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ST. LOUIS (RNS) A decision to censure a pastor for participating in a prayer service for victims of the Sandy Hook school massacre has reopened old wounds for the often politically divided Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.


  1. Carolyn Parry Tilford

    Harrison is a disgrace to any faith community and should be removed immediately. He lacks any compassion, feeling or any other attitrube of a Christian as we are supposed to be.
    My two great grandfathers came here from Germany and both helped establish Luteran churches, both Missouri Synod I might add. I am totally ashamed to be Missouri Lutheran at this point and if this is what LCMS stands for then it is time to rethink their so called “theology”. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • An "Old Lutheran"

      Heller; “…does not represent all Lutherans”…who claim the name. Very true. The ELCA is more closely aligned with Zwingli, Calvin, Armenians, Wesley, etc.; evidenced by pulpit and alter indifference. A subject you would be well advised to explore. “Love” in the politically correct context can be promiscuous. The use of the term “Law” is an ambiguous term which means nothing apart from the two great inter-related doctrines of the Bible, Ie. Law, and Gospel, (There is a proper distinction). Unless of course you are living in the Hebrew Bible only, and then one must ask which; Civil dietary, ceremonial.

        • Heller; And your point is——-Doctrinal indifference. In other words; Whatever you believe, teach, and confess really isn’t important, and “all roads lead to heaven”. This is the zeitgeist. It is popular and it is shallow. It is also very piestistic.
          Glad I could be of some help.

    • Jesus says the law can be summed up in this: Love the Lord thy God with all your heart and all your mind. This is a summary of the first, three commandments, which include the following: you should have no other gods before me and that one should not misuse the name of the Lord. Giving the impression that the Triune God is the same as false gods is violating the law of love. While we have all fallen short of God’s Law, it should not be vitiated (Matt. 5:17-19).

      I would also note that Rev. Seider forgets that it is the purview of the President of the MIssouri Synod to speak when a pastor publicly sins since he is the elected leader of Missouri Synod churches. Moreover, Seider needs to read the Bible, where Jesus rebukes Peter publicly on numerous occasions- get behind thee Satan! Also, Paul publicly rebuked Peter for acting contrary to the Gospel by making ceremony laws, moral laws.

      Jesus did not come to rationalize our sins, but rather to atone for them.

      • Fact in 2001 the Missouri Synod condemded one of their own for praying with spiritual leaders from other faiths including Muslim, Christian and Jews and condeming the 9/11attacks
        Fact in 2012 the Missouri Synod condemded one of their own for prayingwith spiritual leaders from other faiths including Muslim, Christian and Jews after the slaughter of innocent children in Newtown CT .

        Ironic that cults like Missouri Synod get to enjoy this country’s religious freedoms (and tax exempt status) while preaching the message of intolerence .

        the number charges of racism and other lawsuits against “Missouri Synod” is a matter of public record . This is a dangerous CULT not a church

  2. Ok live by the law and your purity codes. The Pharisees and Saducees had that down to a T.
    “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”…. “Love The Lord your God… And your neighbor as yourself. Who is my neighbor?”
    Jesus did not choose the one who kept the law and purity codes “correctly”. He chose the unlovable, impure dog called a Samaritan who only kept the law of love as the righteous one of his parable.

    He had troubles with those law keepers who missed the law of love.

    There will be more in heaven than those whose theology is pure and right. We are saved by grace through faith… Not by passing a confirmation test. Whose theology and practice is without fault anyways?

    Yes I do believe that God’s grace is wide. We can discuss this in that city where the river flows from the throne… And there is no need for sun or moon. Unless we are saved by our theology, then there will be no need of that city…there will be no need of that light because God will be alone.

    Love is the fulfillment of the law.

    Grace and Peace! :-)

    • Heller; It is clear that you have agressivly taken the foundational topic to another level of self righteousness. See your 8:01, and your first paragraph of your 8:48. On another related topic on this site, I have said that Harrison stumbled in the area of polity, (politically correct). The yeast of pietism in your tradition is clearly feeding your preixisting bias, and is nothing more than an opportunity for you to show it. Your emphasis of “The Law” reveals a lack of understanding of “The Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel”. ” If one is to err, it is best to err on the side of the Gospel.”
      Re. your “Love is the fulfillment of the law”;superficially, that sounds good. So, is it your understanding that WE fulfill the law? A typical claim of Armeneism. (A related subject is decision theology). Our understanding is that The Christ fulfilled the Law, and it is He in me through faith that responds in the fulfillment through the Gospel, manifested in love.
      I do believe we are essentially on the same side in this discussion, but the aparent influence of post-reformation theology (pietism) has affected your ability to be objective. Indeed, subjectivity is the hallmark of most of the “isms” within pietism.
      Smilie face.

  3. What I like about this article is that it NAMES the bad guys… these “brothers of John the Steadfast.” They are like a cult within the Missouri Synod. Glad that someone is exposing them!
    What isn’t being said much right now, tho, is that the right wing cannot continue to LOVE Harrison the way they have AND be totally pleased with how he’s handled it. After all, HE has now apologized (see his blog)… and as far as the right wing is concerned, there’s nothing to apologize for. If anything, Harrison should be more “steadfast” in opposition to public outcry and go full speed ahead in persecuting not only this pastor, but also everyone else in the denomination that believes in him.
    After all, persecuting dissent is the MISSOURI WAY.

    • On such a public site such as this, I am reminded of 1 Cor. 6:1; “Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to the law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?” I am also reminded of the 8th commandment, (bearing false witness)(( with bias)). Are the entheusiasts so insecure that they must resort to the court of popular opinion, even to those outside the church? It would appear to be so.

  4. I’m very glad that this embarrassing episode _continues_ to get attention in the media. Thanks to social media etc., I’m sure the word is getting out to the lay people. A one-term-Harrison presidency would be a _start_ to fixing the problems in missouri.
    One thing that should be clarified: anytime the conservatives rag about “sharing a stage with a Jewish Rabbi, or the Baha’i religion,” they’re being very disingenuous. Any of the conservative mouth-pieces commenting here would be just as upset if the pastor in question had shared a stage with members of only other Christian denominations. All you Methodists, Catholics, Baptists, and Presbyterians out there…. **YOU** are considered heterodox. Read the stuff they write about you on sites like Only _their brand_ of Lutheranism is the “orthodox” faith.

    • Again… notice…. all you other Christians reading this are “outside the church.”
      This is standard conservative missouri synod doctrine.
      It’s good for you to know this.

  5. An "Old Lutheran"

    A fine example of Machiavellianism. “The employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct”. (Feel free to look up” duplicity” for a refresher), “The end justifies the means”.

  6. For all of you Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and just plain evangelicals out there who want to read more about how HETERODOX you are–as judged by conservative Lutherans–feel free to visit and surf these sites.

    There are more, but you get the point. It’s not that they think you’re all going to hell. It just means it’s like an accident if you make it into heaven… what with all of the “false doctrine” you have. Whereas their brand of lutheranism is the TRUTH.
    In defense of most misouri synod lay people, THEY don’t think this, nor do many pastors in the denomination. But these organizations are currently in power through their man Matthew Harrison.

  7. Terminology 101:
    “enthusiasts” = today’s evangelicals and/or charismatics.
    “heterodox” = anyone who doesn’t believe the right-wingers brand of Lutheranism, including their own fellow missouri synod members.
    BTW, in case you’re not tracking on the whole heterodox thing, it means not so much that they think you’re all going to hell, only that IF you make it to heaven it will be inspite of all of that false doctrine you have. This is their brand of lutheranism. They ALONE are the orthodox ones. Thankfully not all missouri synod lay people and pastors are like that, but you are seeing it represented well here in the remarks made by some.

  8. pmichaels; Thank you for revealing yourself. I would recomend you study the Book of Concord.—-If—you are a LCMS Lutheran, it is included in the constitution of Synod, and each congregation. Read your constitution, and the Concordia, In addition specifically, the SD article 10. This may be new to you.
    Live long and grow in peace.

  9. Of course a bunch of noisy right wing radicals in a denomination is not that big of a deal (usually). I suppose every denomination has some. It’s just that in the missouri synod they managed to get their man elected leader. AND THAT’S the point to this whole sordid affair.

    • If the synod is so bad, and you disagree with the confessions contained in the constitutions, Why stay? You are free to go. No one can stop you. Even Keischnick was bound by the constitutions. I suggest following Osteen, Oprah, et al, or one that has even more potential for you, and that would be the Unitarian/ Universalists. Nothing there for you to be angry about. You could write your own menue. That bein said, I suspect that in time, you would have complaints there too.

  10. Heterodox heterodox heterodox.
    Folks just keep telling yourself that. That’s what these people say you are. It doesn’t matter if you’re saved or go to mass every Sunday. You are heterodox. Here’s an interesting exercise, why not email Matthew Harrison and ASK HIM if he agrees with the brothers of john the steadfast? Ask him if HE thinks you’re heterodox. You can email him at

  11. Better yet, maybe we could get Matthew Harrison to simply go on record with, say, the Religion News Service or some other worthy outlet of news and have him list all of the Heterodox Denominations.

  12. If our friend here would do an indepth comparative theology study, he would discover every one of the denominations he names, plus others have their own specific set of beliefe/traditions. Many of which are in contradiction with the others in varying degrees. I need not name all of them, but they would be considered heterodox,/ errors, or contradictions in each of their own eyes. Ask a Catholic about open communion, a Baptist about infant baptism, a Methodist about “this represents” in communion, or double predestination in the Presbyterians that haven’t been influenced by Armeneist’s theology. Disagreements are abundant among all of them. Our friend’s rose colored glasses leads him to think it’s about one against all the others, when there is equal opportunity of disagreement. Universalism is his desire, and that is where he should go. That may please him——for a while.——or—— He could join PETA, and protest dog shows, or beef consumption.

  13. John Wesley said, “Dost thou love God, and serve Him? It is enough! I extend thee the right hand of fellowship.” Ernest Angeley said, “Jesus can change your heart but stupid is forever.” Guess where I stand.

  14. Let me guess where you stand; On the steps of a church which emphasizes “Deeds, not Creeds”. (Emphasis of works over what is believed). Sounds a Little like Jack Horner, when he pulled out a plumb: as he said “what a good boy am I”. Your quote of Ernest Angely reminds me of the “two who went up to the temple to pray”. Consider “the one, not so much as lifting his head said; “God be mercifull to me a sinner”. “I tell you, this man went his way justified”.

  15. Alan ia lutheran

    someone said on here Love comes before law…. Well the Lcms confort dogs from N ILL brought much love and healing through confort dogs and prayer. seen on nation news many times. This type of mercy in action is whats needed in time of greif. not joint prayer with others who dont believe in the triune God.
    I stand with Harrison.

  16. I find it “sad” that the book of concord seems to have more authority than the holy bible….for SOME Lutherans.

    That’s too bad.

    Let’s not forget that Jesus healed on the Sabbath.

  17. I left the missouri synod. I was raised in that version of lutheranism. When i wwent to parochial schools i liked it as a child. I amm thankfuul i went to the missouri synod. I got a good understanding of the the religion. However as the years dragged on i began to see how “corporate”, and how inhuman lack of empathy the missouri synod began to exhibit. I turned to another version of christianity on my own (not due to marriage). Ii am thankful i left. I think the missouri synod has no empathy towards others. The ministers tend to be arrogant and self righteous. Judgemental. Argumentative about stupid dogma (WELS has this issue too). I think the missouri synod tends to teach folks to judeg/condemn others of other faiths without understanding why people are of that belief. The misouri syndo doesnt tend to teach its members to not pick at the speck in their brothers eye without removing the log in their own first (quoting not exxxactly Jjesus of the new testament.). I thank God for opening my eyes to make the decision to leave such a cultlike damning religion as the missouri synod. God bless everyone!

  18. @ Allan ia lutheran: So it’s ok to bring your dog to minister and pray with non-LCMS people but it’s NOT OK to bring yourself to pray with non-LCMS people? That’s crazy you compared it this way! Thank you to PMichaels and Don Heller for trying to bring the truth here.

  19. Old Catholic - Now LCMS

    Heterodox or not, I am a former catholic turned LCMS. These inter-christian flamesrs really disappoint me. While I and many in our local congregation disagree with some of these exclusionary tactics and many of us within the LCMS are working to rid the synod of this type of stuff (much will go with the older, leading members), please remember the Roman Catholic Church has its own set of these “rules” which are just as “exclusionary” and nasty. And in many cases in my estimation much more. This led to my leaving the Catholic faith.

    But that said, the main reason I joined the LCMS was because of many things “shared” with Catholicism. This particularly applies to social issues like abortion, homosexuality, infant baptism, etc. And I don’t feel any “fire and brimstone” either as the only message I have gotten at church is certainly “grace through faith” when “I truly listen”. While I always get Law, it is ALWAYS followed with gospel. ALWAYS. I personally felt more “fire and brimstone” when I was a Catholic. If you want to talk about works, I could go on.

    I would like to suggest that I do consider devout Catholics with the LCMS to be amongst the spiritual brothers and sisters who are practicing a faith closesest to what God wants. We would do well to work together esp given the common enemies we face esp secularism and fanatical Islam.

    LCMS rants like this don’t do anything except tear us apart.

  20. i was brought up lutheran my dads side are czech and morvarians and slovak lutherans my mother is italian roman catholic and i have a hard time listening to these people bash my church because they are uptight and liberal and want the lcms to pray with non christians and hold hands and sing kumbuya it says in the bible most clearly that light and darkness do not mix thierfore why would a chirstian pray with a muslim or a buddist or a bahai or a hindu or a athiest or agnostic or anyone who do not believe in the same god as we pray to the same can be said with why would a non lutheran come to the lords table for commuion at a lcms church if they do not hold to the same doctrinal beliefs of the lutheran church even the roman catholics and eastern orthodox churches and many other protestant denominations hold to a closed commuion including many conservative reformed and presbyterian churches so why do we have to change our views to be politicaly correct for a bunch of liberal left wing chirstians

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