The Synod’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) has forwarded to the Council of Presidents (COP) a draft of “Guidelines for Participation in Civic Events.”
LCMS President Gerald Kieschnick in November 2001 asked the CTCR to prepare the guidelines in consultation with the COP in time for presentation to the 2004 Synod convention. The commission at its Dec. 4-6 meeting in St. Louis reviewed the draft and approved sharing it with the COP “on a confidential basis.”
CTCR Executive Director Samuel H. Nafzger said he has been asked to lead a discussion of the “semi-final draft” with the COP when the council meets in early February. Shortly after that, the CTCR at its Feb. 16-18 meeting will review the document again, taking into account the COP’s comments, and adopt it for inclusion in the commission’s 2004 convention report, Nafzger said.
When he asked the CTCR for the guidelines – two months after Atlantic District President David Benke took part in “A Prayer for America” at Yankee Stadium –Kieschnick cited three questions specifically:
- What constitutes a “civic event
- What are the implications of Lutheran “two-kingdom” theology to participating in civic events that include prayer, Scripture reading, hymn singing, etc.?
- What guidelines should inform participation by LCMS pastors and other church workers in such events when they involve participants from non-Christian religions?
Also at its December meeting, the CTCR adopted a review of “For the Sake of Christ’s Commission,” a report prepared by an ad hoc Church Growth Study Committee prior to the 2001 Synod convention. The review will not be released until the CTCR receives at its February meeting a “minority opinion” being prepared by one of its members, Nafzger told Reporter.
Kieschnick in June 2002 requested the CTCR’s review of the church-growth committee’s report, also in time for the 2004 Synod convention.
In other business, the CTCR honored Nafzger for 30 years of service to the commission. In a sermon delivered for the occasion at his home congregation – Immanuel, Washington, Mo. – Nafzger referred to the CTCR as the “Synod’s Department of Defense.” He explained that the CTCR “has been assigned the task of assisting the members of the Synod `in giving a defense’ of the hope that we have in Christ as we confront contemporary issues such as cloning, participating in civic events and inter-Christian relationships.”