There is a highly motivated and well-organized campaign underway to elect a new president and change the direction of Synod. With voter registration being significantly down this convention cycle (by about 855)*, they may just get their wish.
Meanwhile, President Harrison has been doing his job faithfully and quietly rather than campaigning—which may be the number one reason to vote for him.
The LCMS still has problems, but change doesn’t come overnight and much has improved under President Harrison. Issues, Etc. has been raised from the dead and is now stronger than ever. We have solid, faithful men in key positions, including Marcus Zill (LCMS U), Larry Rast (CTS President), Daniel Gard (CUC President), William Weedon (LCMS Director of Worship & IC Chaplain), Bart Day (Director of the Office of National Mission), Steve Schave (Director of Urban and Inner City Mission), Al Collver (Church Relations), Kevin Robson (LCMS Chief Mission Officer), and scores of faithful missionaries who are bringing Word and Sacrament to all corners of the globe.
The Lutheran Witness has been thriving under the guidance of managing editor Adriane Heins. Concordia Publishing House has been producing some great resources lately, including works by Luther, Walther, Chemnitz, and Gerhard—not to mention President Harrison’s own writings and translations. The new Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord has broken sales records. The popularity of these resources is an indication that people want distinctively Lutheran theology taught from their pulpits. They want to know what we believe, teach, and confess.
For our Synod to speak with that distinctively Lutheran (that is, scriptural) voice, we need leaders who are willing to do that. President Harrison has shown himself willing to rebuke error in the case of Matthew Becker. He’s resisted the temptation to do his best Charles Finney impersonation and blame our congregations’ numerical decline on “hearts that aren’t on fire for Jesus.” Rather, he’s willing to speak frankly about the real problem even though it means confronting parents with their reluctance to procreate and catechize.
The other candidates haven’t made it a secret that, if elected, they will take the synod in a very different direction. If you appreciate what President Harrison has done over the last six years and would like to see that continue, vote and encourage others to do likewise. Voter turnout will determine this election. If every pastor and congregation in Synod were to vote, Harrison would win by a landslide. It would be a shame if voter apathy determined the election instead of the desire of our Synod for faithful confessional leadership.
*This figure has been updated since this post’s initial publication. In 2013, there were 8,201 registered voters (6,432, or 78% actually voted). Currently, 7,346 are eligible to vote.