Congregations Walking Together in Mission with Covenants of Love
To Study Article VI of Synod’s Constitution

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TF Report (CW TFR, pp. 21-22); (CW TFR A, 1.5-6); Overtures 8-16, 8-46-48 (CW, pp. 227, 237)

WHEREAS, The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Structure and Governance has proposed an amendment to Constitution Article VI (Requirements of Membership) for the purpose of clarification and affirmation; and

WHEREAS, Concerns have been expressed throughout the history of the Synod, including recently, about the proper understanding and application of Article VI with respect to the conditions or requirements for acquiring and holding or retaining membership in the Synod; and

WHEREAS, These concerns as well as misunderstandings and misapplications of Article VI have included such matters as “subscription … to [Synod’s] Constitution,” “Renunciation of unionism and syncretism of every description;” “Exclusive use of doctrinally pure agenda, hymnbooks, and catechisms in church and school;” and “examination and approval of [congregation’s] constitution and bylaws by the district”; and

WHEREAS, The requirements for membership reflect the identity and values of Synod; and

WHEREAS, The ministers of religion-ordained and the ministers of religion-commissioned of the Synod have an important role and responsibility in the life of the church; and

WHEREAS, Membership in the Synod carries clear expectation; and

WHEREAS, The LCMS is made up of congregations from a great diversity of cultural contexts, calling for an appropriate measure of flexibility in communicating the saving message of the Gospel; therefore be it 

Resolved, That the President of the Synod in consultation with the Council of Presidents, the Commission of Theology and Church Relations, and the Commission on Constitutional Matters make provisions for the preparation of materials (a study) that explain the biblical, confessional, and historical basis for Article VI of the Synod’s Constitution and the current and historic bylaws that elucidate the article; and be it further

Resolved, That the study involve the Council of Presidents, the districts, circuits and seminaries; and be it further

Resolved, That the congregations of the Synod be encouraged to engage in the study to promote unity, harmony and understanding; and be it further

Resolved, That following the study the Commission on Handbook, in consultation and concurrence with the Synod President, the Commission on Constitutional Matters and the Council of Presidents, submit a proposal to clarify and affirm or amend Article VI to the next convention of Synod; and be it finally

Resolved, That we give thanks to the almighty God for the privilege and opportunity He gives us to work and walk together in this Synod as His ambassadors in and to the worlds in which we live. 

Action:  Adopted (11)

(An earlier version of this resolution, Res. 8-30A, “To Amend Article VI,” was introduced by the committee in Session 5. After a number of committee changes, proposed amendments, and a substitute resolution attempt, the matter was “laid on the table” without objection from the assembly. Res. 8-30B was introduced in place of Res. 8-30A during Session 11. During discussion, a proposal to amend the fourth resolve by replacing “clarifying and affirming amendment of” with “to clarify and affirm or amend” was accepted by the committee as a friendly amendment. An amendment to delete that entire fourth resolve failed [Yes: 273; No: 828]. When debate was ended, Res. 8-30B was adopted as changed [Yes: 850; No: 286].)

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