Guest / Limited Access /

When the nominations for president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod were tallied and released earlier this month, a collective gasp went up from Lutherans who pay attention to things like presidential nominations.

It wasn't just that nine-year incumbent Rev. Gerald Kieschnick, 67, received 755 nominations, but that the Rev. Matthew Harrison, 48, received nearly double that amount: 1,332.

Harrison, executive director of the church's World Relief and Human Care office, has the support of a group called the Brothers of John the Steadfast whose mission is, in part, to "defend and promote the orthodox Christian faith which is taught in the Lutheran Confessions … "

The group's website (www.steadfastlutherans.org) is one of the voices in the conservative wing of the synod that's unhappy with Kieschnick, and the group's analysis said Kieschnick's 755 nominations were the lowest number ever received by a sitting president.

"The nomination numbers were encouraging," said the Rev. Timothy Rossow, pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, Ill., who heads the Brothers of John the Steadfast.

Some observers say the movement reflected in Rossow's group is made up of as many as one-third of the denomination's 2.4 million members. Others say it's much smaller, though loud and influential.

Theological and doctrinal conservatives within the St. Louis-based Missouri Synod call themselves "confessional Lutherans." They are traditionalists who stress a strict adherence to the Book of Concord, the 16th-century work that defined the central doctrines of Lutheranism.

Confessionalists are critical of what they call Kieschnick's postmodern approach to the church. They say that for the last decade, Kieschnick has taken a nondenominational, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueWilson's Bookmarks
Subscriber Access Only Wilson's Bookmarks
From John Wilson, editor of Books & Culture.
Recommended
Subscriber Access Only The Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals
Landmark titles that changed the way we think, talk, witness, worship, and live.
TrendingThe Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
The Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
What Paula White’s Washington moment implies for the prosperity gospel’s future.
Editor's PickThe Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
The Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
It begins by recognizing the name above every name.
Christianity Today
Tea Party Insurgence Ripples Through Missouri Synod Election
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

April 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.