Open Arms in Missouri

The 2023 convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod took up Resolution 7-03 on August 1, 2023. The title is “To Call Concordia University Texas Leadership to Repentance.”

On November 8, 2022, a majority of the Concordia University Texas (CTX) Board of Regents (BOR) voted unilaterally and without authorization to amend the articles of incorporation and bylaws of the university to attempt to separate CTX from the synod, to deny that it must be faithful to the doctrine of the synod, to deny that the synod elects and appoints regents to the BOR, to deny that the regents are stewards or fiduciaries of the synod, and to make the BOR a self-appointed and self-perpetuating board.

The action violated the Fourth, Seventh, and Ninth Commandments and the constitution and bylaws of the synod.

On April 4, 2023, a majority of the regents voted to reaffirm the rebellion against the synod and the misappropriation of the synod’s property at the university.

Some of the regents are rostered by the synod as Ministers of Religion – Ordained or Ministers of Religion – Commissioned.

The resolution briefly recounts the history of the rebellion. Then it determines that those who voted in favor of the rebellion acted in direct violation of the constitution and bylaws of the synod. It determines that the CTX president and administrators who advocated for or supported the rebellion acted in direct violation of the constitution and bylaws of the synod. The resolution calls upon the appropriate ecclesiastical supervisors “to investigate and to determine any appropriate disciplinary action that should be taken against the CTX president and any member of the CTX BOR who is a rostered church worker.”

After additional provisions calling upon specific officers of the synod to take appropriate actions, the final provision is “That the President of the Synod stand prepared to grant holy absolution to those who repent and want to do better by rescinding their actions resulting in reconciliation and restoration.”

Despite that final provision, apologists for the rebellion and theft committed by the majority of the regents moved to amend the resolution, saying the committee and the resolution show no believable intention to work toward repentance, forgiveness, and absolution. They claimed that even if regents who voted for the rebellion repented, Missouri’s arms would be closed and Missouri would not receive those repenting in reconciliation.

No justification was offered for their refusal to take the committee, the resolution, and the synod in convention at their word in the resolution.

The resolution itself proves the sincerity of the committee, the resolution, and the delegates voting in favor of the resolution. How does it do that? It does that by identifying the regents who could be subject to discipline if they do not repent as the ones voting to reaffirm the rebellion in April 2023, not the ones who voted originally for the rebellion in November 2022. There was at least one, and possibly two, regents who repented between November 2022 and April 2023 and changed their votes in April 2023. So, the committee, the resolution, and the synod in convention already has absolved the one or two regents who have repented. The resolution exempts them from the prospect of discipline for their wrongful November 2022 vote. It exempts them because of their righteous vote in April 2023.

From these facts, how are we supposed to share the judgment of those who wanted to amend the resolution that the committee and resolution were insincere? The evidence contradicts the accusation. It contradicts the accusation in both word and deed. Consequently, the convention resoundingly voted down the amendment and resoundingly adopted the resolution.

Missouri already opened it arms to the one or two regents who repented. I say Missouri has open arms to rightly practice both Law and Gospel, to require repentance, and then to give absolution.

2 thoughts on “Open Arms in Missouri

  1. What is considered disciplinary action? What is considered absolution? The above is unclear on whether those supporting the resolution and those against the resolution are equating discipline and absolution with whether the repentant regent remains a regent. I don’t see any reason for that. Discipline should not be equated with being removed from being a regent, and absolution should not be equated with being exempted from any temporal consequences for your sin. In fact, a repentant regent might even come to the conclusion that voluntarily stepping aside is the appropriate course of action.

  2. There does seem to be a question concerning the difference, if any, between absolution and continued qualification for office. For example, if a called and ordained minister repents and is absolved for his extra-marital affair, he is forgiven as a sinner, but is he no longer qualified for the Office? If a regent repents, is that regent still qualified for that office? I could certainly argue that the answer is “No”,

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