Monday, July 24, 2006

A Plug for Higher Things

Next year, Higher Things are having two youth conventions. I strongly encourage you to attend or get your youth excited. Check out their website at Keep up the good work.

A Right to Speak # 2

I have applied the duct tape so my head won't explode (Glen Beck reference). I am ready to speak and I will try to do so calmly. At the Ohio Convention, these comments were also made by our president; but, naturally, there was no time to respond to them. Let me start by saying this. It is absolutely ridiculous that the By-laws are being interpreted in this fashion. It mirrors how our United States Constitution and By-laws are being interpreted by those on the left. Yes, we have an obligation to Synod. Yes, we should approach our brother if he sins against us. Yes, we should go through the proper channels if we disagree. That is why our congregation submitted so many overtures to our District Convention.

But, if I disagree with the Synod, if I think that the resolutions of the Synod are wrong, I have a moral and theological obligation to speak my mind. What kind of a Synod are we in, if pastors can't even express themselves? What kind of Synod are we in if pastors are not allowed to teach their own members about false teaching that our own Synod promotes? I really do think at this point, all we need is the Word of God and our Lutheran Confessions. Until we reach unity in doctrine and practice, the Constitution and By-laws of our Synod should be cast aside. Do you hear me? Cast aside! I am sick and tired of those in leadership hiding behind the C and B. It is ridiculous. They did it after 911 and they are doing it again. Let us throw off the shackles of our Constitution and Bylaws and get back to what is important. If somehow we can reach uniformity in doctrine and practice, then maybe we can bring them back in. Just my humble opinion. The duct tape seems to be holding.

God bless and God have mercy on our Synod.

In Christ,

Pastor Jim Haugen

A Right to Speak- # 1

A copy of an email was sent to me. I quote a portion of it. "Kindly note Bylaw 1.8, below: 1.8 Dissent 1.8.1 While retaining the right of brotherly dissent, members of the Synod are expected as part of the life together within the fellowship of the Synod to honor and uphold the resolutions of the Synod. 1.8.2 Dissent from doctrinal resolutions and statements is to be expressed first within the fellowship of peers and then brought to the attention of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations before finding expression as an overture to the convention calling for revision or recision. While the conscience of the dissenter shall be respected, the consciences of others, as well as the collective will of the Synod, shall also be respected. The Synod itself, at the Milwaukee convention in 1971, has interpreted the meaning of "honor and uphold" in the above paragraphs and addressed the reasons why honoring and upholding the Synod's doctrinal resolutions and expressing one's dissent in the manner we have mutually agreed upon is so important. Salient portions of Resolution 2-21 from that convention are reproduced for you below: The Synod, therefore, holds that every member, by virtue of his agreement when he voluntarily joined the Synod and freely placed himself under the provisions of the Synod's Constitution and bylaws, is bound by the Word of God expressed in the Synod's resolutions until it can be demonstrated that a resolution is in fact "not in accordance with the Word of God" (Bylaw 1.09b), and the Synod permits no member to teach or practice in violation of a resolution simply on the grounds that he does not agree with it or that it is in conflict with his private persuasion. Formal commitment of the Synod to a confessional base is pointless unless the Synod has the right as a synod to apply its confessional base definitively to current issues and thus conserve and promote unity and resist an individualism which breeds schism. If a member cannot for conscience' sake accept a doctrinal resolution of the Synod, he has the obligation and opportunity through mutually approved procedure to challenge such a resolution with a view to effecting the changes he deems necessary. Failing in that, he is completely free by reason of his wholly voluntary association with the Synod to obey his conscience and disassociate himself from the Synod. Meanwhile every member of the Synod is held to abide by, act, and teach in accordance with the Synod's resolutions. To "honor and uphold" support, act, and teach in accordance with them... I have taken the liberty of attaching the entirety of 1971 Resolution 2-21 and a related resolution (5-24) from the same convention for your edification and convenience. To sum it up (and this summation should also not be taken out of context): * The Holy Scriptures are the written Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and practice in the church. The Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church are a true and unadulterated statement and exposition of the Word of God (cf. LCMS Constitution, Article II). * Membership in the synod is voluntary. * Members of synod have voluntarily committed themselves to the rules by which we govern ourselves-the Constitution, Bylaws, and resolutions of the Synod (this includes Article II of the Constitution!). * Members of the synod may dissent from the position of the Synod. The Synod recognizes that it can err! * In dissenting from the position of the Synod, members have committed themselves to the process for dissent mandated by the Handbook. * While dissenting according to mandated procedure, members of the Synod have (voluntarily) committed themselves to "honor and uphold" the doctrinal resolutions of the Synod, and not to preach or teach contrary to them.

Did you get all that? I will respond in a second blog.