". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Monday, March 31, 2008

Avoiding the Issue

LCMS (Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) President Gerald Kieschnick has now responded to Mollie Ziegler Hemingway's Wall Street Journal article (see sidebar) about the cancellation of Issues, Etc. You can read his entire letter here, but following is an excerpt:

More importantly, I wish to address the unfortunate comments in the column that The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is deeply divided and that it is pushing “church marketing” over the historic confessions of the evangelical Lutheran Church.

In truth, last summer the LCMS had its most positive and unified convention in years. Our church remains faithful to the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions, an integral part of our identity as a church body. As stated in a resolution adopted last summer by the national Synod convention: “From the founding of our Synod 160 years ago, we have been blessed by unity in our common confession and the articles of our shared faith, such as the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, original sin, baptismal regeneration, the real presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Sacrament, the inerrancy of Scripture and many others.”

I can't help but notice that while Reverend Kieschnick describes as "unfortunate" the article's description of our synod as divided, he does not specifically dispute it, because to do so would not be truthful. So he says that "the LCMS had its most positive and unified convention in years" because he can't say that we are a truly unified body, and he says that we are "blessed by unity in our common confession and the articles of our shared faith" but fails to mention the significant differences in the wide-ranging ways different LCMS congregations practice that faith.

I am glad that Reverend Kieschnick did not outright deny the fact that we are a divided synod, because to do so would have been disingenuous on his part. But in my opinion his answer is not fully forthcoming, and I would have had much more respect for his response if even while continuing to promote the "party line" on the Issues cancellation it had explicitly acknowledged that yes, we are a divided church body with some complex and vexing differences.

The first step in solving a problem is to get the truth--all of it--out on the table. And so far, that is still not being done.


elephantschild said...

President Kieschnick has done more damage with that letter than if he had remained silent.

Fiddling while Rome burns - that's what it is. A letter by a politician, not a pastor.

Marie N. said...

Regarding the convention, you do appear to have peace when no one with dissenting opinions are recognized to speak.

Jane said...

This is the quote that I believe makes the SP--at best--disingenuous.

"What is even more disturbing is the false and misleading picture she presents of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as a deeply divided church regarding its mission and ministry"

I am pretty sure that resolution that he touts that was passed ast summer was passed by the slimmest of majorities after an attempt to amend it to reflect the divisions currently plaguing the synod.

This whole thing makes me sick. I have to keep going back to my pastor's advice to pray for all involved.