CCM Verax Response and Clarification to Bishop Dr. I. Szebik (English translation)

5 September 2002

Dear Bishop Szebik,

We would like to thank you most heartily for your letter from 11th July 2002, which we received on 30th August. We were glad to hear from you, and we are very grateful that the Lutheran Church in Hungary has heard our request for help and also has studied our difficult situation.

In order to clarify a few points of misunderstanding, one should offer a few comments to the three points in your letter.

  1. The problem at hand is not the three-fold office of ministry in the Episcopal Church per se but rather the validity and the steadfast nature of Article VII of the Augsburg Confession (AC) - not only within the ELCA but also within the Lutheran World Federation. Through the agreement Called to Common Mission (CCM) the leadership of the ELCA has debilitated AC VII, and it has do so with the conscious misinterpretation of Apology XIV. That the LWF central office supports this agreement contraindicates a satisfactory resolution alone from Geneva.

  2. It would not help to dissuade the ELCA from declaring full communion with the Episcopal Church until the differences of opinion can be resolved because the agreement already came into effect on 1st January 2001. Since that time the ELCA has considered the Episcopal Church to be a "full communion" partner. The Episcopal Church, on the other hand, will only do likewise when it has been determined that the ELCA has become sufficiently "episcopalianized" in order to be entitled to full communion with the Episcopal Church.

    The process of unity in CCM runs contrary not only to AC VII but also to the lived expression of the Doctrine of Justification and to the Two-Kingdoms-Doctrine.

  3. When dealing with the unity of the church, one must be clear that the ELCA church leadership considers the ELCA to be mainly a constitutional church and not a Lutheran confessional church. When one places priority on the constitution, one has already impaired, if not practically dissolved, the unity of a Lutheran church.

    When an LWF member church prefers the distinguishing marks of another church or confession to the Lutheran Confessions, and even to the simple truth, then the LWF should have guidelines for rescinding the membership of such a church.

With these misunderstandings removed, we are very thankful for your readiness to achieve a confessional resolution of the problem.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Menacher (Dr.)
Pastor und CCM Verax Administrator