SMPP Passes

Well, enter the SMPP (Specific Ministry Pastoral Program) where you don’t have to uproot your family anymore to get a seminary education. Nor must you go through the grueling 3+1 yrs. of training to become a Word and Sacrament pastor. Just stay where you are, take a few classes, and…voila! You can get ordained to Word and Sacrament Ministry. I especially liked the snide remarks of Andrew Bartelt whenever anyone asked questions about it. You would have thought that we, lowly pastoral delegates that we are, did not know anything about the holy Ministry or theology. It was bad enough that we had lay ministers; now we are going to have a different problem: “Do not lay hands on anyone prematurely.” So much for the table of duties: “Anyone who desires to become a bishop desires a noble calling…He ought to be found apt to teach.” We will not see the fruits of this for a few years, but by the 2013 convention, I can guarantee you: things will not be better.


About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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9 Responses to SMPP Passes

  1. Father Hollywood says:

    I expect the CTCR to eventually rule that we can’t restrict such a pastor’s call, since that would be to create a new order of ministry (which is uniate by divine right). Thus we will have a corpus of men who will be jumping from parish to parish with essentially Sunday School educations. What could possibly go wrong?

    If that happens, the seminaries will essentially be marked for extinction.

    But this is the trend. I heard that the Universal Life Church has also eased ordination requirements. You no longer have to enclose five dollars with your mail order application, but can actually be ordained on demand by e-mail for free.

    Are you Ablaze!(tm) yet?

  2. Father Hollywood says:

    PS: Will the new title for these men (or women?) be Office Temps?

  3. Pastor Beisel says:

    Your guess is as good as mine. Look, the bottom line is this: we have no control over what is happening Synod-wide. No control. What they are screwing up (I mean setting up) now we will have to fix when we are in their shoes some day.

  4. Lawrence says:

    You are assuming, Pr. Beisel, that there will be an LCMS at that point in our future, and/or that we will still be members thereof.

    Forgive me for my pessimism, but if this trend continues LCMS will be losing a lot of core confessional members and even congregations. The fixing we will be doing, we may doing some place else.

    We are definitely ablaze, at the very core of our foundations.

    That sneaky Satan fellow has found our weaknesses and exploiting them quite effectively.

  5. Rev. Eric J Brown says:

    Actually, there is already provision for these men to move from church to church – after completion of the program they will be able to accept a call to another parallel specific ministry. The guy ordained to specifically minister to the X community in Pittsburg can upon completion receive a call to specifically minister under direct pastoral supervision to the X community in Orlando.

    That’s why it won’t get challenged that way in the CTCR the way you note. And the Seminaries aren’t worried about extinction, as they are overseeing the program – but they might become more and more mere “distance learning centers”.

  6. Rev. Shane R. Cota says:

    I think I’m going to write an overture for the next convention resolving that the LCMS enclose ordination certificates in Cracker Jack boxes. That’s about what the “Ministry” is worth in the LCMS.

    By the way, I absolutely loved the amendment you proposed concerning the contempo/diverse worship wanting to take out the “to the glory of God” or something like that. My wife and I were watching the convention on the internet at that point and we both cracked up. That was great.

  7. Pastor Beisel says:

    Thanks Shane. I enjoyed it. Unfortunately it wasn’t taken seriously. I was very serious about it though.

    My other amendment got through though on the theological summit resolution–to strike the words “(including the Great Commission)” from the last resolved.

  8. GnesioBoy says:

    Can someone tell me why Dr. Rast made the declaration to the convention assembly that there was “consensus” among the faculty at Ft.Wayne in support of SMPP?? If by “consensus” he meant himself, Dr. Wenthe, and some others, that is one thing. If on the other hand by using the word “consensus” he meant the whole faculty at Ft.Wayne, then this was a completely false and misleading thing to say, and I hope someone calls him on it. Sure, the defense given by supporters of it was that it is an improvement on the current lay ministry programs, ala Delto. However, even if the resolution had contained a resolve to discontinue such programs with the passage of this SMPP, WHICH IT DID NOT (!), it would still be wrong. As both Scripture and history have proven time and time again, trying to rectify one wrong by means of another wrong (even if it is supposedly “less” wrong) will not only not set things right, but will actually only make things worse, no matter how you try to slice and dice it. It was a joke hearing Dean Hemp’s presentation on SMPP, as he spoke “double talk” about SMPP, first affirming the truth that there is only ONE office, before then proceeding to list a bunch of different forms of ministry and ministers.

    This leads me to be very concerned about the future of Ft. Wayne, indeed, the future of both seminiaries, if profs are now starting to throw other profs under the bus as it appeared that Dr. Rast did. For his sake, I hope his definition of “consensus” is not the same as what is commonly understood by that word!!!

  9. RevFisk says:

    “He who digs a pit will fall into it …and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.”

    Eccles. 10:8 (ESV)
    Proverbs 26:27 (ESV)


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