By Linda C. Hoops
Preparations for the 2017 celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation were among topics discussed at the Feb. 17-19 meeting of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR).
A 2007 convention resolution (Res. 3-02) asked the commission, in consultation with the International Lutheran Council, to coordinate the preparation of in-depth study resources of the ecumenical creeds and Lutheran Confessions.
Initial plans, according to CTCR Executive Director Dr. Joel Lehenbauer, include development of a multi-media website with information on the Reformation in various formats — text, video and sound. Materials will focus on the importance of Luther and other reformers, with emphasis on the ongoing importance of Lutheran theology in today’s world.
Plans call for the website to be multilingual, with historical and theological resources available in several languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese and German.
In other action, the commission discussed plans for a “Theological Consultation on Immigration Issues,” to be held Sept. 17-19 in El Paso, Texas.
Funded by a $19,500 grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, the consultation will gather information and opinions from Lutherans and others to produce a document that discusses the two kingdoms, the doctrine of vocation, responsibilities for Christians in obedience to the commandments and other topics as they relate to immigration.
The 15-20 participants in the consultation will include immigrants, pastors and others involved in ministries with immigrants, professionals who work in immigration law, employers, educators, and government and law-enforcement officials.
The decision was made to hold the consultation in El Paso because the region is significantly impacted by immigration and the site would give exposure to Ysleta Lutheran Mission, a ministry of the Rocky Mountain District that reaches out to Hispanic immigrants and residents of Mexico. The consultation would follow the CTCR’s Sept. 15-17 quarterly meeting to allow maximum participation by commission members.
The commission also is planning two other events: a series of congregational workshops on the care of creation beginning this year as a follow-up to its document “Together with All Creatures: Caring for God’s Living Earth,” and an international theological conference on “Confessional Lutheranism in the 21st Century,” to be held in summer 2012. These events also are funded by grants from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
The CTCR is continuing work on other assignments, including a study on inter-Christian relationships (which also seeks to clarify the Synod’s understanding of such terms as unionism, syncretism, heterodoxy and separatism), a response to an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America social statement and its understanding of the “bound conscience,” the royal priesthood, trends in biblical interpretation, natural knowledge of God, prayer and the relationship between science and theology.
In other action, the CTCR accepted Dr. Jean Garton’s resignation as a board member for the past four years for personal reasons, expressing gratitude for her faithful and varied service to the Synod for many years.
Garton’s successor will be appointed by the LCMS Board of Directors, since the Board is responsible for filling board vacancies that occur within an election cycle.
Linda C. Hoops is a freelance writer and a member of Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Sunset Hills, Mo.
Posted Feb. 24, 2011