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Copy of Letter from Pastor Mark Menacher to ELCA bishops, seminary presidents, veteran Church Council members, and a few other ELCA officials.



CCM Verax
P.O. Box 26
Au Gres, MI 48703-0026

28th September 2001

Dear (ELCA Leader),

Re: Called to Common Mission - Your Complicity in Grand Deception?

Called to Common Mission (CCM), the controversial ecumenical agreement between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Episcopal Church in the USA, is fraught with inaccuracies, misinformation, and fallacious statements and claims. Perhaps the greatest of these fallacious claims is contained in CCM paragraph 11. I draw the following important points concerning CCM paragraph 11 to your attention:

  1. CCM paragraph 11 claims that Article 14 of the Apology to the Augsburg Confession refers to "historic succession" in the episcopal office when the Apology speaks of "the ecclesiastical and canonical polity" which it was the Reformers' "deep desire to maintain."
  2. Research published in 1995 demonstrates that the notion of "episcopal succession" did not exist until around 1538-1540. Thus, it is historically impossible for the Reformers to have been referring to "episcopal succession" or to "historic succession" when Augsburg Confession (CA) and its Apology were written in 1530-1531.
  3. The Lutheran Confessions are, in fact, silent on the matter of "episcopal succession" or of "historic episcopacy" or of any such related concept. The Lutheran Reformers, however, were not silent on the matter. When the notion of "episcopal succession" was invented in 1538-1540, it was flatly rejected in 1539 by Philip Melanchthon, author of the CA and its Apology, and by Martin Luther in 1541.
  4. Professor Michael Root, a member of the ELCA's CCM drafting team and now also a faculty member at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, claims in correspondence to the Episcopal Church from June 2000 to have known of this research since its publication in 1995. This research undermines CCM. Nevertheless, CCM was drafted apparently without reference to or regard for this research.
  5. Furthermore, Professor Root himself stated in that same correspondence that Article 14 of the Apology does not, in fact, refer to "episcopal succession," and his qualifications to this admission involve scholarship recognized internationally to be without credibility.
  6. As a result of CCM paragraph 11, the voting members of the ELCA's 1999 Churchwide Assembly were wrongly led to believe that the Lutheran Reformers referred to and thus supported or sanctioned "episcopal succession." Such a claim is diametrically opposed to the Lutheran Reformers' position on the matter.
  7. Unbeknownst to many, the unity prescribed by Called to Common Mission is grounded not in the Lutheran Confessions but rather is derived from the English Parliament's 1662 Act of Uniformity (cf. CCM paragraph 16). By adopting CCM, the ELCA has pledged to conform its ordination structure and practice to the dictates of seventeenth-century, English religious intolerance which in the course of its enforcement caused much persecution, suffering, and death. Such conditions for unity could not be more contrary to the intentions of the Lutheran Reformers. It is to be recalled that the Pilgrim Fathers (and mothers and children) came to the New World to escape this same religious intolerance.
  8. The enclosed research paper provides in detail a summation of the points raised above. This paper clearly shows the fundamentally flawed and thus fraudulent nature of CCM paragraph 11.

It is possible that the material facts just presented are new to you. Despite that, the times of inaccuracies, ignorance, and related thinking are being drawn to a close.

The ordination service of the ELCA calls upon the ordained of the ELCA to "discipline [themselves] in life and teaching that [they] preserve the truth,..." (Occasional Services: A Companion to Lutheran Book of Worship, fourth printing 1990, p. 197). Martin Luther puts the matter more frankly, "Therefore the holy church cannot and may not lie or suffer false doctrine, but must teach nothing except what is holy and true, that is, God's word alone; and where it teaches a lie it is idolatrous and the whore-church of the devil" (Luther's Works -American Edition, [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1966], 41: 214).

I now consider you to be fully apprised of the material facts regarding the fraudulent nature of CCM paragraph 11. I also consider you to be informed sufficiently to understand that through CCM paragraph 11 the ELCA's 1999 Churchwide Assembly has been taught something not contained in God's word, something not found or implied in the Lutheran Confessions, something contrary to the intentions of the Lutheran Reformers, something necessarily false, and something which was known to be false when the Concordat of Agreement was revised to become Called to Common Mission.

In light of the preceding facts, I would hope that you would publicly denounce CCM, refuse to comply with its provisions, and work for its immediate repeal in order to prevent the ELCA from becoming the kind of church which Luther would reject in rather crude terms. Should you take this course of action, then I would also expect you to register a formal complaint with the board of Trinity Lutheran Seminary against the unsatisfactory scholarship exhibited by Professor Michael Root which has plunged the ELCA into needless deceit and discord.

Should you choose an alternative option or course of actions, 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.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Menacher, PhD

P.S. I would be grateful if I could have your considered response by 30th October 2001. I reserve the right to publish any response or any part of any response to this letter and the enclosed paper in any manner which I deem to be appropriate. I also reserve the right to interpret any lack of response in a way or in ways congruent with statements given above.