Ecclesia semper reformanda est - I don't know who coined that phrase, but it's ever so true. And always has been - see Galatians. In this sense, there has never been a golden age and we should not be disheartened by the mess our little patch of the una sancta finds herself in. The Missouri Synod is indeed by schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed: the worship wars, Seminary Lite (SMP), a few charismatics here, a few would be women-ordainers there, usw.
So where to begin? What should Confessional Lutherans be focusing on in Missouri? I appreciate the work that folks like the ACELC are doing - but we need focus. You can't move on all fronts at once. We need an issue that captures the attention of all Confessional Lutherans and one that is theological (not political), clearly based in the Scriptures and the Confessions, and as objective and black and white as possible.
It just so happens that we have this issue: Missouri's 1989 revision of the Augsburg Confession sans Article XIV (it is the shortest article, so it's a small revision, right?). "Lay ministry" - the intentional, "licensed," and ongoing practice of having men who have not been called to and placed in the Office of the Ministry administer the Sacraments and preach the Word in our parishes. This is simply contrary to the Scriptures, contrary to the Confessions, and contrary to all the practice of historic Christianity.
If Confessionals cannot unite to undo this wrong, then what is the point of being Confessional? Let us make 2013 the Year of AC XIV.
Gottesdienst is getting the ball rolling with a one day conference on AC XIV and Lay Ministry in Kearney, Nebraska, on July 25th. While the whole Synod is affected by this problem, the Great Plains and the Northwest are the epicenters. Pastors, lay people, district officials, and the lay ministers themselves are invited and encouraged to attend.
Especially if you are in Nebraska or Kansas, please make plans to attend. If you know folks in those areas, tell them to attend. If you are for or against the Missouri Synod's present practice, come and join us to study this issue. Here is the full conference information:
AC XIV and Lay Ministry
Zion Lutheran Church, Kearney, NE
9:00 - Registration (Coffee and rolls)
9:30 - Matins
10:00 - Presentation and breaks
12-1:30 - Lunch (at local establishments of your choice)
1:45 - 3:00 - Panel Discussion
3:00 - Gemuetlichkeit
Registration fee: None. The offering at Matins will defray Zion's costs.
To register email Fr. Micah Gaunt mgaunt2000 at yahoo dot com.