Guest Essay: Are We a Top-Down Or Bottom-Up Synod?

From the beginning of our Synod, we struggled with big questions of relationships and governance polity.  Should the laity have authority over the clergy?  Should the clergy have authority over the laity?  Should a “bishop” have authority over the congregations? Questions like those formed the chaotic beginning of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod!  This essay will follow the decisions our Synod has made from its beginnings with quotes from C.F.W. Walther and our own LCMS Constitution. Top-down or bottom-up?  What is right-side up?

The Local Church Out of Focus

Why “Congregations Matter”?

Congregations matter.  For several years we have been silent, letting our Synod drift into the trouble we see at every hand. We have been focusing on local matters and serving the Lord in the harvest field.  As we have worked, our Synod leadership has lost its focus.  Synod’s first responsibility is to serve congregations and assist them in their work for the Kingdom of God.  That’s not happening now. Silence Doesn’t Mean We Agree We have been silent — and our beloved Synod has drifted off course.  Our Synod’s elected leadership is not focused on their historic roles. Instead, more and more power and decision-making responsibility is in the hands of fewer and fewer — and there is less and less opportunity for other voices to be heard. Our current leadership will not listen to our elected District Presidents.  Our Commission on Constitutional Matters (CCM) is supporting our Synodical President in his