So, the LCMS President finds himself on defense and must respond to Friday's opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal by Mollie Ziegler-Hemingway. Ms. Hemingway must have struck a chord! Let's keep in mind that in politics - and that's what this is, at least this portion of using editorial pages to sway public opinion - it is most desirable to land the first "PR punch," and it is most unenviable to have to respond and explain oneself. So, chalk one up to Ms. Hemingway as Pres. Kieschnick is caught back on his heals, now trying to change public opinion regarding his executive's decision to cancel Issues, Etc.
I notice that Pres. Kieschnick's letter reiterates the details (questionable as they are, or discredited as they are, according to many) that first showed up in David Strand's letter of last week. Can you say lock-step collaborative effort and talking points? I for one would love to hear what the Synod's Treasurer has to say about this. Did I hear that he was out of the country at the time of cancellation and not even consulted on this "business/stewardship" decision?
I also notice that the President's response to Ms. Hemingway puts the onus for the undue demise of Issues, Etc. on the shoulders of loyal listeners. Since the listeners did not ante up and pay the bills directly, the new reasoning goes, they now get to suffer the silence of solid Lutheran theology, apologetics, and discussion on the airwaves? If Issues, Etc. was truly a "ministry of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod," then why blame listeners for not giving money directly to it? When will we receive more data on how much the listeners of other KFUO-AM programs *don't* financially support their favorite shows? When will other shows, such as "The Bible Study" or "Moments of Assurance," be canceled because *their* listeners are not directly footing the bill? Why was Issues, Etc. the only show on the KFUO-AM line up recruiting and garnering its own sponsors?
Finally, I notice Pres. Kieschnick's rationale for claiming synodical unity. Unity comes via a convention? The process of voting on and approving convention resolutions shows a supposed unity? (What about the "No" votes, whatever the percentage, on each of those resolutions?) What about the actual preaching from pulpits and teaching in Bible classes and school classrooms? Is that unified? What about the practice(s) of the Lord's Supper and who is welcomed to the Lord's Table? Do we see unity there? What about liturgical practices that are salutary to manifest concord and in harmony with our Confessions and the Church catholic through the centuries (vs. seeker-sensitive approaches to "worship" that seek to lure and entertain more than give glory to God and comfort to sinners)? If a convention is the best hallmark of "unity" that we can devise, then I suppose we'll have to be content with "unity" for a few days once every three years, but the rest of the time, we'll carry on according to Judges 21:25: "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes."
So, chalk one up for Ms. Hemingway. Let's pray that a better explanation might still be forthcoming, and, by all means, let's pray that we in the Missouri Synod get to read/hear it before all of the WSJ readers.