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 Are These UNITED LIST Guys Anyway?
Although their current website fails to do so, in 2015 the United List identified the groups that created their voting list. Just read list of constituent groups and ask yourself, “Do these people represent the broad middle of the LCMS, or are they simply folks who have departed from the historic congregation-based polity of our Synod and who use dollars to push their agenda among us?”
It seems they are well-connected and well-funded. On Facebook they describe themselves in this way (Click here to see The United List Facebook Page “About Us” page):
Since 1992, the committee that produces The United List has been composed of lay and pastoral representatives, from various independent organizations of Missouri Synod Lutherans, which are concerned about keeping the LCMS rooted in its Biblical theology, practice, and mission. Groups represented over the years have included Balance-Concord (publishers of “Affirm”), Lutheran Concerns Association (publishers of “The Lutheran Clarion”), Consensus (publishers of “Consensus” web-site), Northern Illinois Confessional Lutherans, Minnesota Confessional Lutherans, Texas Confessional Lutherans, and a few other persons recognized as leaders in their region.
The five listed groups are all fringe organizations — outside the mainstream of our biblically-conservative Synod. So let’s look more closely at who is represented by these groups — and who leads them:
Look at their 2016 Form 990 to learn more about them. From their reports to the IRS, this political group has 5-year receipts of $619K, with assets of $553K in 2015. Of the $50,737 they spent on programs, $20,000 was used for grants to organizations and individuals, more than $13,000 for accounting and almost $16,000 for office expenses. In other words, they spent more on themselves than others.
Balance-Concord, Inc., began 2017 with $332,000 (of which $142,000 was held in “precious metals”). Quite the war chest.
And who is leading Balance-Concord?
Look on page 7 of their 2016 Form 990. They include Pastor John Wolhrabe (current 4th Vice President of Synod and Chair of the Concordia Historical Institute), Pastor Robert Dargatz (serving on the CTCR), Mark Stern (on the Concordia Chicago BOR), Pastor Mark Preus, Paul Kaiser (who also serves as secretary for the Confessional Lutheran Education Foundation and heads the Association of Confessional Lutherans), along with Al Wipperman, Richard Hanneberg, Charlie Wildauer, Joe Fergel, Pastor David Ramirez, Bruce Shultz, and Tom Hoyt
Lutheran Concerns Association (www.Lutheranclarion.org)
Their May 2018 newsletter lists their leadership team as Walter Dissen (Concordia Seminary St. Louis BOR Secretary), Pastor Martin Noland (Synod Committee for Nominations, formerly of the Concordia Historical Institute), Andrew Preus (Yet another Preus? Association of Confessional Lutherans), along with Mark Franke, Pastor Jerome Panzigrau, Pastor Kristian Kincaid, Dr. John Lange, Dr. John Rahe, Pastor David Ramirez, Leon Rausch, and Mr. Winfried Strieter.
More Local Self-Described “Confessional” Groups, too
In addition, three district-level organizations provide support for the United List: Northern Illinois Confessional Lutherans, Minnesota Confessional Lutherans, and the Texas Confessional Lutherans.
The United List websites come and go during the election cycle. Their current webpage is www.theunitedlist.org.
What do we know now about United Lister 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 to rostered workers last year sounding the alarm.
UNITED LISTER DAMAGE DONE SINCE MILWAUKEE
The Milwaukee convention elected a high percentage of the United List candidates (as has the last two conventions, too). Without any opposition, United List candidates now are in control of our Synod, from the Synod President and Secretary to the regional Vice Presidents, Synod Board of Directors, National and International Mission Boards and Concordia University Regents. Just think of the centralization the LCMS has experienced in the past few years. It has only accelerated with more United List candidates elected.
The damage done to Synod by United Listers just since Milwaukee has been immense. Review this short list and click on any item to see the related article explaining the damage:
- Harrison now the ecclesiastical supervisor of all congregations and rostered workers instead of locally elected District Presidents;
- broken funding promises to our Seminaries;
- United Listers allow the International Center headquarters to keep a 6% cut of Disaster Relief donations — and even consider undistributed donations as improved cash flow.
- United Listers help hide Synod’s serious financial woes behind white-out in vast Executive Session sections of Board Minutes;
- United Listers ignored Milwaukee convention overtures from three Districts, three District BOD’s, one circuit and seventeen congregations (representing more than 700 congregations in all) to stop Synod from requiring all congregational mission dollars to flow through St. Louis;
- United Listers kept Synod from knowing anything about the $35,000,000 mission property sale in Hong Kong to settle debt — property purchased by donors with the purpose of reaching souls for Jesus in Hong Kong and Mainland China;
- United Listers hid the demise of Concordia College, Selma, from the Synod. When they could have acted to save our Synod’s only historic black college in our Concordia system, they failed to act and voted to let it die.
And in all this, United Listers keep congregations in the dark using excessive executive sessions.
Conformity and control have been the focus of United Listers decisions, not congregations. Synod is now a hierarchical organization — exactly what our founder CFW Walther fought so hard against.
NEW LEADERSHIP IS ON THE WAY
“… but with God all things are possible …” Matthew 19.26
Congregations Matter has travelled the country and has identified outstanding leaders. Their names will be suggested soon for the broad middle of Missouri to consider. We believe, together, we will restore our Synod.
Our Synod’s future can be brighter than ever. Our congregations are strong.