For the first time in its history the 2004 LCMS Convention voted to
create offices in the church that have absolutely nothing to do with God or
You might ask, “Why would they do this?”
The Synodical President and the District Presidents were determined
to do whatever it takes to have women become chief administrative officers
in LCMS congregations, except for the office of pastor.
They call it progress.
The adoption of Resolution 3-08 was a win, win, win,
except for the Bible and Voters’ Assemblies.
First, pastors were acknowledged as having
“headship” over the congregations according to the 1985 CTCR document,
“Women in the Church,” which states: “Since a headship over the
congregation is exercised through these functions unique to the office of
the public ministry, . . .” (page 42).
The Bible denies women the right to be pastors according to 1Tim
5:17, 1Thess. 5:12, 1Tim 3:12 (page 42) also 1Cor.14:34 and 1Tim. 2:11-12.
Since the LCMS teaches that women can’t hold offices
that involve them with the functions of the pastoral office, the Synod had
to redefine the pastor as having headship over the Church, which means that
LCMS Voters’ Assemblies are no longer supreme.
Second, women were given the right to be congregational
presidents, elders, and communion assistants as long as all of these offices
were defined without Biblical authority to judge the pastor’s doctrine,
preaching, practice, and administration of the worship services, sacraments,
absolution, and excommunication.
Third, the Synodical President and Council of District
Presidents (COP) were given more authority because the creation of
meaningless offices removes church power from formally supreme
congregational Voters’ Assemblies.
Convention let stand a May 20-24, 2004, ruling from the LCMS Commission on
Constitutional Matters “[CCM]# 267 Question Regarding the Relationship of the Circuit
Counselor to Member Congregations (04-2387)” that claims that
the Synod has never agreed to follow or acknowledge “proper channels”
when dealing with LCMS congregations. Indeed,
why should the Synod follow “proper channels” when dealing with
congregational officers who hold meaningless titles with no church power?
However, it took some serious theological gymnastics to
have women become congregational presidents, elders, and communion
assistants. The COP had to
appeal to the sophistry that the terms “president” and “elder” as we
understand them today do not appear in the Bible.
They also claim that the hand that gives out the communion wafer has
no authority over what is distributed or to whom it is distributed.
They separated distribution of the Lord’s Supper from the Office of
the Ministry and made the communicants their own pastors at the communion
When I take communion at a church, I want to receive it
from the pastor or someone who has the pastor’s authority, not an
assistant without any Biblically defined office.
I may as well take communion from the janitor or groundskeeper.
Why don’t we just pass the bread and wine down the pews and
automatically make everyone in the congregation a communion assistant?
However, President Kieschnick now says the only office
that can be found in the Bible is the pastor. Therefore, if the offices of president, elder, and communion
assistant, don’t really exist in the Bible, why can’t women hold them?
On the other hand, if these offices (Biblically speaking) don’t
really exist, who wants them? What’s
the point? The Synod redefined
the local congregation without any Biblically identifiable offices of its
own unless it has an LCMS pastor, a practice similar to the Catholic Church.
We ask, “Did President Kieschnick liberate women or
did he really disenfranchise the men?
Walther, the founder of the LCMS would never allow the
existence of phantom offices in the church.
“[emphasis added] ALL OFFICES IN THE CHURCH HAVE BEEN
INSTITUTED BY GOD TOGETHER WITH THE OFFICE OF THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD
[Predigtamt], for which reason the ministers are also called elders [German:
Vorsteher, ‘overseers’]. Especially
in larger congregations, however, it is necessary and beneficial that for
certain particular functions of the ministry of the Word auxiliary offices
should be created, and that for their execution talented men, besides the
minister should be chosen. This
was done, for example at Jerusalem, in order to provide for the poor (Acts
6). From 1 Tim. 5:17 we also
learn that in the days of the apostles there were elders who did not labor
in the Word and doctrine as did the preachers, yet also took part in ruling
the congregations. Whenever
such auxiliary offices do not exist, the minister by virtue of his office is
obligated to take over the external management of the congregational
meetings also. But where there
are ruling elders, there he may entrust such functions to them.” “Form
of the Christian Congregation” (page 51)
Let’s take a look at some the theological flimflam
engaged by the Synod in Resolution 3-08A To Affirm the Conclusions of the
1994 CTCR Report: “The Service of Women in Congregational and Synodical
Offices.” The resolution was
adopted 639 to 348.
The average reader won’t pick up the full meaning of
the resolution unless certain key phrases are understood with special
synodical meaning intended by Committee 8.
The second whereas employs the phrase “by human right
rather than divine right” when anticipating women presidents, elders, and
The sixth whereas states: . . “‘for other offices
[except the pastor] we have no express ‘thus saith the Lord’ and
everything depends on the functions assigned to these offices.’”
Seventh whereas states: . . “Scripture does not
prohibit women who possess the requisite gifts from holding these
humanly-established offices, . . .”
Second Resolved, “. . . and that women may serve in
humanly established offices in the church as long as the functions of these
offices do not make them eligible to carry out ‘official functions [that]
would involve public accountability for the function of the pastoral
Just in case the reader believes that the resolution
actually prohibits women from being presidents, elders, and communion
assistants that have nothing to do with the Bible, the following statement
is found in the minutes of the last day of the Convention:
“An amendment was offered to strike all words in the
second resolve [above] after the word ‘church’ (p.244, line 1) and
replace them with the words ‘except congregation elders, congregation
presidents, and communion assistants.’ The chair rules that this
constituted a substitute motion, and the motion failed under the Behnken
Rule [Y: 472; N: 605].”
How can congregations judge the doctrine and practice
of the pastor, or anyone else, when presidents and elders who have no
Biblical authority chair them?
We have come a long way from 1852 when Walther wrote:
“The congregation should see to it that purity of doctrine and life is
preserved in its midst, and therefore it is to exercise church discipline in
regard to both. Matt.
18:15-18” “Form of the Christian Congregation” page 31.
And again Walther wrote:
“This is to be understood
in the sense not only that the church has the power to excommunicate
impenitent sinners but also that the congregation has the supreme authority
in all church matters such as reproof, church discipline, divisions, judging
doctrine, and appointing pastors, to mention only these things.”
("Church and Ministry" C.F.W. Walther, 1851, CPH 1987, page 343)
There may be church offices with different grades of
authority such as president, vice president, elder, etc., but the Bible only
teaches church offices that exercise the Office of the Keys, the authority
to judge doctrine, practice, and “all things” in the church.
“Regarding this matter Chemnitz writes: . . . “But
all these grades [of church workers besides the pastor] the apostles include
under the names of elders and overseers . . . . In 1Tim 5:17 Paul mentions
two kinds of elders, of who some labored in the Word and doctrine, while
others took care of the management of the church.
These elders are mentioned also by Tertullian . . . . But there we
must add by way of a reminder:
(1) That there is no divine command prescribing which
grades or orders and how many of them there must be.
(2) That at the time of the apostles there were not in
all congregations, or not always the same, or just so many grades or orders,
as may be inferred from the letters of Paul addressed to various
(3) That at the time of the apostles these grades were
not divided in such a way that frequently one and the same person did not
take over and administer all the functions belonging to the ministry of the
Word, as we know from apostolic history. At the time of the apostles these
grades therefore were free, and the chief interest was in order, propriety,
and edification; but at that time special gifts, such at tongues, prophesy,
and apostolate, and miracles, were given to certain persons by God. HOWEVER, THE GRADES OF WHICH WE TREATED SO FAR WERE NOT AN
ARRANGEMENT BEYOND AND OUTSIDE THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD AND SACRAMENTS,
[emphasis added] but the very functions of the ministry of the Word were
divided among these grades.” (Examine council Trent Trid., 475f.) “Form
of the Christian Congregation” page 52-53
Why does the Synod want to create phantom offices and
fantasy church administration? It
is all about the concentration of church power in Synodical hierarchy.
The COP is attempting to have the same power that the ELCA bishops
enjoy. However, they will soon
learn that they have given the LCMS president more authority than the ELCA