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Tea Party Insurgence Ripples Through Missouri Synod Election

Confessionalists say the standing president has taken a nondenominational, evangelical megachurch approach.

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 ...

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