2004 Convention “Boss” Reelects Kieschnick and Absolves Benke

By: Rev. Jack Cascione

This is the first report from Reclaim News on the 2004 LCMS Convention.

This writer attended the LCMS Convention gavel-to-gavel, Floor Committee meetings and the three-hour Mission Festival Celebration on the Saturday before the Convention.  After the Convention we took a one-week vacation.

It will take months to analyze and write about the results of this convention.

In his speech to the 2004 LCMS Convention, President Kieschnick made his election a referendum on the Benke Case.  Kieschnick put up out his arms and declared to the Convention, “You are my boss.”

President Kieschnick read Benke’s meaningless apology to the Convention about the prayer Benke gave at Yankee Stadium as follows:

“I made a pledge very early on to take seriously those who differed with me.  So in the area of specific wording, to whoever has had problems and criticisms, I am sorry that I didn’t get the words out more clearly or accurately or completely. Although it was never intentional, I know that my words have offended some in my denomination, and for that offense I apologize, sincerely and ask for forgiveness.”  David H. Benke, January 4, 2002.

Kieschnick then absolved Benke from the podium in the name of the “Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

At the Suncoast Casino, on Tuesday, February 18, 2004, after Benke spoke, I went to the floor mike and asked, "Dr. Benke, shouldn't you have introduced your prayer at Yankee Stadium by announcing that ‘Jesus is the only God,’ or ‘Let us pray to the only God,’ or ending with ‘Jesus, the only God?’"

Benke replied, "No!"  He explained that it wouldn't have been appropriate.

Then Benke tried to soften his position.  He said if he had to do it all over again he would have begun his prayer, "In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost."

However, when praying next to Moslems, Hindus, etc., how would they know that we LCMS pastors mean that Jesus is the only God unless we say it?  For all the heathen know, The Father and the Son and Holy Ghost could be one God or gods among many unless we say that Jesus is the only God.

Benke’s meaningless apology just happened to omit the need to include the deity of Christ in his prayer and Kieschnick forgave him.  Two years, after his written apology, Benke still claims it would have been wrong to say that Jesus is the only God in his prayer at Yankee Stadium.

There was motion from the floor to ask Wally Schulz to speak to the Convention in order to hear the other side.  The delegates voted 46% to 54% not to let Schulz speak.  The “Boss” didn’t want to hear the other side.  The “Boss” is not very bright nor does the “Boss” want to hear the truth.

The “Boss” voted to accept Kieschnick’s report about Yankee Stadium by reelecting him by 52% on the first ballot.

“Jesus First” elected their candidates for the LCMS Praesidium.

William Diekelman defeated Daniel Preus for First Vice President 641 to 588.  Paul Maier returned as Second Vice President.  Wallace Schulz and William Weinrich were defeated.  Dean Nadasdy was elected Third Vice-President. Robert King was elected Fourth Vice President, and David Buegler was elected Fifth Vice President.

Conservatives were able to maintain a majority on the LCMS Board of Directors with the election of Rev. Edward Balfour and Julie Martinez.  There was a great deal of campaigning against them.  They were not on the nominating committees list but were nominated from the floor.  Both Balfour and Martinez are converts from Orthodox Judaism.

After Mrs. Martinez’s election, there was a failed attempt from the floor to recall her.  This was the only attempt to recall anyone during the entire Convention.  We hope that “Jesus First’s” opposition to Balfour and Martinez has nothing to do with their heritage.


 Sunday, August 29, 2004

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