A recent announcement by the Board of Regents of Concordia University Portland has drawn some attention. Apparently there are discussions about the University becoming independent, separate from the LCMS. Upon this announcement I found some folks on Facebook immediately take to accusation and suspicion that there is a power play at work and that Team Harrison is up to no good. This is no surprise as the recent zombie-resurrection of Jesus First as “Congregations Matter” has signaled that many liberals in the Synod are not interested in truth or charitable interpretations of situations, but instead upon politically crafted attacks upon the Harrison administration. Despite huge agreement in measures passed at the 2016 Convention, these folks want to be a vocal and radical minority hiding under a supposed concern for congregations. No doubt the same old voices will raise the same old uncharitable interpretations of the Harrison administration. They will also likely blast away at groups like the United List that simply lends its faithful record and approval to candidates for offices. The will of congregations was made known in 2016 as they through their delegations elected the folks we have now. An attack upon the delegates decisions is not supporting congregations but is actively fighting against them. We don’t have the United List running the LCMS but the folks duly elected by the Synod Convention (representing all the congregations of the Synod). Don’t mistake “sour grapes” and class warfare (power politics) for actual concern here folks.
One of our writers here at Steadfast wrote about the strategic importance of these kind of potential changes in the Concordia University System last Fall. Thank you to Mr. Tim Wood for his insight and vision to help open up some out of the box thinking with his post. These laymen we have here at Steadfast are great guys, loving the true confession of the Faith in both their congregations and also their synod. Thanks be to God for such gifts.
I asked the communications department of the LCMS for a statement and they graciously provided one to me (available to anyone that asks) and I print it below:
COMMUNICATION AND RESPONSE TO RECENT STATEMENTS MADE BY CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY- PORTLANDNo decision, proposal or recommendation has been made by Concordia University System or by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod regarding any significant changes at Concordia University – Portland.Under Synod Bylaws, Concordia University System’s Board of Directors (CUS) would have to make a recommendation to the LCMS Board of Directors concerning certain types of major changes, such as a divestiture or sale, before any changes could occur. If such a recommendation were to be made by CUS, no action would be taken unless both the LCMS Board of Directors and one of either the Concordia University Portland (CUP) Board of Regents or the Council of Presidents voted to accept the recommendation.The recent CUP Facebook posting and other communications sent out by CUP’s Board of Regents concerning possible changes in ownership and governance reflect the fact that CUS President, Rev. Dr. Dean Wenthe, and CUP President, Dr. Charles Schlimpert, recently met to discuss how they might work together to meet complex challenges that are facing campuses like CUP in this turbulent environment that currently characterizes university education. Rev. Dr. Wenthe invited Dr. Schlimpert to meet with him in St. Louis to discuss these challenges, particularly in the area of ongoing capitalization. They discussed a variety of ideas on how they might explore potential solutions that would benefit both CUP and the LCMS, but no definite proposals were made. However, CUS President Rev. Dr. Wenthe and CUS Board Chairman Dr. Gerhard Mundinger supported Dr. Schlimpert’s suggestion that he would be willing to postpone his retirement in light of the potentially significant changes that could occur with respect to CUP.
I think this is a good time to let the folks of Concordia Portland and the Concordia University System work this one out for the good of everyone involved. It’s also time to stop interpreting everything in the most uncharitable way to the Harrison administration. The 2016 Convention did some great things, including electing good folks who care about faithfulness throughout the Synod (that most certainly includes congregations!).