ACELC — Dispute Resolution – The Never Ending Story

This is the latest ACELC email blast. Visit the ACELC website to sign up for the emails if you don’t already receive them.


ACELC-LogoI remember when my kids were small, we had a video cassette recording (remember those?) of a fantasy thriller that they watched over and over, appropriately named, “The Never Ending Story.” Personally, I thought the story line was a little lame, and the voices often didn’t match the lips of the characters, but my kids didn’t mind; they loved the story that never ended, at least in theory.

In real life we are not always sure what to do with stories that never end. If your team or your relationship is going well, you want that story to go on and on and on. When things are not going well, personally or professionally, we all want the suffering and conflict to end, the sooner the better. But simply wanting a bad situation to end does not make it so.

The Association of Confessing Evangelical Lutheran Congregations (ACELC) has recently concluded its sixth Free Conference, “Christ For Us: Dispute Resolution.” None of us like conflict and most of us really want conflict resolved in a God-pleasing way, so it is good to examine the “process” and reflect on what has worked well and what could work better.

For two days we heard the Word of God with regard to both conflict and reconciliation, heard many fine presentations on the history of Dispute Resolution in the LCMS – and some of the highs and lows of how Dispute Resolution has worked and evolved. We were also asked to consider other, time tested ways, of handling disputes regarding doctrine and practice. Perhaps most importantly, we were reminded that the “key” to the reconciliation process is the forgiveness of sins, won by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and distributed in Word and Sacrament through His called servants.

Confession and absolution. Sin and grace. Sinner and saint. This is the reality for the Baptized child of God on this side of heaven. It never ends because God’s love in Christ is never exhausted. It is our prayer that the Word of God would have its way with us, and that true dispute resolution, the forgiveness of sins, would abound among us.

Videos of all the conference presentations and chapel sermons are available for your viewing and most of the presentations are available in print form as well. Please check them out. We seek and value your feedback and would love to hear from you on this or any topic that we have identified. We would also like you to reserve the dates for the next ACELC Free Conference, “Christ For Us: The Order of Creation,” August 29-31, 2017, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Lincoln, Nebraska.

In Christ,
Rev. Clint K. Poppe
Chairman, ACELC


ACELC — Dispute Resolution – The Never Ending Story — 8 Comments

  1. When the District Presidents can do whatever they want and never be accountable for their actions (never admit to their sin), and the synodical president turns a blind eye (ignores what the DP’s have done), then the system is always going to be broken.

  2. @JV Verne #1

    Worse than that is to issue a world-wide internet video apology for attempting to use the process in a case for which it was intended.


  3. As an aside, I recommend reading the original version of “the Neverending Story” as it’s quite different from the movie version.

  4. Wow! These are some very good presentations. It is time to bring public disputation back to the Church.

  5. The District Presidents are not elected by the Synodical President.

    Past time for the “grass roots” to choose Lutherans,
    if they are themselves Lutheran.

  6. @helen #5

    No duh. Synodical president can call out though district presidents for bad theology, allowing women to serve as communion assistants, readers, allowing and promoting pastors to be fired.

  7. @jv verne #6

    No duh. Synodical president can call out though district presidents for bad theology, allowing women to serve as communion assistants, readers, allowing and promoting pastors to be fired.

    No doubt he should.
    But the DP who allows un-Lutheran practice should be voted out at the next district convention. Why isn’t he?

  8. Earlier the March 29, 2016, ACELC email, “The Communion Dilemma in the LCMS” discussed the problem caused by some Lufauxrans in the Synod who ‘reason’, “If I feel like I am in fellowship with other Christians, then unity in doctrine does not determine fellowship at the altar.” The ACELC email also noted that “this year’s [April 26-28] Free Conference in Nashville, Tennessee will be looking at, and perhaps approving, a recently crafted document from the ACELC entitled ‘Five Theses on Holy Communion‘.”

    However, Five Theses on Holy Communion was NOT adopted because some of the 32 ACELC member congregations apparently had problems with Thesis 3:

    “Receiving the one body of Christ together publicly presupposes mutual agreement in all Christ’s teaching and is itself a show and recognition of public fellowship. Communion fellowship is therefore church fellowship. Our outward witness in the public sharing of Christ’s body and blood is itself a confession and should be consonant and consistent with the teaching confessed in the Lutheran Confessions…. Therefore, they will not knowingly admit to Communion those not publicly confessing the same doctrine within our fellowship or by virtue of belonging to a church not in fellowship with the LCMS.”

    This is very curious since the ACELC’s approved “Evidence of Errors in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, II. Holy Communion” (p. 4) equivalently stated:

    “Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions teach that full agreement in every article of doctrine must serve as the standard for admission to Holy Communion at the Lord’s altar in evangelical practice of the Lord’s Supper.”

    “Closed Communion admits to the altar only those in agreement with all articles of doctrine so that the unity of the One true faith is preserved and confessed.”

    Any information on what ACELC group objected to Thesis 3 of Five Theses on Holy Communion, and why?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.