Called to Common Mission
Visible Unity through Grand Deception
ELCA Leadership Responses to Research Paper
CCM - The Grand Deception
On Being Lutheran
Luther on Lies
Leading the Lie
CCM: A Killing Lie?
Lutheran Theological Silly Seminary
Lutheran World Appeal
Lutheran World Response**
Menacher-Hanson LWF Assembly Debate
Christ Who?
Educational Resources**
News Releases
International Newsletter
Helpful Links
About CCM Verax
     ** Updated **



The following have been received in response to a letter that was sent to the ELCA leadership with the subject heading "Called to Common Mission - Your Complicity in Grand Deception?"dated 28th September 2001. Accompanying the letter was a detailed research paper which exposes CCM paragraph 11 as a central element in the grand deception which CCM is.


ELCA Bishops

Roy G. Almquist - Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod

Response dated 1st November 2001:

"I am in receipt of your comprehensive communication of September 28, 2001. Since you have gone to much effort and expense to share your thoughts, I thought I would let you know that I have received your mailing.

I must say that I find your suggestion that I have been some kind of a "conspirator" in a "great deception" rather extreme and offensive. Excellent scholars clearly disagree on issues related to Called To Common Mission. But the Churchwide Assembly has approved Called To Common Mission and it represents the policy of our Church. In the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod we have found great blessing in our "full communion" relationship with the Episcopal Church in the greater Philadelphia area.

I would respectfully suggest that it is time to end this struggle to undermine this new ecumenical position. Since September 11, this kind of controversy seems rather irrelevant to us here in the Northeast. I hope we can agree to disagree on certain interpretations and get on with the real task of the Church which is to Make Christ Known." Back

Gary L. Hansen - North/West Lower Michigan Synod

Response dated 26th February 2002:

"Though I will be meeting with you in person, I thought I might put in writing some of my thoughts.

First, I continue to assume that your pastoral ministry at St Paul is going well. I have not had conversation with members of late, but Pastor Miriam Bunge's visit with the congregation was very positive from her point of view.

Second, I am deeply disturbed by your continuing to circulate mailings and internet correspondence that personalizes your anger in Dr. Michael Root. I am asking you to stop communicating such personalized attacks on him.

People on both sides of the Called to Common Mission debate have varied strongly in their understandings and interpretations. Nevertheless, the ELCA has at its highest level made a decision and most of us have worked at trying to move through important steps as we live it out in our churches.

You have circulated through many persons your concerns. The latest is through the e?mail addresses of seminary students which I find offensive if not illegal. I pray that you will find positive and kingdom building energy that would replace these negative attacks. As I study what our expectations are of clergy in this church your communications fall far short and this grieves me. I pray things can and will be different."

[Addendum: When Dr. Menacher in a subsequent letter asked Bishop Hansen if he was asking Dr. Menacher to refrain from the truth, Bishop Hansen refused in writing to the question.] Back

Michael A. Last - Western Iowa Synod

Response dated 11th October 2001:

"The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has, in its August 2001 Assembly affirmed Called to Common Mission and the exceptions resolution as the way it will live the fullcommunion agreement with the Episcopal Church, USA

Nothing short of ending that agreement will, I believe, satisfy those who oppose the agreement. I support the decisions of the ELCA Assembly, and am committed to implementing Called to Common Mission." Back

Robert A. Rimbo - Southeast Michigan Synod

Response dated 24th October 2001:

"I have received your mailing of October 17, 2001, and will take it under advisement. I believe your concerns are with Dr. Root and you should direct them to him.. I also believe that you need to be in conversation with your bishop about the various issues you raise." Back

Thomas A. Skrenes - Northern Great Lakes Synod

Response dated 10th December 2001:

Dear Pastor Menacher:

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ who in this Advent season gives us much reason to hope! God is at work in this Church and in all of the baptized. May Jesus return as triumphant king soon.

Thank you for sending me your paper entitled: "Called to Common Mission-Your Complicity in Grand Deception." After reading it and especially after reading your cover letter of 28 September I am reminded of what Dr. Joseph Sittler once remarked to a graduate student, "It is best if one does not use the typewriter as some sort of machine gun." I am also reminded of what our brother Dr. Martin Luther wrote in his explanation of the eight commandment. "We are to interpret everything they (our neighbor) do in the best possible light." With that preface a few comments of my own:

1. It is obvious that you love this church deeply and that you cling to the cross of Jesus Christ. You are a friend in Christ and I give thanks for your ministry.

2. Your letter of 28 September to me was harsh and accusatory. You state, that if I do not denounce the Called to Common Mission agreement then, "I will hold you personally responsible for being a willing accomplice to what is arguably the greatest act of deception cultivated by an ecclesial denomination in the history of North America." I do not react well to these type of letters.

3. You state on page 10, "CCM now requires the ELCA to adopt and to share an episcopalian "ecclesiastical and canonical polity ." The Called to Common Mission Document (paragrahs 14 and 15) affirm the ELCA 's continuing pattern of ordained ministry and paragraph 9 says, "The ordination of deacons, deaconesses, or diaconal ministers by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is not required." What could be more clear than that statement?

4. In general I believe you have made the wrong case. While your arguments are historically interesting, the Churchwide Assembly in 1999 adopted the CCM because it was, in the opinion of two-thirds of the voting members "best for mission." The historic argument did not and does not make any difference to most people, lay and clergy.

5. You may be surprised to know that I did not support Called to Common Mission when it was voted on in Denver. My opposition to it had nothing to do with the confessional arguments presented by you and others. I felt it was simply not necessary .The Assembly felt otherwise.

Let us continue to pray for our Church. Please pray with me that God will bless our relationship with all other Christian communities and that the Holy Spirit may push us to grow in faithfulness and in numbers. May Jesus Christ be praised in all we accomplish.


Thomas A. Skrenes Bishop

Bishop Gary Hanson, Dr. Michael Root

Rolf P. Wangberg - Northwestern Minnesota Synod

Response dated 7th January 2002:

"I was an opponent of CCM long before it was called CCM and long before most other pastors read the document. I continue to believe that we as an ELCA would have been better off without adopting the Historical Episcopate.

But your charge that, "Basically, it has been discovered that the ecumenical agreement between the ELCA and the Episcopal Church, entitled Called to Common Mission (CCM), is built on a conscious suppression of the truth. As a result, the ELCA membership has wrongfully been misled into accepting episcopalian structures rejected by the Lutheran Reformers," is, in my view, from what has happened. We -- the ELCA -- you (presumably) and I -- have
debated this document for many years. Very early on we -- members of the ELCA and hence "the ELCA" -- made it clear that we did not agree that paragraph 11's referance to Article 14 of the Augustana refered to Episcopal structures. I think we won that part of the debate. I don't hear too many people lifting up that argument from CCM in the circles with which I continue to discuss this document.

I am particularly disturbed by the statement, that "CCM contends that God wants the ELCA to place this same religious intolerance (the Church of England's intolerance with the Pilgrims) at the heart of the ELCA's ordained ministry." That may be your contention, but it is certainly not CCM's. I see very few parallels between the Pilgrims battle with the Church of England and 21st century America. There is no attempt to make the ELCA the "state" church. It does not seem to me that the Pilgrims came to this country with any intent to be tolerant. In fact they came to be intolerant -- they had no intention of establishing relgious freedom in their settlements; they fully intended to keep people of other faiths out of their communities. They
intended to be intolerant, seperatists.

It is true that the term "Full Communion" has a slightly different meaning for Episcopaleans than it does for Lutherans. But the Lutheran understanding of "Full Communion" -- the interchangability of clergy -- does exist right now with the Episcopal Church. We do have Episcopal priests who are serving
ELCA congregations and Lutheran Pastors that are serving Episcopal congregations. And Episcopaleans are exploring the possibility with us of having Licensed Lay Ministers serve Episcopal congregations -- something quite remarkable since LLMs are not rostered in the ELCA.

It is not true any more true to say that the ELCA is on the path to becoming an Episcopal church than it is to say that the ELCA is on the way to becoming a Presbyterian Church, a UCC Church, or a Moravian Church, denominations with which we likewise have "Full Communion" agreements.
Clergy from those denominations remain interchangeable with the ELCA and not with the Episcopaleans. If we were in fact on our way to becoming -- or had in face become -- Episcopalean, these denominations would not be able to exchange clergy with us because they do not have the Historic Episcopate.

I don't think it is at all accurate to say the ELCA is on the way to becoming an Episcopalian. In fact, the Augustana makes it clear in Article 7 that we are not required to adopt any particular church government for unity in the church, but we are free to do it if we wish. This is what we have done. We have adopted an Episcopalean Symbol that points to unity of the church that transcends the ages without having to adopt all that it means to Episcopaleans. We are free to do in our ordinations what Episcopaleans cannot do. We are free to have pastors other than bishops ordain clergy.

Unlike Eiscopaleans, we do not ordain bishops. My friends who oppose CCM do a great disservice to their cause when they insist that the service by which we publicly acknowledge the change in the office of bishop is an ordination rather than an installation. Their words are deceptive. The ELCA has insisted it is not an ordination.

CCM and its antecedent document have been publicly and thoroughly debated. The ELCA by 2/3 vote chose to adopt it. Most who voted for it do not believe we have become Eiscopalean nor were they voting to do so. They do not regard us as on the road to becoming the Church of England nor do Episcopaleans. It is time for us to be noble practicianers of a church that believes in the priesthood of all believers and in the making of decisions through the votes of assemblies and acknowledge we lost that battle. It is time to move on. We should use the freedom we have to shape this symbol in Lutheran ways; we should use the symbol to enhance our understanding of the power of the word and the priesthood of all believers.

It has been said that there are two great marks of decomocracies: First, they allow the minority to speak. Second, having had the full opportunity to express their opinions, the minority accept the decision of the majority and gracefully support that position until such time as the minority becomes the majority.

I believe the ELCA churchwide assembly and its congregations and synods have accomplished the first part. It is time for us to move to the second. That too is part of what it means to be a church that believes all its members are priests of Christ."


Martin D. Wells - Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod

Response dated 10th October 2001:

(Indeterminate response received) Back

ELCA Seminary Presidents

Timothy Lull - President of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

Response dated 5th October 2001:

"It will not be possible for me to respond to the requests that you make in your letter." Back

ELCA Church Council Members

Kirkwood J. Havel (Pastor) - North/West Lower Michigan Synod

Response from December 2002 to a request for a detailed explanation of support for CCM:

"Much too busy preaching the gospel, administering the sacraments, caring for souls, administering the business affairs, teaching, leading Lutheran worship, and nurturing leaders to provide anything close to a "detailed" response. Peace! Kirk" Back

Fred S. Opalinski (Pastor) - Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod

Response dated 15th October 2001:

"You have permission to interpret my lack of response as you wish." Back

Back to top


Home   Grand Deception   Being Lutheran   Luther on Lies   Killing Lie   Leading the Lie   Christ Who   Resolution   About CCM Verax

© 2001-2009 CCM Verax. All rights reserved.