It should be no surprise that the LCMS COP issued a vague statement that did little more than attempt to cover the backsides of the LCMS COP after the Issues, Etc. mess. What were some of the Issues supporters hoping for? A fistfight at the COP meeting? A dramatic testimony from the conservative/confessional DPs ending with something reminiscent of Luther’s “Here I stand…”? Nothing like that was going to happen for this is a bureaucracy. A bureaucracy, whether in a church body or a purely secular organization is large, slow, unemotional, and largely unintelligent, even though it may be made up of individually highly intelligent people. The bureaucracy will always seek to protect the bureaucracy.
Let’s look at what the statement says. “We are very concerned about how this pain has affected the church as it carries Christ’s gifts to the world. Only the devil would rejoice over this disruption!” Yup, and the devil must be pretty happy over both the ending of this radio outreach tool and the division that was previously around and has now surfaced.
“We realize that in our understanding and application of the 4th commandment, this matter is not the responsibility of the Council of Presidents.” This seems to be an attempt to say in some religious-sounding way that this was not the jurisdiction of the COP. See Rev. Cwirla's excellent thoughts on this.
“We must regard with Christian charity and trust the judgment of our duly elected brothers and sisters in Christ on the BCS, along with its Executive Director, Mr. David Strand.” True. Since Mr. Strand has provided no reasoning behind his decision the dissenters have NO PROOF of his motives. To speculate without proof diminishes the credibility of those who oppose him.
“In response to the concern that the manner in which this decision was
implemented lacked Christian compassion, it is important to note our belief that such was not the case.” This sentence doesn’t really say anything. It doesn’t say the implementation was carried out with “Christian compassion”, it just says the COP’s belief is that is was not implemented without such compassion. Again, with no proof, those who disagree have no facts on which to stand.
“Where there have been communications that have violated the integrity of a brother or sister in Christ, Christ calls us to repentance.” Yes. We assume that as Pres. K. and the DPs have all agreed to this that they are repentant for any angry words they have said or written to the Issues, Etc. supporters and that they, along with those who oppose them, will not make any more personal attacks, though the issues behind this entire issue should still be discussed because they brought to light serious differences in theological thought in the midst of the LCMS.
Now to Pres. Kieschnick’s statement: “Some have interpreted the decision to discontinue 'Issues, Etc.' as being theological or political in nature or purpose. Such interpretations have no basis in fact.” This is true. To surmise the reasons without facts does the Issues supporters no good. You will never know what was actually said. Move on.
“As president of the Synod, I respectfully request and pastorally encourage all in the Synod to be patient and charitable regarding this matter, putting the best construction on actions and decisions connected therewith.” Rev. Petersen is a good example of this.
If you really want to know what went on at the COP meeting, call your DP and calmly and respectfully ask what was said. If you are in one of the districts where the pastors’ conference recently passed a resolution regarding Issues, Etc., that resolution would be another good topic to discuss with your DP. He may not tell you anything, but it would be an honest attempt at finding information.
“I pray for the day when the financial resources of our Synod do not necessitate the reduction in force of radio personnel, the return of missionaries from the foreign mission field, or any other such difficult and painful decisions.” There you go, the decision was purely financial. If you are not happy with what Synod is doing with its limited financial resources, STOP SENDING THEM MONEY. Pres. Kieschnick has given two wonderful ideas for where funds should be diverted: radio ministry and foreign mission fields.
Issues, Etc. was a powerful educational and outreach ministry. Put something similar back on the airwaves or over the internet. Complaining about motives and theorizing on blogs and in discussion groups about why the decision for cancellation was REALLY made does nothing but make you look like a conspiracy theorist. You may as well be wearing a metal colander on your head and wrapping your entire body in tin foil to block the mind-control rays emanating from the Death Star Jerry’s building in the IC (Maybe protecting the super weapon is the REAL reason for the lockdown in the Purple Palace the day of the Issues demonstration???)
Quit bitching and get out your checkbooks. Support Todd and Jeff. Put a good Lutheran program back on the air. Encourage the little old ladies (or any other group in your congregation) to adopt a foreign missionary. Out-mission the self-proclaimed mission-minded.