REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON APPEALS
Commission on Appeals, elected at the 2006 convention of the Evangelical
Lutheran Synod, met several times during the year past to consider the
appeal of the Rev. Rolf Preus.
The decision is herewith printed for your information
DECISION OF THE COMMISSION ON THE APPEAL OF
a letter to the clergy of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod dated January
26, 2006 The Rev. President John Moldstad declared, “Pastor Rolf D.
Preus will on the date of February 1, 2006, be suspended from the clergy
roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.”
The reason given for this action is as follows:
seeds of discord among the brethren. (Proverbs 6:19) vs. 16:
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to
him…19) a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up
dissention among brothers.” NIV
evidence for the Charges was the Rev. Rolf Preus’ “Clarifying the
Issues in the ELS Ministry Debate,” a document published on December
6, 2006 and widely distributed in which the appellant wrote:
I cannot accept the PCM [PMW] Document.
The President falsely accused me.
Appeal Appendix, July 24, 2006
Preus calls into question the propriety of the Appeals Commission.
Commission on Appeals reviewed the synodical handbook, the record of the
process leading to suspension, the appeal, the appendix of the appeal,
and other written testimony.
The commission determined that the pertinent issues before it
Were the charges brought against Pastor Rolf Preus justified?
Commission committed itself to the issues before it and not issues
outside its responsibility.
The Commission consulted with experts.
The Commission heard testimony from President Moldstad and the
Rev. Rolf Preus.
In all, the commissioners reviewed 81 documents (194 pages). The documents were provided by President John Moldstad, synodical Secretary Craig Ferkenstad, the Rev. Rolf Preus and various synodical clergy and lay leaders.
materials were varied and included synodical reports and memorials,
official correspondence, emails, reports, letters, conference materials
and the like.
Because of gaps in the data or where further explanation was
deemed to be warranted, the commission requested and received further
documentation from several individuals.
much prayer and diligent study, the Commission believes it has done all
necessary to reach a fair and impartial decision in the appeal before
1. Were the charges brought against Pastor Rolf Preus justified?
The Synodical President
is responsible for supervising the teaching in the E.L.S.
The statements of the Appellant printed above make it clear that
the Appellant is not willing to accept and teach certain doctrines of
the E.L.S. These statements were published.
Although the Appellant
claims that he did not intend to accuse the Statement of the E.L.S. on
doctrine of the Public Ministry of containing false doctrine, his words,
“flawed, falsely claims, unscriptural” lead to the conclusion that
he is accusing the document of false doctrine.
The Appellant continues to
publicly attack the E.L.S. statement on the Public Ministry.
2. Was the due process followed consistent
with the Constitution and By-laws of the Evangelical Lutheran
The Commission concluded,
after consulting with experts, its belief that the Constitution and
By-laws of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod Guidelines for Synodical
Discipline and Appeals Article I: General
Cases, did not apply to this situation since this is a public offence
with a pastor suspended from permanent membership in the Synod and not
his divine call to River Heights Lutheran.
Even though the Guidelines
are inadequate for this situation the Synodical President’s handling
of the situation was orderly and Biblical and consistent with his
responsibility as president of the synod.
The “Clarifying the Issues” statement was inflammatory.
Immediate action needed to be taken.
The Synod might consider supplementing these guidelines.
is the Decision of the Commission on Appeals.
Memorials referred to the Commission on Appeals
the Evangelical Lutheran Synod at its 2006 annual convention referred
several Memorials to the commission, the commission reviewed the
Memorials and determined that its final decision concerning the appeal
of the Rev. Rolf Preus would be the commission’s response to the
Yours in Christ,
Mr. Ronald Younge
Cc. President John Moldstad