Synod President Gerald B. Kieschnick says he is pleased that the Synod, which participated in the first nine rounds of dialogue between Lutherans and Roman Catholics in the United States, has been invited to send two participants to Round XI of the discussions, which begins with a session Dec. 1-4 in Chicago.
Kieschnick appointed LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations Executive Director Samuel H. Nafzger and Dr. Dean O. Wenthe, president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, as the Synod’s two participants in that round.
“Lutherans have traditionally believed that external unity in the church must be based on doctrinal agreement on the basis of the Holy Scriptures,” Kieschnick told Reporter. “The LCMS is committed to face-to-face dialogue with those Christian churches with whom doctrinal disagreement continues to exist, including the Roman Catholic Church.
“It is therefore good,” he said, “that participants from the Synod can be a part of these important talks with this church, which comprises the largest group of Christians in the United States of America and the world.”
Kieschnick said that with his appointment of Nafzger and Wenthe to the dialogue, he is “confident that the scriptural, confessional, and evangelical positions of The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod will be clearly and unapologetically articulated. This is particularly vital as it pertains to ‘The Hope of Eternal Life,’ the topic to be discussed in this round of discussions.”
Kieschnick said that dialogue on that topic “will provide opportunity to discuss such issues as indulgences and purgatory, which remain among the most critical points of disagreement between Lutherans and Roman Catholics.
“I encourage the members of the Synod to keep this process and its participants in prayer,” Kieschnick concluded.
Other Lutheran participants in the dialogue are from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Beginning in 1965, the Synod was a full participant in the first nine rounds of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue, but was not invited to join the tenth round, which began in 1996. Dr. A.L. Barry, the Synod’s president at the time, expressed regret over that situation, and appointed Dr. Charles Arand of the Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, faculty as the LCMS observer to that round of the talks.
Posted Dec. 1, 2005