1. We are in fellowship with heretics. Why haven't they been thrown out of the synod?
There are some curious overtures in the convention workbook. Resurrection, Coronado, CA submitted several (and has at previous conventions):
1. To provide for cooperative and joint campus ministry with the ELCA.
2. To restore reciprocal Word and Sacrament ministry with chaplains of other Lutheran denominations.
3. To change the definitions of unionism and syncretism.
4. To focus on what the LCMS and ELCA have in common.
5. To institute open Communion.
6. To provide for the ordination of women.
7. To rescind the LCMS description that the ELCA is not an orthodox Lutheran body.
8. To declare altar and pulpit fellowship with the ELCA.
I am speechless.
2. Bits and pieces.
Report of the President, Part I -- The Purpose of a Synod Convention
Pg. 3 - "Accordingly, it would behoove you as a delegate to investigate fully any matters about which you receive questionable information in order that you may be assured of knowing the truth. You may do so, for example, by researching the actual facts or by asking your district president about these matters."
The purpose of a synod convention is to be an inquisition? I only wish it was so. The last time I investigated something as behooving a delegate, my district president told my circuit counselor that investigating is not the lay delegate's job*.
*Yet Synodical bylaws designate circuit lay delegates as resource persons and assistants in implementing resolutions in their circuit.
Report of the President, Part I -- Action on Resolutions Assigned to the LCMS President's Office
Pg. 8 - "At this time there are no recommendations for convention consideration regarding any changes in joint activity with the ELCA."
Well ... except for those multiple overtures from Resurrection, Coronado, CA.
Special Report of the President ... regarding the Lawsuit ...
Pg. 16 - Chart shows the number of delegates from exceptions: 176 (14.2%)
176! The entire Missouri District only has 58 ...
Report of the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Funding the Mission
Pg. 19 - "And yet, we are fighting an uphill battle to communicate the importance of supporting this administrative and supervisory role of the Synod when the culture all around us denigrates the institution..."
They should address why it's denigrated in the first place.
Pg. 20 - "The difficulty in funding the national bylaw and convention mandated administration and ecclesiastical supervision with steadily diminishing amounts of unrestricted dollars."
What administration and supervision? They're not disciplining any pastors or congregations anymore. Seminarians are doing pulpit supply instead of pastors.
Pg. 20 - "One of the biggest roadblocks to "funding the mission" is the lack of ownership by the people in the pews for the horrible tragedy of millions of people headed for an eternity in hell."
It is not for us to demand results. It is for us to tell and spread the Gospel. This duty is not transferable. (I just read that today in a 1945 book published by Concordia Publishing House "The Approach to the Unchurched"). The Synod should not tie fund-raising with the responsibility of individual Christians.
Pg. 21 - "As for those who are UNWILLING, perhaps there should be consideration of limiting the benefits available to them if they voluntarily reject the "common good" principle that they agreed when they joined the Synod in the first place."
I'm hard-pressed to think of any benefits I'm getting right now. My congregation already privately supports two seminarians while running thousand of dollars in the hole each year. The local LWML donates our paraments, vestments, palls, etc. (and the Synod wants to tax that group too).
Pg. 23 - "Could it be that we are not reaping because we are not even sowing? It's time the LCMS got back out into the fields of our Lord's harvest instead of sitting in the barn rearranging straw."
You can actually get more hay in a clean, well-organized barn. Loose straw gets dirty, rots, attracts vermin, goes up in flames, etc.
Appendix I -- Opinions of Commission on Constitutional Matters
Pg. 289 - "In a recent opinion, the Commission stated that a congregation which publicly and persistently teaches a position which is contrary to that adopted by the Synod may be suspended from membership in the Synod. This would be true no matter what the issue involved."
They need to use Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, not more positions adopted every year at convention.