Author Topic: New Blog From the ACELC Website  (Read 2015 times)

Rev. Richard A. Bolland

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New Blog From the ACELC Website
« on: February 14, 2012, 05:52:51 PM »
Costa Costa Costa Costa Concordia

Honestly, I have NO good reason why Boy George and the Culture Clubís song Karma Chameleon should have come to mind when heading this blog entry. I am just WEIRD that way. I admit it. And since I am, we might as well all settle in and make the most of it, Ďcause this oneís longer than just a three hour cruise!

Thereís been a good bit of discussion regarding the COST of dealing with the aftermath of the tragic foundering of the cruise ship Costa Concordia a month ago. What to do with the capsized hulk? Right it or scrap it? How to make sure a devastating human tragedy doesnít also become an environmental one? Not to mention, of course, the rescue efforts and legal claims of those who lost loved ones, and the future prosecution of Captain Francesco Schettino, who is held on charges of manslaughter for having made the unauthorized and wreck-causing change in course - to grandstand and impress island residents! - as well as abandoning ship before all passengers had been evacuated.

The wreck of the Costa Concordia cannot help but evoke a certain sad parallel with the foundering concordia of what has been fondly referred to as the good ship Missouri! Of course, the Missouri Synod is not the Ship of Faith called the Church. She is a man-made and arranged collection of pastors and congregations who originally came together because they recognized in one another a common walking together in faith and life, in doctrine and practice, and committed themselves to continuing in and preserving the same for the benefit of future generations. The world needs concordia; not concord in its error and darkness, but concord in the One True Faith which Christ entrusted to His saints, which is revealed in Holy Scripture and confessed by our forefathers in the documents collected in the Book of Concord; even prayed for by Our Lord!

Concordia is an important word for us Lutherans, but it is more than a name; more than something to call our colleges and universtities, despite their often allowing the inroads of feminism, worldly worship forms, alien doctrines, the teaching of womenís ordination, evolution, and open communion. Remember that Concordia Ė as a name Ė is still applied to that hunk of metal lying on its side off the coast of Italy, in whose hull those who did not escape still tragically remain, most likely lifeless, unless, by some miracle they have beaten the odds and survived. God grant it, for mercyís sake! Hope, as one family member put it, is the last thing to die!

So also, hope in the future of the concordia that is called the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is still living. It is living amongst the member pastors and congregations of the ACELC. It is living in those of other confessional groups and efforts in our Synod today. It is living in those who hold office, such as our President Matt Harrison and others of his staff. It is living in many pastors and parishes which have not yet joined the ACELC formally, but pray as we do, that the once good ship may be righted and not scrapped. It is even living in those who are safely on shore and praying from the outside for us who remain.

Can righting our ship still happen? More surely than that the Costa Concordia will sail again! But the cost of getting Missouri to that point will be daunting! It will require what we call in church terms, repentance! Thatís the big one, and it is Christís alone to give!

Remember in the movie, The Poseidon Adventure, when the two parties met each other, one heading toward the top of the ship and the other heading toward the bottom? Both groups were convinced they were heading the right way. They HOPED they were heading the right way. Only ONE was heading the right way! Presumably, those who were convinced of their wrong direction and remained in it died.

In our Synod today, there are groups convinced of the direction they are taking; a change of course not unlike that tragically and theatrically made by Captain Schettino. They have introduced worship practices borrowed from heterodox traditions, which are designed to attract and impress "island residents" by conforming to worldly patterns, but which are alien and even hostile to the orthodox faith and life we have received from our forefathers. It is a remarkably sharp and dangerous change of course. Just consider what passes as worship in some of our churches! Iíll admit that it can be entertaining! I happen to like rock music myself, and so I watch a video like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1odf46sQEUE) and think . . . Cool band! Cool technology! Poor execution of choreography, but it IS impressive, and anyone in tech and multi-media will tell you that this is more than your grandma sitting with her gal friends to glue some felt banners together for a mission festival! Still, is it worship?

Art can convey meaning, donít get me wrong! Movies can be art! MTV videos can be art! Plays and many other performances can all be art, and art can be used in the service of God! But thatís true even when itís a Super Bowl half-time performance by Madonna! It doesnít HAVE to be ripped out of its proper context as entertainment in order to be in service of and to the glory of God! After all, arenít the crayon drawings our children make, which we post to our refrigerator door, in service to the glory of God? Unless weíve forgotten what Luther taught against the rank monasticism of his day, we have GOT to answer: ďOf course! Just because it isnít happening behind monastic walls or being done by clergy or in the Lordís House doesnít make it less than holy! After all, if oneís whole life is holy in Christ, then all that we do in Christ is pleasing to God and in His service, even if only entertaining to our neighbor or our parents who happen to be watching us play at the Lego Table. What we do for our neighbor as the Baptized, we do it to Christ.Ē

Thatís what Jesus said. Luther was just repeating!

So, we can let football be to the glory of God on the football field, and entertainment be entertainment in the movie theater, our living rooms, on a bikini laden beach or anywhere else. We donít have to bring these in and force them into what they arenít by nature, and they are NOT the Divine Service! But many are setting THAT aside to make ROOM for impressive displays of techno-entertainment, which most properly glorifies God when it is evoking a ďWOW!Ē from us Ė because thatís what it was meant to do! You know, like the fireworks displays at Disney World and Epcot Center! WOW! COOL! AWESOME! How much money do you think they spent on that!?

Nothingís wrong with being moved by entertainment Ė even to shout out a ďPraise JesusĒ around the lake at Epcot after the laser lights, music and smoke have cleared! But when we set Christ and His Service aside, which historically havenít gotten quite the applause given to coordinating iPads and music like a Christmas light display choreographed to TSOís Wizards in Winter, when the historic liturgy is set aside for what most in the world would admit is entertainment, somethingís terribly wrong. It's only a matter of time before it becomes clear that our behavior is criminal, in a spiritual sense.

I realize the other string of passengers on the good ship Missouri donít agree. Theyíre heading one way, and itís not the same way we are! They want to look more and more like the world, and itís attracting more and more of the world as people look for an exciting, entertaining, moving worship experience. They know people want to see the impressive sight of a huge luxury liner pass perilously close to their island, and they're willing to give them a show! Theyíve got numbers on their side, too! I didnít count, but maybe those heading in the wrong direction in the Poseidon Adventure also had more in their queue than those heading in the right direction.

Numbers donít matter in this. Jesus is the one who said that the way leading to hell is wide and easy and there are many on it; while the road to heaven is narrow and hard and there are few upon it. Numbers just donít make it when the Word of God has spoken clearly. Over and over in Holy Scripture, God speaks an unpopular Word which itching ears donít want to hear, and hardened hearts donít want to believe! We are driven, according to our fallen nature, by FEELology rather than THEology; by how we FEEL when something moves us instead of by what God actually says!

Iím still waiting for someone to show me where God says to measure the popular tastes of the world and meet them in order to win the world over. From what I recall, that was always where Israel got things wrong; namely, by wanting to be like everyone else, when God was calling them to be separate and distinct; not what everyone wanted, but what all people need, a Light shining in dark places, even though men prefer the darkness to the Light. Is this really anything new? Or hard to grasp? Itís not rocket science, but it DOES rock the boat! It rocks OUR boat, like Jesus calling Peter out on the waves! I think Jesus knew what He was doing when He did that. Peter needed to go down before being raised up. Peter needed to quit thinking he was a wave-walker like his Lord (though it WAS Cool, Awesome, Impressive - I wonder how he did that?) and start crying out, ďLord, SAVE me!Ē Peter needed a Savior, and so do we!

We can see throughout the history of the church how the Lord continues to captain His Ship, the Church. He is no Capt. Schettino, either grandstanding or saving himself at othersí expense! Jesus doesnít go down WITH the Ship, but FOR it! He goes down and comes back up again, and then He entrusts to His Church His Word and Sacraments, sound doctrine, faithfulness and love, firmly instructing AGAINST changing course to put on a show for those who want it!

Nadab and Abihu changed course. Turned out badly for them! Aaron let the voice and wants of the people force him to change course too, and the first ever alternative worship service turned into quite a nasty gulp of water for the people!

When the Lord sends out His Church, He bids us teach the nations to hold to EVERYTHING He has commanded, knowing that many wonít want it. They didnít want it from Jesus in John 6. They didnít want it when they persecuted the apostles and martyrs. They didnít want it from Luther. In none of these instances does Jesus teach us to run after the world and try to become what it requires of us in order for it to stay!

And so, the pastors and people of the ACELC are indeed heading in the opposite direction of many! It may seem like the wrong direction, the way heading to the bottom of a ship seemed counterintuitive for those convinced otherwise. The way heading to a cross seemed counterintuitive to those who wanted Jesus to put on a big show! But it is the direction clearly given us in Godís Word and in our Confessions! It may not make as much business sense as giving people what they want, but thatís not what the Lord has called us to do. Heís called us to remain afloat and on the right course, because the world needs the Church and Faith and the Gospel of Christ as surely as people bobbing in the midst of an angry sea need a sound ship, not a foundering one, to come along and rescue them!

Lest it be forgotten, WE in the ACELC arenít the ones making unauthorized changes in the course of the ship we call Missouri. Others are doing that. Others have done it already, compromising our worship forms, urging the ordination of women, having laymen serve as pastors before they are called and ordained, practicing open communion, leaving the unrepentant in their sin instead of calling them to change direction and follow the AUTHORIZED course given by the Lord. You see, changes in direction ARE permitted, especially when God is redirecting us from death to life. We call it repentance. Thatís the costliest thing about righting the concordia of Missouri, if thatís even still possible. We pray it is. It would be a sad thing to see things scrapped, cut up, sold off. It would be a sad thing if all the living needed to abandon ship, leaving only the dying and dead behind. Could that happen? Itís happened before! If it happens again, the Lord will still be Lord of His Church, wherever that is found in those who are gathered by Him around the Gospel purely preached and the Sacraments rightly administered; where error is contended against and not allowed to gush in as through a hull whose side has been ripped wide open. We pray for the righting of our Synod. We are working for it, and urging others to change course and return to the right path. We know many others are urging the same and watching Ė and hoping Ė that concordia may still be saved!

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Re: New Blog From the ACELC Website
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2012, 06:45:05 PM »
What's the ACELC?
 

D. Engebretson

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Re: New Blog From the ACELC Website
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2012, 06:49:17 PM »
The Association of Confessing Evangelical Lutheran Congregations
Website: http://acelc.net/

The purpose of the association as expressed in the FAQ is:
"It is the hope of those joining together in the association of congregations make public the official and tolerated errors of The Lutheran ChurchóMissouri Synod in such a way that a productive discussion can be held within and around our Synod to address, correct and resolve those matters that are in dispute among us."
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Don Whitbeck

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Re: New Blog From the ACELC Website
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2012, 09:18:22 PM »
Sounds like there isnít any communication between the LCMS and ACELC; this is just another example of how Lutherans are breaking off into their own little worlds, because they can't set down and discuss their differences and try to resolve them, or at least work on them.

Everyone blames the LC MS, however, I wonder, where does the real blame lie? The people in the pews have nothing to say about what is going on with these different Lutheran church bodies. President Harrison has made an effort to reach out to these different groups, even though differences still exist we can learn to live with each, and keep on talking, and concentrate on what we believe, teach, and confess.

Personally, from a pew memberís view I think the whole mess is childish, and I often wonder what Dr. Luther and the church fathers would have dealt with the issues at hand. Seems like Lutherans have always had problems with a lot of issues within the church; one would have to wonder, with the increase in self destruct, this could be the end of the Lutheran church as we know it, in the future.

I hope not, and I hope these small mines can serve the Lord better; by talking instead of pointing fingers, snipping at each other, their wrong I'm right, and on and on it goes!  Maybe it would be better, it we all went on are different ways, and forget the finger pointing, Iím right, your wrong, and stay with Law and Gospel and keep the wars to ourselves.

I really wonder at times is this how we serve Christ and his Church?  Is this the example we give to the world?   I certainly donít see any Olive Branch here, or a Dove descending from Heaven proclaiming which is the better church.  Itís still Christís church, and we should be putting him first.


My 2 cents!
 ::)     :(
« Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 09:23:27 PM by Confessional Lutheran »
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Charles_Austin

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Re: New Blog From the ACELC Website
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2012, 10:00:03 PM »
The ACELC says it exists to "make public the official and tolerated errors of The Lutheran ChurchóMissouri Synod."
I wonder how people feel about an organization that comes on the scene saying: "You're wrong and we're going to tell you where you are wrong and how you tolerate that wrong and make it public so that you can fix what we think is wrong with you."

That approach wouldn't make me feel cuddly towards the group.

 

Dave Benke

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Re: New Blog From the ACELC Website
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2012, 10:13:02 PM »
I like this because it's whacky.  It's whacky blogosphere ACELC.  Just as in the small-world of the editor of that paper from New Haven, MO,  CFW Walther ends up looking (who'd a thunk it?) just like the editor (oh, no!  Now I get it!!!), so in the whacky ACELC world true truth (not that bogus semi-demi-truth being served up by oh, so many denominations) ends up being arbitrated by................guess who?  Oh, my goodness.  It was the ACELC all along. 

 Now we have true truth.  Know what?  To each his own.  Have fun with that, Dick.

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Rev. Richard A. Bolland

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Re: New Blog From the ACELC Website
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 08:56:07 AM »
It is interesting to me - as I have discovered over time - that so many who are of the more liberal bent in our Synod have absolutely no desire to engage in theological discussion respecting the issues which are truly dividing our church body.  I have come to a couple of conclusions about this strange situation:

1.   Most on the left side of the Synod want to base "unity" on the faith by which we believe and not the faith in which we believe.  The first is the gift of God and the second is the content which is believed, taught, and confessed.  The first constitutes the una sancta, while the second constitutes the visible Church on earth - where the Word of God is taught in all its truth and purity and the Sacraments are administered in accord with Christ's institution.  The Lutheran Confessions are always about the second, not the first.  They present in thesis and antithesis (what we believe, teach and confess - thesis; and what we reject and condemn - antithesis.)

2.   Unity is sought in two different ways.  Those on the left simply want to craft language which validates anyone and everyone's variant doctrine and practice and wishes to tolerate all things under the name of Christian "love"; and the second wishes to establish unity by reaching agreement in doctrine and practice.  The first is an illusion of "unity" while the second follows the pattern of the Lutheran Confessions which strives to achieve real unity - which is an expression of Christian love.  (I Cor. 1:10, Ephesians 4:1-16, etc.)

It is not unloving or mean to help a straying brother see that what he believes, teaches, and confesses is not true.  Rather, as our brothers keeper we express our Christian love in speaking the truth to one another and then to study, discuss and resolve our differences.  The ACELC is not at all approaching the issues from an "I'm right and you're wrong" point of view.  Rather we have simply pointed out what the LCMS, Scripture, and our Confessions have said in our past and then looking at what is being said and done around our Synod today that contradicts what has been said and done in our past.  We seek that fraternal discussion under the Word of God and our Confessions - not to make everybody happy doing and saying whatever they want (that is the antithesis of unity), but to resolve to live together under God's Word and the Lutheran Confessions in a genuine unity. 

As for what Luther would say...well, try this on:

"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point." (Luther's Works. Weimar Edition. Briefwechsel [Correspondence], vol. 3, pp. 81f.)


"We are surely prepared to observe peace and love with all men, provided that they leave the doctrine of faith perfect and sound for us. If we cannot obtain this, it is useless for them to demand love from us. A curse on a love that is observed at the expense of the doctrine of faith, to which everything must yieldólove, an apostle, an angel from heaven, etc.!"  (Dr. Martin Luther, LW, Vol. 27. Page 38)

The mischaracterization of the ACELC that have frequently been heard are most often made by those who have not actually bothered to read our literature but shoot from the hip.  I would encourage all of you to actually examine our material, attend one of our Conferences and see what we are actually about.  www.acelc.net

swbohler

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Re: New Blog From the ACELC Website
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 09:25:45 AM »
Just wondering: why is it that sometime Herman Otten is a "small world" unimportant flyspeck, and then other times he is the guy who almost single-handed erected and directed the wicked evil empire of JAO Preus?  Which is it?  Is he just a gnat or is he a titan?  Is he just some grumpy podunk pastor from the back woods of Missouri, or is he the guy who pulled the strings in St. Louis (and beyind) for years and years?

Don Whitbeck

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Re: New Blog From the ACELC Website
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2012, 10:17:16 AM »
Has the Leaders of ACELC contacted the Office of President of the LCMS, President Harrison?  If so when, what was discussed, and what was the out come?

I went to your web site, it needs to be update, still has information regarding a conference on Feb 7.  Of which were there any members of the LCMS Synod present?  What is your role Pastor Bollard?

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Rev. Richard A. Bolland

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Re: New Blog From the ACELC Website
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2012, 04:04:13 PM »
The President of the Synod authorized representatives of the Council of Presidents to discuss the concerns of the ACELC during 2011.  A total of 15 1/2 hours of such discussions took place.  It was agreed that our concerns were to be incorporated into the proposed Koinonia Project and that they were legitimate concerns for our Synod.

I was privileged to serve as the Chairman Pro Tem of the Board of Directors of the ACELC in 2011 and served as the chairman of the ACELC Steering Committee for a year prior to that beginning in August, 2009.

Don Whitbeck

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Re: New Blog From the ACELC Website
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2012, 04:58:27 AM »
The President of the Synod authorized representatives of the Council of Presidents to discuss the concerns of the ACELC during 2011.  A total of 15 1/2 hours of such discussions took place.  It was agreed that our concerns were to be incorporated into the proposed Koinonia Project and that they were legitimate concerns for our Synod.

I was privileged to serve as the Chairman Pro Tem of the Board of Directors of the ACELC in 2011 and served as the chairman of the ACELC Steering Committee for a year prior to that beginning in August, 2009.

I don't know what the status of the Koinonia Project is, or when it will be address. I guess you could go to LCMS.org to find out.  However, I don't think your comments here are of any help for any dialog with the LCMS Synod.  I guess these things take a lot of time.

I also a wait their statements, and how it's going to effect the pew people, its pastors, and so on.
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D. Engebretson

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Re: New Blog From the ACELC Website
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2012, 09:35:54 AM »
The President of the Synod authorized representatives of the Council of Presidents to discuss the concerns of the ACELC during 2011.  A total of 15 1/2 hours of such discussions took place.  It was agreed that our concerns were to be incorporated into the proposed Koinonia Project and that they were legitimate concerns for our Synod.

I was privileged to serve as the Chairman Pro Tem of the Board of Directors of the ACELC in 2011 and served as the chairman of the ACELC Steering Committee for a year prior to that beginning in August, 2009.

I don't know what the status of the Koinonia Project is, or when it will be address. I guess you could go to LCMS.org to find out.  However, I don't think your comments here are of any help for any dialog with the LCMS Synod.  I guess these things take a lot of time.

I also a wait their statements, and how it's going to effect the pew people, its pastors, and so on.

I don't think that the goal of the ACELC is merely dialogue, as this merely gets one to the point of discussing differences and fails to affect substantial change.  And the change sought will not come merely with new and improved convention resolutions or more CTCR pronouncements (in some ways we already have enough of each).  Ultimately it lies in two areas: the pastors of the individual congregations who have oversight in their individual parishes, and those who have immediate ecclesiastical supervision over them.  To date the LCMS has been officially content to "agree to disagree" on many matters (not unlike the ELCA), leaving some parishes to engage in practices quite at odds with those with those they supposedly share fellowship, such as the ever thorny issue of close(d) communion.  It is no mystery that in the Synod today one can find one parish practicing close(d) communion as per Synod's resolutions (with understanding for pastoral discretion and such), and another in the same district or even circuit that practices open communion without any pastoral oversight or involvement (leaving it up to the decision and conscience of the communicant).  Despite the number of resolutions we pass each triennium, and despite the dialogue we engage in at the highest levels, such differences will continue unless we decide otherwise and directly act on what we consider wrong with the tools we already possess for that purpose. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Don Whitbeck

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Re: New Blog From the ACELC Website
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2012, 11:27:30 AM »
The President of the Synod authorized representatives of the Council of Presidents to discuss the concerns of the ACELC during 2011.  A total of 15 1/2 hours of such discussions took place.  It was agreed that our concerns were to be incorporated into the proposed Koinonia Project and that they were legitimate concerns for our Synod.

I was privileged to serve as the Chairman Pro Tem of the Board of Directors of the ACELC in 2011 and served as the chairman of the ACELC Steering Committee for a year prior to that beginning in August, 2009.

I don't know what the status of the Koinonia Project is, or when it will be address. I guess you could go to LCMS.org to find out.  However, I don't think your comments here are of any help for any dialog with the LCMS Synod.  I guess these things take a lot of time.

I also a wait their statements, and how it's going to effect the pew people, its pastors, and so on.

I don't think that the goal of the ACELC is merely dialogue, as this merely gets one to the point of discussing differences and fails to affect substantial change.  And the change sought will not come merely with new and improved convention resolutions or more CTCR pronouncements (in some ways we already have enough of each).  Ultimately it lies in two areas: the pastors of the individual congregations who have oversight in their individual parishes, and those who have immediate ecclesiastical supervision over them.  To date the LCMS has been officially content to "agree to disagree" on many matters (not unlike the ELCA), leaving some parishes to engage in practices quite at odds with those with those they supposedly share fellowship, such as the ever thorny issue of close(d) communion.  It is no mystery that in the Synod today one can find one parish practicing close(d) communion as per Synod's resolutions (with understanding for pastoral discretion and such), and another in the same district or even circuit that practices open communion without any pastoral oversight or involvement (leaving it up to the decision and conscience of the communicant).  Despite the number of resolutions we pass each triennium, and despite the dialogue we engage in at the highest levels, such differences will continue unless we decide otherwise and directly act on what we consider wrong with the tools we already possess for that purpose.

Well, I guess we have a long wait, for that to happen! The people in the pews don't have much to say about it any way, much like they didn't in the ELCA either.

However, I'm still gald that I went back to the LCMS!
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D. Engebretson

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Re: New Blog From the ACELC Website
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2012, 11:37:29 AM »
Well, I guess we have a long wait, for that to happen! The people in the pews don't have much to say about it any way, much like they didn't in the ELCA either.

However, I'm still gald that I went back to the LCMS!

It often seems like the laypeople don't "have much to say about it," since they exercise their official 'voice' usually at times of conventions, and then only by way of a delegate who represents them.  However, I think that they should "have much to say about it" beyond this.  Their voice is heard first of all in their own parishes where they should be voicing their concerns both to their pastors and within the assembly of the voters.  As a collective voice they can be heard, passing resolutions on a local level and passing them on to their district conventions.  They can also be heard as they are not barred from communicating with the district president himself.  However, all of this takes initiative and effort and often begins with one voice willing to speak out.  I hope that the voice of "the people in the pews" never goes silent. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

George Erdner

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Re: New Blog From the ACELC Website
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2012, 11:58:30 AM »
It often seems like the laypeople don't "have much to say about it," since they exercise their official 'voice' usually at times of conventions, and then only by way of a delegate who represents them.

Lay people have a much, much louder voice than that. They exercise it by using their feet. For every lay person who waits for a convention to be able to speak up through a delegate, there are dozens who "speak up" by simply changing which church they attend. Over the years, I've encountered a tiny handful of LCMS members who transferred to an ELCA congregation as a way to exercise their "voice". Their objection was to what they perceived as pressure from their District leadership to merge their dwindling congregation with another dwindling congregation. This was one family that consisted of dad, mom, and two kids. That anecdote is not "proof", it is only an illustration.
 
I'm maintaining a database of information on new Lutheran congregations formed as a means for ELCA laypeople (and clergy) to exercise their "voice" by using their feet. I can't cite illustrations from my own life, but I imagine that there are some LCMS folks who have transferred from an Ablaze! LCMS church to an EC LCMS church, or vice-versa, to exercise their voice.
 
I get the impression that most clergy of most denominations in most faith traditions don't like to acknowledge the fact that for every member they have who'll speak up against events and practices they disagree with, there are a lot more who'll simply leave without a word and go elsewhere.