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Report on the 1998 Convention — by Pastor Joel Fleischer, with thanks to

Prof. Joseph Lau (Convention Chronicles) and Pastor James Albrecht (CLC Secretary).

The Fellowship Of Kindred Minds


The tone of the 1998 CLC Convention was set by the devotions and the essays. Which is to say, the tone for the convention was set by Scripture itself as, throughout the week, pastors and lay-delegates gathered regularly around the Word.

Convention chaplain Pastor Delwyn Maas (pastor in the Denver, Colo. area) opened the 23rd Convention with a devotion based on Hebrews 10:22-25. In his address Pastor Maas focused on the kinship we enjoy as members of the household of God. We recognize that this kinship is a creation of the Holy Spirit working through His Word. It is this kinship that leads us to want to carry out His kingdom work. “So why are we gathered here this week? As those who have been snatched from the gates of hell, where else should we be?” This kinship of grace was demonstrated through the week in the true spirit of fellowship shown towards one another.

In two very edifying essays the delegates were led through the past, present, and future of this kinship of grace that is called fellowship.

Pastor Michael Roehl (Bismarck, N.Dak.) presented the first essay Monday evening. It was entitled The Exercise of Fellowship in the Early Church. We were asked to imagine the monumental task that Jesus’ disciples faced after His ascension. They were given the command to carry the Gospel message to all the earth. What a treasure the fellowship of kindred minds must have been as they faced their challenges together. Pastor Roehl went on to explain the two-dimensional nature of fellowship, as both a building up of like-minded individuals and as a defense system against wolves in sheep’s clothing. We do well to faithfully use both of these dimensions in our kingdom work.

The essayist also provided insight into the way fellowship was exercised by several early church fathers. Some made the mistake of establishing men rather than the Word of God as that which was to determine the point of unity. However, their position on fellowship is strikingly similar to ours today. The essay concluded with this statement:

  "God grant that we cling ever more tightly to those who are our true
  brothers and sisters, as did those early Christians, and share with all
  the saints to the fullest the precious gift of Christian fellowship we
  have been given."

Pastor Mark Gullerud (One of two pastors at Messiah, Eau Claire) presented the second and final essay entitled The Exercise of Brotherly Fellowship in the Waning Days of the Church Militant. Even in these last days when so many have forsaken the scriptural principles of fellowship, God has granted His Church that special union of Christian likemindedness and mutual Christian love. What a privilege it is to hear God’s Word proclaimed faithfully in our churches, schools, and publications. It is because of Christ’s love for us that we are able to show forth a reciprocal, mutual love for each other. However, as the essayist pointed out, this fellowship does not go unchallenged. Through attacks from without and within, we struggle to cling to the Truth. God’s Word has led us to settle disputes in our midst in a God-pleasing manner through the proper application of His Word. Finally, we were reminded to maintain Christian sobriety in battling the devil, to maintain the decency and order called for in Scripture, and to cover a multitude of sins in our love for one another.

Wednesday evening brought a wonderful demonstration of the blessings of our fellowship of kindred minds as communicant members of the CLC celebrated the Lord’s Supper together in a service in the Immanuel Lutheran College Field House. Pastor Joel Fleischer (Marquette, Mich.) served as service liturgist; Prof. Clifford Kuehne (Immanuel Lutheran College) delivered the sermon; and David Schaller, Immanuel Seminary student, was organist.


With joy the Convention recognized the expanding fellowship of kindred minds granted by a Spirit-created unity in faith and doctrine on the part of the following called workers and congregations.

Received as pastors in the synod during the last two years and accepted as voting members at this convention were: David Baker (Immanuel, Addison, Ill.); George Dummann (Grace, Valentine, Nebr.); Roland H. Gurgel (Faith, Nicollet & New Ulm, Minn.); Timothy Holland (Living Word, Hendersonville, N.C.); Delwyn Maas (St. Matthew, Colorado Springs, Colo. and St. Paul, Golden, Colo.); Philip Matzke (St. Peter’s, Stambaugh, Mich.); James Naumann (Mt. Olive, Lamar, Colo.); Todd Ohlmann (Faith, Ballwin, Mo.); Victor Tiefel (Retired); and Timothy Wheaton (St. Luke’s, Lemmon, S.Dak.).

Two men were received as teachers during the last two years and were accepted as voting members at this convention: Paul Sullivan (Professor at Immanuel Lutheran College, Eau Claire); and Michael Wheaton (Teacher at Immanuel, Mankato, Minn.).

Five congregations were accepted as synod members: Resurrection Ev. Lutheran Church, Calgary, AB, Canada; St. Matthew Ev. Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, Colo.; St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church, Golden, Colo.; St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church, Vernon, BC, Canada; and Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, Atlanta, Ga.

Ascension Lutheran Church, Kimball, Minn. has declared itself to be in confessional agreement with the CLC and is served by our pastors, but it is not a member congregation at this time. Recognizing kindred minds in Paris, France, the Convention declared fellowship with the Independent Lutheran Congregation of Paris, recognizing them as an independent congregation in affiliation with the Church of the Lutheran Convention. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we look forward to a growing relationship with our brethren in Paris.


  When here our pathways part,
  We suffer bitter pain;
  Yet, one in Christ and one in heart,
  We hope to meet again.

The 1998 Convention saw the retirement of two beloved servants in our church body.

Recognizing the recent retirement of Mr. Don Ohlmann after twenty-four years of service on the Board of Missions, President Daniel Fleischer expressed the sincere thanks of the church body to the Lord of the Church and to Mr. Ohlmann for his years of service. In appreciation for his many years of faithful service, Mr. Ohlmann was presented with an engraved clock.

Another retirement was observed on Wednesday morning. This retirement was from the Church Militant into the Church Triumphant. Pastor Rollin Reim (San Francisco, West Bay) led the Convention in a memorial service for Pastor Leland Grams who had been called home to heaven by his Lord December 15, 1997. Pastor Reim directed the attention of the delegates to the wonderful picture drawn in Revelation 19:5-9 of a great multitude in heaven singing the praises of our God. Jesus, the Lamb, is seen awaiting His bride, the Church. The righteous acts of His saints on earth, worked in them through Christ, are pictured as the fine linen that arrays His bride. Truly, blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!


Speaking of retirement, after years of debate, writing, and more debate, the so-called self-love issue was retired once and for all in our midst, thanks to the careful study of Holy Scripture. After careful consideration the following statements of principle were adopted by the convention:

  -- All love proceeding from the Old Man is sinful, and
  -- All love proceeding from the New Man is God-pleasing

By careful study of His Word, the Holy Spirit has once again preserved that blessed tie that seemed so threatened in recent times. We thank God for the unity of confession that only the Spirit can create and maintain.

The Convention delegates also approved of the further study of scriptural principles regarding a Christian’s association with organizations, including the American Legion. Results of this study will be brought to the next Convention.


When we do mission work, we are seeking to bring others into this fellowship of kindred minds through the proclamation of the Gospel.

The reports from the CLC’s stateside missionaries reminded us of our opportunities in many places in the world. God’s Word surely does not return unto Him void. We are reminded that the harvest is great, but the laborers are few.

In our overseas mission fields it was reported that Pastor David Koenig will be working not only at our missions in Nigeria, but will also help to support our mission fields in India, as well as pursuing further outreach opportunities in Africa.

The Convention also urged the Board of Missions to fund a second foreign missionary to Nigeria by 2001 if possible. Such a project would help our church body avoid having a long vacancy in the foreign mission field as has happened in the past. In addition, such support for the missionary already in the field would be invaluable, both for the work and from a personal standpoint.

It was further reported that with the addition of a satellite phone and a laptop computer Missionary Koenig will be in touch with our stateside CLC members who have e-mail access. This will certainly be a blessing to the Koenigs as they will be better able to keep in touch with friends and family at home. If you would like to e-mail the Koenigs, their e-mail address is:


In order to help our congregations and parents as they instruct our children in the teachings of God’s Word, it was resolved that a three-year Sunday School curriculum be developed under the leadership of the CLC Board of Education with the help of volunteer pastors, teachers, and laity.

The discussion on finances reminded all that Immanuel Lutheran College is not simply the students’ school, but that it is truly our school. Its professors are our professors, and our continued support for ILC is vital to its continued operation.


As always, striving to be good stewards with our financial blessings occupied a good portion of the convention’s time right up to the final hours on Friday. The Cooperative Budget Plan (CBP) for the up-coming biennium was set at $559,775, with the total subsidy being $546,755 for fiscal year (FY) 1999. The breakdown is: Missions, $199,865; Regents $219,890; Trustees $140,000; Total $559,755; Less FY 1998 surplus $13,000; Total subsidy needed FY 1999, $546,755.

The total operating budget for the CLC from July ’98 through June ’99 is set at $1,149,335 ($559,755 + $589,580 {expected student revenue}).

Though tedious at times, this joint stewardship is a part of the fellowship of kindred minds that we all share. It is necessary to our efforts for the maintenance of our external body, so that we may effectively work to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.


As part of his closing remarks to the delegates, who had put in five days of intense kingdom work, Moderator Prof. Ronald Roehl said: “Most of the work is not done here, but at home…” Indeed, the matters resolved upon in the fear of God will be carried out only as, by the Spirit’s help and strength, the delegates carry the message to kindred hearts and minds in their home congregations.

You are encouraged to visit with your congregational delegates and/or read the Convention report when it is delivered to the congregations in the coming weeks. Through the work and resolutions adopted at the 23rd Convention, let us pray that the kingdom of God might spread mightily among us and from us.

The Lord preserve us in our unity of faith founded on the Word of God, and bless us in 2000 when, God-willing, we are once again convention-bound to work to His glory.