Herb Mueller

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Rev. Herb Mueller

A Statement of Assurance Regarding Ecclesiastical Supervision

A STATEMENT FROM THE COUNCIL OF PRESIDENTS

[Note: Meeting February 9-13, the members of the Council of Presidents (35 district presidents, 6 vice presidents and the president of Synod) adopted the following statement as a document which “speaks to the church on behalf of the COP.”]

A STATEMENT OF ASSURANCE REGARDING ECCLESIASTICAL SUPERVISION

“Sanctify them by Your truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

In response to recently expressed concerns over maintaining sound doctrine in our synod as well as our need to follow the prescribed process for ecclesiastical supervision in our synod’s bylaws, we the Council of Presidents (comprised of the synodical president, vice presidents, and 35 district presidents of the LCMS), offer the following assurances:

  • We remain committed to the authority of the inspired, inerrant Scriptures as the only source and norm for our doctrine and practice and the Lutheran Confessions as a true exposition of the Scriptures. That commitment includes our solid affirmation of our Synod’s stances on such Biblical teachings as these:
    • In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth by the power of his Word, in six natural days. We reject the evolutionary hypothesis, including “theistic macro-evolution.” (Genesis 1; John 1:1ff.; Matthew 19:4-6).
    • Holy Scriptures elevates the dignity and equality of both men and women in the sight of God (Galatians 3:27–28; Ephesians 5:21–33). The Scriptures also teach that men and women have distinct and complementary vocations. The Scriptures limit the office of pastor to qualified men, while inviting sanctified women to serve in many capacities (1 Timothy 2; 1 Corinthians 14).
    • Marriage, instituted by God, is only between a man and a woman. Homosexual behavior, like all adulterous behavior, is sin against the Sixth Commandment (Matthew 19:4–6).
  • We pledge our on-going due diligence in maintaining sound doctrine and practice in our respective districts.
  • We promise to abide by and uphold the Synod’s bylaws guiding ecclesiastical discipline.
  • Along the way of doctrinal supervision, we will continue to seek restoration and repentance in a process which honors our synod’s constitution and bylaws.

Responding to concerns in the Synod regarding the present process of ecclesiastical supervision and discipline, we, the members of the Council of Presidents, unanimously affirm the following:

  • The doctrinal integrity of our Council of Presidents as we carry out our role of ecclesiastical supervision;
  • The need for our present process of discipline to follow the existing bylaws of the Synod;
  • Our desire to evaluate the current procedure of discipline, leading to a more effective process.

The Council of Presidents also cautions that members of Synod be careful in their analysis of matters of ecclesiastical supervision, especially in social media and blogs, lest we sin against the Eighth Commandment, marring reputations and making public what is required to be private.

Finally, the Council of Presidents requests members of the Synod to pray for us as we carry out our role of ecclesiastical supervisors in accordance with the Scriptures, the Confessions, and our Synod’s Constitution and Bylaws.

Rev. Herb Mueller

The 2015 Emmaus Conference (April 22-23)

The Emmaus Conference is now in its eighth year of bringing together Lutheran theologians, pastors and lay people to the Pacific Northwest to facilitate discussions. It has proven helpful in renewing discussions under a free conference style among representatives of the former Synodical Conference. The desire for such discussions has been on the hearts and in the prayers of many who fondly remember the Synodical Conference since its break-up in the mid 20th Century.

This year’s conference information:

  • Essayist: Rev. David Jay Webber, ELS Pastor in Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Reactors: Rev. Jon Buchholz, WELS District President in California/Arizona; and Rev. Herbert Mueller, LCMS First Vice President
  • Topic: Objective Justification — The direction of our discussions will focus on the pastoral dimensions of the doctrine and how the truth of this teaching gives comfort and peace to the sinner.
  • Dates: Wednesday, April 22 (morning and afternoon sessions plus evening banquet) and Thursday, April 23
  • Location: Parkland Evangelical Lutheran Church; 120 123rd ST S; Tacoma, WA 98444

Registration and agenda: theemmausconference.org

District Visitations

President Matthew Harrison and I have been engaged in recent months in a program of visitation of the districts of the Synod. We are a little more than half way through this visitation of the 35 districts mandated by the 2013 Synod Convention. Resolution 7-01A in 2013 called for a renewal and strengthening of visitation among us, beginning with the President and Vice Presidents visiting district presidents and district boards of directors.

What does such a visit look like? Spread over 2-3 days, we spend time individually with the district president and corporately with the district board of directors. Often we are able to visit with the district praesidium and district staff as well. In many cases we have included meeting with most or all of the district’s circuit visitors. In some cases, open forum meetings have been scheduled so that people are able to hear us and ask questions.

What is the purpose of such a visit? We are coming to listen and to encourage, taking our cue from the apostle Paul, who wrote to the Romans in preparation for his visit with them,

“without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you – that is, that we may be encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Romans 1:9-12). 

In every district I have visited, the district president and the district board of directors have good working relationships, addressing issues, even difficult ones, in a spirit of confidence and trust in Christ, and in collaboration with one another. Our conversations have been honest, fruitful and blessed by God. We hear and encourage the good God is doing by His Word in each district and we bring explanations of our shared work as a Synod. The visits deepen our understanding of the blessings, opportunities and challenges facing each district. They also help district boards see the broader picture of what God is doing on behalf of all 6100 plus congregations of the Synod through the national office.

A much more complete report will be given to the district conventions next year and to the national Synod in 2016.

Herbert C. Mueller
1st Vice President