1. First, it is simply unacceptable to remain silent in the face of doctrinal error and errant practice.
2. Second, the ACELC speaks as an expression of the Church to our own Synod.
3. Eventually, every faithful congregation and pastor will be affected by the heterodoxy of our Synod if left unresolved.
Today we continue the discussion:
4. If you are convinced that the institutional Synod will correct its own errors, then there is no need to join the ACELC.
History, especially recent history, teaches us that The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) has been, and continues to be incapable of correcting her own errors. Sadly, even with the election of a Confessional synodical president, a lack of will continues to this day. Yes, the Koinonia Project is touted as a long term answer to address the already very well-known issues that divide us, but this effort has no ending point in sight and does not have any anticipated mechanism in place to actually resolve the issues that are ultimately addressed. Essentially, with the inclusion of the findings from President Kieschnick's Taskforce on Synodical Harmony, the Koinonia Project looks like yet another unending series of discussions with no actual resolution of the controverted issues. Incredulously, the Koinonia Project thinks that it will take a year (after all the pilot projects are completed and Synodical convention approval is obtained) to even determine what the issues are! This really isn't rocket science, just look at the ten concerns itemized by the ACELC and get a move on! http://www.acelc.net/
The countdown has not yet even begun. Furthermore, the Koinonia Project is being used by the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) to postpone making important theological judgments until the conclusion of the Koinonia Project. At least this is precisely the response that the ACELC received from the CTCR when it submitted its three official dissents to the CTCR. This essentially places a moratorium on the identification and correction of error within the LCMS and no one knows when the Koinonia Project will ever end!
5. The conspiracy of silence within our Synod to ignore the theological errors is being overcome by the ACELC's DVD, "If Not Now, When?"
In the interest of keeping the outward "peace" of the institution, the LCMS has refused to engage in meaningful, substantive, public discussions and instead insisted that not even blatant false doctrine can be identified as such in the Koinonia Pilot Project discussions that have thus far occurred. If you can't even identify the problem, how in the world can you resolve it? The ACELC recently released an hour long DVD, "If Not Now, When?"
that clearly identifies the issues that are dividing our Synod. It is available for free from the internet
or a DVD can be obtained at nominal cost from the ACELC. Study guides for each of the ten concerns are available for use by pastors teaching their Sunday morning Bible classes, or for Circuit Pastor's Conferences or any other group interested in retaining a Synod faithful to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. This well-produced DVD is a riveting look at the reality of our much divided Synod and provides an opportunity for pastors and their congregations to address our Synod in Christian love.
6. Sixth, your congregation can be a part of the solution to reform our Synod to greater unity in doctrine and practice.
Is it better to be silent in the face of error or to speak up? The Lutheran Reformers of the 16th century knew the answer to that question - they spoke up! Against Pope and Emperor they stood as one man to give witness to the purity of doctrine which is the Christian faith and they would face all, even death rather than depart from it. Can Lutherans today do any less? The ACELC provides the means by which our collective voice can be heard by our own Synod. Silence only supports error. Speaking the truth in love seeks the well-being of our brothers and sisters in faith in the LCMS. Speaking the truth in love strives to reflect the unity of God Himself and the unity of the faith He has revealed to us in His Word.
7. Seventh, if you are uncertain about the ACELC, but would like to know more about who we are and what we are doing, visit our website at www.acelc.net or better yet, come to our next annual conference on April 26-28, 2016, at Redeemer Lutheran, Nashville, TN.
Nothing the ACELC does is secret. Every action is open and transparent for all to see. You will find in the ACELC a fellowship of like-minded Lutherans who truly care about our Synod and are willing to publicly do whatever is necessary to help our Synod be healed from the tragic divisions that are tearing our 167 year old Church body apart. We are determined to keep speaking up until our Synod hears the truth and conforms herself to the Word of God and our Lutheran Confessions.
The congregations and pastors of the ACELC are not just another group of complainers. We are God's people speaking God's truth to a wayward synodical institution that can't seem to see that the way to true peace is unity in doctrine and biblical practice. This is what it means to be a Synod. Won't you consider joining your voice and your congregation's voice to the growing symphony of unity in Christ which the ACELC seeks to bring to the LCMS? I pray that you will.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Richard A. Bolland
Pagosa Springs, Colorado