully worded to cover all situations. They are, of course, subject to the constraints of simplicity of procedure and understanding. This is why we suggest fully-ranked balloting only for the Synod President (where ballots are cast on-line, so the voters have more time to consider their ballots and ensure their accuracy).

    These overtures are not theological (except in the abstract sense that good procedure is possible because of God’s gift of mathematics and human reason) and most definitely not political. They are simply an attempt to correct poor procedure which will hopefully ensure that voters feel free to vote their conscience and not be concerned about tactical considerations.

  21. At the 2013 synod convention the English District’s Overture 4-15, included in Omnibus Resolution A, asked the CTCR to complete a 2010-requested study on the practice of cremation on or before December 31, 2015. No subsequent cremation study was issued by the CTCR, but the CTCR report in the 2016 Convention Workbook (p. 67) did state:

    “Omnibus Resolution A of the 2013 convention included 20 overtures for referral to the CTCR (and in some cases also to other entities; see 2013 Convention Proceedings, p. 199). At its September 2013 meeting, the commission approved responses to those who had submitted these overtures, indicating various ways that their concerns were being or would be addressed.”

    Apparently not satisfied with the CTCR’s response, the English District has now submitted Overture 5-09, To Evaluate Theological Implications of Practice of Cremation (2016 Convention Workbook, pp. 345-6), which requests that the two LCMS seminaries (rather than the CTCR) evaluate the practice of cremation; and publish an opinion to be considered at the 2019 synod convention. Overture 5-09 specifically refers to Rev. Dr. Alvin Schmidt’s book, Dust to Dust, [or] Ashes to Ashes: A Biblical and Christian Examination of Cremation, which was published by Regina Orthodox Press, a producer of books on the false theology of the Eastern [Un]Orthodox Church, which has traditionally opposed cremation.

    Schmidt’s book had previously popped up sometime between November, 2009, and January, 2010, when the CTCR’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpage on cremation was altered to include a reference to “Ashes to Ashes or Dust to Dust: A Biblical and Christian Examination of Cremation” [sic]. In 2011, after being provided documentation about the heresies and hypocrisies in Schmidt’s book, the CTCR removed its reference to the book and revised its FAQ on cremation to what is seen on the webpage today.

    It is hoped that the 2016 Convention Floor Committee will refer the English District’s Overture 5-09 to the Synodical President for action according to Bylaw (c).

  22. Earlier I had asked the Concordia University System President: Why haven’t CUS schools applied for and received a Title IX religious exemption which would allow the schools to use restrictions against aberrant “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in decisions and policies regarding students and employees at the school?

    In response, I was informed that the Missouri Synod’s legal counsel had advised the Concordia University System against applying for a collective exemption for all CUS schools. I was also told that Concordia University-Wisconsin will be applying for a Title IX exemption, and that the other schools will be following their own timetable when applying for a Title IX Religious Tenet Exemption, which is provided for in 20 U.S.C. 1681 and 34 C.F.R. 106.12, and which (per 34 CFR 106.12a) is “granted to any educational institution which is controlled by a religious organization to the extent application of this part [of Title IX] would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization.”

    Of help to CUS schools, while following their own timetables, is the example of Carson-Newman University President O’Brien’s three-and-one-third-page application letter to the Department of “Education,” or any of the other 231 application letters linked in the Religious Exemptions Index 2009-2016.

  23. Despite the claim that CUS schools are pursuing Title IX exemption status (albeit “following their own timetable”), there is no mention in the 2016 Convention Workbook about the pursuit of such exemptions, although there is certainly much hangwringing in Overture 7-19, To Enable Concordia University System to Maintain Doctrinal Integrity in Face of Existential Threats (p. 373), about the threats from Title IX requirements and associated leftist pressures.

    This behavior suggests there is more going on than has been revealed within the CUS, other than an overture (7-18), amid many tapdancing Whereases, to dump one of the schools from CUS. Could this be the start of shedding other schools, or the CUS itself, from the shrinking LCMS? This could certainly explain the less-than-enthusiastic efforts by LCMS/CUS toward requesting Title IX exemptions.

  24. In the 2016 Convention Workbook (pp. 33-4), the Office of International Mission Report section on the Africa, Eastern and Southern Area includes four categories of church bodies from that area and the categorical relationships with the Missouri Synod:

    Category 2 (“theologically compatible church bodies currently pursuing fellowship talks with the LCMS”) lists the Ethiopian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELC).

    Category 4 (“LCMS has a current relationship but which are not yet known to fit into one of the above categories”) lists the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY).

    In reality there are NO acknowledged talks of ANY KIND between the EELC (with 66 ordained ministers, 115 congregations, 20,000 members) and the LCMS. There is NO reference to the EELC on the LCMS website, although the EELC does mention in its future plans, “Seek and commence a working relationship with other Lutheran units/organizations especially Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and Swedish Mission Province.”

    In reality it is the charismatic, unionistic, pastrix-ordaining (and 6-million member!) EECMY with whom the LCMS has publicly announced formal A&P fellowship discussions.” In reality the LCMS and EECMY also signed a 2014 Top-Secret Revised Partnership Agreement. In reality, but left out of Category 1 (“church bodies in altar and pulpit fellowship with the LCMS”), the LCMS already has a Lufauxran ‘level of A&P fellowship’ with the EECMY by having an ordained rostered member serving for the past seven years as the elected EECMY General Secretary, advocating the ordination of women.

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