Seltz to direct Synod’s new Washington office

Lutheran Hour Speaker Rev. Dr. Gregory P. Seltz accepts the call to be the first executive director of the Synod’s new Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C. (LCMS/Erik M. Lunsford)

By Joe Isenhower Jr. (joe.isenhower@lcms.org)

The first executive director has been named for the Synod’s first office in Washington, D.C., in 17 years.

The board of directors of the new Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty (LCRL) has received a letter from the Rev. Dr. Gregory P. “Greg” Seltz — speaker for “The Lutheran Hour” since 2011 — informing the board that he officially accepts its call to fill the LCRL executive-director post.

The LCRL provides input, education, advice and resources in the areas of marriage, life issues and religious liberty and seeks to actively engage in discussions and establish partnerships, as appropriate, with individuals and groups in Washington, D.C.

Seltz: ‘Joy’ and ‘privilege’

“What a joy to have served our Church being the Lutheran Hour speaker, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the radio each week,” Seltz said. “But, what a privilege now to accept the call to lead the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty, to serve all of our churches, schools and universities by ensuring that their voices continue to be heard, serving the cause of religious liberty for all of our people so that God’s Word will indeed not be bound, but go forth and bear much fruit.”

After a transition period at Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM — sponsor of “The Lutheran Hour”) and orientation for his new position with the Synod, Seltz will relocate from St. Louis to head the LCRL office in Washington. It has been 17 years since the Synod last had an office and staff in the nation’s capital.

“Greg Seltz is an extraordinary, very gifted individual,” said Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, who is president of the four-member LCRL board.

In his June 6 message to the church body announcing the call to Seltz, Harrison noted that the board “sought an individual with theological depth, a spirit of entrepreneurialism, strong communication and relationship skills, and the ability to carefully navigate the political environment in our nation’s capital. … We believe that Dr. Seltz can fulfill this role with the integrity, professionalism and commitment required to make the LCRL a permanent voice for confessional Lutheranism in Washington, D.C.”

Harrison later told Reporter that Seltz “understands the great gift of the Lutheran Two-Kingdoms doctrine — the teachings of the secular and spiritual realms — how they interact, how they’re a blessing to each other and how they ought to be carefully distinguished.” He noted that this doctrine is the subject of Seltz’s current doctoral studies at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

‘A great communicator’

He also spoke of Seltz as “a great communicator. The future of the LCRL is very bright as we take our place on Capitol Hill to advocate for religious freedom.”

Harrison noted that the Synod’s interests “on [Capitol] Hill” continue to be advocated by others such as the Becket Fund, Alliance Defending Freedom, The Heritage Foundation and LCMS congressional representatives,” and that “we look forward to networking with many more who share our concerns.”

He added that although erosion of religious liberty has lessened somewhat with the Republican administration in Washington, “issues further threatening those freedoms continue apace. … It simply is not right for us not to have direct representation there.”

“Now, with the naming of Greg Seltz as the [LCRL] executive director, we believe that we have great impetus to move forward,” Harrison said. “People are very excited about the LCRL and want to help out.”

Two other members of the LCRL board — Timothy Goeglein, vice-president for External Relations at Focus on the Family in Washington, D.C., and Concordia University System President Rev. Dr. Dean O. Wenthe — also commented on Seltz accepting the call.

Long time coming

“The LCRL board and many in the LCMS have worked for many years to come to this important and pivotal moment,” said Goeglein. “We are excited to work with Greg and have every confidence in his ability to speak boldly into this cultural moment in the public arena of our beloved country. Marriage, human life, and religious liberty and conscience comprise a dynamic, central, and fundamental core of issues that are hotly contested. We shall welcome his clarity, courage, and clear-eyed nurture and defense of all we believe as Christians in 21st century America. We know the grace, mercy and goodness of Jesus Christ will lead Greg as he navigates the shoals of our culture and our era.”

“It is a delight to learn that the Rev. Dr. Greg Seltz has accepted the leadership role in Synod’s Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty,” Wenthe said. “Dr. Seltz brings a remarkable skill set to this calling at a time when the Church’s role in the public square is increasingly challenged. His experience as a pastor, … a professor … and as Lutheran Hour speaker has given him extensive exposure to the cultural and social realities that shape American culture. As a superlative communicator and one well-versed in the Two-Kingdom perspective of confessional Lutheranism, his voice will prove to be both informed and nuanced to reach the multiple audiences and constituencies of Washington, D.C. May the Lord bless his labors so that the Church’s confession and practice might be spoken with such charity and clarity that many will be influenced to act on behalf of religious liberty.”

In addition to serving as speaker for LHM’s “The Lutheran Hour,” Seltz is the organization’s spiritual leader, evangelist and ministry emissary.

Before joining Lutheran Hour Ministries in 2011, Seltz served as director of the Cross-Cultural Ministry Center and held other positions at Concordia University Irvine, Irvine, Calif., and executive director of Life’s Journey Ministries and founding pastor of Church for All Nations in New York City. Prior to that, he started a mission congregation in Dallas and was pastor of a congregation in Tampa, Fla.

A 1986 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Seltz was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree from Concordia, Irvine, and is nearing completion of the St. Louis seminary’s Ph.D. program.

He and his wife, Marie Yvette, are the parents of a daughter, Devin.

For more information about the LCRL, including ways to support it, visit lcms.org/lutheran-center-for-religious-liberty or contact Martha Mitkos at martha.mitkos@lcms.org or 800-248-1930.

Posted June 20, 2017

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Reporter Online is the Web version of Reporter, the official newspaper of
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Content is prepared by LCMS Communications.

10 Responses to Seltz to direct Synod’s new Washington office

  1. June 20, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

    Whatever the reasoning for closing the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty 17 years ago, our past Administration has proven that this center is much needed to protect our Religious freedoms.

    I was very proud of Rev Dr Harrison when he made a statement contesting the decision to force Medical Insurance plans to pay for abortions, and the attacks on the Little Sisters of the Poor.

    It pleases me to know the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has moved in this direction to be tenacious in protecting our Religious freedoms.

    Rev Dr Gregory Seltz has proven himself to be a strong communicator on the Lutheran Hour. We should pray for God’s wisdom and boldness.

  2. Leslie Anne Flatt June 20, 2017 at 9:06 pm #

    I am happy for all concerned but will I will miss Rev. Seltz on Lutheran Hour.

  3. Raul Blum. June 21, 2017 at 5:06 am #

    Dr. Seltz, God bless you in your new mission. Grace and peace to you and your Family.

  4. Harvey May June 21, 2017 at 5:36 am #

    Good news for our society!

  5. Harvey May June 21, 2017 at 5:37 am #

    Thank you!

  6. Kay L. Meyer June 21, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

    May the Lord bless you in this new position to protect our religious freedom and continue to give you His strength and wisdom as you proclaim the law and Gospel in today’s world.

  7. June 21, 2017 at 7:51 pm #

    News of this appointment comes while I’m taking a course at Concordia St. Louis on “The Two Realms”. How encouraging that the LCMS is opting to be proactive in political affairs, all the while striking the balance of theologically appropriate expectations. I pray that this will serve as an encouragement to local congregations to serve as lcrls (intentionally lower case) in the cities to which we’ve been called. Blessings, Dr. Steltz!

  8. Tom Moyer June 24, 2017 at 10:42 am #

    Glad to see my good friend in this position and that he has his game face on (picture above). Good things happened for our tennis and basketball teams at CCAA when ‘Nasty’ Seltz had this intent look. Confronting our culture and proclaiming the absolute truth of God’s Word is a serious game that will have life and death consequences. I’ll be praying that his work will be effective in laying out the only path that leads to life!

  9. Twyla Hanson June 25, 2017 at 10:08 pm #

    Dr. Seltz, Congratulation’s on your call as Director for LCRL. Your staff will be serving on the Front Lines of a spiritual undertaking, and you will be missed!

    “May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”
    -‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭3:5‬‬ NIV

  10. Robert Bjornstad July 5, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

    It is a good thing to have a presence in the Nation’s Capitol. I hope that the focus is not limited to “our” religious freedom; which may be somewhat self-serving. This is an opportunity to be a Christ-like voice for those who were the object of his ministry. He sought to care for those others had written of as sinners, or in-worthy, or “not one of us”. I write this in July 5th, one day after hearing read, from the Declaration of Independence: ” all have God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. As Jesus once said: “I have come that all may have life and have it abundantly”. May the LCRL advocate for abundant life for all Americans, by supporting the safety net that Social Security, Medicare, Health Care and the like provide.

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