The Problem with Omnibus C

Tucked away at the end of every convention, whether it be District or Synod are three more resolutions that are brought to the floor in the closing minutes of the convention.  These three resolutions are affectionately called Omnibus A, B, and C.

Each of these resolutions is brought forward as a way to explain away all of the overtures that were not brought to the floor of the convention.  If an overture is listed in Omnibus A, it means that it has been assigned to an official board or committee or individual who will examine it further.  If it falls into Omnibus B, it means that it is not the role of the convention to discuss that particular overture.  And if it falls into Omnibus C, it means that the overture has already been addressed at a previous convention of either District or Synod, and the matter will not be taken up again.

Now the truth is that Omnibus resolution might as well be another name for the trash can.  If an overture is assigned to another board or committee, there is no guarantee that they will ever address it.  And as for it not being the role of the convention to address the issue, well that is clearly in the eye of the beholder, because there are many things that the convention does do that could likewise be classified as not the role of the convention.

But this post is really about Omnibus C, and those things that are declared to have already been addressed either by District or by Synod in convention or in other official statements.

Conventions are not perfect, mainly because they are made up of sinners.  It is quite possible for a convention to make a decision that looks good at the time, but over the course of the next few years, may turn out to be wrong.  It is also possible for a convention to be swayed, either by the Chair or by a speech from the floor, and cast a vote that is misguided.  It is for these reasons that conventions meet every three years: to pick up where the previous convention left off.

Unfortunately, a convention cannot undo what a previous convention did if no resolution is brought to the floor indicating such a thing.  Just because a previous convention has spoken on an issue, does not necessarily mean that the issue is settled for eternity, it does for some issues, but not all issues.

For instance, the issue of women’s ordination, of 6 day creation, of abortion and homosexuality, are all matters of Church doctrine, and they cannot be changed by convention vote as the Church has spoken on them.  On the other hand the issue of lay ministry, of District or Synod initiatives, and of Church fellowship, are not doctrine, and the positions may change based on further study and a change in the course of human events.

So I propose, that Omnibus C only be for those things on which we base Church doctrine, no convention will ever again discuss the issue of women’s ordination, or abortion or homosexuality, for we as a Church have already spoken on these things.  But issues that deal with Church polity, issues that are not commanded by God, they are fair to discuss on the floor of the convention again and again, until we reach a point where the matter is settled to the approval of God.

About revschmidt

An LCMS Pastor in North-Central Kansas
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