Handling 2010 Convention Resolutions 8-10 and 9-27

In our upcoming Voter’s Assembly (2-27-11), we will have a rare opportunity to respond to the actions of the 2010 National LCMS Convention, which passed two resolutions to amend the Constitution of the LCMS.    In order to become effective, amendments must receive a favorable two-thirds majority of all votes cast by congregations within six months of the date of the mailing of the ballots (March 15, 2011).  Please read carefully this summary of the two resolutions followed by my rationale and recommendation for our congregational vote.

Resolution 8-10, amended articles X and XI by changing the title of “Vice-President-Finance—Treasurer” to “Chief Financial Officer” and made this an appointed position.

I recommend that we vote AGAINST the proposed amendment for two reasons: 

  1. It removes a power (choosing the Treasurer of Synod) from the Convention that has stood the test of time without any problems, and
  2. The Treasurer would no longer be an officer of the Synod and a member of the Board of Directors.

I believe that this amendment was a small part of a larger scheme of the previous administration designed to move power away from the congregations/convention to the Office of the President.    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Resolution 9-27 added a new Article XIV to the Constitution  to clarify the relationship between the Bylaws and the Constitution.  The Synod in convention may adopt bylaws that are consistent with and do not contradict the Constitution of the Synod, which controls and supersedes such bylaws and all other rules and regulations of the Synod.  Bylaws, which may be adopted, revised, or eliminated by a simple majority vote of a national convention, are binding regulations for the Synod and its conduct and governance.

I recommend that we vote AGAINST the proposed amendment for two reasons:

  1. This amendment offers a confused and conflicted view of our Constitution and Bylaws, saying on the one hand that while Bylaws are controlled and superseded by the Constitution (which requires a two-thirds vote to be amended) it would on the other hand give Bylaws, which need only a simple majority, the elevated power of “binding regulations”, and
  2. These “binding regulations” threaten to effect members of Synod (congregations, Pastors, Teachers, Deacons, Parish Assistants, etc.) in a manner that seems to speak against the time-honored wording of Article VII: “In the relation to its members the Synod is not an ecclesiastical government exercising legislative or coercive power, and with respect to the individual congregation’s right of self-government it is but an advisory body.

Accordingly, no resolution of the Synod imposing anything upon the individual congregation is of binding force if it is not in accordance with the Word of God or if it appears to be inexpedient as far as the condition of a congregation is concerned.”    What it boils down to for me is this: do we want 51% of any given convention dictating to Pastors and Congregations of the Synod bylaws that have the force of “binding regulations”?  I say “No, thank-you!”

By the way, ironically, our newly elected President, Rev. Matthew C. Harrison, was OPPOSED to these massive structural changes and transfers of power.  We would honor and support his ministry by DEFEATING these two proposed amendments.    Please feel free to bring up any questions or concerns for further clarification that you might need before February 27.

Pr. Paul Becker      
Concordia Lutheran Church
Kingsport, Tennessee
Micah 7:19

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