The Northwest District Convention of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod concluded on Saturday. A district official might very well characterize this convention as “Mission accomplished.” All of the resolutions were adopted per the play book. For those of you keeping a box score, I’ve posted the generalized results at the bottom of this post. The original Convention Workbook, which contains all of the overtures and resolutions in their original form, is available here.
I was disappointed that the push for Licensed Deacons and distance seminary education continues unabated. As expected, Resolution 2-07 was adopted, which declined overtures that encouraged harmony and unity in district worship, which is ironic considering the theme of the convention was “Walking in Oneness.” It also declined overtures which requested evaluation of the Transforming Churches Network and which called for the district to cease involvement in Natural Church Development. (See my previous post here.)
On a positive note, there was less of a praise band presence than the last convention. The only praise band incursion occurred during the Divine Service; the rest of the time, there was organ music with Lutheran hymns. The sermon was preached by Rev. Dr. John Wohlrabe, 2nd Vice-President of the LCMS. If you were on the sidelines looking for the usual tug of war between “confessionals” and “moderates,” there was some of that going on, although not as much as in the previous convention.
Rev. Dr. Matt Harrison, the LCMS President, was here for a Question & Answer session, which was very good; more on that tomorrow. There has been an influx of confessional pastors since the last convention, which is a good thing. And while the labeling of the NOW District as a liberal district is accurate, we aren’t so liberal that we’re ready to adopt blatant Open Communion as an official position. At one point, Overture 2-05, TO ENCOURAGE PARTICIPATION IN THE LORD’S SUPPER, was substituted in place of Resolution 2-02, TO ENCOURAGE ONGOING DISCUSSIONS REGARDING THE CELEBRATION OF THE LORD’S SUPPER. Overture 2-05 was actually an overture that resolved to encourage participation in Open Communion, though it was verbally presented as “Close Communion.” It was defeated 35/65, after which, the original resolution, 2-02, was adopted.
As a general observation, when people advocating Open Communion spoke, their comments were emotional pleas with little or no reference to Scripture. These types of pleas must be calmly met with a clear delineation of Scripture, our confession, and theology. Of course, that’s a difficult task to accomplish when you’ve got two minutes or less to do it. It’s disturbing to see major decisions of all sorts made based on a disjointed series of two minute sound bites.
Mercifully, there were no pious-sounding “red chair moments” like at the last national convention. Bible studies were led by Professor Tony Cook from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Current District President Paul Linnemann was re-elected. Complete election results are available here.
As always, the best part of the convention was hanging out with a solid group of like-minded brothers when we were in recess. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
All resolutions and Omnibus resolutions were adopted without modification unless noted below.
Res. 1-01, TO ACCEPT REPORTS, was adopted.
Res. 1-02, DISTRICT BYLAWS, became 1-02A and was adopted with some modifications by the committee.
Res. 1-03, TO ENCOURAGE A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE TO ACCOMPANY EACH OVERTURE SUBMITTED TO CONVENTION, was adopted.
Res. 1-04, TO AFFIRM 1989 SYNOD RESOLUTION 3-05B AND THE MINISTRY OF LICENSED DEACONS, was adopted, 80% in favor, after removing the fifth WHEREAS.
Res. 1-05, TO PROVIDE FOR DISTANCE SEMINARY EDUCATION, was adopted with minor amendments.
Res. 1-06, DEFINE RESPOSIBILITY FOR DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY FOR CALL OF PASTORAL CANDIDATES, was withdrawn by the committee.
Res. 1-07, DISTRICT AMENDED AND RESTATED ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION, became 1-07A and was adopted with minor amendments.
Res. 1-08, TO RESPECTFULLY DECLINE OVERTURES, was adopted. It declines Overture 1-12.
Res. 2-01, CAMPUS MINISTRY, was adopted.
Res. 2-02, TO ENCOURAGE ONGOING DISCUSSIONS REGARDING THE CELEBRATION OF THE LORD’S SUPPER, was adopted.
Res. 2-03, TO CELEBRATE THE 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE LUTHERAN REFORMATION, was adopted.
Res. 2-04, TO SHARE A LIST OF EMERITUS CLERGY WILLING TO SERVE, was adopted.
Res. 2-05, TO ADOPT A SPECIAL TRIENNIUM MISSION PROJECT (2012-2015), was adopted.
Res. 2-06, TO ACCEPT REPORTS, was adopted.
Res. 2-07, TO RESPECTFULLY DECLINE OVERTURES, was adopted. The overtures declined included:
Ov. 2-06, TO ENCOURAGE HARMONY IN THE DISTRICT'S WORSHIP
Ov. 2-07, TO PROMOTE UNITY IN WORSHIP AT DISTRICT CONFERENCES AND CONVENTIONS
Ov. 2-09, TO ASK THE CTCR AND SEMINARIES TO EVALUATE TRANSFORMING CHURCHES NETWORK
Ov. 2-10, TO CEASE PROMOTION AND INVOLVEMENT IN NATURAL CHURCH DEVELOPMENT.
OMNIBUS RESOLUTION A was adopted, which referred overtures to designated boards, commissions, or individuals. Included were:
Ov. 1-10, TO SUPPORT ACADEMIC FREEDOM, HONEST DIALOGUE AND RESPECT FOR DIVERISTY AT OUR CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY
Ov. 1-13, TO HAVE THE NORTHWEST DISTRICT DIVIDED INTO SMALLER GEOGRAPHIC DISTRICTS
Ov. 1-15, TO PROVIDE AN ALTERNATIVE FOR CONGREGATIONS AND CONVENTIONS WITH RESPECT TO VOTING ON MEMORIALS, COMMENDATIONS, OR EXPRESSIONS OF SENTIMENT
Ov. 1-17, TO PROVIDE FOR ALTERNATIVE VOTING PROCEDURES BY CONGREGATIONS
Ov. 2-16, TO HELP ESTABLISH OUTREACH TO HISPANICS/LATINOS.
OMNIBUS RESOLUTION B was adopted. It referred overtures to previous convention action. It included:
Ov. 1-04, TO ADDRESS LAY MINISTRY ACCORDING TO THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS AND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE LCMS
Ov. 1-08, TO ADDRESS THE NATURE OF THE PASTORAL OFFICE AND THE UNBILBLICAL REMOVAL OF MEN FROM THAT OFFICE
Ov. 1-11, TO REQUEST THAT SYNOD STATE THAT WOMEN ARE NOT TO HAVE AUTHORITY OVER MEN IN THE CHURCH EVEN IN HUMANLY ESTABLISHED OFFICES
Ov. 1-14, TO PROVIDE A FISCAL IMPACT STATEMENT WITH EACH OVERTURE SUBMITTED AT CONVENTION
Ov. 2-01, TO DECLARE IT CONTRARY TO SCRIPTURE AND THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS TO JOIN IN PRAYER WITH THOSE WHO DENY JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY TO THE TRUE GOD
OMNIBUS RESOLUTION D was adopted. It received the following overtures with thanks, gratitude, or encouragement:
Ov. 1-09, TO REAFFIRM THAT “OUR CONFESSION IS TRUE, GODLY, AND CATHOLIC
Ov. 2-15, TO CONTINUE THE DISABILITIES AWARENESS TASK FORCE OF THE NORTHWEST DISTRICT
OMNIBUS RESOLUTION E was adopted. These were considered overtures that could be accepted without convention dialog or debate, including:
Ov. 1-05, TO REMIND OURSELVES OF BOTH OUR RIGHTS AND OUR RESPONSIBILITIES WHEN CALLING A PASTOR
Ov. 2-02, CONGREGATIONAL HEALTH MINISTRIES
Ov. 2-04, TO TEACH AGAIN THE SIGNIFICANCE AND APPROPRIATENESS OF THE SIGN OF THE CROSS
Ov. 2-14, TO CONSIDER RECOVERING THE REFORMATION PRACTICE OF EVERY SUNDAY COMMUNION