ELS Bright Spot: A Speech at Convention

Now, for a little good news. It’s actually quite good, for everyone to whom it was meant to apply. Unfortunately, I don’t think that includes the pastor currently under suspension, and whose suspension is under appeal. Yet if we could make this speech and the included pledge retroactive to January 1 of this year, then I don’t think there would be a suspension, either.

The following is transcripted from the Thursday morning, a speech from President Moldstad after the convention voted to give him the floor. He was speaking about a motion I may post later, which attempted to make the PMW descriptive, rather than prescriptive for the synod in the interest of creating a setting where the merits and problems of PMW could be discussed openly, without fear of reprisal.I do feel that this is a real serious matter for us as a synod. You all know that we have come here in difficult times. You’ve heard my remarks in the opening message to our convention. I am very willing as the president of the synod and now your newly-elected president of the synod to be as patient as I can, and to also acknowledge that yes, we will plan to have more discussions, as you can see from the resolutions too, we’re planning to still have discussions at General Pastoral Conference. Where those discussions lead, let us all see, let us pray that God continues to guide, so that there will be more and more unity among us.

But dear brothers, it is very important for us also to recognize that when a synod has spoken as we did last year, on a doctrinal matter such as we did, after so much discussion (and yes, we would have all liked to see the vote higher and so on). But when we did speak, we knew it was important to send a message and it was vital that we let people know that this is what we believe from scripture and the Lutheran confessions, and is in keeping with them, and that we are happy about the work that has been accomplished through the PMW.

I know all of us are happy with the progress that has been made with the committee and so on. Not everyone has been happy with the timing of the document and so on, and yet we did adopt it. And you have asked me to take on a very serious obligation as the president of this church body: in dealing also with other church bodies that we are in fellowship with, in dealing with colloquants to our synod (We did already have a colloquy that took place this past year.), you are asking also that we have a statement which our seminarians can look to. It is vital that we take a position.

Now, you and I know, we have seen this before with other doctrinal statements: doctrinal statements can easily be worked upon and so on in future years (that might take some time); that can happen. But, I think it is a dangerous thing for us to say that what we have adopted already last year would not really now be a binding thing for us for a synod; and what kind of a message would that send. I would hope that you would resoundingly defeat what was brought yesterday, and I am very happy to hear Pastor Gernander get up and say that he is not in favor of what was brought because we knew how the discussion was going, too. And I’ll let you know that an older, distinguished man whom I am very close to in the synod and made a speech yesterday had indicated to me, too, that what had come in the motion there was not really with his blessing either, once he saw it. And so I think that we need to understand this is vital for us.

If you need to have something before you, I’m going to give you a suggestion. If you feel that you need something more in C, I will give you a suggestion, though obviously I can’t make a motion. But it would be simply like this:

Be it resolved that the synod’s doctrinal statement “The Public Ministly of the Word” stand as the official doctrine and practice of our synod while at the same time recognizing that further discussions of the doctrine of the public ministry will be planned in a fraternal and patient spirit through the General Pastoral Conference and other pastoral conferences.

Or, I suppose the other thing is to just go with what was adopted with A and B, which already are talking about further discussions. But I’ll pledge you as a president of the church body, too, that still has to take seriously our doctrinal statements, I know that we do need patience and understanding as we move forward, and are going to have more discussions in this area even as the agenda for the General Pastoral Conference has indicated. May God really bless our synod as we move forward. Let’s all really think seriously about what we’re doing. Thank you.

One thought on “ELS Bright Spot: A Speech at Convention

  1. Well, I, for one, am quite glad to hear that you have a bright spot to report from the convention. I thought it had been a little on the gloomy/doomy side previously.
    I think that this resolution (the one suggested by the synod President in the speech you provided) accomplished what, I believe, was intended by the resolution that you proposed early on in the convention.
    Maybe it was just timing, maybe it was ethos of the messenger, or maybe the wording of his resolution was better; but, whatever the case, I’m glad it happened and I’m glad to see that you see the positives here too.
    Thanks for your blog, pastor. It’s good to read stuff from a moderate such as yourself! :^)

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