Thursday, June 16, 2016

Matthew Harrison is re-elected!

The Bylaws of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) instruct the Secretary of the Synod to notify the candidates in the Synod’s presidential election of the results of the balloting at least two weeks prior to the convention. The candidates were informed earlier today, June 15, of the results of the June 11–14 ballot, and those results are now made public as received from Election-America, the Garden City, NY company that provided the Internet voting site and conducted the balloting.

For President:     Matthew C. Harrison      3,507 votes (56.96%)

                          David P. E. Maier                393 votes (6.38%)

                          Dale A. Meyer                  2,257 votes (36.66%)

Total Votes Cast:       6,157

Total Electorate:       7,348

Percentage Voted:     83.79%        

A majority of votes cast is required for election. Matthew C. Harrison, having received 56.96 percent of the votes cast, is the President-elect of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod for a third term of office, 2016–2019.

Raymond L. Hartwig, Secretary

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod


The election of a President for the Missouri Synod is by nature political (as it is for most church bodies that elect officers). Politics is not necessarily a bad thing; it can be. To say that it is a political act is simply to affirm that the judgment of who should serve as the leader is a decision and choice made by the polis, by the people or citizens. In our Synod we replaced the convention delegates as electors in favor of a pastoral and parish vote (provided that they attended the District Convention prior to the election). There is a movement to expand the electors to include every congregation and not simply a parish (which may be made up of two or more congregations yoked together with one or more pastors). I believe this will probably pass and with it the removal of a requirement to attend the previous District Convention of which the pastor and congregation hold membership.

That said, politics involves competing ideas and values. While some fear this, I believe that it is a good thing for us to consider not only the character of the man we elect to lead our church but also the ideas and values that shape his vision for our church body. Where politics falls down is when threat, innuendo, and charges are used to taint one or more candidates. This always happens to one degree or another. This is not a good thing. If there is a substantive reason why someone should not be a candidate and a party knows facts that would call into question the character and integrity of an individual, that becomes an issue that cannot simply be used as fodder for the campaign for or against another. Such charges deserve a fair hearing and should not be used to discredit someone simply for the sake of an election.

This election cycle saw some of the typical campaigning and some extraordinary things as well. Unlike other elections when groups commonly sent forth missives to change minds and affect the outcome of an election, this time we saw a couple of people, a group of district presidents, and a single individual try to affect the outcome. I certainly do not deny their right to campaign for their ideals and for the individuals they believe are best suited to advance those ideals. What characterized some of this campaigning was more than advocating for positions but personal attacks on an individual's character. In the end, I do not think such things aided the cause of those who wished to change the direction of Synod and unseat Pres. Harrison. I think that the people found such attacks to be unseemly and discouraged them from taking their points seriously or finding their charges credible. It is my hope that this will discourage such last minute attacks and remind us that for the process to have integrity, the people involved in that process must act with unassailable integrity.

Those who know me know I believe Pres. Matthew Harrison remains the best man for this time in our Synod's life. I have known him to be a scholar, a theologian, a good judge of character (seen by those whom he has selected to lead with him), and a man of integrity. I also believe Pres. Dale Meyer and Pres. David Maier to be honorable men. I believe our church body was privileged to have good people to choose from and now that this choice has been made, it is my prayer that we unite together toward the larger work of what our Synod was formed to do:
1. Conserve and promote the unity of the true faith (Eph. 4:3–6; 1 Cor. 1:10), work through its official structure toward fellowship with other Christian church bodies, and provide a united defense against schism, sectarianism (Rom. 16:17), and heresy;
2. Strengthen congregations and their members in giving bold witness by word and deed to the love and work of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and extend that Gospel witness into all the world;
3. Recruit and train pastors, teachers, and other professional church workers and provide opportunity for their continuing growth;
4. Provide opportunities through which its members may express their Christian concern, love, and compassion in meeting human needs;
5. Aid congregations to develop processes of thorough Christian education and nurture and to establish agencies of Christian education such as elementary and secondary schools and to support synodical colleges, universities, and seminaries;
6. Aid congregations by providing a variety of resources and opportunities for recognizing, promoting, expressing, conserving, and defending their confessional unity in the true faith;
7. Encourage congregations to strive for uniformity in church practice, but also to develop an appreciation of a variety of responsible practices and customs which are in harmony with our common profession of faith;
8. Provide evangelical supervision, counsel, and care for pastors, teachers, and other professional church workers of the Synod in the performance of their official duties;
9. Provide protection for congregations, pastors, teachers, and other church workers in the performance of their official duties and the maintenance of their rights;
10. Aid in providing for the welfare of pastors, teachers, and other church workers, and their families in the event of illness, disability, retirement, special need, or death. (emphasis added).


Anonymous said...

The LCMS is very divided in doctrine and practice, as this election evidences. Pres. Harrison has his hands full in dealing with liberal District Presidents, as well as many others who do not support confessional Lutheranism. The battle goes on in the church militant, which is never at peace. The Lord bless Pres. Harrison in his efforts, as well as keep all of us vigilant and faithful to Christ and His Word.

Janis Williams said...

I am only one gabby woman. I am a child of Christ's. I encourage everyone in the LCMS churches to pray each day for president Harison. That includes those who do not necessarily stand behind him. May Christ have mercy on us all in these days ahead.

Anonymous said...

I am mentioning these issues, since Pastor Seidler campaigned aggressively against Pastor Harrison - I think. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Earlier this year, my family and I were on vacation in St. Louis. We had the opportunity to meet Pastor Seidler and worship at Concordia on Easter Sunday:

During Communion, a woman in a white robe was assisting in distributing the wine. I always thought that the elders in the LCMS were supposed to be men. To us laymen, the distinction between a pastor and an elder is a cloudy one.

Another observation: Pastor Seidler announced that morning that Concordia had over 300 adults join the congregation in the past year! I hope that the "confessionals" would at least consider those "missional" ideas that do not conflict with the confessions. Wanting to "go after the other guy" solves nothing long term. What is Pastor Seidler doing right?

Janis Williams said...

Nickels and noses are not the measure of the Church.