“Conscientious objection against the state”

Hillsdale professor and LCMS member Korey Maas has an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal about the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod convention action to allow women facing combat and registering for the draft to claim conscientious objector status.  He goes into the legal implications of this decision, as well as the larger phenomenon of how the state has been picking fights with religious people and their institutions over issues of conscience.

He closes by quoting LCMS president Matthew Harrison, who said last year after the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision that Christians will soon  “begin to learn what it means to be in a state of solemn conscientious objection against the state.”

Prof. Maas’s article is excerpted and linked to after the jump. [Read more…]

Lutherans have a confessional convention

Conservatives/confessionals feel very good about the triennial convention of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, which concluded last week in Milwaukee.  They passed virtually all of their resolutions by big margins, elected virtually all of their candidates, and won some big victories.

The convention voted to ensure that everyone engaged in Word and Sacrament ministry be ordained.  (Lay ministers may still serve in various church functions, but not they may not function as pastors, preaching and administering the sacraments, as many have been doing.  The convention also approved a path for getting lay ministers ordained.)  This lines up the 2.5 million member synod with the Augsburg Confession, Article 14.  For other actions, go here.

After the jump, Aaron Wolf, an editor with Chronicles Magazine, rhapsodizes about the LCMS, of which he is a member, saying that with the convention, “the LCMS officially embraced a conservative ethos.” [Read more…]

Lutheran women as conscientious objectors

The convention of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, which ended yesterday, passed a novel resolution against the government’s recent decision to have women serve in combat.  The church formulated a position, in line with Defense Department policy, that will allow Lutheran women who do not believe in registering for the draft or participating in combat to claim conscientious objector status for reason of religion. [Read more…]

The Lutherans’ great and holy council

The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod is holding its triennial convention July 9-14 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The delegates will not be trying to revise the Christian sexual ethic, ordain women, or weigh in on national politics.

The biggest issue, as I understand it, has to do with the paradoxically-named “Lay ministers.”  Some decades ago, the LCMS started a program for laity who wished to serve congregations full time.  But some congregations–especially small, rural parishes–began using lay ministers as pastors, having them preach, give pastoral care, and administering the sacraments.  But that seemed to go against the Augsburg Confession, Article XIV , which requires an ordained ministry for public preaching and for ecclesiastical order.  Some in the LCMS defend the lay ministry program in the name of the priesthood of all believers and for pragmatic reasons, saying that these little congregations couldn’t afford a seminary-trained pastor and that these lay ministers have been doing an excellent job and don’t deserve to lose their positions. [Read more…]

LCMS judge on trial for her views on marriage

More on Ruth Neely, the Wyoming judge and member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, who is facing removal from office, plus a $40,000 fine, because she told a reporter that she won’t perform same-sex marriages because of her religious beliefs.  This, even though she is not obliged to perform weddings at all, isn’t paid for doing so, has never been asked to do a gay wedding, another judge in the community is willing to do it in her place, and the Wyoming constitution specifically says that no one can be removed from public office “because of his opinion on any matter of religious belief whatever.”

The state’s judicial commission has recommended her ouster, and the case is before the Wyoming Supreme Court.  More details and updates after the jump, as well as my own thoughts and questions. [Read more…]

Matt Harrison re-elected President of LCMS

Rev. Matthew Harrison was re-elected today for his third term as president of the Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod.  This means the leadership of the LCMS remains in confessional, conservative, orthodox, culturally-engaging hands. [Read more…]


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