Convention commends civic-events guidelines to help church workers

 ST. LOUIS — The 62nd Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Wednesday (July 14) commended new guidelines from the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) to aid church workers as they make decisions about participating in “civic events.”


“Guidelines for Participation in Civic Events” was issued in April by the CTCR.  The document was prepared in response to a November 2001 request from LCMS President Gerald Kieschnick for clarification on “what constitutes a ‘civic event’” and to address questions about “participation of LCMS pastors, teachers, and church workers in ‘civic events’ … which also involve participation from non-Christian religions.”


The convention voted 757-446 to commend the CTCR report “for study to help pastors, teachers, and church workers” make decisions that:


• “faithfully reflect our unqualified commitment to the absolute truth of the Holy Scriptures as the Word of God”;


• “seek to take advantage of every legitimate opportunity to proclaim clearly in the public realm that ‘only in and through Jesus do we have the definitive revelation of the true and only God,’ that God ‘is known as Father and Savior only through Spirit-wrought faith in Jesus Christ,’ and that ‘only the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — is the object of our worship and the hope of our salvation’” [quoting from the report itself];


• “honor and uphold the free and willing commitments we have made with one another by virtue of our membership in the Synod”;


• “demonstrate concern and sensitivity for how participation (or non-participation) in civic events may be perceived by those inside and outside of the LCMS”; and


• “recognize that ‘clarity in doctrine and practice and charity in our dealings with one another are both essential to the church’s life and witness.’”


Another “resolved” encourages members of the Synod “to continue to study these issues under the guidance of the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions ….”


Although Kieschnick asked the CTCR for guidelines only two months after Atlantic District President David Benke took part in “A Prayer for America” at Yankee Stadium, Chairman Arleigh Lutz of the floor committee on theology and church relations made clear to the convention that the guidelines look forward, not backward.


“This document deals with from now to the future,” Lutz said.  “It does not deal with the past.”


Posted July 14, 2004


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