Friday, December 26, 2008

Concordia Theology Videos has some videos posted.... I can't link to them directly. But the second one (August 2008) is interesting. The panel includes Dr. Raabe, Dr. Hermann (a classmate of mine) and Dr. Diekelman (1st VP of synod). Dale Meyer, seminary president, moderates.

This roundtable discussion is on the restructuring proposal. I made some notes as I watched/listened.

Diekelman talks about how as a church body we are in decline, cites the numbers. Says the question the president asked is, "are we best structured to accomplish our mission?"

Meyer asks, "so are there any hard proposals yet?" Diekelman admits they are not final but this is a work in progress.

Raabe wonders if the word "synod" is helpful or not, with its many meanings.

Hermann, too, seems to emphasize that theology should inform our discussions of structure.

Diekelman: we're not changing the constitution or foundations (doctrine, etc), but how do we govern?

Hermann observes districts vary in size, staff, etc...

Raabe makes a good point, that the first quesiton is "what do you want the districts to do" then answer, "how big do you want them to be".

Hermann says how the Lord calls congregations to work together with each other.

Theology is a group process- being together helps us avoid falling for fads of false doctrine, and being lone rangers.

Raabe points to the question of national/local duplication.

Hermann says part of the conversation at the convocation that wasn't in the written report is how local congregations identify with synod, and that maybe that identification would be better with the district than the (national) synod.

Diekelman asks people what they know about the current structure, and observes, "some" don't know. He says as we talk about this, we will re-discover our identity, and then the structure will fall into place.

Diekelman goes on about adult baptisms/confirmations, people who didn't grow up in the LCMS. They won't be familiar with the structure??

Some of the other proposals are discussed. Interesting - the difference between congregations and pastors as "members" but not individual congregational members. The talk is to change it, so that everyone who belongs to one of our congregations will be a "member of synod". Hmm...

Meyer recites the history of the LCMS dealing with "clergy dominance" by maintaining a strict balance of clergy/lay representation.

Raabe supports proposal that doctrinal statements require 2/3 vote. This illustrates consensus.
I'd also like to see it clarified exactly which resolutions are doctrinal, which are binding, and in what way.

Hermann observes "don't just use theology as a boundary or hedge, but allow theology to fashion and form the structure". Pair up strong with weak churches, rather than isolate smaller churches. Honor the weaker. Nicely said.

Raabe: accountability starts on the local level, pastor accountable to other local pastors.

Hermann: Danger of making decisions only on fiscal reasons, but also on theology.
This, to me, is a VERY key point.

Rabbe: We are good at addition, we need to learn subtraction (of the many rules in the bylaws). I agree. Let's streamline.

Hermann: We need to be transparent about which things are matters of money, accountability or doctrine. Why are we doing what we are doing, in each case.

Meyer gets on his soapbox about "relevant" again. I heard him say some things about this at a recent pastors conference which concerned me a little, but that's another story....

Plug for the September symposium, Concorida Journal, etc.... I'm tuning out now.

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