During the Florida-Georgia District Convention, the 160+ voting delegates delivered clear and direct messages to third-term LCMS President Harrison. Disappointed by Harrison’s scripted remarks and unpersuaded by deflective non-answers to specific questions, they overwhelmingly rejected his Presidential actions in vote after vote.
In Part One of the Congregations Matter article about United Listers, concerned LCMS members learned two things. First, the groups that form The United List are well-funded with hundreds of thousands of dollars in their war chests for political purposes. Second, United Listers control Synod. Laypeople and pastors alike can hardly believe this happens in the LCMS.
If you like the way our Synod is going, thank the United List. United List Candidates are in control. Now in 84% of LCMS elected positions, United List candidates almost totally control the presidium, boards and regents of our Synod. Who creates “The United List”? Just read list of constituent groups. Think about how Synod is going. Ask yourself, “Is their influence good for my congregation?”
On June 15, Synod President Matt Harrison was called to task by a staggering 79% margin of delegates at the Texas District Convention. Delegates adopted a resolution criticizing Harrison for ignoring a resolution brought to the 2016 Milwaukee Convention to overrule a CCM opinion restricting congregations in foreign mission work. But Texas wasn’t done.
In 2010, the LCMS adopted sweeping changes to the Handbook of the Synod. Here’s the strange twist: while the convention adopted the “Blue Ribbon Taskforce” changes, delegates also strangely (and certainly ironically) then elected as President a man who opposed the changes, Matthew Harrison. Delegates wanted Synod’s work to be more responsive to the congregations of the Synod. What have we gotten instead?
From an April 12 email sent to Concordia Irvine faculty and staff, it appears Matt Harrison is hijacking the search committee’s final steps and is interfering in the selection of the next President of Concordia University Irvine. Three of five highly-qualified finalists were black-balled. Why weren’t all five approved?
The news these days from Synod headquarters is that further decline is imminent: mission properties sold to help the financial distress; Synod universities will be shed. This is a nightmare for Synod. New leadership can and will bring a renewed Bible-based, Gospel-centered future for Synod.
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
“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
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”: