Concordia Texas – secession from the LCMS?

A recent announcement was sent out from the Board of Regents of Concordia University, Texas. It confirms a longstanding rumor that Concordia University, Texas is desiring to be free from LCMS governance.

A little editorial note on this “local governance” thing. This reflects a continued localization and fracturing of the LCMS, most likely related to the national disunity that we have. On the one hand I can appreciate it, but there is a difference in between starting something local and taking something national and making it local. The LCMS needs to get a handle on these Concordia Universities, their connection to the Synod, and their connections to the world . We are down three in the recent past, and now more are drifting away.

Here’s the announcement:

The Concordia University Texas Board of Regents has notified the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod Board of Directors that it wishes to enter into a conversation by which the CTX Board will be the sole-governing body of the institution and remain in alignment with the LCMS, working together to serve the mission of the church and the university.  We expect to hear from them within a short time, after which a process will be determined, arriving at a final agreement between the LCMS and CTX no later than August 31, 2022.   

The CTX Board is seeking this type of governance and alignment for several reasons:

1 Both higher education and the church are facing changes in the culture and complexity in how they do their work.  Having greater freedom to lead locally and responsively serves both institutions well.

2 The autonomy of the Board is critical as it determines the future for CTX.  The proposed bylaws coming to the 2023 LCMS convention limit that autonomy.

3 In reviewing various models of governance among church-related schools, the Board sees this as an opportunity to govern more locally and lean into its alignment with the LCMS.  

We ask for your prayers that this conversation can lead to an outcome that is beneficial for the church at large.

9 thoughts on “Concordia Texas – secession from the LCMS?

  1. It sounds like it wants to be more like Wisconsin Lutheran College. Its owned and operated by WELS churches in Milwaukee. This is why they don’t have a preseminary program and if there teacher graduates are not certified to teach in the WELS.

  2. Stephan – good points on WLC. There are some teachers whom are called to teach in WELS schools after graduation from WLC and BLC (Bethany Lutheran College). With teacher shortages, some schools do work with WLC seeking teachers, but those few calls only happen after MLC (Martin Luther College) call day. Additionally, so WLC teacher graduates may be called provisionally to a WELS schools who wish to serve and are living local to the school seeking to fill a position. Those teachers are members of congregations in the school federation or association where a teacher shortage remains after calls and assignments have ended in the summer time.

  3. This is yet another sign that the division of the Synod is real and already existing. When the mission of our schools was to solely provide professional church workers, the Synod’s schools did a fine job. As the LCMS gradually removed its financial support of the schools the schools looked to non-Lutheran and sometimes non-Christian students to fill the financial void. This inexorably changed the basic mission of the schools until now the tail is wagging the dog and it is the world that is calling the shots in our non-seminary schools. Frankly, we’ve already lost our non-seminary schools as is witnessed yet again by the CUW fiasco going full Wokenista on us. As long as the schools pay back the Synod for the facilities they occupy I have no problem letting them go because we’ve already lost them. I think that what needs to happen is that we operate one or two schools solely for the supplying of the Church with church workers and adequately provide financial support for them. (Perhaps Seward and Chicago.) Let the others go once they’ve paid for the facilities and property.

  4. All,

    I’ve been thinking this exact same thing for years except that we need to ground the other programs such as the social sciences in a worldview that is classically and Confessionally Lutheran. And, of course, I agree with the specified schools plus, perhaps, Irvine. Those three seem to be at present the most academically capable of handling such a transition as Pr. Bolland mentions here. In addition, making the number of schools smaller would allow for vetting the calls for campus chaplains more Confessionally grounded. Perhaps, the most disappointing part of my alma mater’s current spiritual life is that their chapel services resemble more of an evangelical yall-come to the lowest denominator thing as far as liturgy goes instead of reflecting the needed and robust liturgical life at CTSFW.

    If Concordia-Texas wants to go, let them. If CUW wants to go woke, they need to admit it, shed the name Concordia and not be in fellowship with the synod’s congregations, schools, and colleges. It shouldn’t take reams of paperwork and red tape for this to happen either.

  5. Health insurance and pension system weigh heavily as “red tape”. Some may think not but many church workers do consider those things important.

  6. David,

    “If Concordia-Texas wants to go, let them. If CUW wants to go woke, they need to admit it, shed the name Concordia and not be in fellowship with the synod’s congregations, schools, and colleges. It shouldn’t take reams of paperwork and red tape for this to happen either.”

    You have identified their most immediate objective. They have no desire to retain the name, nor fellowship. What they want is the real estate, the current enrollment, and those faculty and staff who demonstrate that they are down with the cause, all at a bargain price, of course.

  7. Southern Baptist University went through this exact same thing a few years ago. The SBC said, ‘Sure, just pay us back for everything we’ve put into the school, subsidies, land, facilities, etc.’ It was written into their charter. SBU replied back, ‘Never mind’. Same thing here. If they want out let them pay and mortgage to the hilt, but these institutions are OWNED by the LCMS. At CUW, they should be told, ‘We gave you 11 names as candidates for the President. You punted. We will pick now. Oh, and your Board of Regents is now being replaced with our slate.’

  8. My issue with the colleges looking to leave the synod takes a different bend. The colleges have for many years been serving the public, not the synod or it’s shrinking need for workers. They are much closer to the reality of the real problem…..the synod is dying, the colleges know it because they are serving fewer Lutheran students than ever before, the need to become a more diverse private school became absolutely necessary and the leadership of synod has no clue how to respond….except the way Pastor Mueller has. The successful Concordia’s have become private institutions that charge private school prices so they can survive. Split amicably and allow the colleges to go their way. Keep one or two colleges for synodical church workers. Another sad state of affairs in the church that helped raise me and from which I am still recovering as a former student and teacher.

  9. To the point of a dying LC-MS: She does not have to die. She needs to confess she does not understand her own true identity. Reference LSB p.291, SERVICE OF CORPORATE CONFESSION AND ABSOLUTION;

    “Therefore, whosoever eats this bread and drinks this cup, confidently believing this Word and promise of Christ, dwells in Christ and Christ in him and has eternal life.”

    As the Church today, we have lost our grasp on what, “dwells in Christ and Christ in him” means. We preach ‘eternal life’ as God’s gift when we die, rather than what it is meant to be, newness of life in Christ presently. We compartmentalization our faith to be a ‘part’ of our life and relegate it, subordinate-it, so as not to get in the way of ‘our’ real (carnal) life.

    Faith must incorporate Galatians 2;20.

    Understanding what it mean to “Walk by the Spirit” and believing it is possible, is what can yet breath life into the LC-MS.

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