‘We Preach Christ Crucified’: 2023 Convention Wrap-Up

The 68th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod was held July 29-August 3 in Milwaukee. In addition to daily worship, the Synod convention included time for delegates to elect members of various board and leadership positions, vote on resolutions, hear essays and special presentations, study Luther’s Small Catechism, and learn more about the national and international work of the church.

The resolutions adopted this year passed by wide margins. They:

  • Affirm in-person and closed Communion (Res. 5-09, 89%);
  • Affirm residential seminary education (Res. 6-03A, 90%); and
  • Revise the bylaws of the Concordia universities (Res. 7-04B, 88%).

They also raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking, condemn racism and other harmful ideologies, call for a uniform set of Lutheran education standards, and address church worker wellness and student debt. A few highlights of the convention follow.

  • On July 30, the convention recognized altar and pulpit fellowship with five church bodies:
  • The Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Sudan/Sudan (ELCSS/S);
  • The Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (ELMDF);
  • The Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU);
  • The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine (ELCU); and
  • The Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church (CELC) in Sri Lanka.

By a vote of 94% on Res. 5–07, delegates recognized the end of fellowship with the Japan Lutheran Church (JLC) due to that church body’s false doctrine and practice. This move, which came after “ten years of formal and informal doctrinal discussions” between the JLC and the LCMS, is only the second time in the history of the LCMS that fellowship has been ended with a former partner church.

Delegates adopted Res. 7-03, which affirmed the LCMS Commission on Constitutional Matters opinion that actions taken by Concordia University Texas (CTX), Austin, Texas, to change its governing documents are in direct conflict with the Synod’s Constitution and Bylaws and are thus null and void.

Res. 7-03 also called upon the CTX president, those CTX administrators who advocated for and supported CTX’s purported separation, and the CTX Board of Regents (BOR) to submit to the governance of the Synod, repent, and seek reconciliation and restoration by rescinding their actions. The resolution, which further asked the LCMS Board of Directors (BOD) and others to act to address the situation, was adopted with 716 votes in favor out of 999 cast (71.67%).

Delegates adopted by voice vote Res. 4-07, “To Give Thanks for Preservation of the Gospel in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod,” at the upcoming 50th anniversary of the 1974 “Walkout” from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. At the time of the walkout, the controversy centered on the authority of Holy Scripture and the Gospel, and, as noted in the resolution, caused division in “families, congregations, and every institution of Synod.”

A detailed wrap-up of the convention, along with video footage of various speakers, is available HERE.

Reprinted, with permission, from the September 2023 Reporter, the official newspaper of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. https://reporter.lcms.org/2023/we-preach-christ-crucified-2023-convention-wrap-up/