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CCM Verax Letter to ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson

26th March 2003

Dear Bishop Hanson,

Re: Public Debate on "Called to Common Mission" at the 10th LWF Assembly

In recent ELCA News Service releases (11 and 18 March 2003) you are reported as criticizing US President Bush for not meeting with US religious leaders regarding a war in Iraq. You further accuse the president of severing "himself from moral leaders in the society," of which you consider yourself to be one.

Over 18 months ago I wrote you with detailed information regarding the ecumenical "grand deception" in "Called to Common Mission" (CCM), the "full communion" agreement between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Episcopal Church, USA. Despite your being aware of this "grand deception," confirmed to me by third party copy correspondence, you refuse to answer or to address this very serious matter. Unfortunately, you appear to have one set of morals for President Bush and another set of morals for your leadership of the ELCA (Matthew 7:3-5).

It is time for you to demonstrate whether you follow the one who is "the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6) or whether you serve another master (John 8:44; Matthew 6:24).

I would be most grateful if you, as a vice president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), would arrange a public debate between you and me regarding the ecumenical "grand deception" in CCM. This debate should take place before the full LWF assembly to be held in July 2003 in Winnipeg, Canada. This debate should last no less than two hours and no more than four hours. Subsequently, video cassette or DVD copies of the debate should be sent to all congregations in the ELCA.

As a "moral leader" in the church, your first priority and allegiance should be to the truth of Jesus Christ. According to Martin Luther, there is no room for even one lie in the church. Your lack of action regarding the "grand deception" in CCM undermines your claim not only to be a "moral leader" in society but also a Lutheran.

Lutherans tell the truth, the whole truth. If your moral capacity should not include a simple desire for the truth, then your position in the ELCA as presiding bishop and as a rostered leader would become untenable.

I look forward to your affirmative response.

Yours sincerely,

Mark D. Menacher, PhD
Pastor and CCM Verax Administrator