March 31, 2008
Wall Street Journal
Letter to the Editor:
As President of The Lutheran Church—MissouriSynod, I express my extreme disappointment over the column “Radio Silence” published March 28 under “Houses of Worship.” Its author presents a distorted account of the reason for the discontinuation of the “Issues, Etc.” program on the Synod’s KFUO-AM Radio station. What is even more disturbing is the false and misleading picture she presents of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as a deeply divided church regarding its mission and ministry.
First, let me say our church is happy to own and operate KFUO-AM, the oldest continuously operating religious radio station in the country, if not the world. We are proud of the ministry it has provided listeners for some 84 years, and we endeavor to continue this ministry. I must also note that all ministries of the church, of which KFUO-AM is but one, require financial support from their constituencies.
Here are the facts surrounding the termination of “Issues, Etc.” This program was cancelled by the Synod’s director of communications after years of attempts to keep the program financially solvent. In fiscal year 2007-08, KFUO-AM’s operating deficit was $620,000. Since 2001, the accumulated deficits ofthe station have been in excess of $3.5 million. While airing for only 18 percent of KFUO-AM’s programming week, “Issues, Etc.” in the last fiscal year accounted for more than 40 percent ($250,000) of the station’s total deficit. These figures are based on the audited financial statements of the LCMS. As of February 29, two thirds into the current fiscal year, KFUO-AM was on pace to suffer heavy loses again.
Listeners of “Issues, Etc.” have had nine years and countless invitations and opportunities to support the program financially, and some have, but not nearly enough to offset the show’s deep, ongoing losses.
More importantly, I wish to address the unfortunate comments in the column that The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is deeply divided and that it is pushing “church marketing” over the historic confessions of the evangelical Lutheran Church.
In truth, last summer the LCMS had its most positive and unified convention in years. Our church remains faithful to the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions, an integral part of our identity as a church body. As stated in a resolution adopted last summer by the national Synod convention: “From the founding of our Synod 160 years ago, wehave been blessed by unity in our common confession and the articles of our shared faith, such as the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, original sin, baptismal regeneration, the real presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Sacrament, the inerrancy of Scripture and many others.”
In accordance with our unity in what we believe,teach, and confess, the Synod adopted the mission and vision of —a focused and concentrated effort to “share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who do notyet know him.” One goal of calls for the Synod to start 2,000 new congregations by the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in the year 2017. This outreach emphasis is not“marketing” as suggested by last Friday’s column; rather, it is one of many ministry endeavors developed to foster the mission of our Synod “... vigorously to make known the love of Christ by word and deed within our churches, communities, and the world.” (LCMS Mission Statement)
In summary, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is more committed than ever to proclaiming the one message of Jesus Christ and his love for all (1 John 4:9-11).
On behalf of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, I invite readers to visit our website at for more information on God’s grace and salvation in Christ. www.lcms.org
The Rev. Dr. Gerald B.Kieschnick, President
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod