By Stacey Egger
MILWAUKEE — On Thursday, Aug. 3, the final morning of business at the 68th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), convention delegates considered and passed six resolutions presented by Floor Committee (FC) 4 on Life Together.
Resolution 4-01A, “To Commend and Encourage Continued Use of The Koinonia Project and Give Thanks to God for the Sainted Rev. Dr. Herbert C. Mueller, Jr.,” encourages the continued use of Koinonia reconciliation resources and ongoing training in biblical reconciliation. The resolution also gives thanks for the Rev. Dr. Herbert C. Mueller Jr., who passed away in 2020. Mueller wrote and implemented the Koinonia resources and served six terms as president of the LCMS Southern Illinois District and three terms as first vice-president of the LCMS.
The Rev. Herbert Mueller III — Mueller Jr.’s son — spoke from the floor in favor of the resolution. “From my family, we’re grateful for the thanks that the convention wants to offer my dad. … What is necessary is that we continue to take whatever disagreements we may have, in both doctrine and practice, to the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions together.” Mueller III also requested that, upon passage of the resolution, the assembly sing the final two stanzas of “God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It” (Lutheran Service Book 594). Res. 4-01A passed unanimously by voice vote, and delegates rose to sing the stanzas.
The committee then brought Res. 4-04, “To Give Thanks for Spanish Language Hymnal Himnario Luterano and Commend Its Use,” to the floor. The resolution gives thanks for Himnario Luterano and the partners involved in its development and encourages the Synod to make “extensive use” of the hymnal in Spanish-speaking contexts. Res. 4-04 passed with 99.54% of the vote.
To give background on Res. 4-02 and Res. 4-03, FC 4 member Rev. Peter Bender informed the convention of meetings the LCMS Boards for National Mission (BNM) and International Mission (BIM) had with leadership from all 35 districts of the Synod over the past triennium. The meetings were to fulfill their Bylaw 126.96.36.199 duties to suggest mission emphasis and mission priorities to the Synod convention, based on feedback from across the Synod. After these meetings, Bender said, the boards decided unanimously to suggest continuing the current mission emphasis and mission priorities for the coming triennium, as they pursue further collaboration with the districts.
Thus, Res. 4-02, “To Affirm and Continue Making Disciples for Life as Mission and Ministry Emphasis for 2023–26 Triennium,” continues the triennial mission emphasis set at the 2019 convention. It also calls upon the BNM and BIM to work to “assess, clarify, and further refine” the process whereby they develop and propose triennial emphases to future conventions and to recommend a new emphasis in 2026 after discussion with “districts and members of the Synod.” Res. 4-02 passed by voice vote.
Likewise, Res. 4-03, “To Affirm and Continue Mission Priorities for 2023–26 Triennium,” reaffirms the Synod’s current seven mission priorities and calls for the mission boards to recommend possible revisions to Bylaws about how the mission priorities are set and how they function and relate to the work of the Synod. Res. 4-03 passed by voice vote.
Next, Res. 4-07, “To Give Thanks for Preservation of the Gospel in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod,” was brought to the floor. This resolution takes note of the 50th anniversary on Feb. 19, 2024, of the “Walkout” from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and directs the Synod to “give thanks for the preservation of the Gospel in our midst” and for the faithful teaching of the seminaries. The resolution also calls on members of the Synod to study the history and make use of resources from Concordia Historical Institute, Concordia Publishing House and the seminaries on the subject.
The Rev. Dr. Richard Zeile, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Taylor, Mich., spoke in favor of the resolution from the floor. “This was really a formative event in our Synod. Personally … it led me to look at the issues and realize the need for ministers who actually believe the Bible, and thus [I] found my vocation. … It’s important that we remember history so that we do not repeat it.” Res. 4-07 was passed by voice vote. Due to a friendly amendment from the floor, the first stanza of “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word” was sung by the body.
Finally, Res. 4-06, “To Encourage In-Person Corporate Worship,” was brought to the floor. The resolution calls upon pastors and congregations to “uphold the Third Commandment by gathering together weekly for worship” and to prioritize “in-person, embodied corporate worship.” It also calls for a Commission on Theology and Church Relations study on the Third Commandment and its application to worship today.
Two amendments to 4-06 from the floor, one to soften the language by striking the reference to the Third Commandment, and another calling for the Synod in convention to “repent for having forsaken gathering together in corporate worship during 2020,” both failed. Res. 4-06 passed with 91.65% of the vote.
Three resolutions of the committee were not brought to the floor due to time constraints: Res. 4-05: “To Encourage Mutual Conversation and Consolation of Christian Brothers and Sisters”; Res. 4-08, “To Encourage House Blessings”; and Res. 4-09, “To Encourage Meeting and Fellowship across Circuits and Districts.”
Posted Aug. 3, 2023
2023 LCMS Convention
Under the theme “We Preach Christ Crucified,” the 68th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod met July 28–Aug. 3, 2023, at the Baird Center in Milwaukee.
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