HOUSTON–On July 17, the last day of business, delegates adopted Resolution 3-04 from the Floor Committee on Theology and Church Relations (Committee 3) to amend the Synod’s bylaws regarding recognition of altar and pulpit fellowship with “small, formative or emerging confessional Lutheran church bodies.”
The current procedures for declaring fellowship, states the resolution, “are designed to address the circumstance of an established church body seeking altar and pulpit fellowship with the Synod,” and require “a time-consuming, costly, and often unwieldy process” to establish fellowship with smaller, emerging church bodies.
The resolution asks that the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations’ (CTCR) document “Church Relations in the 21st Century,” which addresses the issue, be commended “for use by the Synod president in determining the possibility of establishing fellowship with small, formative, or emerging confessional churches where theological discussions have provided convincing evidence that the LCMS is in doctrinal agreement with the church in question.”
The revision to the bylaw states that “recognition may be declared by the president of the Synod, only after consultation with the praesidium and approval by the CTCR, subject to the endorsement of the subsequent Synod convention.”
CTCR Executive Director Dr. Joel Lehenbauer spoke to the convention on the resolution, saying it is a “time of unprecedented opportunity” to take such action, given that many small church bodies are looking to the Missouri Synod “for support and a relationship. If we are not in a position to offer these, they may look for it elsewhere.”
Delegates also adopted five other Floor Committee 3 resolutions:
- Resolution 3-05, adopted by a vote of 934 to 18, requests that the CTCR, in consultation with the faculties of the seminaries, “develop a thorough, biblical and confessional analysis of and response to” the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s social statement “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust,” adopted in 2009 at its Churchwide Assembly. The statement, with its concept of “bound conscience,” is the basis of that church body’s action on the acceptability of same-gender relations and which authorizes the ordination of individuals living in such relationships into the pastoral ministry.
- Resolution 3-06, to commend to the Synod for study the CTCR’s report “The Creator’s Tapestry: Scriptural Perspectives on Man-Woman Relationships in Marriage and the Church,” was adopted by a vote of 788 to 123.
- Resolution 3-07 was adopted by a vote of 950 to 22 and asks the CTCR, in consultation with the seminaries, to prepare Bible studies for the church-at-large that address the question, “How to Read the Bible” in light of the “challenges raised by current trends in interpretation.”
- Resolution 3-08, adopted by a vote of 852 to 19, encourages the collaboration between the CTCR and the seminary faculties to give the church-at-large guidance in matters of theology and practice.
- Resolution 3-09, which asked that Overture 3-16 be declined, was adopted by a vote of 784 to 166. The overture had requested that all churches in fellowship with the Synod withdraw from the Lutheran World Federation.
The LCMS convention met July 10-17 at the George R. Brown Convention Center under the theme “ONE People-Forgiven.”
Posted July 17, 2010