Tag Archives: LCMS

LCA walking close to LCMS

It is of concern that current LCA leadership underscores links with LCMS.  The emphasis on doctrinal rigidity at the cost of pastoral care and inclusion is a corrosive and anti-evangelical feature of our churches.

While the LCMS may seem monolithic in its closed-mindedness and views on ‘sinful unionism’, that is not the complete truth.  As the quote below, from The Daystar Journal, shows, the LCMS has other approaches to theology and pastoral care.

Sometimes the LCMS itself has seemed a rather dark place. Too often compassion and decency have been absent in the synod, where chauvinism has frequently been confused for synodical loyalty and meanness of spirit has been mistaken for contending for the faith. The Daystar Journal – essays, editorials, and book reviews by teachers, laity, pastors, professors, missionaries, deaconesses, directors of Christian education, chaplains, seminary professors, seminarians, and others.

The Daystar Journal is a significant gathering of LCMS theologians.  The Daystar Journal …

…began in 1999 as a small online network of individuals in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) who were concerned about theological issues and problems in and beyond their church body. Organized by Professor Robert Schmidt and the author (Dr. Matthew L. Becker – an associate professor of theology at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana.), along with the help of two other LCMS members, the network grew to include a wide assortment of people: a past synodical president, current and former district presidents, synodical officials, seminary professors, university professors, teachers, directors of Christian education, deaconesses, missionaries, licensed deacons, seminary students, military chaplains, leaders in the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) and the Lutheran Laymen’s League (LLL), and other lay leaders. All have shared an abiding concern about the direction of the synod, which over the past forty years has been oriented partly toward the enforcement of “Old Missouri” doctrinal rigidity, … and partly toward a form of American Evangelicalism that takes many of its cues from Protestant Fundamentalism. Ref.

1 Comment

Posted by on October 28, 2011 in sociology, theology


Tags: , , , , ,

Harriet Beecher Stowe and C.F.W. Walther (1st LC-MS Pres)

Harriet Beecher-Stowe - author of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, whose 160th anniversary will be celebrated next year, became the most politically significant literary creation in nineteenth-century America. It is one of those books that must be read to understand the depths of inhumanity to which those in the slave trade descended.  Beecher-Stowe’s novel was significant in revealing to a nation just how complicit it had become in the torture and death of slaves.  This Christian, prophetic woman, through Uncle Tom’s Cabin, changed the course of a nation yet her church deemed women unsuitable to be pastoral leaders.

At a time when people like the first president of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, C. F. W. Walther, who was born in the same year as Stowe, argued that slavery was ordained by God and a positive, biblically-grounded good, Stowe set forth a minority position that was also biblically-grounded: slavery is contradicted by the Bible’s teachings about human equality and dignity, about human freedom and responsibility, about Christ’s love for “the lowliest members of society.”

via Transverse Markings: One Theologian’s Notes.

… Already as a young woman, Harriet was judged to be an intellectual cut above the rest of her siblings. Because the pastoral office was off-limits to her because of her gender (both she and her father wished that she had been born a male, since she had the intellectual and physical gifts to be a pastor), she channeled her creaturely gifts in the one public direction that was then open to women: writing. She described her calling as  a “vocation to preach on paper.” The mother of seven children, Harriet always found time to write, in between her responsibilities as mother and home-maker.

Later, she told those who would listen that her most famous novel came to her as a series of heavenly “visions,” not unlike the fulfillment of Joel’s famous prophecy, quoted by St. Peter in Acts chapter two. Such “revelations” have long been a feminine experience within the Christian tradition. One thinks immediately of Julian of Norwich’s Showings, but there have been many others. The recent work by historian David S. Reynolds, Mightier Than the Sword: “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and the Battle for America (New York: Norton, 2011), which received a very favorable review in last week’s New Yorker, explains that Stowe’s visions began in 1851. While she was taking Holy Communion, she “saw four figures: an old slave being whipped to death by two fellow slaves, who were goaded on by a brutal white man.” Uncle Tom was the beaten slave and Simon Legree the white man.
Today, perhaps we can forgive the 19th century President of LC-MS, C. F. W. Walther, for his support of the position that slavery was ordained by God.  We might suggest that he was a product of his age, that without 21st century hindsight and awareness of 20th century attrocities his ability to interpret Scripture was fundamentally crippled.
What academic contortions must we undergo today to understand LC-MS theology on women’s ordination?  When clergy are removed from the role for supporting women’s ordination and when a pastor is examined for communing with his ELCA wife, how are we to tolerate this Synod?
While Walther supported slavery,  Beecher Stowe was vehemently against it.  The gospel turns things on their head.  The logic is surprising. Jesus would appear to be often discontent with the status quo.
Why is it that, under Pastor Semmler, the LCA incrementally steps closer to the LC-MS, independent of our theological advisory body, the CTICR? Why does it distance itself from the more diverse and tolerant ELCA in the US?  How can we embrace and forgive the increasingly sect-like LC-MS and the LCA when women continue to be discounted, minimised and marginalised – all at a time when there are not enough pastors to serve the Church?  There is no logic.
The surprising logic we have is that from the God of slaves, the God of women, the God of the oppressed, the God who stares us down in the face of our self-righteous piety.
God, please reveal to us when we are a part of the problem.

Posted by on September 10, 2011 in history, sociology, theology


Tags: , , , , , ,

Imagine That – from Matthew Becker’s blog, Transverse Markings

LCMS church logo

from: Transverse Markings: One Theologian’s Notes: Imagine That.

Imagine that you are the young daughter of a female slave who lives in Colossae in the year 450. Unlike some other religious traditions that do not allow slaves to be members, the Christian churches accept slaves into their fellowship. You worship Jesus, in part, because he “had taken the form of a slave” and was beaten and crucified, as so many rebellious slaves had also been… Read more.

Imagine that you are a young adult, the Lutheran daughter of a former slave owner who lives in South Carolina in the year 1868. Read more.

Imagine that you are the high-school-aged daughter of an LCMS pastor in 2011 and you think that God may be calling you to become a pastor Read more.


Consider following Matthew Becker’s (an LCMS pro-women’s ordination pastor/associate professor of theology) blog, Transverse Markings: One Theologian’s Notes

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 6, 2011 in history, theology


Tags: , , , , ,

TIME Photos: A Brief History of Women in Power

TIME magazine reviews female national leaders in recent history

Women have been in leadership much longer than this slide-show indicates, however, it highlights how the LCA dismisses that  women are increasingly respected in the world today for their leadership and intellect .

The article, New Swedish Parliament most gender balanced ever, is likewise, a reminder that there is a decreasing mysogeny in the secular world.

Sadly, the church doesn’t always lead the world on matters of principle and ethics, despite Jesus life-changing revelations, that righteousness was not primarily about religious activities, but justice.  The following reflection, from, on the parable of the sheep and the goats, points out that Jesus was not altogether impressed with religious leaders’ piety.

The sheep at the Father’s right hand will be invited to inherit his kingdom because they fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, clothed the naked and visited the imprisoned.

Conspicuously absent from the list are supposedly religious activities, such as prayer, fasting and pilgrimage. Jesus insists that those five deeds and others like them are religious activities. “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40b).

Jesus never emphasised rituals, dogma or religiosity, but he was always strong on human relationships.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome.

If you found this post useful, consider subscribing to this blog for free.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 23, 2010 in Uncategorized


Tags: , ,

%d bloggers like this: