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Requiring anything more than a majority vote for anything institutes rule by minority.  Why should the minority rule?

Since 1957 synods have defeated twenty overtures asking that decisions on weighty matters (the Confessions, the Church Order, etc.) be made by a two-thirds synodical vote or approved by a majority or two-thirds of the classes or by a majority of the consistories.   Wise decisions!  Congregations should take note!

In spite of this history, there are still those who want rule by minority and who attempt to convince folks that this is the way to go.  It's not.




The fact that simple majorities should be the norm does not neglect unity.   A congregation I pastored passed the council's motion to call a second pastor by one vote.  The council was concerned about unity, dragged its heels a bit on implementation, did a bit more explanation and consensus building, etc.  After a bit of time, the council implemented the congregation's decision with no negative consequences.

Asking for anything more than a simple majority establishes rule by minority, and rule by minority does not insure unity.  It makes people, who live in a society where majority decisions are implemented, believe the council is pulling a fast one to maintain the status quo or to resist change.

All of us know there's a natural human tendency to resist change.  Sometimes it's hard to get even a simple majority because a number of people, who really have no strong feelings about a matter either way, tend to vote to maintain the status quo.  After a vote, people who voted 'No' frequently say something like, "Well, I want to support the decision of the council/congregation.  The majority voted 'yes' so that's what we ought to do."  Generally, they trust their leadership.  

The practice of certain synodical decisions being proposed by one synod and adopted by another resulted because some folks didn't want women in office and tried everything they could think of (including the proposed/adopted scenario) to prevent change.  The result was seesaw synods that were disdained by both "sides" and a profound bleeding of the church on both "sides."   The ongoing result, of course, is that the denomination has to wait an entire year before it can implement some synodical decisions.  "Like a mighty turtle moves the church of God."   Not counting the issue of women in office, someone ought to research how many succeeding synods have not approved a decision of a previous synod in the last twenty-two years.  I don't recall a single one, but there may have been one.  This synodical procedure ought to be rescinded.

Typically, calls for super-majorities are made by those who are opposed to what is being proposed.  Wise leadership is a better solution than super majorities or schemes to maintain the status quo.







As I reflected on our discussion of this issue, I wondered if we had drifted from Hans’ initial request that was focused only on the matter of the (s) election of elders and deacons.  Here are some (subjective) comments about that.

I suspect that the request for a 2/3 majority in order for a person’s name to get into the lot is coming from people who don’t believe the most capable/experienced people are being selected.  Elder x who had never served before was selected while Elder y who had previously served a number of terms was not.  Perhaps elder x would not even be in the lot if the congregation had to approve each person by a 2/3 majority and that would increase the chances of elder y being selected.

It’s this kind of thinking that made people unwilling to let their name stand in nomination when elections were held by straight congregational votes.  They were repeatedly “defeated” by people who had served previously or who had been in the congregation for more years or who had lots of relatives in the church.  After a few “defeats,” they declined nomination again because they were not going to be “rejected” once more by the congregation.  When a congregation goes to a lot system, these people are willing to stand in nomination.  However, some people still regard them as less qualified and are disappointed when the name of the person they favor is not drawn. 

Hans, if your congregation has gone to the lot system, the council shouldn’t attempt to meddle with the system in an effort to please people who don’t think the right person was selected.  Instead, rejoice that a person willing to serve has an opportunity to serve and trust that the other council members and the Lord can assist this person so his/her service is fruitful.

John, you say, "Yes George, your example of synodical decisions was quite diversionary and inappropriate."

I hope you realize that this example was raised by Randy who called it a "good thing."

Hans, it would be interesting to hear what your council decided and how/if the discussion here influenced its decision.  Other people are evaluating the worth of the Network.  Perhaps they need to hear from folks like you.


You ask if a simple majority would be sufficient to depose an elder or in the case of a single nominee.

Yes, the majority, not the minority, should determine these matters.



Posted in: Genesis - Again!

Hey folks, discussion is fine.  Disagreement is fine.  But making personal attacks on those who hold a different opinion are not so fine. Let me remind you of the comment policy that governs the Network:

"Comments on The Network are monitored to make sure they are appropriate and respectful. When commenting please take note of the following guidelines.


  1. Speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15): No profanity, vulgarity, or racial slurs. Attacks on individuals or groups will not be tolerated.

  2. Stay on topic: Comments and posts that have strayed too far from the original subject matter will be deleted or moved."

I'm new to the Network myself and am on it because I was asked to make some comments about Synod 2011.  I don't know how the folks in charge of the Network enforce these policies, but I'll bet they'd rather have those who post be respectful to each other than deleting what's been posted.  When stuff's deleted, conversation stops.  So let's have a good conversation guided by the comment policy.  Thanks.

Posted in: Genesis - Again!

I was asked to be a guide for Synod 2011.  I was discouraged because so few people commented.  I was told by the Network people, "Don't be discouraged.  A host of people listen in even though only a few comment."  So, let Rob sign out if he wishes, but let others benefit from Ken and John's discussion.  Carry on!!

Posted in: Genesis - Again!

John, no one is questioning God's power to create a man out of dust or to perform surgery on that man to produce a woman.  God has the power to do anything that God chooses to do.  Many Christians who acknowledge God's power are not denying "that" God created humanity.  They are asking "how" God created humanity.

Executive sessions are not designed to "hide" anything.  Synod goes into executive session when issues involve persons, and you can be assured that Synod 2011 will discuss this matter in executive session.   Indeed, there should be full disclosure, but full disclosure can best be heard and addressed by a 20 member advisory committee rather than by a 188 member synod.  The advisory committee should ask for all the details, should consider all the details and then make its recommendation.  Synod should not redo the work of the advisory committee unless it's evident that the advisory committee has done a poor job or if the advisory committee comes with a majority and minority report.

 Rob, as you know from some of the overtures you're not alone when you say that "defending" is "missing."  Is it really, or is only the word "defending, used in the previous Form of Subscription, "missing?"  Can you preach and teach and be formed by the Confessions without defending them?             

Whoops, I posted an incomplete comment out of place.  Working with an unfamiliar computer while vacationing in Florida.  Sorry.

>Actually, you can be formed by them and not defend them.<

I find it difficult to believe that you can preach and teach the confessions without defending them.  Theoretically possible, but...

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