November 3, 2003
30003 Jefferson Avenue
Saint Clair Shores
, Mi. 48082
Dear Rev. Cascione:
I am writing in response to your letter of October 22.
I am writing on behalf of the Praesidium of the Atlantic District.
Please note that your response was received by forwarded email, not
from you as email, well before we received the letter you sent.
Common courtesy would indicate that you avoid publication of
correspondence directed to us prior to our receiving it, thereby allowing us
to receive it in the manner in which you send it to us.
Synodical “walking together” would question whether you should
publish private correspondence, period.
Regardless, your mode of publication prior to reception by us is
disrespectful and unprofessional.
You answer our Christian concerns by asking a question.
This kind of deflection is unhelpful.
We find our District President to be an orthodox, confessional
Lutheran theologian. You would
have to direct to him any questions you have about statements you as
publisher believe emanate from him and are appropriate for publication with
permission, as you have ascertained. The
issue at hand concerns your conduct.
We are addressing you and Rev. Henrickson, to adjure
you individually, and as Conference Planner and Presenter, to cease and
desist from calls to repentance upon David Benke that the LCMS
ecclesiastical courts, the Bible, and Lutheran Confessions state plainly is
not required. Please understand
that even should you not use the term, “unrepentant sinner”, the tone of
the presentation as advertised is hurtful and wrong.
President Benke along with each and all of us is a sinner in need of
God’s grace. However, in this
case the Synod has cleared him of all charges and he is a member in good
standing of the LCMS. “Walking
together” in the Synod means that we accept this, even if there are
We encourage dialog in the Atlantic District.
Dialog, however, has multiple points of view.
The presentation as advertised, especially with ultimate
“solutions” is not characteristic of dialog.
Should you go ahead as planned, it would appear that you are
questioning a dispute resolution process that is final, as ruled by
Synodical bylaw and reinforced by recent Commission on Constitutional
Matters decision. If you
continue in this manner, you are in grave danger of violating our Synodical
walking together in a significant and injurious way.
Should this be the case, we reserve the right to follow all
appropriate means of ecclesiastical disciplinary action.
Sincerely ours in Christ,
Robert Hartwell, Vice President
Atlantic District, LCMS
For the Praesidium
CC: Rev. Henrickson; Board of Directors of the Atlantic
District, Praesidium of the Atlantic District