Outspoken Pastor Ousted from LCMS


The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod recently carried out what various members consider the equivalent of a modern-day heresy trial.
The Kirkwood-based church has 2.3 million members. The case pits two-term synod President Matthew Harrison — who is known for his bushy mustache and conservative views — against Matthew Becker, an outspoken pastor.

I would like to see some of our Lutheran friends comment on this. My dad was LCMS in the '70’s when the Seminex split happened. He was very much hurt by this split and remained loyal to the LCMS.

More info.


From the Steadfast article

Dr. Becker is not guilty of advocating false doctrine. He has merely published some writings in which he levels criticism against the synod’s practice of restricting the office of pastor to men. He has followed the process of dissent in our synod, a process on which the synod has placed no time restrictions. Moreover, Dr. Becker’s dissent does not rise to the level of rejecting any of the articles of faith, as these are clearly exhibited in the Lutheran Confessions. In fact, we think that the biblical and confessional content of Dr. Becker’s dissent ought to be discussed more fairly and given greater consideration within the Synod than it has been so far.

One note for my non-Lutheran friends. When they refer to the “synod’s** practice** of restricting the office”, they use the term “practice” intentionally, as opposed to a doctrine. It is, in their argument, a practice, a mere tradition, that can (and should, and will) be changed. And eventually, those who stand by the doctrine will be scorned.

Restriction of the office of the ministry is scriptural, confessional, and doctrinal. But the liberal movement within the LCMS is using the typical tactics, as expressed by Charles Portfield Krauth:

But the practical result of this principle* [of the church tolerating within her bosom those who claim she is teaching error]* is one on which there is no need of speculating; it works in one unvarying way. When error is admitted into the Church, it will be found that the stages of its progress are always three. It begins by asking toleration. Its friends say to the majority: You need not be afraid of us; we are few, and weak; only let us alone; we shall not disturb the faith of others. The church has her standards of doctrine; of course we shall never interfere with them; we ask only for ourselves to be spared interference with our private opinions. Indulged in this for a time, error goes on to assert equal rights. Truth and error are two balancing forces. The Church shall do nothing which looks like deciding between them; that would be partiality. It is bigotry to assert any superior right for the truth. We are to agree to differ, and any favoring of the truth, because it is truth, is partisanship. What the friends of truth and error hold in common is fundamental. Anything on which they differ is ipso facto non-essential. Anybody who makes account of such a thing is a disturber of the peace of the church. Truth and error are two co-ordinate powers and the great secret of church-statesmanship is to preserve the balance between them. From this point error soon goes on to its natural end, which is to assert supremacy. Truth started with tolerating, it comes to be merely tolerated, and that only for a time. Error claims a preference for its judgments on all disputed points. It puts men into positions, not as at first in spite of their departure from the Church’s faith, but in consequence of it. Their recommendation is that they repudiate that faith, and poistion is given them to teach others to repudiate it, and to make them skilful in combating it. (From The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1872, pp. 195-96.)

Exactly what Becker and his supporters are doing.


Augsburg Confession article XIV (Of Ecclesiastical Order they teach that no one should publicly teach in the Church or administer the Sacraments unless he be regularly called. ) , is under a frontal assault by the modernists in our synod.

We need your prayers.


I was hoping it had not come to this.

My LCMS brothers and sisters are in my prayers.

Just as the Catholic Church distinguishes between practice and doctrine.

Not having an anchor though any “doctrine” can be up for grabs if it is presented with sufficient cunning. The father of lies is surely wringing his hands in content just waiting for more souls to be brought to his fold.
Prayers indeed are required. Lots of them.

This is chilling, for all of us, what he describes has hit all churches, all kinds of religious schools, or universities, in recent years. I had to look twice at the date, I couldn’t believe it was 1872, it could have been written any time in our generation.

The LCMS is a house divided. What used to be a beacon and bastion of orthodox “old Lutheranism” is crumbling before our eyes. It’s sad. The only option that was left for me was to jump to the WELS/ELS. And I am so happy I did that.

Jon, as a Catholic, I’m torn between two realities: 1) the doctrinal truth for which this president and good Lutherans like yourself desire to stand, that Jesus and God have made it so only men can become sacerdotes, and 2) the fact that, even from the Lutheran standpoint, your church cannot be infallible (correct me if I am wrong).

I think what the LCMS president is trying to do is good and right - and ironic.

I also find that long quotation very accurate, but not surprisingly a fulfilled prophecy. Of the many things Martin Luther supported than I also do, “peace if possible; truth at all costs” is one of them.

Indeed. The more we try to retain our orthodoxy, the more we come to resemble our roots. Stop smirking now, my RC brothers and sisters :o Whatever would you do with a few million potential little Luthers fidgeting in your pews?


I don’t get excited at the idea of the Church getting more “powerfull” with the prospect of tons of genuine Lutherans (and other Christians) coming to the fullness of Catholic faith and practice, but rather joyfull that unity and orthodox faith prospers within Christianity.

I believe God can do more in the world through one faith, than being bogged down with internal disputes. And all genuine Christians contribute God’s gifts in greater measure.

Coming from a Lutheran. :eek: :stuck_out_tongue:

If my father hadn’t died in 1975, I do believe he might have come into the Church.

I hope the conflict within the LCMS isn’t being blown out of proportion. As far as I know, LCMS is still pretty orthodox.
Historically all Lutheran churches were “bastions”. Some Lutherans shifted to LCMS when their former denominations became unreliable. But those former denominations had available to them the same safeguards (Scripture, Tradition, Confessions, etc) the LCMS has. Now, if you say the LCMS is becoming less reliable, it has the same safeguards available to it that the WELS/ELS has. If that steering wheel failed in the hands of ELCA’s predecessors, and in the LCMS, how reliable is that same steering wheel for WELS/ELS? Where do people in WELS/ELS jump to?

The problem is that steering wheels don’t break all at once. There’s a little accommodation here, a little compromise there, just a tad more “tolerance” to different ideas at the seminary, mixed in with still orthodox teaching and practice. But the unorthodox stuff grows gently, indirectly affecting **us **little by little. We notice heresy less, not because there is less heresy but because our senses are dulled. If ELCA had announced a plan for a decade’s worth of accommodations, hundreds of thousands would have jumped ship. But a little at a time, most don’t. Most people accommodate themselves gradually, which makes previously unthinkable accommodations now possible.

Maybe there’s another kind of steering wheel available?

Perhaps Becker will come to the ELCA where he would be welcome. :slight_smile:

He is certainly welcome in the Catholic Church!

Though he would be compelled to accept the faith… :wink:

Indeed, we are still quite orthodox and hold fast to our Confessions. The recent events are important, but the media has overblown it a bit - Harrison has been framed to be every bit the “villain” that Pope Benedict was. :rolleyes: God bless President Harrison for his excellent work in ousting false teachers! Our upcoming district and synodical conventions intend to further reform the disciplinary structure of the synod. The future is bright.

Jon outlines exactly what is happening. Becker and the Leftists are attacking the synod by trying to “just talk” about things they want (and which are contrary to plain Scripture). Yet those same people will not allow others to “just talk” when they disagree; just see how many comments Becker has deleted on his deceptive blog.

Becker has recently announced his intent to move to the ELCA. A curious move, since he professed --for years, and in the presence of ecclesial supervisors-- not to share the beliefs of that heterodox body. Seems he was a wolf all along.

I will certainly pray for the leaders of the LCMS. They have a difficult job, and appear to be doing it well. We live in an era when the Media is super powerful. Every time I find someone adopting - verbatim - the position of the media, rather than Christianity, they invariably justify it by "I need to think for myself".


But we need to pray for Becker too.

Back in the 1960s, the American Lutheran Church (ALC), the Lutheran Church in America (LCA), the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (SELC) were all members of the Lutheran Council in the U.S.A. (LCUSA) and asked the LCUSA’s Division for Theological Studies to study the issue of women’s ordination. A special subcommittee on the Study on the Ordination of Women was formed. According to recent study by Susan Wilds McArver:

[2] The theologians of LCUSA produced several academic papers for internal study. They affirmed the work of much of contemporary biblical scholarship in their examination of familiar texts such as I Corinthians 11:2–16 and 14:33b–36, 1 Timothy 2:11–14 and 3:1–5 and Ephesians 5:22, often traditionally used to deny women a public role in the church, finding that “exegetical obscurities” and difficulties made literalistic interpretations of such passages problematic.2 Indeed, they noted, a “strict and literal enforcement” of these passages had never existed in Lutheran churches.3 **Much more determinative, they believed, were affirmations of the new creation found in Christ and summations of the Gospel found in passages such as Galatians 3:27–28: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”**4

[3] **Nor did the theologians find in the Confessions much direct guidance on the issue of women’s ordination. Examining the Confessions turned up little, for, as they put it, women’s ordination simply “wasn’t an issue in the sixteenth century.”**5 Even the ecumenical argument, which they noted “deserves serious weighing,” could not provide them a definitive guideline. Some churches stood clearly against women’s ordination, others stood in favor, and "some churches assumed to be most opposed to the practice are or seem to be open to discussion of it."6

[4] In the end, “no one argument or set of arguments settles the matter clearly one way or another at this point for us,” concluded the LCUSA theologians, and "if there are no conclusive grounds for forbidding the ordination of women and no definitive ones for demanding it, it follows that a variety of practices at any given time remains possible amid common confession"(emphasis added).

The conclusions of the study by the LCUSA’s Division for Theological Studies were sent to all the member churches. The LCA, the ALC and the SELC which all later combined to become the ELCA ended up supporting the ordination of women. But in 1969, the conservative JAO Preus was elected President of the LCMS in an upset victory over the more moderate incumbent Oliver Harms and the LCMS never voted on the issue of ordaining women.


:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

:sad_yes: Absolutely.

I’m sorry if my optimism for the future of the LCMS came across as chortling over the loss of a sheep. It is a grievous thing. I pray Becker is moved by the Spirit to repentance.

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