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Topics - Rev. BT Ball

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Whatever resolutions come out of the LCMS convention committee 13 (Routes to Ministry) some will deal with the recommendations of the 4-06A Task Force on Licensed Lay Deacons.  The three presidential candidates were asked (in a round about way) about this in Question #3 of the Candidates Q and A.

The answers are really interesting. 

President Harrison notes that the CTCR and the Seminaries support the proposal and that the recommendations get us in line with the Bible and our Lutheran Confessions.  The support of the faculty of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis quite specific.  It is Overture 13-03 on pages 437-438 of the workbook "To Support Resolution 4-06A Task Force Recommendations". 

Of course the President (and member of the faculty) of that Seminary is also a candidate.   There is no note on the Seminary overture that President Meyer was a dissenting vote, so the best construction reading of his answer to the question would be that he believes the Task Force recommendations are the unifiying way to resolve the issue and seek peace and pursue it as he states in his answer to the question.

President Maier of the Michigan District would have to be the candidate for those who want to keep the status quo on this issue.  He notes that often the deacons minister to people who have no other recourse to Word and Sacrament Ministry, but his answer avoids the matter of controversy - the Biblical and Confessional issues at hand.  He also mentions their training and ecclesiastical supervision.  However, neither the training or the supervision of the deacons is the point of contention.  That is, the fact that men without call or ordination preach, teach and administer the Sacraments in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and have since the implementation of the 1989 Wichita resolution.  It should be noted that the 1989 resolution specifically states that these men are not called by any congregation but licensed by the District President so it cann

Harrison and Meyer direct us to the proper way of resolving the controversy, and I think Harrison's leadership on this particular Confessional issue makes him worthy of the support evangelical/catholic Lutherans.


Q3: In the context of our walking together as Synod, what is the best way to address the concerns of many that we have individuals who are publicly preaching, teaching and administering the Sacraments without being recognized by the church as pastors?

Matt Harrison:
“I appeal to you, brothers … that there be no divisions among you” (1 Cor. 1:10). The 2013 convention asked me to appoint a task force to (1) Provide flexibility so that 200+ parishes served by Licensed Lay Deacons will still be; and (2) Get us in line with the Bible (Rom. 10:14f.) and Confessions (AC XIV), such that men who are preaching and administering the Sacraments regularly are called and ordained. I refuse to pit mission against doctrine or laity against clergy. They should be colloquized as SMP pastors (1 Tim. 5:17). No parishes need close. CTCR and seminaries support this proposal.

Dale Meyer:
Those who are “publicly preaching, teaching and administering the Sacraments without being recognized by the church as pastors” are not being independent and unmindful of the whole church but acting according to [a] 1989 Synod convention resolution. This issue is indeed troubling the church and can be resolved in a unifying or divisive way. Either side can get a majority to impose its position on those who disagree or both sides together can patiently but persistently work toward a resolution that most will embrace. “Seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:11).

David Maier:
Licensed Lay Deacons (to whom the question refers, I believe) are generally worker-priests, under or uncompensated, serve under the supervision of an ordained pastor, often assisting pastors at their home congregation’s request. Highly trained, educated and certified annually, those they minister to frequently have no other recourse for Word and Sacrament ministry. I am thankful for their hard work, labor of love, allowing themselves to be used by God in surprising ways. Remembering Paul’s words, “I planted, Apollos watered,” (1 Cor. 3:6) and Jesus’ words to His disciples in Mark 9:40, “for whoever is not against us is for us,” is helpful.

Your Turn / Concordia St. Paul - Sports Illustrated
« on: July 05, 2015, 10:17:46 PM »
Here is a very good read about Hank Goff, a student athlete at Concordia, St. Paul and football helping him following his service in the USMC; from Sports Illustrated.

Your Turn / An Open Letter to Pr. Dan Gilbert
« on: March 10, 2015, 05:10:55 PM »
Thought some might be interested in this.

An Open Letter to Pr. Dan Gilbert, President of the Northern Illinois District of the LCMS

Dear President Gilbert,

In your address to the 2015 District Convention you said that, in all likelihood, most congregations in your District are declining numerically.  On an average, three congregations per year are disbanding. You also mentioned that, according to one projection, the LCMS will go from its current 6000 congregations to 1,000 in 30 years time. You also pointed out that the average age of our members is probably above 60. In your concluding statement you said that the possibility of a congregation closing was dreadful and that the possibility of thousands of LCMS pastors with no flock, no call, and no income is staggering.

Given how dire the condition of the church is in your district and elsewhere, we are dismayed that you permitted Resolution 1-5, "To Call the Rev. Becker to Repentance and Implore the N.W. District President, the Rev. Paul Linnemann to Continue Exercising Ecclesiastical Discipline," to come to the floor of the 2015 Northern Illinois District Convention. As far as we know, there has been only one official, outstanding case against Dr. Becker, and this case was recently dismissed by a Referral Panel in the Northwest District. That panel, comprised of three circuit counselors who were chosen by blind draw, concluded that the facts in that case (having to do with Dr. Becker’s support for the ordination of women) did not constitute a basis to expel him from the clergy roster of the synod. The Referral Panel’s decision not to proceed against Dr. Becker terminated the matter. Period.

May we remind you of Synod Bylaw

Whether made by the district president or the Referral Panel, if the determination is not to initiate formal proceedings, the district president shall in writing so inform the accuser, any other district president involved, and the involved member, which shall terminate the matter.

That any of us knows about this case is the result of the inappropriate action of President Harrison to have given publicity to it at the recent North Dakota District Convention. Only in the wake of President Harrison’s public remarks (which were widely shared on the internet) and his now infamous Facebook posting, which went directly against the spirit and letter of Bylaw, did people throughout the synod become aware that Dr. Becker had been cleared of this charge against him. Obviously, the Referral Panel did not think that Dr. Becker’s views on the ordination of women form a sufficient reason to expel him from the clergy roster.

Dr. Becker is not guilty of advocating false doctrine. He has merely published some writings in which he levels criticism against the synod’s practice of restricting the office of pastor to men. He has followed the process of dissent in our synod, a process on which the synod has placed no time restrictions. Moreover, Dr. Becker’s dissent does not rise to the level of rejecting any of the articles of faith, as these are clearly exhibited in the Lutheran Confessions. In fact, we think that the biblical and confessional content of Dr. Becker’s dissent ought to be discussed more fairly and given greater consideration within the Synod than it has been so far.

It was totally inappropriate for you to allow Rev. Roger Gallup, a member of the floor committee that brought this resolution to the floor, to give a special address to the convention in order to publicly accuse Dr. Becker of being a false teacher. Rev. Gallup even boasted that the entire floor committee that brought the resolution to the NID convention was unified in labeling Dr. Becker a false teacher.  That committee had no standing, legitimacy, or authority to make such a public judgment against a member of the synod from another district. If individuals have concerns about Dr. Becker’s public teaching, these concerns should be conveyed to Dr. Becker himself and to Dr. Becker’s district president, who alone has ecclesiastical supervision of Dr. Becker.

May we remind you of Synod Bylaw 2.16.3c:

Even if the alleged violation of Article XIII of the Constitution is considered to be “public,” this provision of Matthew 18:15 shall be followed. The reputation of all parties to the matter is to be protected as commanded in the Eighth Commandment.

We have learned that no one from the NID ever met face-to-face with Dr. Becker to discuss their concerns with him privately. Dr. Becker’s reputation has certainly not been protected in your district. He was publicly attacked at your district convention, behind his back, and without any prior communication with him. And now your attack against Dr. Becker has been widely shared on the internet. We believe that you and your district have broken the Eighth Commandment. Rev. Gallup’s speech and the resolution against Dr. Becker are slanderous. Neither that speech nor that resolution should have ever been allowed at your convention.

Many people within our synod are putting the worst construction on Dr. Becker’s dissent (“He’s guilty of false teaching!”) rather than putting the best construction on it (“He’s trying to lead us to study the Scriptures and the Confessions more carefully and to evaluate current synodical practices and resolutions in light of the Scriptures and the Confessions!”). Like many professors at Christian colleges and universities, Dr. Becker is daily faced with young people who have given up on the church and may also be in the process of losing their faith. It is estimated that less than 10% of the Millennial Generation have any regular connection with church. Research has also shown that young people are particularly turned off by what they consider to be the anti-science, anti-women, and anti-gay positions of the church.

Dr. Becker shares with you the sadness that if this generation is not reached with the Gospel, such a failure will have eternal consequences for them and devastating results in our congregations. He questions not the essential doctrine of the church concerning God's creation, our sin, Christ's work of atonement, salvation by grace through faith alone, the means of grace, and the ongoing work of the Spirit. Rather, he challenges those peripheral, problematic positions of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, that are not clearly settled in the Scriptures and that have been decided merely by majority votes at synod conventions.

In your message to the delegates at the NID convention, you said that the definition of madness is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Thus, you advocate New Starts - New Believers. Many of us believe that now is also the time to revisit previous convention resolutions that we think are misguided and even harmful to Christ’s mission in the world today, especially as the mission relates to our children and grandchildren.

In Christ,     


The undersigned,

Rev. Dr. Robert Schmidt

Deacon Dr. Douglas Morrison

Rev. Bill Warren

Dr. Don Soeken

Rev. Arnie Voight

Rev. Tyrus Miles

Rev. J. L. Precup

Rev. Dr. Hans Spalteholz

Dr. Elizabeth Goodine

Rev. Dale Koehneke

Rev. Paul Schmidt

Elizabeth McAdams

Marie Steinbeck

Rev. Richard Hill

Rev. Adam Kegel

Rev. Gary Koopmann

Rev. Roger Stuenkel

Rev. Dale Krueger

Rev. Richard Patt

Rev. Robert Martinek

Rev. Dell Schomburg

Rev. Dr. Norman Metzler

Rev. John Hannah

Atty. Myron Allenstein

Rev. Robert Burke

Dr. Jerrald Pfabe

Rev. Edward Scott

Rev. Dr. Christian Just

Rev. Thomas Van der Bloemen

David Domsch

Rev. William J. Meyer

Dr. William Oehlkers

Rev. Harold Hitzmann

Carol Schmidt

Ann Murphy

Tim Ihssen (CM)

Rev. Don Mulfinger

Georgia Schubert

David Crisi (CM)

Rev. Karl Wyneken

Rev. Douglas Johnstone

Rev. Nolan Bremer

Rev. Jerry Groth

Vida Stanton

Your Turn / What Would Father Richard Say?
« on: March 01, 2012, 10:24:41 AM »
Perhaps of some interest since all the discussion re: the HHS mandate; pondering what one loved and respected by many on this list would be up to.

Your Turn / Northern Illinois District-LCMS resolution 1-02
« on: May 09, 2009, 09:35:54 PM »
The following passed today.  I thought it would be appropriate to post here.  The prayer led by our District President along with what is below implored our Father for forgiveness for ourselves and that we might be humble and confess our own sins, and with all love and gentleness speak the truth.

Pr. Ben Ball

Resolution 1-02
To Address the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Debate on Homosexuality and the Ministry

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will meet in General Assembly in August, 2009 to debate the “Report and Recommendation on Ministry Policies” and

By the passage of the “Report and Recommendation on Ministry Policies” the ELCA would commit itself to find ways to “recognize, support and hold publicly accountable life-long, monogamous same gender relationships,” and would commit itself to find a way for “people in publicly accountable, life-long monogamous same gender relationships to serve as rostered leaders of this church”, let it be

That the Northern Illinois District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) confess the truth of God’s Word that homosexuality is contrary to God’s will and design, (Leviticus 18:22, Matthew 19:4-6, Romans 1:18-32) and let it be further

That the Northern Illinois District of the LCMS, state its encouragement and support for those who are confessing the truth of God’s Word within the ELCA regarding homosexuality and the Holy Ministry, and be it further

That the congregations of the Northern Illinois District of the LCMS be encouraged to pray for those who seek to hold to God’s Word within the ELCA regarding homosexuality, that the Lord would strengthen them in their confession, as well as to pray for all those within the ELCA who are bound in error and sin regarding homosexuality that they might be brought to repentance and the truth by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God alone; and be it finally

The District President leads this convention in prayer for those who seek to hold to God’s Word within the ELCA regarding homosexuality, that the Lord would strengthen them in their confession, as well as to pray for all those within the ELCA who are bound in error and sin regarding homosexuality that they might be brought to repentance and the truth by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God alone.

Passed without debate 241-15

Your Turn / TTMBO - not divisive and schismatic
« on: June 11, 2008, 10:25:59 AM »

Northern Illinois District, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Message
June 9, 2008
Dear Brothers and Sisters, 
Below is a joint statement from President Kieschnick and some of the pastors in our district.  This is very good news, and we can all thank God for it.  Blessings.  DG
Rev. Dan P. Gilbert
President, Northern Illinois District
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
2301 South Wolf Road
Hillside, IL 60162
From: Gerald Kieschnick
Sent: Friday, June 06, 2008 4:06 PM
To: LCMS Information Center
Subject: Steps Toward Reconciliation

To:                  LCMS Council of Presidents
                        LCMS Board of Directors
                        LCMS Corporate Entity Presidents
                        LCMS Concordia University System Presidents
                        LCMS Seminary Presidents
                        LCMS Corporate Synod Executives
                        LCMS International Center Unit Executives
                        LCMS Information Center
From:              Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick, President
Subject:           Steps Toward Reconciliation
Date:               June 6, 2008
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ, Savior of the world and Lord of the universe, through whom alone we receive forgiveness of sin, life, and salvation!
The statement posted below this memo is shared for your information and distribution as you deem appropriate. I believe you will find it self explanatory.
God's grace, mercy, power, and peace be with you all!
Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick, President
The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

"Transforming lives through Christ's love - in time - for eternity   " John 3:16-17
Steps Toward Reconciliation
   As many within The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod are aware, our Synod, while united in most major areas of doctrine and practice, has nonetheless experienced lack of unity and disagreement regarding some important matters in the past several decades. One of the most recent manifestations of this reality followed the events of September 11, 2001, which, at least in part, precipitated a document titled That They May Be One (TTMBO), written and distributed by a group in the Northern Illinois District (NID) called "Northern Illinois Confessional Lutherans" (NICL). 
    Many rostered and lay members of congregations of the Synod added their names to the document. Others responded with objections to certain statements in TTMBO, especially the use of words such as "We believe, teach, and confess. . .   We reject . . .,  etc." To some, TTMBO gave the impression that those who agreed with the document would be in fellowship only with those who signed it.
    President Kieschnick responded to TTMBO in a memo dated May 30, 2003. In that memo he linked TTMBO and those who signed it with an opinion of the Synod's Commission on Constitutional Matters (CCM), and he referred to the document and those who signed it as "divisive and schismatic." 
    Members of NICL requested a meeting with President Kieschnick which took place in St. Louis March 27, 2008. Four pastors represented NICL. Also at the meeting were Dr. William Diekelman, Dr. Samuel Nafzger, Dr. Joel Lehenbauer, and NID President Dan Gilbert.
    At several points in the conversation it became clear to all that the matter had resulted in some misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions. After reviewing the timetable of events related to this matter, President Kieschnick became aware that his previous conclusion that the CCM opinion's "divisive and schismatic" terminology was linked to the TTMBO document was in error.
   Upon this realization, along with hearing the assurances of the NICL pastors that their document was meant only for discussion and not for an expression of and requirement for fellowship, President Kieschnick expressed his regret that he did not meet or talk personally with the authors of the document prior to his May 30, 2003 memo. He also noted that doing so could possibly have spared everyone a lot of grief. Then he said simply, "I apologize for that." Immediately one of the NICL pastors replied, "We appreciate that, and we forgive you," and the other NICL pastors expressed their agreement with this statement of forgiveness.
   A NICL pastor suggested a joint statement that would report this reconciliation to the Synod, to which President Kieschnick replied, "That's what I was thinking," and all agreed with the proposal to do so. That is the purpose of this statement. Two points of agreement from this meeting are hereby communicated:
1.     Specifically, in light of the explanation articulated in this joint statement, President Kieschnick communicates to the Synod his understanding that the act of signing TTMBO did not in and of itself render a signer "divisive and schismatic," and regrets the misunderstanding that resulted from his memo of May 30, 2003.
2.     Also in light of the explanation articulated in this joint report, NICL reiterates to the Synod its understanding that members of the Synod need not sign TTMBO in order to continue to be in fellowship with those who did, and regrets the confusion resulting from the wording in the document that some interpreted to mean otherwise. 
    As the meeting drew to a close, President Kieschnick asked, "Are you men feeling OK about both the results and the tenor of this meeting?" All responded, "Yes."

  We the undersigned give thanks to God for the true unity of the Church, which comes from Him alone through the Word and not from our own efforts. We also encourage all within this Synod we love to continue to discuss with each other, fraternally and collegially, on the basis of Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, matters of doctrine and practice and not to do so only in printed documents but also in face to face discussions.
 Psalm 133:1 says, "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" To God alone be the glory!
Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick, President
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
Representing NICL and other signers:
Rev. Mark Hein
Rev. Roger Gallup
Rev. Walter Otten
Rev. Tim Rossow

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