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.