My eyes were opened today as to how the Synod at convention really works. Perhaps it was not always this way, but somehow I doubt it. So what is this great revelation that I had at our pre-convention meeting today? Basically this: Aside from seeing good friends and renewing acquaintances, Convention is pretty much a pointless waste of time and money. Yes, I will be there. Yes, I will vote faithfully. Yes, I will participate in the Synodical process. But it is so hard not to be cynical when you see how diabolical the whole “process” really is. Examples? There were several overtures in the Convention workbook, some sent in by whole districts, that seem to have been entirely ignored by the Committees. Some of these overtures dealt with very important issues in our synod, calling the Synodical Convention to rescind previous resolutions that promote false doctrine and practice. They were well written, supported by Scripture and references to our Confessions, and instead they were replaced by resolutions “to engage in more theological study and dialogue.” Same p.c. crap that you see in the secular world. For heaven’s sake–at least let us debate and vote on these things! Instead it seems the powers that be want to give the appearance that all is “hunky-dory” in Missouri.
I know, I know, I shouldn’t be angry. I shouldn’t be frustrated. “Don’t lose any sleep over it,” so I’m told by my good friends. And maybe I’ll lose a little tonight, but tomorrow I’ll be back to preaching and teaching, where the real stuff of the Church happens. But tonight I am very frustrated.
Another thing I do not quite understand but am not unwilling to be persuaded about: “Here-I-stand” Missourians. By “Here-I-Stand Missourians” I mean my good friends and colleagues who are convinced that they will never leave the Missouri Synod, no matter how bad it gets, so long as they are permitted to teach and practice the way they want. I question this, simply because this was not the attitude of the Synod’s founder, as understood by this quotation:
“Whether our Synod gains friends or makes enemies, wins honor or invites disgrace, grows or declines in numbers, brings peace or incites enmity, all this must be unimportant to us, just so our Synod may keep the jewel of purity of doctrine and knowledge. However, should our Synod ever grow indifferent toward purity of doctrine, through ingratitude forget this prize, or betray or barter it away to the false church, then let our church body perish and the name ‘Missourian’ decay in disgrace.” (C.F.W. Walther)
I realize how painful it would be to dissolve the Synod. But it does seem that the Synod, as “Synod” is no longer functioning the way it was intended to function. The system is broken. It has become its own worst nightmare, if you catch my drift. I do agree with my good friends that there are greater things happening in Missouri today than ever. And I understand that there will never be a completely “pure” church this side of heaven. This is not about trying to root out every hypocrite from our congregations; the wheat and the tares must grow up together. This is about being in fellowship with the false church, as it is represented by those congregations and pastors that practice open communion, adopt unorthodox worship practices, and in general, let everyone do what is right in his own eyes. As much as we hate to admit it, we are already a “church within a church.” I just do not see where this idea comes from that it is either Missouri or nothing. Why are we so afraid to take a stand and say: “No more”?