24 April 2008

From COP

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

We, the members of the Council of Presidents of The Lutheran Church—
Missouri Synod, greet you in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ, who is the Savior of the whole world.

We are fully aware of pain in our Synod over the discontinuation of
the KFUO Radio program “Issues, Etc.” When one member of the Body of
Christ hurts—for whatever reason—we all hurt. We are very concerned
about how this pain has affected the church as it carries Christ’s
gifts to the world. Only the devil would rejoice over this disruption!

We encourage the whole church prayerfully to reflect and ponder on a
few matters. We realize that in our understanding and application of
the 4th commandment, this matter is not the responsibility of the
Council of Presidents. The Synod has given the authority for oversight
and implementation of KFUO and its programming decisions to the Board
for Communication Services (BCS). We must regard with Christian
charity and trust the judgment of our duly elected brothers and
sisters in Christ on the BCS, along with its Executive Director, Mr.
David Strand.

We regret the timing of this decision, which was implemented during
Holy Week, one of the most important times of the church year. In
response to the concern that the manner in which this decision was
implemented lacked Christian compassion, it is important to note our
belief that such was not the case. These matters are also addressed in
the statement on this topic by the President of our Synod, attached
hereto, which we commend to you.

The manner in which the church addresses, discusses, and resolves
disagreements is as important as the disagreement itself. In this
regard, the 8th commandment’s focus on upholding the reputation of
brothers and sisters in Christ is most important. We are all the
baptized of Christ, washed in His blood, and we possess His image of
blamelessness. Where there have been communications that have violated
the integrity of a brother or sister in Christ, Christ calls us to
repentance. Here, too, the devil would delight in divisiveness
resulting from matters such as this. Let us walk with integrity,
honesty, and humility, giving glory to Jesus Christ, “bearing with one
another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each
other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must
forgive” (Colossians 3:13).

Jesus Christ is the Lord of the church. As this church goes forward in
reaching unbelievers with the precious Gospel of our Lord, let us be
“eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

The peace of the Lord be with you all!

Council of Presidents
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
Adopted April 22, 2008, without dissenting vote

[Your comments, folks? I have mine, but I don't trust myself to write them at the moment...]

17 comments:

Jeremy Loesch said...

Rev. Weedon, I'll go first. On the surface, this is a 'fine' statement in that it says nothing. They are aware of the problem. But that seems to be it.

The COP does advocate patience and charity and that is admirable. But what is glaring to me is the amount of 'divisive' words that are used. And what this speaks to me is that the ones who are upset with the cancellation of the show and the dismissal of Todd and Jeff are the ones who are being divisive, are rocking the boat, are upsetting the applecart. And that is upsetting. Apparently disagreement is not allowed in our church.

The COP also seems to be wholly in line with the work and decisions of David Strand. I suppose they have to be. Tony Soprano would recommend that you not go against one of the family.

And now unity and peace trumps all things. Their reference to the Ephesians passage rings hollow, because there can only be peace and unity as long as you are united with 'me'- whoever is in charge of a particular group.

This is probably longer than it needs to be, but this statement is 'nice', which means it doesn't speak to the issue at hand. The COP is aware but doesn't wish to address the issue. Jeremy

David said...

I can summarize this letter in six words:

Sit down.
Shut up.
Move on.

What makes it worse is the parenthetical note: without dissenting vote.

J.G. Fleischmann said...

With the exception of a few harsh words included on the petition by various signers from various backgrounds, there has been a strong effort to honor the 8th Commandment in all that has been written.

I particularly thank you, Fr. Weedon and Fr. Asburry, for stressing this point to those making comments on your blogs. And Todd, your responses have been so pastoral and Christ-like. Bless you, Brother!

While the COP's point about this is well taken, they are in error if they believe that the loyal opposition has given the devil a foothold. Thus, their cautions have become a smoke-screen, keeping them from discussing any issues of substance.

If this is all that they have to say, they should not have said it. Once again, it is that blasted patronizing, pietiestic attitude that our Synod is so used to spewing. ( you don't have to remind me of the 8th Commandment as if I were some heathen. I am a pastor of the Church and strive to always filter everything I say through the Lord's Commands).

Anyway, my $0.02

John

I Have Issues (Etc) said...

Rev Fleischmann,

Agreed...unfortunately, here's my best construction...in my experience, if you use the 8th commandment as a hammer, you have something to hide.

Lutherans understand the 8th commandment...it doesn't need to be referenced in EVERYTHING one writes unless someone is attempting to stifle discussion or debate.

J.G. Fleischmann said...

So true.

JGF

Anonymous said...

As I read of the great Reformer Luther, his words sometime make me wonder if he knew what the 8th Commandment means ... he often speaks directly, colorfully, and forcefully. I doubt much of his rhetoric would have been welcomed in the LCMS. And, in the words of a recent country song, as the world around us is continually softened and feminized, I can't help but wonder who of our leaders "still has a pair."

Barbara said...

Well there you have it. They did nothing wrong and I am very, very bad.
I will go and sit in the corner for a time out.
They seem very concerned about the commandments, at least with us breaking them. Last I heard, we are all sinners. And the leaders of this council do not escape that truth. It is so obvious that the current leadership is taking the church away from our gracious beliefs. There is no repentance, no apology, just a reprimand to the faithful to stop yelling at them.
Fooey.
Scripture is clear. When the truth is distorted we must speak and yell if necessary.
When our brothers or sisters have been sinned against we must speak out for them. We are called to speak to injustice in the church. And regardless of the age of low belief that we find ourselves in, Christ still calls us to the 'faithful' message of His Gospel. That was what Issues was doing. The LCMS may want their churches filling up, but that really is not in our hands to accomplish. But it is in God's Word. Issues was speaking it.
The leadership apparently wants something else. If we don't speak out against their direction, we will lose the church to the current American model (but maybe that will help me with my attitude). If that happens our children will have nothing and the missionary organizations around the world will be sending their missionaries here to convert us.
I know that Lutherans believe in putting the best construction on things. The best construction is always the Truth. Hopefully we are not teaching against that today.
We can all continue to worship at the altar of 'can't we all get along' or we can speak the truth. And using the commandments as they did, to hide behind, is nothing new. They still replaced a faithful, orthodox, life-giving show with fluff. By the way, I'm a woman! Fluff doesn't forgive me. I need the masculine Word of God to do that. And so does everyone else. We are in such a girly-man age. You just can't 'nice' someone into to the kingdom. May God have mercy on us all.
And I love your blog.
Your friend in Christ,
Barbara

Pr. Lehmann said...

I have great love and respect for a few of these men, and right now I'm really disappointed in them.

Anonymous said...

Butter wouldn't melt in their mouths.

Someone else wrote the following:
~ It is not about truth. It is about power. Facts, reason and logic are bent to serve that end.
~ If the bureaucracy/party/denomination/state can make words mean what they want, and facts to be what they want, and history to be what they want, then people lose the will to resist. There is no solid ground, no frame of reference to build opposition from.
~ People compartmentalize their thoughts to the point that the balh/blah/blah switch goes on when the subject comes up.
~ People go to sleep and they win.

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm... how did that pass "without dissenting vote". That confuses me...

Fr. Weedon has posted what... 4 or 5? of the resolutions passed by the various Districts who disagreed with the Issues Etc cancellation and the firing of these men... soooo it would seem that at least 4 or 5 of the DPs have at least in the past taken positions that would have been "dissenting". Now they are suddenly quite and... "without dissent"?? What is up with that?

Like an earlier poster asked... is there anyone in our synod who "still has a pair" or is everyone afraid and cowering before Pope Kieshnick? Is he really so powerful or fear inspiring that people cower before him and are incapable of speaking out in dissent?

You know... I fear at times like anyone I guess, what would happen to me if I suddenly lost my job, lacked an income etc. So on some level, I could understand that as a "possible" reason for not "standing up" to these folks... "I could lose my job... how would I care for my family, feed my children" or whatever.

Short of that... what could Kieschnick possibly have or do to any of them that would make them afraid of him?

I am mystified.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it....
This screwed-up religious. smoke-screen, double-speak nonsense is supposed to be believed?

Why doesn't going to your offended brother to straighten things out fit into their thinking? (Matt 5:23-34)

And as for "the manner of disagreement is as important as the disagreement itself"
Sometimes, it's not appropriate to be "nice" to religious liars.... Jesus is a prime example of that tactful course.

As for peace... I'm feeling more like Jehu than Jesus today.

Why can't we call a thing what it is?
Why can't we call people who lie what they are?

Anonymous said...

Ist das nicht ein Haufen Mist?
Ja, das ist ein Haufen Mist.

RevFisk said...

Cogency

http://beallwashedup.blogspot.com/2008/04/blog-post_24.html

Rev. Gerson Flor said...

It is not just `Luther`s rhetoric`that would not be welcome in your synod these days. His Theology, teaching, and confession aren`t either. I guess the polls say they are not `relevant` or `of significance.`

Concerning the DPs fear of losing a job, I wouldn`t be very secure of being reelected after betraying the unanimous vote of a pastors conference. Well, here we are. It all ends up in politics and counting votes. Kyrie, eleison!

William Weedon said...

Amen, Pr. Flor. Amen.

jon furgeson said...

I also say 'Amen' to Pr. Flor. But without unity by the people into action, we will only be bytes in the Internet ether.

Past Elder said...

Looks like LCMS is having or about to have its Vatican II. Having endured the original, all this has a familiar feel. "Polity" has nothing to do with it -- didn't cause it, won't prevent it. This has happened in denomination after denomination regardless of polity.

I hope that those I was around during the original who were watching Seminex like hawks wondering if/when LCMS would fall aren't finally getting their answer.