Harrison Denies Responsibility, Admits Debt Problems

Harrison Denies Responsibility, Admits Debt Problems

During his speech to the Southern District Convention on March 9, Synod’s current President rejected any and all personal responsibility for the closure of Concordia College Alabama. In 45 minutes of well-presented Q & A, (Matt IS an engaging, quick-witted speaker after all), Harrison also admitted a ballooning internal debt, pitted the needs of urban and rural congregations against those of suburban Christians, and proposed a plan of planting successful churches in zip codes “amenable to the LCMS” in order to fund struggling ministries. Not bad for a Friday morning in March. The Blame Game Continues According to Matthew C. Harrison, everyone but himself is to blame for the closure of Selma.  Listen for yourself to his speech by clicking on this link: http://southernlcms.org/75th-convention-livestream-its-all-about-jesus/ Here is a Harrison quote from the 1:11:15 to 1:11:35 marks on the live stream link shown above: “I stood throughout with Selma.  I fought for

Nominations for Synod Office

Nominations Can Be Light in the Darkness…

In the January Reporter, listed under the “Official Notice” section, a very timely and important posting was made by the Secretary of Synod.  It is time to submit nominations for national convention-elected positions.  Click HERE to read the text of the Official Notice from the online version of the Reporter. While the convention isn’t until July 20-25, 2019, preparations are already in full swing.  This “Official Notice” was followed up on January 15, 2018 with Mailing #6, a post card summarizing what positions are open for nominations at this time. The positions that are open for nominations are as follows: Secretary of Synod LCMS Board of Directors (At-Large and Regional) LCMS Boards for National and International Mission (Regional) Commission on Theology and Church Relations Concordia Historical Institute Board of Governors Concordia Publishing House Board of Directors Lutheran Church Extension Fund Board of Directors Concordia University System Board of Directors Concordia

Synod Leadership Head in Sand over Selma and Portland

Synod Leadership Ultimately Responsible for Problems

Sadly, on February 21, Concordia College Alabama announced it will close its doors at the end of the spring 2018 Semester.  This tragedy puts an exclamation mark on the ineffectiveness of our current Synodical leadership. Our Synod’s only historically black college is shutting down. The closing of Selma is heart-breaking to tens of thousands of faithful people in the LCMS who faithfully supported Concordia Alabama for generations. The problems that led to Selma’s closing — and Concordia Portland’s problems with student clubs and their community — can be traced back to the United Lister leadership that currently controls our Synod.  Selma’s Closure Happened during this Synod Leadership’s Watch Who is responsible for the loss of one of our Concordia’s?  Fingers will be pointed at many people for the closure of Selma. In the end, Selma’s closure is due to failed leadership at the top of our Synod (CLICK HERE to

Concordia Selma to Close Without Investors. Why doesn't the LCMS invest?

A Tale of Two Concordias: Selma and Ann Arbor

The Selma Times-Journal broke the story on February 6:  Unless investors are found immediately for Concordia, Selma, the school will close.  Click here to read the full story. That’s not what happened with Concordia, Ann Arbor, when that school was in distress.  Heroic efforts were made by Michigan District President David Maier, the Concordia University System Board and other Synod leadership to find a solution. If Selma is in desperate need of an investor, why isn’t the LCMS investing?  It seems that Concordia College, Selma, is being left by our leadership to go bankrupt. Is that how Synod under President Harrison and the United List majority on the Concordia University System Board make decisions now about the future of our Concordia’s?  No vote of a convention.  No information shared.  Congregations are left in the dark.  Is Synod’s leadership so secretive now we must read a local newspaper to find out

LCMS has a long, successful history in Hong Kong

LCMS Mission History in Hong Kong

Transparency from the United-Lister Synod leadership in St. Louis is lacking.  Without consultation with our largest partner church in Hong Kong, Office of International Mission leaders in St. Louis announced for the first time publicly on Monday, February 5, that LCMS Asia mission operations are moving from Hong Kong, China, to Chiayi, Taiwan, Republic of China. What is causing President Harrison to sell our $35 million Hong Kong property and relocate our LCMS Asia headquarters to distant Taiwan?  Did he forget the mission work of the Lutheran Church Hong Kong Synod (LCHKS) he praised just four years ago during the anniversary of 100 years of ministry to China? Please watch and listen to the two minute video below.  Hear Matt Harrison honor the work of our partner church, the Lutheran Church Hong Kong Synod.  How Will St. Louis Use the $35 Million? Why up to now haven’t congregations in Synod been informed

St. Louis headquarters is selling LCMS Hong Kong property without consulting our partner church, the Lutheran Church Hong Kong Synod.

St. Louis Secretly Selling Hong Kong Properties?

Reliable sources in the U.S. and Hong Kong tell Congregations Matter that President Harrison and his United Lister Board for International Mission (BIM) are selling a reported $35 million of LCMS Hong Kong properties to bail out Synod finances in St. Louis. Quietly, and without contacting our partner church in Hong Kong, the BIM is moving their Asia headquarters to Taiwan to ready the Hong Kong property for sale.  According to sources in Hong Kong who saw a note on the door of the headquarters building, the move out of Hong Kong and into Taiwan will be completed by March 1st. It seems that Synod’s chose Hong Kong properties for sale because of their high value — and because it is one of the few locations where expatriation of money to the states is allowed after the sale of properties. Have such plans been approved by the LCMS Board of

United List Is The Wrong Way

United Listers Lead Synod in Wrong Direction

LCMS Boards populated by members whose names were on the infamous United List were elected at a 90% rate at the 2016 Milwaukee convention.  It’s been eighteen months since their elections.  What do we know now about their decisions? We know United Listers have increased centralized control.  Contrary to our Constitution and Bylaws, they’ve handed ecclesiastical supervision to one man to enforce a dark conformity over congregations, pastors and rostered workers. In May, 2017 United Listers on the LCMS Board gave powers to the Synod President which radically changed Synod.  Membership is plummeting — 68% faster than ever before. How did this hierarchical, centralized takeover of our Lutheran church happen? A United Lister named Sias became Secretary at Milwaukee.  He disagreed with decades of precedent and wrongly advised the United Lister Board it is OK to take ecclesiastical authority away from District Presidents (DPs).  Many brave DPs sent public letters

Hackers Take Over Congregations Matter Twitter Account

Congregations Matter Twitter Account Hacked

Sadly, today hackers took over the Congregations Matter Twitter account.  They posted items that made it seem Congregations Matter took positions on current events in the LCMS not aligned with our confessional stance. Hackers continued to post new items during the day.  Surprisingly, these were responded to by others in the LCMS in an attempt to injure the reputation of Congregations Matter. No Comment We will not comment on their posts to keep from repeating their slander here.  We encourage others who have written posts in response to the hackers to do the same. In addition, hackers also posted a horrible, juvenile picture of our Synod President, Matt Harrison, with evil intent.  We apologize on their behalf to President Harrison. Our Response About 5 p.m. on January 20, 2018 the hackers closed the account for the moment.  Unfortunately, because we are no longer in control of our account, they may

Character and Ethics are a lighthouse shining in the storm

Character and Ethics Needed in Our Next President

“Faithful churches cultivate character.”  Thus writes Concordia Seminary Professor Joel Biermann in his book, A CASE FOR CHARACTER: Towards a Lutheran Virtue Ethics. 1 Rev. Dr. Biermann recounts how Lutherans are unfairly portrayed as soteriological reductionists pitting law and gospel against one another.  Some critics say Lutheran theology and ethical teaching simply don’t fit together.  Biermann admits some Lutheran preachers have indeed spent too little pulpit time on clear Scriptures regarding how we Christians ought to live. Dr. Biermann’s prescriptions for re-emphasizing our Lutheran Confessions’ solid commitment to character and virtue ethics are valuable.  His book’s message is also timely as we witness widely-known men losing leadership positions due to their wrongful actions toward women as revealed via the #metoo movement. Joel reminds fellow pastors, “Christian people need to be trained in virtue.  A noble character does not simply happen.” He also believes community can still shape and sustain a

Who Serves Who in Synod? Congregation Self-Governance Versus Hierarchialism

Congregational Self-Governance Versus Hierarchialism

 The History, Theology and Practice of Congregational Self-Governance in the LCMS In terms of governance and order, the Missouri Synod has throughout its history balanced power between the baptized and the ordained.  We have made our decisions at conventions through votes mediated by an equal representation of clergy and laity.  These votes were not to be viewed as mandates, but as carefully crafted and thoroughly dialogued advice. In a fun, tongue-in-cheek essay, the Editorial Staff of Congregations Matter has provided another brief history of the LCMS on one issue:  Congregational Self-Governance as opposed to the current Synod trend towards hierarchialism.  The essay reviews our history, theology, and the unfortunate, current tendency of our Synod to move from prizing the Priesthood of All Believers and Congregational Polity toward a foreign, non-Lutheran emphasis on maintaining and growing the structure itself and fulfilling its needs at the expense of the our “first love”: