A joint statement from LCMS President Harrison and the Chair of the LCMS Board of Directors about Concordia University Texas

The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod

By LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison and the Chairman of the LCMS Board of Directors

November 11, 2022


On Tuesday, November 8, Concordia University Texas, Austin, Texas (CTX) President Don Christian publicly announced that the day before, the CTX Board of Regents “voted to adopt a structure in which the Concordia University Texas is governed solely by its Board of Directors, rather than the historical governance, which is headed by the Regents [B]Laws of Synod.” The CTX Board of Regents did so unilaterally and without the approval that the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Bylaws require of a Concordia University System university wishing to amend its charter, or the approval it requires for a university who wish to separate from the Concordia University System. She acted without proper authority and contrary to constant advice and admonitions.

All authority over the activities and institutions of the synod is a sacred trust bestowed by the congregations of the synod on designated officers and bodies in the interest of actively upholding and promoting the common confession and constitutional purposes of the congregations in all aspects of the work of the synod and its institutions becomes. Our Statutes make it clear: All are to discharge their responsibilities “in a manner that reflects the highest degree of integrity and honesty, consistent with the Holy Scriptures, the Lutheran Confessions, the Constitution, the Statutes, and the decisions of the Synod.”

This hasty action by the CTX Board of Regents not only represents a serious breach of trust by the Synod and its member congregations, but also affects students, faculty, staff, individual regents, some of whom have already resigned, and the many people of good will who have worked in the past supported Concordia University Texas as a college and then as a synodal university.

The Synod President and the Chair of the Synod Council condemn this unilateral attempt by the CTX to separate from the Synod and dictate new terms of their relationship, while the CTX has rejected the specific means provided by the congregations to maintain fidelity and missionary responsibility Schools of the synod and scorned to present their concerns to the church so that the church could act together. The President and Board will continue to address this regrettable situation and even at this late date have recalled the CTX Council of Regency under 1 Cor. 6 to bring this matter before those of authority in the Church to reach a conclusion consistent with “the Holy Scriptures, the Lutheran Confessions, the Constitution, the Statutes, and the decisions of the Synod.”

The Lord grant all who serve His Church in positions of authority to do so in the spirit of the preamble of our Synod, after the pattern of the Apostolic Church (Acts 15), to subject all things to the Word of God and to the Vicars of the assembled Churches, and under His will that “the variety of gifts for common use” (1 Corinthians 12) should be of the entire synod. Amidst the great “facilities” of the temple, our Lord said, “This will be your opportunity to bear witness” (Luke 21). The Lord grant us to do this together, each in his proper vocation, with urgency and fidelity.

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