With the adoption of
"Ablaze," the LCMS plans to spend $100,000,000 to tell 100,000,000
people about Jesus Christ.
more than three hours on the Saturday afternoon before the 2004 LCMS
Convention was called to order, delegates were harangued with vacuous
Madison Avenue hype, jingles, and repetition from the LCMS Ablaze Mission
from Lutheran Church bodies affiliated with the LCMS from around the world
were flown to St. Louis and introduced on stage as a promotion for
Marquart described it as the most shameless exploitation of mission work he
has ever witnessed.
and again, the delegates were reminded of Luke 24:32, "Did not our
heart burn within us?" Actually,
my heart was not burning; it didn't even get warm.
didn't hear anyone quote the entire verse. "And they said one to
another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the
way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" Luke 24:32
delegates were led to believe that our hearts should burn within us with a
desire for mission work instead of a response to the entire work of Christ
prophesied in the Old Testament.
Convention responded by adopting a resolution that by 2017 the Synod would
make 100,000,000 witnesses to people in this country and around the world
about Jesus Christ as recognition of the 500th anniversary of the
Reformation. (Could this be an
opportunity to merge the ELCA and the LCMS?)
Synod did not say there would be 100,000,000 converts, but there would be an
attempt to tell 100,000,000 people about Jesus Christ.
They passed another resolution to raise $100,000,000 to help fund
telling 100,000,000 million people about Jesus Christ.
This comes to about one dollar a witness.
was no explanation of how the money would be spent.
People wanted to know how the Synod would keep track of the
100,000,000 witnesses. How
would we know when we had reached our goal?
the last day of the Convention, Rev. Roegner, LCMS Executive Director for
Missions, told the Convention that there would be a website established to
keep track of all of the witnesses that were being made in America and
around the world.
count of how many people we tell about Jesus is hardly a Biblical idea.
We don't know how many people the Apostle Paul preached to in the New
punished Israel because David took a census.
warns in Matthew 6:3-4 "But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand
know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy
Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."
But, now the LCMS is going to count its good works on a website to
tell the world how many people we told about Jesus Christ.
his sermon on Easter Monday, 1524, Luther preached on the text of the two
disciples on the road to Emmaus as encouragement to draw near to God's Word
and take the Lord's Supper. ("Sermons of Martin Luther" Baker Book
House, Volume 2, page 267)
Luther, the greatest evangelist of the second millennium, didn't have a
heart ablaze for mission work.
the Synod would be wiser to study the work of Christ in the Bible and let
God be the one who turns our hearts "Ablaze" before we pass a
resolution to do it for Him.
an emphasis on the work of Christ, "Ablaze" is little more than
grandiose, legalistic hype to make people think we have accomplished God's
work by our own standards. Knowing
that he had nothing to boast about, the Publican bowed his head and said,
"Lord, be merciful to me a sinner."
debate about the laws of Missouri broke out on the Convention Floor.
The LCMS Board of Directors (BOD) said it was against Missouri
corporate law for the LCMS Commission on Constitutional Matters (CCM) to
overrule the BOD because the BOD is elected by the Convention.
However, the LCMS President appoints members of the CCM.
was sitting in the back of the Convention Hall next to a retired lawyer.
"What do you think?" I asked.
"Fascinating," he replied.
at the microphones with their faces projected on the large screens were
making legal points and counter points.
Lawyers were also rendering legal opinions from the podium.
All the maneuvering and intensity was better than Court TV.
I realized that in the future, if a pastor was really going to go anywhere
in the LCMS he would be better off going to law school than earning a
Doctorate of Theology.
on the Brian Cave Law Firm opinion, purchased by the LCMS Board of Directors
(BOD), the BOD published a resolution on page 24 of "Today's
Business," that CCM rulings against the BOD, 02-2259, 02-2357, 03-2358,
03-2359, and 03-2365 "are of no effect."
Committee Seven, chaired by President Kieschnick's appointee, Northwest
District President William Schumacher, presented Resolution 7-02A, reversing
the BOD and declared that the rulings of the BOD "are of no
effect." This placed the
BOD, an elected Board of the Convention, under the authority of the CCM, a
commission appointed by the President.
raised the question as to whether the LCMS is an association of
congregations or a Corporation. The
Synod's Attorney did not support the position of the BOD and told the
Convention that the Synod was still a Corporation even if the BOD is under
Hawks, member of the BOD, argued this would not hold up in court and all the
congregations would now be directly liable should the Synod suffer a major
law suit as the ELCA recently experienced.
The Convention adopted the 7-02A 654 to 541and declared the rulings
of the BOD "are of no effect."
I can't understand how the BOD can really be a BOD if they can be overruled
by the CCM, a commission appointed by the President.
The CCM is now the real BOD of the LCMS.
The CCM rulings can only be overturned by a vote of the Convention,
and unlike Convention Resolutions (Article VII), the rulings of the CCM are
binding on all congregations according to Bylaw 3.905d.
the Convention, pages and pages of Bylaws were being revised, quoted, and
rearranged. By itself, "Today's Business, Tuesday, Issue 4 - Part
B," on Dispute Resolution, had 25 pages of Bylaw revisions.
one is really able to keep up with all the current Bylaws, new Bylaws, Bylaw
revisions, and their relationship to each other.
At least three resolutions were sent back to Committees because their
quotations of Bylaws contradicted existing Bylaws.
we walked out of the 2004 Convention with a lot more Bylaws than we had