Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Throw Us a Bone!

Sir Winston Churchill gave a speech to the House of Commons in 1940 entitled “Never Was So Much Owed By So Many To So Few.” Reflecting on the Synod’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance, you could flip Sir Winston’s words around, and instead say “Never before was so much owed to so many by so few.” Since the release of the BRTFSSG document there have been many comments and speculations on what it all means, but no follow up with us peons out here in the trenches - the ones whom all of this directly affects. Aren’t the “so many” owed some sort of explanation? A few questions answered? Come on, throw us a bone here! According to the Synod’s timeline, “Presentations and feedback on task force recommendations are being planned for all 35 LCMS district conventions next year [that’s now!], beginning in North Dakota (Jan. 18-21) and ending in Central Illinois (July 5-7).” Apparently we’re all to go into our district conventions cold, with no prior information or ability to think these important issues through. If there’s a reason they can’t provide us with further details, they could at least provide us with the reason why they can’t provide details, especially since their original document, “Walking Together - The LCMS Future,” was released a full five months ago.

The most recent response I’ve seen to the Task Force proposals comes from Dr. George Adams, member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Jackson, WY. Here are a couple of the highlights of Dr. Adams’ comments. The non-italicized wording is part of the original “Walking Together” document; the italicized wording is that of Dr. Adams’. You can find Dr. Adams’ comments here.
Doctrinal Resolutions and Statements: The current Bylaws provide excellent summary statements of the Synod’s confession of faith, doctrinal resolutions and statements, and a dissent process.
How many erring district presidents and pastors are reproved for violating the summary statements? When are we to start confessing the Bylaws instead of The Word, The Creed, the Lutheran Confessions?

• Features of a focused convention:
• Focus on theology, contemporary issues, common confession and mission, nurture, inspiration, and celebration
The underlined words appear to be buzz words – what is the definition of each? Do we not already have a common confession and mission? What appears to be hidden here is an agenda for watering down of theology and worship practices. Before we buy into any of these, there needs to be a detailed, Scripturally and doctrinally based definition of the purpose of each.
The entire list looks like agenda matters for various conferences, whether national, regional, or district, rather than “convention” issues. This proposal begins to look like the normal nature of “professional society” conventions – a little business, a lot of “conventioneering”. What an opportunity for good works to abound!

References for previous comments on the BRTFSSG from various sources:

Dr. Martin Noland

Necessary Roughness

This Side of the Pulpit

Brother’s of John the Steadfast

Consensus Lutheran

ALPB Forum Online

At Stand Firm:
photo credit: Yousef Karsh

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