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LCMS - Synod, ELCA to increase theology talks, meetings
Worldwide Faith News <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Fri, 06 Dec 2002 18:14:09 -0800
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
Board for Communication Services
LCMSNews -- No. 74
December 6, 2002
Synod, ELCA to increase theology talks, meetings
By David L. Mahsman
Renewed theological talks and more frequent meetings of top leadership are
in the offing between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The
Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod.
Members of the Committee on Lutheran Cooperation (CLC) agreed Nov. 12 that
they would pursue discussions of issues that divide the two church
bodies. The CLC has six members from each of the two bodies, including
ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson and LCMS President Gerald Kieschnick.
They also agreed once again to meet twice a year. In recent years, the CLC
had reduced its original semiannual meeting schedule to one meeting a year.
Each of the two church bodies has new leadership. Hanson and Kieschnick
each were elected to first terms in office by their respective church
bodies last year.
During discussion at the Nov. 12 meeting, Dr. Samuel Nafzger said that the
LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) is "concerned" that
the Missouri Synod was not part of recent dialogues between the ELCA and
the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. Nafzger, executive director of
the CTCR, noted that the Synod had been partners in those dialogues until
the most recent rounds of talks.
At that point, Hanson raised the issue of a resolution adopted at last
year's LCMS national convention that affirmed "the late [LCMS] President
Alvin L. Barry's judgment that we cannot consider them [the ELCA] to be an
orthodox Lutheran church body.'"
It is "confusing ... for an ecumenical partner to read that the LCMS does
not consider the ELCA orthodox," Hanson said.
Nafzger said that the resolution is saying that the ELCA and Missouri Synod
do not have doctrinal agreement.
LCMS Secretary Raymond Hartwig said that the resolution could be seen "as a
reaching out" to the ELCA. Dr. Donald McCoid, who chairs the ELCA
Conference of Bishops, replied, "That is not how it was received."
By the end of the discussion, the participants had agreed on more frequent
CLC meetings and to develop a proposal for separate discussions of issues
dividing the two bodies.
In addition, Hanson agreed to discuss with ELCA officials and the ELCA's
ecumenical partners bringing the Missouri Synod back into the Lutheran
dialogues with the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.
For his part, Kieschnick said he would encourage the Synod's Praesidium to
"create a dialogue" with the ELCA as it examines the joint work of the two
church bodies. Hanson had asked that the ELCA be included in discussions
of that work.
The 2001 LCMS convention resolved that "current cooperative pastoral
working arrangements with the ELCA be evaluated by the Praesidium with
results and recommendations reported to the next synodical
convention." Kieschnick said the Praesidium -- he and the Synod's five
vice presidents -- began working in September on that assignment.
The next CLC meeting is set for April 3 in Chicago. The committee plans to
meet next November in Baltimore, where several of their joint agencies have
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