On July 9–14, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod met in convention in Milwaukee. As conventions go, I am more of one who endures them rather than looks forward to them. With that said I will say that this convention was probably the most productive and fruitful convention I have ever participated in. The topics of discussion and resolution were theological in nature and practical in application. There were 18 floor committees so that each committee could work with fewer resolutions allowing for more precise and accurate material. Over all I was very impressed by the presentations, floor discussions of the delegates, and general direction of the Synod on theological matters.
Conventions are divided into three categories. The three are elections, essayists, and resolutions. As far as elections were concerned, the entire presidium was re-elected. I have worked with these men for many years now and find them to be very qualified. They each possess great theological wisdom with compassionate hearts for Christ and His Gospel to be preached to the world. The new Secretary of Synod (Ray Hartwig is retiring) is John Sias from Montana. He is a skilled young man in theology and the handbook. I think he will fill this position very well.
The essayists all worked with the theme “Upon this Rock”. The speakers were from inside and from outside of our Synod. One of them was a Roman Catholic who spoke about the social and political decay of our nation. He was very interesting and invoked the Church to stand on Christ the Rock on more than one occasion. Over all I was pleased with the essays and learned from them.
The resolutions of any convention are always interesting and at times can be a bit contentious. The tenor of the discussions was quite civil–even in the midst of contrary views. Emotions were kept in check for the most part as biblical theology oversaw the rational and reason for supporting or not supporting a particular resolution. The Office of the Ministry received a great deal of discussion and was overwhelmingly supported by the assembly. Divine Service, liturgy, preaching, hymnody, the Lord’s Supper, and good order in the Church were discussed. Again, by large margins, the assembly voted for continuity, consistency, and confessional standards to govern the worship of Christ by His Church.
As optimistic as I am about the Synod in convention, it by no means indicates that our work is going to be any easier. If one message came through loud and clear it was that the society in which we live is no longer tolerant of Christianity. In fact, it is increasingly anti-Christian. Our only hope remains where it always has been. It is in Christ Jesus, the Solid Rock upon which we stand, that the wind and waves of persecution will not overcome us. The gates of hell will not and cannot prevail against Christ and His Church.
The direction and wisdom that came from this convention places us upon the ramparts of He who did everything necessary to secure our salvation. Just as His suffering and death was followed by the glorious resurrection, our lives are buried with Him in baptism only to be raised again to a new life that stands secure by faith in He who defeated sin, death, and the devil. As conventions of Synod go, I was blessed to have attended and participated. I pray the fruits of this labor will manifest faithfulness to God’s Word and fidelity to the Lutheran Confessions. Therein is our hope and stay. Upon this Rock we shall stand. Upon this Rock we are secure unto eternal life.
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