CFW Walther Seated

CFW Walther Fought Against Hierarchical Control

Why should congregations, pastors, and church workers care about ecclesiastical supervision?  Because a new bylaw put into effect by the Board of Directors of the Synod has a detrimental effect and impact on every congregation, every pastor and every church worker in the Synod now and in the future. It is a demonstration of the trend towards centralization of power with hierarchical governance.

Walther:  We Must Fight To Preserve Freedom of Congregations

In his 1879 essay at the Iowa District convention, CFW Walther stated that a congregation is not a community under clerical control, but a community of members of Christ, united by an evangelical, gentle bond of love. So a Synod is a community of congregations, pastors, and church workers that are not under clerical or hierarchical control.  Walther said, “Throughout the existence of the Missouri Synod we have had to battle arduously to preserve freedom of the congregations; therefore we intend to continue our united front and help them defend their freedom.”

Walther stated in his Presidential address at the 1848 convention of the Synod,

“We can hardly consider any other constitution as the most salutary but one under which the congregations are free to govern themselves, but enter into a synodical organization such as the one existing among us with the help of God, for enjoying fraternal consultation, supervision, and aid and to spread the kingdom of God jointly and to make possible and accomplish the aims of the Church in general” (emphasis added).

This occurs when ecclesiastical supervisors, who are regarded as great blessings in our Synod, advise, influence and convince the individual congregations and members of the Synod by the power of the Word only, not as lords over the congregations and ministers.

This great responsibility towards the members is conferred upon the district presidents alone. Congregations Matter joins you in caring about correcting the harmful trend in our Synod toward hierarchical control.

Here’s How You Can Help

We believe it is time for our elected leaders to change the way they are acting – or it is time for us to change our elected leaders.

If you would like to join the movement, here are some things to do:

  • First, sign up for our email list and receive new posts from this site to become more informed on the issues.
  • Next, make sure your congregation passes overtures to district conventions and national conventions that support this effort.  We must turn our LCMS leadership back to its historic role.
  • Finally, elect local delegates to the District and National conventions who will vote for the primacy of congregations, not the primacy of the Synodical President and his administration.

And one more thing. You have the responsibility to nominate men and women to serve as our leaders in Synod. When it’s time to nominate a Synod President and others in 2019, let’s choose leadership that will support congregations, not use congregations to support them.

Congregations matter.


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