Pr Mike Semmler announces his retirement

15 Jan

President Rev Mike Semmler

Pr Mike Semmler has just announced that he will not stand again for the position of President of the LCA.

It is difficult to believe that this era of staunch resistance to women’s ordination may be over (2000-2013).  While there may always be people who are distressed by the idea of women’s ordination (though other churches’ experience is that concerns fade once people experience the pastoral care of women), there was no more an important position than that of President of the LCA in opposing women’s ordination.  The position was used to delay, stifle and ignore discussion in the CTICR and in the national journal, as well as cling to the Church’s ‘current position’, repressing further debate, thereby clinging to the current position.  How was change ever going to come unless there was open debate?

Of course, it remains to be seen who will stand for the position, but Synod delegates would presumably be twice shy about who it elects to this position, which, we have learnt, is an incredibly powerful one in guiding or sidelining issues within the Church.

Please include the election of our national president in your prayers.

Postscript: The text of the letter to pastors of the LCA:

Subject:    Message from President Mike Semmler
Date:    16 Jan 2013 14:55:01 +1100
From:    LAMP Webmail Message <…email address…>

Dear Pastors of the Church,

As you will receive your forms for nominations for President of the Church this week, it is important that I inform you that I have, after a struggle, decided not to allow my name to be considered and therefore you will need to give thought to a nomination you feel could best pastor the Church.

We are endeavouring to uphold the role of pastoring as the prime emphasis of the call.

Thank you for the significant support which you have so generously granted me personally and more importantly, the support for the office which has ben so evident. I have been humbled by that and thank God for all of you.

I anticipate, God willing, that a changeover of President will occur in mid-July 2013.

Yours in Christ,

Rev’d Dr Mike Semmler

President, Lutheran Church of Australia


Posted by on January 15, 2013 in politics, women's ordination


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16 responses to “Pr Mike Semmler announces his retirement

  1. Wally

    January 15, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    It has taken just thirty three minutes from the time the President’s Page email arrived in my inbox till the time this post notification arrived. And sadly, the slander continues! your

    “The position was used to delay, stifle and ignore discussion in the CTICR and in the national journal, as well as cling to the Church’s ‘current position’, repressing further debate, thereby clinging to the current position.”

    is nothing short of that! Dr Semmler has served the Church admirably under trying conditions and the very least he deserves is basic courtesy – yet, none of that! Yet, all he is faced with is slanderous accusations! Shame! Absolute shame!

  2. Katie and Martin

    January 15, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    The truth may be difficult to digest, but Pr Semmler has been disingenuous when it comes to women’s ordination. While proclaiming that he has never made public his views on women’s ordination, not even to his wife, he moved the LCA closer to Missouri Synod, banned discussion on the matter in The Lutheran, decided that a committee of five clergy qualified as fulfilling Synod’s directive of implementing a national process of developing consensus, and even became very angry when some who attended the 2011 ordination service wore ribbons in support of women’s ordination.
    Wally, the list goes on and on. While there are, no doubt, plenty of areas where Pr Semmler faithfully fulfilled his commission as President of the LCA, he displayed little moderation or wisdom on women’s ordination. His personal agenda was all too obvious – a fatal flaw of one who fills a position to facilitate the will of General Synod.

    • Wally

      January 15, 2013 at 11:18 pm

      Is it so hard to extend to him some basic courtesy, like using his title – you do so for others in exactly the same position, so why not for him? That alone gives away your prejudice – and adds to the slander, not to mention the assumptions in your criticism.

    • Christian P.J. Bahnerth PhD

      January 17, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      On Katie & Martin’s Blog
      Re post #2 – 2013-01-15. “a fatal flaw of one who fills a position to facilitate the will of the General Synod.”
      It is a fatal flaw for any Christian to go knowingly and willingly directly against the Word of God! The more so for any who also claims to be a Lutheran, for Lutheran doctrine is ~ and always will be ~ based on the Word of God. Christians may comply with the rules of government, but only if it does not go against the will of God.
      IMHO it is the duty of all Christians to comply with the will of God; and by the acceptance of membership in the LCA, it is the willingly accepted duty of all Lutherans to comply with the Constitution of the Lutheran Church. Lutheran Pastors have promised on their ordination, and as have also some other religious workers on or before their installations, that they will adhere our Constitution, I emphasise here the two sub-articles of Article II Confession.
      1. The Church accepts without reservation the Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments, as a whole and in all their parts, as the divinely inspired, written and inerrant Word of God, and as the only infallible source and norm for all matters of faith, doctrine and life.
      2. The Church acknowledges and accepts as true expositions of the Word of God and as its own confession all the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church contained in the Book of Concord of 1580, namely, The three Ecumenical Creeds: The Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed; and the Athanasian Creed; the Unaltered Augsburg Confession; the Apology of the Augsburg Confession; the Smalcald Articles; the Small Catechism of Luther; the Large Catechism of Luther; and the Formula of Concord.
      All Lutherans as part of their unforced membership of the LCA are bound by Article II and hence, if any person can no longer accept this doctrine they are morally bound to disassociate themselves from the LCA ~ as much as we hate to see them go ~ they should join a denomination that does not take the Word of God as our Lutheran Confession does.
      Those who believe that women may be ordained – Join the Anglican Church and be happy with female priests.
      Those who believe that practicing homosexuals may be ordained – join the Uniting Church, and be happy among those with whom we should not even eat. C.f. 1 Cor. 5:9-11.
      The individual choices must be made, remain a member of the LCA as a LUTHERAN or attend worship and obtain membership in another denomination which has different doctrines.

      • Andor

        January 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm

        So does that mean that LWF member churches overseas who have female ministers are not actually Lutheran churches?

        • Christian P.J. Bahnerth PhD

          January 19, 2013 at 5:36 pm

          Did I address the doctrine of oversees churches? No I did not, I addressed the situation here in Australia, where we have a clearly defined Constitution and in particular a clearly defined Article II of that Constitution i.e. the Confession. Again if you are happy with female priests, join the Anglican church; if you believe that practicing homosexuals may be ordained, join the Uniting Church. As for me and my house we will follow the Lord.

          • Andor

            January 20, 2013 at 12:28 am

            I’m Lutheran; I’m saved through grace. To me that is central in my faith identity; not the issue of inclusive ministry. I am not Anglican, nor am I Uniting. I am Lutheran. I am your sister. I don’t think that it is very nice to instruct people to change denominations. I belong in this church just as much as you do. Lutheranism is not defined by its view on homosexuality or women in ministry; but by grace alone.

  3. Andor

    January 15, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Hi Wally, Thanks for sharing how you feel. As a woman in the LCA, my experience of Mike’s presidency has been different to yours. There have been many tears, much heartache, and now … relief. There is a season for everything and soon, hopefully, the pain will become a memory.

  4. Christian P.J. Bahnerth PhD

    January 15, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    We have a choice, as much as a driver has the choice to be sober at the wheel, we have to be loyal to the Word of God. Let all our deliberations and decisions be resonant to the Holy Bible, the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Constitution of the LCA.
    When the Word of God says NO what authority do we have to say “yes”. Consider your Lutheran being when you vote for our next National President, do you want him to be a proper Lutheran or a crypto “Methobapticostal”?

  5. janine

    January 15, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    i’m hoping he will be a christian.

  6. Katie and Martin

    January 15, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    It seems that Barney has just labelled most of ALC faculty, most practising clergy, most laity and virtually all members younger than 30 as ‘crypto Methobapticostal’.
    “Damn! Why is everyone marching out of time with me?”

    • Wally

      January 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      I don’t read that in Barney’s comment – don’t know how you can! So, I wonder who is marching out of time?

  7. probly

    January 22, 2013 at 3:20 am

    “When the Word of God says NO what authority do we have to say “yes”. ” So what do we conclude when the CTICR suggests that Scripture says “yes” to ordination of both genders????

    • janine

      January 22, 2013 at 6:12 am

      we might conclude they were right?

      • probly

        January 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm

        And by Barney’s logic we should be faithful to God’s Word and ordain both genders.


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