Some of Iowa’s Lutherans are watching a bitter dispute among the Nebraska leaders of their denomination. Iowa’s Missouri synod Lutherans are refraining from an official position on their church’s latest controversy. Some in the church have called for the resignation of the newly elected president of the synod, after the Reverend Gerald Kieschnick joined a multi-denominational service at the World Trade Center site. Iowa District West President Pastor Paul Sieveking says the 150-year-old denomination has always struggled to keep its identity unique, and that’s why some complained about worshipping with other religions or even other Christian denominations. He explains until a few decades ago, Americans assumed they lived in a “Christian nation.”He says we assumed all citizens went to a church and had Christian morals, while in recent years we’ve moved to a post-modern era and it’s had a profound influence. Pastor Sieveking says Iowa members of the Missouri Synod branch have not taken a position on the national leader’s part in multi-faith ceremonies.Pastors are leaving it up to the congregations, just giving them information and asking them to remember the two conflicting concerns of keeping their church distinct from others and getting out their message of faith. Some pastors in Nebraska, Missouri and Minnesota have called for the national synod president to resign or be forced out. There are an estimated 124-thousand Missouri Synod Lutheran church members in Iowa.
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