Thursday, June 20, 2013

ALPB’s Lutheran Forum - CTCR Document Approved Newtown

Christian News, June 26, 2013

“After Newtown,” an article by Rev. Paul Robert Sauer, second vice-president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri synod’s Atlantic District and  Associate  Editor of the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau’s Lutheran Forum, says:

“There is very little positive that can be taken away from the recent uproar in the Missouri Synod over the participation of one of its pastors, Rob Morris, in a community service following the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Conservatives are upset that discipline was not meted out in what was for them a clear violation of biblical and constitutional injunctions against unionism and syncretism. Moderates are upset that a pastor would even be asked to apologize for participating in what our own Commission on Theology and Church Relations document deems permissible. The great middle of Missouri was forced to shrug their heads yet again as once more the Synod became known in the wider public only for what it is against and the tremendous dysfunction with which it seems to operate.”
“The level of division and entrenchment on each side, coupled with the dismissive attitude toward synodical resolutions and synodical leadership statements that so many in the Missouri Synod seem to have, indicate how daunting the Koinonia task will be. Beyond the theological divides in Missouri that have yet again been exposed and that invariably become the focus of all the argumentation, the larger unspoken problem obvious to everyone- except those inside Missouri- is a systematic organizational dysfunction that threatens to derail any attempt at reasonable theological discussion, to say nothing of forging genuine 'Koinonia.’”
Morris contacted his ecclesiastical supervisor and was given permission to participate in the Newtown community service on the basis of the Synod-commended 2004 CTCR document on civic events. What has been lost in the discussion of Morris's participation in the community service is that our Synod has spoken on this issue, albeit with a divided voice, and that Morris's participation was within those bounds. Individuals are free to dissent from Synod's position and may have the theological wherewithal to make a case against it, but they certainly lack the ecclesiastical authority to demand that others conform to their own personal views on the issue.

“Sadly, Harrison, with the best motivation at heart in attempting to let charity prevail in the Missouri Synod, overstepped his own authority in asking Morris to apologize for something that Synod documents say he was permitted to do.”
“No matter how well grounded in history and theology they may have been, Harrison’s views were not the position of the Missouri Synod at the time when decisions about Morris’s participation were made. Arguably, there was an additional overstepping of the bounds when Harrison operated outside of the normal ecclesiastical structure by asking Morris to apologize – an ecclesial right which belongs, according to Missouri Synod polity, not to Harrison but to Yeadon, Morris’s district president.”

“At the end of the day, the final arbiter remains the individual, disconnected from the consultation of the wider church. That is the very antithesis of what Harrison hopes to accomplish with Koinonia, and that is why I was grateful at his churchmanship in apologizing for the way the situation was handled.”

1. As this article was being written, synodical nominations for president and vice-presidents have just been announced. It is remarkable how few congregations engaged in the nominations process. Although it is outside of the purview of this particular treatment of Missouri’s dysfunction, I can’t help but wonder how much of the ongoing dysfunction has caused congregations to simply ‘check out’ of Synod politics all together.”

(CN editor: “Note “Is Lutheran Forum Really a Lutheran Forum for All Sides,” CN January 5, 2009.” “Hinlicky Judges Heart of CN Editor – Lutheran Forum Refuses to Debate Inerrancy of Bible,” CN May 20, 1991. The ALPB has long promoted women pastors and evolution and has denied the inerrancy of the Bible. ELCA clergyperson Sarah Hinlicky Wilson is the editor of Lutheran Forum. Father Richard Neuhaus had been an editor of Lutheran Forum. Rev. James Loken, a homosexual, was long a columnist for Lutheran Forum. The Lutheran Forum said the editor of CN was “A Jew hater.” It’s predecessor insisted the CN editor was “out for blood.” The ALPB published Lively Stone, the autobiography of Berthold von Schenk in which he denies the basic doctrine of Christianity).


  1. I think that the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod should disband. Someone should stand up at the LCMS convention and submit a resolution proposing this. What I mean by that is that there are many different denominations out there. Every current LCMS congregation should choose one. Some might choose Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Some might choose North American Lutheran Church. Some might choose Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ. Some might choose Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod or Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Some might choose Association of Free Lutheran Congregations. Some might choose Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America. Some might choose Lutheran Churches of the Reformation. Some might choose Church of the Lutheran Confession. Some might even choose the Roman Catholic Church or some sort of partnership with the Roman Catholic Church. Or the Antiochian Orthodox Church. And some might choose something else. Then the LCMS International Center could be sold. Not sure what would be done with the colleges and seminaries but I'm sure something could be worked out.

    (I'm writing this just to get a reaction. I'm not really expecting this to happen.)

  2. No, there should be no disbanding.

    Those who prefer a CEO/PLI/methobapticostal/CGM religious philosophy or papish authoritarianism or Eastern mysticism or some other Schwärmerei organization can simply walk away from the Missouri Synod churches, like the Seminexers did. Just don’t let the door slam on the way out.

    The remaining Waltherians/Pieperists in the Missouri Synod will then have to deal primarily with the Loeheists/Elertians.

  3. Disasters of this scope and scale require a direct appearance from our LCMS Synodical President. If unavailable, then the next highest, and available Church authority should step forward and proactively lead the discussion on behalf of LCMS.

    I don't know how much, or how little, President Harrison's involvement was; but a highly politicized event like this shouldn't have been left to just a local congregation. The LCMS could have just as easily established a private prayer session of their own, even renting out a local convention center if necessary, to keep all of this, in-house.

    Rather than sharing in prayer with Islam and other non-Christian religions. This isn't the 1st time the Atlantic District has pushed the LCMS into awkward positions with regards to our statement of faith. Women pastors have been a growing concern in some rouge Atlantic District congregations.