Thursday, February 16, 2012

LCMS President Matt Harrison before a U.S. House Committee hearing today

I can't speak highly enough about President Harrison's words today before a House committee (with several hostile voices on it) regarding the recent HHS Mandate. Below is the best video of the speech I have available at the moment. His entire performance over the course of the meeting was stellar. Thank God for him. It's a good day to be Lutheran, whether WELS or LCMS.

Here's the link to Youtube.

10 comments:

Tim Niedfeldt said...

Very Powerful! If only people other than politicians were listening to it. I feel unless cash is attached to the testimony it will be useless. I hope the groundswell on the issue will be enough to get this squashed.

Tim Niedfeldt

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the posting of this video and your gracious comments. I watched a lot of the streaming video of the hearings and all of the church leaders there are to be commended for their courage.

I live in Canada where not only are Christians required to support all manner of "birth control" through our universal health care, paid for by mandatory taxes, but abortions are about the only medical procedure that gets prompt and immediate attention. God forgive us!

Phyllis Whitten

Daniel Gorman said...

Pres./Pr. Harrison's remarks were highly inappropriate for a man speaking on behalf of an association of holy churches and holy ministers. In his testimony, Pres./Pr. Harrison confused the two Kingdoms.

"the power of the Church and the civil power must not be confounded. The power of the Church has its own commission to teach the Gospel and to administer the Sacraments. Let it not break into the office of another; let it not transfer the kingdoms of this world; let it not abrogate the laws of civil rulers; let it not abolish lawful obedience; let it not interfere with judgments concerning civil ordinances or contracts; let it not prescribe laws to civil rulers concerning the form of the Commonwealth." AC XXVIII

As a private citizen, Mr. Harrison has the power ordained by God to criticize the Executive Branch and to opinionate on the constitutionality of various laws. But he did not come before the Committee as a private citizen, He came bearing the power of the Church.

The power of the Church is to teach the Gospel (i.e., to condemn sin and to preach redemption). To his credit, Pres./Pr. Harrison did condemn the sin of abortion and preach redemption through Jesus Christ. However, he also broke into the office of private citizen Harrison, an office he did not hold when he came before the committee.

Pastor Spencer said...

Thank you for your comment, Daniel.

That is certainly one view, and I do not dispute the Lutheran teaching on the Two Kingdoms.

However, I doubt if Matthew Harrison, private citizen, would ever have the opportunity to give a clear testimony of Holy Scripture before Congress.

Just saying.

Pastor Spencer

Daniel Baker said...

I am curious to know what was "highly inappropriate" about Pr. Harrison's remarks. In fact, I do not think the Lutheran doctrine of the Two Kingdoms could be more clearly understood than by Pr. Harrison's testimony before the House Committee. Even when one of the members of said Committee tried to bait him into condemning the President of the United States, he kept his simple refrain and stayed focused on the mandate, rather than politicizing. His purpose before the Committee was to demonstrate that the liberty of the Lutheran Church is violated by this mandate, and when push comes to shove, we obey God before men. I do not understand how this is a violation of Two Kingdoms theology.

Norman Teigen said...

I agree with Daniel Gorman. He has been a powerful spokesperson for Lutheranism on another blog. On that blog he has been subjected to the worst kind of personal calumny and I commend him for his courage. My take on this, I'm an ELS guy, and please, no personal abuse about being pro-abortion (we are adoptive parents and pro-life), is that Harrison and the other clerics were duped into a Republican charade. Please, people, read Sasse's 1930 essay on The Two Kingdoms. I have asked for a meeting with President Moldstad and will advise him to study AC XVI and AC XXVIII along with Sasse.

LutherRocks said...

Interesting that Harrison translated Sasse's essay in 2001...

Daniel Gorman said...

Pastor Spencer; "That is certainly one view, and I do not dispute the Lutheran teaching on the Two Kingdoms.

However, I doubt if Matthew Harrison, private citizen, would ever have the opportunity to give a clear testimony of Holy Scripture before Congress."

Yes, but he could have easily differentiated between his "law and gospel" testimony (his placard read "Rev. Harrison") and his civic testimony as a private citizen (aka Mr. Harrison). Unfortunately, Pres. Harrison has had a continuing pattern of mixing the two kingdoms. Pres. Harrison has directed the government

1. to pass a law legalizing his aiding and abetting of immigrant criminals: LCMS Reporter; July 2006.
2. to fight wars using only the troops that he approves of: LCMS Reporter; December 2010.
3. to manage marriage contracts in accordance with his church doctrine:LCMS Reporter; October 2008
4. to conduct its foreign policy in accordance with his directives: LCMS Reporter, January 2009.
5. to interpret the constitution in accordance with his legal opinions: LCMS Reporter; January 2009.
6. to regulate health insurance plans in accordance with RCC church dogma: LCMS Reporter, February, 2012.

Mr. Harrison was certainly well within his rights to publicly express his opinion on these matters. I actually agree with some of them. But not as president of a Lutheran synod. In stark contrast to President Harrison's ecclesiastical "opinionating", WELS president, Rev. Schroeder, had remained faithful to the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms and the AC XXVIII.

I was very disappointed when Rev. Schroeder followed Pres. Harrison's lead and issued a public statement on the HHS ruling. I hope and pray the Intrepid Lutherans will evaluate Rev. Schoeder's statement and correct his errors.

Pastor Jon Kehren said...

Mr. Gorman,

I don't believe that President Harrison (or President Schroeder for that matter) have done anything inappropriate with their public statements about the HHS mandate. Yes, we must always keep the two kingdoms distinct and the Church should never seek to do the work of the state. I didn't see their actions as "breaking into the office" (AC XXVIII)of the other. Rather, they are simply giving public testimony that the state is "breaking into the office of the church" when it demands that the church use its resources and participate in activities that violate God's will. In fact, this an important witness to the state. It clearly tells the state that any refusal to comply with this mandate is not an act of rebellion but rather an action motivated by a desire to obey the will of God. This is similar to what Peter and the apostles statement to the Sanhedrin in Acts 5:29 "We must obey God rather than men."

Daniel Gorman said...

Both Pres. Harrison and Rev. Schroeder have postulated that the HHS mandate has violated the First Amendment rights of churches that do evil by requiring these churches to cover medical treatments under their insurance plans. As representatives of holy churches, that is not their concern. Their sole concern regarding the HHS mandate is that government obey its Romans 13:2 mandate: "For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."

Government rightly bears its sword to protect the health and safety of the innocent from evil doers. For example, government rightly mandates that innocent sick people (children and mentally impaired adults) receive medical treatment even when their evil-teaching church forbids such treatment.

The government rightly mandates that companies who market health insurance policies pay for the medical treatment of innocent people even when an evil-teaching church that employs innocent people forbids payment for such treatment. According to the AMA, contraceptives and even abortion causing drugs may be necessary to save the life of an innocent woman. Only when the government orders payments for medical treatments for the purpose of harming an innocent child does government's civil mandate violate its Romans 13:2 mandate.

Did the government violate its Romans 13:2 mandate? Yes, but only in the case of abortion causing drugs prescribed for the purpose of ending a pregnancy. Both Pres. Harrison and Rev. Schroeder rightly condemn this abuse. However, they contradict Romans 13:2 when they condemn government for bearing the sword to protect the innocent.

Did the government exceed its 1st Amendment mandate when it acted to protect innocent employees from evil-teaching churches? As a citizen of this republic, I don't believe so. There is adequate precedent for the government to protect innocent people from churches that teach evil things. But I do acknowledge the right of Mr. Harrison and Mr. Schroeder to have a different opinion. However, as a Christian, I do not recognize their right to speak in the stead of Christ on this issue (John 10).

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