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?
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
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
“Among You It Will Be Different” It was a simple request. A mother asking for positions of power and influence for her sons. Then it all broke loose. “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. The other disciples became indignant with James and John. And the Master settles the issue with these words: 25 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28 (NLT) Jesus does not need political posturing. He needs
We all expect, even demand our “rights” – right to life, liberty, civil rights, human rights, women’s rights, rights of the unborn. As Americans, we have a “Bill of Rights.” As followers of Jesus and members of the LCMS, we have rights within our Synod. That is, until someone tries to take them away. “The Congregation’s Rights” in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod also demands our attention. Our Synod has a history of drifting away from our foundations, a tendency in our history to lift up the human organization of Synod, or the clergy, or Synod leadership above the congregation. Sometimes there’s a group – or an individual – pushing us down that road away from an advisory Synod. It is happening now. We need to push back. Executive Summary Before the Synod was formed in 1847, the Saxon immigrants under Pastor (later “Bishop”) Martin Stephan had a polity in
Sadly, our Synod is moving toward a greater centralization of power. Despite the LCMS being historically a Synod of congregations bound together by a common confession and walking in love, we are more and more ruled by an administration in the International Center bent on control. If we resign ourselves to a Synod with centralized control, we will never have freedom from fear as workers in the harvest, freedom from church-political agendas that limit the Gospel — and we will never be free to be the Church our Lord has called us to be, nor fulfill His commission for us as followers of Jesus.
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