LCMS initial reaction to Thrivent’s ‘Financial Neutrality Policy’

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, guided by the Word of God, is unabashedly and actively pro-life. Thus we are deeply concerned by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans’ decision, announced Feb. 6, 2014, to adopt a “Financial Neutrality Policy” effective immediately to guide its decisions for outreach funding of charitable organizations.

Under this new policy, neither pro-abortion nor pro-life organizations are eligible to receive outreach support or funding from any of Thrivent’s charitable assistance funding programs. While we applaud the restrictions on funding pro-abortion organizations, this is not the outcome we had envisioned for the more than 50 pro-life charitable organizations that have received Thrivent assistance in the past to provide key support for women, children and families. Sadly, this leaves many Christian pro-life agencies providing these pivotal services in a position of unexpected financial shortfall.

Synod leadership is keenly aware of these troubling events and is in the process of reviewing the details and implications of this new policy to determine a course of action in response to it.

In the meantime, under the new policy, we understand that LCMS members may earmark their Thrivent Choice Dollars® for their local parish, and we encourage LCMS parishes receiving these funds to use them to fund pro-life organizations. We further encourage LCMS Thrivent members to contact Thrivent directly with any questions or concerns about its policy.

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102 Responses to LCMS initial reaction to Thrivent’s ‘Financial Neutrality Policy’

  1. Pastor R A Sharp February 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    Is it possible to find out how much funding Thrivent provided in the last full fiscal period to pro-life organizations?

  2. Martin Brauer February 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    I am deeply concerned about Thrivent’s decision no longer to allow the funding of pro life organizations with our Thrivent Choice dollars.

    If that is their decision, then the slippery slope dictates that such dollars will soon no longer be allowed to fund our congregations. Our congregations are pro life organizations, are they not?

    I had hoped that Thrivent being allowed now to market to Christians outside Lutheranism would be a positive move; a healthy influence for others. Unfortunately, it is they who have now become influenced.

    What the love of money does.

    • Pr. Jeffery H Leichman February 7, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

      Friend Martin, this was predictable. Any time an organization “broadens” itself by expanding to include heterodox church bodies it always goes to the lowest common denominator.

    • Lisa Y February 7, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

      Don’t just read one little bit. Not these excerpts:
      “…in the process of reviewing the details and implications of this new policy to determine a course of action in response to it.”

      “we understand that LCMS members may earmark their Thrivent Choice Dollars® for their local parish, and we encourage LCMS parishes receiving these funds to use them to fund pro-life organizations. We further encourage LCMS Thrivent members to contact Thrivent directly with any questions or concerns about its policy.”

      I’m totally ok with this if it means keeping money out of the hands of abortion clinics….

    • PASTOR FRICKE February 7, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

      YOU DIDN’T SEE THIS COMING??? WHEN THEY WANTED TO INCLUDE OTHER DENOMINATIONS INTO THE SYSTEM – IT AUTOMATICALLY GAVE ACCESS TO THOSE CHURCH BODIES WHO ALLOW/PROMOTE ABORTION / HOMOSEXUAL AND OTHER UNGODLY BEHAVIORS – WHICH OF COURSE INCREASES THE RISK FACTOR OF ALL INSURED. IT IS BAD ENOUGH THAT WE INHERITED THE ELCA PEOPLE WHO HAVE COMPLETELY DROPPED OUT OF CHRISTIAN/ BIBLICAL MORALITY.

      YOUR PREMIUMS WILL GO UP BECAUSE THESE LIFESTYLES SHORTEN LIFE AND ADD HORRENDOUS HEALTH COSTS TO THOSE WHO PRACTICE THEM.

      I SENT A LETTER OF OBJECTION STATING THE RISKS BEFORE THEY HAD THE MEMBERS VOTE. BUT ALL I RECEIVED BACK WAS SOME PLATITUDES- THEY SHOULD HAVE INFORMED MEMBERS OF THE CONSEQUENCES.

      NOW THAT THEY HAVE THESE UNGODLY LIFESTYLE MEMBERS JOINING – THEY HAVE TO TAKE THE NEST STEP OF COWTOWING TO THEIR UNGODLY WISHES.

      • Jeff February 10, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

        I’ve been with AAL/Thrivent for 55 years and during that time the organization always had American Lutheran, LCA members as well as non-Lutheran family members of Lutherans and the unchurched in the membership mix. We “inherited” no one in the merger. You also fail to understand how broad based underwriting tables which have always included the general population in the mix determines rates. Such baseless fear mongering. And I am so glad to hear from you that people practicing such ungodly behaviors don’t exist in LCMS congregations. Will you tell us next we Missourians will be the only people in heaven?

        • Duane Florschuetz February 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

          I completely concur, Jeff. As I read the previous comment, the sound of self-righteousness jumped out at me.

        • Lee Poliski February 22, 2014 at 9:35 am #

          I am sure that Pastor Fricke’s comments were based on Thrivent’s “survey” of its members (2012 or 2013) to open up the territories to allow Thrivent’s products and services to be of “aid” to more Christians. It was just creative salesmanship in my opinion.

          I was uneasy at the time as it had become more and more apparent that Thrivent has been softening its stance on Christian values, such as the article in their magazine regarding teaching children about money (title somewhat paraphrased) Save Some – Share Some – Spend Some. Share some? Really? Of course the emphasis was on teaching children about money, not stewardship. The article as I recall talked about a child that learned the sharing lesson by giving some money to the local humane society. There was very little, if any, mention (again as I recall) of giving to God of your first fruits.
          So, as is typical in a decaying world, the lesser of two evils is the choice we seem to be presented with. Do I now invest more in through Thrivent, or some other “worldly” fund? Do I hurt the faithful sales rep by going elsewhere to prove a point to Thrivent? Or do I (we, the LCMS) stand up boldly and do the RIGHT THING? Do we tell the “Goliaths” of the world that what they say and do is wrong?
          Too often people cower away and say they didn’t do anything wrong. The story of the Good Samaritan seems to have such examples. The LCMS is doing the right thing by stating boldly and proudly what the Word of God tells us all.

          My name is Lee. I believe in Jesus and this is my opinion. God have mercy on us all.

  3. Herbert Davies February 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    I applaud the efforts of LCMS to ensure that Thrivent not provide any financial support for any pro-abortion agencies. I also applaud the efforts of LCMS to encourage Thrivent to reverse its decision not to continue to provide financial support to pro-life agencies. It is the responsibility of the church to protect the life of the unborn. Government and society in general is no longer upholding Christian principles. The responsibility of Thrivent and other organizations and institutions associated with Christian churches is to uphold Christian principles when government and society is failing to do so. Instead it seems the current leadership of Thrivent is determined to take a neutral stance on the issue of abortion. It is thereby taking a neutral stance on Christian principles, and is thereby taking a Christian stance on the Christian faith, and thereby taking a neutral stance on the Lordship of Christ. Thrivent needs to change its stance or lose the support of the Christian public. Unless this happens soon I will be canceling my insurance policy with Thrivent as I will not support an organization which is neutral on clear Christian issues such as abortion. Herbert John Davies

    • John Mierow February 8, 2014 at 9:39 am #

      “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
      (Rev 3;15)

  4. Richard N. Hy February 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    Having been personally affected by the increasingly anti-family unchristian activities for which Thrivent has chosen to turn a blind eye to I am not surprised at all by the continuing fall from grace that has been evidenced over the years and would encourage all faithful Lutherans to dissolve their financial relationships with this wolf in sheeps clothing and see how they survive on their own.
    Continue to trust that God will provide for any loss of funds that are ‘lost’ as a result of breaking ties with this increasingly ungodly misrepresented organization.
    These views are my own from personal dealings and hardships at the hands of this so called christian organization.

  5. A Lutheran . . . February 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

    I’ve often thought of moving our investments to Thrivent and perhaps placing some funds in something like the LCEF or another dedicated fund which provides assets for investment in mission based activities. Simply put, its not going to happen now. If Thrivent believes that money has no conscience or faith, then they are not a Lutheran-based organization.

    We can affect the reality and faith of others when we choose where invest stored treasure. Hiding behind the false God of tolerance is giving into the Tolerance Nazi’s who proclaim forced belief in a non-God centered universe predicated on their own ideals of what constitutes tolerance. I was raised to believe that tolerance meant acceptance of the choice of others to believe differently than you do. Instead it has become a bludgeon exercised by the ‘tolerance police’ who insist upon everyone believing exactly as they do on social and political issues under penalty of loss of income and status. The modern day Star Chamber. . . . .

    and for a faith based organization to give in to that false God is especially upsetting.

    • Horace Dannehl February 7, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

      I agree with your decision to cut off funding Thrivent but will encourage to use LCEF.

    • Tim Grotheer February 7, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

      Please note the LCEF is a Missouri Synod affiliation, and has no ties to Thrivent.

  6. Charles Fox February 7, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    From New Life Chinese Lutheran Church, we want to say thank you for taking a very thoughtful and God pleasing approach in a difficult matter. May our Lord & Savior Jesus honor your standing on His Word & His will by giving you all His guidance, support, and encouragement necessary to see you through to a God pleasing completion.

  7. Jeff Nyquist February 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Yikes. What alternatives to Thrivent even exist? I’d be happy to switch, however I’m open to suggestions on what organization that might be.

    • Paul Johnson February 7, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

      Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) takes investments and uses them to provide loans to churches, church workers, and others to build up the body of Christ. Check out http://www.lcef.org for more info.

  8. michael piper February 7, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    Sad commentary on the way things are going. I had hoped that Thrivent would have chosen more wisely. What fraternal bonds do we share if not life? Lord have mercy!

  9. Rev Mark Nieting February 7, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    I suppose that once the pro-life group spoke up, the wackos on the ELCA side of Lutheranism decided to get their payback.

    • JerryT February 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

      There are many committed pro-life Lutherans on the ELCA side of Lutheranism, just as there are many pro-abortion LCMS pastors

      • Rev. Paul T. McCain February 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

        “Many” pro-abortion LCMS pastors?

        Do you have any documentation to prove your assertion?

        • Kay February 7, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

          I do hope that is a false statement.

        • e.t.1978 February 8, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

          I 2nd this…

        • Tammy February 21, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

          Here is a document taken from Concordia Chicago’s website listing Planned Parenthood as an internship site for their students to work at:

          http://www.cuchicago.edu/Documents/Academics/College%20of%20Arts%20and%20Sciences/psychology/Psych%20Roadmap/Internship%20Site%20and%20Contact%20List%20-%202012.pdf?source=search-result

          Why are the pastors at Concordia Chicago not taking a stand against Planned Parenthood being on this list? The date on this list as last updated is the spring of 2012 so they have had plenty of time to take care of this and yet they haven’t. Why has the synod not stepped in and addressed this? The synod has been very good at pointing out the speck in others eyes and doing nothing about the plank in their own. Thrivent immediatly responded when complaints were made, how about the synod when they make mistakes?

      • Tedd Haas February 7, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

        Sad but true. Not that there are pro-life ELCA, of course… I pray every day for MORE ELCA Lutherans to take a more Godly view of life issues, and for those that already acknowledge God’s will for life to remain strong. Unfortunately, the LCMS is hardly free from pro-abortion forces. In fact, I don’t know if I’d be comfortable suggesting that the “split” is any different within our beloved Synod than it is in secular culture.

      • Rev. Steven Haberoth February 8, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

        If there are pro-abortion pastors in the LCMS I’ve yet to meet any of them.

    • LCMS Lutheran February 7, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

      WOW, at least those Wackos as YOU call them believe in Jesus Christ, I cannot believe you cut down ELCA, does this make you a better christian? Glad I’m not part of your congregation!

      • dougmood February 12, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

        The end of discernment is the death of knowledge. Acknowledging the existence of good and evil is not a prelude to condemning others, but a necessary prelude to freeing one’s self.

    • Rebecca M February 7, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

      @ Rev Mark–If you really are a pastor, I hope that your district leaders as well as church elders ask you to refrain from commenting on public posts in the future. You are embarrassing yourself and your church with the name calling and disrespect. Your time should be better spent.

    • J. Terry February 7, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

      Wackos? Seriously? How classless for anyone to say about another Christian group–particularly a pastor.

    • Mark Nieting February 10, 2014 at 9:08 am #

      My apologies for the term “wackos.” It was poorly chosen in the heat of the frustration over such a basic issue as Christians and the lives of unborn children.

      I will instead refer to an well-researched and in-depth article in the most recent volume (77) of the Concordia Theological Quarterly, where the author refers to Resolution 3-21A, passed at the LCMS 2001 Synodical Convention, reading: the ELCA is no longer an Orthodox Lutheran church body. Neither is it a heterodox Lutheran body. Instead, the ELCA is a homodox, ecclesial corporation teaching itself as gospel.

  10. Dr. Kenneth Palmreuter February 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    I don’t understand how a Christian organization can take a neutral position on the fifth commandment.

  11. Rev. Robert Franek February 7, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    I came across this post through a link in a Facebook post. While I respectfully disagree with the position of this post, I respect those who hold its position. That said, it is troublesome to find on this blog the term “pro-abortion.” I think that terminology fails to account for the comprehensiveness and complexity of circumstances and thought that people who hold differing views have wrestled with in their own moral deliberation. More, I think that in light of Luther’s explanation of the eighth commandment, to interpret our neighbor’s action in the best possible light, the term “pro-abortion” comes far short. I do not think being for women’s choice equates to being “pro-abortion.”

    • Rev. Daniel A. Hinton February 7, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

      The Eighth Commandment, God does not command us to lie or permit sin in the name of accounting for the comprehensiveness and complexity of circumstances and thought that people who hold differing views have wrestled with in their own moral deliberation. Morality is not our own; the Law is given by God. The command is “You shall not murder.” Intentionally ending the life of an unborn baby for the sin of being inconvenient to his mother is murder and is forbidden by God. The Church is not free to equivocate or reinterpret the eternal Law as though it changes as we gain “wisdom”. We are to proclaim the Law in its full sternness, especially to an increasingly godless world. The matter of choice is a red herring; if abortion is murder (and it is) then we humans have no right to choose it.

    • Rev. Paul T. McCain February 7, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

      Rev. Franek, I noticed you are an ELCA pastor.

      Upon close inspection of the cliche “women’s choice” one must realize that the “choice” is “choosing” to kill the unborn child within her.

      Let’s speak plainly.

      You are clearly “pro-abortion” if you are in favor of this “right” to “choose” death for an unborn child.

    • Cindy February 7, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

      Rev. Franek,

      Speaking the truth in love… what other “choice” does the phrase “women’s choice” imply or refer to other than the “choice” to end a pregnancy? Justification based upon semantics does not somehow make it agree with God’s explicit word regarding the preciousness of ALL life.

    • Randy Borst February 9, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

      This is not a moral issue. It is clear cut. Pro choice is really pro-abortion. Call a spade a spade. We are pro life, not anti-abortion.

      This will hurt Thrivent and “advisers” as it said it the letter I received. Who are these advisers? Would stand up and be counted please?

      Neutrality equals no stand for life. The Lord said you be for me, or against me. Nothing in between.

      Revelation 3:16
      So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

  12. Charlotte Gebauer Koelling February 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    Thrivent has been working on its double-speak skills for awhile. Now they seem to have been perfected. Seems fairly obvious that we have lost this skirmish to the pan-Christian (well, not SO Christian) mind-set of what was once a venerable institution blessed by God. Sad, indeed. However, LCMS and other life-supporting denominations win the war when we stand fast in our witness for life and in our support and protection for the unborn babies and their mothers. We don’t need Thrivent to do that, and we don’t have to equivocate on our principles.

  13. Christopher G. KInd February 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    Does Thrivent still profess to be a Christian organization anymore? I was under the impression they want to serve all faiths and individuals. There is nothing wrong with their intention to serve anyone they wish, but then they can no longer profess to be a Christian organization or even enjoy fraternal status.

  14. sharon krumland February 7, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    Sad outcome when Thrivent opened up to include anyone regardless of their religion.

  15. Carolyn Foust February 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    I don’t understand why you are still talking about this, why don’t you get out! You lend the MO Synod’s name for a horrible cause!!! This is not the synod I grew up in!
    Carolyn Foust

    • Rev. Paul T. McCain February 7, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

      Carolyn, what “horrible cause” are you referring to?

      • Mark Sochowski February 8, 2014 at 11:03 am #

        I believe she is referring to the tacit endorsement of abortion by Thrivent. Yes, she was not specific, but I think I understood her.

  16. Rev John Straub February 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

    Given Thrivent’s stance of supporting neither pro-abortion or anti-abortion organizations, I am seriously considering withdrawing my investments from Thrivent. Pro-abortion groups don’t need Thrivent’s money; the government and other left-wing groups support them. However, removing support for anti-abortion groups will cripple these already underfunded organizations. Thrivent’s efforts to make money and be poitically correct is a move which favors the murder of unborn children. I cannot, in good conscience, support an organization which operates in this manner. Given my long term relationship with Thrivent, it saddens me to break relations but I must make the choice to choose life.

    • Jeff Nyquist February 7, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

      But what is a better alternative?

      • Genevieve Wagner February 7, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

        We have been working with Complete Spectrum in preparation to move our family investments and life insurance policies. They are a financial broker that does not claim to be Christian… they do finances, period. The products they repeat have better returns as well. If you’re looking to stay with a Christian organization, I have heard many good things about LCEF, but I have no personal ties.

        • Jeff February 10, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

          I am so glad you were able to find a financial broker who will not claim to be Christian. And you are certain this other financial organization does not in any way support through it’s lobbying or tax-deductible efforts abortion providers? Thrivent is on record it will not give any financial support through any of its programs to such organizations going forward. And you are able and even encouraged by me to give your own personal time and resources, as I have, to outlaw and abolish legal abortion.

      • Sheryl M February 7, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

        I, too, would like to know of an alternative to Thrivent.

      • Mark Sochowski February 8, 2014 at 11:08 am #

        Your first step can be very simple- Take out all of your cash from your insurance and buy term elsewhere. Other investment will take a bit more scrutinized choices. Find a trusted financial advisor. I don’t know of a fraternal organization with which you might want to invest. Look for more opportunities to monetarily serve directly to those in need.

  17. Rev. Don Stults February 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Almighty and most gracious God and Father, we implore You to turn the hearts of all who have forsaken the faith once delivered to Your Church, especially those who have wandered from it or are in doubt through the corruption of Your truth. Mercifully visit and restore them that in gladness of heart they may take pleasure in Your Word and be made wise to salvation through faith in Your son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

  18. Christine Debrecht February 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    I encourage all concerned about Thrivent’s new policy to move all accounts away from Thrivent. I am going to ASAP.

  19. Ralph February 7, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    First you let in the wacko ELCA folks, then the Methodists, then the Presbyterians, then the Quakers, then the Catholics, and then the Jews. When you embrace the pan-Christian mindset, it is indeed a slippery slope to perdition.

    • eldonkaufmann February 7, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

      I am a lifelong member of the LCMs, but I am sick and tired of members and clergy who think we are the only Christian believers. Open your eyes there are millions of other Christians who are more loving and devout than some of our LCMS members.

      • Lisa Havens February 9, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

        I do not know of any LCMS members who believe they are the only Christian believers. It is easier to give in to the whims of man than follow God. Secular humanism has invaded the church world wide, and unfortunately many fall for the devil’s lies.
        We are all sinners, forgiven by God. The church believes in life and offers support to women. Also the church is a sanctuary for men and women hurting from abortion.
        I was assured that Thrivent Financial would not use money from investments to support abortion. Why Thrivent members would oppose giving money to pregnancy centers and organizations helping women and children, I cannot fathom. This is one way of showing love and compassion.

        • Gina February 13, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

          “I do not know of any LCMS members who believe they are the only Christian believers.”

          Lisa, I do know of LCMS members who believe they are the only Christian believers. Members of my own church are so accustomed to bashing other denominations (particularly Roman Catholics for some reason) when have not necessarily studied the doctrines of these denominations and making statements about these people and their intentions when they have not actually discussed Jesus or the bible with them. Because I was never exposed to this in all of my life growing up in the Roman Catholic Church, or in the Baptist congregation that I attended for a while, I was quite surprised by it. I continue to be horrified by this even after being a member of my LC-MS church for 20 years. I do believe that the doctrine of the LC-MS is excellent, but unfortunately we are sinners and many of my brothers and sisters in Christ here at my church have made the mistake of assuming that they know who they will and will not see in Heaven.

  20. Christie February 7, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    I urge a greater stance. Not making one leaves us in this limbo. How can it ever be wrong to help a pregnant mother to be? Let us not forget Joseph taking Mary as his wife and trusting God’s will more than his own.

  21. Neal Groeling February 7, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    What a gutless response to Thrivent by a Church body that has chosen “Stand” as her theme for the next three years.

    It really does not matter how much money has been given by Thrivent to one side or the other in the life debate. It’s all about a business labeling itself as Lutheran and Christian while operating in a secular manner.

    It is time for the LCMS to take a hard look at how long she wants to remain in a relationship with an organization that is more concerned about the bottom line than it is about taking a “Stand” for what is Scripturally right.

    • Alan February 19, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

      Unless I am mistaken, LCMS as a synod does not have the “relationship” with Thrivent, the people who buy their products do. Don’t rely on synod to carry the ball. Individual Christians need to do that. Simply let them know how you feel.

  22. Anne Dobbins February 7, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    My mom just called Thrivent. The man on the phone said to her, “Thrivent is not a Christian organization; it is an organization made up of of Christians.” What’s that supposed to mean?

    • Neal Groeling February 7, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

      Then it is time to treat Thrivent like every other business that is not Christian but desires to serve Christians. No more preferential treatment.

    • Rev. Tim Huber February 15, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

      If the slippery semantics of a statement such as, “Thrivent is not a Christian organization; it is an organization made up of Christians” is some lame attempt to rationalize the organization’s recent fraternal floundering and assuage its corporate conscience, it won’t pass the sniff test for most of us who are a bit more concerned about saving lives than saving face. With all due respect to our brothers and sisters in the ELCA, the response by the gentlemen from Thrivent immediately reminded me of all of the ELCA seminaries’ theological departments that teach “the Bible CONTAINS the Word of God” rather than that “the Bible IS the Word of God.” That’s rather sad and sneaky. I would suggest that a more pragmatic response to Thrivent’s neutrality stance—at least initially—is not to withdraw funds immediately but to take names and kick butt, utilizing your voting power when members of its Board of Directors come up for election and then to insist upon targeted changes in elected and hired personnel who ultimately are responsible for making ill advised decisions such as this “neutrality” fiasco. The bottom line is that a corporate entity that claims both fraternal status and the goal of serving “Christians” does not get the right, privilege or luxury of trying to wordsmith its way out of a spineless decision that flies in the face of God’s inspired and inerrant Word.

  23. Rev. David V. Dissen February 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    It makes me very sad to see that Thrivent has chosen what they wrongly call a “neutral” position when God’s Word speaks very clearly about life in the womb. The Psalmist confesses in Psalm 139, 13 ff: “You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” God is the Creator or Life-Giver of the unborn baby in the womb. That living but yet unborn baby is precious in His sight as one whom the Lord is waiting to usher into His Kingdom through Holy Baptism after physical birth. May God in His mercy move all of us to trust in the Lord Who has given us life and Who gives life in the womb instead of trusting in those who are committed to the killing of the unborn. Rev. David V. Dissen, Cape Girardeua, MO.

  24. Sarah February 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    You all are making me sad to be a Christian with your remarks about leaving Thrivent over this change. I for one am happy they are funding neither side of this issue – it SHOULD lead to less bureaucratic meddling in the Choice program. Ever since the LCMS first complained about planned parenthood being on the list, Thrivent has spent money and time trying to please both sides – money an time that could have gone to doing good works instead. By adopting this new policy they are hoping to avoid upsetting either side. Clearly, as a Christian organization they believe in life. However, the LCMS and other bodies have told them for decades to stay out of theology and stick to finance. This is what they are doing. It was Lutheran Thrivent members who voted intitially to let ANY 501(c)3 into the program, likely not thinking that in doing so they opened up questions and situations like this. Thrivent is now simply trying to get the program back to what is has always been meant to be – a helpful hand to churches and charities to go out and do good work.

    You all need to stop and realize that there are many Christians who like charities that you may not – like Planned Parenthood – for reasons you may now have considered – as in they do prenatal care for low income women. Please get off your pedestals and realize you are in no right to judge a company poorly who is just trying to navigate a very complicated path in an ever changing world. The good work they are doing should never be out shadowed by these petty and unimportant disagreements.

    • Neal Groeling February 7, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

      The life of an unborn child is petty and unimportant? Thrivent may be navigating a complicated path in this world, but Thrivent should remember: “Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path.”

    • Geoff Pascoe February 7, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

      Let us dispassionately dissect this your statements:

      “You all are making me sad to be a Christian with your remarks about leaving Thrivent over this change.” Why? Should we not discern good from evil, or God’s will from the alternative? Should we not speak out plainly about our understanding of God’s will? Should we not have the freedom to not only speak, but freely associate with organizations that are concordant with our beliefs?

      “I for one am happy they are funding neither side of this issue it SHOULD lead to less bureaucratic meddling in the Choice program. Ever since the LCMS first complained about planned parenthood being on the list, Thrivent has spent money and time trying to please both sides – money an time that could have gone to doing good works instead.” The best response to this position is a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

      “By adopting this new policy they are hoping to avoid upsetting either side. Clearly, as a Christian organization they believe in life.” So, the goal is not to upset either side? There are multiple sides to any issue and we should not discern between their positions? You state they “believe in life”. Do they? On what basis do you make that determination in light of the organization’s statements and actions?

      “However, the LCMS and other bodies have told them for decades to stay out of theology and stick to finance.” So, not to murder children is a theological position? I suppose that, to some degree, is true since the foundation of all morality is God, the source of all good things. But, if that is true your “logic” leaves us with an inability to oppose amorality in any way that is not based on theology.

      “It was Lutheran Thrivent members who voted initially to let ANY 501(c)3 into the program…” Clearly a mistake.

      “Thrivent is now simply trying to get the program back to what is has always been meant to be – a helpful hand to churches and charities to go out and do good work.” Except for those organizations that are most active in the defense of the most innocent. Let us not forget the status quo ante: supporting organizations that perform and advocate the murder of children.

      “You all need to stop and realize that there are many Christians who like charities that you may not – like Planned Parenthood – for reasons you may now have considered – as in they do prenatal care for low income women.” So, by analogy if someone gives a meal to a homeless person we should be unconcerned if they later beat them up? We can support organizations that offer prenatal care to low income women without supporting abortionists. One abortion is too many, but you may be interested in this: http://liveaction.org/blog/less-than-8-of-planned-parenthoods-provide-prenatal-care-40-do-abortions/

      “Please get off your pedestals and realize you are in no right to judge a company poorly who is just trying to navigate a very complicated path in an ever changing world. The good work they are doing should never be out shadowed by these petty and unimportant disagreements.” Judge not, lest you be judged, eh? Well, do we not have the right, no the duty, to speak out? I’m curious as to whether you think the church should never speak the truth to the world. If you believe we should, what is the principle by which you suggest we judge when to speak and not speak. Should we not, out of love, correct or brothers when they are in error? To not do so represents indifference, not love.

    • John February 7, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

      The Nazis also did good for Germany, but what they did badly overtakes any good. Planned Parenthood has killed more unborn than the Nazis killed Jews. But the radical left wants to cover up the big picture. You must have a very wide view of who a Christian is. Are radical Muslims on your list as well? To be a Christian, you have to trust in God, who has told us abortion is murder. I’m glad I have no funds in Thrivent. It’s time to create a new organization.

    • Gary Clark February 8, 2014 at 12:22 am #

      Sarah and all who believe Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is simply chartered to help people make money and is seperated from any specific faith orientation,
      Please acknowledge the purpose and values published on Thrivent web site. And then noin me in encouraging all who are compelled to participate in this discussion to refrain from ad homonym attacks on each other and please loose the name calling. The Lord is at hand and He sees each exchange even if you do not have His e-mail address.
      I submit the following in the peace of the Lord
      Heritage

      History Timeline

      View the history of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in an interactive timeline.

      View Timeline

      In the early 20th century, two grassroots groups – German Lutherans in Appleton, WI, and Norwegian Lutherans in Minneapolis, MN – were concerned about the security and well-being of their fellow Lutherans. Each group started a fraternal benefit society that would help Lutherans protect their families with life insurance.

      The Early Years

      Aid Association for Lutherans (AAL) was chartered for business in Wisconsin in 1902, after nearly two years of effort by dedicated founders Albert Voecks, Gottlieb Ziegler, William Zuehlke and John Grupe. Lutherans throughout much of eastern Wisconsin were canvassed to sign up the 500 members required for the new organization to obtain its state charter.

      The founding of Lutheran Brotherhood (LB) in Minnesota came as a result of the 1917 merger convention of the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America. Lifelong Lutherans Jacob Preus, a Minnesota insurance commissioner, and Herman Ekern, a former Wisconsin insurance commissioner, proposed launching a not-for-profit mutual aid society. After much debate, the proposal passed, and the society was officially known as “Luther Union.” Three years later, the organization was renamed “Lutheran Brotherhood.”

      The Merger

      From the beginning, AAL and LB offered similar products and services. In June 2001, after close consideration of how combining the two organizations would benefit members, AAL and LB agreed to merge. Following the merger, a new operating name was approved by members: Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

      Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Today

      Thrivent Financial for Lutherans brings together a combined 185-year history of two fraternal benefit societies and draws upon the experience and rich heritage of each. The organization now has the resources and tools to make even more of a difference in the lives of members and their families, faith communities and beyond.

      Extending the Common Bond

      One of the IRS requirements of a fraternal benefit society is to have a common bond. In 2013, a historic vote extended our common bond from Lutheran to Christian by changing the way that the common bond is described in the articles of incorporation. That decision by our benefit members allows us to help more Christians be wise with money and live generously.

      The Timeline

      AAL history
      1899

      Albert Voecks, a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Appleton, Wisconsin, launches the idea of starting a Lutheran insurance organization for men belonging to the Synodical Conference. He calls on fellow church members Gottlieb Ziegler and William Zuehlke to help.

      1902
      John Grupe, assisted by Voecks and Ziegler, canvasses communities in eastern Wisconsin to gather the needed 500 applicants to charter Aid Association for Lutherans (AAL). AAL is chartered as a fraternal benefit society.

      1904
      First issue of Der Correspondent, the member magazine of Aid Association for Lutherans, is published.

      1905
      Women are first offered the opportunity to purchase insurance from Aid Association for Lutherans.

      1929
      First certificate loan is granted by Aid Association for Lutherans.

      1939
      Scholarship program for members is started by Aid Association for Lutherans.

      1956
      Aid Association for Lutherans individual life insurance in force tops $1 billion.

      1958
      Annuity plans are introduced by Aid Association for Lutherans.

      1959
      Fraternal Affairs department is formed to support branch activities.

      1966
      Aid Association for Lutherans expands service to members of all Lutheran congregations.

      1971
      On Your Doorstep anti-drug education program is launched to communities as the first nationwide branch program of Aid Association for Lutherans.

      1982
      Aid Association for Lutherans introduces Horizon, its universal life insurance product.

      1987
      Mutual funds are first offered to members through AAL Capital Management Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aid Association for Lutherans.

      2001
      AAL Bank and Trust, FSB, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aid Association for Lutherans, opens its doors to the general public.

      2001
      Aid Association for Lutherans and Lutheran Brotherhood agree to merge, forming the largest fraternal benefit society in the United States.1

      LB history
      1917

      At the merger convention of the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America, Jacob Preus, a lifelong Lutheran and insurance commissioner, proposed launching a not-for-profit mutual aid society. Despite some dissension, delegates agree to launch a mutual aid society called “Luther Union.”

      1920
      Luther Union and the Lutheran Brotherhood of America merge to become Lutheran Brotherhood.

      1924
      The BOND, Lutheran Brotherhood’s magazine for members, is introduced.

      1929
      The Society signs a multi-year lease for the entire 12th floor of the Metropolitan Bank building in downtown Minneapolis.

      1956
      Lutheran Brotherhood dedicated a new home office building on the corner of Seventh Street and Second Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. Thousands of people attended the open house for the six-story structure, which was completed for a price tag of $2.5 million.

      1958
      Lutheran Brotherhood reaches the $1 billion mark of life insurance in force.

      1962
      Seeking to branch out, Lutheran Brotherhood added health insurance to its portfolio of life products.

      1967
      In its 50th year, Lutheran Brotherhood’s allocation for fraternal activities passed the $1 million mark for the first time. That dwarfed the $7.5 million that had been set aside in the preceding 49 years.

      1970
      Lutheran Brotherhood became the first fraternal benefit society to offer mutual funds through its field sales force.

      1976
      Lutheran Brotherhood researched and selected the heart-shaped logo that would become synonymous with its identity with members nationwide.

      1981
      To accommodate its growth, Lutheran Brotherhood moved into its new home office at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Sixth Street in downtown Minneapolis.

      1987
      Lutheran Brotherhood launched its first variable universal life products.

      1989
      Lutheran Brotherhood kicked off the first RespecTeen National Youth Forum, in which students from across the country were encouraged to research and write about issues important to them.

      1995
      For the first time, Lutheran Brotherhood moved onto the Fortune 500 list of largest corporations in America.

      2001
      Aid Association for Lutherans and Lutheran Brotherhood agree to merge, forming the largest fraternal benefit society in the United States.

      • Gary Clark February 8, 2014 at 12:30 am #

        Apologies to all,
        Here is the common purpose, mission, and values which include purpose and common bond I referred to in my first response

        Mission, Vision, Values
        We call our mission, vision and values …
        The Thrivent Way
        We are a membership organization of Christians,
        and our members are our owners.
        Our purpose is to serve our members and society by
        guiding both to be wise with money and live generously.
        We believe that all we have is a gift from God
        and that generosity is an expression of faith.
        We succeed when our members, their families
        and their communities thrive.
        We value our relationships, so we will:
        Be trustworthy in character and competence, and
        Act like owners and treat each other as owners, and
        Live balanced and generous lives.

        From

        Financial Services
        We’re here to help you be wise with money. We offer a full complement of products, services and professional advice to help you meet your goals – wherever you are in life. Every step of the way, you’ll partner with a caring, knowledgeable financial representative, who will offer guidance and advice to help you make informed financial decisions.

        Member Focus
        As the nation’s largest fraternal benefit society, we’re committed to helping others. We do this through national volunteer programs and grassroots initiatives. Our members meet in chapters and participate in various educational, social and volunteer activities. Together, our members connect with one another, strengthen their communities and congregations, and support individuals in need.

        What’s a Fraternal Benefit Society?
        At the beginning of the 20th century, life insurance was a largely unfamiliar and unaffordable concept. Fraternal benefit societies were formed so people with a common bond – typically religious, ethnic or occupational – could help one another when tragedy struck.
        Fraternal benefit societies also provided opportunities for people to socialize and helped recent immigrants acclimate to America. Members belonged to local “lodges” or meeting places where they could come together as a community and celebrate their common bond.

        Official definitions of a fraternal benefit society:
        • The IRS defines a fraternal benefit society as “one whose members have adopted the same or a very similar calling, avocation, or profession … working in union to accomplish some worthy object.” The IRS also notes that members of a fraternal band together as a society to “aid and assist one another and promote the common cause” and engage in activities of a “beneficial and fraternal character.”
        • The National Fraternal Congress of America (a trade group) defines it as a membership organization united around a unique common bond. And it must offer members fraternal benefits including insurance. The common bond of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is Christianity.
        To be exempt from income tax, a fraternal benefit society must also “operate under the lodge system,” which means having its members belong to subordinate units that are “largely self-governing.” In our case we call them chapters

    • Mark Sochowski February 8, 2014 at 11:13 am #

      Petty and unimportant disagreements? Sarah, it’s about a group that supports another group that kills/murders babies.
      Money that could have been used to do good works? It would give more money to kill/murder more babies.
      Sarah, it really is simple as that.

    • Jennie February 10, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

      Thank you Sarah for your post, I have seen so many families helped by supporting funds from Thrivent. Reading these posts that attack a company that does so much good is very sad. I am a LCMS member and we have been very blessed by all the benefits of Thrivent. Our church uses the Thrivent Choice dollars to lift up many ministries in and outside our church. LCMS should not be telling their churches what to do. Thrivent doesn’t tell us how to run our church. What would Jesus say about this attack and the harsh words written? I’m very embarrassed to be a LCMS member after reading many of these posts.

  25. John Kassouf February 7, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    It is with sadness that I read this position that Thrivent has taken. I’m a Thrivent policy holder and a former chapter president for 2 chapters over 6 years. To that, I serve our Lord as a parish pastor in the LC-MS. My pastoral heart, my Christian heart, my Savior’s heart all tell me clearly that our God is a God of Life… He is for life! He is not neutral when it comes to life, which He is the author of, nor is He neutral when it comes to eternal life for which He is the Savior.

    Until now, I have welcomed with open arms our Thrivent agents, gladly receiving them in worship, introducing them to the congregation, having them attend new member functions and baptism celebrations in an effort to assist them, our members and the Church itself. Sadly, very sadly, those days of encouragement are coming to a close if this is the best we can hope for. Personally, knowing what I know now, I wish I could go back in time and reconsider from whom I would secure the insurance products I now hold from Thrivent. I must tell our congregation of this change and ask that they consider biblical values before selecting financial services from a company that claims a Christian link, yet does not live that out in this world of sin.

    • Neal Groeling February 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

      Amen.

  26. S. Kleber February 7, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    This was what I feared would happen. The watering down of theology and “broadening” to other faiths also will exclude those most in need by deciding that is too politically “hot” to help stop the deaths in abortion. What else could it be, if a decision is made not to hold true to biblical values and truths?
    I did not vote to include what has now become fact. I did not support the financial path that Thrivent has taken, in not following the success of AAL for its future goals. It is truly a decision made of non-spiritual dimensions, and will ultimately loss the blessings from God.

  27. Celia February 7, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    Such vitriol for a financial decision made by a company which has every right to do so. A company with whom I have had a relationship well before i was born nearly 60 years ago now as my grandfather worked for LB.

    If you can really find anyone who is FOR abortion I would be astounded and amazed. What most want is a safe, professional option for women who find themselves pregnant for whatever reason. All this pro-abortion talk is distressing and polarizing. Calling people wackos? How Christian is that?

    I believe what they are saying is we do not wish to participate in either side of this argument. How that translates into being faithless, godless and unChristian is beyond me.

    Anyone is free to move their money any time, but I suggest looking at the options. How many organizations out there would give you *any* opportunity to choose to share extra money with charitable organizations. I find I am more than happy to round-robin my choice dollars to my Lutheran grade school, my Lutheran high school, my Lutheran college and my Lutheran church.

    Oh and all that stuff about heterodox and letting in other denominations as the road to perdition? Really, did people forget what the founder of the Lutheran faith did? He was considered pretty heterodox in his own time for those theses nailed to the door.

    We are a feeble and forgetful race of people.

  28. Pastor Martin R. Greunke February 7, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

    I DID NOT vote for adding “all Christians” to be open to membership in Thrivent Financial for LUTHERANS! I was afraid that as soon as the barn door was widened, then all sorts of critters would come in! It did not take very long for that to happen…and it looks like the barn door can’t be shut either!

  29. Scott Diekmann February 7, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    “We further encourage LCMS Thrivent members to contact Thrivent directly with any questions or concerns about its policy.” I contacted my Thrivent agent directly, let him know how I felt about their policy in a nice way, and then cashed in and withdrew all the funds we had with them. To continue to do business with an organization that has no backbone isn’t an option for me and my house.

  30. Rev. Glenn Niemann February 7, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

    Are not all LCMS congregations, being pro-life organizations (per the 5th Commandment), now ineligible to receive funding from Thriven’t per this policy?

  31. Dorothy Haight February 7, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    It’s sad that Thrivent is following the way of the world. Surely this makes the Holy Spirit groan. I was about to send money to Thrivent, but instead I will find a place that I think God would approve.

  32. Ralph Lillig February 8, 2014 at 1:08 am #

    My family have purchased insurance and investment products from Thrivent and, before that, and Lutheran Mutual, for more than 40 years. We felt that investing within our own church body and belonging to a fraternal Christian company was good for our family and the church. I had trepidation when THRIVENT decided to open to non-Lutherans while associating with other “Christian” denominations, many of which resemble the Universalists. I currently hold insurance for my grandchildren – I bought them for their investment value as much as for the insurance coverage which would go to my daughter. I will seek other companies with whom to conduct business, and I will close the accounts I now hold for my grandchildren and my wife and I. If I were to invest in a secular company I could at least not view them as duplicitous while portraying themselves as “Christian”. There is NO “neutral” in the fight for life for the unborn. Not to preach but I believe Jesus said, “… if you are not for me, you are against me…”. I believe “…suffer the little children to come unto me…” was also a ‘pro-life’ statement. Equivocation is NOT an option!

  33. Pr. Jeff Schubert February 8, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    When the decision was made to broaden the “customer base,” so that other non-Lutheran organizations could “benefit” from a relationship with Thrivent, it was, unabashedly, an opportunity to sell more products due to the shrinking market of aging Lutherans. The spin was obvious. The reality is sales, under a veneer of “sharing the blessings of Thrivent membership.” When divisive topics come up (i.e. abortion, gay rights, etc.), you can be assured Thrivent will take a “neutral” ground. Anything else (from their standpoint) would be detrimental to sales from both ends of the continuum. The merger of AAL and LB was financially driven. The “broadening” of the customer base was financially driven. And this most recent move of “neutrality” where Scripture has definitively spoken, is likewise financially driven. And for Thrivent to reconsider, we need to make our voices heard….financially driven.

  34. Beth February 8, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    Oh, how it pains me to see such un-Christian comments from members of the LCMS. As an employee of Thrivent Financial, maybe I have a little more insight into how this whole ordeal began. The LCMS was quick to point the finger of blame on the corporation. But do you realize that the situation arose when just a handful of members operating under the lodge system made the decision to add a Planned Parenthood affiliate to the Choice Dollars program? Those are the folks sitting in the pews with you! Seems to me like they’re not listening to the pastors called to lead them.

    Once again, I see the LCMS directing their anger towards the corporation that holds the pocketbook. Talk about the root of all evil being the love of money! Any chance you get to undermine the corporation because of past decisions to put the choice of charitable giving into the hands of its members, you are so quick to jump in. Sorry you’re not getting the money you think Thrivent “owes” you. Once again, talk to the members sitting in the pews – they get to decide now.

    I admire the corporate leaders of Thrivent for jumping into the fray and trying to remedy the unfortunate decision of a handful of members, and taking a neutral position. And as a life-long member of the LCMS, I am appalled at your attacks.

    Maybe you should instead focus on your own house and fix those problems, because they are many. I am in a position for the first time in my adult life to make the decision to leave the LCMS because of one of your trained seminary pastor at the only LCMS church in the town I just moved to. But maybe it’s not an LCMS church after all, because you’ve allowed him to hijack the congregation and make it a non-denominational church! Where’s the leadership from Missouri to keep this from happening???

    I would encourage everyone to take the log out of your own eye, open them a little wider for the truth, and not be so quick to judge what you only perceive is happening.

    Peace be with you all!

    • Rev. Bert Greenway February 11, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      Beth,

      I am sorry about your unfortunate situation and that in an LCMS congregation, no less! There is no excuse for an LCMS pastor to do as you suggest he has done. And yes, I know that kind of thing happens. And yes, there are many problems everywhere, including in the LCMS. We can’t ignore that reality. We must not.

      But this is not a decision, as you describe it, to admire. Just as no Lutheran should admire an LCMS pastor ransacking Lutheran doctrine and practice in order to gain more members (which I’m sure is why he thinks this is a good thing), so neither should Thrivent alter its positions in order to maintain more financial members. Neither is good. Both are sinful. But while problems are found in the LCMS, this decision is a national one. We have to speak up Beth. We have to speak up for Life. We are compelled by God to do so. Not to do so, is to give our agreement to it.

      At some point, we may have to speak up for life by pulling out of Thrivent. But instead, let’s hope that Thrivent will reconsider and say, “We know that some of our members will be offended, but after listening to the voices of God’s people, we must do the right thing. We cannot be neutral when it comes to LIFE. We are compelled by God to support life from the womb to the tomb.”

      Pr. Bert Greenway

    • Jais H. Tinglund February 17, 2014 at 11:25 am #

      If “the love of money” were really what had guided the LCMS in this matter, as you claim for a fact that it is, do you not think that rather than expressing concerns about Thrivent financing the slaughter of unborn children the LCMS would have made sure to keep quiet so to not upset the Thrivent leadership and run the risk of repercussions such as those that have now ensued? I do.

  35. Tom February 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    AAL became Thrivent for Lutherans which became Thrivent for Christians. None of this is a surprise. This is about an organization’s Board of Directors, which includes clergy, struggling to maintain the viability of said organization. If that means selling out to survive, so be it.

  36. Rev. Larry D. Troxel February 8, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

    The recent decisions made by Thrivent leave my wife and me with one very easy-to-make decision. We will be terminating our life insurance policies with Thrivent and carefully selecting another source for life insurance. After serving as a pastor for more than 43 years, this is a sad but very necessary stand to take.

  37. Rev. Donald Jordan February 9, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    As a matter of conscience, guided by God’s Word, our church has withdrawn its investments with Thrivent and members of the congregation are also doing the same. There are other options such as local banks, investment companies, and life insurance companies. It is time to leave Thrivent and do better.

  38. Carl Vehse February 9, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    The Thriven’t Financial for Lutherans Unternehmensführers “neutrality in our time” policy is simply Thriven’t’s own Endlösung for pro-life organizations, such as Lutherans for Life.

  39. Micah Parker February 9, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    I was proud to tell people that my father worked for AAL and Thrivent for more than two decades. I’ve spoken to many chapter groups and Thrivent Rep conferences over the last 15 years. I’ve been a member since 1990 but will need to look for another option for my investments.

    It can be so easy to get frustrated and lose hope over “things of this world” like Thrivent’s decision. But take heart – God is bigger than Thrivent! Thrivent obviously thinks that the gain they will get from pro choice people outweighs the loss they estimate they’ll have from pro-life Christians. I believe God can and will work even through man’s ignorance and dumb decisions. Thrivent is choosing $ over life like most companies do who support things that are clearly against God’s Word.

    Maybe it’s a blessing that their true colors are exposed so people don’t continue to blindly trust this organization. Maybe this will energize the LCMS into increased action to support pro-life organizations.

    I will begin researching other options for the money God has entrusted my family. I would encourage others to do so also. If other people find other options – please share.

    Dr. Micah Parker
    TrustGuy Ministries

  40. Bob Dickhudt February 10, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    I read about 47 of the responses to this hot-issue decision of Thrivent before my morning shower. During my long shower I wondered what the response would be of my Thrivent-Rep son. I also wondered how the Lord felt as He heard the often-angry condemnations of my sisters, brothers, and pastors of the LCMS. I also thought of the Pharisee-types who brought the woman guilty of adultery to be stoned…..and the non-condemning words of Jesus. I am very strongly opposed to abortion. I have “non-Waco” sisters and brothers in the Lord who happen to worship Him in LCA churches who serve our Lord Jesus in wonderful ways. My conclusion at the end of my long shower? Two-fold;
    -maybe Thrivent is being WISE by not taking a stand on abortion, either pro or con….recognizing their purpose to be providing quality products for Christian families
    -maybe WE, who feel so strongly about our “pro-life agencies” should increase OUR gifts to them and not count on agencies/businesses to be the source of their support
    -finally, I thought of words of the Lord urging us to speak the truth in LOVE…..and to show patience, etc. towards those who think and act and speak in ways different from us. That old song, “They’ll know we are Christians by our LOVE……” comes to mind, too.
    God bless us all and use us to be His blessing to many, including those who think and act different from us, even those in apparent opposition to His clear Word. -bd

  41. Gayle February 10, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    You can’t dictate a gift. There are prochoice Lutherans (mostly in the ELCA, but not exclusively). Those who dug up this whole thing got what they wished for. Sort of. Be careful what you wish for.

  42. Dale Talsma February 10, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

    I have been contemplating – as have many others – what is the best course of action to address this distressful direction chosen by Thrivent. Many have decided the battle is lost and the only moral option remaining to members who are committed to faithfulness to God’s Word is to divest and disassociate completely from Thrivent and its programs.
    But I have been wondering if the conscientious members of Thrivent have yet done enough – have yet struggled stridently enough to correct this errant trajectory of the organization. Initial attempts have been and are being made at raising awareness via social media and blogs, and starting an online petition. Many others have addressed letters and complaints directly to Thrivent headquarters both by mail and on the website. But can we do more? Thrivent, if I am not mistaken, is a member-owned society. If a significant majority us as members are in fact pro-life, than we should be able to assure that our society represents this conviction. The question is how.
    The petition started by Pastor Michael Schuermann (http://tiny.cc/tj12ax) just passed 1000 signatures, but what if it were to pass 10,000 or even 100,000? Or maybe we need also a “members only” petition campaign with energetic pursuit of gaining a convincing percentage of member signatures? Could we work to flood Thrivent with letters of protest? Could we mount a campaign calling on conscientious members to attend our next chapter meetings around the country to voice our protest at this tragic decision?
    Yes, we could just abandon ship. But perhaps with greater effort the ship can yet be righted, resulting in staff and members who object to a clear stance condemning abortion being the ones who recognize that they need to find a different flag under which to sail.

    • Mark Nieting February 10, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

      If Duck Dynasty can do it………

  43. Scott Sailer February 11, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    While it is certainly appropriate for us in the LCMS, as a pro-life church body, to register our concerns over Thrivent’s allowing of Planned Parenthood into the Thrivent Choice Program and the Gift Multiplier Program, and to be disappointed in their recent neutrality policy (not allowing pro-choice or pro-life organizations to receive support from any of their charitable assistance funding programs), should we not also acknowledge all the good Thrivent has done? Over $42,000,000 to various LCMS churches and organizations from 2012-2013, not to mention the benefit to ELCA and WELS churches and organizations! I wonder if any other financial services organization in the world has done as much for the Gospel? And let us not forget that many consecrated LCMS sons and daughters of God work for Thrivent, and that many of them do not like recent decisions of the parent company either and so have registered their concerns with Thrivent. I do not like Thrivent’s recent actions, but can we not look at the totality of what Thrivent does before issuing a judgment about them?

  44. Pastor John Trewyn February 12, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    This does not surprise me at all. Even before it was officially THRIVENT, at a meeting at Lakewoods Supper Club in Cable, Wisconsin, the lady who represented the soon to be called Thrivent, told all of us present that nothing was going to change from AAL and Lutheran Brotherhood. I told her then she was not truthful. Now you decide not to support PRO-LIFE orgaizations. It seems I was right in telling her that she was not being truthful and now it is being proven. Good-bye THRIVENT.

  45. Carl Vehse February 12, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    It’s no wonder that Thriven’t issued a “neutrality in our time” policy as its preferred Endlösung for unborn children and pro-life organizations.

    A quick check of political campaign contributors shows that the Thriven’t President/CEO, who claims to be a member of the Alley Midway Church (LCMS!?) in St. Paul, has given campaign contributions to:

    Rep. Ron Kind (MN, D) 100% NARAL Rating
    Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN, D) 100% NARAL Rating
    Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (ND, D) 100% NARAL Rating and 100% Planned Parenthood Action Fund Rating

  46. Jais H. Tinglund February 16, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    I cannot help but wonder, and I should be very interested to know:
    Is this really a case of Thrivent being forced to choose “a neutral position” after being caught in the middle of a conflict between others and being put under pressure from “both sides”?

    Has anybody other than Thrivent itself at any point insisted, or even requested, that if Thrivent would abstain from financing the slaughter of unborn children, then Thrivent should also abstain from supporting any and all organisations and entities that would actually help pregnant women in difficult situations, as well as their children, in a faith-affirming and life-affirming manner?

    Or is it rather that Thrivent itself – when asked by Christians in its membership to abstain from financing the slaughter of unborn children – completely on its own came up with the conclusion that if the Christians had problems with what Thrivent was doing, well, then they should be punished by the denial of support to some of their charities?

    Has any pressure been put on Thrivent from the pro-abortion side from outside of the Thrivent leadership? Or has this conflict been solely between Thrivent and Christian Thrivent members all along?

    I am asking, not because I think I know, but because I should like to.

    And apparently there are some here who know a lot more, and understand a lot better, than those of us who – apart from what Thrivent has chosen to tell us – only know what has been said and written in public ..,

    • Dale Talsma February 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

      Jais,
      Not sure if you’ll see this since it is so much later, but I was wondering the same thing. Who among the Thrivent members is pushing this neutrality? The fact that the ELCA several years ago voted to approve abortion as a moral option for their members must indeed mean that there are lots of Lutherans who probably do not want Thrivent to take a pro-life stance, unfortunately. And it may well be that the current board of Thrivent is made of a majority of those who at least somewhat endorse abortion, unfortunately. But that said, the fact that so little of the charitable funding was directed to abortion-providing facilities like Planned Parenthood and so much to pro-life organizations seems to indicate that those who care about this issue strongly are pro-life and adamantly opposed to abortion.
      So your question seems valid: Who would have adamantly objected if they just ruled out abortion providers and kept the pro-life groups?
      Even in our secular government, which adopted the Hyde Amendment to assure that no tax dollars went to fund abortions, as far as I know they didn’t feel obliged to equally censure all funding that might be used to provide help to mothers so they could carry their baby to term, give birth and either adopt out or have support in caring for the baby.

  47. Carl W. Brul February 21, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    There is no middle ground. Thrivent must renounce its support of abortion.

  48. Tammy February 21, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

    Currently the LCMS is supporting Planned Parenthood trough their synod colleges. Found on Concordia Chicago’s website: http://www.cuchicago.edu/Documents/Academics/College%20of%20Arts%20and%20Sciences/psychology/Psych%20Roadmap/Internship%20Site%20and%20Contact%20List%20-%202012.pdf?source=search-result

    Concordia Chicago has Planned Parenthood listed as a place for their students to do their internships. Before the LCMS including pastors, teachers, synod leaders, and members slam other organizations they need to take a look at their own practices.

    Of course this is not the first time the LCMS has taken their own “neutrality” position. In May 2012 when the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow homosexuals into the organization the synod decided to allow each congregation to make its own decision as to what they wanted to do with the troops in their churches. For those churches that decided to allow the Boys Scouts to remain in them, even if your troop does not allow homosexuals in it, they are still supporting the Boy Scouts of America and their policies. Everytime dues are paid by one of it’s members BSA is being supporting, everytime someone buys popcorn you are supporting BSA and their policies.

    As a lifelong member of the LCMS, a previous LCMS teacher, pastors wife, daugter in law of LCMS pastor and teacher, I am very saddend by the way the LCMS has reacted to this situation. Instead of acting in love as outline in many places in the Bible, the LCMS including the synod leaders have acted in hate Jesus said in Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘do not murder, anyone who murders will be subject to Judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” In God’s eyes the talk that I have seen displayed on here will be judged by God in the same way he judges murderers, in His eyes they are both the same. Again Jesus outlined for us how we are to approach someone who has sinned against us in Matthew 18:15-17, “If your brother sinsagainst you, go ad show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony oftwo or tree witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” When this situation arose it was immediately broadcast to the world on social network, instead of calling Thrivent and raising the concern as Jesus outlined for us to do. How many of you would be ok with your sins being broadcast to the world on social network? I know many pastors with their own deep dark sins that would not like that. And at what point in time did Thrivent not respond to the situation? They immediatly took action to take care of what YOUR church members voted on. So why are we treating them like pagans and tax collectors? And can we please quite blaming the ELCA churces for this, there are a lot more LCMS churches and members of Thrivent than their are ELCA, and there are plenty of LCMS members that are pro-abortion, as stated above even supported by our synod colleges! As far as other denominations having a part in this, they will not even have a say until a future date and again it was members of your churches that voted to allow that change to happen.

  49. Bob March 3, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    Well….I glad that at least Thrivent, as of March 3rd 2014, now understands and PUBLIC states that they are not aligned with Lutheran beliefs. Now they are just Thrivent Financial for “Christians”.

    At least some level of honesty has started to happen. Not sure what “Christian” organization is willing to align with them and their “neutral” stance on abortion…but at least they are starting to be honest.

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