Statement Regarding LCMS convention

The following statement was read today to the saints in Wheatland, regarding the LCMS convention, which was held this past week :

Four years after he published the ninety-five theses, Martin Luther was called before the emperor to answer for his false teaching. Of course, Luther could have faced death, having been excommunicated from the church. But that was not really the hardest part of the Imperial Diet at Worms.  The Papal authorities knew that Luther claimed to love God and the church, despite his attacks on the pope. The previous year, the Ottomans had laid siege to Vienna, Austria. It seemed that Europe might fall to Muslim forces at any time. The thing that was most needed for the church to survive was unity. Luther, in refusing to yield, was threatening not simply the survival of the pope’s authority, but the survival of the Christian church itself. What did it matter if Luther was right, if the consequence was that Europe was conquered and turned to heathen teaching.

The response of Luther “Here I stand” has been portrayed as perhaps a defiant shout of one who will not yield, or maybe a timid squeak of one who finds himself in over his head, but can not back down. I suspect that there was also a bit of sadness that despite his love for the church, and the consequences not only to himself, but to all of those he loved, and everything he had ever known, he could not betray the truth of God’s word.

This past week, the LCMS met in convention. Many good resolutions were passed. In living memory, there has not been a convention with such collegiality regarding resolutions, nor with such overwhelming majorities either to pass or decline to pass them. For this we give thanks to God.

And yet, not everything was good, right, and salutary at this convention. There was a resolution to commend the Concordia Universities for their faithfulness over the years. Our Lay Delegate spoke to this resolution, recalling that in her time at one of our Concordia’s, theistic evolution was taught in the biology department. She wanted to inquire whether such things were still taught, before she voted in favor of commending their faithfulness.

The reaction of many in our synod’s leadership, to their shame, was not to answer her question, or to try and ascertain if this was the case, but to attack her for daring to speak the truth. She was pressured to admit from the floor of the convention, that she had broken the 8th commandment, or to admit that such teaching was not widespread. She was informed – erroneously – that her comments had caused great scandal and were a threat to the unity of the synod and to the viability of her beloved alma mater.

She refused to back down. To their eternal credit, President Harrison supported her, as did the entire delegation of Wyoming District Pastoral delegates, including our circuit visitor, Pastor Maas.  Many other delegates, some known and some unknown to her, voiced their support for her statement, and told her that indeed such things had been taught, from the 1970’s to as recently as 2006. And yet, despite these shows of support, the pressure was brought to bear on her alone.

It is my pleasure to report to you that she held up admirably under the pressure, refusing to yield. She issued a statement that went no farther than merely clarifying her remarks, while yielding nothing.

We are called to confess and to suffer for the sake of the Gospel at unknown times and places. We must always be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in us. And the persecution of those who stand, as the prophets once did, declaring boldly the truth of God’s word, stands as beacon and encouragement to others to take up the banner of God’s truth, and speak, even under threat of persecution.

Today, in honor of our member’s bold stand for the truth, I would invite you all to stay for a few moments and enjoy Christian fellowship – along with some coffee and cake, as we give thanks to God for her faithful witness, and as we pray that all who suffer for the name of Jesus will be found faithful.

Here I stand cake

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8 Responses to Statement Regarding LCMS convention

  1. I’m glad she stood her ground. She’s a great example for the rest of us.

  2. I wish I had been watching that – good job!!

  3. While I do not doubt her experience, I do think it is an anomaly.

    I served at Concordia University Wisconsin from 1998-2003 and during that time the chairman of the natural sciences department was also the president of the Creation Research Society. This summer CUW just hosted a major, nationwide creationism conference. My nephew and his wife both recently graduated from CUW with degrees respectively in chemistry and biology — she is now pursuing a doctorate in genetics at a major university — and they are both staunch creationists and assure me that is what they were taught at CUW.

    Last month at our circuit conference a young pastor who graduated from seminary less than a year ago reported that he majored in biology at Concordia, Irvine. Though he had advance placement biology credits, he said all science majors regardless had to take the first five weeks of introductory biology because that is where they deal with the issue of creation vs. evolution. He reported that throughout his four years there it was “absolutely wonderful” how they not only taught creation but equipped the students to refute evolution.

    I understand that the delegate in question was referring to her experience in the 1980’s. While I do not doubt her experience then, I am pleased to relate the positive experiences above, which I believe are representative of the Concordias today.

    In that regard, one time at CUW I hosted for the day the president of a major Roman Catholic university. He wanted to visit our campus because the order that operated their university was concerned about them deviating from the Roman Catholic Church and he said they saw CUW as an example of a very successful university that remained true to it’s supporting denomination. I set up interviews with deans, department heads, etc. and it was quite a thorough visit. At the end of the day we had a long chat in my office and he thought he must have misunderstood that the chair of the science department was a creationist. I responded that was the teaching of our church which all faculty were pledged to uphold, and pulled from my shelves the Brief Statement: “We teach that God has created heaven and earth, and that in the manner and in the space of time recorded in the Holy Scriptures, especially Gen 1 and 2, namely, by His almighty creative word, and in six days. We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of creation as taught in Scripture. In our days it is denied or limited by those who assert, ostensibly in deference to science, that the world came into existence through a process of evolution; that is, that it has, in immense periods of time, developed more or less out of itself. Since no man was present when it pleased God to create the world, we must look for a reliable account of creation to God’s own record, found in God’s own book, the Bible. We accept God’s own record with full confidence and confess with Luther’s Catechism: ‘I believe that God has made me and all creatures.'”

    He sat across my desk in his clerical collar and exclaimed, “You don’t actually BELIEVE that, do you?” I said that I indeed did — and so did our science professors. He blurted out, “I don’t see how you can run a university in the 21st century with medieval teachings like that!”

    • Country Preacher says:

      Praise be to God for the faithfulness of some of our universities.
      My delegate had multiple people come up to her, who attended the university in question from the 1970’s through 2006, and all said that indeed theistic evolution was taught in the biology department. I am also looking into rumors of evolution still being taught as truth at that school. So, while I applaud the efforts of CUW and CUI to teach faithfully, it appears that such is not always the case.
      The real scandal here, however, is not the teaching of evolution, but the treatment she received at the hands of those whose job it is to protect the saints from abuse for speaking the truth.

  4. I would also urge you to consider the difference between actually “teaching” something and teaching ABOUT something. They should indeed teach about Darwinian and theistic evolution — though not advocate either. I encountered this once years ago when I started a newsletter article with a quote from John Dominic Crossan about how Jesus supposedly didn’t rise from the dead but his body was eaten by dogs. The whole point of the article was that I went on to thoroughly refute Crossan’s bizarre assertion. However one member read just the opening quotation and jumped to the conclusion that was my own assertion.

    • Country Preacher says:

      Yes. My delegate, and the two others at the convention who took the class with here, were all quite explicit that it was not teaching about evolution, but advocating theistic evolution. So also the were the others who attended her alma mater from the 1970’s through 2006 and were willing to testify that indeed such things had been taught. It should also be noted that this was not a one-day lecture, but an entire semester of indoctrination with false teaching.
      Also of interest, while she contends that theistic evolution was taught, the president of the University in question, along with the local District President, would only concede that Darwinian Evolution was not taught as truth. Was it simply a slip of the tongue? This was not an off-the-cuff remark, but a carefully crafted statement made after three days of intense conversation, with pastors urging them to make a statement saying that the school taught that six day creation was taught as truth. So, for now, at least, the teaching of this school is still in question. I believe that follow-up conversations are required.

  5. Three cheers for your modern day Deborah.
    I sincerely hope that her bold stand bears much blessed fruit according to the will of the Lord Christ. I am favored to have such a Deborah as a member of the congregation that I serve as Pastor in Lutheran Churches of the Reformation. She withdrew from the LCMS 45 years ago with a similar story.

    If only pope Harrison and the other men of your synod were at the forefront of this battle rather than “leading from behind” as it were. (If you’d like proof of my judgment that Harrison is a pope, simply email a request youngdrj@comcast.net)

    Hear the words of Deborah: “the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Jdg 4:9

    More than 30 years ago the forces of liberalism took control of LCMS. The problem with the LCMS now is not total lack of the truth, but rather the lack of confessionalism and the lack of a mechanism to expel false teachers. The real problem is that LCMS has departed from Church and Ministry, and the simple practice of the office of the keys by the local congregation. A false-teaching seminary professor cannot be put out, because he does not have a divine call from a local congregation, and so there is no Scriptural way to depose a false teacher. This difficulty is systemic to the Concordia system. Until the doctrine is corrected the practice can never be corrected. I know this by experience of those who have tried to defend their ability to teach creation in Sunday School, and who have been told to “shut up” and that “synod is handling it.” The way synod handles it is to slap around witnesses, and to restrain the brazen-ness of the false teachers, but not to try them in the light of public hearings.

    I was once Roman Catholic, and I know that about 80% of Roman Catholics believe evolution. But there are 20% of Roman Catholics who are creationists. Can any official position of a pope or priest heal the matter? ANS: No, because they are not confessional.

  6. I just found a good confessional quote that applies to this situation, to confirm those Pastors who now begin to take up the fight against LCMS bureaucrats who stand for the status quo of tolerating false doctrine and white-washing it with broad statements that secretly tolerate the teaching of theistic evolution, for example. The LCMS synodical “hierarchy” constitutes a new type of papistic bishops. With this observation in mind the following confessional quote is very helpful:
    “On the Power and Jurisdiction of Bishops”
    Trigl. p. 525, para. 72
    From all these things it is clear that the Church retains the right to elect and ordain ministers. And the wickedness and tyranny of bishops afford cause for schism and discord [therefore, if the bishops either are heretics, or will not ordain suitable persons, the churches are in duty bound before God, according to divine law, to ordain for themselves pastors and ministers. Even though this be now called an irregularity or schism, it should be know that the godless doctrine and tyranny of the bishops is chargeable with it], because Paul, Ga. 1:7f, enjoins that bishops who teach and defend a godless doctrine and godless services should be regarded as accursed… It is certain that the common jurisdiction of excommunicating those guilty of manifest crimes belongs to all pastors. This they have tyrannically transferred to themselves alone, and have applied it to the acquisition of gain. For it is certain that the officials, as they are called, employed a license not to be tolerated, and either on account of avarice or because of other wanton desires tormented men without due process of law! And in what kind of affairs did they abuse this power? Indeed, not in punishing true offenses, but in regard to the violation of fasts or festivals, or like trifles! … Since, therefore, bishops have tyrannically transferred this jurisdiction to themselves alone, and have basely abused it, there is no need, because of this jurisdiction, to obey bishops. But since there are just reasons why we do not obey, it is right also to restore this jurisdiction to godly pastors [to whom, by Christ’s command, it belongs], and to see to it that it is legitimately exercised for the reformation of morals and the glory of God.”

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