Not so Strange Bedfellows

What do the Boy Scouts, the military chaplaincy, women voting, and shared prayer services in times of national tragedy have in common?  The world loves them and can see no reason not to be enthusiastic about them.  This is Jerry’s argument too.

Jerry is Dr. Gerald B. (Jerry) Kieschnick, President Emeritus, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Presidential Ambassador for Mission Advancement, Concordia University Texas.  I call him Jerry because that’s how he signs the article.  Jerry says in Volume IV Number 23-February 7, 2013 Perspectives: “The overwhelming majority of people both in and beyond the LCMS who hear the request for apology and/or removal shake their heads in disgust and dismay. Neither Christian nor non-Christian people understand what could possibly be wrong for a pastor called by God to speak on behalf of God at a perplexing time in the lives of people created by God and redeemed by the Son of God.” And of course he is right.

The LCMS gave in on the Boy Scouts issue, the military chaplaincy, and women voting in the 20th century.  She could not withstand popular culture, public opinion, and human reasoning on these issues and so gave in.  The WELS and the ELS did not give in.  Now in the 21st century we have given in on shared prayer services.  The 2004 Synodical Convention accepted a document that said it was okay to participate in such services.  “Resolved, that we commend the CTCR’s report, ‘Guidelines for participation in Civic Events’ for study to help pastors, teachers and church workers make decisions about participation in civic events” (Convention Proceedings, 2004, p. 131).  Furthermore, as long as you have the permission of your ecclesiastical supervisor you can’t be disciplined.  “Having promised supervision and counsel, the Synod is precluded from taking any action to terminate the membership of its member who, when performing his/her official duties, follows the advice and counsel of the ecclesiastical supervisor designated by the Synod” (Commission on Constitutional Matters, January 20-21, 2003).

My point is that these issues are already a decade old, and you’re surprised at them?  The same thing with women in combat.  How can you legitimately be shocked that the U.S. military has embraced this?  How can you not know there is no way the LCMS will publicly speak out against it?  Trinity Lutheran Church submitted resolutions to 3 Synodical conventions calling for the LCMS to declare that a woman in combat is contrary to the order of creation.  Not once did it even make it to the convention floor.

Wake up!  This is the real LCMS.   There is nothing in the way she currently “does” theology to prevent her from embracing gay marriage, gays in the ministry, or any other detritus of popular culture.  In the CTCR’s answer to the 36 (Yes only 36 pastors and/or congregations officially dissented from the changes in public doctrine the LCMS codified in the 2004 convention.), she abandoned the Reformation principle that not only explicit statements from Scripture are the Word of God but legitimate deductions from Scripture are too.  So if it doesn’t specifically say women can’t be elders they can.  Likewise, the 2004 convention accepted President Kieschnick’s official statement that open and closed Communion are just differences in practice not differences in doctrine.  I predicted at the time that eventually the LCMS will accept those accepting gay marriage as only defending a different practice while still upholding the doctrine of marriage.

Lay down with dogs wake up with fleas.  Get in bed with popular culture and you embrace all that she does, and you’ll wake up with a lot worse than fleas.


About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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