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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 16, 2021, 07:53:48 AM

Title: Seminex in Print
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 16, 2021, 07:53:48 AM
Looks like an important and helpful work for those interested in American Lutheranism.

https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Benke on December 16, 2021, 08:45:49 AM
Looks like an important and helpful work for those interested in American Lutheranism.

https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx

One would think the best source for the bibliography would be/have been the Christian News storage facility and archives, not so?  The first sentence of the blurb stuck out for me:  Nothing has shaken American Lutheranism more than the conflict within the Missouri Synod in the early 1970s.  Agree or disagree? 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 16, 2021, 09:04:05 AM
Looks like an important and helpful work for those interested in American Lutheranism.

https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx

One would think the best source for the bibliography would be/have been the Christian News storage facility and archives, not so?  The first sentence of the blurb stuck out for me:  Nothing has shaken American Lutheranism more than the conflict within the Missouri Synod in the early 1970s.  Agree or disagree? 

Dave Benke

I suppose the statement makes sense if you see the debate about the role of Scripture in Lutheran theology as a prelude to the breakup of the ELCA, which has been the other significant event.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Jim Butler on December 16, 2021, 11:08:42 AM
Looks like an important and helpful work for those interested in American Lutheranism.

https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx

One would think the best source for the bibliography would be/have been the Christian News storage facility and archives, not so?  The first sentence of the blurb stuck out for me:  Nothing has shaken American Lutheranism more than the conflict within the Missouri Synod in the early 1970s.  Agree or disagree? 

Dave Benke

It would be interesting to see if he references CN in anyway. But I'm not going to buy the book to find out.

I think one could argue that the LCMS conflict of the 70s was a watershed event in American Lutheranism. For the LCMS, it began a generation of infighting and political intrigue that still continues (e.g. the United List dominance in our conventions). As for the ELCA, Carl Braaten has argued that the Seminex faculty had a profound impact on LSTC, and the ELCA as a whole, taking them further into liberal Christianity than they would be otherwise. I've sometimes wondered if the ELCA would exist as it does today if the AELC had not been involved. In that regard, Berger's thesis could be correct.

I greatly enjoyed reading Tietjen's memoir about the conflict. I really wish that Jack Preus had written a memoir from his perspective as well as some others who were involved. I think there are lots of stories from that era that have never been told and, sadly, never will be.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 16, 2021, 11:21:31 AM
I recall a commentary indicating that it was the first time in church history (or recent history) that the liberal faction broke away from the conservative group. Other breakaways, like in the ELCA, has been the conservatives breaking away from those they believe are too liberal.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 16, 2021, 11:28:35 AM
Looks like an important and helpful work for those interested in American Lutheranism.

https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx (https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx)

One would think the best source for the bibliography would be/have been the Christian News storage facility and archives, not so?  The first sentence of the blurb stuck out for me:  Nothing has shaken American Lutheranism more than the conflict within the Missouri Synod in the early 1970s.  Agree or disagree? 

Dave Benke

It would be interesting to see if he references CN in anyway. But I'm not going to buy the book to find out.

I think one could argue that the LCMS conflict of the 70s was a watershed event in American Lutheranism. For the LCMS, it began a generation of infighting and political intrigue that still continues (e.g. the United List dominance in our conventions). As for the ELCA, Carl Braaten has argued that the Seminex faculty had a profound impact on LSTC, and the ELCA as a whole, taking them further into liberal Christianity than they would be otherwise. I've sometimes wondered if the ELCA would exist as it does today if the AELC had not been involved. In that regard, Berger's thesis could be correct.

I greatly enjoyed reading Tietjen's memoir about the conflict. I really wish that Jack Preus had written a memoir from his perspective as well as some others who were involved. I think there are lots of stories from that era that have never been told and, sadly, never will be.


Another trajectory that would have changed American Lutheranism were those working at uniting the three major Lutheran bodies in the U.S. Our joint work on LBW and in LCUSA. Fellowship that had been established with the ALC. That was a trajectory, too; that may have heightened the LCMS squabbles.


I am certain that the loss of those who formed the AELC removed the moderating influence from the LCMS and it became more conservative. I'm not sure that those AELC folks were more theologically liberal than the LCA folks. What they did do was to push the ALC, who had been holding out for a tri-Lutheran fellowship/unity, to recognize that it was impossible. The conservative faction in LCMS would never let that happen.


The ALC president at the time, David Preus, was not in favor of the new church, but agreed to go along with it if that's the direction the church body took.


Just before the ELCA formed in 1988, there was the first breakaway, with a few ALC congregations forming TAALC. It was mostly over omitting "infallible and inerrant" in the ELCA constitution that had been in the ALC constitution. Such departures weakened the conservative influence within the ELCA.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Charles Austin on December 16, 2021, 11:34:33 AM
I covered the Missouri Synod split, both as a secular journalist and as one working in Lutheran Church communications, that is, a church journalist. While it was a major, and I guess traumatic event for many Lutherans, you might have been surprised to see how little the rest of the world cared.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Mark Brown on December 16, 2021, 12:13:18 PM
Looks like an important and helpful work for those interested in American Lutheranism.

https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx

One would think the best source for the bibliography would be/have been the Christian News storage facility and archives, not so?  The first sentence of the blurb stuck out for me:  Nothing has shaken American Lutheranism more than the conflict within the Missouri Synod in the early 1970s.  Agree or disagree? 

Dave Benke

It is the most significant event for two reasons:

1) It inaugurated the "Boomer Peace", an interim that we've all been living under right up until today, which the biggest rule is that we will not collectively make resolutions on our life together that have actual impact. That fight was considered so devastating that crippling the institution as a coherent body and fostering the attitude of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes was preferable.  And that generation continues to white-knuckle that peace and keep a lid on any conversations of significance.

2) It alerted the progressive hierarchies of all mainline institutions that both: a) the actual congregations were not with them and b) they could lose if the crisis was forced. Learning the lesson of the early warning, they all adopted slow-roll revolutions from the top-down, boiling the frogs.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Jim Butler on December 16, 2021, 12:39:17 PM
I covered the Missouri Synod split, both as a secular journalist and as one working in Lutheran Church communications, that is, a church journalist. While it was a major, and I guess traumatic event for many Lutherans, you might have been surprised to see how little the rest of the world cared.

I wouldn't be surprised by how little the world cares. Most Americans didn't care. I don't think it made anyone's top 10 list of important news stories of the 70s. Heck, I grew up in Kansas City just four hours by car from St. Louis. I never heard anything about it. It wasn't on the local news. It was buried in the pages of the Kansas City Star/Times. I don't remember it even being mentioned in our church. I remember showing up at St. Paul's College High in Concordia, MO in the fall of 1975 and hearing all of these pastor's kids talking about it and asking which "side" I was on. I had no idea what they were talking about.

But while the world may have cared little, it still had a profound impact on Lutheranism in America and certain portions of the LCMS. New England lost about a third of its churches, and many more split.  I've met laypeople  who lost friends over it. Some families even split over it. I've spoken with pastors who went one way while guys they had known since they were freshmen in high school went the other; their sadness was profound. I can say that the New England District has never really recovered from that. It's kinda sad. I've met people who voted to have their churches leave the Synod in those days, but when I asked them what the actual issues were, they actually have no idea, but their pastor thought they should leave, so they did too.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Benke on December 16, 2021, 12:53:38 PM
I covered the Missouri Synod split, both as a secular journalist and as one working in Lutheran Church communications, that is, a church journalist. While it was a major, and I guess traumatic event for many Lutherans, you might have been surprised to see how little the rest of the world cared.

I wouldn't be surprised by how little the world cares. Most Americans didn't care. I don't think it made anyone's top 10 list of important news stories of the 70s. Heck, I grew up in Kansas City just four hours by car from St. Louis. I never heard anything about it. It wasn't on the local news. It was buried in the pages of the Kansas City Star/Times. I don't remember it even being mentioned in our church. I remember showing up at St. Paul's College High in Concordia, MO in the fall of 1975 and hearing all of these pastor's kids talking about it and asking which "side" I was on. I had no idea what they were talking about.

But while the world may have cared little, it still had a profound impact on Lutheranism in America and certain portions of the LCMS. New England lost about a third of its churches, and many more split.  I've met laypeople  who lost friends over it. Some families even split over it. I've spoken with pastors who went one way while guys they had known since they were freshmen in high school went the other; their sadness was profound. I can say that the New England District has never really recovered from that. It's kinda sad. I've met people who voted to have their churches leave the Synod in those days, but when I asked them what the actual issues were, they actually have no idea, but their pastor thought they should leave, so they did too.

I agree with this.  Other people really didn't care, and most likely still don't, in fact now "couldn't care less."  But we care, and beyond the local/regional losses and changes there were repercussions in the way Lutherans work and act to this very day. 

My take on it is that had the other Preus won the day back in the day, that is David and the centrist upper Midwest-strong Scandinavian ALC, Lutheranism might have turned out differently and maybe, just maybe, not be headed down the trail that leads in 2030 to having been drawn and quartered in size in that time period.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Likeness on December 16, 2021, 01:03:47 PM
The Seminex event was an intramural battle over the direction of Concordia
Seminary, St. Louis.  The orthodoxy of the faculty was questioned and the
majority of professors decided to walk out to start their own seminary.

It then got complicated when graduates of Seminex were called to LCMS
parishes.  It got 8 District Presidents on the hot seat for allowing it.  This
led the LCMS President to fire 4 of the 8 District Presidents.    Eventually
Seminex went out of business and their professors went to other Lutheran
non-LCMS seminaries.

Bottom Line: A large majority of those involved in the Seminex event have
now passed away.  CPH might be surprised how few folks will spend $40
to relive the past events of Seminex.
 
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Jim Butler on December 16, 2021, 01:09:02 PM
I covered the Missouri Synod split, both as a secular journalist and as one working in Lutheran Church communications, that is, a church journalist. While it was a major, and I guess traumatic event for many Lutherans, you might have been surprised to see how little the rest of the world cared.

I wouldn't be surprised by how little the world cares. Most Americans didn't care. I don't think it made anyone's top 10 list of important news stories of the 70s. Heck, I grew up in Kansas City just four hours by car from St. Louis. I never heard anything about it. It wasn't on the local news. It was buried in the pages of the Kansas City Star/Times. I don't remember it even being mentioned in our church. I remember showing up at St. Paul's College High in Concordia, MO in the fall of 1975 and hearing all of these pastor's kids talking about it and asking which "side" I was on. I had no idea what they were talking about.

But while the world may have cared little, it still had a profound impact on Lutheranism in America and certain portions of the LCMS. New England lost about a third of its churches, and many more split.  I've met laypeople  who lost friends over it. Some families even split over it. I've spoken with pastors who went one way while guys they had known since they were freshmen in high school went the other; their sadness was profound. I can say that the New England District has never really recovered from that. It's kinda sad. I've met people who voted to have their churches leave the Synod in those days, but when I asked them what the actual issues were, they actually have no idea, but their pastor thought they should leave, so they did too.

I agree with this.  Other people really didn't care, and most likely still don't, in fact now "couldn't care less."  But we care, and beyond the local/regional losses and changes there were repercussions in the way Lutherans work and act to this very day. 

My take on it is that had the other Preus won the day back in the day, that is David and the centrist upper Midwest-strong Scandinavian ALC, Lutheranism might have turned out differently and maybe, just maybe, not be headed down the trail that leads in 2030 to having been drawn and quartered in size in that time period.

Dave Benke

Back in 1984/85, Jack Preus spoke to my LCMS history class (you can find the video on the CSL website in the class on the walkout). He argued that Oliver Harms (and the Seminary majority) made the mistake of pushing ALC fellowship in 1969 when it was clear that many in Missouri were not in favor. He said Harms should have pushed off the decision until 1971 or 1973. Preus argued if Harms had done that, then he wouldn't have defeated Harms and things would have turned out quite differently. There would have been a split in Missouri, but it would have been along the lines of the small groups that had split already.

I've always wondered what would have happened if the LCMS had gone into fellowship with the ALC in the 1930s. I think we were very close, but things took a wrong turn. So many "What-ifs?" in history.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Jim Butler on December 16, 2021, 01:12:02 PM
The Seminex event was an intramural battle over the direction of Concordia
Seminary, St. Louis.  The orthodoxy of the faculty was questioned and the
majority of professors decided to walk out to start their own seminary.

It then got complicated when graduates of Seminex were called to LCMS
parishes.  It got 8 District Presidents on the hot seat for allowing it.  This
led the LCMS President to fire 4 of the 8 District Presidents.    Eventually
Seminex went out of business and their professors went to other Lutheran
non-LCMS seminaries.

Bottom Line: A large majority of those involved in the Seminex event have
now passed away.  CPH might be surprised how few folks will spend $40
to relive the past events of Seminex.

I'm wondering what the purpose of this book is. It isn't a history of the walk out, it's an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary information about it. I'm not sure who the books is aimed at. Some professional church historians and possibly some university and seminary libraries perhaps, but that would be about it.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Charles Austin on December 16, 2021, 01:14:38 PM
If the “other Preus“ had prevailed, and If Bishop James Crumley of the LCA had prevailed, we would have quite a different ELCA.
So who prevailed? Looking back, I think it was a middle of the road/liberal and messy coalition desperate to keep the merger alive by giving the AELC And LCA progressives certain things that they wanted. I believe Dave Preus thought he could fix things after the merger, and Jim  Crumley doubted that, but didn’t want to scuttle  the whole merger process.
So everybody put on a happy face and went on with things..
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 16, 2021, 03:10:06 PM
I don't think the AELC was necessarily more liberal than the other merger partners, at least not at the time. In many ways they were probably more conservative. But what they imported was something they insist wasn't but really was Gospel reductionism. That is, they weren't so very progressive themselves, but they played and outsized role in steering and then disabled the brakes, so to speak, such that employing their hermeneutic inevitably and irreversibly nudged the church in a progressive direction on a frictionless surface to keep going. 
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 16, 2021, 03:22:54 PM
by giving the AELC And LCA progressives certain things that they wanted.

Just for the record, there were some ALC progressives in that mix as well.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Likeness on December 16, 2021, 03:44:12 PM
When Seminex was dissolved, one Old Testament professor went to
The Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.  He produced the blueprint
and "scholarship" allowing practicing homosexuals to be accepted as
pastors.  Dr. Carl Braaten on the faculty at the time noticed this new
aberration in Lutheran theology.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: John_Hannah on December 16, 2021, 03:48:21 PM
by giving the AELC And LCA progressives certain things that they wanted.

Just for the record, there were some ALC progressives in that mix as well.

I recall the LCUSA executive for governmental advocacy was regularly criticized by RJN for his progressive views and activities. He was ALC. (The last name started with "B" but I can't remember exactly what it was.)

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Benke on December 16, 2021, 04:17:58 PM
Looks like an important and helpful work for those interested in American Lutheranism.

https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx

One would think the best source for the bibliography would be/have been the Christian News storage facility and archives, not so?  The first sentence of the blurb stuck out for me:  Nothing has shaken American Lutheranism more than the conflict within the Missouri Synod in the early 1970s.  Agree or disagree? 

Dave Benke

It is the most significant event for two reasons:

1) It inaugurated the "Boomer Peace", an interim that we've all been living under right up until today, which the biggest rule is that we will not collectively make resolutions on our life together that have actual impact. That fight was considered so devastating that crippling the institution as a coherent body and fostering the attitude of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes was preferable.  And that generation continues to white-knuckle that peace and keep a lid on any conversations of significance.

2) It alerted the progressive hierarchies of all mainline institutions that both: a) the actual congregations were not with them and b) they could lose if the crisis was forced. Learning the lesson of the early warning, they all adopted slow-roll revolutions from the top-down, boiling the frogs.

Responding to your first point, Mark, using a systems approach and understanding the church body as similar to its component congregations as an emotional system and to a great extent clergy dominated, the behaviors are pretty much in line with the normal pastoral emotional approach, which is passive/aggressive.  Whatever resolutions make it through the more political national pre-convention process are aired out in the body as a whole.  And by the third day, the room temperature has been taken and the lay delegates begin to call the question and move the whole thing along in a more straight down the line manner.  Usually the edge speakers have made their attempts to commandeer the assembly repeatedly, and are no longer seen as effective.  That's just kind of group psychology more than what you're driving at. 

Where I think you're wrong is having convention resolutions be the marker of some kind of forced peace.  Who cares, really?

The bigger issue is at another level, which is the Rules for Dissent and comment/conversation on doctrinal issues.  That whole area of the LCMS bylaws came through just before the split in the early 1970s, and was meant to foster reasonable discussion.  However, as it has gotten tightened down and down and down some more - even as it's way less possible to control because of the types of information dissemination multiplying exponentially - there's really no trust in an honest discussion without fear of reprisal.  You can use the Koinonia Project as the template.  We actually had the dialogs between Atlantic District and Wyoming District pastors, and a great percentage participated, but in other precincts a ton of people refused to participate because either they would hear something they didn't want to hear as discussable or they feared being exposed.  So that to me is the more actual passive/aggressive nature of our so-called "walking together." 

Koinonia meetings began with a couple of hours of lecture on the meeting being a safe place.  And some of the interactors had their handbooks open to the section on sending in information on doctrine-practice perceived miscreants.  I'm no doubt out of the loop but I have heard zero, zip, zipinsky about any further Koinonia-like gatherings in our denomination. 

Safe spaces - where are they?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 16, 2021, 04:28:57 PM


I recall the LCUSA executive for governmental advocacy was regularly criticized by RJN for his progressive views and activities. He was ALC. (The last name started with "B" but I can't remember exactly what it was.)

Peace, JOHN

Are you thinking of Charles Bergstrom? I believe he was LCA.

Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Charles Austin on December 16, 2021, 04:34:01 PM
There was another Missourian in the Washington office whose name began with B, but I can’t remember his name.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 16, 2021, 05:03:53 PM
Are you thinking of Reuben Baerwald? He headed LCUSA's Division for Educational Services for several years, i believe.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 16, 2021, 05:33:49 PM
As to whether others beyond North American Lutheranism cared, I would point to the formation of the International Lutheran Council. That developed out of the LCMS conservative movement and has become an affiliation for Lutheran conservatives internationally. They are no rival to the LWF but they are an alternative, especially in the global south.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 16, 2021, 06:57:09 PM
The Seminex event was an intramural battle over the direction of Concordia
Seminary, St. Louis.  The orthodoxy of the faculty was questioned and the
majority of professors decided to walk out to start their own seminary.


 The orthodoxy of the faculty was questioned, but besides John Tietjen, were any others charged with heretical teachings? Without a list of names of who was orthodox and who was not, how could the students know which classes they should take.

Quote
It then got complicated when graduates of Seminex were called to LCMS
parishes.  It got 8 District Presidents on the hot seat for allowing it.  This
led the LCMS President to fire 4 of the 8 District Presidents.    Eventually
Seminex went out of business and their professors went to other Lutheran
non-LCMS seminaries.


And what about all those pastors who had been trained by those questionable professors before their teaching was questioned? A couple of LCMS clergy friends were ordained in 1968 and were taught by those professors.

Quote
Bottom Line: A large majority of those involved in the Seminex event have
now passed away.  CPH might be surprised how few folks will spend $40
to relive the past events of Seminex.


A majority of the professors may have passed away, but I would guess that most of the students who walked-out are still around; although most would be past retirement age now - like my classmates at Concordia, Portland.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 16, 2021, 07:02:13 PM
Back in 1984/85, Jack Preus spoke to my LCMS history class (you can find the video on the CSL website in the class on the walkout). He argued that Oliver Harms (and the Seminary majority) made the mistake of pushing ALC fellowship in 1969 when it was clear that many in Missouri were not in favor. He said Harms should have pushed off the decision until 1971 or 1973. Preus argued if Harms had done that, then he wouldn't have defeated Harms and things would have turned out quite differently. There would have been a split in Missouri, but it would have been along the lines of the small groups that had split already.

I've always wondered what would have happened if the LCMS had gone into fellowship with the ALC in the 1930s. I think we were very close, but things took a wrong turn. So many "What-ifs?" in history.


A report that was going around Wartburg seminary was that the politics of that 1969 conventions created strange bedfellows between the Preus group willing to vote for fellowship with the ALC in exchange for the fellowship group agreeing to vote for Preus as president.


Even prior to the old ALC (1930), the Iowa Synod and Missouri Synod had some common roots; and some uncommon fights from what I had heard.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 16, 2021, 07:09:10 PM
by giving the AELC And LCA progressives certain things that they wanted.

Just for the record, there were some ALC progressives in that mix as well.


There were some pious factions with in the ALC, namely from the Haugean tradition that the LCA and AELC just didn't understand. (Some of that led to the battles over our agreement with the Episcopalians.)  Conversely, the ALC had nothing quite like the high church piety of the Augustinian Synod. The idea of wearing chasubles for celebrants and miters for bishops/presidents wasn't much on our radar. Having the presider chant his parts of the liturgy, while recommended in the SBH, I had never heard it done. Even when I started doing it, people were complaining that "it was too Catholic."
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Charles Austin on December 16, 2021, 11:20:41 PM
Jack Preus trying to blame things on President Harms is a hoot.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 16, 2021, 11:30:28 PM
The seminex era was one in which controversies were being decided. Prior to that it was possible to be in the middle, undecided and not particularly committed to a position. No longer. Things were decided. People went their separate ways. On issues like women’s ordination, fellowship with the Reformed, gay marriage, etc. there is no middle. We’ve passed the fork in the road. You have to be on one side or the other, and all pretense to being in the middle is mere confusion or nostalgia for a time before such a choice was necessary.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: John_Hannah on December 17, 2021, 06:38:39 AM


I recall the LCUSA executive for governmental advocacy was regularly criticized by RJN for his progressive views and activities. He was ALC. (The last name started with "B" but I can't remember exactly what it was.)

Peace, JOHN

Are you thinking of Charles Bergstrom? I believe he was LCA.

I was thinking of him. I was wrong then.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Mark Brown on December 17, 2021, 12:27:48 PM
Looks like an important and helpful work for those interested in American Lutheranism.

https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx

One would think the best source for the bibliography would be/have been the Christian News storage facility and archives, not so?  The first sentence of the blurb stuck out for me:  Nothing has shaken American Lutheranism more than the conflict within the Missouri Synod in the early 1970s.  Agree or disagree? 

Dave Benke

It is the most significant event for two reasons:

1) It inaugurated the "Boomer Peace", an interim that we've all been living under right up until today, which the biggest rule is that we will not collectively make resolutions on our life together that have actual impact. That fight was considered so devastating that crippling the institution as a coherent body and fostering the attitude of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes was preferable.  And that generation continues to white-knuckle that peace and keep a lid on any conversations of significance.

2) It alerted the progressive hierarchies of all mainline institutions that both: a) the actual congregations were not with them and b) they could lose if the crisis was forced. Learning the lesson of the early warning, they all adopted slow-roll revolutions from the top-down, boiling the frogs.

Responding to your first point, Mark, using a systems approach and understanding the church body as similar to its component congregations as an emotional system and to a great extent clergy dominated, the behaviors are pretty much in line with the normal pastoral emotional approach, which is passive/aggressive.  Whatever resolutions make it through the more political national pre-convention process are aired out in the body as a whole.  And by the third day, the room temperature has been taken and the lay delegates begin to call the question and move the whole thing along in a more straight down the line manner.  Usually the edge speakers have made their attempts to commandeer the assembly repeatedly, and are no longer seen as effective.  That's just kind of group psychology more than what you're driving at. 

Where I think you're wrong is having convention resolutions be the marker of some kind of forced peace.  Who cares, really?

The bigger issue is at another level, which is the Rules for Dissent and comment/conversation on doctrinal issues.  That whole area of the LCMS bylaws came through just before the split in the early 1970s, and was meant to foster reasonable discussion.  However, as it has gotten tightened down and down and down some more - even as it's way less possible to control because of the types of information dissemination multiplying exponentially - there's really no trust in an honest discussion without fear of reprisal.  You can use the Koinonia Project as the template.  We actually had the dialogs between Atlantic District and Wyoming District pastors, and a great percentage participated, but in other precincts a ton of people refused to participate because either they would hear something they didn't want to hear as discussable or they feared being exposed.  So that to me is the more actual passive/aggressive nature of our so-called "walking together." 

Koinonia meetings began with a couple of hours of lecture on the meeting being a safe place.  And some of the interactors had their handbooks open to the section on sending in information on doctrine-practice perceived miscreants.  I'm no doubt out of the loop but I have heard zero, zip, zipinsky about any further Koinonia-like gatherings in our denomination. 

Safe spaces - where are they?

Dave Benke

Has not the church typically had councils that eventually issued creedal statements, or updates to canon law, or anathemas and like things?

I'm with you on the passive aggressive stuff.  Although I would tend to say that any institution given over to the amount of passive aggressive display as ours is simply due to bad or dishonest leadership. Call me a conciliarist, but it is leadership's role to guide the institution to making decisions.  I just don't really care about endless koinonia projects and dialog. Without skin in the game, none of it is very fruitful.  There probably have only been two meaningful processes in my entire life.  The Kansas City recension to the Augsburg Confession and its repeal. Right now there are a slew of practices across the synod that interfere with daily life.  And while I may have personal opinions about some of them, they are just that.  On many I could honestly walk with either.  But what I have significant trouble with is maintaining a coherent institution that neither says yes or no.

An example.  The daughter and grand-daughter of members has a child.  They live long states away.  The first one we baptized on the understanding that they would find a church home.  The second one, a few years later, the same request comes along.  Have you found a church home? No. Okay, I will need you to do that.  I'll repeat the task I did three years ago, but more completely.  Here are three congregations: the closest, one about 10 mins further which I would heavily recommend, and one the same distance in the other direction.  What do they pick?  The closest.  What is that one practicing? Well, they encourage virtual attendance.  And guess what, they also have virtual communion. (Of course that is on days they have communion.  Mostly they don't.) So my brother's practice destabilizes 4 generations associated with mine. (Why can't we do this? Well, its wrong.  The church is the incarnational body of Christ gathered around the sacrament.  It is not some gnostic dream.  But they are doing it. Yes, well, that is the reason I suggested your daughter go to the one a further 10 mins away. But aren't we in the same body? Well, good question...)  Have they physically attended a real service? No.  Have they made actual contact with actual living people in a congregation? No. Do I have any founded hope that once this family baptism is performed they will follow through on this? Not really. And if they do, what is my confidence in that church raising people in the faith? Well, not great Jim.

And that is just the most recent.  We have endless discussions and non-binding opinions and people can still just do whatever they want.  We have districts where passive aggressively one seminary's grads aren't welcome, and others that respond.  Neither one of our seminaries really teaches leading CoWo, but we have lots of congregations that are basically only CoWo, and stock their ministry with SBC hires. You bring people into the ministry and teach them in the liturgy, and then release them with nothing more than a good luck to congregations that often don't want what they've been trained in. And then hold them responsible for trouble. We have confirmed generations that have never even read Luther's Small Catechism.  What does closed communion mean is such an institution? (I took my shot at defining that.)

An institution that was interested in fulfilling its mission and forming souls would address these things in binding ways with its members.  I could imagine an LCMS that says: The Small Cat isn't a necessary teaching device and we are removing lines like "as you have learned it from Luther's Small Catechism" from the agendas, that adopts CoWo as DS6 and starts teaching it to everyone, that decided virtual everything is just fine.  The way that the ELCA has just become another Mainline Progressive outlet, the LCMS becomes just another Denom-Non-Denom outlet. And if it made those decisions, I'd then be freed to decide if I could abide by them as a minister.  But right now? It's just confusion.   
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 17, 2021, 12:40:42 PM
An example.  The daughter and grand-daughter of members has a child.  They live long states away.  The first one we baptized on the understanding that they would find a church home.  The second one, a few years later, the same request comes along.  Have you found a church home? No. Okay, I will need you to do that.  I'll repeat the task I did three years ago, but more completely.  Here are three congregations: the closest, one about 10 mins further which I would heavily recommend, and one the same distance in the other direction.  What do they pick?  The closest.  What is that one practicing? Well, they encourage virtual attendance.  And guess what, they also have virtual communion. (Of course that is on days they have communion.  Mostly they don't.) So my brother's practice destabilizes 4 generations associated with mine. (Why can't we do this? Well, its wrong.  The church is the incarnational body of Christ gathered around the sacrament.  It is not some gnostic dream.  But they are doing it. Yes, well, that is the reason I suggested your daughter go to the one a further 10 mins away. But aren't we in the same body? Well, good question...)  Have they physically attended a real service? No.  Have they made actual contact with actual living people in a congregation? No. Do I have any founded hope that once this family baptism is performed they will follow through on this? Not really. And if they do, what is my confidence in that church raising people in the faith? Well, not great Jim.

And that is just the most recent.  We have endless discussions and non-binding opinions and people can still just do whatever they want.  We have districts where passive aggressively one seminary's grads aren't welcome, and others that respond.  Neither one of our seminaries really teaches leading CoWo, but we have lots of congregations that are basically only CoWo, and stock their ministry with SBC hires. You bring people into the ministry and teach them in the liturgy, and then release them with nothing more than a good luck to congregations that often don't want what they've been trained in. And then hold them responsible for trouble. We have confirmed generations that have never even read Luther's Small Catechism.  What does closed communion mean is such an institution? (I took my shot at defining that.)


An LCMS clergy friend faced an issue with his own daughter. She had married. Moved to another town where there was no LCMS congregation within a reasonable distance, but there was an ELCA congregation. Should she join that Lutheran congregation or some other denomination? She joined the ELCA congregation. They had a child. She asked her pastor if her father could come and baptize the child. He agreed. Then the father had to decide if he would participate in an ELCA worship service. He did.


Going back another generation, two of my uncles had grown up Lutheran. They married Roman Catholic women. They ended up joining the Roman Catholic church. My grandparents were quite upset about this until another uncle, their youngest brother, and a Lutheran minister, told his mother that he would rather see them be good Catholics than poor Lutherans. He would rather see the family go and worship together rather then be split. (Conversely, as I've mentioned, my dad married a Jewish girl, and she was baptized and joined the Lutheran church.)
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: aletheist on December 17, 2021, 12:42:09 PM
The Kansas City recension to the Augsburg Confession and its repeal.
You meant Wichita, right?
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Benke on December 17, 2021, 02:24:45 PM
Looks like an important and helpful work for those interested in American Lutheranism.

https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx

One would think the best source for the bibliography would be/have been the Christian News storage facility and archives, not so?  The first sentence of the blurb stuck out for me:  Nothing has shaken American Lutheranism more than the conflict within the Missouri Synod in the early 1970s.  Agree or disagree? 

Dave Benke

It is the most significant event for two reasons:

1) It inaugurated the "Boomer Peace", an interim that we've all been living under right up until today, which the biggest rule is that we will not collectively make resolutions on our life together that have actual impact. That fight was considered so devastating that crippling the institution as a coherent body and fostering the attitude of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes was preferable.  And that generation continues to white-knuckle that peace and keep a lid on any conversations of significance.

2) It alerted the progressive hierarchies of all mainline institutions that both: a) the actual congregations were not with them and b) they could lose if the crisis was forced. Learning the lesson of the early warning, they all adopted slow-roll revolutions from the top-down, boiling the frogs.

Responding to your first point, Mark, using a systems approach and understanding the church body as similar to its component congregations as an emotional system and to a great extent clergy dominated, the behaviors are pretty much in line with the normal pastoral emotional approach, which is passive/aggressive.  Whatever resolutions make it through the more political national pre-convention process are aired out in the body as a whole.  And by the third day, the room temperature has been taken and the lay delegates begin to call the question and move the whole thing along in a more straight down the line manner.  Usually the edge speakers have made their attempts to commandeer the assembly repeatedly, and are no longer seen as effective.  That's just kind of group psychology more than what you're driving at. 

Where I think you're wrong is having convention resolutions be the marker of some kind of forced peace.  Who cares, really?

The bigger issue is at another level, which is the Rules for Dissent and comment/conversation on doctrinal issues.  That whole area of the LCMS bylaws came through just before the split in the early 1970s, and was meant to foster reasonable discussion.  However, as it has gotten tightened down and down and down some more - even as it's way less possible to control because of the types of information dissemination multiplying exponentially - there's really no trust in an honest discussion without fear of reprisal.  You can use the Koinonia Project as the template.  We actually had the dialogs between Atlantic District and Wyoming District pastors, and a great percentage participated, but in other precincts a ton of people refused to participate because either they would hear something they didn't want to hear as discussable or they feared being exposed.  So that to me is the more actual passive/aggressive nature of our so-called "walking together." 

Koinonia meetings began with a couple of hours of lecture on the meeting being a safe place.  And some of the interactors had their handbooks open to the section on sending in information on doctrine-practice perceived miscreants.  I'm no doubt out of the loop but I have heard zero, zip, zipinsky about any further Koinonia-like gatherings in our denomination. 

Safe spaces - where are they?

Dave Benke

Has not the church typically had councils that eventually issued creedal statements, or updates to canon law, or anathemas and like things?

I'm with you on the passive aggressive stuff.  Although I would tend to say that any institution given over to the amount of passive aggressive display as ours is simply due to bad or dishonest leadership. Call me a conciliarist, but it is leadership's role to guide the institution to making decisions.  I just don't really care about endless koinonia projects and dialog. Without skin in the game, none of it is very fruitful.  There probably have only been two meaningful processes in my entire life.  The Kansas City recension to the Augsburg Confession and its repeal. Right now there are a slew of practices across the synod that interfere with daily life.  And while I may have personal opinions about some of them, they are just that.  On many I could honestly walk with either.  But what I have significant trouble with is maintaining a coherent institution that neither says yes or no.

An example.  The daughter and grand-daughter of members has a child.  They live long states away.  The first one we baptized on the understanding that they would find a church home.  The second one, a few years later, the same request comes along.  Have you found a church home? No. Okay, I will need you to do that.  I'll repeat the task I did three years ago, but more completely.  Here are three congregations: the closest, one about 10 mins further which I would heavily recommend, and one the same distance in the other direction.  What do they pick?  The closest.  What is that one practicing? Well, they encourage virtual attendance.  And guess what, they also have virtual communion. (Of course that is on days they have communion.  Mostly they don't.) So my brother's practice destabilizes 4 generations associated with mine. (Why can't we do this? Well, its wrong.  The church is the incarnational body of Christ gathered around the sacrament.  It is not some gnostic dream.  But they are doing it. Yes, well, that is the reason I suggested your daughter go to the one a further 10 mins away. But aren't we in the same body? Well, good question...)  Have they physically attended a real service? No.  Have they made actual contact with actual living people in a congregation? No. Do I have any founded hope that once this family baptism is performed they will follow through on this? Not really. And if they do, what is my confidence in that church raising people in the faith? Well, not great Jim.

And that is just the most recent.  We have endless discussions and non-binding opinions and people can still just do whatever they want.  We have districts where passive aggressively one seminary's grads aren't welcome, and others that respond.  Neither one of our seminaries really teaches leading CoWo, but we have lots of congregations that are basically only CoWo, and stock their ministry with SBC hires. You bring people into the ministry and teach them in the liturgy, and then release them with nothing more than a good luck to congregations that often don't want what they've been trained in. And then hold them responsible for trouble. We have confirmed generations that have never even read Luther's Small Catechism.  What does closed communion mean is such an institution? (I took my shot at defining that.)

An institution that was interested in fulfilling its mission and forming souls would address these things in binding ways with its members.  I could imagine an LCMS that says: The Small Cat isn't a necessary teaching device and we are removing lines like "as you have learned it from Luther's Small Catechism" from the agendas, that adopts CoWo as DS6 and starts teaching it to everyone, that decided virtual everything is just fine.  The way that the ELCA has just become another Mainline Progressive outlet, the LCMS becomes just another Denom-Non-Denom outlet. And if it made those decisions, I'd then be freed to decide if I could abide by them as a minister.  But right now? It's just confusion.

What I take from this, Mark, is that you're not so much interested in the dialog/conversation/the mutual conversation of the brethren as you are in more hard and fast decisions made by a majority vote at a national convention of your denomination.  OK - certainly that has been a road well-taken through the LCMS history.   Your main objection seems to be Contemporary Worship or taking the option of Divine Service 6.  I suppose there's a way to legislate that, by determining through convention resolution that DS6 may contain X and not contain Y.  That will seem invasive to some, and if/as enforced through hymn and song selection by ecclesiastical supervisors might be perceived as heavy-handed.  Nonetheless, the system allows for it even now.  I do remember a few years ago someone or group/commission attempting to vet a list of usable hymns and songs.  Again, why not?   I wouldn't support it personally, but I carry no weight at the level you want to reach.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 17, 2021, 03:42:29 PM
Looks like an important and helpful work for those interested in American Lutheranism.

https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx

One would think the best source for the bibliography would be/have been the Christian News storage facility and archives, not so?  The first sentence of the blurb stuck out for me:  Nothing has shaken American Lutheranism more than the conflict within the Missouri Synod in the early 1970s.  Agree or disagree? 

Dave Benke

It is the most significant event for two reasons:

1) It inaugurated the "Boomer Peace", an interim that we've all been living under right up until today, which the biggest rule is that we will not collectively make resolutions on our life together that have actual impact. That fight was considered so devastating that crippling the institution as a coherent body and fostering the attitude of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes was preferable.  And that generation continues to white-knuckle that peace and keep a lid on any conversations of significance.

2) It alerted the progressive hierarchies of all mainline institutions that both: a) the actual congregations were not with them and b) they could lose if the crisis was forced. Learning the lesson of the early warning, they all adopted slow-roll revolutions from the top-down, boiling the frogs.

Responding to your first point, Mark, using a systems approach and understanding the church body as similar to its component congregations as an emotional system and to a great extent clergy dominated, the behaviors are pretty much in line with the normal pastoral emotional approach, which is passive/aggressive.  Whatever resolutions make it through the more political national pre-convention process are aired out in the body as a whole.  And by the third day, the room temperature has been taken and the lay delegates begin to call the question and move the whole thing along in a more straight down the line manner.  Usually the edge speakers have made their attempts to commandeer the assembly repeatedly, and are no longer seen as effective.  That's just kind of group psychology more than what you're driving at. 

Where I think you're wrong is having convention resolutions be the marker of some kind of forced peace.  Who cares, really?

The bigger issue is at another level, which is the Rules for Dissent and comment/conversation on doctrinal issues.  That whole area of the LCMS bylaws came through just before the split in the early 1970s, and was meant to foster reasonable discussion.  However, as it has gotten tightened down and down and down some more - even as it's way less possible to control because of the types of information dissemination multiplying exponentially - there's really no trust in an honest discussion without fear of reprisal.  You can use the Koinonia Project as the template.  We actually had the dialogs between Atlantic District and Wyoming District pastors, and a great percentage participated, but in other precincts a ton of people refused to participate because either they would hear something they didn't want to hear as discussable or they feared being exposed.  So that to me is the more actual passive/aggressive nature of our so-called "walking together." 

Koinonia meetings began with a couple of hours of lecture on the meeting being a safe place.  And some of the interactors had their handbooks open to the section on sending in information on doctrine-practice perceived miscreants.  I'm no doubt out of the loop but I have heard zero, zip, zipinsky about any further Koinonia-like gatherings in our denomination. 

Safe spaces - where are they?

Dave Benke

Has not the church typically had councils that eventually issued creedal statements, or updates to canon law, or anathemas and like things?

I'm with you on the passive aggressive stuff.  Although I would tend to say that any institution given over to the amount of passive aggressive display as ours is simply due to bad or dishonest leadership. Call me a conciliarist, but it is leadership's role to guide the institution to making decisions.  I just don't really care about endless koinonia projects and dialog. Without skin in the game, none of it is very fruitful.  There probably have only been two meaningful processes in my entire life.  The Kansas City recension to the Augsburg Confession and its repeal. Right now there are a slew of practices across the synod that interfere with daily life.  And while I may have personal opinions about some of them, they are just that.  On many I could honestly walk with either.  But what I have significant trouble with is maintaining a coherent institution that neither says yes or no.

An example.  The daughter and grand-daughter of members has a child.  They live long states away.  The first one we baptized on the understanding that they would find a church home.  The second one, a few years later, the same request comes along.  Have you found a church home? No. Okay, I will need you to do that.  I'll repeat the task I did three years ago, but more completely.  Here are three congregations: the closest, one about 10 mins further which I would heavily recommend, and one the same distance in the other direction.  What do they pick?  The closest.  What is that one practicing? Well, they encourage virtual attendance.  And guess what, they also have virtual communion. (Of course that is on days they have communion.  Mostly they don't.) So my brother's practice destabilizes 4 generations associated with mine. (Why can't we do this? Well, its wrong.  The church is the incarnational body of Christ gathered around the sacrament.  It is not some gnostic dream.  But they are doing it. Yes, well, that is the reason I suggested your daughter go to the one a further 10 mins away. But aren't we in the same body? Well, good question...)  Have they physically attended a real service? No.  Have they made actual contact with actual living people in a congregation? No. Do I have any founded hope that once this family baptism is performed they will follow through on this? Not really. And if they do, what is my confidence in that church raising people in the faith? Well, not great Jim.

And that is just the most recent.  We have endless discussions and non-binding opinions and people can still just do whatever they want.  We have districts where passive aggressively one seminary's grads aren't welcome, and others that respond.  Neither one of our seminaries really teaches leading CoWo, but we have lots of congregations that are basically only CoWo, and stock their ministry with SBC hires. You bring people into the ministry and teach them in the liturgy, and then release them with nothing more than a good luck to congregations that often don't want what they've been trained in. And then hold them responsible for trouble. We have confirmed generations that have never even read Luther's Small Catechism.  What does closed communion mean is such an institution? (I took my shot at defining that.)

An institution that was interested in fulfilling its mission and forming souls would address these things in binding ways with its members.  I could imagine an LCMS that says: The Small Cat isn't a necessary teaching device and we are removing lines like "as you have learned it from Luther's Small Catechism" from the agendas, that adopts CoWo as DS6 and starts teaching it to everyone, that decided virtual everything is just fine.  The way that the ELCA has just become another Mainline Progressive outlet, the LCMS becomes just another Denom-Non-Denom outlet. And if it made those decisions, I'd then be freed to decide if I could abide by them as a minister.  But right now? It's just confusion.

What I take from this, Mark, is that you're not so much interested in the dialog/conversation/the mutual conversation of the brethren as you are in more hard and fast decisions made by a majority vote at a national convention of your denomination.  OK - certainly that has been a road well-taken through the LCMS history.   Your main objection seems to be Contemporary Worship or taking the option of Divine Service 6.  I suppose there's a way to legislate that, by determining through convention resolution that DS6 may contain X and not contain Y.  That will seem invasive to some, and if/as enforced through hymn and song selection by ecclesiastical supervisors might be perceived as heavy-handed.  Nonetheless, the system allows for it even now.  I do remember a few years ago someone or group/commission attempting to vet a list of usable hymns and songs.  Again, why not?   I wouldn't support it personally, but I carry no weight at the level you want to reach.

Dave Benke
I think the CoWo example was merely about sending pastors in to situations where doing what they were trained to do lands them in hot water and the support network available to him doesn't support him. But the main example was not the problem of a church doing CoWo, it was a church not being sacramentally serious. At all. There tends to be a lot of overlap between those churches and CoWo churches, but the issue Mark highlighted was one of sacramental unseriousness and how it undermines the wider church.

I remember an FL article many years ago in which Richard Johnson expressed dismay on a confirmation retreat that the other pastors there weren't bothering to teach the creed because the kids didn't find it relevant (or something to that effect). They weren't using the catechism, either. He was so irritated by that that he went out in the woods by himself and started shouting the words of the creed and the catechism explanation. It explained in part the importance of STS for him and likeminded clergy. My point is that the ALPB has long been about sacramental seriousness. Whether Richard Johnson, Salzman, or Neuhaus, the "evangelical disdain" with which FL and the ALPB have unserious Lutheran congregations and practices is well documented over many years. So here is a story of a faithful pastor going way out of his way to do the faithful, pastoral thing in a winsome way and encountering nonsense from his fellow clergy that undoes all his efforts. The ALPB should be his ally in that context, not his critic.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: John_Hannah on December 17, 2021, 04:16:11 PM

Has not the church typically had councils that eventually issued creedal statements, or updates to canon law, or anathemas and like things?

I'm with you on the passive aggressive stuff.  Although I would tend to say that any institution given over to the amount of passive aggressive display as ours is simply due to bad or dishonest leadership. Call me a conciliarist, but it is leadership's role to guide the institution to making decisions.  I just don't really care about endless koinonia projects and dialog. Without skin in the game, none of it is very fruitful.  There probably have only been two meaningful processes in my entire life.  The Kansas City recension to the Augsburg Confession and its repeal. Right now there are a slew of practices across the synod that interfere with daily life.  And while I may have personal opinions about some of them, they are just that.  On many I could honestly walk with either.  But what I have significant trouble with is maintaining a coherent institution that neither says yes or no.

An example.  The daughter and grand-daughter of members has a child.  They live long states away.  The first one we baptized on the understanding that they would find a church home.  The second one, a few years later, the same request comes along.  Have you found a church home? No. Okay, I will need you to do that.  I'll repeat the task I did three years ago, but more completely.  Here are three congregations: the closest, one about 10 mins further which I would heavily recommend, and one the same distance in the other direction.  What do they pick?  The closest.  What is that one practicing? Well, they encourage virtual attendance.  And guess what, they also have virtual communion. (Of course that is on days they have communion.  Mostly they don't.) So my brother's practice destabilizes 4 generations associated with mine. (Why can't we do this? Well, its wrong.  The church is the incarnational body of Christ gathered around the sacrament.  It is not some gnostic dream.  But they are doing it. Yes, well, that is the reason I suggested your daughter go to the one a further 10 mins away. But aren't we in the same body? Well, good question...)  Have they physically attended a real service? No.  Have they made actual contact with actual living people in a congregation? No. Do I have any founded hope that once this family baptism is performed they will follow through on this? Not really. And if they do, what is my confidence in that church raising people in the faith? Well, not great Jim.

And that is just the most recent.  We have endless discussions and non-binding opinions and people can still just do whatever they want.  We have districts where passive aggressively one seminary's grads aren't welcome, and others that respond.  Neither one of our seminaries really teaches leading CoWo, but we have lots of congregations that are basically only CoWo, and stock their ministry with SBC hires. You bring people into the ministry and teach them in the liturgy, and then release them with nothing more than a good luck to congregations that often don't want what they've been trained in. And then hold them responsible for trouble. We have confirmed generations that have never even read Luther's Small Catechism.  What does closed communion mean is such an institution? (I took my shot at defining that.)

An institution that was interested in fulfilling its mission and forming souls would address these things in binding ways with its members.  I could imagine an LCMS that says: The Small Cat isn't a necessary teaching device and we are removing lines like "as you have learned it from Luther's Small Catechism" from the agendas, that adopts CoWo as DS6 and starts teaching it to everyone, that decided virtual everything is just fine.  The way that the ELCA has just become another Mainline Progressive outlet, the LCMS becomes just another Denom-Non-Denom outlet. And if it made those decisions, I'd then be freed to decide if I could abide by them as a minister.  But right now? It's just confusion.

MARK,

I think your grievance is about the lack of sacramental seriousness as Peter writes.

Juridically the problem is reinforced positively by the almost total lack of interest by the Synod in liturgical enforcement. It is not willing to do anything except that concerning admission and corporate, cooperative worship with anyone outside of Missouri. What we do about cognitive, doctrinal issues (to the point of obsession) we are unwilling to do about liturgy. We fail to understand that liturgy shapes the understanding of our people much more than formal theological propositions.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Benke on December 17, 2021, 04:20:47 PM
The ALPB should be his ally in that context, not his critic.

The ALPB is his ally in helping, if Mark is looking for help, find a way to be faithful and fruitful.  National convention resolutions is one of those ways.  I don't think it's the best one right out of the box.  Legislative options are findable, and I listed a couple.  I don't recommend that lifestyle in general as well as in specific. 

You may remember that I did the ecclesiastical supervision thing for a couple of decades.  Locally, my concept was to put the two pastors who were the irker and irkee together and see what the Lord had in mind.  If someone was irked at someone regionally, then I'd set up a three-way call, or figure out with the other supervisor what the bug was that was afflicting the brother from somewhere else.  I don't think you would find at the end of the day that the Atlantic District lacks sacramental seriousness.  Maybe Mark just needs to find his way downstate.  I hasten to add I'm no longer in charge of getting that done.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 18, 2021, 07:53:03 AM
David Berger, who developed this project, was head librarian while I was a reference desk librarian at CSL. Wonderful person, good researcher. This publication should be a very helpful tool for those who wish to understand what happened in the controversy.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Mark Brown on December 18, 2021, 12:13:25 PM

Has not the church typically had councils that eventually issued creedal statements, or updates to canon law, or anathemas and like things?

I'm with you on the passive aggressive stuff.  Although I would tend to say that any institution given over to the amount of passive aggressive display as ours is simply due to bad or dishonest leadership. Call me a conciliarist, but it is leadership's role to guide the institution to making decisions.  I just don't really care about endless koinonia projects and dialog. Without skin in the game, none of it is very fruitful.  There probably have only been two meaningful processes in my entire life.  The Kansas City recension to the Augsburg Confession and its repeal. Right now there are a slew of practices across the synod that interfere with daily life.  And while I may have personal opinions about some of them, they are just that.  On many I could honestly walk with either.  But what I have significant trouble with is maintaining a coherent institution that neither says yes or no.

An example.  The daughter and grand-daughter of members has a child.  They live long states away.  The first one we baptized on the understanding that they would find a church home.  The second one, a few years later, the same request comes along.  Have you found a church home? No. Okay, I will need you to do that.  I'll repeat the task I did three years ago, but more completely.  Here are three congregations: the closest, one about 10 mins further which I would heavily recommend, and one the same distance in the other direction.  What do they pick?  The closest.  What is that one practicing? Well, they encourage virtual attendance.  And guess what, they also have virtual communion. (Of course that is on days they have communion.  Mostly they don't.) So my brother's practice destabilizes 4 generations associated with mine. (Why can't we do this? Well, its wrong.  The church is the incarnational body of Christ gathered around the sacrament.  It is not some gnostic dream.  But they are doing it. Yes, well, that is the reason I suggested your daughter go to the one a further 10 mins away. But aren't we in the same body? Well, good question...)  Have they physically attended a real service? No.  Have they made actual contact with actual living people in a congregation? No. Do I have any founded hope that once this family baptism is performed they will follow through on this? Not really. And if they do, what is my confidence in that church raising people in the faith? Well, not great Jim.

And that is just the most recent.  We have endless discussions and non-binding opinions and people can still just do whatever they want.  We have districts where passive aggressively one seminary's grads aren't welcome, and others that respond.  Neither one of our seminaries really teaches leading CoWo, but we have lots of congregations that are basically only CoWo, and stock their ministry with SBC hires. You bring people into the ministry and teach them in the liturgy, and then release them with nothing more than a good luck to congregations that often don't want what they've been trained in. And then hold them responsible for trouble. We have confirmed generations that have never even read Luther's Small Catechism.  What does closed communion mean is such an institution? (I took my shot at defining that.)

An institution that was interested in fulfilling its mission and forming souls would address these things in binding ways with its members.  I could imagine an LCMS that says: The Small Cat isn't a necessary teaching device and we are removing lines like "as you have learned it from Luther's Small Catechism" from the agendas, that adopts CoWo as DS6 and starts teaching it to everyone, that decided virtual everything is just fine.  The way that the ELCA has just become another Mainline Progressive outlet, the LCMS becomes just another Denom-Non-Denom outlet. And if it made those decisions, I'd then be freed to decide if I could abide by them as a minister.  But right now? It's just confusion.

MARK,

I think your grievance is about the lack of sacramental seriousness as Peter writes.

Juridically the problem is reinforced positively by the almost total lack of interest by the Synod in liturgical enforcement. It is not willing to do anything except that concerning admission and corporate, cooperative worship with anyone outside of Missouri. What we do about cognitive, doctrinal issues (to the point of obsession) we are unwilling to do about liturgy. We fail to understand that liturgy shapes the understanding of our people much more than formal theological propositions.

Peace, JOHN

Peter and John, thank you.  That is exactly it.  We are just a sacramentally unserious church.  And even our arguments are a sick joke. We'll grind to death esoteric doctrines and sit like Little Jack Horner what a good boy am I at how right we get everything, meanwhile our practice, what actually forms people, is Laodicean. 
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Jim Butler on December 18, 2021, 04:19:35 PM
A lurker on this board, who has an association with the Concordia Historical Institute (CHI), wrote to me and asked me to share a bit about the background of this book.

It seems that CHI received a significant bequest from a former member of CSL's Board of Control (as it was called in the 1970s) for the purpose of archiving, documenting, researching, and publishing on the Walkout. Seminex in Print is the first monograph to be published as a result of that bequest. CHI hopes to publish more books and monographs about the Walkout (in conjunction with CPH) leading up to the 50th anniversary in 2024. In addition, CHI will be sponsoring the publication of other monographs about LCMS history, e.g. a translation Koestering's early history of the LCMS in conjunction with 175th anniversary of the Synod next year.

Finally, I think it was Dave Benke who asked if there was any mention of Herman Otten's archives in Berger's book. While the person who wrote to me did not say if there was, he did note that people from CHI met with Pr. Otten prior to his death and received his permission to photocopy his vast archives for CHI.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: D. Engebretson on December 18, 2021, 04:50:14 PM
Some of us who are now nearing our retirement years were actually in our teenage years when the "walkout" occurred in 1974 (I was still only 13).  Those who lived through the events of this time are either now long retired or deceased.  For the sake not only of my generation, which knew of these events when they occurred, but were only tangentially impacted, but especially for those generations following my own who only know them as summarized in print, a thorough record of this time is not only helpful, but necessary for the sake of a later recounting of its history.  For that reason I thank those who are funding and compiling works such as Seminex in Print.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Charles Austin on December 18, 2021, 05:36:46 PM
Of course, one has to wonder and ask whether CHI, representing, as it does, one "side" in that whole dispute, intends to present a complete history or a history of that side.
Herman Otten's archives would include dozens of documents from the Lutheran Counci in the U.S.A., the LCA and ALC, and one hopes these would have a role to play in the future publications.
Or what of the historical documents of Seminex leaders?
Several books have been written, some of them discussed in this modest forum, about the years of Jack Preus' tenure and the "Seminex" events. "Preus of Missouri" by James Adams, religion writer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is one. John Tietjen's memoir is another.
I suspect the documents of the AELC and its leaders are now part of the ELCA archives.
I found book discussed far upstream here, and I cannot remember the author, to be compelling and it jogged many parts of my memory.
LCUSA's archives probably include some oral histories of those times.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: John_Hannah on December 18, 2021, 05:56:34 PM

LCUSA's archives probably include some oral histories of those times.


Where are LCUSA's archives? ELCA (Elk Grove Village, IL)?
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Charles Austin on December 18, 2021, 06:20:15 PM
I suspect, John, they are with the ELCA archives. I sort of remember discussions about what to do with the archives as the LCUSA was closing down. There would be much of value in the records of the cooperative agency that represented the LCA, ALC and LCMS even during the Seminex era.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 18, 2021, 07:45:47 PM

LCUSA's archives probably include some oral histories of those times.


Where are LCUSA's archives? ELCA (Elk Grove Village, IL)?

Yes.

CHI is staffed with professional archivists who would not see themselves as representing "one side" in the controversy. (CPH may be another matter.) But in any event, history is never an objective discipline; it is always interpretation. We are perhaps approaching the time when a history of those events which is at least even-handed could be written by a historian with no ax to grind, but I suspect that will not happen for another 20 years or so when virtually everyone with personal memories is dead and gone. That's usually the way it works. The important task at present is to preserve the archival material so that that history can be written some day.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: John_Hannah on December 18, 2021, 07:47:02 PM

There would be much of value in the records of the cooperative agency that represented the LCA, ALC and LCMS even during the Seminex era.


Indeed, they are most important for those decades of American Lutheranism.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on December 18, 2021, 08:03:24 PM
And I wonder if anyone has approached or collected any of the remembrances and even notes of the exilic seminarians themselves.  I don't think any of them have written a book or have they?  It is interesting, I was a seminarian during the immediate four years before Preus' election and at the seminary at which he was president.  As students we knew something was afoot and talked about it and I wonder what the faculty of Springfield knew or talked about.  There were a couple of faculty members who were not Preus supporters.  JOA attempted to get rid of a few of us in those years even before the St. Louis purge.  I was fortunate to have a couple of faculty supporters, a home parish pastor (my own father) and a district president who backed me.  And I was small fish.  There was an ugliness way beyond doctrine in them days and doings.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 18, 2021, 08:59:49 PM

LCUSA's archives probably include some oral histories of those times.


Where are LCUSA's archives? ELCA (Elk Grove Village, IL)?

Yes.

CHI is staffed with professional archivists who would not see themselves as representing "one side" in the controversy. (CPH may be another matter.) But in any event, history is never an objective discipline; it is always interpretation. We are perhaps approaching the time when a history of those events which is at least even-handed could be written by a historian with no ax to grind, but I suspect that will not happen for another 20 years or so when virtually everyone with personal memories is dead and gone. That's usually the way it works. The important task at present is to preserve the archival material so that that history can be written some day.

Distance brings greater objectivity, I agree, but there is also much to commend personal accounts of persons who endure the experience. This book looks like it is for getting to source material, messy and lopsided though those materials may be.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Benke on December 18, 2021, 09:09:17 PM
And I wonder if anyone has approached or collected any of the remembrances and even notes of the exilic seminarians themselves.  I don't think any of them have written a book or have they?  It is interesting, I was a seminarian during the immediate four years before Preus' election and at the seminary at which he was president.  As students we knew something was afoot and talked about it and I wonder what the faculty of Springfield knew or talked about.  There were a couple of faculty members who were not Preus supporters.  JOA attempted to get rid of a few of us in those years even before the St. Louis purge.  I was fortunate to have a couple of faculty supporters, a home parish pastor (my own father) and a district president who backed me.  And I was small fish.  There was an ugliness way beyond doctrine in them days and doings.

That's a great idea.  We undertook an enterprise like that in a special conference inviting those who were with Seminex and had gone to the ELCA as well as those who "colloquized" into the LCMS along with officials who were still alive, maybe in conjunction with the Atlantic District 100th Anniversary in 2006.  I wish we would have taped that event, because the stories told and sharing were both poignant and powerful, and could have been important "for the record."  It provided some closure for folks who had really never had an opportunity to present how that whole experience had affected their lives and ministries. 

That could be an ALPB undertaking.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Jim Butler on December 19, 2021, 07:02:19 AM
And I wonder if anyone has approached or collected any of the remembrances and even notes of the exilic seminarians themselves.  I don't think any of them have written a book or have they?  It is interesting, I was a seminarian during the immediate four years before Preus' election and at the seminary at which he was president.  As students we knew something was afoot and talked about it and I wonder what the faculty of Springfield knew or talked about.  There were a couple of faculty members who were not Preus supporters.  JOA attempted to get rid of a few of us in those years even before the St. Louis purge.  I was fortunate to have a couple of faculty supporters, a home parish pastor (my own father) and a district president who backed me.  And I was small fish.  There was an ugliness way beyond doctrine in them days and doings.

That's a great idea.  We undertook an enterprise like that in a special conference inviting those who were with Seminex and had gone to the ELCA as well as those who "colloquized" into the LCMS along with officials who were still alive, maybe in conjunction with the Atlantic District 100th Anniversary in 2006.  I wish we would have taped that event, because the stories told and sharing were both poignant and powerful, and could have been important "for the record."  It provided some closure for folks who had really never had an opportunity to present how that whole experience had affected their lives and ministries. 

That could be an ALPB undertaking.

Dave Benke

If you were to contact CHI, they might give you some money to do a project like that. it would be very valuable for LCMS history. I know they want to get as many oral accounts of people who were on the scene as possible.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on December 19, 2021, 08:15:42 AM
one more extension... I have always thought that folks who sat in the middle, may have leaned one way a bit more than the other or who were ripped apart but remained locked in park gear...  why did they not move either way?  The stories of financial needs, multiple kinds of fears, family issues, non-religious loyalties to institutions and friendships, doctrinal positions that over rode doing this or that...  they were a majority, I would guess, and perhaps could have made a difference in the outcome or the size of the outcome.  The same is true of the the middlers in the sexuality fissure in the ELCA in more recent times.  In both cases the division was substantial but not as overwhelming as the majority may have feared or the minority hoped.   Or is this just based on some fact of human behavior that works in pandemic inoculations as well as theological breakdowns....
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Benke on December 19, 2021, 09:31:27 AM
And I wonder if anyone has approached or collected any of the remembrances and even notes of the exilic seminarians themselves.  I don't think any of them have written a book or have they?  It is interesting, I was a seminarian during the immediate four years before Preus' election and at the seminary at which he was president.  As students we knew something was afoot and talked about it and I wonder what the faculty of Springfield knew or talked about.  There were a couple of faculty members who were not Preus supporters.  JOA attempted to get rid of a few of us in those years even before the St. Louis purge.  I was fortunate to have a couple of faculty supporters, a home parish pastor (my own father) and a district president who backed me.  And I was small fish.  There was an ugliness way beyond doctrine in them days and doings.

That's a great idea.  We undertook an enterprise like that in a special conference inviting those who were with Seminex and had gone to the ELCA as well as those who "colloquized" into the LCMS along with officials who were still alive, maybe in conjunction with the Atlantic District 100th Anniversary in 2006.  I wish we would have taped that event, because the stories told and sharing were both poignant and powerful, and could have been important "for the record."  It provided some closure for folks who had really never had an opportunity to present how that whole experience had affected their lives and ministries. 

That could be an ALPB undertaking.

Dave Benke

If you were to contact CHI, they might give you some money to do a project like that. it would be very valuable for LCMS history. I know they want to get as many oral accounts of people who were on the scene as possible.

Will do.  In the early 1990s there was a circuit counselors' retreat late in the summer in Illinois, and it turned into an extended conversation about the fall-out and life changing nature of the experience in the mid-70s.  Lots of mourning and exploration spiritually.  Of course, we were all thirty years younger.  But since a lot of the involvees came from or went to the coastal areas, I think we could assist in a more complete oral history.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: John_Hannah on December 19, 2021, 11:07:31 AM
And I wonder if anyone has approached or collected any of the remembrances and even notes of the exilic seminarians themselves.  I don't think any of them have written a book or have they?  It is interesting, I was a seminarian during the immediate four years before Preus' election and at the seminary at which he was president.  As students we knew something was afoot and talked about it and I wonder what the faculty of Springfield knew or talked about.  There were a couple of faculty members who were not Preus supporters.  JOA attempted to get rid of a few of us in those years even before the St. Louis purge.  I was fortunate to have a couple of faculty supporters, a home parish pastor (my own father) and a district president who backed me.  And I was small fish.  There was an ugliness way beyond doctrine in them days and doings.

That's a great idea.  We undertook an enterprise like that in a special conference inviting those who were with Seminex and had gone to the ELCA as well as those who "colloquized" into the LCMS along with officials who were still alive, maybe in conjunction with the Atlantic District 100th Anniversary in 2006.  I wish we would have taped that event, because the stories told and sharing were both poignant and powerful, and could have been important "for the record."  It provided some closure for folks who had really never had an opportunity to present how that whole experience had affected their lives and ministries. 

That could be an ALPB undertaking.

Dave Benke

If you were to contact CHI, they might give you some money to do a project like that. it would be very valuable for LCMS history. I know they want to get as many oral accounts of people who were on the scene as possible.

Will do.  In the early 1990s there was a circuit counselors' retreat late in the summer in Illinois, and it turned into an extended conversation about the fall-out and life changing nature of the experience in the mid-70s.  Lots of mourning and exploration spiritually.  Of course, we were all thirty years younger.  But since a lot of the involvees came from or went to the coastal areas, I think we could assist in a more complete oral history.

Dave Benke

A huge project but it can be done I think.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Jim Butler on December 19, 2021, 01:14:19 PM
And I wonder if anyone has approached or collected any of the remembrances and even notes of the exilic seminarians themselves.  I don't think any of them have written a book or have they?  It is interesting, I was a seminarian during the immediate four years before Preus' election and at the seminary at which he was president.  As students we knew something was afoot and talked about it and I wonder what the faculty of Springfield knew or talked about.  There were a couple of faculty members who were not Preus supporters.  JOA attempted to get rid of a few of us in those years even before the St. Louis purge.  I was fortunate to have a couple of faculty supporters, a home parish pastor (my own father) and a district president who backed me.  And I was small fish.  There was an ugliness way beyond doctrine in them days and doings.

That's a great idea.  We undertook an enterprise like that in a special conference inviting those who were with Seminex and had gone to the ELCA as well as those who "colloquized" into the LCMS along with officials who were still alive, maybe in conjunction with the Atlantic District 100th Anniversary in 2006.  I wish we would have taped that event, because the stories told and sharing were both poignant and powerful, and could have been important "for the record."  It provided some closure for folks who had really never had an opportunity to present how that whole experience had affected their lives and ministries. 

That could be an ALPB undertaking.

Dave Benke

If you were to contact CHI, they might give you some money to do a project like that. it would be very valuable for LCMS history. I know they want to get as many oral accounts of people who were on the scene as possible.

Will do.  In the early 1990s there was a circuit counselors' retreat late in the summer in Illinois, and it turned into an extended conversation about the fall-out and life changing nature of the experience in the mid-70s.  Lots of mourning and exploration spiritually.  Of course, we were all thirty years younger.  But since a lot of the involvees came from or went to the coastal areas, I think we could assist in a more complete oral history.

Dave Benke

When Ted Kober did his training of circuit counselors and District leaders across the country, he said that he had pastors coming to him at every training to talk about their experiences from that era. Many of them felt very guilty about things they had said and done. He was quite overwhelmed at all of these pastors coming to him, a layperson.

Now that we are approaching 50 years since this the Walkout, I'd like to think that some people have found some healing, but I don't know.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: jtpless on December 19, 2021, 02:13:27 PM
There are two positive endorsements from ELCA professors (Mark Mattes and Mark Granquist). Granquist calls it "a wonderful and much-needed book." He also notes that "the definitive historical work on this era has yet to be written, but with bibliography it is much morel likely that such a volume eventually will be produced." Without commentary, this bibliography offers a comprehensive listing of sources on both sides of the divide.

The definitive historical work that Granquist hopes will be written is probably at least a generation in the future. My guess is that it can only be written after all the partisans are dead and gone. The current works by Tietjen, Scaer, Zimmermann, and Danker reflect the particular biases of the authors.

I might add that CHI is also planning a volume of essays to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Seminex. That volume should be out in 2023.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Charles Austin on December 19, 2021, 02:48:35 PM
Also interesting would be historical profiles of certain congregations that left the LCMS during those years. I knew several, and was later interim pastor for two terms at one of them. It was one of the finest congregations I have ever served. It went to the ALC in 1976, had then came into the ELCA. Some founders of the congregation were still around and it had something of the "old Missouri" structure even well into the ELCA years. I liked it there - 2 years in one term, later almost 3 years in a second term, - and if you can imagine it - it seems the congregation liked me, although we did not always agree on things. I miss them, especially during holiday seasons.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 19, 2021, 03:39:26 PM
Is anyone working on a book about the formation and break up in the ELCA, which I suppose is still in process? Or has the departure of congregations stopped? Just wondering whether there is a similar effort to describe that significant history from which the Lutheran Church may learn in the future.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Mike in Pennsylvania on December 19, 2021, 05:18:19 PM
Is anyone working on a book about the formation and break up in the ELCA, which I suppose is still in process? Or has the departure of congregations stopped? Just wondering whether there is a similar effort to describe that significant history from which the Lutheran Church may learn in the future.
The "slow motion schism" is still in motion, at least into the NALC, and I would suspect the LCMC as well.  It's a couple of dozen churches a year, but it continues.
Don't think anybody's trying to write any sort of scholarly history yet, though Mark Granquist mentions it briefly in his history of American Lutheranism.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Benke on December 19, 2021, 08:48:36 PM
Also interesting would be historical profiles of certain congregations that left the LCMS during those years. I knew several, and was later interim pastor for two terms at one of them. It was one of the finest congregations I have ever served. It went to the ALC in 1976, had then came into the ELCA. Some founders of the congregation were still around and it had something of the "old Missouri" structure even well into the ELCA years. I liked it there - 2 years in one term, later almost 3 years in a second term, - and if you can imagine it - it seems the congregation liked me, although we did not always agree on things. I miss them, especially during holiday seasons.

Remember that the title "Seminex" is about a seminary.  The results in the field had to do with the use of a specific bylaw or convention resolution that placed district presidents who placed and ordained graduates from Seminex under suspension.  When those eight (?) presidents went ahead, they were removed from office.  In various districts that produced the next step, which was leaving the Missouri Synod in support of their district presidents.  Two districts dramatically affected were New England and Atlantic.  Not five years prior, the Atlantic District had been divided into New England, Atlantic and New Jersey.  New England President Robert Riedel (a predecessor of mine at St. Peter's Brooklyn) and Atlantic District President Rudy Ressmeyer (grandson of Franz Pieper) were ousted, and 60-70 congregations left with them.  The seminex graduates ordained and placed in most cases left as well, although there was a way for the congregations and pastors who didn't leave to come through that situation, I believe with an interview of some kind.  My consiglieri for most of my time in the Atlantic District (ie First Vice President), Chip Froehlich, was a Seminex grad who stayed with the LCMS. 

Since our entire district Praesidium left the denomination, Jack Preus was left to find an interim District President somewhere else, and one of the district board pastors, Hank Koepchen, said yes.  Eventually we had a district convention and elected Ron Fink to serve.  The national denomination did basically nothing for us in that period - I had been elevated by circumstance to serve on the District board.  We were pretty much set adrift, with every subsidized congregation remaining and all of the top membership/donation congregations leaving.  Ron spent years doing triage among those of us who were left, and was a wonderful healer and consoler.

Anyway, I wonder whether what happened "on the ground" is considered part of the Seminex saga.  It certainly should be.

Dave Benke

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Likeness on December 19, 2021, 09:35:40 PM
In the CTQ January/April 2010 issue, Dr Lawrence Rast Jr.wrote an article entitled:
J.A.O. Preus: Theologian, Churchman or Both?

He states that the 1975 Anaheim Synodical Convention gave LCMS President Preus
the authority to declare vacant the office of any district president who should ordain
a non-certified (Seminex) candidate. There were 8 DPs who ordained Seminex
candidates & President Preus only removed 4 of them.  This led to an outcry from some
conservatives who began efforts to find an replacement for President Preus.  In the
1977 convention Preus was returned to office. By the 1981 nomination cycle, Preus
surprised some and refused to allow his name to stand for re-election.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 19, 2021, 09:46:51 PM
Is anyone working on a book about the formation and break up in the ELCA, which I suppose is still in process? Or has the departure of congregations stopped? Just wondering whether there is a similar effort to describe that significant history from which the Lutheran Church may learn in the future.
The "slow motion schism" is still in motion, at least into the NALC, and I would suspect the LCMC as well.  It's a couple of dozen churches a year, but it continues.
Don't think anybody's trying to write any sort of scholarly history yet, though Mark Granquist mentions it briefly in his history of American Lutheranism.

Thanks for explaining, Mike. What's happening with the ELCA is truly recent and, as you note, ongoing. Historians don't have to hurry but glad that Granquist is watching.

We passed an ELCA church out in the country the other day. I found myself wondering whether this country church strongly identifies with the ELCA urban ethos. Any sense of which congregations are staying and which are leaving? Is there a noticeable divide in the demographics?
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 20, 2021, 07:43:03 AM
In the CTQ January/April 2010 issue, Dr Lawrence Rast Jr.wrote an article entitled:
J.A.O. Preus: Theologian, Churchman or Both?

He states that the 1975 Anaheim Synodical Convention gave LCMS President Preus
the authority to declare vacant the office of any district president who should ordain
a non-certified (Seminex) candidate. There were 8 DPs who ordained Seminex
candidates & President Preus only removed 4 of them.  This led to an outcry from some
conservatives who began efforts to find an replacement for President Preus.  In the
1977 convention Preus was returned to office. By the 1981 nomination cycle, Preus
surprised some and refused to allow his name to stand for re-election.

My sense, Dave, is that one of the reasons the conservative United List is called the United List is because they are not united. This example you cite would stem from the roots of that formation.

There are different kinds of conservatives in the LCMS as demonstrated at that time by the variety of publications calling for changes in the LCMS. You had Christian News, Affirm, the Lutheran Clarion, etc. that illustrated the different types of conservatives and their uneasiness with one another. That phenomenon is still present but diminished, I think. Preus was burned out by the competing  politicians by 1981. I had him for a class on Chemnitz in the late 80s or early 90s. He would sometimes reminisce about the war years. His chief nemesis was "the liberals."
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Benke on December 20, 2021, 08:33:24 AM
In the CTQ January/April 2010 issue, Dr Lawrence Rast Jr.wrote an article entitled:
J.A.O. Preus: Theologian, Churchman or Both?

He states that the 1975 Anaheim Synodical Convention gave LCMS President Preus
the authority to declare vacant the office of any district president who should ordain
a non-certified (Seminex) candidate. There were 8 DPs who ordained Seminex
candidates & President Preus only removed 4 of them.  This led to an outcry from some
conservatives who began efforts to find an replacement for President Preus.  In the
1977 convention Preus was returned to office. By the 1981 nomination cycle, Preus
surprised some and refused to allow his name to stand for re-election.

Sounds like another chapter for the book. 

One of the historical features of the LCMS through the years is selective bloodletting.  The example of one, or a few, is sufficient to please many to most and tamp down those who run too close to the boundaries.  So four of eight was sufficient, and the Seminex grads, down the line a few years, ended up in what became the ELCA.

 In terms of the outcome for Jack Preus, it should be noted that his support for a successor went to.............Ralph Bohlmann.  Meaning that most likely he had had enough of those to his right and selected someone he wanted to succeed him; those to his right then ran their candidates and lost for the next decade, until they rallied around Al Barry and won a true squeaker in 1992.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Steven W Bohler on December 20, 2021, 09:20:37 AM
Also interesting would be historical profiles of certain congregations that left the LCMS during those years. I knew several, and was later interim pastor for two terms at one of them. It was one of the finest congregations I have ever served. It went to the ALC in 1976, had then came into the ELCA. Some founders of the congregation were still around and it had something of the "old Missouri" structure even well into the ELCA years. I liked it there - 2 years in one term, later almost 3 years in a second term, - and if you can imagine it - it seems the congregation liked me, although we did not always agree on things. I miss them, especially during holiday seasons.

Remember that the title "Seminex" is about a seminary.  The results in the field had to do with the use of a specific bylaw or convention resolution that placed district presidents who placed and ordained graduates from Seminex under suspension.  When those eight (?) presidents went ahead, they were removed from office.  In various districts that produced the next step, which was leaving the Missouri Synod in support of their district presidents.  Two districts dramatically affected were New England and Atlantic.  Not five years prior, the Atlantic District had been divided into New England, Atlantic and New Jersey.  New England President Robert Riedel (a predecessor of mine at St. Peter's Brooklyn) and Atlantic District President Rudy Ressmeyer (grandson of Franz Pieper) were ousted, and 60-70 congregations left with them.  The seminex graduates ordained and placed in most cases left as well, although there was a way for the congregations and pastors who didn't leave to come through that situation, I believe with an interview of some kind.  My consiglieri for most of my time in the Atlantic District (ie First Vice President), Chip Froehlich, was a Seminex grad who stayed with the LCMS. 

Since our entire district Praesidium left the denomination, Jack Preus was left to find an interim District President somewhere else, and one of the district board pastors, Hank Koepchen, said yes.  Eventually we had a district convention and elected Ron Fink to serve.  The national denomination did basically nothing for us in that period - I had been elevated by circumstance to serve on the District board.  We were pretty much set adrift, with every subsidized congregation remaining and all of the top membership/donation congregations leaving.  Ron spent years doing triage among those of us who were left, and was a wonderful healer and consoler.

Anyway, I wonder whether what happened "on the ground" is considered part of the Seminex saga.  It certainly should be.

Dave Benke

Dave Benke

My understanding was that those who wanted to "get" Herman Otten -- and so devised the requirement for congregations to only call those who were on the synodical roster (and then tried to utilize that requirement ex post facto, which was denied by the synod's appeal system) -- found that their new rule was used against them in regards to the Seminex graduates. 
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Terry W Culler on December 20, 2021, 09:47:45 AM
it has seemed to me that whenever the LCMS elected a "conservative" president, it didn't take too long before the more "conservative" factions to turn on him.  It then leaves the question of just what would satisfy the more "conservative" factions and the only thing I can think of is a split in which some would leave and some stay.  That would be a great shame for all sorts of reasons but the one that stands out for me is the fact that Missouri can, because of its size, speak for conservative Lutherans in a public way which those of us in smaller denominations cannot.  The ELCA gets far more public notice than even Missouri, but if Missouri were to break up again the conservative Lutherans in this country will be so fractured our positions will receive no public notice.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Benke on December 20, 2021, 11:20:14 AM
it has seemed to me that whenever the LCMS elected a "conservative" president, it didn't take too long before the more "conservative" factions to turn on him.  It then leaves the question of just what would satisfy the more "conservative" factions and the only thing I can think of is a split in which some would leave and some stay.  That would be a great shame for all sorts of reasons but the one that stands out for me is the fact that Missouri can, because of its size, speak for conservative Lutherans in a public way which those of us in smaller denominations cannot.  The ELCA gets far more public notice than even Missouri, but if Missouri were to break up again the conservative Lutherans in this country will be so fractured our positions will receive no public notice.

I think you're right, and I think that's why whoever gets put in the top spot or spots tends to be forced toward something like the middle in an attempt to be able to speak for a wider swath.  That's really for whoever ends up as the leader. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Steven W Bohler on December 20, 2021, 11:46:32 AM
it has seemed to me that whenever the LCMS elected a "conservative" president, it didn't take too long before the more "conservative" factions to turn on him.  It then leaves the question of just what would satisfy the more "conservative" factions and the only thing I can think of is a split in which some would leave and some stay.  That would be a great shame for all sorts of reasons but the one that stands out for me is the fact that Missouri can, because of its size, speak for conservative Lutherans in a public way which those of us in smaller denominations cannot.  The ELCA gets far more public notice than even Missouri, but if Missouri were to break up again the conservative Lutherans in this country will be so fractured our positions will receive no public notice.

Church politicians are still politicians.  So it should not come as a surprise that, once elected, they often disappoint the more ideological of their supporters by acting in a "political" fashion.  But that is precisely what happens.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Charles Austin on December 20, 2021, 12:06:29 PM
Pastor Engebretson writes:
We passed an ELCA church out in the country the other day. I found myself wondering whether this country church strongly identifies with the ELCA urban ethos.
I comment:
I think the ELCA "identifies," if that is a proper word, with the larger ethos of the United States, which means rural, urban, inner city and suburb. We have many small-town and rural churches. But those churches do not exist in isolation, either as churches or as part of our country. Their people go to or move to cities. "City" people move to suburbs or small towns. We need to be constantly aware that our particular geographic ethos is not the whole nation, let alone the whole world.
As for what local churches do, that depends upon the church and the pastor. As pastors we are obligated by our constitutional mandates to strengthen the local congregation's connection with the Synod and the ELCA. Some are diligent about this; some are not.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Chuck on December 20, 2021, 01:59:08 PM
The "slow motion schism" is still in motion, at least into the NALC, and I would suspect the LCMC as well.  It's a couple of dozen churches a year, but it continues.
Don't think anybody's trying to write any sort of scholarly history yet, though Mark Granquist mentions it briefly in his history of American Lutheranism.


A small quibble...
Actually, the number of congregations withdrawing from the ELCA the past couple of years has been 10-13, not "a couple of dozen."
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Charles Austin on December 20, 2021, 03:17:31 PM
I heard of one church in the ELCA that withdrew last year because it wanted to call its Pastor without any input from the Synod. That is, it wanted to “hire“ a pastor, whether or not that Pastor was on the ELCA roster or had synodical endorsement.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: MEKoch on December 20, 2021, 03:18:12 PM
About 50 congregations have applied to join the NALC at this time.  Some are ELCA, LCMC, and very other bodies or independent congregations.  The attitude of ELCA bishops varies widely.  Some bishops have employed very heavy-handed measures including legal actions.  Some bishops simply bid the leaving congregations God's peace. 

Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 20, 2021, 03:29:29 PM
I heard of one church in the ELCA that withdrew last year because it wanted to call its Pastor without any input from the Synod. That is, it wanted to “hire“ a pastor, whether or not that Pastor was on the ELCA roster or had synodical endorsement.
What do you think the ELCA would have done about it had the congregation gone through with their plan but not withdrawn from the ELCA? 
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Charles Austin on December 20, 2021, 03:57:22 PM
Peter:
What do you think the ELCA would have done about it had the congregation gone through with their plan but not withdrawn from the ELCA?
Me:
If they called a pastor not on our roster, I suspect they would’ve been suspended. It’s happened before. And perhaps later they might’ve been expelled.
If they call an ELCA pastor without the sentence signing off on it, I don’t know what might’ve happened.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Jim Butler on December 20, 2021, 04:03:23 PM
I heard of one church in the ELCA that withdrew last year because it wanted to call its Pastor without any input from the Synod. That is, it wanted to “hire“ a pastor, whether or not that Pastor was on the ELCA roster or had synodical endorsement.

How do you know that they merely wanted to "hire" a pastor and not actually call him/her?

Are you saying that if a congregation calls without the input of its synod, then the call is not valid?

If an ELCA congregation calls a pastor on the ELCA roster without the bishop's/Synod's input can that congregation be removed from the ELCA? If that pastor accepts the call, can s/he be removed from the ELCA?
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 20, 2021, 04:45:02 PM
it has seemed to me that whenever the LCMS elected a "conservative" president, it didn't take too long before the more "conservative" factions to turn on him.  It then leaves the question of just what would satisfy the more "conservative" factions and the only thing I can think of is a split in which some would leave and some stay.  That would be a great shame for all sorts of reasons but the one that stands out for me is the fact that Missouri can, because of its size, speak for conservative Lutherans in a public way which those of us in smaller denominations cannot.  The ELCA gets far more public notice than even Missouri, but if Missouri were to break up again the conservative Lutherans in this country will be so fractured our positions will receive no public notice.

Since the Walkout years, the LCMS has remained highly charged politically. From Preus to Harrison, presidents courted Herman Otten's support and then turned away from him after the election. This outraged Herman who then went on the attack and had little positive to say, usually supporting a rival. This bred an atmosphere of deep bitterness and suspicion among the politically minded.

Herman is now gone. What or who will fill the vacuum?
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Charles Austin on December 20, 2021, 05:25:18 PM
Pastor Butler, on another snipe hunt:
How do you know that they merely wanted to "hire" a pastor and not actually call him/her?
Me:
Blended language. They saw "call" as "hire," that is, "we pay him, we own him."

Pastor Butler:
Are you saying that if a congregation calls without the input of its synod, then the call is not valid?
Me:
I'm saying that is contrary to our usual procedures, some of which are spelled out in synodical and constitutional constitutions. The bishop is supposed to have some say over who is pastor in that synod.

Pastor Butler:
If an ELCA congregation calls a pastor on the ELCA roster without the bishop's/Synod's input can that congregation be removed from the ELCA? If that pastor accepts the call, can s/he be removed from the ELCA?
Me:
Probably not. But maybe. I did one interim where a pastor had been called against the advice of the bishop, but being a nice guy, he let it happen. Five years later, when the pastor had nearly destroyed the congregation, the synod had to clean up the mess. That pastor was then on leave from call for three years and, having refused additional training or mentoring, was dropped from our rolls. 
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Michael Slusser on December 20, 2021, 05:33:41 PM
I heard of one church in the ELCA that withdrew last year because it wanted to call its Pastor without any input from the Synod. That is, it wanted to “hire“ a pastor, whether or not that Pastor was on the ELCA roster or had synodical endorsement.
Isn't that basically happened when congregations insisted on calling non-rostered pastors who would not sign Visions and Expectations? By 2009 there were so many it precipitated a canonical crisis at the Church-Wide Assembly in Minneapolis. There were several maverick congregations out there that were officially without a pastor. It was the ELCA that yielded.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 20, 2021, 05:59:27 PM
If an ELCA congregation calls a pastor on the ELCA roster without the bishop's/Synod's input can that congregation be removed from the ELCA? If that pastor accepts the call, can s/he be removed from the ELCA?


The simple answer is, Yes, the congregation can be removed. Below are the pertinent articles from the Constitution and Bylaws for the discipline of congregations.


20.31. The disciplinary process for congregations shall be set forth in the bylaws.
20.31.01. Congregations shall be subject to discipline for:
a. departing from the faith confessed by this church;
b. willfully disregarding or violating the criteria for recognition as congregations of this church; or
c. willfully disregarding or violating the provisions of the constitutions, bylaws, and continuing resolutions of this church.
20.31.02. The disciplinary actions which may be imposed are:
a. censure and admonition by the bishop of the synod;
b. suspension from this church for a designated period, the consequences of such suspension being the loss of voting rights of any member (including ministers of Word and Sacrament and ministers of Word and Service) of the congregation at synod or churchwide assemblies, the loss of the right to petition, and the forfeiture of eligibility by any member of the congregation to serve on any council, board, committee, or other group of this church, any of its synods, or any other subdivision thereof;
c. suspension of the congregation from this church for a designated period (with the same consequences as in b.) during which the congregation shall be under the administration of the synod, provided that a congregation may refuse to accept such administration in which case it shall be removed from the roster of congregations of this church; or
d. removal from the roster of congregations of this church.
20.31.03. Charges against a congregation which could lead to discipline must be specific and in writing, subscribed to by the accuser(s), and be made by one or more of the following:
a. at least one-fifth of the voting members of the congregation, submitted to the synod bishop;
b. at least three other congregations of the synod, submitted to the synod bishop;
c. the Synod Council; or
d. the synod bishop.

The criteria for recognition as congregations of this church are given in the Constitution (see below, boldface added).

9.20. CRITERIA FOR RECOGNITION AND RECEPTION
9.21. This church shall recognize, receive, and maintain on the roster those congregations which by their practice as well as their governing documents:
a. preach the Word, administer the sacraments, and carry out God’s mission;
b. accept this church’s Confession of Faith;
c. agree to the Statement of Purpose of this church;
d. agree to call pastoral leadership from the roster of Ministers of Word and Sacrament of this church in accordance with the call procedures of this church, except in special circumstances as defined in the bylaws accompanying this provision, and with the approval of the synod bishop;
e. agree to be responsible for their life as a Christian community;
f. agree to support the life and work of this church; and
g. adhere to the additional commitments expressed in this chapter of the Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Congregations that do not call a pastor from the ELCA roster or call without approval of the synod bishop are subject to discipline. The disciplinary actions can be removal; or it can be a "talking to" by the bishop.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 20, 2021, 06:04:34 PM
I heard of one church in the ELCA that withdrew last year because it wanted to call its Pastor without any input from the Synod. That is, it wanted to “hire“ a pastor, whether or not that Pastor was on the ELCA roster or had synodical endorsement.
Isn't that basically happened when congregations insisted on calling non-rostered pastors who would not sign Visions and Expectations? By 2009 there were so many it precipitated a canonical crisis at the Church-Wide Assembly in Minneapolis. There were several maverick congregations out there that were officially without a pastor. It was the ELCA that yielded.


The ELCA are the members of the congregations. They are the voting members at churchwide assemblies who make the decisions for the ELCA. They are the highest legislative body in our church. Our presiding bishop is not a pope. The Church council are not cardinals. Decisions are made (for better or worse) by voting members at churchwide assemblies of which 60% are lay people.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 20, 2021, 06:19:27 PM
Almost all of the congregations that we serve have chosen to join a denomination. This naturally has benefits as well as disadvantages, although in my experience and estimation the benefits far outweigh the liabilities. The greatest problems often come when either the denomination goes off in a direction that the congregation cannot tolerate, or the congregation does.


Being a part of an organized church body, both the congregation and the church body has an interest in the calling of a pastor for the congregation. Generally speaking, the Bishop or District President will have greater knowledge of who is available for call, and especially if the congregation cooperates with self-studies, etc., the bishop can be of significant assistance in making a good batch. It is wise that the congregation cooperate with the district or synod process.


Every system is subject to break down and abuse. Congregations can go rogue, and sometimes the bishop or DP can pursue an agenda that he or she values more than the local congregation. It is very unwise to simply assume that is the case.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Jim Butler on December 20, 2021, 11:10:07 PM
Pastor Butler, on another snipe hunt:
How do you know that they merely wanted to "hire" a pastor and not actually call him/her?
Me:
Blended language. They saw "call" as "hire," that is, "we pay him, we own him."

Don't know why you called that a "snipe hunt", Charles. I'm just trying to understand your argument.

Pastor Butler:
Are you saying that if a congregation calls without the input of its synod, then the call is not valid?
Me:
I'm saying that is contrary to our usual procedures, some of which are spelled out in synodical and constitutional constitutions. The bishop is supposed to have some say over who is pastor in that synod.

LCMS District Presidents are supposed to have a role to play as well. But if a congregation ignores him, the call is still valid.
So, are you saying that if call is made "contrary to [y]our usual procedures" that call is not valid? Just trying to understand what you are arguing.

Pastor Butler:
If an ELCA congregation calls a pastor on the ELCA roster without the bishop's/Synod's input can that congregation be removed from the ELCA? If that pastor accepts the call, can s/he be removed from the ELCA?
Me:
Probably not. But maybe. I did one interim where a pastor had been called against the advice of the bishop, but being a nice guy, he let it happen. Five years later, when the pastor had nearly destroyed the congregation, the synod had to clean up the mess. That pastor was then on leave from call for three years and, having refused additional training or mentoring, was dropped from our rolls.

I've been in District leadership since 1994; I'm stepping away next summer. I could tell you more stories about more situations than you'd ever believe. I can think of one congregation that called a pastor who the DP said would be trouble and he was; the congregation was calling the DP with complaints within a couple of months of the pastor's arrival. At the same time, I can think of another situation where the congregation did everything by the book and the called pastor was a disaster.

No bishop/DP really knows every pastor is her/his Synod/District, especially the larger ones. I recently talked to an ELCA pastor who wants to jump to Missouri. His wife told me about the time he fell off a ladder and was hospitalized for several days. The bishop came to visit him (good!), but had to ask which patient he was (there were two in the room) and had no idea she was his wife. So I'm not sure how good that bishop's advice would be about calling him.

At any rate, I was just curious as to how the rules work in the ELCA. I appreciate Brian for quoting your constitution and by-laws on it. Looks to me as if ELCA bishops have more authority in calling that LCMS District Presidents do.

Good luck snipe hunting. Make sure you wear a mask outdoors in the woods.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Charles Austin on December 20, 2021, 11:34:01 PM
Pastor Butler:
So, are you saying that if call is made "contrary to [y]our usual procedures" that call is not valid? Just trying to understand what you are arguing.
Me:
Not arguing, explaining. If the procedures are not followed that call – in terms of the pastor, congregation, and ELCA – is not valid.

Pastor Butler:
No bishop/DP really knows every pastor is her/his Synod/District, especially the larger ones. I recently talked to an ELCA pastor who wants to jump to Missouri. His wife told me about the time he fell off a ladder and was hospitalized for several days. The bishop came to visit him (good!), but had to ask which patient he was (there were two in the room) and had no idea she was his wife. So I'm not sure how good that bishop's advice would be about calling him.
Me:
True, but…

Pastor Butler:
Looks to me as if ELCA bishops have more authority in calling that LCMS District Presidents do.
Me:
I believe they do. Some bishops use that authority more competently than others.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 21, 2021, 07:51:02 AM
I'll make a general statement about the calling process and then tell a specific story. In my experience the call process is most often followed respectfully and in faith. However, when politics get involved, anything might happen. The more politicized a situation is, the more corruptly people behave.

I have served five years now at Emmanuel, an independent congregation. I entered the call process in good faith as I believe the congregation generally did as well. The LCMS Ohio District President installed me with other LCMS clergy participating.

However, after I was installed I was told by some members that I would not be staying and that they owed leadership in the LCMS, who wanted me back on their terms. One older member took me aside, told me his disappointments with pastors he knew from the ALC and how he worked to get rid of them. He told me the same would happen to me---he would outlast me and see to it.

I listened politely realizing this brother had been somehow misled. When he or his wife went into the hospital, I ministered to them without allowing his threats to impede me. The reason I have followed through is I actually believe in the call process and what my church taught me about it. Even if some in the process acted falsely and contrary to sound doctrine, the call was from the Lord. I have served diligently in that belief and that has sustained me in the work despite abusive treatment from some members. As the called pastor, I have responsibility to care for the congregation even if some treat me abusively.

The member who threatened me is no longer with us. His harsh words were not fulfilled. I remain unbroken, open, and sincere in my service because my calling is from the Lord.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Charles Austin on December 21, 2021, 09:13:31 AM
There is the “call”, and then there is the call. We in the ELCA believe that a call from God, in terms of service within the ELCA, must be “validated“ through our denominational requirements. One may have a call from God and do whatever is necessary to follow that call. However, if one is to be a public minister in the ELCA, that call has to be filtered through our processes.
Way back in the LCA when we “defrocked” tw9 pastors in western Pennsylvania, and they went on serving certain congregations, a reporter asked me “are they still pastors?”
I said they may be doing work as pastors and their congregation may consider them pastors, but in terms of the LCA they are not pastors under our jurisdiction.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 21, 2021, 09:22:02 AM
In the LCMS, the authority to call resides with the local congregation. The pastor may feel internally called to be a pastor, but that does not make it so until God actually calls him to a specific place. The call is neither merely an internal thing nor merely abstract, general, just sort of called to everyplace kind of thing. So the district or synod can't really affect the validity of a call to a congregation. They can only affect whether that pastor or congregation is on our roster. The call remains valid. Pastor Engelbrecht makes that point in serving an independent congregation. Nobody can say his call isn't valid even if no superstructure of a denomination oversees it.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Charles Austin on December 21, 2021, 09:53:59 AM
But then the call is only between a person and a God. Is that a good idea? Seems to me that could lead to all kinds of difficulties. Is not a call to Word and Sacrament ministry connected to and mediated through the church?
I know we’ve been through this discussion before, but in the LCA and ELCA we are called to the public ministry of the denomination, and that call and connection continues even if one does not have a juridical call to a particular congregation. When I was in secular work, I was still a pastor of the LCA and ELCA, Able to do pastoral work as the occasion and/or need arose.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Benke on December 21, 2021, 09:59:32 AM
I've been in District leadership since 1994; I'm stepping away next summer.

Thanks for your lengthy service in New Englad, Jim, many years in parallel with me in Atlantic.  I only tried once to reunite New England with Atlantic, when Ozzie Lehenbauer was in office.  Going way back, my predecessor at St. Peter's, Bob Riedel, was one of those removed in the Seminex purge.  He ended up serving in Germany.  He was quite a force at St. Peter's, with a Bach children's choir, Gilbert and Sullivan productions, and (this didn't play well in Cypress Hills at the time) the use of incense.  He was the last provider for German language worship, which lasted for over 60 years.  Then came Martin Dienst, an able parish pastor.  Then Dave Mulder, against whom I played an oft-told game of two on two hoops. Then Ozzie Lehenbauer, whose son is long-time CTCR exec.  Then of course Jim K, and Tim Yeadon and now Bob Beinke (both golf buddies through the years).  So yes, you would have a bundle of call process and parish mess stories of the first water, some of which included my involvement.  Well done, Jim! 

Although......what happened to me is that in the late 80s I decided to take a break from district leadership and didn't run for vice-president; in that little slice of time Ron Fink left, Jim Zwernemann filled in (get the picture?) and then I was elected in 1991 running on the platform of "pick someone else, please."  So - beware.  And have a lovely Christmas season.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 21, 2021, 09:59:56 AM
But then the call is only between a person and a God.

I don't think that is at all what Peter stated or what we reasonably can conclude from what he did state.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 21, 2021, 10:37:07 AM
There is the “call”, and then there is the call. We in the ELCA believe that a call from God, in terms of service within the ELCA, must be “validated“ through our denominational requirements. One may have a call from God and do whatever is necessary to follow that call. However, if one is to be a public minister in the ELCA, that call has to be filtered through our processes.
Way back in the LCA when we “defrocked” tw9 pastors in western Pennsylvania, and they went on serving certain congregations, a reporter asked me “are they still pastors?”
I said they may be doing work as pastors and their congregation may consider them pastors, but in terms of the LCA they are not pastors under our jurisdiction.


Yes. We had a distinction between being a pastor and being "rostered". Prior to 2009, there were a few congregations who had called pastors who were not rostered in the ELCA. A bishop could have sought to remove those congregations from the ELCA roster of congregations. That did happen back in 1990, if I remember right. St. Francis Lutheran and First United Lutheran in San Francisco were given five years to uncall their unrostered pastors. They didn't. They were removed. However, they continued to operate as if they were still part of the Sierra Pacific Synod. Their pastors and laity attended conference and synod events. The synod assemblies often began with a motion to give their voting members voice and vote, which was approved. They continued to pay synod benevolence.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Steven W Bohler on December 21, 2021, 10:38:49 AM
But then the call is only between a person and a God. Is that a good idea? Seems to me that could lead to all kinds of difficulties. Is not a call to Word and Sacrament ministry connected to and mediated through the church?
I know we’ve been through this discussion before, but in the LCA and ELCA we are called to the public ministry of the denomination, and that call and connection continues even if one does not have a juridical call to a particular congregation. When I was in secular work, I was still a pastor of the LCA and ELCA, Able to do pastoral work as the occasion and/or need arose.

No, the call is not just "between a person and God".  In our understanding, God calls the man through the agency of the congregation (which is the Church in THAT place).  So, the call involves:
 a) God,
 b) the man being called, and
 c) the Church (which is represented by the congregation).

Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 21, 2021, 10:44:28 AM
But then the call is only between a person and a God. Is that a good idea? Seems to me that could lead to all kinds of difficulties. Is not a call to Word and Sacrament ministry connected to and mediated through the church?
I know we’ve been through this discussion before, but in the LCA and ELCA we are called to the public ministry of the denomination, and that call and connection continues even if one does not have a juridical call to a particular congregation. When I was in secular work, I was still a pastor of the LCA and ELCA, Able to do pastoral work as the occasion and/or need arose.


In the ELCA, more so than in the ALC, the wider church oversees the whole seminary and ordination process through synod candidacy committees. A candidate needs their approval to enter seminary and to matriculate through the years. Requiring synod bishops to officiate at ordinations (unless one is granted an exception), symbolizes that the ordination is a rite of the wider church; not just between the candidate and the calling congregation.


The ALC did not have candidacy committees, but the seminary faculty served as the certifying agency. I received two diplomas from Wartburg Theological Seminary: one was for the M.Div. degree and the other says that I am qualified for the Christian Ministry.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 21, 2021, 10:48:18 AM
But then the call is only between a person and a God. Is that a good idea? Seems to me that could lead to all kinds of difficulties. Is not a call to Word and Sacrament ministry connected to and mediated through the church?
I know we’ve been through this discussion before, but in the LCA and ELCA we are called to the public ministry of the denomination, and that call and connection continues even if one does not have a juridical call to a particular congregation. When I was in secular work, I was still a pastor of the LCA and ELCA, Able to do pastoral work as the occasion and/or need arose.

No, the call is not just "between a person and God".  In our understanding, God calls the man through the agency of the congregation (which is the Church in THAT place).  So, the call involves:
 a) God,
 b) the man being called, and
 c) the Church (which is represented by the congregation).

Steve,

Note that Charles' comment was about the call being "between a person and a God." [emphasis added]   :o
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 21, 2021, 10:50:46 AM
But then the call is only between a person and a God. Is that a good idea? Seems to me that could lead to all kinds of difficulties. Is not a call to Word and Sacrament ministry connected to and mediated through the church?
I know we’ve been through this discussion before, but in the LCA and ELCA we are called to the public ministry of the denomination, and that call and connection continues even if one does not have a juridical call to a particular congregation. When I was in secular work, I was still a pastor of the LCA and ELCA, Able to do pastoral work as the occasion and/or need arose.

No, the call is not just "between a person and God".  In our understanding, God calls the man through the agency of the congregation (which is the Church in THAT place).  So, the call involves:
 a) God,
 b) the man being called, and
 c) the Church (which is represented by the congregation).


The ELCA has three interdependent expressions of "church": the congregation, the synod, and the churchwide expression. Any one of those can be called "church." Thus, when the synod is in assembly, it is church. When we talk about the call being through the agency of the church, it involves all three expressions. As an ordained pastor in the ELCA (meaning: I'm on its roster of ministers of word and sacrament,) I can preach and preside at any ELCA congregation (at their invitation, or at the request of a synod bishop) and at any congregation of our full partner church bodies (at their invitation). It is our synods who are responsible for the rostering. The synod council can remove pastors from the roster. Pastors' synodical membership gets transferred when they move to a new synod.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 21, 2021, 10:56:02 AM
But then the call is only between a person and a God. Is that a good idea? Seems to me that could lead to all kinds of difficulties. Is not a call to Word and Sacrament ministry connected to and mediated through the church?
I know we’ve been through this discussion before, but in the LCA and ELCA we are called to the public ministry of the denomination, and that call and connection continues even if one does not have a juridical call to a particular congregation. When I was in secular work, I was still a pastor of the LCA and ELCA, Able to do pastoral work as the occasion and/or need arose.

In my case, Charles, God called me to and through a specific congregation: Emmanuel. That call was facilitated through the LCMS Ohio District President. So the call was never something only between God and me. It was always by and for God's Church as embodied in this local congregation.

For whatever reason, leaders in the LCMS have retained me on their roles. I suppose they could let me go. But if process was followed, they would have to have a cause they could explain to others in the church. They've never had a cause since I have dutifully followed their requests and processes. They know I believe fully in the public doctrine and practice of my church body while rejecting the political baloney, which upsets the politicians. They could not report, "We got rid of Engelbrecht because he wouldn't go along with our unofficial practices." That would undermine trust throughout the church. So here I serve, faith unshaken. God be praised, politics be damned.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Steven W Bohler on December 21, 2021, 11:14:22 AM
But then the call is only between a person and a God. Is that a good idea? Seems to me that could lead to all kinds of difficulties. Is not a call to Word and Sacrament ministry connected to and mediated through the church?
I know we’ve been through this discussion before, but in the LCA and ELCA we are called to the public ministry of the denomination, and that call and connection continues even if one does not have a juridical call to a particular congregation. When I was in secular work, I was still a pastor of the LCA and ELCA, Able to do pastoral work as the occasion and/or need arose.

No, the call is not just "between a person and God".  In our understanding, God calls the man through the agency of the congregation (which is the Church in THAT place).  So, the call involves:
 a) God,
 b) the man being called, and
 c) the Church (which is represented by the congregation).

Steve,

Note that Charles' comment was about the call being "between a person and a God." [emphasis added]   :o

I had not noticed that!  Perhaps Rev. Austin could explain what he meant by that.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Steven W Bohler on December 21, 2021, 11:15:38 AM
But then the call is only between a person and a God. Is that a good idea? Seems to me that could lead to all kinds of difficulties. Is not a call to Word and Sacrament ministry connected to and mediated through the church?
I know we’ve been through this discussion before, but in the LCA and ELCA we are called to the public ministry of the denomination, and that call and connection continues even if one does not have a juridical call to a particular congregation. When I was in secular work, I was still a pastor of the LCA and ELCA, Able to do pastoral work as the occasion and/or need arose.

No, the call is not just "between a person and God".  In our understanding, God calls the man through the agency of the congregation (which is the Church in THAT place).  So, the call involves:
 a) God,
 b) the man being called, and
 c) the Church (which is represented by the congregation).


The ELCA has three interdependent expressions of "church": the congregation, the synod, and the churchwide expression. Any one of those can be called "church." Thus, when the synod is in assembly, it is church. When we talk about the call being through the agency of the church, it involves all three expressions. As an ordained pastor in the ELCA (meaning: I'm on its roster of ministers of word and sacrament,) I can preach and preside at any ELCA congregation (at their invitation, or at the request of a synod bishop) and at any congregation of our full partner church bodies (at their invitation). It is our synods who are responsible for the rostering. The synod council can remove pastors from the roster. Pastors' synodical membership gets transferred when they move to a new synod.

Yes, I understand that the ELCA has a different understanding than does the LCMS.  I was merely answering Rev. Austin's questions about the LCMS understanding.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Benke on December 21, 2021, 11:43:39 AM
The ELCA has three interdependent expressions of "church": the congregation, the synod, and the churchwide expression. Any one of those can be called "church." Thus, when the synod is in assembly, it is church. When we talk about the call being through the agency of the church, it involves all three expressions. As an ordained pastor in the ELCA (meaning: I'm on its roster of ministers of word and sacrament,) I can preach and preside at any ELCA congregation (at their invitation, or at the request of a synod bishop) and at any congregation of our full partner church bodies (at their invitation). It is our synods who are responsible for the rostering. The synod council can remove pastors from the roster. Pastors' synodical membership gets transferred when they move to a new synod.

The bolded portion is new to me, Brian.  My understanding has been that the local bishop would do the removing.  But that then seems to be a decision ratified/finalized by the Synod council, which is made up of both clergy and laity.  This seems (I am not secure in this designation but will make it anyway) like the old consistory model in Germany, where the town council would make the decisions on church matters including clergy movement.

In the Missouri Synod, with its more localized polity in many ways, clergy rostering decisions are designated exclusively to the clergy.  A local congregation can call or cease paying a pastor at the discretion of their assembly, but the rostering of workers is not their option.  In many ways this is to protect the worker.  At least in my experience, workers who ran into a congregational buzzsaw would have been Walmart greeters if it were up to the church leadership, and doing that greeting in a Walmart far away.  The middle person, the District President/Bishop, is perpetually negotiating among worst case scenarios with folks in conflict.  And sometimes the worker/pastor is the culpable party but in no way admitting that culpability.  Jim knows a lot about this not from personal experience but from being in a district role for nearly three decades.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Charles Austin on December 21, 2021, 11:48:35 AM
OK the “a” was typographical error, but not inappropriate. I suppose we do care that the “God“ who calls someone is indeed the God whose revelation we preach.
I’m not sure I ever felt that God called me “personally” to ordained ministry. My sense of call was mediated through the Church - Sunday School Luther League, church camp, choir singing, acolyte service, attendance at worship, guidance from pastors and others who said I had the. “skills” necessary for public ministry. I was “academically” inclined, could speak well in public, was a competent volunteer in church and other places. All those things, plus prayer and study led to my sense of call. Then the synod “took over” my formation through the church vocations committee and  bishop. I am especially grateful for the guidance from Dr. Alfred Biel, Iowa synod President, who got me started, and Bishop Dr Raynold Lingwall, formerly of the Augustana Lutheran Church, who ordained me. Plus three parish pastors, fine models - Ray Tiemeyer (who almost didn’t confirm me), Stan Ecklund (who talked to me a lot about preaching) and Russell Olson, (Pastor of the young woman I would marry, who taught me about social involvement).
My call came though those activities, those people.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 21, 2021, 12:06:04 PM
The ELCA has three interdependent expressions of "church": the congregation, the synod, and the churchwide expression. Any one of those can be called "church." Thus, when the synod is in assembly, it is church. When we talk about the call being through the agency of the church, it involves all three expressions. As an ordained pastor in the ELCA (meaning: I'm on its roster of ministers of word and sacrament,) I can preach and preside at any ELCA congregation (at their invitation, or at the request of a synod bishop) and at any congregation of our full partner church bodies (at their invitation). It is our synods who are responsible for the rostering. The synod council can remove pastors from the roster. Pastors' synodical membership gets transferred when they move to a new synod.

The bolded portion is new to me, Brian.  My understanding has been that the local bishop would do the removing.  But that then seems to be a decision ratified/finalized by the Synod council, which is made up of both clergy and laity.  This seems (I am not secure in this designation but will make it anyway) like the old consistory model in Germany, where the town council would make the decisions on church matters including clergy movement.

In the Missouri Synod, with its more localized polity in many ways, clergy rostering decisions are designated exclusively to the clergy.  A local congregation can call or cease paying a pastor at the discretion of their assembly, but the rostering of workers is not their option.  In many ways this is to protect the worker.  At least in my experience, workers who ran into a congregational buzzsaw would have been Walmart greeters if it were up to the church leadership, and doing that greeting in a Walmart far away.  The middle person, the District President/Bishop, is perpetually negotiating among worst case scenarios with folks in conflict.  And sometimes the worker/pastor is the culpable party but in no way admitting that culpability.  Jim knows a lot about this.


The bylaws are ambiguous. They state:

20.22.02. The disciplinary actions which may be imposed are:
a. private censure and admonition by the bishop of the synod;
b. suspension from the office and functions of the ministry of Word and Sacrament in this church for a designated period or until there is satisfactory evidence of repentance and amendment; or
c. removal from the ministry of Word and Sacrament of this church.


It's not stated who does the suspension or removal. It is clear that the bishop does the private censure and admonition. When there is an accusation that requires disciplinary action, the bishop can threaten things, but for further disciplinary actions, it gets turned over to the synod discipline hearing committee. The bishop can also call on a consultation panel or an advisory panel to consult/advise if further disciplinary actions should be taken (which would mean turning it over the discipline hearing committee) or some other form of resolution, e.g., the pastor agrees to therapy.

I know that clergy who are on leave from call for the extended period are voted off the roster by the synod council. This happened to a friend who had been doing interim ministry for three years, but without a Call.

Perhaps another difference is that the synod council (since the synod is "church") can extend calls. Some synods do this for interim ministers. Some do not.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 21, 2021, 05:35:26 PM
Their pastors and laity attended conference and synod events. The synod assemblies often began with a motion to give their voting members voice and vote, which was approved.

Nope. Voice only.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 21, 2021, 05:42:38 PM
The ELCA has three interdependent expressions of "church": the congregation, the synod, and the churchwide expression. Any one of those can be called "church." Thus, when the synod is in assembly, it is church. When we talk about the call being through the agency of the church, it involves all three expressions. As an ordained pastor in the ELCA (meaning: I'm on its roster of ministers of word and sacrament,) I can preach and preside at any ELCA congregation (at their invitation, or at the request of a synod bishop) and at any congregation of our full partner church bodies (at their invitation). It is our synods who are responsible for the rostering. The synod council can remove pastors from the roster. Pastors' synodical membership gets transferred when they move to a new synod.

The bolded portion is new to me, Brian. 

New to me, too. Can you cite the constitutional provision that allows this?
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 21, 2021, 05:46:37 PM
The ELCA has three interdependent expressions of "church": the congregation, the synod, and the churchwide expression. Any one of those can be called "church." Thus, when the synod is in assembly, it is church. When we talk about the call being through the agency of the church, it involves all three expressions. As an ordained pastor in the ELCA (meaning: I'm on its roster of ministers of word and sacrament,) I can preach and preside at any ELCA congregation (at their invitation, or at the request of a synod bishop) and at any congregation of our full partner church bodies (at their invitation). It is our synods who are responsible for the rostering. The synod council can remove pastors from the roster. Pastors' synodical membership gets transferred when they move to a new synod.

The bolded portion is new to me, Brian. 

New to me, too. Can you cite the constitutional provision that allows this?
I don’t think Dave Benke said that. The quote feature must be messed up.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Benke on December 21, 2021, 05:55:33 PM
The ELCA has three interdependent expressions of "church": the congregation, the synod, and the churchwide expression. Any one of those can be called "church." Thus, when the synod is in assembly, it is church. When we talk about the call being through the agency of the church, it involves all three expressions. As an ordained pastor in the ELCA (meaning: I'm on its roster of ministers of word and sacrament,) I can preach and preside at any ELCA congregation (at their invitation, or at the request of a synod bishop) and at any congregation of our full partner church bodies (at their invitation). It is our synods who are responsible for the rostering. The synod council can remove pastors from the roster. Pastors' synodical membership gets transferred when they move to a new synod.

The bolded portion is new to me, Brian. 

New to me, too. Can you cite the constitutional provision that allows this?
I don’t think Dave Benke said that. The quote feature must be messed up.

Correct.  What I did was to excise, copy and paste that part of Brian's post, which then, apparently, makes it mine.  Does this mean I'm now rostered in the ELCA?  Or have I been rostered and removed already?  Very confusing.  But I'm always ready to serve.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 21, 2021, 07:36:44 PM
The ELCA has three interdependent expressions of "church": the congregation, the synod, and the churchwide expression. Any one of those can be called "church." Thus, when the synod is in assembly, it is church. When we talk about the call being through the agency of the church, it involves all three expressions. As an ordained pastor in the ELCA (meaning: I'm on its roster of ministers of word and sacrament,) I can preach and preside at any ELCA congregation (at their invitation, or at the request of a synod bishop) and at any congregation of our full partner church bodies (at their invitation). It is our synods who are responsible for the rostering. The synod council can remove pastors from the roster. Pastors' synodical membership gets transferred when they move to a new synod.

The bolded portion is new to me, Brian. 

New to me, too. Can you cite the constitutional provision that allows this?


The particular circumstances that were in my memory were pastors who were "on leave from call" 7.31.07.


In researching this, there's also 7.43.01 when a pastor under call from the Synod Council is no longer in that Call.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Chuck on December 21, 2021, 09:45:29 PM
The ELCA has three interdependent expressions of "church": the congregation, the synod, and the churchwide expression. Any one of those can be called "church." Thus, when the synod is in assembly, it is church. When we talk about the call being through the agency of the church, it involves all three expressions. As an ordained pastor in the ELCA (meaning: I'm on its roster of ministers of word and sacrament,) I can preach and preside at any ELCA congregation (at their invitation, or at the request of a synod bishop) and at any congregation of our full partner church bodies (at their invitation). It is our synods who are responsible for the rostering. The synod council can remove pastors from the roster. Pastors' synodical membership gets transferred when they move to a new synod.

The bolded portion is new to me, Brian. 

New to me, too. Can you cite the constitutional provision that allows this?


The particular circumstances that were in my memory were pastors who were "on leave from call" 7.31.07.


In researching this, there's also 7.43.01 when a pastor under call from the Synod Council is no longer in that Call.


I think we have a semantic problem here. A pastor may only be placed "on leave from call" on the recommendation of the bishop and approval of the synod council. So, a pastor is not "removed" by the synod council, but simply not approved for that status.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Benke on December 21, 2021, 09:53:09 PM
Sounds as though we need a copy of the ELCA and Synod bylaws.  Nothing better for a cold winter's night than a cup of kindness and a copy of denominational bylaws.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 21, 2021, 10:28:06 PM
The ELCA has three interdependent expressions of "church": the congregation, the synod, and the churchwide expression. Any one of those can be called "church." Thus, when the synod is in assembly, it is church. When we talk about the call being through the agency of the church, it involves all three expressions. As an ordained pastor in the ELCA (meaning: I'm on its roster of ministers of word and sacrament,) I can preach and preside at any ELCA congregation (at their invitation, or at the request of a synod bishop) and at any congregation of our full partner church bodies (at their invitation). It is our synods who are responsible for the rostering. The synod council can remove pastors from the roster. Pastors' synodical membership gets transferred when they move to a new synod.

The bolded portion is new to me, Brian. 

New to me, too. Can you cite the constitutional provision that allows this?
I don’t think Dave Benke said that. The quote feature must be messed up.

Brian said it, Dave quoted it and then said "That bolded portion is new to me, Brian."
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 21, 2021, 10:34:22 PM
Sounds as though we need a copy of the ELCA and Synod bylaws.  Nothing better for a cold winter's night than a cup of kindness and a copy of denominational bylaws.

Dave Benke

They're available online. But if you're looking for something to help you fall asleep, I recommend the bylaws of a homeowner's association.

The point is that Brian misspoke when he said "The synod council can remove pastors from the roster." They can't. And the disciplinary provision isn't really ambiguous at all. If the discipline committee calls for private censure, the bishop does it. If they determine the pastor is to be removed. he or she is simply removed. Nobody else has to approve it. The Synod Council isn't involved at all. As Chuck said, the only way the Synod Council is involved in a pastor being removed from the roster is if they fail to approve an on-leave from call status.
Title: Re: Seminex in Print
Post by: Dave Benke on December 22, 2021, 08:20:41 AM
Sounds as though we need a copy of the ELCA and Synod bylaws.  Nothing better for a cold winter's night than a cup of kindness and a copy of denominational bylaws.

Dave Benke

They're available online. But if you're looking for something to help you fall asleep, I recommend the bylaws of a homeowner's association.

The point is that Brian misspoke when he said "The synod council can remove pastors from the roster." They can't. And the disciplinary provision isn't really ambiguous at all. If the discipline committee calls for private censure, the bishop does it. If they determine the pastor is to be removed. he or she is simply removed. Nobody else has to approve it. The Synod Council isn't involved at all. As Chuck said, the only way the Synod Council is involved in a pastor being removed from the roster is if they fail to approve an on-leave from call status.

Thanks for this, Richard -
a) spares the need to pore over those bylaws
b) makes way more sense given the power allocated to bishops in the ELCA in the last generation
c) would have made for highly contested synod council elections, which at least in my estimation are usually walk-overs and/or appointments

Dave Benke