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LC-MS CHURCH POLITICAL SHENANIGANS WOULD MAKE JESUS WEEP!
Posted on Saturday, July 13 @ 02:57:00 CDT by van

Religion As I was posting the last article concerning a LC-MS proposed "gag-order" involving matters relating to the Atlantic District David Benke being criticized for his participation in a post 11 September 2001 memorial service for the families loosing loved ones in the tragic events we will all remember as an attack on our country, I received an article written by David L. Mahsman indicating that synodical Second Vice President Wallace Schulz had suspended Benke. It appears when an LC-MS officer is accused of fouling up (Unless, of course, he is one of the "Good Old Boys"), he is PRESUMED TO BE GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT! You be the judge. What you will read is what Mahsman wrote.

Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Second Vice President Wallace Schulz has suspended Atlantic District President David Benke over his participation in a post-Sept.11 event at Yankee Stadium.

But Synod President Gerald Kieschnick says Schulz's action violates a resolution adopted by last year's Synod convention. Kieschnick has written to Schulz asking that his action be "altered or reversed."

Schulz placed Benke on suspended status June 25 in a case related to Benke's participation in " A Prayer for America" last Sept. 23 at Yankee Stadium. Benke offered a prayer at the event, which included participation by Christian and non-Christian clergy, political leaders and entertainers.

A Jan. 30 majority vote of the Synod's presidium -- the president and five vice presidents -- gave responsibility to Schulz for investigating charges that had been brought against Benke by a number of LC-MS pastors and congregations. The complaints allege that Benke is guilty of a variety of charges, including "unionism" and "syncretism."

Benke has asked that his case be heard and resolved, in effect appealing the suspension. The process outlined in the Synod's Bylaws calls for a three-member "Dispute Resolution Panel" to hear the case. The three would be selected by blind draw from among a Synod wide pool of trained "reconcilers" appointed by the districts. There has been no indication how quickly a panel might be established.

Suspension means that Benke has been relieved of his district and Synod duties, while he remains pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Brooklyn. A ruling in favor of Benke by the Dispute Resolution Panel would lift the suspension. A ruling against him would lead to his removal from the Synod's clergy roster unless a review panel were to reverse such a decision.

In a "Postoral Letter to the Synod," Kieschnick wrote that he is "hereby advising the Synod that I have no choice but to 'call up for review' Dr. Schultz's action of placing President David H, Benke on suspended status for the purpose of requesting that his action be 'altered or reversed,"

The letter was sent July 9 via e-mail to LC-MS church workers, officials and congregations. At the time that this LCMSNews release was sent, a printed version was being prepared for mailing. It also is available on the Synod's Web site, http://www.lcms.org

Kieschnick in his letter invokes a Synod bylaw (3.101, B, 5) that directs the president to "call up for review any action by an individual officer ." which, in his view, may be in violation of the Constitution, Bylaws and resolutions of the Synod ..."

Last year's Synod convention adopted a resolution (3-07A), that commends "for continued use and guidance" two documents on church-fellowship issues from the Commission on Theology and Church Relations and the late LC-MS President A.L. Barry , One includes a discussion of "cases of discretion," stating in part, "Not every occasion where worship takes place is necessarily a manifestation of church fellowship. of church fellowship.

"Dr. Benke's decision to participate in the Yankee Stadium event was made following consultation with his ecclesiastical supervisor and other advisors, who provided counsel to him based on the Constitution of the Synod and 2001 Resolution 3-07A," Kieschnick wrote.

"... Vice President Schultz has suspended President Benke without even addressing the question of whether he has acted contrary to the doctrine and practice of the Synod as presented in Resolution 3-07A. As an officer of the Synod Dr. Schultz is bound to honor and uphold the resolutions of the Synod. Accordingly, any decision which he might make regarding the suspension of an LC-MS pastor MUST be based on the understanding of what the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions teach AS DETERMINED BY THE LUTHERAN CHURCH-MISSOURI SYNOD IN ITS CONSTITUTION, BYLAWS AND SYNODICAL RESOLUTIONS," Kieschnick wrote, adding the emphasis (where capitalized) "This he has not done in his action of suspending President Benke."

Contacted at his home July 10, Schultz said that he has "no response" to Kieschnick's letter.

Kieschnick is visiting the Atlantic District yesterday (July 11) and today (July 12) to meet with Benke's congregation, as well as with the Atlantic District Board of Directors and the board of regents, faculty and staff of Concordia College, Bronxville, N.Y.

"The purpose of these meetings will be to encourage these members of the Synod, to demonstrate evangelical, pastoral concern for them during this stressful time, and to assure them of the love and support of the members of the Synod and of the Council of Presidents, including the synodical president," Kieschnick wrote in his letter to the Synod.

Atlantic District First Vice President Charles Froehfich, pastor of St. Luke Lutheran Church, Dix Hill, N.Y., has taken up the district president's responsibilities as a result of Benke's suspension.

In a letter to the people of the district, Froehlich wrote that he is assuming the responsibilities "in full support of Dr. Benke's action, with the expectation that the suspension will be removed and Dr. Benke will be fully exonerated." Froehlich's letter is posted on the district's Web site, http://www.lcms.org .

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