Reclaim News is not the only entity
questioning the United List's selection of Wenthe
over Preus for LC-MS President at the 2001 Convention.
In the context of a secret meeting, a group of unidentified individuals has
recommended that the conservative candidate with fewer nominations, Dean
Wenthe, be President of the LC-MS instead of the conservative candidate with
more nominations, namely Daniel Preus. The selection defies logic.
The necessity for secrecy points out the intrinsic weakness of
"Balance" publishers of "Affirm" and "Vision."
At the Lutheran Concerns Association meeting in Chicago,
"Balance" operatives in the meeting successfully moved to table my
nomination of Rev. Daniel Preus. Reverend Queck then overruled Mrs. Georgann
McKee's request to simply take a straw poll of those present as to their
preference for Synodical President.
This writer was disappointed when Dr. Wenthe informed me in January of 2000
that the congregation was not over the pastor.
The Lutheran Confessions say just the opposite. "In 1 Cor. 3, 6, Paul
makes ministers equal, and teaches that THE CHURCH IS ABOVE THE
MINISTERS." (Treatise, Concordia Triglotta, page 507, par. 11)
Perhaps I misunderstood Dr. Wenthe when I placed my one hand over the other
and said the congregation was over the pastor. He replied, "No" and
reversed the order with an opposing hand signal.
Perhaps he has changed his opinion. In either case he would do the church a
great service by stating his views publicly. If Wenthe does indeed believe
that the pastor is over the congregation he would be the first president in
the history of the Missouri Synod to reverse Walther on this issue.
The question of congregational authority is particularly important because
the ELCA adopted the practice of Apostolic Succession in the Summer of 2000,
clearly placing the pastor in authority over the congregation.
In our meeting with Dr. Oesch, Executive Leader of The Pastoral Leadership
Institute, this past December 28, Oesch also refused to endorse congregational
Since President Kieschnick and more distantly, Dr. Muchow, are associated
with Oesch and PLI, it would be beneficial to the church if these two
candidates would also state whether they believe the congregation is over the
pastor or the pastor is over the congregation.
The concept of side-by-side authority would be impossible and have the same
effect as if the pastor were over the congregation. There is nothing in the
Bible or the Confessions that suggests that the pastor has equal authority
with the congregation.
Finally, it would also be helpful if Rev. Daniel Preus, the favorite among
the conservatives, would state his views on this issue as well.
The umpire only interprets the rulebook for a baseball game. He doesn't
write the rules, nor does he have any authority over the game apart from the
written rules. Baseball has authority over the umpires. He is just the umpire,
he is not the game.
The editor for Texas Concord, Rev. Al Loeschman, questions whether Wenthe
is actually the conservative consensus candidate with the following comments:
"This Editor has said from the beginning that he would encourage
support for a true consensus candidate. I have asked Balance, Inc. for
evidence that Dr. Wenthe was the clear front runner rather than Rev. Dan
Preus, so that we would know for sure who was the most viable candidate. I
have yet to receive any response to my question. Until I am shown evidence
that Dr. Wenthe is a genuine consensus candidate, I cannot encourage delegates
to support him. I would be dishonest
What did Pastor Stefanski's poll show? My guess is that it would show a
little stronger than Concord's in favor of Dr. Wenthe, but many Ft. Wayne
supporters who voted in the Concord Poll went for Preus. The two polls taken
by Texas (one was synod wide) were both top heavy for Rev. Preus for President
and Weinrich for VP. Did Balance, Inc. go outside the cigar smoke-filled
cloakroom to see who was the most viable? We just don't know. We know they
have not consulted with any conservatives in Texas about who those in Dr.
Kieschnick's District prefer."