Guest / Limited Access /

A Lutheran pastor in Newtown, Conn., has apologized after being reprimanded for participating in an interfaith vigil following the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The Rev. Rob Morris, pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church, ...

Read More

Displaying 1–16 of 16 comments

Luther Layman

June 03, 2013  10:52pm

Having read your article in February regarding the actions of the president of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod following the tragedy in Newtown, CT, I am somewhat surprised that there have been no follow up articles, or at least none that I have noticed. As a lay member of the church, I have been embarrassed and appalled by the actions and attitudes of President Harrison. As the church prepares for its triennial convention this July, a number of congregations and members submitted overtures to the convention affirming the actions of Pastor Morris, and the need of the church to be an active witness in the public square. The governance of the church allows President Harrison to appoint floor committees to review those proposals. Those proposed overtures can be viewed by downloading the “Convention Workbook” at http://www.lcms.org/convention. On pages 185-189, you can find a series of overtures – 4-50 through 4-54 – addressing the desire of members of the church to express support for Newtown, Pastor Morris, and the responsibility of the church to be engaged in our communities. President Harrison, through his handpicked floor committees, has tried to bury EVERY such overture, and not a single resolution presented by the floor committees makes any attempt to address these grave concerns. Those resolutions are also available on the same web site, under the link “Today’s Business – First Issue.” I have also seen no coverage of other issues. President Harrison was elected by the last convention of the LCMS in 2010. At that time, significant changes to the governance structure were proposed, and ultimately adopted. At that time, now President Harrison vehemently objected to those changes, suggesting that those changes would place too much authority in the president. Now that he has been elected, however, he is proposing even more drastic changes to the governance, attempting to aggregate powers that even the pope does not have within the Catholic Church. Because of the 2010 changes, President Harrison has complete control of the church’s media outlets, and dissenting views are not heard at all. Without coverage outside the church, there is no chance that the members and delegates to the upcoming convention will even be aware of these actions by President Harrison. I have yet to find a single article in the non-church press regarding these issues. With a membership of 2.5 million members, I would hope that reporters such as you will find reasons to shine some light on these issues.

Report Abuse

robert Boe

March 07, 2013  3:17am

kaleb bell reporter at large got it wrong!! no lutheran denomination or lutheran synod president pastor or theology profesor, teacher or any other lutheran has any authority to tell any one in the lutheran church what to do .. we are not the roman catholic church or a baptist church or a non denominational church .. The only authority in the lutheran church is our bibles Gods word.. the bible in more than one place tells us authortivly to stay away from those who teach differently than the bible. stay away from can not mean pray with or worship with .. yet that also does not mean we cant pray for them because the bible says----------- that we should do!

Report Abuse

Sandara Jo Fakler

February 15, 2013  9:38pm

Why can't a lcms person pray with people of other demominations. God is all christian's God isn't He

Report Abuse

mikeandcarol winick

February 13, 2013  9:17pm

Jesus tells us, in Matthew 5:44, "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." So how much more are we to pray for those of our neighbors who are hurting and mourning? How do we live out the command of the Great Commision if we only stay and pray with our own? I think that the right thing to do was to pray boldly and to proclaim a loving God to hurting people when they needed it most.

Report Abuse

robert Boe

February 12, 2013  9:19pm

This guy being a lutheran pastor should know better than that.. after all he should be setting a example not only for lutherans but other christians also.. Should other christians really be praying with those they really dont know any thing about? Most of you other christians have no real idea what Lutheran christians actually beleive about most things that the bible talks about .. so Why then would you want to pray with lutherans when you dont know what we really believe about the bible or God or people .. and you certainly should not being praying with people like muslums or jews who beleive in a god other than Jesus .

Report Abuse

audrey ruth

February 10, 2013  1:37am

These inter-faith prayer services (Newtown, Washington DC, etc) remind me that the Lord God levied severe judgment on His people for making unholy alliances for political gain throughout Bible days. This is nothing new. We need to learn from God's Holy Word.

Report Abuse

Oun Kwon

February 09, 2013  1:39am

Again, we need a precise definition of 'vigil' 'inter-faith thing' and, especially 'prayer'. If 'prayer', what is the pastor actually doing? Read G-Mt - 'go to your room and pray to Father which is invisible'. If 'public prayer', does any Christian believe God would hear a prayer which was offered with other people who have not come to 'know' Yeshua the Messiah as the Lord and Savior. I don't know what was said in the prayer, but seems to me, such prayers would serve very well for a public show.

Report Abuse

Rick Dalbey

February 08, 2013  4:46pm

WWJD? I think Fred knows. In fact, WWFD?

Report Abuse

Fred Campbell

February 08, 2013  11:18am

Paul McCain states, in commenting on the interfaith meeting: "in which all religions are treated as equally valid expressions of truth. This has been the historic understanding and practice of the Christian religion for millennia and it would only come as a "shock" to a person who has become tolerant of the view that "every path leads to heaven". This statement is a spin in defiance of the facts and apparent true purpose of the meeting. As I understand it, the purpose of the meeting was to bring comfort and solace to a hurting community. I see no indication that any "presenter" used it as a forum for the advancement of his/her denomination or theology. To imply that the presence of Christian clergy at this event is an endorsement of other religions is a "leap of faith" unsupported by the facts. WWJD? I think we know. Shame on the LCMS.

Report Abuse

Nathan Garmatz

February 07, 2013  10:17pm

I grew up LCMS and I understand the reasoning. I am not certain I support it, to do that I would need to spend quite a bit more time researching in my Bible to make a personal determination how I interpret this position. I will say that the stoic image portrayed is a very legitimate concern for my childhood church home and I pray that as a church they find a way to a more gentle at-ease heart. As an adult I often felt like LCMS members might actually prefer a return to old testament law and to do away with this silly good news business all these young hooligans kept spouting off about. I feel like the LCMS church in their rigidity too often reject joy. I no longer attend or am a member of LCMS, but it made me sad to visit a short time ago and see almost no one under retirement age. They were incredibly friendly and welcoming at the door, but the service and sermon could have been cut and pasted from any year past, and I left feeling spiritually starved and craving home.

Report Abuse

Rick Dalbey

February 07, 2013  5:16pm

I realize we are a pluralistic civil society. I realize children of other faiths perished in this tragedy. Of course, Christians should be immediately on the ground, aggressively supporting the needs of bereaved and grieving people as I would expect islamic ministers would of their congregants. I am not Lutheran and might have participated in the civil ceremony...depending on how that ceremony was characterized. I would have no wish to be grouped into the Faith Community and paraded out onstage as an exercise in televised ceremonial civil religon with other politicians. This is not Phariseeical. Prayer yes, pluralistic civil ceremony, not so much. I understand where the Lutheran Synod is coming from here. It is a tough call, but I respect their position. I may have done otherwise. But, in the same way I would want no part in a national prayer breakfast where leaders of other religions all call on their false gods while the president smiles on or yawns benovolently.

Report Abuse

Jim Gustafson

February 07, 2013  4:44pm

Rick, I agree that Jesus alone offers eternal salvation! But the venue in question was American, public, and non-sectarian. Why should other faiths not be represented, even if they are not saving faiths? And why should any Christian faith leader, on that basis, be forbidden to participate?

Report Abuse

Rick Dalbey

February 07, 2013  4:24pm

Ah, other faith communities. As if faith, doesn't matter in what, were somehow an eternally redeeming substance. No, Jim, these are other religions who reject Jesus as the unique Son of God and the only way to heaven. Universalists may want to speak of faith communities. It would be Like John the Baptist or Paul sharing a platform with a priest of Baal, a priest of Moloch and a priestess of Diana. And Sherwood, how does "He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." somehow contradict the Lutheran position? Jesus is the only and unique way for the entire world to come unto the Father as Jesus said of Himself. He redemption is offered for all.

Report Abuse

Jim Gustafson

February 07, 2013  3:41pm

So the LCMS prevents its pastors from offering pastoral care from a public stage, if that stage also welcomes leaders of other faith communities?!?!? I am glad for this policy: it will protect me and many from being unwittingly exposed to the graceless, Pharisaical "Christian" leaders who promulgate and enforce this policy. FYI, I was baptized, raised, and confirmed LCMS.

Report Abuse

Sherwood MacRae

February 07, 2013  2:21pm

Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS), the denomination's constitution prohibits ministers from participating in services with members of different faiths. And they call themselves - Christian? Perhaps they need to read verse 2 of the second chapter of John's first letter to the church - at large.

Report Abuse

Paul McCain

February 07, 2013  1:02pm

Our church body believes it gives a public false witness when and if a representative of the Christian faith shares the platform and stage where representatives of other religions are given "equal time" and in which all religions are treated as equally valid expressions of truth. This has been the historic understanding and practice of the Christian religion for millennia and it would only come as a "shock" to a person who has become tolerant of the view that "every path leads to heaven." I applaud our Synod's president, Rev. Matthew Harrison, for discharging faithfully the duties of his office and working in a very pastoral manner with Pastor Morris. I also thank Pr. Morris for his keen sensitivity to the offense that his actions causes within our church body. If people are interested in reading the actual letter Pastors Harrison and Morris wrote they can follow this link: http://wmltblog.org/2013/02/letter-from-president-harrison-on-newt own-ct/

Report Abuse