LCMS Board of Directors and President make a statement concerning the action by Concordia University Texas to self-govern
April 18, 2023
On April 4, 2023, the Board of Regents (BOR) of Concordia University Texas (CTX) confirmed its November 8, 2022, action to separate CTX from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). The LCMS Office of the President (OTP) and the Synod Board of Directors (BOD) are deeply disappointed by this decision.
Our synodical union is rooted in the belief that the doctrine and practice of the church, the “all things whatsoever” our Lord gave (Matt. 28:20), as secured to us in the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions, are the lifeblood of the church. The Synod’s member congregations have set forth the Synod’s Constitution and Bylaws to provide the orderly supervision that is necessary to the conservation and promotion of unity in the true faith and for fruitful ministry, to keep the Synod in all its parts walking together in the truth. In the nearly 100 years since its founding by the LCMS, CTX has served fruitfully under this Constitution and Bylaws as part of a unified educational system of the Synod, for and on behalf of the member congregations.
Since the CTX BOR first proposed a separation in February 2022, the Synod OTP and BOD consistently have reminded the CTX BOR that it has no authority, under the Synod Constitution and Bylaws, to establish a model of governance independent of the Synod. Since the assertion of separation by CTX in November 2022, the Synod BOD and OTP, desiring to welcome CTX back with open arms, have made every effort to encourage and exhort the CTX BOR to reverse its action and return CTX to the Synod. In face-to-face meetings, phone calls, and correspondence, we answered questions, addressed misunderstandings and misperceptions, and cautioned the BOR about the damage an asserted self-separation would cause to the Synod and to CTX, its faculty, staff, and students. Despite our appeal, the BOR has again asserted itself as the sole governing body for the institution, apart from the Synod. Clearly, this was not the intention of the congregations in entrusting the CTX BOR with governance of the Synod’s university.
The CTX BOR’s actions come as the BOD’s 7-03 Task Force has been working with our universities on a proposal to strengthen them in governance and in ties to the Synod and to its life-giving doctrine and practice. The task force is expected to propose Bylaw revisions to this summer’s convention. We are grateful for the commitment of the leadership and boards of our other Concordia universities to our Synod and its Constitution and Bylaws, for the faithful confession of God’s truth in our doctrine and practice.
Together with the Concordia University System (CUS), we desire a faithful resolution to the CTX governance matter. We do not acknowledge the authority of the CTX BOR to self-separate, or the validity of such actions.
As steward of the Synod’s property and business affairs, the Synod BOD is responsible to address CTX’s asserted self-separation in a way that best honors the Synod’s Constitution and Bylaws and serves the interest of the Synod’s member congregations. As chief ecclesiastical supervisor of the Synod and its institutions, the LCMS President is also addressing the matter of theological and philosophical concerns faithfully and forcefully. This work calls for prudence and discretion. We will update the Synod’s member congregations as appropriate.
We pray that our risen Lord will also in this matter bring good from ill, both for the Synod and for CTX. We invite everyone to join us in continued prayers for our Synod; our Synod President; the BOD; the CUS; the CTX BOR; and CTX’s leaders, administrators, faculty, and students.
May the Lord have mercy on us all.
About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (lcms.org)
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, with nearly 2 million baptized members in some 6,000 congregations coast to coast, is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ.