The convention of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has adopted a "Statement of Jewish-Lutheran Concerns" in connection with its program to "encourage evangalism among the Jews."
In the wake of a 1977 LCMS convention resolution on witnessing to Jews, several Jewish leaders and organizations raised strong objections both to the concept and to materials prepared under LCMS auspices.
The new statement urges sensitivity "to the danger that witnessing to Jewish people can result in misunderstanding and potential nurturing of anti-Semitic attitudes."
"We plead for understanding that we are not singling out the Jewish people as a special target of our evangelistic endeavors," and that "we are not mounting a campaign to convert Jewish people with techniques of evangelism involving manipulation, pressure, and disrespect of the individual. Unfortunately, most of our people are aware of the past injustices," the statement continues.
It concludes with the assertion that "we do love the Jewish people, that we stand with them in opposing all forms of anti-Semitism and injustice, that we join them in humanitarian concerns, and that we will continue to love them even when they choose not to accept our witness."
In other action, the delegates voted 861-to-147, after long debate, to continue "fellowship in protest" with the American Lutheran Church. Most debate centered on whether to end fellowship immediately or two years from now.
When the 1977 LCMS convention declared its "protest," it cited ALC positions on interpretation of the Bible and the ordination of women as reasons to question a relationship which officially allows LCMS and ALC preachers to exchange pulpits, and communicants to receive holy communion in services of the other denomination. The ALC ordains women and is sometimes less literal than the Missouri Synod in biblical interpretation.
In other action, the convention:
Endorsed a "human life amendment" to the U.S. Constitution, which would make most abortions illegal. The resolution reiterates the LCMS view that abortion is "not a moral option, except as a tragically unavoidable by-product of medical procedures necessary to prevent the death of . . . the mother."
Approved its own revised version of a new book of worship prepared after more than a decade of work initiated by the LCMS in 1965. The three other Lutheran denominations in the project approved the common hymnal, but the LCMS raised doctrinal objections to certain portions.
Authorized a major fund drive, with a goal of $40 million in pledges by early 1981.
Urged public schools to permit teaching "a special creation concept" if they teach "the evoulutionary concept."
Gave independent status to its Brazil congregations, and endorsed a move toward independence by its Canadian congregations. CAPTION: Picture, Visitors view photo panels depicting Jewish history on display at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library. By Douglas Chevalier - The Washington Post