The LCMS- past, present, and possibly future- in a nutshell
This essay by Dr. Wallace Schultz- the former Lutheran Hour speaker and synodical vice-president who was the highest-ranking LCMS official not directly involved in the Benke controversy, did his job as such by suspending Dr. Benke, and got fired for it-is very, very long. My protracted, frustrating experience as an ELCA pastor trying to warn the sheep under my care of the less-than-beneficent intentions of the wolves they were so deeply in love with (including some of the very wolves Dr. Schultz identifies) makes it all too clear to me that even if the essay were short and concise, the people who most need to read it wouldn't bother. And I don't necessarily agree with everything Dr. Schultz says.
But for the most part, the essay is an absolutely right-on summary not only of the current mess the LCMS is in, but of how we got there. In fact, it traces the entire history of the LCMS, together with the great crises- past (and often unresolved) as well as present- which have defined, sometimes distorted, and most of all confused its identity and functioning.
There can be no doubt, as the essay asserts, that at present the baleful influences of Methobapticostalism (i.e., classical Fundamentalism, with a large "F," and emotion driven, "me-centered" American Protestantism generally) have been with us for a very long time. We are, to a considerable extent, reaping the consequences of neglecting to protect our theology and practice from influences wholly incompatible with biblical, confessional Lutheranism. President Kieschnick did not invent these. While I take no pleasure in saying it, I saw the handwritting on the wall back in the late 'Seventies, when I was a student at River Forest.
May the portion of Christ's Body known as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod soon know resurrection.