The LCMS and Gatekeeping Conservative Christians
For those who don’t know, I am a life-long Conservative Christian in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). The LCMS is the second largest Lutheran Church body in the United States–with almost 2 million members.
My Church body (the LCMS) has been under fire recently for two primary controversies–the recent release of Luther’s Large Catechism with Annotations and Contemporary Applications and LCMS President Matthew Harrison’s denunciation of Conservative Christians in a recent public letter. While these controversies are connected, I am more interested in discussing the latter topic.
Ever since becoming President of the LCMS in 2011, LCMS President Matthew Harrison has portrayed himself as the staunchly Conservative leader of the LCMS–which many see as the Conservative Lutheran church body in America. However, this image is not fully based in reality. President Harrison and the pseudo-“Conservative” Establishment running the LCMS act as gatekeepers for authentically conservative Lutherans.
A few weeks ago, Far-left media outlets covered the case of an LCMS Church banning a controversial layman. Of course, the media acts like it always does and smears Conservatives with dishonest labels. Yet, President Harrison decided to respond to the Far-Left media’s coverage by condemning “hateful ideologies” in a recent public letter. What’s worse, Harrison even threatened to excommunicate “Far-right” Lutherans if they don’t repent–according to his public letter.
This whole situation is disheartening to say the least. As a young Lutheran man, would President Harrison throw me under the bus if Left-wing Journalists smear myself or other young Lutherans that I now?
Now, contrast the LCMS Establishment’s attitude and actions toward the Far-Left Marxists and open heretics within the LCMS. Time after time, President Harrison and the LCMS Establishment figure has failed to stop the denomination’s Far-Left Marxists from sowing discord and damage.
We will now discuss a couple of examples of Harrison and the LCMS Leadership failing to stop the creep of Far-Left Marxist ideologues within the LCMS:
After the US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade last summer, the LA Times quoted an LCMS pastor in Los Angeles regarding the Court’s decision.
In the article, Dr. ST Williams Jr of St Paul Evangelical Lutheran (Los Angeles) stated that the Court ruling “set us back as a nation, a people and a culture.” He also stated that “it’s a sad day as a Lutheran Church minister because it [the court case] will cause a lot of chaos and calamity. You’re not allowing people to be who they want to be.”
Here you have an LCMS openly advocating for abortion—which completely opposes both the Scriptures and the LCMS’s official stance. Yet, Dr. Williams is still allowed to preach, teach, and offer communion as an LCMS pastor. The Harrison administration allowed this LCMS pastor to openly mock God’s word in an nationally-recognized newspaper.
If you thought the Williams case was bad enough, then you probably have not heard of John Nunes and the Lutherans for Racial Justice (LRJ) group.
For those who are unfamiliar, the Lutherans for Racial Justice group is an openly Marxist, pro-CRT group operating within the LCMS. The founder of this group is a LCMS clergyman named Dr. John Nunes.
Dr. Nunes served as the president of the now-defunct Concordia College-New York as well as the President of Lutheran World Relief. He now works as the current Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church (Santa Monica).
Here is what current LCMS president Matthew Harrison said about Dr. Nunes when Dr. Nunes became president of Concordia College-New York in 2015:
“We are very pleased with Dr. Nunes’ call to Bronxville. The challenges our universities face are daunting, but John has the gifts to lead this treasured institution at this time. He will bring a joyous and churchly face, and build upon the strengths of the institution. Of that, I’m confident.”
While Dr. Nunes has served in various leadership roles within the LCMS, Dr. Nunes has shown his affinity for the Black Lives Matter movement and heretical theology in recent years. Back in the summer of 2020, Nunes was a prominent attendee at a pro-BLM march called the “Faith March for Justice”. During the March, Nunes and other clergymen apparently quoted the heretical founder of Black Liberation theology and virulently anti-white/racist James Cone.
Here is a quote from one of James Cone’s work’s Black Theology and Black Power:
The coming of Christ means a denial of what we thought we were. It means destroying the white devil in us. Reconciliation to God means that white people are prepared to deny themselves (whiteness), take up the cross (blackness) and follow Christ (black ghetto).
Despite Dr. Nunes’s inappropriate behavior, he is still a rostered pastor within the LCMS and received no public castigation from the LCMS’s leadership.
Besides the openly heretical pastors within the LCMS, the Denomination’s university system (i.e. the Concordia University system) has become a sanctuary for false doctrine and anti-Christian practices.
Just last year, professor and Rev. Greg Schulz received an indefinite suspension from Concordia University-Wisconsin for his criticism concerning the University’s embrace of Critical Race Theory (CRT). Although CRT and DEI standards are opposed to Scripture, the Concordia-Wisconsin’s leadership decided to punish Rev. Schulz for standing up for the God’s Word. Fortunately, Rev. Schulz appears to be close to re-negotiating his return to the classroom; however, this situation highlights the unacceptable double-standard within the LCMS: where Far-Left ideologues remain unpunished for heretical views while Conservatives are punished for holding fast to the Scriptures.
In all three of these cases, what did the President Harrison and the LCMS leadership do? Nothing. Has President Harrison threatened to excommunicate or remove the openly heretical Marxists within the LCMS’s clergy? No. Did President Harrison step in to reinstate Rev. Schulz for criticizing the deep “woke” rot within Concordia-Wisconsin? No.
At this point, what’s clear is that President Harrison and his pseudo-“Conservative” Establishment colleagues are failing. Their constant lapses in judgement are highly concerning and demonstrate the need for younger, authentically Conservative clergy to run my Denomination. Only time will tell what the future holds for the LCMS and Christianity in America as whole, and I pray that the LCMS remain faithful to Christ and his teachings.
Always remember: Christ is king!