Florence Missildine Replies to Ralph Bohlmann

By: Rev. Jack Cascione

 The following is a reply to Doctor Ralph Bohlmann's letter published in the
July 2004, LCMS Reporter from Mrs. Florence Missildine, member of St. John's
Lutheran Church in Orange California.  Missildine can be reached at

BOHLMANN:  President Kieschnick's official report to the Synod (June
Reporter, p. 11,) in my view, clearly establishes that actions of the Synod'
s Board of Directors have plunged the Synod into a serious constitutional

RESPONSE: Dr. Bohlmann's view is erroneous.  The Board of Directors (BOD)
has extensive legal opinions from distinguished legal counsels located in
St. Louis.  The BOD's decisions, as they apply to not for profit
corporations incorporated in the State of Missouri, meet the Federal and
Missouri Laws, the Synodical Constitution, and LCMS Bylaws.

Dr. Bohlmann did not refer to Romans 13: 1-2 in his letter published in July
2004 issue of "The Reporter" when writing about the relationship of the BOD
to the Laws of the State of Missouri.

Rom 13: 1-2 states: "Obey the government, for God is the one who has put it
there.  There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power.
So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God,
and punishment will follow."

The intent of the BOD is to follow the Bible's directive to submit to the
laws of the land, and in this case, the Laws of the United States and of the
State of Missouri.

BOHLMANN:  Not only must the July convention correct the board's violation
of two bylaws and the Constitution by voting to set aside eight official and
binding opinions of the Commission on Constitutional Matters (CCM)

RESPONSE: We would agree with Dr. Bohlmann in one respect:  the July
convention must overturn CCM opinions by voting to set aside eight opinions
of the Commission on Constitutional Matters.  In fact, the Convention should
to return its past practice of electing members of the CCM at the

BOHLMANN:  but the convention must also deal with the board's mistaken
notion of its own authority

RESPONSE:  The BOD has no "mistaken notion of its own authority" as it has
been acting responsibly according to the Law of the land (Missouri) and the
Synodical Constitution and Bylaws.

BOHLMANN: a notion that led it to take actions involving two other boards
and the president's office that were challenged and then corrected in five
of those eight CCM opinions.

RESPONSE: The CCM opinions are wrong.  State and Federal Laws trump any CCM
opinion on Missouri Law.

BOHLMANN:  Not to correct these matters will have serious consequences for
our time-honored doctrinally based system of governance and will jeopardize
the well-being of the Synod and its mission.

RESPONSE:  To "correct" these matters as Dr. Bohlmann is suggesting "will in
fact have serious consequences for our time-honored doctrinally based system
of governance and will jeopardize the well-being of the Synod and its

If corrected as Dr. Bohlmann advocates, the Synod will be in jeopardy and
irreparably harmed if any of the opinions challenged by the BOD from the CCM
are allowed to stand.

BOHLMANN:  At risk are the effectiveness of our judicial system, the
continuation in office of our elected officers, the governance of our
educational institutions, actions of the president's office, the integrity
of our periodicals, and the work of virtually every board, commission or
agency of the Synod.

RESPONSE: What really is at risk is the Synod's historic, carefully
structured system of checks and balances of church governance.  If the CCM
opinions are left standing, Synod is down the drain.

BOHLMANN:  Because months of efforts by the president and others to have the
board withdraw or modify its actions have been unsuccessful, additional
discussions are not likely to help.

RESPONSE:  Let's paraphrase this:  Because months of efforts by the BOD and
others to have the CCM withdraw its opinions have been unsuccessful,
additional discussions will be of no help.

Bohlmann would have the Synod believe that the BOD is the dissident faction.
Doctor Bohlmann can't imagine any flaw in his own thinking or that he or the
"Jesus First" people can be wrong.  He and "Jesus First" do not consider
themselves to be "dissidents" and anyone who disagrees with their
"directives from the Lord" need to come under church discipline.

BOHLMANN:  Nor will we resolve the problem by attempting to sort through
contradictory legal opinions, or by treating it as a purely secular matter,
thereby increasing the possibility for it to wind up in civil court.

RESPONSE:  It is not necessary to sort through legal opinions.  The most
inexperienced law clerk should have no problem reading Missouri Law, Synod's
Constitution and Bylaws and Romans 13:1-2.

BOHLMANN:  No, we need to trust that our convention, under the blessing of
God, has the resources, authority and will to resolve this problem.

RESPONSE: It is absolutely amazing that Dr. Bohlmann is saying; the
convention "has the RESOURCES, authority to resolve this problem."  He put
RESOURCES, at the top of the list.  He means the resources of power
(pastoral authority) and money!  Why doesn't he say we should follow the
Bible?  Delegates who take Bohlmann's advice will be like lemmings following
their leader blindly to their demise.  Why doesn't the Convention follow it
greatest resource, the Bible? Save our Synod. Reverse the CCM!

BOHLMANN:  The convention, I believe, must:

1. reaffirm the validity of the challenged CCM opinions and the continuing
judicial authority of the CCM.

RESPONSE:  Do exactly what Dr. Bohlmann stated earlier by voting to set
aside eight official and binding opinions of the Commission on
Constitutional Matters (CCM).

BOHLMANN:  2.  Reaffirm the extent of board authority as stated in those CCM

RESPONSE:  Following Romans 13:1-2 as the BOD has done in all cases and
confirm the authority of the BOD as stated in the Constitution and Bylaws.
In fact, a resolution should be passed commending the BOD.

BOHLMANN:  3.  Adopt changes in our Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation
(and possibly our Constitution) in order to reduce the likelihood of this
sort of thing happening again.

RESPONSE:  This will not happen again if the delegates to the Convention
vote thumbs down on the CCM opinions and do not have a stacked CCM as
appointed by the Synodical President to help him gain control of all legal
matters within in the Synod.

BOHLMANN:  The convention must then ask the board to acknowledge that it was
mistaken and to assure the Synod that it now accepts and will act on the
basis of the constitutional understanding of board authority reiterated by
the convention.

RESPONSE:  The convention must then ask Dr. Bohlmann, the CCM and "Jesus
First" proponents to acknowledge that they are mistaken and will assure the
Synod they will accept and will act on the basis of understanding the BOD
decisions, or withdraw from Synod.

BOHLMANN:  No one should be permitted to serve on this important board who
cannot give the Synod such assurances.

RESPONSE:  The BOD should be commended. CCM members should resign and leave

BOHLMANN:  May the Lord guide us to do the right thing

RESPONSE:  What will happen Dr. Bohlmann, if the Lord does not guide the
Convention in the way you would like it to go?  Will you and your ilk leave
the LCMS and let it do what its founder C.F.W. Walther intended it to do or
will you continue to be a cancer within the Synod?

BOHLMANN: Help us do it in a loving manner

RESPONSE:  If in a loving manner you mean what the CCM has to say relative
to discipline:  "The Bylaws do not define the term 'proper channels' and
thus the procedure to be used in the investigation is chosen by the District
President or his representative and does not necessarily require the initial
contact or meeting to be with any particular person or group."

The CCM admits the Bylaws don't discuss "proper channels" hence the CCM
claims the Synod doesn't have to follow "proper channels."  By the same
processes, the Bylaws also don't prohibit the Synod from regulating
congregational finances; hence there is nothing to prevent the CCM from
saying that the District has authority over a congregation's finances.  The
CCM's holds in effect that the Synod can claim any right for the Synod that
is not prohibited by the Bylaws.  The CCM assumes this power for the Synod
by interpreting the Bylaws over the Constitution.  In fact, the CCM displays
ignorance of even the First Commandment.  As billboards proclaimed in terse
statements reflecting on the Ten Commandments:  "What don't you understand
about the word "not?"  Signed, God

BOHLMANN:  and again focus our attention on bringing His saving Gospel to
the nations.

RESPONSE:  Amazing isn't it.  Under President Kieschnick we have focused on
massive church growth, via mega churches, PLI, CEO's, programs, anything but
the Gospel.  Out of the blue we are now "Ablaze" to bring His saving Gospel
to the nations.  "Ablaze," when synodical officers display ignorance of God'
s Word?

There has to be an election for synodical officers in the very near future.
How about July 11, 2004?  Now is the time to elect synodical officers who in
truth follow Scripture.

July 07, 2004