A consulting group consisting of eight men and eight women appointed by the Synod’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) discussed a revised draft document on the scriptural relationship of man and woman at its fourth and final meeting in St. Louis Sept. 29-30.
The CTCR participated in that meeting of consultants it engaged to help carry out a 1995 Synod convention resolution calling on the CTCR to study various aspects of that relationship.
During its regular meeting Sept. 30-Oct. 1, the CTCR made plans to continue work on this draft, titled “The Creator’s Tapestry,” at its next meeting Dec. 11-13.
In addition, the CTCR began plans for carrying out resolutions of the 2007 Synod convention that call for the commission to address environmental issues and to organize with the LCMS Commission on Worship a model theological conference on the Synod’s theology and practice of worship.
Dr. Joel Lehenbauer — installed as the CTCR’s new executive director in an Oct. 1 service at the Synod’s International Center — told Reporter that following the CTCR’s further review of the draft document on the scriptural relationship of man and woman, “the commission expressed the hope that it would result in a document that could be distributed to congregations and church workers early in 2009.”
He described the most recent discussions of the draft between the commission and its consultants as “very frank, open, cordial, and collegial.”
Lehenbauer also said that the draft and the commission’s work toward carrying out its assignment “focus not so much on specific questions about the service of women in the church — topics covered in other CTCR documents — but on the scriptural relationship of man and woman both within and outside of marriage and church-service contexts.
“It is a broader theological study focusing on what the Bible says about the distinctive identities of man and woman as well as what they have in common — both as human creatures made in the image of God and (for Christians) as fellow members of the Body of Christ,” he said.
In addition to attending Lehenbauer’s installation, the CTCR held a Sept. 28 celebration dinner to recognize Dr. Samuel H. Nafzger’s nearly 35 years of service to the commission. Nafzger left the CTCR executive director post July 1 to become the Synod’s first director of Church Relations — assistant to the president.
Before he succeeded Nafzger as executive director, Lehenbauer had been the CTCR’s associate executive director since 2004 and assistant executive director since 1991.
At this meeting, the commission formalized plans to extend the call for a new associate executive director at its December meeting, at which it will interview a number of candidates.
Also during its Sept. 30-Oct. 1 meeting, the CTCR approved the plan for an initial consultation on stewardship of the environment for early next year and adopted an enabling resolution to proceed in developing plans for the model theological conference on worship, which Lehenbauer said it hopes to hold next summer.
Delegates to the 2007 Synod convention adopted the resolution to assign the CTCR with developing “a biblical and confessional report on responsible Christian stewardship of the environment for use by Synod entities” including schools, congregations, and the church at-large.
Planned for Feb. 11 in St. Louis, the initial event will be a “kind of mini-consultation,” as described by Lehenbauer, involving the CTCR’s church and society subcommittee and seven or eight consultants.
He said the consultants will share with the committee their reactions to the 2007 resolution, as well as their reactions to a preliminary detailed outline prepared by the committee “that sketches out issues it believes may be important to address in this kind of study.”
Lehenbauer said that the Commission hopes to hold a second larger environmental consultation involving the entire CTCR “before moving forward to produce both a report on this issue and perhaps other resources such as a Bible study and a DVD.”
Resolution 2-01 of the 2007 Synod convention in Houston — also adopted by delegates — calls on the LCMS Commission on Worship and the CTCR to organize a model theological conference involving pastors and laity from each of the 35 LCMS districts and representatives of Synod colleges, universities, and seminaries to “build greater understanding of our theology of worship and foster further discussion of worship practices that are consistent with that theology.”
The resolution also encourages districts to hold similar conferences with the same purposes and asks the worship commission — consulting with the COP and college and seminary faculties — to “prepare studies on this topic for use in circuits and congregations.”
Each of the two sponsoring commissions has appointed three members to a planning committee for this conference, which also will include a representative from the Council of Presidents and one from each of the two Synod seminaries.
Lehenbauer said the CTCR also plans to discuss in December the Aug. 18-20 theological convocation it sponsored along with the LCMS Council of Presidents.
With the theme of “Carrying Out God’s Mission in the 21st Century: The Relationship between Theology and Polity,” the convocation ended with unveiling of the preliminary proposals of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance.
“We’ll take a look at some of the preliminary proposals,” Lehenbauer said of the December meeting “to see if there is anything in them that the CTCR may want to react to, either directly affecting the commission or the overall theological thrust of its work.”
Posted Oct. 16, 2008