We Already Decided

We Already Decided

The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) has already spoken:  racism in all its forms is sin.  It’s not up for debate.  God’s Word says it.  We recognize this sin among us and repent of it.  We ask God’s Holy Spirit to come into our hearts, wash us with forgiveness in Jesus’ name, and set our feet on a new and right path — a God-directed path — in our relationships with other human beings on this side of heaven.

Over the past decades, we in the LCMS have addressed racism and its current, contemporary expressions among us and in our culture.  We read the Word of God, studied the Lutheran Confessions, gathered delegates who represent us in conventions, debated proposed statements, and finally decided together what the position of the LCMS would be on this and a variety of topics.

This truth hasn’t changed.  We’ve repeated it again and again.

Racism in all of its forms is sin.  We already decided it is sin because God already decided it is a sin. 

Some things Christians face may be up for debate.  This one isn’t.


Sadly, from the evidence of the past several weeks as reported in Christianity Today and other sources, there are some pastors and laypeople in the LCMS who seem to have another opinion about the sin of racism.  You can read about it in the Our Congregations – Our Synod reports about the controversy surrounding the newly-published annotated Large Catechism here, here, and here.

What this very small, very vocal minority in the LCMS has said and written offends the rest of us.  Their words reek of racism and wreak havoc on everyone.  They’ve tried to reopen this debate.

The debate is closed regarding racism in all its forms.  God already decided.  We already decided.  It is sin.


At each LCMS convention, delegates pass some resolutions to make clear statements and define what is “good, right and salutary” for members of the LCMS to believe, teach and confess.

That’s what we’ve done on the sin of racism over and over again.

Want some recent examples?

At our last national convention in 2019, the LCMS unanimously — and unambiguously — passed 2019 Resolution 11-04A To Affirm the Common Humanity of All People and Ethnicities You can download and read the whole document here.  The resolves read in part:

“That Synod in convention publicly condemn[s] the sin of racism in all its manifestations, giving honor to the Father “from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named” (Eph. 3:15); confessing the Son, who, by His Incarnation and sacrificial death gave value and dignity to every human being; and calling on the Spirit to work in us true repentance, renewal of life, and genuine unity with one another…

…That the members of the congregations of the Synod be encouraged to work toward racial reconciliation and equality within the Church and within society-at-large, praying that those who advocate racist ideologies and those who are deceived by them be brought to repentance, and that justice and healing come to those who have been wounded…

…That as followers of Christ, “we regard no one according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 5:16), that we serve the One who has entrusted “to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19), and that we celebrate that “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19).” [Emphasis added]

Again, a unanimous vote passed this statement regarding racism.  If you’re a part of the LCMS, that’s pretty exciting, don’t you think?

The delegates weren’t done with the issue in 2019.  They also passed 2019 Resolution 11-05A To Encourage Responsible Citizenship and Compassion Toward Neighbors Who Are Immigrants Among Us, which gives direction as to how Christians should deal with “the sojourner among us.”  By an 89% margin, they passed the resolution which reads in part:

…That the members of the congregations of the Synod, as part of the body of Christ, be encouraged to recognize their calling to see the immigrant and the stranger as their neighbor, to share the Gospel and make disciples of all people, and to live as responsible citizens…

…That the members of Synod give bold witness, in keeping with the Scriptures and Confessions, against inhumane treatment and attitudes toward immigrants, war refugees, and minorities; and…

…That the members of the Synod be encouraged not to allow political divisions to become church divisions and to heed Paul’s words from Ephesians chapter four:

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:29–32).  [Emphasis added]

In prior years, the LCMS has made many more statements regarding racism in all its manifestations.  They find a shared foundation in our LCMS statements regarding the intrinsic value of all human life in all its stages.  We see life as a gift from God.  That means all people, too.  Some examples are:

These are a few statements.  There are many more.  Please contact the Commission on Theology and Church Relations or the Secretary of Synod if you would like to do a deeper dive into LCMS teaching on this topic.


The LCMS hasn’t always gotten everything right regarding racism.  Sin abounds among us on this side of heaven. Too often we’ve been on the sidelines of the fight, silent when we should speak and cautious when we should act.  People sin and need forgiveness offered through faith in Jesus Christ.  Praise God we have a Savior Jesus.  We need Him.

We are all still a work in progress led by God’s Word and growing toward Christlikeness every day.

But the sad fact is not everyone believes God’s truth about racism no matter how often we state it.  We see that everywhere in our neighborhoods and communities, our nation, and our world.

Unfortunately, there are a few people in the LCMS, both pastors and laypeople, who by their words and actions show they hold positions contrary to the inerrant Word of God and our Lutheran Confessions specifically related to race, ethnicity, the immigrants among us, and antisemitism.

Their strident voices should NOT carry weight among us, no matter how often they are viewed on Twitter or speak on podcasts.  Our church body officially stands against the sins supported by this vocal minority among us.

We will pray for those who have fallen to the temptation of racial sin.  We will confront them with God’s Word.  And we will work to help them to change as we do all who struggle with sin.

But let’s be clear.

Despite their comments and arguments on social media, blogposts and websites, the LCMS stance on racism is not up for discussion.

They do not speak for us.  We already decided because God already decided.

Isn’t that the truth you want proclaimed in Our Congregations and Our Synod?


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