Sermons and Papers

Maddens Documentation

The letter that started it.

by Pastor Terry Small


Wednesday of Jubilate

April 17, 2002

Dear brothers in Christ,

The events following the world-changing attack of September 11 such as the joint worship services with the ELCA on September 19, the event at Yankee Stadium on September 23, the charges against our synodical president and a district president, the publicity surrounding the charges, the statements made by the faculty of one of our seminaries and by one of our synodical vice presidents have made public a deep division within our Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. This division, already apparent at the last synodical convention, has deepened since September. Our synodical president and his supporters have been offended by the charges against him. They see the charges against him as an effort by a few radicals to derail his attempt to take the Gospel to the world. Others are offended by our synodical presidentís alleged disregard for Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.

Because the inspired St. Paul has taught that participation in the Lordís Supper is a confession of unity, such confession of unity is impossible until the charges against President Kieschnick and President Behnke have been duly investigated and reconciliation achieved. To confess unity when there is no unity denies the serious nature of the allegations against those charged and trivializes the nature of the charges for those who have filed charges. The charges are serious.

Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift Matthew 5:23-24.

As the officiant of the service, in effect I have been given the burden of pastoral oversight for this service. I have consulted with the president of the MN North District who then discussed the matter with the president of the MN South District. We pray for the day when the divisions in our synod are brought to an end by true reconciliation. Until then, in love for President Kieschnick, as well as for the brothers who have filed charges against him or who have been offended by his action, the Board of Elders and I have found it to be in the best interest to voluntarily "leave the altar" and set aside our celebration of the Lordís Supper at the May 13-15, 2002 Maddens Conference until true reconciliation is achieved and once again we can joyfully confess our unity. On Monday, May 13, we will have an opportunity to gather at the conference site for Evening Prayer, to hear the Word of God, to respond with psalms and hymns, and to pray for the day when these sad divisions are brought to an end.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1.

Your fellow servant,

Rev. Terry Small

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