Last Friday (Texas) District President (DP) Ken Hennings sent an unprecedented, public letter to the rostered members of his district. The letter explains the drastic change that the United List majority of the Synod Board of Directors adopted in May regarding ecclesiastical supervision.
But Hennings did more. The letter explains why District Presidents in Synod are no longer the final ecclesiastical supervisors of churches, pastors, teachers, DCEs and other church workers. Our new, changed reality?
Synod President Harrison has taken that job for himself.
Two words no member of an LCMS church should ever spend time worrying over.
I have tremendous respect and adoration for LCMS President Matthew Harrison. He is a stalwart Lutheran and expounds his love for the church in everything that he does.
But the Synod President should not be the judge and jury when doctrine and practice charges are leveled against pastors or congregations or DCEs or church workers. Districts should be the place where these accusations are heard and decided. District Presidents are empowered to do this work.
Will there be times when some in the Synod disagree with a decision of a District President? Of course.
On this side of eternity, none of us are going to agree on everything. As a church body, I believe we should be more worried about those within our society who need the light of Jesus in their lives.
Should we be a church body where people are motivated to go to church on Sunday to play an ugly game of theological ‘gotcha’ on congregations whose communion statements are either too short or don’t use all the right buzz words? Or what if a church uses a song during worship that hasn’t gone through theological vetting in St. Louis at LCMS HQ, should the Gotcha Police level charges that bypass the local District President and land on President Harrison’s desk?
As we come up on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, maybe our Synod needs a reformation that refocuses our St. Louis’ HQ bureaucracy on the Great Commission rather than on the mission to rid the Synod of people they don’t like. The people sitting in our pews who fund this Synod deserve it.