This was a story about how the interests of the church body that had owned and sponsored the university conflicted with the felt interests of the university -- at least as this was the observation of those who had been charged with the best interests of both. Now the same thing may be happening in the LCMS. Concordia University Texas has made no secret of its thinking that its identity as an agency of the Synod and their perception of the well-being of the school not only compete but must be mutually exclusive. Its current president has made no secret of his intention and the direction of his leadership in this regard and he appears to have the support of at least a majority of the board members. But is this necessarily the case? It is as if one within the marriage insists that in order to be faithful they must be unfaithful. Is that a legitimate statement of the situation within a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod university? Is it a fair description of the dilemma of the members of the board of regents and the official leaders of that school? Is it impossible to be both faithful in the exercise of their fiduciary responsibility to the Synod and to the college? Must they distance themselves from the LCMS in order to better fulfill their mission as a university?
These are some of the issues at play when the LCMS meets in convention in a couple of weeks. Many of the issues are remarkably similar to what already took place in Canada. We have schools who sincerely believe that their association with the Synod conflicts with or competes with their goals and pursuits as a university. It will be up to the delegates at the Convention to decide if that claim is justified and to hold the schools, their leaders, and their boards of regents accountable to the Synod that established those schools -- with the idea, at least in the beginning, that they existed to further the very objectives of the Synod stated clearly in the first part of our constitution. For my part, I am not convinced. In fact, I am persuaded that the fiduciary responsibility to the Synod and to the institution is not only not in conflict but very much the same cause and duty. But I will not be voting. Others will. I pray that even if we make the right decision as a church body, we will not be too late in challenging what has become an all too familiar mantra about what is good for the Church is not good for the university. Our schools should not have to reject Jesus in order to be faithful, authentic, and excellent academic institutions. If that is the case, we have far more at stake here than one Concordia.