Tom Egger is president of CSL. Erik Ankerberg is coming in as president at CUWAA. The LCMS Council of Presidents voted unanimously to reject the practice of so-called online “communion” (an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one!). Lutheran churches all over the world are coming to the LCMS for theological leadership and instruction. And there’s an exciting new church-planting initiative rolling out this year.
Good things are happening. These are the result of a faithful, patient, competent leader at the helm of our church body.
But major challenges are on the horizon. Cultural antagonism against the Church and the Word of God are fashionable. Radical, secular ideologies are packaged in the HR training for medicine, business, and academia, under the guise of pious-sounding words. Natural Law, the Order of Creation, and simple common sense are undermined. Though Roe was overturned, states are clamoring to tout their protections of the “right” to murder unborn children. As the insanity of once-respected professional organizations like the AMA and the APA becomes the rule of the land, boys will be girls, and girls will be boys.
I found myself asking if President Harrison is up for the task. So, I imagine, have you.
Let him speak for himself. When he spoke at our District Convention last summer, I heard a soul-stirring combination of good news happening across the Synod and unwavering resolve to stand up for the congregations of the Synod against the rising cultural pressures. I don’t think his presentation on the state of the Synod in my district is available online, but you can listen to his presentation across the river in the Missouri District here: https://youtu.be/9KOfngbaN6U?t=5629.
This is the President Harrison we elected in 2010. The gloves are off. Listen to him talking about the Concordia University System, the challenges of “woke” culture, the nonsense being promoted at Concordia University in Wisconsin and Ann Arbor, and his willingness to fight for the congregations of the Synod, to whom the Concordia Universities belong. It starts around the 1:43:00 mark of the above video, or see here: https://youtu.be/9KOfngbaN6U?t=6182.
This is the fight of our generation. A generation ago, those pushing to normalize sins wanted those sinful lifestyles to be tolerated. Today, toleration is no longer the goal. The new goal is to silence the voices speaking contrary to the woke cultural agenda. Woke academia has long been grooming the next generation to oppose the traditional Biblical morality of orthodox Christianity. Now these agendas are being pushed in our own Concordias. Under the guise of language of “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” our Concordias have been uncritically importing these toxic worldviews.
We need a Synod President capable of standing up to these pressures in our Concordias, our high schools, our day schools, our congregations, and our families. After listening to President Harrison in his own words, I’m convinced the best guy for the job is the guy who currently holds it.
When the Board of Regents at Concordia University Wisconsin refused to call a president from the eleven approved candidates, and when Professor Greg Schulz blew the whistle on the “woke dysphoria” on campus, President Harrison stood up to the Regents. I’m still waiting to see the full report of that presidential visitation, but we’re already seeing the fruit. They called Dr. Erik Ankerberg, who was instrumental in the reversal of the mission drift at Concordia Chicago, from the Prior Approval list, and I’m hopeful his administration will address the concerns of Dr. Schulz and the visitation team.
President Harrison did the same at Concordia University Texas. He took a visitation team there to deal with concerns about the university’s Lutheran identity and the Board of Regents’ attempted coup to separate from the Synod.
This is the President we can trust to lead the charge in the next triennium. Nominations are open now until February 28. Get your congregation’s nomination in asap. Call a meeting. Tell your folks about the wonderful things they as Synod are doing. And let them know that, if they want to see our Concordias not just weather the cultural storm but—by God’s grace—emerge stronger and more faithful to the Lutheran mission, they need someone entrusted with the ecclesiastical supervision of those institutions who has demonstrated his unwillingness to bend to the cultural winds.
This is a critical moment. The challenges are tremendous. In some ways, it’s not our fault. But it is our responsibility to face them, and with God’s help, prevail. President Harrison wants to take that responsibility by forging this path: let the Word of God be our defense and our offense, our sword and our shield, our right hook and our catch and parry, against all these pressures. With the Word, we can and will build strong families, strong congregations, and strong schools. With the Word, we will be a shining city on a hill, a beacon to those who can no longer stomach the celebrations of immorality and attempts to cancel the Gospel, halcyon hope for those who—whether they know it or not—desperately need Jesus and His forgiveness.
–Rev. Jason Braaten is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Tuscola, IL–