The Commission on Constitutional Matters is the LCMS’ own brand of canon law judiciary, interpreting the bylaws, resolutions, etc. of Synod as they are asked to do.
What follows is some description of things found in the CCM minutes from their June 2020 meeting.
This past meeting presented to them questions about the changing situation with Coronavirus. It’s no surprise in a Synod that has members who celebrate communion digitally in open defiance of our Lord and all “churchly” ties to each other, where online church and zoom meetings have become commonplace, that such questions would need to be answered. Can a District hold a convention digitally? The CCM answer is no. You can read the minutes for their explanation of why.
Another equally interesting question in a Synod where politics and power plays are common is the question – what about elections if conventions cannot happen due to the virus and/or governmental decrees? Without conventions many positions would not have their required election – District President being the chief example among them. If there is no convention, who is the District President going to be? The CCM has said that current elected officers would continue in their offices until the next time an election can occur at an in person District Convention (which could easily mean 3 more years).
As the variety of responses from LCMS Districts to governmental decrees demonstrate, some of the districts in the LCMS may be more likely to cancel conventions than others. There should be a warning here. This could be used in a few bad ways:
- Avoid worries about re-election by just canceling convention
- Avoid term limits by just canceling convention
- Avoid election results to selectively resign and let succession give a more politically desirable result
This is governance folks, and in governance the Old Adam loves to come out to play. In a synod with such diversity of belief and practice, if you pair that with the amount of political machinations that go on within the Synod, this is a justifiable warning. Keep an eye out for your district – do not let anyone cancel and remove the franchise from your congregations. The temptation will be out there – good laymen and pastors need to help look out for their brothers on this. Do not let them fall into the temptation of fear or power.