Wednesday, July 9, 2008

1953 - Substitute Proposal...

At the 1953 convention, the WELS Floor Committee on Church Union found serious issues with the LC-MS in matters of unionism (chaplaincy, scouting, co-operation with unaffiliated church bodies in service centers, prayer fellowship). The committee agreed that the LC-MS has "brought about the present break in relations that is now threatening the existence of the Synodical Conference" and thus approved a protest. Not that the WELS was disavowing fellowship, but that they were awaiting a decision by LC-MS (1953 Proceedings, page 104).

One man thought that the time for action was now. He submitted his own "Substitute Proposal." Here it is in its entirety:

We find that the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has left the scriptural position of the Synodical Conference in the matter of Scouting, of prayer-fellowship, of Chaplaincies, and the Common Confession.

We find that all efforts over the years to bring the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod back to the scripturally correct position in these matters have failed and that we have exhausted all avenues of admonition-opportunity.

We find that Scripture instructs us Romans 16,17 that we should avoid such who have caused division and offences contrary to the doctrine that we learned.

I therefore recommend

that the Joint Synod of Wisconsin and Other States, in obedience to God's command and in the hope that our action may still achieve what all other efforts have failed to accomplish, herewith declareds that it is now not in fellowship with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod;

that we make every effort to liquidate our joint work in a decent and orderly manner;

that we transmit this our finding and resolution to our Districts called in special session this fall.

Prof. Winfred Schaller
(1953 Proceedings, page 105-106)

Synod Action:
The Synod adopted the Floor Committee recommendations; a motion was made and seconded to adopt the Substitute Proposal; a motion prevails to refer this matter to a convention to be held in the early fall of 1953; a motion prevails to ask the District Presidents to call special sessions of the Districts to discuss the union matters; a motion prevails to provide copies of both the Standing and Floor Committee Reports on Church Union, and the Substitute Proposal to the Districts for their sessions; a motion prevails to recess convention until October 8, 1953. (1953 Proceedings, page 106)