The Gospel According to the Lutheran Hour: "You're Fired"
If you love me you will hold fast to my word.*
keep my commandments
not wisely but too well,*
Desdemona (Othello's wife), may have seen it coming, but the Lutheran Hour Speaker, Rev. Schulz, seems to have been blind-sided. Before he had completed the adjudication of the decision that made him so unpopular (dare we say unloved?), the ILLL Executive Committee, as late as Feb. 19, 2002, had written to Dr. Schulz that
Your decision, either way, will in no way affect the good relationship we share with you nor the respect (confidence) we have for you as a person or in your role with Lutheran Hour Ministries.Within six months the Executive Director and President of the ILLL has asked Schulz to resign, evidently because of the very decision referenced above, which Schulz was obligated by his Church to render.
We're only guessing about Othello, but it appears that Lutheran Hour Ministries does have a Human Resources Department, because their ostensible reason for firing their Speaker, Wally Schulz, was that he violated their policy which requires employees not to engage in activities that bring significant controversy to the Lutheran Hour. The activities for which Rev. Schulz was dismissed were those required of him exactly because he was (and is) an officer in the Church whose doctrine and practice the Lutheran Hour has promised to honor and uphold. It's hard to imagine a more absurd course of reasoning: an arm of the Church fires an officer of that same Church for doing exactly what the Church required him to do.
Those with a longer memory may recall another group of Lutherans who loved too much. They practiced what came to be known as Gospel Reductionism, which was aided and abetted by a Higher Critical view of Scripture which held that only those parts of the Bible that contained the Gospel were truly the Word of God (to put it in in overly simple manner). Like their higher critical counterparts, the Gospel Reductionists practiced an art which eventually corroded that which they sought to protect and advance, the Gospel itself. If God's Word cannot speak Law, then neither can it speak Gospel, because God has spoken both. This is one reason why Lutherans have historically embraced the totality of God's Word in both Law and Gospel. Those who are ablaze and love too much may believe they are advancing the Gospel, but ultimately they will arrive at a different gospel, as the Apostle Paul puts it,*
The resolution below is a modest attempt to share the love at the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod's convention July 10-15 of 2004, and help the Lutheran Hour and the Lutheran Laymen's League understand love as our Savior understood it when He said
If you love me you will hold fast to my word.
This resolution would also give the Lutheran Hour a chance to more fully explain their actions toward Dr. Schulz. It appears that their defense is that Dr. Schulz in essence removed and fired himself by failing to agree to newly imposed conditions upon his position. Dr. Schulz correctly understands that these new conditions make it impossible for him to carry out the duties required of him as on officer of his Church (as they would for any member or officer of the Church). This argument on the part of the Lutheran Hour has generated quite a bit of smoke, and it would be good to have their leadership clear things up, and answer some questions at the podium before the convention, perhaps like these: Does the ILLL intend to conform to Bylaw 13.01? If so, have they corrected their rules, regulations and policies that interfered with and punished an elected officer of the LCMS in performing the duties required by his office, membership in the Synod, and the Constitution and Bylaws of the Synod? If so, when will they offer to reinstate Dr. Schulz without stipulations? If not, when will they voluntarily resign their status as an auxiliary of the LCMS? It would be, after all, the loving thing to do.
Memorial and Resolution for the Lutheran Hour
- WHEREAS Auxiliary and Recognized Service Organizations are described in the Synod's By Laws as arm[s] of the synod that honor and uphold the doctrine and practice of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod as set forth in the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions (By Law 13.01), or engage[s] in program activity that is in harmony with the programs of the boards of the Synod, and respect[s] and does not act contrary to the doctrine and practice of the Synod (By Law 13.03), and
- WHEREAS members of Synod are required to uphold the doctrine, constitution and by-laws of the Synod and may also be called or appointed by Auxiliary or Recognized Service Organizations (By Law 2.15j), and
- WHEREAS, The International Lutheran Laymen's League (ILLL) has dismissed Wallace Schulz, an officer and member of Synod pursuant to his carrying out his duties as Vice-President required by the same Constitution and By Laws of Synod, citing the ILLL's own internal rules, regulations and policies,
- RESOLVED that the Constitution and By Laws of Synod clearly and obviously intend that an arm of the synod that honor[s] uphold[s] the doctrine and practice of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod could not and would not dismiss, frustrate, or in any way interfere with a member or officer of Synod in carrying out his duties, obligations and responsibilities required by the same Constitution and By Laws of Synod, and be it further
- RESOLVED that the actions of the ILLL have violated this clear and obvious intention of the Constitution and By Laws of the Synod, and be it further
- RESOLVED that the ILLL be encouraged to change their internal policies to bring them into harmony with this clear intention of the Constitution and By Laws of the Synod and offer to reinstate Wallace Schulz to his position with the ILLL, and be it further
- RESOLVED that should the ILLL fail to make these corrections in a timely manner they be encouraged to voluntarily relinquish their status as an auxiliary organization of the Synod, and be it finally
- RESOLVED that the Board of Directors of Synod be authorized to revoke the auxiliary status of the ILLL should the ILLL fail to correct its policies, rules and regulations, and bring itself into conformity with the clear and obvious intention of the Constitution and By Laws of the Synod by July of 2006.
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