P.O. Box 26
Au Gres, MI 48703-0026
28th September 2001
Dear (ELCA Leader),
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:
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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
- 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.
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:
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.
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.