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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Marshall_Hahn on November 02, 2007, 02:35:02 PM

Title: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on November 02, 2007, 02:35:02 PM
The Diocese of Pittsburgh is expected to vote today on whether or not to begin the process of leaving The Episcopal Church.  You can read the details here:
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07306/830551-85.stm
A couple excerpts from the article outline the debate:

"Resolution 1, which is expected to pass easily, would allow the diocese to define itself as a 'constituent member' of the Anglican Communion and disaffiliate from the American church, realigning with another province after a second vote at next year's convention."

"Resolution 2 seeks to change the language of the diocese's constitution to reflect that it 'accedes to, recognizes and adopts the Constitution and Canons of [the] Church, and acknowledges its authority accordingly.'

It is not expected to pass."

Since this is the diocese of Bishop Duncan, the leader of the "Network" bishops, what takes place in Pittsburgh will have a great deal of effect elsewhere in the TEC.  For the readers here, and, in particular, the ELCA participants, I would encourage you to join with me in praying for our full communion partners in the TEC as these events unfold.    May God guide them in the decisions they make.

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 02, 2007, 02:46:55 PM
Letter from the Presiding Bishop to Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan

The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan
Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA

Dear Bob,

There have been numerous public references in recent weeks regarding resolutions to be introduced at your forthcoming diocesan convention. Those resolutions, if adopted, would amend several of your diocesan canons and begin the process of amending one or more provisions of your diocesan Constitution. I have reviewed a number of these proposed resolutions, and it is evident to me that they would violate the Constitutional requirement that the Diocese conform to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. It is apparent from your pre-convention report that you endorse these proposed changes. I am also aware of other of your statements and actions in recent months that demonstrate an intention to lead your diocese into a position that would purportedly permit it to depart from The Episcopal Church. All these efforts, in my view, display a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between The Episcopal Church and its dioceses. Our Constitution explicitly provides that a diocese must accede to the Constitution and Canons of the Church.

I call upon you to recede from this direction and to lead your diocese on a new course that recognizes the interdependent and hierarchical relationship between the national Church and its dioceses and parishes. That relationship is at the heart of our mission, as expressed in our polity. Specifically, I sincerely hope that you will change your position and urge your diocese at its forthcoming convention not to adopt the resolutions that you have until now supported.

If your course does not change, I shall regrettably be compelled to see that appropriate canonical steps are promptly taken to consider whether you have abandoned the Communion of this Church -- by actions and substantive statements, however they may be phrased -- and whether you have committed canonical offences that warrant disciplinary action.

It grieves me that any bishop of this Church would seek to lead any of its members out of it. I would remind you of my open offer of an Episcopal Visitor if you wish to receive pastoral care from another bishop. I continue to pray for reconciliation of this situation, and I remain

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: LutherMan on November 02, 2007, 02:49:39 PM
Wasn't Jefferts Schori the heretic who said something along the lines that Jesus isn't the only way to heaven?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 02, 2007, 03:03:02 PM
Someone posts:
Wasn't Jefferts Schori the heretic who said something along the lines that Jesus isn't the only way to heaven?

I lament:
This ALPB forum is rapidly becoming like that other place (the Freep or Creep forum or whatever). Anonymous posters blasting away with their assault rifles. Presiding Bishop Jefferts Shori deserves the title of her office and the respect due that office, no matter what one might think of her views. And if one wants to brand a person a "heretic," (which her church has not done), common decency would require more than a blithe "something along the lines" of as "proof."
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: LutherMan on November 02, 2007, 03:11:57 PM
http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/11/22006a.asp

ECUSA's Incoming Leader: Homosexuality Not a Choice, Jesus Not the Only Way
Comments by Jefferts-Schori During Interview Appear to Contradict Scripture


Looks like heresy to me...

Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 02, 2007, 03:20:00 PM
The anonymous poster says:
Looks like heresy to me...

I comment:
Doesn't matter what it looks like to you. We don't judge "heresy" as individuals. Churches have procedures and courts for doing that. And if you're making your judgment on information from a partisan website, there are other problems.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 02, 2007, 04:24:03 PM
Wasn't Jefferts Schori the heretic who said something along the lines that Jesus isn't the only way to heaven?
If so, how did Abraham get into heaven hundreds of years before Jesus' birth?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: MaddogLutheran on November 02, 2007, 04:32:27 PM
Letter from the Presiding Bishop to Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan

The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan
Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA

Dear Bob,

There have been numerous public references in recent weeks regarding resolutions to be introduced at your forthcoming diocesan convention. Those resolutions, if adopted, would amend several of your diocesan canons and begin the process of amending one or more provisions of your diocesan Constitution. I have reviewed a number of these proposed resolutions, and it is evident to me that they would violate the Constitutional requirement that the Diocese conform to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. It is apparent from your pre-convention report that you endorse these proposed changes. I am also aware of other of your statements and actions in recent months that demonstrate an intention to lead your diocese into a position that would purportedly permit it to depart from The Episcopal Church. All these efforts, in my view, display a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between The Episcopal Church and its dioceses. Our Constitution explicitly provides that a diocese must accede to the Constitution and Canons of the Church...
[snip]

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schor

According to the StandFirminFaith website, there has been a reply:

The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori
Episcopal Church Center
New York, New York

Dear Katharine,

Here I stand. I can do no other. I will neither compromise the Faith once delivered to the saints, nor will I abandon the sheep who elected me to protect them.

Pax et bonum in Christ Jesus our Lord,

+Bob Pittsburgh

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/7316/

And from the diocese official website:
http://www.pgh.anglican.org/news/local/pbresponse110207

Sounds vaguely familiar...
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: MaddogLutheran on November 02, 2007, 05:02:08 PM
Wasn't Jefferts Schori the heretic who said something along the lines that Jesus isn't the only way to heaven?
If so, how did Abraham get into heaven hundreds of years before Jesus' birth?
Um, doesn't even the Roman Catholic catechism get this one right?  God may provide a way for those who never had a chance to hear the gospel to reach paradise.  We just don't know exactly how that works.

For myself, I would not be so casual at throwing the heretic anathema at a particular person.  I tried to make this point in a previous thread about the presiding bishop -- it is a dereliction of her office as a bishop of the church to proclaim anything other than Jesus is the only way.  It dilutes the message of the gospel.   Proclaiming Jesus as the only way doesn't mean that God doesn't provide other ways, just that as Christians our knowledge is limited -- we do not know the mind of God, and we should not try to extrapolate beyond His revelation to us.  I know unfortunately that some consider these self-restraints as not inclusive enough.  Oh well. It is not offered with any malice.  I am not free to emend what Scripture plainly says.

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on November 02, 2007, 05:10:30 PM
As my original post indicated, my first desire is for us to lift up in prayer those in this diocese and in The Episcopal Church in general, including Bishop Duncan and Presiding Bishop Schori.  Whatever any of us think of the wisdom or foolishness of the actions and statements by either of them and the entities they serve, this is a time of great consequence for these, our sisters and brothers in Christ.  I pray constantly that others will judge my thoughts, statements, actions and reaction to the turmoil in our church with compassion and forgiveness.  May we grant the same here.

Gracious Father, we pray for your holy catholic Church.  Fill her with all truth and peace.  Where she is corrupt, purify her; where she is in error, direct her; where in anything she is amiss, reform her; whre she is right, strengthen her; where she is in need, provide for her; where she is divided, reunite her; for the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son our Savior.

God our Father, your Son Jesus prayed that His followers might be one.  Make all Christians one with Him as He is one with you, so that in peace and concord we may carry to the world the message of your love; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 02, 2007, 05:24:33 PM


According to the StandFirminFaith website, there has been a reply:

The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori
Episcopal Church Center
New York, New York

Dear Katharine,

Here I stand. I can do no other. I will neither compromise the Faith once delivered to the saints, nor will I abandon the sheep who elected me to protect them.

Pax et bonum in Christ Jesus our Lord,

+Bob Pittsburgh

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/7316/

And from the diocese official website:
http://www.pgh.anglican.org/news/local/pbresponse110207

Sounds vaguely familiar...

I wonder what his plans are for the parishes who do not wish to leave? Bp Duncan can offer up Luther's words as much as he wishes but he is dwarfed by Luther in every way.
John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on November 02, 2007, 07:45:52 PM
The Diocese of Pittsburgh has passed Resolution 1 which will begin the process of disaffiliating with The Episcopal Church.  Vote Totals - Lay: 118 Yea, 58 Nay, 1 Abstain;  Clergy: 109 Yea, 24 Nay, 0 Abstain.
The rationale for this resolution is given on the diocesan website at
http://www.pgh.anglican.org/Conventions/convention2007/ResOneFAQ101707.pdf

This is the first of 3 votes that would be needed to complete the disaffilliation, as the rationale states:

"The vote on Resolution 1 does not immediately accomplish dis-affiliation from the
Episcopal Church or cause a realignment of the Diocese with another Province. In fact
this vote does not even amend the Constitution. It is the first step in what would be a
three step process that would give the Diocese freedom to dis-affiliate and realign by a
decision of its diocesan convention at a future time. Those three steps are: (i) a vote to
amend the Constitution at this Convention, (ii) a second vote to amend the Constitution at
the next annual Convention, (tentatively slated for November of 2008) and finally (iii) a
separate and third vote at an annual convention to adopt a canon that specifies
membership in a province other than TEC."

As to what will happen with those who are in disagreegment with this action in the diocese, the rationale has this:

"Between First and Second Readings (November 2007 – November 2008)
Assuming the passage of Resolution One, it would be in this period that a discussion
would be undertaken about which Anglican Province to affiliate with upon dis-affiliation
from the Episcopal Church.
It would be in this period that determinations and negotiations would be undertaken as to
how the minority (those who disagree with the dis-affiliation) would be charitably and
equitably treated, including the hope that they would remain a part of the Diocese and
continue to benefit from its resources and mission strategy.
It would be in this period that the possibility of a mediated settlement in the best interests
of all parties might be accomplished."

Of course, all of this is subject to the objections from TEC rasied in Bishop Schori's letter, and the possible actions TEC may take.  While I sympathize with the actions the diocese has taken and the direction Bishop Duncan is leading, I have no illusions that this is an easy road that they are on, nor that it is settled as to what may eventually come of it.

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: frluther1517 on November 02, 2007, 08:04:24 PM


According to the StandFirminFaith website, there has been a reply:

The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori
Episcopal Church Center
New York, New York

Dear Katharine,

Here I stand. I can do no other. I will neither compromise the Faith once delivered to the saints, nor will I abandon the sheep who elected me to protect them.

Pax et bonum in Christ Jesus our Lord,

+Bob Pittsburgh

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/7316/

And from the diocese official website:
http://www.pgh.anglican.org/news/local/pbresponse110207

Sounds vaguely familiar...

I wonder what his plans are for the parishes who do not wish to leave? Bp Duncan can offer up Luther's words as much as he wishes but he is dwarfed by Luther in every way.
John Dornheim

So it's okay to belittle and slam bishops of the Church as long as we don't use the "h" word.  Good to know.  In another thread you praise pacifists who are conscience bound.  Here is a bishop consceince bound on matters of faith and you slam him.  Lord have mercy.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Scott4 on November 02, 2007, 08:22:48 PM
So it's okay to belittle and slam bishops of the Church as long as we don't use the "h" word.  Good to know.  In another thread you praise pacificsts who are conscience bound.  Here is a bishop consceince bound on matters of faith and you slam him.  Lord have mercy.

Don't worry.  I'm sure that in a little while you'll be treated to an interesting "spelling out" so that you can understand how this really is consistent, but you're just too dull to get it right now.  All will be made better.  ;D
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: frluther1517 on November 02, 2007, 08:31:04 PM
So it's okay to belittle and slam bishops of the Church as long as we don't use the "h" word.  Good to know.  In another thread you praise pacificsts who are conscience bound.  Here is a bishop consceince bound on matters of faith and you slam him.  Lord have mercy.

Don't worry.  I'm sure that in a little while you'll be treated to an interesting "spelling out" so that you can understand how this really is consistent, but you're just too dull to get it right now.  All will be made better.  ;D

I can't wait...

may I also say I've missed your posts Scott
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 02, 2007, 08:31:40 PM
Um, doesn't even the Roman Catholic catechism get this one right?  God may provide a way for those who never had a chance to hear the gospel to reach paradise.  We just don't know exactly how that works.
Uh, the gospel is not exactly the same as Jesus of Nazareth. I'm sure that Abraham heard the gospel. The good news of God's grace is found many places in the OT -- prior to the coming of Jesus.

Too simply stated, when a group emphasizes the first person of God as creator, that more easily leads to multiple ways that the creator of all people can use to save people. You even admit that in regards to God's other ways for those who don't know Jesus. When a group emphasizes the second person of God as the Son, Jesus of Nazareth, that more easily leads to "only through Jesus" type language for salvation. When a group emphasizes the third person of God the Spirit, that more easily leads to personal experiences, such as speaking in tongues that is necessary for salvation. There are different understandings of salvation that are somewhat dependent upon which person one emphasizes.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on November 02, 2007, 08:44:14 PM
To hear from Bishop Duncan's own words, you may read his diocesan address here:

http://www.pgh.anglican.org/news/local/duncanaddress110207

His advice for dealing with those in the minority are given here:

"It is clear to most on both sides, that continuing efforts to convince, at best, and coerce, at worst, will only deepen the failure of all.  A charitable and gracious provision for the minority to stay within the realigned fellowship of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh or to be given freedom to separate from us and align more directly with the wider Episcopal Church has also emerged as a course for which there is, I believe, a strengthening consensus."

And his suggestions for dealing with diocesan property is stated here:

"It is in this spirit that I share with you one of my convictions about what our God is calling us to in our stewardship of assets in the years ahead of us.  It is my growing conviction that all the things we presently hold in common need to continue to be administered for the good of all, even if we find ourselves in two different Anglican Provinces at the end of the day."

Granted, as I say, I am sympathetic to his underlying position, but it seems to me that he is attempting to separate from TEC in a gracious and Christian manner.

Marshall Hahn

Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Erma_S._Wolf on November 02, 2007, 11:08:31 PM
Bp Duncan can offer up Luther's words as much as he wishes but he is dwarfed by Luther in every way.

    As are we all, John; as are we all.

Erma Wolf
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 02, 2007, 11:11:12 PM
Bp Duncan can offer up Luther's words as much as he wishes but he is dwarfed by Luther in every way.

    As are we all, John; as are we all.

Erma Wolf

Yes, I know, Erma. They just sound really funny coming from him. I always thought he left TEC years ago.

John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: pr dtp on November 02, 2007, 11:14:54 PM
Um, doesn't even the Roman Catholic catechism get this one right?  God may provide a way for those who never had a chance to hear the gospel to reach paradise.  We just don't know exactly how that works.
Uh, the gospel is not exactly the same as Jesus of Nazareth. I'm sure that Abraham heard the gospel. The good news of God's grace is found many places in the OT -- prior to the coming of Jesus.

Too simply stated, when a group emphasizes the first person of God as creator, that more easily leads to multiple ways that the creator of all people can use to save people. You even admit that in regards to God's other ways for those who don't know Jesus. When a group emphasizes the second person of God as the Son, Jesus of Nazareth, that more easily leads to "only through Jesus" type language for salvation. When a group emphasizes the third person of God the Spirit, that more easily leads to personal experiences, such as speaking in tongues that is necessary for salvation. There are different understandings of salvation that are somewhat dependent upon which person one emphasizes.

It would seem to me this applies clearly,

6 Jesus said to him, "I am  the way, and  the truth, and  the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7  If you had known me, you would have  known my Father also. From now on you do know him and  have seen him." John 14,


as to Abraham and those prior to the resurrection, try "Hebrews 11:

Hebrews 11:
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Scott4 on November 02, 2007, 11:17:06 PM
Bp Duncan can offer up Luther's words as much as he wishes but he is dwarfed by Luther in every way.

    As are we all, John; as are we all.

Erma Wolf

Yes, I know, Erma. They just sound really funny coming from him. I always thought he left TEC years ago.

John Dornheim

Yes, we know your opinion, John.  You already said as much (for those who actually needed you to vocalize your cognitive processes).
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 02, 2007, 11:24:07 PM
Bp Duncan can offer up Luther's words as much as he wishes but he is dwarfed by Luther in every way.

    As are we all, John; as are we all.

Erma Wolf

Yes, I know, Erma. They just sound really funny coming from him. I always thought he left TEC years ago.

John Dornheim

Yes, we know your opinion, John.  You already said as much (for those who actually needed you to vocalize your cognitive processes).

Sco tt, it is called conversation. I realize it might be an art form, so why not just sit back and watch it unfold?

John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Scott4 on November 02, 2007, 11:40:20 PM
Yes, we know your opinion, John.  You already said as much (for those who actually needed you to vocalize your cognitive processes).

Sco tt, it is called conversation. I realize it might be an art form, so why not just sit back and watch it unfold?

John Dornheim

Chuckle. 

You do realize that I'm just responding as you respond to Paul, right?  :D  (No matter what, I fully expect you to now expect what I just said you expected.)

As to wanting me to sit back, thanks for the compliment.

As to you judging who most resembles Luther, well, there's another whole chuckle.  ;D
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Gladfelteri on November 02, 2007, 11:47:48 PM
Letter from the Presiding Bishop to Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan

The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan
Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA

Dear Bob,

There have been numerous public references in recent weeks regarding resolutions to be introduced at your forthcoming diocesan convention. Those resolutions, if adopted, would amend several of your diocesan canons and begin the process of amending one or more provisions of your diocesan Constitution. I have reviewed a number of these proposed resolutions, and it is evident to me that they would violate the Constitutional requirement that the Diocese conform to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. It is apparent from your pre-convention report that you endorse these proposed changes. I am also aware of other of your statements and actions in recent months that demonstrate an intention to lead your diocese into a position that would purportedly permit it to depart from The Episcopal Church. All these efforts, in my view, display a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between The Episcopal Church and its dioceses. Our Constitution explicitly provides that a diocese must accede to the Constitution and Canons of the Church...
[snip]

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schor

According to the StandFirminFaith website, there has been a reply:

The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori
Episcopal Church Center
New York, New York

Dear Katharine,

Here I stand. I can do no other. I will neither compromise the Faith once delivered to the saints, nor will I abandon the sheep who elected me to protect them.

Pax et bonum in Christ Jesus our Lord,

+Bob Pittsburgh

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/7316/

And from the diocese official website:
http://www.pgh.anglican.org/news/local/pbresponse110207

Sounds vaguely familiar...

Here is a response to + + Jefferts- Schori from TEC's Bishop of Central Florida: 

Central Florida Bishop Rips PB Schori Over Her Letter to Pittsburgh Bishop

The Presiding Bishop
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Katharine,

I have read with great sadness your letter to Bishop Bob Duncan of
Pittsburgh. And, since you have chosen to make your letter to him
public, I will make this one public, as well.

I have stood shoulder to shoulder with Bob in the efforts of the
Network to reverse the course of The Episcopal Church with regard to
recent decisions regarding human sexuality.

I part company with him in his decision to abandon the commitment we
made when we formed the Network, to work "within the Constitution and
Canons of The Episcopal Church."

But, Katharine, I cannot support your thinly veiled threat to resort
to litigation if the Diocese of Pittsburgh rescinds its accession to
the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church.

Dioceses voluntarily join (accede to) The Episcopal Church. And they
can voluntarily determine to separate from (withdraw their accession
from) The Episcopal Church.

During the Civil War, the Dioceses within the Confederate States
withdrew from The Episcopal Church without penalty. They were reunited
when that terrible war ended. Perhaps there will be a reunion of
presently seceding Dioceses at some point in our future, as well.

But just now, to threaten litigation, especially in the face of the
unanimous exhortation from the Primates in Dar es Salaam (an
exhortation you agreed to) to end such litigation, is deeply
troubling. I beg you to stand down.

This can only harm our relationships as fellow members of the Body of
Christ and our witness to the outside world. Warmest regards in our Lord,

The Right Rev. John W. Howe
Episcopal Bishop of Central Florida


This  comes from VirtueOnline
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal

Reference for this letter is:  http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/article.php?storyid=7000
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Scott4 on November 02, 2007, 11:56:18 PM
Irl,

Thanks for posting that.  What a powerful endorsement of Bishop Duncan's stand for truth.  May God continue to give such boldness and courage to His people throughout the world!
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Dave_Poedel on November 02, 2007, 11:57:21 PM
So it's okay to belittle and slam bishops of the Church as long as we don't use the "h" word.  Good to know.  In another thread you praise pacificsts who are conscience bound.  Here is a bishop consceince bound on matters of faith and you slam him.  Lord have mercy.

Don't worry.  I'm sure that in a little while you'll be treated to an interesting "spelling out" so that you can understand how this really is consistent, but you're just too dull to get it right now.  All will be made better.  ;D

I can't wait...

may I also say I've missed your posts Scott

Me too.

And may I second Ian's concern about the slam on the good Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.  May our Lord sustain him and the priests and parishes of his Diocese as they maintain the teaching of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 03, 2007, 12:05:47 AM

Me too.

And may I second Ian's concern about the slam on the good Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.  May our Lord sustain him and the priests and parishes of his Diocese as they maintain the teaching of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Dave, I watched the good bishop, as you call him, on late night TV for three+ years in PA. I came to an informed conclusion and I am not slamming him, just pointing out something which I observed.

John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 03, 2007, 12:14:49 AM
It would seem to me this applies clearly,

6 Jesus said to him, "I am  the way, and  the truth, and  the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7  If you had known me, you would have  known my Father also. From now on you do know him and  have seen him." John 14,

1. Jesus is the way to the Father, not any particular doctrine, not an individual's faith, but Jesus -- and as God, Jesus can do what he wants to do, even grant the way to the Father to those who don't believe -- that is, unless you want to make "belief" the way to the Father rather than Jesus.

2. It is noteworthy that Jesus does not say that he is the way to God. I think that it is significant. For us to understand God as Father requires the presence of the Son. As Paul indicates in Romans 1, God is known to all people. God's power is known to all people. Even insurance companies recognize "acts of God". What they don't know without Jesus is the relationship of God to us as Father.

Quote
Hebrews 11:
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Yet, in the story about the rich man and Lazarus, Abraham is seemingly pictured in heaven. Did he not then receive what was promised?

Thus, I do not get too upset by the presiding bishop's remarks. When I get to heaven, I will believe that all the people are there because of Jesus.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Scott4 on November 03, 2007, 12:18:18 AM
Dave, I watched the good bishop, as you call him, on late night TV for three+ years in PA. I came to an informed conclusion and I am not slamming him, just pointing out something which I observed.

John Dornheim

You're appealing to an "informed conclusion" based on "late night TV"?  How is that qualitatively different than "trust me when I crank on him -- if you were as informed as I (and already agreed with me), you'd crank on him just like I'm happy to crank on him"?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 03, 2007, 12:37:35 AM
Dave, I watched the good bishop, as you call him, on late night TV for three+ years in PA. I came to an informed conclusion and I am not slamming him, just pointing out something which I observed.

John Dornheim

You're appealing to an "informed conclusion" based on "late night TV"?  How is that qualitatively different than "trust me when I crank on him -- if you were as informed as I (and already agreed with me), you'd crank on him just like I'm happy to crank on him"?

Because I have no intention on "cranking on him" whatever that might mean.

John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Scott4 on November 03, 2007, 12:39:57 AM
Dave, I watched the good bishop, as you call him, on late night TV for three+ years in PA. I came to an informed conclusion and I am not slamming him, just pointing out something which I observed.

John Dornheim

You're appealing to an "informed conclusion" based on "late night TV"?  How is that qualitatively different than "trust me when I crank on him -- if you were as informed as I (and already agreed with me), you'd crank on him just like I'm happy to crank on him"?

Because I have no intention on "cranking on him" whatever that might mean.

John Dornheim

Yet:

Bp Duncan can offer up Luther's words as much as he wishes but he is dwarfed by Luther in every way.
John Dornheim

So this was just a paen of praise for Luther with no negative (my use of "crank") implications for Bishop Duncan intended?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 03, 2007, 12:43:54 AM

So this was just a paen of praise for Luther with no negative (my use of "crank") implications for Bishop Duncan intended?

Yes. I guess crank is a colloquial expression of which I am happily unfamiliar.

John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: pr dtp on November 03, 2007, 01:47:39 AM

1. Jesus is the way to the Father, not any particular doctrine, not an individual's faith, but Jesus -- and as God, Jesus can do what he wants to do, even grant the way to the Father to those who don't believe -- that is, unless you want to make "belief" the way to the Father rather than Jesus.

2. It is noteworthy that Jesus does not say that he is the way to God. I think that it is significant. For us to understand God as Father requires the presence of the Son. As Paul indicates in Romans 1, God is known to all people. God's power is known to all people. Even insurance companies recognize "acts of God". What they don't know without Jesus is the relationship of God to us as Father.

Yet, in the story about the rich man and Lazarus, Abraham is seemingly pictured in heaven. Did he not then receive what was promised?

Thus, I do not get too upset by the presiding bishop's remarks. When I get to heaven, I will believe that all the people are there because of Jesus.

Regarding point 1.  So Jesus did not mean what he said - that he is the only way to the Father, and NO man goes to the father but by Him? 

Regarding point 2.  Wow... did not realize that when Jesus says "I am "the" way, that he didn't mean "the" way.  And that truth and the life are not also definitive statements.  Btw - just because they know of God, that doesn't mean that knowledge is equivelant to saving knowledge.  See James 2 on that, as well as the Large Catechism's comments about Jews Turks and Heathens worshipping God to their denomination.  Knowledge doesn't predispose salvation.

Regarding Abraham's bosom - where do you get the idea that this is heaven?

Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 04, 2007, 11:03:44 PM

1. Jesus is the way to the Father, not any particular doctrine, not an individual's faith, but Jesus -- and as God, Jesus can do what he wants to do, even grant the way to the Father to those who don't believe -- that is, unless you want to make "belief" the way to the Father rather than Jesus.

2. It is noteworthy that Jesus does not say that he is the way to God. I think that it is significant. For us to understand God as Father requires the presence of the Son. As Paul indicates in Romans 1, God is known to all people. God's power is known to all people. Even insurance companies recognize "acts of God". What they don't know without Jesus is the relationship of God to us as Father.

Yet, in the story about the rich man and Lazarus, Abraham is seemingly pictured in heaven. Did he not then receive what was promised?

Thus, I do not get too upset by the presiding bishop's remarks. When I get to heaven, I will believe that all the people are there because of Jesus.

Regarding point 1.  So Jesus did not mean what he said - that he is the only way to the Father, and NO man goes to the father but by Him? 

Regarding point 2.  Wow... did not realize that when Jesus says "I am "the" way, that he didn't mean "the" way.  And that truth and the life are not also definitive statements.  Btw - just because they know of God, that doesn't mean that knowledge is equivelant to saving knowledge.  See James 2 on that, as well as the Large Catechism's comments about Jews Turks and Heathens worshipping God to their denomination.  Knowledge doesn't predispose salvation.

Regarding Abraham's bosom - where do you get the idea that this is heaven?

Regarding point 1. Jesus meant exactly what he said. He is the way to the Father. That means our faith, our interpretations of scriptures, our beliefs about homosexuality or adultery or abortion are not the way to the Father.

Regarding point 2: Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. That means our faith, our interpretations of scriptures, our beliefs about homosexuality or adultery or abortion or even our knowledge about God are not the way to the Father. It's not about us. It's about Jesus. It's not about our knowledge or even faith, it's about Jesus.

Where else would Abraham's bosom be? We believe that are two places one may go after death: Heaven or hell -- unless you believe in purgatory. In the story, "Abraham's bosom" certainly is not hell, so that only leaves heaven.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 05, 2007, 07:47:19 AM
Forgive the Zen-ish musing, but....
Might Jesus be the way for people reaching God (and successfully finding God) even if they don't know he iis the way?
I don't think I'd preach that, but I might wonder about it.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 05, 2007, 08:55:25 AM
Forgive the Zen-ish musing, but....
Might Jesus be the way for people reaching God (and successfully finding God) even if they don't know he iis the way?
I don't think I'd preach that, but I might wonder about it.
Exactly my point when I said, "When I get to heaven, I will believe that all the people are there because of Jesus."

Similarly, whether people believe it or not, they are created by God. Their beliefs about a god, or gods, or no gods, doesn't change the fact that the Triune God was involved in their creation -- and, if we follow Luther's explanation of the First Article -- God is involved in providing all people what they need from day to day -- whether they recognize it or not, whether they thank and praise God for it or not.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: David Charlton on November 05, 2007, 10:23:30 AM
Brian,

What you are talking about in Christo-centric Universalism.  This view says that there is one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and one savior, Jesus Christ.  All who are saved are saved through Jesus Christ, whether they know it or not.  That is the view that Walt Bouman expressed in his article in the Lutheran just before his death.

I believe that Jefferts-Schori is being accused of another form of universalism that is closer to Universalist-Unitarianism.  This says that there are many paths to god and many saviors, all of which are equally valid. 

David
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: edoughty on November 05, 2007, 11:30:27 AM
Brian,

What you are talking about in Christo-centric Universalism.  This view says that there is one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and one savior, Jesus Christ.  All who are saved are saved through Jesus Christ, whether they know it or not.  That is the view that Walt Bouman expressed in his article in the Lutheran just before his death.

I believe that Jefferts-Schori is being accused of another form of universalism that is closer to Universalist-Unitarianism.  This says that there are many paths to god and many saviors, all of which are equally valid. 

David

I don't know that she goes that far, at least not what I've read.  What I've seen is more along the lines of an admission that she does not completely know the mind of God and that she chooses to not assume the way that is The Way for Christians is the way for everybody else.

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Sublime_Harbinger on November 05, 2007, 12:49:58 PM
I don't know that she goes that far, at least not what I've read.  What I've seen is more along the lines of an admission that she does not completely know the mind of God and that she chooses to not assume the way that is The Way for Christians is the way for everybody else.

I'm not sure how that would be different than what David has described above.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: edoughty on November 05, 2007, 01:13:23 PM
I don't know that she goes that far, at least not what I've read.  What I've seen is more along the lines of an admission that she does not completely know the mind of God and that she chooses to not assume the way that is The Way for Christians is the way for everybody else.

I'm not sure how that would be different than what David has described above.

It's quite different.  "I don't know the mind of God fully" is much different than saying "I believe all paths are equal."

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: David Charlton on November 05, 2007, 09:42:55 PM
I don't know enough to place her in either category either.  I'm sure she wanted to avoid a headline such as, "Episcopal Leader Says non-Christians Going to Hell."

David Charlton
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: revklak on November 06, 2007, 09:40:35 AM
I don't know enough to place her in either category either.  I'm sure she wanted to avoid a headline such as, "Episcopal Leader Says non-Christians Going to Hell."

David Charlton

I don't know her personally myself, but I've seen and heard enough from her to indicate that the gospel is reduced to acceptance and no repentance/new life -- that is, of course, unless you stand firm in the faith on orthodox/traditional teachings and practices of the faith.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 06, 2007, 11:33:37 AM
I don't know her personally myself, but I've seen and heard enough from her to indicate that the gospel is reduced to acceptance and no repentance/new life -- that is, of course, unless you stand firm in the faith on orthodox/traditional teachings and practices of the faith.
So if a baptized infant dies before reaching the age of being able to repent by confessing sins and receiving forgiveness, they cannot be saved by God? Does God accept infants before they are able to repent and receive the new life given in Christ or does God's acceptance depend on something we do first?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: revklak on November 06, 2007, 01:47:35 PM
I don't know her personally myself, but I've seen and heard enough from her to indicate that the gospel is reduced to acceptance and no repentance/new life -- that is, of course, unless you stand firm in the faith on orthodox/traditional teachings and practices of the faith.
So if a baptized infant dies before reaching the age of being able to repent by confessing sins and receiving forgiveness, they cannot be saved by God? Does God accept infants before they are able to repent and receive the new life given in Christ or does God's acceptance depend on something we do first?

Not even related to what I was saying....  Can God make a stone too big for Him to lift?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 06, 2007, 02:38:29 PM
I don't know her personally myself, but I've seen and heard enough from her to indicate that the gospel is reduced to acceptance and no repentance/new life -- that is, of course, unless you stand firm in the faith on orthodox/traditional teachings and practices of the faith.
So if a baptized infant dies before reaching the age of being able to repent by confessing sins and receiving forgiveness, they cannot be saved by God? Does God accept infants before they are able to repent and receive the new life given in Christ or does God's acceptance depend on something we do first?

Perhaps what might be more applicable is would God punish a child whose parent(s) didn't take the time to see that the child was baptized?

John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 06, 2007, 03:34:40 PM
I don't know her personally myself, but I've seen and heard enough from her to indicate that the gospel is reduced to acceptance and no repentance/new life -- that is, of course, unless you stand firm in the faith on orthodox/traditional teachings and practices of the faith.
So if a baptized infant dies before reaching the age of being able to repent by confessing sins and receiving forgiveness, they cannot be saved by God? Does God accept infants before they are able to repent and receive the new life given in Christ or does God's acceptance depend on something we do first?

Perhaps what might be more applicable is would God punish a child whose parent(s) didn't take the time to see that the child was baptized?

John Dornheim
Would the angel of death kill the firstborn son of parents who didn't take the time to put the blood of the lamb on their doorpost?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: edoughty on November 06, 2007, 02:44:06 PM
I don't know her personally myself, but I've seen and heard enough from her to indicate that the gospel is reduced to acceptance and no repentance/new life -- that is, of course, unless you stand firm in the faith on orthodox/traditional teachings and practices of the faith.
So if a baptized infant dies before reaching the age of being able to repent by confessing sins and receiving forgiveness, they cannot be saved by God? Does God accept infants before they are able to repent and receive the new life given in Christ or does God's acceptance depend on something we do first?

Perhaps what might be more applicable is would God punish a child whose parent(s) didn't take the time to see that the child was baptized?

John Dornheim
Would the angel of death kill the firstborn son of parents who didn't take the time to put the blood of the lamb on their doorpost?

Does your question presume a specific model of atonement?

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Scott4 on November 06, 2007, 02:47:27 PM
Perhaps what might be more applicable is would God punish a child whose parent(s) didn't take the time to see that the child was baptized?

John Dornheim
Would the angel of death kill the firstborn son of parents who didn't take the time to put the blood of the lamb on their doorpost?

Does your question presume a specific model of atonement?

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN

My guess would be that Peter's question presumes that God is God.  But it's just a guess.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: edoughty on November 06, 2007, 02:49:56 PM
Perhaps what might be more applicable is would God punish a child whose parent(s) didn't take the time to see that the child was baptized?

John Dornheim
Would the angel of death kill the firstborn son of parents who didn't take the time to put the blood of the lamb on their doorpost?

Does your question presume a specific model of atonement?

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN

My guess would be that Peter's question presumes that God is God.  But it's just a guess.

My guess would be that we all wouldn't be chatting on this list unless we all presumed that God is God.  But that's also just a guess.

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 06, 2007, 03:11:06 PM
I don't know her personally myself, but I've seen and heard enough from her to indicate that the gospel is reduced to acceptance and no repentance/new life -- that is, of course, unless you stand firm in the faith on orthodox/traditional teachings and practices of the faith.
So if a baptized infant dies before reaching the age of being able to repent by confessing sins and receiving forgiveness, they cannot be saved by God? Does God accept infants before they are able to repent and receive the new life given in Christ or does God's acceptance depend on something we do first?

Not even related to what I was saying....  Can God make a stone too big for Him to lift?
It is most certainly related. You seemed to indicate in your post that "no repentance" = no salvation. Thus salvation depends on our repentance. If so, an infant is doomed.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Pr. Jerry on November 06, 2007, 03:25:38 PM
I don't know her personally myself, but I've seen and heard enough from her to indicate that the gospel is reduced to acceptance and no repentance/new life -- that is, of course, unless you stand firm in the faith on orthodox/traditional teachings and practices of the faith.
So if a baptized infant dies before reaching the age of being able to repent by confessing sins and receiving forgiveness, they cannot be saved by God? Does God accept infants before they are able to repent and receive the new life given in Christ or does God's acceptance depend on something we do first?

Perhaps what might be more applicable is would God punish a child whose parent(s) didn't take the time to see that the child was baptized?

John Dornheim
Would the angel of death kill the firstborn son of parents who didn't take the time to put the blood of the lamb on their doorpost?

Peter, I'll bite on your question and I'll probably tick some people off, but hey...  I'd answer an unequical "yes" to your question and a more dubious "I don't know" to John's.  Contrary to Erik's rejoinder, I don't think any sense of atonement is operable in the Exodus account of the plagues.  The firstborn are not killed as payment, but rather as a consequence of Pharoah's refusal, so yes an Israelite family that refuses--out of laziness or stubbornessm or fear-- to place the blood on the doorpost would suffer the same fate as the Egyptians.  The real question that perhaps should have been asked is, "If an Egyptian household placed the blood upon their lintels, would the angel of death have passed over them, even if they could not have appreciated why they were doing the act?"  Hmmmm....

As to John's question, a question that is far more dire than mere death, we know that God's grace and mercy far outstrips his wrath.  Can a child, whose parents were negligent in their Christian duties, be punished?  Sure.  Does that mean that God will act in such a fashion?  Perhaps, perhaps not.  God's mercy would seem to indicate "No," or at least "Not necessarily..." but why tempt God?  Why not do the sure thing and have the child baptized?  I will trust God's mercy and forebearance in the hypothetical case John brings up.  But I sure didn't leave that to chance with my own children.

In the end, both John and Peter's questions (not to mention my question...) are good examples of scholastic/Thomist excercise.  "How many angels dance on the head of that pin, anyway?"  All of them or none of them?

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS  
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Scott4 on November 06, 2007, 03:27:55 PM
My guess would be that we all wouldn't be chatting on this list unless we all presumed that God is God.  But that's also just a guess.

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN

Sorry to not be clear enough.  I think what Peter was getting at was that God does things that we may not happen to like, but it's still God doing them.  John had mentioned something about the fate of babies (i.e., "would God punish a child whose parent(s) didn't take the time to see that the child was baptized?") to which Peter responded by pointing to the angel of death killing the firstborn of Egypt according to God's command.

So our thoughts as to what God may or may not do are largely irrelevant when our mores are projected back upon God, the same God who killed the firstborn of Egypt.

God is God.  We're not.  To which we always answer: Don't seem right.  The consequence of which is making a god according to our image, according to our likeness.

Is that more helpful (though it still may not be Peter's point, but that's how I read it anyway)?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: revklak on November 06, 2007, 09:19:04 PM
I don't know her personally myself, but I've seen and heard enough from her to indicate that the gospel is reduced to acceptance and no repentance/new life -- that is, of course, unless you stand firm in the faith on orthodox/traditional teachings and practices of the faith.
So if a baptized infant dies before reaching the age of being able to repent by confessing sins and receiving forgiveness, they cannot be saved by God? Does God accept infants before they are able to repent and receive the new life given in Christ or does God's acceptance depend on something we do first?

Not even related to what I was saying....  Can God make a stone too big for Him to lift?
It is most certainly related. You seemed to indicate in your post that "no repentance" = no salvation. Thus salvation depends on our repentance. If so, an infant is doomed.

Okay -- first of all, I put "no repentance" in a / combination with "new life."  Point being --as my old sem theology prof would say -- there is more than one side to this thing called the gospel.  More than simply acceptance -- it is forgivneness (that's what "accepts" us) either through or resulting in (I've heard enough arguements both ways not to want to dissect that at this point and cloud any more my already murky explanation -- which always happens when we try to explain in too fine a detail) repentance from the old ways of living and the visible fruit of a new life that witness clearly to the power of God.  Justification and sanctification.

Second, I suppose it would have been easier to have said that she strikes me as type of person who stands firm on "God loves you the way you are," but never gets around to the second part -- "But He loves you enough not to leave you the way you are."  (except in a few circumstances - like holding the line on traditional teachings -- that seems to need repenting of)
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: grabau14 on November 06, 2007, 09:32:06 PM
Forgive the Zen-ish musing, but....
Might Jesus be the way for people reaching God (and successfully finding God) even if they don't know he iis the way?
I don't think I'd preach that, but I might wonder about it.
Exactly my point when I said, "When I get to heaven, I will believe that all the people are there because of Jesus."

Similarly, whether people believe it or not, they are created by God. Their beliefs about a god, or gods, or no gods, doesn't change the fact that the Triune God was involved in their creation -- and, if we follow Luther's explanation of the First Article -- God is involved in providing all people what they need from day to day -- whether they recognize it or not, whether they thank and praise God for it or not.

Brian,

Just curious, do you confess the Athanasian Creed?  BTW, I was agreeing (scary) with you about the need of the Church to inform our views of Scripture and to tell the wackos to knock it off.  You lost with your understanding of salvation. that is "all people are there because of Jesus." 

Rev'd. Matthew J. Uttenreither  SSP
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: revklak on November 06, 2007, 09:38:14 PM
Forgive the Zen-ish musing, but....
Might Jesus be the way for people reaching God (and successfully finding God) even if they don't know he iis the way?
I don't think I'd preach that, but I might wonder about it.
Exactly my point when I said, "When I get to heaven, I will believe that all the people are there because of Jesus."

Similarly, whether people believe it or not, they are created by God. Their beliefs about a god, or gods, or no gods, doesn't change the fact that the Triune God was involved in their creation -- and, if we follow Luther's explanation of the First Article -- God is involved in providing all people what they need from day to day -- whether they recognize it or not, whether they thank and praise God for it or not.

Brian,

Just curious, do you confess the Athanasian Creed?  BTW, I was agreeing (scary) with you about the need of the Church to inform our views of Scripture and to tell the wackos to knock it off.  You lost with your understanding of salvation. that is "all people are there because of Jesus." 

Rev'd. Matthew J. Uttenreither  SSP

Not to interpret for Brian - but I would agree if he meant to say that "all the people THAT ARE THERE/SAVED are there because of Jesus."
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Dave_Poedel on November 06, 2007, 10:35:26 PM
As i opened this thead tonight, I had to smile. I just spent the past 2 hours with a 15 year old young man, not from my parish or Tradition, whose mom asked me to speak with him.  His little brother died a month before birth 5 years ago and this boy has been mad at God ever since.  Since I lost my son the same week and mom and I used to work together, she remembered me and looked me up again.

This thread mirrored, in many respects, the conversation that this young man and I had.  Bottom line: God is God, we are not, thanks be to God.  The resurrection of the dead is one of God's many gifts to us for the sake of Jesus; praise God.  God can handle our anger toward Him and remain faithful and loving to us: Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound.

Yes, sisters and brothers, this theological stuff actually does "teach" as well as "preach".  Deo gratias!
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 07, 2007, 12:18:14 AM
I don't know her personally myself, but I've seen and heard enough from her to indicate that the gospel is reduced to acceptance and no repentance/new life -- that is, of course, unless you stand firm in the faith on orthodox/traditional teachings and practices of the faith.
So if a baptized infant dies before reaching the age of being able to repent by confessing sins and receiving forgiveness, they cannot be saved by God? Does God accept infants before they are able to repent and receive the new life given in Christ or does God's acceptance depend on something we do first?

Perhaps what might be more applicable is would God punish a child whose parent(s) didn't take the time to see that the child was baptized?

John Dornheim
Would the angel of death kill the firstborn son of parents who didn't take the time to put the blood of the lamb on their doorpost?

Does your question presume a specific model of atonement?

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN
My question assumes that God cannot be unjust whether he gives or takes life, whether He damns or saves. Since we all confess to having been born in sin and that we "justly deserve Thy temporal and eternal punishment" (well, those of us who grew up on TLH do, at least) what we're saying that is that pure justice leads us to the conclusion of universal damnation, not universal salvation. What is impossibly good, inexplicable to reason, is that we are saved by grace through faith. The question of whether God would damn a baby because the parents were too lazy or foolish to get the child baptized frames the whole thing wrong due to the word "because". No, He wouldn't damn anybody because of that; He would damn them, if He did, because they were damnable sinners (which we know we all are, including the baby the question). Framing the question in this way confuses mercy with justice, as though since some are saved by mercy, it is a matter of justice that all must be saved by mercy. Romans 9 ought to puit an end to such speculation. Universalism is the ultimate perversion of law and Gospel, at least in this sense, in that it makes salvation a function of God's justice-- how could he be so unfair as to save one and not another-- rather than grace. Now, in order to avoid that pitfall, rather than asking why God would damn anyone, we might ask on what basis God would save anyone. And the only thing that satisfies justice and mercy is a sacrificial model of atonement and the righteousness of Christ given by grace and received by faith. If we simply assume that God saves the unbaptized, we're making baptism meaningless. Might He save them? Sure. If you jumped off a pinnacle, He might send the angels to bear you up lest you strike your foot against a stone.

Chesterton made the point somewhere that when we object to the possibility of eternal consequences for this or that ritual or act, we're really objecting to the whole idea of real consequences to any action and therefore to the divine condescension of human agency. Unless it is a matter of dogma that all are saved, with or without repentance or faith, whether they want to be or not, or unless even what God has revealed remains unsure such that everything that happens is truly random, then we're stuck with the idea that a simple ritual, as far as we know, has eternal consequences, but paradoxically, only one way. Baptism saves, but lack of baptism does not damn. If there is any drama to the Passover, then the blood on the door really means something. The Hebrew really is saved by the blood of the Lamb, but the Egyptian does not die for want of such blood, but because of Pharoah's hard-heartedness. God calls the blood, just like the rainbow, not so much a sign for us (though it is that, too) but a sign for Him. When He sees it, He will act according to the promise He attached to it. The same, it seems to me, applies to Baptism.

BTW there is an interesting set of prayers in the TLH Liturgy edition that distinguishes the death announcements for adults and young children. I was thinking of writing an article on it sometime. If anyone wants to look it up and comment, I would welcome your thought. I don't have it with me right now or I would post it. Anyway, good night.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Gladfelteri on November 07, 2007, 12:30:22 AM
I don't know that she goes that far, at least not what I've read.  What I've seen is more along the lines of an admission that she does not completely know the mind of God and that she chooses to not assume the way that is The Way for Christians is the way for everybody else.

I'm not sure how that would be different than what David has described above.

But saying that she chooses to not assume that the way that is The Way for Christians is the way for everybody else sure seems like Unitarian Universalism to me. . .   :-\

Blessings,
Irl
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 07, 2007, 01:27:47 AM
Just curious, do you confess the Athanasian Creed?
Yup, nearly every Trinity Sunday.

Quote
BTW, I was agreeing (scary) with you about the need of the Church to inform our views of Scripture and to tell the wackos to knock it off.  You lost with your understanding of salvation. that is "all people are there because of Jesus." 

If some people are not in heaven because of Jesus, how else do they get there?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Terry W Culler on November 07, 2007, 08:29:16 AM
I truly hate to say it, but some of the conversation here sounds just like the sort of things 14 year olds bring up in confirmation.  Let's move along now
Soli Deo Gloria
Terry
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 07, 2007, 08:57:22 AM
Pastor Culler writes:
I truly hate to say it, but some of the conversation here sounds just like the sort of things 14 year olds bring up in confirmation.  Let's move along now

I protest:
No! Not until you give me some answers for those 14-year olds!
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: edoughty on November 07, 2007, 09:58:10 AM
I don't know her personally myself, but I've seen and heard enough from her to indicate that the gospel is reduced to acceptance and no repentance/new life -- that is, of course, unless you stand firm in the faith on orthodox/traditional teachings and practices of the faith.
So if a baptized infant dies before reaching the age of being able to repent by confessing sins and receiving forgiveness, they cannot be saved by God? Does God accept infants before they are able to repent and receive the new life given in Christ or does God's acceptance depend on something we do first?

Perhaps what might be more applicable is would God punish a child whose parent(s) didn't take the time to see that the child was baptized?

John Dornheim
Would the angel of death kill the firstborn son of parents who didn't take the time to put the blood of the lamb on their doorpost?

Does your question presume a specific model of atonement?

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN
My question assumes that God cannot be unjust whether he gives or takes life, whether He damns or saves. Since we all confess to having been born in sin and that we "justly deserve Thy temporal and eternal punishment" (well, those of us who grew up on TLH do, at least) what we're saying that is that pure justice leads us to the conclusion of universal damnation, not universal salvation. What is impossibly good, inexplicable to reason, is that we are saved by grace through faith. The question of whether God would damn a baby because the parents were too lazy or foolish to get the child baptized frames the whole thing wrong due to the word "because". No, He wouldn't damn anybody because of that; He would damn them, if He did, because they were damnable sinners (which we know we all are, including the baby the question). Framing the question in this way confuses mercy with justice, as though since some are saved by mercy, it is a matter of justice that all must be saved by mercy. Romans 9 ought to puit an end to such speculation. Universalism is the ultimate perversion of law and Gospel, at least in this sense, in that it makes salvation a function of God's justice-- how could he be so unfair as to save one and not another-- rather than grace. Now, in order to avoid that pitfall, rather than asking why God would damn anyone, we might ask on what basis God would save anyone. And the only thing that satisfies justice and mercy is a sacrificial model of atonement and the righteousness of Christ given by grace and received by faith. If we simply assume that God saves the unbaptized, we're making baptism meaningless. Might He save them? Sure. If you jumped off a pinnacle, He might send the angels to bear you up lest you strike your foot against a stone.

Chesterton made the point somewhere that when we object to the possibility of eternal consequences for this or that ritual or act, we're really objecting to the whole idea of real consequences to any action and therefore to the divine condescension of human agency. Unless it is a matter of dogma that all are saved, with or without repentance or faith, whether they want to be or not, or unless even what God has revealed remains unsure such that everything that happens is truly random, then we're stuck with the idea that a simple ritual, as far as we know, has eternal consequences, but paradoxically, only one way. Baptism saves, but lack of baptism does not damn. If there is any drama to the Passover, then the blood on the door really means something. The Hebrew really is saved by the blood of the Lamb, but the Egyptian does not die for want of such blood, but because of Pharoah's hard-heartedness. God calls the blood, just like the rainbow, not so much a sign for us (though it is that, too) but a sign for Him. When He sees it, He will act according to the promise He attached to it. The same, it seems to me, applies to Baptism.

BTW there is an interesting set of prayers in the TLH Liturgy edition that distinguishes the death announcements for adults and young children. I was thinking of writing an article on it sometime. If anyone wants to look it up and comment, I would welcome your thought. I don't have it with me right now or I would post it. Anyway, good night.

I do believe our baptism into Christ is a means of grace; a trustworthy way to know God's grace and salvation is "for you".  I would not be willing to say that I know exactly what happens to the deceased unbaptized (of any age).  God does what God wills, and I don't understand it all; but we who know Christ know that God in addition to being just is also merciful.  God is light and life and love.  While the unbaptized do not have that trustworthy "for you" means of grace, they still have as their creator and judge One who knows when even a sparrow falls, and who loves all that He has made.  I would therefore not presume to preach the unbaptized into either heaven or hell.  We trust as best we can in the mercy of God.

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 07, 2007, 10:32:29 AM
Just curious, do you confess the Athanasian Creed?
Yup, nearly every Trinity Sunday.

Quote
BTW, I was agreeing (scary) with you about the need of the Church to inform our views of Scripture and to tell the wackos to knock it off.  You lost with your understanding of salvation. that is "all people are there because of Jesus." 

If some people are not in heaven because of Jesus, how else do they get there?
Brian, you are up to your mischief again. The "all people are there because of Jesus" quote was characterizing the universalist position that everyone is saved, and, whether they knew it in this life or not, everyone is saved because of Jesus. That is the position Grabau was not happy with. When you respond, "If some people are not in heaven because of Jesus, how else did they get there?" you're making it seem as though Grabau is somehow denying that salvation is only in Christ when in fact he is questioning universal salvation. In other words, it isn't that some people are not in heaven because of Jesus but instead are there due to some other means of salvation; it is that some people are not in heaven at all because they had on connection to the only means of salvation--Jesus Christ.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 07, 2007, 10:41:12 AM
Peter writes:
some people are not in heaven at all because they had on (textual criticism leads me to read this as "no," but I could be wrong  ;D) connection to the only means of salvation--Jesus Christ.

I ponder:
Might I be Zen-ish again and ponder whether some of those who may be in heaven had a "connection" to Jesus Christ which was not glaringly evident to them or to those around them?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: revklak on November 07, 2007, 11:07:07 AM
Peter writes:
some people are not in heaven at all because they had on (textual criticism leads me to read this as "no," but I could be wrong  ;D) connection to the only means of salvation--Jesus Christ.

I ponder:
Might I be Zen-ish again and ponder whether some of those who may be in heaven had a "connection" to Jesus Christ which was not glaringly evident to them or to those around them?

To say that "The Spirit blows where it will..." and, as Luther says, "Where the Spirit is there the Christian has everything he needs for salvation," does not imply in any way that there may be other PATHS to salvation, but that, indeed, the only way is STILL through Christ -- whether we (as outside observers) can tell or not -- which we are not able to, thus we offer grace to all, but know also that it is also ONLY through Christ that anyone is saved or gets to heaven -- whomever He may choose to accept or not, however He does it.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 07, 2007, 11:16:50 AM
The question of whether God would damn a baby because the parents were too lazy or foolish to get the child baptized frames the whole thing wrong due to the word "because".

Note, in my original example, I gave no reasons why the infant had not been baptized. In the case of both our children, there was a matter of a month or more before my pastor (the bishop) could come the nearly 500 miles and officiate at the baptism. The delay was not caused by laziness or foolishness or misplaced belief, but because of practical matters.

Quote
If we simply assume that God saves the unbaptized, we're making baptism meaningless. Might He save them? Sure. If you jumped off a pinnacle, He might send the angels to bear you up lest you strike your foot against a stone.
Exactly, salvation for sinners is up to God. The sacraments assure us that God is gracious to us, but they do not rule out the possibility that God can save the unbaptized, the non-Lutheran, or even the non-Christian by his grace, should God decide to do so. (Note that in Isaiah 45, Cyrus, the Persian ruler, who does not believe in God, is chosen by God -- in fact, even called, "a Messiah" in the Hebrew -- to save the Israelites from their Babylonian exile.)

At the same time, as I wrote earlier, I believe that everyone who ends up in heaven, are there because of Jesus.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 07, 2007, 11:22:28 AM
Brian, you are up to your mischief again. The "all people are there because of Jesus" quote was characterizing the universalist position that everyone is saved,
That is not what I am saying. I'm saying that all people who are saved, are saved because of Jesus -- even though some who end up in heaven may not have realized Jesus' work in their lives on earth. I am not saying that all people are saved.

Quote
"If some people are not in heaven because of Jesus, how else did they get there?" you're making it seem as though Grabau is somehow denying that salvation is only in Christ when in fact he is questioning universal salvation.

Since my original statement was not about universal salvation, but salvation in Jesus, I had to assume that his response was about salvation in Jesus.

Quote
In other words, it isn't that some people are not in heaven because of Jesus but instead are there due to some other means of salvation; it is that some people are not in heaven at all because they had on connection to the only means of salvation--Jesus Christ.
In a couple parables from Jesus about people finding themselves outside locked doors, the one behind the door doesn't shut them out because "You don't know me," but because, "I don't know you." It would seem that from those parables, it's Jesus' knowledge of us that is more important than our knowledge of Jesus.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Sublime_Harbinger on November 07, 2007, 02:48:08 PM

It's quite different.  "I don't know the mind of God fully" is much different than saying "I believe all paths are equal."

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN

If "I don't know the mind of God fully" is an excuse to embrace universalism, they are very much the same thing.  Whether or not this is the path she is taking, I have not read enough of her own words to know.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: edoughty on November 07, 2007, 03:19:12 PM

It's quite different.  "I don't know the mind of God fully" is much different than saying "I believe all paths are equal."

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN

If "I don't know the mind of God fully" is an excuse to embrace universalism, they are very much the same thing.  Whether or not this is the path she is taking, I have not read enough of her own words to know.

Well, then we will just have to disagree.  I believe that "I don't know the mind of God fully" is an appropriately humble statement for a Christian to make with regard to salvation issues.  "All paths are equal" is simply mistaken and is somewhat patronizing once one studies comparative religions-- the aim of Buddhism and the aim of Christianity, for example, are very different. 

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: revklak on November 07, 2007, 03:23:17 PM
I believe that "I don't know the mind of God fully" is an appropriately humble statement for a Christian to make with regard to salvation issues.  "All paths are equal" is simply mistaken and is somewhat patronizing once one studies comparative religions-- the aim of Buddhism and the aim of Christianity, for example, are very different. 

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN

Except that we have the mind of God revealed to us -- in Jesus.  Plus, I agree that the all paths are equal argument is mistaken, but it is proliferated and held on to tightly by many Christians and others that it needs to be addressed and corrected, not simply allowed to perptuate itself in its ignorance
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 07, 2007, 04:23:31 PM
I believe that "I don't know the mind of God fully" is an appropriately humble statement for a Christian to make with regard to salvation issues.  "All paths are equal" is simply mistaken and is somewhat patronizing once one studies comparative religions-- the aim of Buddhism and the aim of Christianity, for example, are very different. 

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN

Except that we have the mind of God revealed to us -- in Jesus.  Plus, I agree that the all paths are equal argument is mistaken, but it is proliferated and held on to tightly by many Christians and others that it needs to be addressed and corrected, not simply allowed to perptuate itself in its ignorance


When we are queueing up on that great gettin' up day, we will probably be greatly surprised at who is and who isn't on line with us. That there will be a line is due only to Jesus' salvific work.
Personally, I'll have my eye out for Gandhi, Lao Tzu and a few other folk.
John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: revklak on November 07, 2007, 04:27:36 PM
I believe that "I don't know the mind of God fully" is an appropriately humble statement for a Christian to make with regard to salvation issues.  "All paths are equal" is simply mistaken and is somewhat patronizing once one studies comparative religions-- the aim of Buddhism and the aim of Christianity, for example, are very different. 

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN

Except that we have the mind of God revealed to us -- in Jesus.  Plus, I agree that the all paths are equal argument is mistaken, but it is proliferated and held on to tightly by many Christians and others that it needs to be addressed and corrected, not simply allowed to perptuate itself in its ignorance


When we are queueing up on that great gettin' up day, we will probably be greatly surprised at who is and who isn't on line with us. That there will be a line is due only to Jesus' salvific work.
Personally, I'll have my eye out for Gandhi, Lao Tzu and a few other folk.
John Dornheim

Didn't say the wouldn't or couldn't be... only said that if they are, its because Christ has done it, as you say.  Can someone following "another path" encounter Christ without knowing it?  Because its up to God I'd say sure, but I wouldn't bank on it.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: pr dtp on November 07, 2007, 05:33:55 PM
I believe that "I don't know the mind of God fully" is an appropriately humble statement for a Christian to make with regard to salvation issues.  "All paths are equal" is simply mistaken and is somewhat patronizing once one studies comparative religions-- the aim of Buddhism and the aim of Christianity, for example, are very different. 

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN

Except that we have the mind of God revealed to us -- in Jesus.  Plus, I agree that the all paths are equal argument is mistaken, but it is proliferated and held on to tightly by many Christians and others that it needs to be addressed and corrected, not simply allowed to perptuate itself in its ignorance


When we are queueing up on that great gettin' up day, we will probably be greatly surprised at who is and who isn't on line with us. That there will be a line is due only to Jesus' salvific work.
Personally, I'll have my eye out for Gandhi, Lao Tzu and a few other folk.
John Dornheim

The one thing overlooked in this conversation so far, is Romans 2, where God tells us how this will be dealt with, quite clearly.

Some people might be able to claim some form of civil righteousness, based on their own work, and general revelation.  But against God's standard of righteousness?  Will their consciences excuse them for disobeying the first table (never mind the second table )  After all, what did Ghandi trust in for his righteousness - Christ?  Nope.  Lao-Tzu - did he trust in God?  not him either.  The Old Testament saints did trust in God for the promise of deliverance from sin, satan and death.  Not in their own righteousness. 

Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 07, 2007, 05:39:52 PM
Some people might be able to claim some form of civil righteousness, based on their own work, and general revelation.  But against God's standard of righteousness?  Will their consciences excuse them for disobeying the first table (never mind the second table )  After all, what did Ghandi trust in for his righteousness - Christ?  Nope.  Lao-Tzu - did he trust in God?  not him either.  The Old Testament saints did trust in God for the promise of deliverance from sin, satan and death.  Not in their own righteousness. 
But you have replaced the human work of righteousness with the human work of trust. Neither our righteousness nor our faith/trust (which is smaller than a mustard seed) saves us. It's God's grace.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: ptmccain on November 07, 2007, 09:49:59 PM
God's grace is given to us, through faith in Christ, which faith is a gift of God.

Fairly basic stuff, one would think.

"No man comes to the Father except by me."


Dornheim's "pagans in line for heaven" dream, is contrary to Scripture and to the Lutheran Confessions.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 07, 2007, 10:08:59 PM
God's grace is given to us, through faith in Christ, which faith is a gift of God.

Fairly basic stuff, one would think.

"No man comes to the Father except by me."


Dornheim's "pagans in line for heaven" dream, is contrary to Scripture and to the Lutheran Confessions.

Contrary to McCain's assumption, I do not automatically conclude that people of other faith traditions to be pagans. Some know the mind of Christ better than some of his followers. I cannot confine God's grace to my own very human and sinful limitations.

John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Sublime_Harbinger on November 07, 2007, 11:55:40 PM
Well, then we will just have to disagree.  I believe that "I don't know the mind of God fully" is an appropriately humble statement for a Christian to make with regard to salvation issues.  "All paths are equal" is simply mistaken and is somewhat patronizing once one studies comparative religions-- the aim of Buddhism and the aim of Christianity, for example, are very different. 


I'm not so sure we disagree *all* that much here.  I just know that some who embrace universalism do so on the shaky foundation of saying, "well, who can know the mind of God," forgetting the context of that Scripture in the process.  That being said, I agree fully that "All paths are equal" (APAE?) mentality is a ridiculous claim for anyone who has studied other religions.

For me, the discussion about universalism only really gets interesting when the question of whether or not the grace of god is irresistable is taken up.  People can dream wonderful dreams to keep them happy at night all they want to (and I personally do hope and pray that God will have more mercy than I think he will) but I am at odds with the idea of anyone getting pulled into heaven against their will.

Some know the mind of Christ better than some of his followers. I cannot confine God's grace to my own very human and sinful limitations.

Knowing the mind of Christ and walking in His footsteps are two different things.  To pick up the earlier example, I am sure that Ghandi to some extent, perhaps even to great extent, knew the mind of Christ with regards to social justice and love for all people.   Whether or not that is knowing the *whole* mind of Christ, and whether or not the actions he took flowed from that knowledge, it's hard to say.  I do agree with the second sentence though.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 08, 2007, 12:28:23 AM
"No man comes to the Father except by me."
Precisely why I said that all those I would find in heaven are there because of Jesus.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 08, 2007, 12:35:55 AM
For me, the discussion about universalism only really gets interesting when the question of whether or not the grace of god is irresistable is taken up.  People can dream wonderful dreams to keep them happy at night all they want to (and I personally do hope and pray that God will have more mercy than I think he will) but I am at odds with the idea of anyone getting pulled into heaven against their will.
Well, the word used about about the Father drawing all people to Jesus (John 6:44) and Jesus drawing all people to himself (John 12:32) is exactly the same word as hauling in a net of fish (John 21:6, 11). It is also used of dragging people against their will (Acts 18:19; 21:30; James 2:6). At least in these verses the Bible does present a picture of getting pulled into heaven (or into the boat or into court) against one's will. Do you think that's a bad thing?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Gladfelteri on November 08, 2007, 09:30:43 AM
For me, the discussion about universalism only really gets interesting when the question of whether or not the grace of god is irresistable is taken up.  People can dream wonderful dreams to keep them happy at night all they want to (and I personally do hope and pray that God will have more mercy than I think he will) but I am at odds with the idea of anyone getting pulled into heaven against their will.
Well, the word used about about the Father drawing all people to Jesus (John 6:44) and Jesus drawing all people to himself (John 12:32) is exactly the same word as hauling in a net of fish (John 21:6, 11). It is also used of dragging people against their will (Acts 18:19; 21:30; James 2:6). At least in these verses the Bible does present a picture of getting pulled into heaven (or into the boat or into court) against one's will. Do you think that's a bad thing?
Well, the Vatican II Pastoral Constitution on the Church, Gaudeum in Spes does say, in so many words, that we must be open to the possibility that God can bring people into heaven by extrordinary means we know nothing of.  But that is a far cry from unitarian universalism. 

I suspect unitarian universalism is becoming so popular in some of the liberal Churches because the concept fits so well with post-modernism.

Blessings,
Irl
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: MMH on November 08, 2007, 09:40:24 AM
Just wondering what role our confession of Christ's descent into hell plays in people's ruminations upon these matters.

BTW- this is one of the reasons I am ticked off at ELW and its complete ignoring of FC IX.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Team Hesse on November 08, 2007, 09:51:17 AM
but I am at odds with the idea of anyone getting pulled into heaven against their will.

Ahhhhh, free will rears its ugly head.
I think we all get dragged into heaven against our will (we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves).  How else can we explain what happened to Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road?  or the words to Luther's explanation to the Third Article of the Creed?  " I cannot, by my own reason or strength, believe in my Lord Jesus Christ or come to him, but the Holy Spirit ..."

Lou
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 08, 2007, 10:26:20 AM
but I am at odds with the idea of anyone getting pulled into heaven against their will.

Ahhhhh, free will rears its ugly head.
I think we all get dragged into heaven against our will (we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves).  How else can we explain what happened to Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road?  or the words to Luther's explanation to the Third Article of the Creed?  " I cannot, by my own reason or strength, believe in my Lord Jesus Christ or come to him, but the Holy Spirit ..."

Lou
Lou, I think your post leaves conversion out of the equation, as the three dots end the quote mid-sentence. Had St. Paul never been pulled over, so to speak, on the road to Damascus, he would have remained an enemy of God. As it was, he reports having received a new nature, such that while he remained according to the flesh, an enemy of God, the "according to the flesh"  no longer represented who he really was. As a converted believer, he now wills what is right even when he can't do it. Same with the third article. Yes, I cannot convert myself. But that doesn't mean I can't be converted. I can't believe in Jesus by my own reason or strength; but that doesn't mean I can't believe in Him. The Holy Spirit does it; he calls, enlightens and sanctifies you in this life by giving you faith, thus converting your will. The will is the main thing converted, going from having one master to another. There is a difference not only of eternal destination between believers and unbelievers, but also of will, even when we lack the power to carry out our converted will. I will not be in heaven against my will; I will be there despite my sin and weakness. There is a huge difference. Sure, my will is not free-- it is a slave to sin according to the flesh and the law and a slave to Christ according to the spirit and the Gospel, but it is still my will. A bound will is not no will. If as a converted believer you are still going to heaven against your will, would you be relieved to discover you weren't going there after all?   
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: edoughty on November 08, 2007, 10:32:28 AM
Just wondering what role our confession of Christ's descent into hell plays in people's ruminations upon these matters.

BTW- this is one of the reasons I am ticked off at ELW and its complete ignoring of FC IX.

Complete ignoring of FC IX?  Do tell.

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on November 08, 2007, 11:25:01 AM
It seems the realignment of the Anglican communion is proceeding apace.  According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the Anglilcan province of the Southern Cone - which includes most of South America excluding Brazil - has voted to allow dioceses which dissaffiliate from TEC to join their province:

Archbishop Venables unveiled the decision of his bishops and other leaders after the plans were overwhelmingly approved by his provincial synod during a meeting in Chile last night.

A handful of conservative American dioceses are already in the process of opting out of the Episcopal Church by voting in their diocesan synods to alter their constitutions.

Up to five are expected to become part of the Southern Cone, which covers most of South America except Brazil, over the next six months or so.

The diocese of San Joaquin in California, which is due to take its final vote in December, is poised to leap first, while Pittsburgh, headed by Bishop Bob Duncan, will have to wait until the middle of next year...

In a letter sent last night, 46 conservative members of the Church of England's General Synod pledged their support. A number of traditionalist parishes in Canada are also likely to affiliate with the Southern Cone province in protest at plans by liberal dioceses to introduce same-sex blessings.


The full report is here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/11/08/nsplit108.xml

There have been individual parishes making such a jump, but this would be the first time whole dioceses would be affiliatiing with a foreign province.  While it is just a preliminary action of "invitation", this is sure to ratchet up the conflict in the Anglican communion to a whole new level - as if it is not already at a breaking point.

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: pr dtp on November 08, 2007, 11:58:56 AM
but I am at odds with the idea of anyone getting pulled into heaven against their will.

Ahhhhh, free will rears its ugly head.
I think we all get dragged into heaven against our will (we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves).  How else can we explain what happened to Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road?  or the words to Luther's explanation to the Third Article of the Creed?  " I cannot, by my own reason or strength, believe in my Lord Jesus Christ or come to him, but the Holy Spirit ..."

Lou

Please do not bear false witness - but post the quote in its entirety.  As noted above, the passage distinctly describes the work of the Holy Spirit.  It seems you are saying everyone has that work done, but the evidence of the world indicates that this is not so. 

The problem with "all" dragged into heaven, kicking and screaming is that it denies the eschatological passages, from Matthew 13 and 25, to this week's epistle, to the entire Apocalypse of Jesus Christ.

Evil people exist, who refuse the grace offered in Christ.  Some by overt decision (Ted Turner and the deceased Ms. O'Hare come to mine), some by being simply to laze to understand the natural law as point to something larger than themselves.  Either way, Romans 2 is clear, they will be judged by their own consceince, against the law of God.

And without a relationship Christ gives us, with the Father, that judgment is hopeless.  Having been gathered into that relationship, given faith, granted repentance, we have the assurance of that relationship.  Those that reject it, have rejected it.  This isn't about a pass into a spiritual disneyland.  It is about eternity, as the family of God, the bride of Christ.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 08, 2007, 12:03:53 PM
It seems the realignment of the Anglican communion is proceeding apace.  According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the Anglilcan province of the Southern Cone - which includes most of South America excluding Brazil - has voted to allow dioceses which dissaffiliate from TEC to join their province:

Archbishop Venables unveiled the decision of his bishops and other leaders after the plans were overwhelmingly approved by his provincial synod during a meeting in Chile last night.

A handful of conservative American dioceses are already in the process of opting out of the Episcopal Church by voting in their diocesan synods to alter their constitutions.

Up to five are expected to become part of the Southern Cone, which covers most of South America except Brazil, over the next six months or so.

The diocese of San Joaquin in California, which is due to take its final vote in December, is poised to leap first, while Pittsburgh, headed by Bishop Bob Duncan, will have to wait until the middle of next year...

In a letter sent last night, 46 conservative members of the Church of England's General Synod pledged their support. A number of traditionalist parishes in Canada are also likely to affiliate with the Southern Cone province in protest at plans by liberal dioceses to introduce same-sex blessings.


The full report is here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/11/08/nsplit108.xml

There have been individual parishes making such a jump, but this would be the first time whole dioceses would be affiliatiing with a foreign province.  While it is just a preliminary action of "invitation", this is sure to ratchet up the conflict in the Anglican communion to a whole new level - as if it is not already at a breaking point.

Marshall Hahn

And what should we say of the priests and parishes who are opposed to these moves?
John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Gary Hatcher on November 08, 2007, 12:39:28 PM
And what should we say of the priests and parishes who are opposed to these moves?
We can say that they are opposed to these moves.  Should they state why they are opposed we will then have deeper insight as to their opposition. 
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on November 08, 2007, 12:40:34 PM
And what should we say of the priests and parishes who are opposed to these moves?
John Dornheim

As far as Bishop Duncan's position, he has already answered that question, which you have raised before:

It is clear to most on both sides, that continuing efforts to convince, at best, and coerce, at worst, will only deepen the failure of all.  A charitable and gracious provision for the minority to stay within the realigned fellowship of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh or to be given freedom to separate from us and align more directly with the wider Episcopal Church has also emerged as a course for which there is, I believe, a strengthening consensus...
If Resolution One passes, our work in the year ahead would likely include determination of the Province with which the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh might re-align, development of acceptable options available to minority congregations, and negotiation, both nationally and with plaintiffs locally, about a mediated alternative to continuing or escalating litigation...
It is in this spirit that I share with you one of my convictions about what our God is calling us to in our stewardship of assets in the years ahead of us.  It is my growing conviction that all the things we presently hold in common need to continue to be administered for the good of all, even if we find ourselves in two different Anglican Provinces at the end of the day.  

The full account of his address is here:

http://www.pgh.anglican.org/news/local/duncanaddress110207

It seems quite clear that Bishop Duncan's advice is that those priests and parishes within his diocese who disagree with this move will be allowed to separate from the diocese amiacbly, and, with respect to parishes, with their property.  I believe this is an example of what another participant in this forum has called an "amicable divorce".

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Pr. Jerry on November 08, 2007, 12:47:50 PM
It seems the realignment of the Anglican communion is proceeding apace.  According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the Anglilcan province of the Southern Cone - which includes most of South America excluding Brazil - has voted to allow dioceses which dissaffiliate from TEC to join their province:

Archbishop Venables unveiled the decision of his bishops and other leaders after the plans were overwhelmingly approved by his provincial synod during a meeting in Chile last night.

A handful of conservative American dioceses are already in the process of opting out of the Episcopal Church by voting in their diocesan synods to alter their constitutions.

Up to five are expected to become part of the Southern Cone, which covers most of South America except Brazil, over the next six months or so.

The diocese of San Joaquin in California, which is due to take its final vote in December, is poised to leap first, while Pittsburgh, headed by Bishop Bob Duncan, will have to wait until the middle of next year...

In a letter sent last night, 46 conservative members of the Church of England's General Synod pledged their support. A number of traditionalist parishes in Canada are also likely to affiliate with the Southern Cone province in protest at plans by liberal dioceses to introduce same-sex blessings.


The full report is here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/11/08/nsplit108.xml

There have been individual parishes making such a jump, but this would be the first time whole dioceses would be affiliatiing with a foreign province.  While it is just a preliminary action of "invitation", this is sure to ratchet up the conflict in the Anglican communion to a whole new level - as if it is not already at a breaking point.

And what should we say of the priests and parishes who are opposed to these moves?

I suppose the same thing we say about the Priests and parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark who opposed the leadership and direction of their former Bishop, J.S. Spong...  Only hopefully, I might add, with a bit more charity than those who dissented from Spong were shown.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
   
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 08, 2007, 01:13:31 PM
It seems the realignment of the Anglican communion is proceeding apace.  According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the Anglilcan province of the Southern Cone - which includes most of South America excluding Brazil - has voted to allow dioceses which dissaffiliate from TEC to join their province:

Archbishop Venables unveiled the decision of his bishops and other leaders after the plans were overwhelmingly approved by his provincial synod during a meeting in Chile last night.

A handful of conservative American dioceses are already in the process of opting out of the Episcopal Church by voting in their diocesan synods to alter their constitutions.

Up to five are expected to become part of the Southern Cone, which covers most of South America except Brazil, over the next six months or so.

The diocese of San Joaquin in California, which is due to take its final vote in December, is poised to leap first, while Pittsburgh, headed by Bishop Bob Duncan, will have to wait until the middle of next year...

In a letter sent last night, 46 conservative members of the Church of England's General Synod pledged their support. A number of traditionalist parishes in Canada are also likely to affiliate with the Southern Cone province in protest at plans by liberal dioceses to introduce same-sex blessings.


The full report is here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/11/08/nsplit108.xml

There have been individual parishes making such a jump, but this would be the first time whole dioceses would be affiliatiing with a foreign province.  While it is just a preliminary action of "invitation", this is sure to ratchet up the conflict in the Anglican communion to a whole new level - as if it is not already at a breaking point.

And what should we say of the priests and parishes who are opposed to these moves?

I suppose the same thing we say about the Priests and parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark who opposed the leadership and direction of their former Bishop, J.S. Spong...  Only hopefully, I might add, with a bit more charity than those who dissented from Spong were shown.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
   

Did Bishop Spong try to lead his diocese out of TEC?
John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 08, 2007, 01:20:16 PM

Did Bishop Spong try to lead his diocese out of TEC?
John Dornheim
No, but he tried to lead TEC out of the confines of the faith once handed down. His public repudiations of central doctrines of the faith are well-documented.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 08, 2007, 01:31:51 PM

Did Bishop Spong try to lead his diocese out of TEC?
John Dornheim
No, but he tried to lead TEC out of the confines of the faith once handed down. His public repudiations of central doctrines of the faith are well-documented.

I think that is something of a distortion.

John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 08, 2007, 01:43:57 PM

Did Bishop Spong try to lead his diocese out of TEC?
John Dornheim
No, but he tried to lead TEC out of the confines of the faith once handed down. His public repudiations of central doctrines of the faith are well-documented.

I think that is something of a distortion.

John Dornheim
No it isn't. He flat out rejects parts of the creed. I don't think it is at all a distortion to consider the ecumenical creeds, at the very minimum, as a definition of the faith handed down. If he trangresses those bounds (which is an objective fact, assuming his own testimony concerning his beliefs is reliable), and he is a leader in any sense of the term (and bishop certainly qualifies), then what I have said is the plain truth and not at all distorted. How would you correct the alleged distortion?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: MMH on November 08, 2007, 01:56:57 PM

Did Bishop Spong try to lead his diocese out of TEC?
John Dornheim
No, but he tried to lead TEC out of the confines of the faith once handed down. His public repudiations of central doctrines of the faith are well-documented.

I think that is something of a distortion.

Well, here is what he says-

 1. Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.
2. Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt.
3. The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.
4. The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ's divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible.
5. The miracle stories of the New Testament can no longer be interpreted in a post-Newtonian world as supernatural events performed by an incarnate deity.
6. The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed.
7. Resurrection is an action of God. Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history.
8. The story of the Ascension assumed a three-tiered universe and is therefore not capable of being translated into the concepts of a post-Copernican space age.
9. There is no external, objective, revealed standard writ in scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time.
10. Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way.
11. The hope for life after death must be separated forever from the behavior control mentality of reward and punishment. The Church must abandon, therefore, its reliance on guilt as a motivator of behavior.
12. All human beings bear God's image and must be respected for what each person is. Therefore, no external description of one's being, whether based on race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, can properly be used as the basis for either rejection or discrimination.

[From http://www.dioceseofnewark.org/jsspong/reform.html]

So how is this in keeping with the Faith once received?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 08, 2007, 02:36:25 PM
Just a small part of Spong's writings are offered as though one must conclude that everything he has written is pointless. That is far from the case. I have read him and found him to be helpful in refining my own thinking. That which I found unhelpful I reject. As a  bishop, he is also a teacher of the church. TEC has not adopted many of his ideas so there is no reason to conclude that his work has had the negative impact which is suggested.

John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Steverem on November 08, 2007, 02:55:51 PM
Just a small part of Spong's writings are offered as though one must conclude that everything he has written is pointless. That is far from the case. I have read him and found him to be helpful in refining my own thinking. That which I found unhelpful I reject. As a  bishop, he is also a teacher of the church. TEC has not adopted many of his ideas so there is no reason to conclude that his work has had the negative impact which is suggested.

John Dornheim

"All atonement theories root in a sense of human alienation and with it a sense of human powerlessness. 'Without Thee we can do nothing good!' So we develop legends about the God who does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. . . . As we Christians tell the story of Jesus' dying for our sins in doctrine, hymns and liturgy, we quite unknowingly turn God into an ogre, a deity who practices child sacrifice and a guilt-producing figure, who tells us that our sinfulness is the cause of the death of Jesus. God did it to him instead of to us who deserved it. Somehow that is supposed to make it both antiseptic and worthwhile. It doesn't. I think we can and must break the power of these images."  - Rt. Rev John Shelby Spong

When Spong denies substitutional atonement, he denies Christianity at the core, and renders anything else he has to say on the faith superfluous.  If one is unable to say that such blatant heresy is outside the Christian faith, you have to wonder what it would take to qualify as heresy.

(Of course, this isn't the only objectionable thing Spong has said.  One need only look at his comments saying the reason why African Anglicans have been slow to embrace the new sexual morality pioneered by the Western churches is because they are only "one generation removed from tribalism" and all the supserstitions that come with it.  Had a theological conservative said such a thing, he or she would have been (rightly) labeled a raving racist.  How Spong manages to say such things without punishment is beyond me.)
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: janielou13 on November 08, 2007, 03:03:43 PM
To avoid the obvious distortion to which John Dornheim refers, below is the take by ++ Rowan Cantur, before he was Cantur:

(Editors note:  +Spong is incomprehensible unless one realizes that he is tweeking the Church to think outside the box of Hellenism, as continued dependency on same will lead to either fundamentalist absolutism on the one hand, or dumping the baby of faith/belief/reflection out with the bathwater of Hellenism, if and when it indeed passes.)

October 2003
Bishop Spong's argument  (Cantur's response follows the twelve points.)

Martin Luther ignited the Reformation of the 16th century by nailing to the door of the church in Wittenberg in 1517 the 95 Theses that he wished to debate. I will publish this challenge to Christianity in The Voice. I will post my theses on the Internet and send copies with invitations to debate them to the recognised Christian leaders of the world.

My theses are far smaller in number than were those of Martin Luther, but they are far more threatening theologically. The Issues to which I now call the Christians of the world to debate are these:


1. Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.


2. Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt.


3. The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.


4. The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ's divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible.


5. The miracle stories of the New Testament can no longer be interpreted in a post-Newtonian world as supernatural events performed by an incarnate deity.


6. The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed.


7. Resurrection is an action of God. Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history.


8. The story of the Ascension assumed a three-tiered universe and is therefore not capable of being translated into the concepts of a post-Copernican space age.


9. There is no external, objective, revealed standard writ in scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time.


10. Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way.


11. The hope for life after death must be separated forever from the behavior control mentality of reward and punishment. The Church must abandon, therefore, its reliance on guilt as a motivator of behavior.


12. All human beings bear God's image and must be respected for what each person is. Therefore, no external description of one's being, whether based on race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, can properly be used as the basis for either rejection or discrimination.


So I set these theses today before the Christian world and I stand ready to debate each of them as we prepare to enter the third millennium.

Rowan Williams replies...

Is it time for a new Reformation? The call has gone out quite a few times in the past three or four decades, and the imminence of the Millennium adds a certain piquancy to it.

The Right Reverend John Spong, Bishop of Newark in the US, is right to say - as he has done in his diocesan journal - that his own version of this demand is of a rather different order from the earlier Reformation; and this surely makes it imperative that his bold and gracious invitation to debate these theses should be taken up with some urgency and seriousness, not least on the eve of a Lambeth Conference that will undoubtedly be looking hard at issues of Christian identity and the limits of diversity.

So I had better say at once that, while I believe Bishop Spong has, in these and other matters, done an indispensable task in focusing our attention on questions under-examined and poorly thought through, I believe that these theses represent a level of confusion and misinterpretation that I find astonishing.

He has rightly urged the Church to think more clearly in many respects about issues of sex and gender; but I am bothered by the assumption here that the Church has failed to think through a number of central matters on which quantities of fairly sophisticated literature have been written over the entire history of Christian theology.

The implication of the theses is that the sort of questions that might be asked by a bright 20th century sixth-former would have been unintelligible or devastating for Augustine, Rahner or Teresa of Avila. The fact is that significant numbers of those who turn to Christian faith as educated adults find the doctrinal and spiritual tradition which Bishop Spong treats so dismissively a remarkably large room to live in.

Doctrinal statements may stretch and puzzle, and even repel, and yet they still go on claiming attention and suggesting a strange, radically different and imaginatively demanding world that might be inhabited. I'm thinking of a good number of Eastern Europeans I know who have found their way to (at least) a fascinated absorption in classical Christianity through involvement in dissident politics and underground literature. Or of some American writers who will, I'm sure, be known to Bishop Spong, from Denise Levertov to Kathleen Norris, who have produced reflective and imaginative work out of the same adult recovery of the tradition. Is this tradition as barren as Spong seems to think?

To answer that requires us to look a bit harder at the theses themselves. In a way, the first of them indicates where the trouble is going to come: for there are at least three quite distinct senses of theism current in theology and religious studies, and it is none too clear which is at issue here.

At the simplest level, theism is, presumably, what atheists deny. Spong doesn't appear to think of himself as an atheist, so this can't be it.

In a more specialist context, scholars of the phenomenology of mysticism have sometimes distinguished 'theistic' from 'monistic' experience - theistic experience being defined as focused upon a reality ultimately distinct from the self (and the universe), as opposed to a mysticism of final unification. I'm not convinced that this distinction is actually a very helpful strategy, but that is another matter; it may be that something more like this is what Spong has in mind.

But there is also the sense, recently discussed by writers like Nicholas Lash, of theism as the designation of that abstract belief in God independent of the specific claims of revelation that flourished in the age after Descartes - a sense quite close to but not identical with that of 'deism'. It is in this sense that large numbers of theologians would say that classical Trinitarian orthodoxy is not a form of theism.

I suspect that Spong is feeling his way between the second and the third senses. His objections seem to be to God as a being independent of the universe who acts within the universe in a way closely analogous to the way in which ordinary agents act. The trouble is that, while this might describe the belief of some rationalist divines in the modern period, and while it might sound very like the language of a good many ordinary religious practitioners, it bears no relation at all to what any serious theologian, from Origen to Barth and beyond, actually says about God - or, arguably, to what the practice of believers actually implies, whatever the pictorial idioms employed.

Classical theology maintains that God is indeed different from the universe. To say this is to suggest a radical difference between one agent and another in the world. God is not an object or agent over against the world; God is the eternal activity of unconstrained love, an activity that activates all that is around God is more intimate to the world than we can imagine, as the source of activity or energy itself; and God is more different than we can imagine, beyond category and kind and definition.

Thus God is never competing for space with agencies in the universe. When God acts, this does not mean that a hole is torn in the universe by an intervention from outside, but more that the immeasurably diverse relations between God's act and created acts and processes may be more or less transparent to the presence of the unconstrained love that sustains them all.

The doctrine of the incarnation does not claim that the 'theistic' God (i.e. a divine individual living outside the universe) turns himself into a member of the human race, but that this human identity, Jesus of Nazareth, is at every moment, from conception onwards, related in such a way to God the Word (God's eternal self-bestowing and self-reflecting) that his life is unreservedly and uniquely a medium for the unconstrained love that made all things to be at work in the world to remake all things. Jesus embodies God the Word or God the Son as totally as (more totally than) the musician in performance embodies the work performed.

I don't find this bankrupt; I don't find that it fails to make sense to those trying to learn the language of faith.

And the same point about God not competing for space is pertinent to several of the other theses. Exactly how the presence of God's action interweaves with various sets of created and contingent causes is not available for inspection. We have no breakdown of the relations between God and this or that situation in the world.

Theologians have argued that the holiness of a human individual or the prayer of a believer may be factors in a situation that tilt the outcome in a particular way. This is an intellectually frustrating conclusion in all sorts of ways, but seems to be the only one that really manages to do justice to the somewhat chaotic Christian experience of intercession and unexpected outcomes (miracles, if you must). If the world really does rest upon divine act, then whatever you say about the regularities of casual chains is relativised a bit by not quite knowing what counts as a 'cause' from God's point of view, so to speak.

Bishop Spong describes the resurrection as an act of God. I am not clear how an immanent deity such as I think he believes in is supposed to act; but if such a God does act, I don't see why it should be easier for God to act in people's mind than their bodies. 'Jesus was raised into the meaning of God'; yes, but meanings are constructed by material, historical beings, with cerebral cortices and larynxes. How does God (or 'God') make a difference to what people mean?

Spong clearly has no time for the empty-tomb tradition; so it is no surprise that he also dismisses the virginal conception (though why on earth this makes Jesus's divinity 'impossible' I fail to understand). I am aware that there are critical historical grounds for questioning both narrative clusters and I don't want to dismiss them. But I am very wary of setting aside the stories on the ground of a broad-brush denial of the miraculous.

For the record: I have never quite managed to see how we can make sense of the sacramental life of the Church without a theology of the risen body; and I have never managed to see how to put together such a theology without belief in the empty tomb. If a corpse clearly marked 'Jesus of Nazareth' turned up, I should save myself a lot of trouble and become a Quaker.

The virginal conception looks less straightforward, if you are neither a fundamentalist nor someone committed to the principled denial of miracles. Is it possible to believe in the incarnation without this? Yes, I think so (I did for a few years). But I also have an uncomfortable feeling that the more you reflect on the incarnation, the less of a problem you may have. There is a rather haunting passage in John Neville Figgis about - as it were - waking up one day and finding you believe it after all. My sentiments exactly.

Perhaps the underlying theme in all this is that if you don't believe in a God totally involved in and totally different from the universe, it's harder to see the universe as gift; harder to be open to whatever sense of utter unexpectedness about the life and death of Jesus made stories of pregnant virgins and empty tombs perfectly intelligible; harder to grasp why people thank God in respect of prayers answered and unanswered.

Perhaps, too, it has a bit to do with the sense of utterly unexpected absolution or release, the freeing of the heart.

The cross as sacrifice? God knows, there are barbaric ways of putting this; but as a complex and apparently inescapable metaphor (which, in the Bible, is about far more than propitiation) it has always said something sobering about the fact that human liberation doesn't come cheap, that the degree of human self-delusion is so colossal as to involve 'some total gain or loss' (in the words of Auden's poem about Bonhoeffer) in the task of overcoming it. And that human beings compulsively deceive themselves about who and what they are is a belief to which Darwinism is completely immaterial.

Of course, if you want to misunderstand Darwin as establishing a narrative of steady spiritual or intellectual evolution, you will indeed want to say that all existing ethical standards are relative. How, then, are you going to deal with claims by this or that group that they are moving on to the next evolutionary stage? In what sense can ethics fail to be about the contests of power, if there is nothing to which we are all answerable at all times?

Of course the parameters of ethical understanding shift: but the shifts in Christian ethics on, for example, slavery, usury and contraception, have had to argue long and hard to establish that they are in some way drawing out an entailment of what is there, or honouring some fundamental principle in what is there. In other words, these changes in convention have had to show a responsibility to certain principles that continue to identify this kind of talk as still recognisably Christian talk.

It makes for hard work - as is obvious with current debates about homosexuality or nuclear war; but it is hard work because of the need to continue listening to what is said and written.

But then we discover in Spong's theses that there is, after all, a non-negotiable principle, based upon the image of God in human beings. Admirable; but what does it mean in Spong's theological world? What is the image of a 'non-theistic' God? And where, for goodness' sake, does he derive this belief about humans? It is neither scientific nor obvious.

It is, in fact, what we used to call a dogma of revealed religion. It is a painful example of the sheerly sentimental use of phraseology whose rationale depends upon a theology that is being overtly rejected. What can it be more than a rather unfairly freighted and emotive substitute for some kind of bland egalitarianism - bland because ungrounded and therefore desperately vulnerable to corruption, or defeat at the hands of a more robust ideology? It is impossible to think too often of the collapse of liberalism in 1930s Germany.

It is no great pleasure to write so negatively about a colleague from whom I, like many others, have learned. But I cannot in any way see Bishop Spong's theses as representing a defensible or even an interesting Christian future. And I want to know whether the Christian past scripture and tradition, really appears to him as empty and sterile as this text suggests.

It seems he has not found life here, and that is painful to acknowledge and to hear. Yet I see no life in what the theses suggest; nothing to educate us into talking about the Christian God in a way I can recognise: no incarnation; no adoption into intimate relation with the Source of all; no Holy Spirit. No terror. No tears.

Does he know that generations of believers have argued the need to separate hope for life after death from earthly rewards and punishments? They believe that the present and future delight of enjoying God's intimacy made all such talk irrelevant.

Does he see at all that the recognition of God's image in everyone, in such a way as to drive people to risk everything for it (Wilberforce? Dorothy Day? Desmond Tutu? Bonhoeffer? Romero?), seems persistently to come from an immersion in the dark reality of God's difference and in the uncompromising paradoxes of incarnation of the Almighty?

Culturally speaking, the Christian religion is one of those subjects about which it is cool to be ignorant. Spong's account of classical Christian faith simply colludes with such ignorance in a way that cannot surely reflect his own knowledge of it. I think I understand the passion behind all this, the passion to make sense to those for whom the faith is at best quaint and at worst oppressive, nonsense.

But the sense is made (in so far as it is made at all) by a denial of the resources already there - to the extent that Spong's own continuing commitment to the tradition becomes incomprehensible.

Living in the Christian institution isn't particularly easy. It is, generally, today, an anxious inefficient, pompous, evasive body. If you hold office on it, you become more and more conscious of what it's doing to your soul. Think of what Coca-Cola does to your teeth. Why bother?

Well, because of the unwelcome conviction that it somehow tells the welcome truth about God, above all in its worship and sacraments. I don't think I could put up with it for five minutes if I didn't believe this; and - if I can't try to say this in a pastoral, not an inquisitorial, spirit - I don't know quite why Bishop Spong puts up with it.

At the time of writing Rowan Williams was Bishop of Monmouth. Rowan Williams is now Archbishop of Canterbury.
Transcribed and reproduced with permission from the 17 July 1998 edition of Church Times








Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 08, 2007, 03:34:16 PM
Certainly anyone in this forum is free to take Bp. Spong seriously. But nothing I said upstream was a distortion.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Team Hesse on November 08, 2007, 03:36:48 PM
but I am at odds with the idea of anyone getting pulled into heaven against their will.

Ahhhhh, free will rears its ugly head.
I think we all get dragged into heaven against our will (we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves).  How else can we explain what happened to Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road?  or the words to Luther's explanation to the Third Article of the Creed?  " I cannot, by my own reason or strength, believe in my Lord Jesus Christ or come to him, but the Holy Spirit ..."

Lou

Please do not bear false witness - but post the quote in its entirety.  As noted above, the passage distinctly describes the work of the Holy Spirit.  It seems you are saying everyone has that work done, but the evidence of the world indicates that this is not so. 

The problem with "all" dragged into heaven, kicking and screaming is that it denies the eschatological passages, from Matthew 13 and 25, to this week's epistle, to the entire Apocalypse of Jesus Christ.

My apologies, where I wrote "I think we all get dragged..." above, I should have written "I think we all (those of who do go to heaven) get dragged ..."
I am no universalist, and do not deny the eschatological passages mentioned above. 

Quote
Evil people exist, who refuse the grace offered in Christ.  Some by overt decision (Ted Turner and the deceased Ms. O'Hare come to mine), some by being simply to laze to understand the natural law as point to something larger than themselves.  Either way, Romans 2 is clear, they will be judged by their own consceince, against the law of God.

I do have problems with this paragraph.  I do not believe salvation hinges on our decision (refusing the grace, as mentioned above).  Salvation depends on hearing -- those who don't hear, don't believe. 
The sole difference between the evil of Ted Turner or Ms. O'Hare or Lou Hesse or St. Paul is in the hearing, which is how the Holy Spirit does his work of calling, gathering, enlightening, and sanctifying.  If salvation depends on our own decision, we shouldn't be baptizing babies.

Quote
And without a relationship Christ gives us, with the Father, that judgment is hopeless.  Having been gathered into that relationship, given faith, granted repentance, we have the assurance of that relationship.  Those that reject it, have rejected it.  This isn't about a pass into a spiritual disneyland.  It is about eternity, as the family of God, the bride of Christ.

Those that reject are simply not hearing.  And we all reject unless we hear.  And it is the Holy Spirit who enables us to hear. 
Thanks be to God that we have heard, for "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." (Rom.10:17)

Lou

Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Marshall_Hahn on November 08, 2007, 03:42:42 PM
And what should we say of the priests and parishes who are opposed to these moves?
John Dornheim

While the discussion concerning Bishop Spong's views and treatment of those in his diocese who disagreed with him is interesting and, to a certain degree, informative, I believe a more relevant comparison would be to the treatment of parishes who are currently attempting to leave their TEC parishes.  For example, the several in Bishop Lee's Diocese of Virginia, who are currently facing legal action over their claims upon their property.  While it remains to be seen what the Diocese of Pittsburgh will do in similar cases, Bishop Duncan's statements thus far indicate a commitment to avoid any kind of legal wrangling, and to seek a mediated, mutually agreed upon resolution to such conflicts, should they arise.  And, no doubt, they will arise.  Granted, I am an outsider, with no history within the Anglican communion, and do not fully understand their policies and traditions in such matters.  However, I believe this to be the better approach, by far, whether it is a "traditional" parish leaving a "revisionist" diocese, or a "revisionist" parish leaving a "traditional" diocese that is aligned with a "traditional" province.  

Marshall Hahn
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Sublime_Harbinger on November 08, 2007, 03:44:14 PM
For me, the discussion about universalism only really gets interesting when the question of whether or not the grace of god is irresistable is taken up.  People can dream wonderful dreams to keep them happy at night all they want to (and I personally do hope and pray that God will have more mercy than I think he will) but I am at odds with the idea of anyone getting pulled into heaven against their will.
Well, the word used about about the Father drawing all people to Jesus (John 6:44) and Jesus drawing all people to himself (John 12:32) is exactly the same word as hauling in a net of fish (John 21:6, 11). It is also used of dragging people against their will (Acts 18:19; 21:30; James 2:6). At least in these verses the Bible does present a picture of getting pulled into heaven (or into the boat or into court) against one's will. Do you think that's a bad thing?

I thought justified and sinner responded to most of the points in the manner in which I would have, but I did want to respond here.  (I think you were referring to Acts 16:19 btw)  To answer the question directly, no, I do not think it is a bad thing to be drawn/hauled/dragged to Jesus feet.  To ask a question of my own:  How is being dragged to the feet of Jesus the equivalent of eternal salvation?

On a side note, I do not think drag (or its Greek equivalent e[lkw) automatically indicates an *irresistable* pull, and John 21:6 seems to bear that out.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Team Hesse on November 08, 2007, 09:52:04 PM
but I am at odds with the idea of anyone getting pulled into heaven against their will.

Ahhhhh, free will rears its ugly head.
I think we all get dragged into heaven against our will (we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves).  How else can we explain what happened to Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road?  or the words to Luther's explanation to the Third Article of the Creed?  " I cannot, by my own reason or strength, believe in my Lord Jesus Christ or come to him, but the Holy Spirit ..."
Lou
Lou, I think your post leaves conversion out of the equation, as the three dots end the quote mid-sentence. Had St. Paul never been pulled over, so to speak, on the road to Damascus, he would have remained an enemy of God. As it was, he reports having received a new nature, such that while he remained according to the flesh, an enemy of God, the "according to the flesh"  no longer represented who he really was. As a converted believer, he now wills what is right even when he can't do it. Same with the third article. Yes, I cannot convert myself. But that doesn't mean I can't be converted. I can't believe in Jesus by my own reason or strength; but that doesn't mean I can't believe in Him. The Holy Spirit does it; he calls, enlightens and sanctifies you in this life by giving you faith, thus converting your will. The will is the main thing converted, going from having one master to another. There is a difference not only of eternal destination between believers and unbelievers, but also of will, even when we lack the power to carry out our converted will. I will not be in heaven against my will; I will be there despite my sin and weakness. There is a huge difference. Sure, my will is not free-- it is a slave to sin according to the flesh and the law and a slave to Christ according to the spirit and the Gospel, but it is still my will. A bound will is not no will.

Once again, Peter, thanks for the thoughtful response.  Everything you say above is consistent with what I learned in confirmation and have lived by, as far as I know, all my life.  But there is one piece missing, which I heard (faith comes by hearing, you know) for the first time in Audubon, IA, in July 2003.  It had probably been preached to me many times, but that's the day I heard it.

I deliberately stopped my quote from the Explanation of the Third Article at "but the Holy Spirit ..." because of how I understand conversion differently today than before.  A free will/my will understanding of conversion leaves sinners wondering "do I believe enough? do I have enough faith? why, if I have faith, am I still sinning?  why can't I stop sinning?"  In short, there is no comfort in a free will conversion. 

What was missing from my life and, I believe, from your explanation above, is the nature of the conversion. 
"I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me."  Galatians 2:20 
And
"For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you will also appear with him in glory."  Col. 3:3
The old Adam dies -- he is DEAD in trespass and sin; the new Adam is none other than the real presence of Jesus Christ himself in you as a redeeming reality.  That is more or less a direct quote from Regin Prenter, approx. page 50 in his book Spiritus Creator
This is how I understand simul justus et peccator.  It has nothing to do with my will, it has everything to do with the promises of Jesus, the love of the Father, and the action of the Holy Spirit (calling, gathering, enlightening, and sanctifying).
  Thanks be to God!

As to your final question --
Quote
If as a converted believer you are still going to heaven against your will, would you be relieved to discover you weren't going there after all?   
To a converted believer, (a person dead to trespass and sin and alive in Christ) the question is meaningless.  A person alive in Christ would want to be nowhere else but in the presence of the Father forever.

Lou

Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: ptmccain on November 08, 2007, 10:05:29 PM
Certainly anyone in this forum is free to take Bp. Spong seriously. But nothing I said upstream was a distortion.

I take Spong seriously, very seriously. He is nothing more, nor less, than an apostate.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: grabau14 on November 08, 2007, 10:20:50 PM
Now Paul, that's the type of language that insults and doesn't further a dialogue  ;).  But on the other hand, when a Bishop denies the incarnation it's hard not to use that nasty a word. 

Rev'd. Matthew J. Uttenreither  SSP
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 08, 2007, 10:21:58 PM
Just wondering what role our confession of Christ's descent into hell plays in people's ruminations upon these matters.

BTW- this is one of the reasons I am ticked off at ELW and its complete ignoring of FC IX.

See "Give Hell a Chance," Forum Letter April 2006, also in "Selected Reprints" in these here precincts.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 08, 2007, 10:23:30 PM

Complete ignoring of FC IX?  Do tell.

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN


See "Give Hell a Chance," Forum Letter April 2006, also in "Selected Reprints" in these here precincts.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 08, 2007, 10:27:13 PM


 1. Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.

Well, the second part of this may be true. A lot of theological God-talk today is meaningless. But it's meaningless because it is propagated by people who think they are finding a "new way to speak of God" when what would give meaning would be to go back to talking about God in the ways that have worked pretty well for 2000 years or more.  8)
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: revklak on November 08, 2007, 10:32:01 PM


 1. Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.

Well, the second part of this may be true. A lot of theological God-talk today is meaningless. But it's meaningless because it is propagated by people who think they are finding a "new way to speak of God" when what would give meaning would be to go back to talking about God in the ways that have worked pretty well for 2000 years or more.  8)

Or, as a wise seminary prof of mine said, yes there is "inside language" in the church.  But instead of eliminating it, denying it,  and speaking only in terms people "get" today, we should actually teach people what it means.  Who'd have thunk?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 08, 2007, 10:33:08 PM
Now Paul, that's the type of language that insults and doesn't further a dialogue  ;).  But on the other hand, when a Bishop denies the incarnation it's hard not to use that nasty a word. 

Rev'd. Matthew J. Uttenreither  SSP

You can use all of the smiley happy faces thingies you want, it doesn't change the fact that boorish behavior is tolerated on this list beyond all reason and charity.

John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 08, 2007, 10:34:15 PM

You can use all of the smiley happy faces thingies you want, it doesn't change the fact that boorish behavior is tolerated on this list beyond all reason and charity.


OK, fine, no more coercion. If you want to leave, fell free.  :o
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: revklak on November 08, 2007, 10:48:48 PM
Thanks, Richard, for pointing back to the "Give Hell a Chance" thread.  I wasn't a member then, but I remember reading your piece in FL when it came out.  Loved it then, love it now.  And, ironically, in a bible study I'm teaching with the ladies at the congregation I serve we recently hit on that passage, and it was interesting the conversation caused when one lady pulled out her Concordia Study Bible and declared, "All those possible interpretations are wrong -- it says so right here!"  We came back to agree that there are many possible interpretations, but I couldn't remember where I'd seen it before.  Now I know!
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 08, 2007, 11:24:49 PM

You can use all of the smiley happy faces thingies you want, it doesn't change the fact that boorish behavior is tolerated on this list beyond all reason and charity.


OK, fine, no more coercion. If you want to leave, fell free.  :o

I don't believe that the thought has ever entered my mind.
John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 08, 2007, 11:27:09 PM
What is boorish about calling Bp. Spong an apostate if that is what you truly think he is? Is there no such thing as an apostate? Because if Bp. Spong isn't one, who is?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: grabau14 on November 08, 2007, 11:40:09 PM
The Writers Guild because there will be no episodes of 24 at all?  Seriously though, can such words like apostate or heretic ever be used?  Would our Fathers in the Faith who called Arius, Nestorius, etc... heretics not call Bishop Spong one as well? 

Rev'd. Matthew J. Uttenreither  SSP
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Mel Harris on November 09, 2007, 03:38:08 AM

What is boorish about calling Bp. Spong an apostate if that is what you truly think he is? Is there no such thing as an apostate? Because if Bp. Spong isn't one, who is?


It seems to me that it is not what is said that some here seem to have a problem with, but how it is said.  Lutherans tend to be blunt and to the point.  Compare that to a Welshman's response to Bishop Spong's argument that is posted farther above in this thread.  He started out saying that he could understand what Bishop Spong was attempting to do; slowly and carefully went on to point out that he had failed at it miserably; and ended up saying that he cannot understand why Bishop Spong even pretends to still be a Christian or still has anything to do with the church.  It only took him 2,514 words to say this.  I have not seen anyone here complain about that response.  So it appears that it is not what you say, but how you say it that determines whether or not your response is "boorish".

 ;)     Mel Harris
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: ptmccain on November 09, 2007, 08:03:36 AM
Spong is apostate. This is most certainly true.


A theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theologian of the cross calls the thing what it actually is.


Martin Luther
Heidelberg Disputation
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 09, 2007, 08:45:30 AM
Bishop Spong serves a purpose, though not the one he intends. He stands as the bugaboo for all those fearful of "newness" or "liberalism" or whatever, so they can point and take shots and feel righteous and crusader-like. Meanwhile, discussion of the meaning of faith and doctrine for today goes on elsewhere and on quite a different tack.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: MMH on November 09, 2007, 09:27:46 AM
Bishop Spong serves a purpose, though not the one he intends. He stands as the bugaboo for all those fearful of "newness" or "liberalism" or whatever, so they can point and take shots and feel righteous and crusader-like. Meanwhile, discussion of the meaning of faith and doctrine for today goes on elsewhere and on quite a different tack.

In much the same way Robertson et. al provide a target for the Religious Left who are scared about the coming Theocracy.  If I have to attend one more event where some leftist cleric shares fears about that, I am going to scream.

And I have a question, Charles: When the last trump is sounded and both Spong and Robertson have to give account for their ministries and for those who, by their teaching, have been mislead into damnation, who do you think will be pulling the heavier load?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 09, 2007, 09:41:01 AM
Matt writes:
And I have a question, Charles: When the last trump is sounded and both Spong and Robertson have to give account for their ministries and for those who, by their teaching, have been mislead into damnation, who do you think will be pulling the heavier load?

I respond:
What pastoral or spiritual purpose would it serve for me to speculate on that? I would fear that my own biases and prejudices would lead me to make judgments that are not mine to make. I have my hands and spiritual life rather full with other things rather than where those two men stand in the sight of God.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: pr dtp on November 09, 2007, 10:12:02 AM
Matt writes:
And I have a question, Charles: When the last trump is sounded and both Spong and Robertson have to give account for their ministries and for those who, by their teaching, have been mislead into damnation, who do you think will be pulling the heavier load?

I respond:
What pastoral or spiritual purpose would it serve for me to speculate on that? I would fear that my own biases and prejudices would lead me to make judgments that are not mine to make. I have my hands and spiritual life rather full with other things rather than where those two men stand in the sight of God.

This one:
1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (ESV)
1 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.

Spong is not trustworthy. Prior to pointing out the following verses about judgment in time, realize in Galatians and in Philippians, Paul thought it was time.l
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 09, 2007, 11:48:48 AM
I have said it before. Bishop Spong has never been a "threat" to any people or any part of the church where I have responsibilities. The bigger "threats" are indifference, biblical and theological illiteracy, cultural distortions of the Christian faith, the contemporary bias against religious commitment, parents who expect the church to make their children faithful, rigid parochialism and Sunday morning soccer.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 09, 2007, 12:37:58 PM
The bigger "threats" are indifference, biblical and theological illiteracy, cultural distortions of the Christian faith, the contemporary bias against religious commitment, parents who expect the church to make their children faithful, rigid parochialism and Sunday morning soccer.

   ... and perhaps the "biggest" threat is irrelevant preaching and boring worship.

Md Brian
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: LutherMan on November 09, 2007, 12:42:12 PM

   ... and perhaps the "biggest" threat is irrelevant preaching and boring worship.

Md Brian
Yes.  Nothing bores me more than "contemporary service" in Lutheran Worship...
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: MMH on November 09, 2007, 02:03:01 PM
What pastoral or spiritual purpose would it serve for me to speculate on that? I would fear that my own biases and prejudices would lead me to make judgments that are not mine to make. I have my hands and spiritual life rather full with other things rather than where those two men stand in the sight of God.

Somebody who takes such obvious glee in misleading people is someone to take note of.  That is all I am saying.  Not to make him the theological boogey-man, but simply to note that he can and does cause damage. 
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 09, 2007, 02:21:16 PM
What pastoral or spiritual purpose would it serve for me to speculate on that? I would fear that my own biases and prejudices would lead me to make judgments that are not mine to make. I have my hands and spiritual life rather full with other things rather than where those two men stand in the sight of God.

Somebody who takes such obvious glee in misleading people is someone to take note of.  That is all I am saying.  Not to make him the theological boogey-man, but simply to note that he can and does cause damage. 

As can anyone who has a pulpit.
John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 09, 2007, 02:35:20 PM
Maryland Brian writes (about "threats")
.. and perhaps the "biggest" threat is irrelevant preaching and boring worship

I comment:
Nope. The faith can survive even that; but it cannot survive without Christians who are biblically literate, committed disciples and able to carry the Gospel into the world.
For such folk, with the fire of the Gospel within them, there is no such thing as boring worship, even if it is an off-key version of Setting 1 in the LBW.

Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 09, 2007, 03:06:03 PM

Nope. The faith can survive even that; but it cannot survive without Christians who are biblically literate, committed disciples and able to carry the Gospel into the world.
For such folk, with the fire of the Gospel within them, there is no such thing as boring worship, even if it is an off-key version of Setting 1 in the LBW.

 Well ... like Dr. Carl Mau, my first mentor and your former boss use to tell me all the time, "The church can survive incompetent church bureaucrats, but not bad preaching - that's why the church needs its very best people in its pulpits."  Over the years I've noticed that to be true.  Or in the words of Dirty Harry, "A man has got to know his limitations ..."

Md Brian
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 09, 2007, 03:15:38 PM

Nope. The faith can survive even that; but it cannot survive without Christians who are biblically literate, committed disciples and able to carry the Gospel into the world.
For such folk, with the fire of the Gospel within them, there is no such thing as boring worship, even if it is an off-key version of Setting 1 in the LBW.

 Well ... like Dr. Carl Mau, my first mentor and your former boss, use to tell me all the time, "The church can survive incompetent church bureaucrats, but not bad preaching - that's why the church needs its very best people in its pulpits."  Over the years I've noticed that to be true.  Or in the words of Dirty Harry, "A man has got to know his limitations ..."

Md Brian
If the church has its very best people in the pulpits, we're all doomed, unless by "best" you simply mean "called". Somehow Israel thrived militarily not with its best people as generals, but with doofuses like Gideon, merely because God chose him. Ditto David. Ditto Moses. Ditto St. Peter. God uses people despite their attributes, not because of their attributes. Rather than worry about who is good, we need to go where God puts us and see what happens.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: grabau14 on November 09, 2007, 03:36:40 PM

Nope. The faith can survive even that; but it cannot survive without Christians who are biblically literate, committed disciples and able to carry the Gospel into the world.
For such folk, with the fire of the Gospel within them, there is no such thing as boring worship, even if it is an off-key version of Setting 1 in the LBW.

 Well ... like Dr. Carl Mau, my first mentor and your former boss use to tell me all the time, "The church can survive incompetent church bureaucrats, but not bad preaching - that's why the church needs its very best people in its pulpits."  Over the years I've noticed that to be true.  Or in the words of Dirty Harry, "A man has got to know his limitations ..."

Md Brian

Have you ever listened to Roman Catholic preaching.  Alot of it is "boring" in that  they do not proclaim but rather tell a story about a saint and then try to relate it to today or they preach some sort of moralism.  But the church survives.   Why? because they have the sacraments.  Sasse writes that a church that loses the sacraments truly becomes "irrelavent"  So all the "Evangelical"  Mega-Churchs with their sweet musci are truly irrelavent because the Sacraments are not there. 

The Church can survive many things but not the loss of the sacraments because the Gospel will always be preached in those outward signs.

Rev'd. Matthew J. Uttenreither  SSP
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 09, 2007, 03:38:29 PM
Rather than worry about who is good, we need to go where God puts us and see what happens.

  It's my sense St. Paul, in at least two of his letters, argued something about gifts and how best to use them in the Body of Christ.  Perhaps the aging, declining mainline is evidence we have forgotten his insights. 

Md Brian
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 09, 2007, 03:41:16 PM

Have you ever listened to Roman Catholic preaching.  Alot of it is "boring" in that  they do not proclaim but rather tell a story about a saint and then try to relate it to today or they preach some sort of moralism.  But the church survives.   Why? because they have the sacraments. 

Define "survive."  In Latin America the Roman Catholic Church is rapidly being replaced by evangelical churches - a tradition that stresses preaching.  Like our own tradition, the RC church is all but dead in Europe.  I know many recovering Catholics who have nothing to do with that tradition.  I don't know their experience in the Global South.

Md Brian
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Dave_Poedel on November 09, 2007, 04:46:26 PM

Have you ever listened to Roman Catholic preaching. Alot of it is "boring" in that they do not proclaim but rather tell a story about a saint and then try to relate it to today or they preach some sort of moralism. But the church survives. Why? because they have the sacraments.

Define "survive." In Latin America the Roman Catholic Church is rapidly being replaced by evangelical churches - a tradition that stresses preaching. Like our own tradition, the RC church is all but dead in Europe. I know many recovering Catholics who have nothing to do with that tradition. I don't know their experience in the Global South.

Md Brian

Brian:

I'm not sure what attendance is like in the RC parishes out there in Maryland, but my ego and belief that my preaching is an exposition of correct doctrine found in Holy Scripture leads me to lust for a congregation the size of the smallest Roman Catholic parish in Phoenix on a given Sunday. When Roman Catholics visit my small parish, they, after Mass come to me and say "I wish you could say Mass and preach in my parish" to which I respond "So do I".  Our average parish has 4,000-5,000 FAMILIES registered and each Mass has over 1,000 worshippers present.  Their sermons are an average of 6 minutes long and as Fr. Matthew describes above.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 09, 2007, 04:56:33 PM
Rome survives because it has fairly well perfected the guilt trip. Perhaps part of Rome's shortcomings in Latin America has more to do with its rejection of the Romeros of the church. In our growing Latino ministry, the overwhelming majority are Roman Catholics and while they might hold to a sacramental presence, many are unwilling to commune.
In the US, homiletics is almost an elective in many RC seminaries. Even when we had a significant amount of RC seminarians from St. Louis in the classroom, you could see that they were light years behind us.
John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: grabau14 on November 09, 2007, 05:25:42 PM

Have you ever listened to Roman Catholic preaching. Alot of it is "boring" in that they do not proclaim but rather tell a story about a saint and then try to relate it to today or they preach some sort of moralism. But the church survives. Why? because they have the sacraments.

Define "survive." In Latin America the Roman Catholic Church is rapidly being replaced by evangelical churches - a tradition that stresses preaching. Like our own tradition, the RC church is all but dead in Europe. I know many recovering Catholics who have nothing to do with that tradition. I don't know their experience in the Global South.

Md Brian

Brian:

I'm not sure what attendance is like in the RC parishes out there in Maryland, but my ego and belief that my preaching is an exposition of correct doctrine found in Holy Scripture leads me to lust for a congregation the size of the smallest Roman Catholic parish in Phoenix on a given Sunday. When Roman Catholics visit my small parish, they, after Mass come to me and say "I wish you could say Mass and preach in my parish" to which I respond "So do I".  Our average parish has 4,000-5,000 FAMILIES registered and each Mass has over 1,000 worshippers present.  Their sermons are an average of 6 minutes long and as Fr. Matthew describes above.

Rev'd. Poedel,

You and I have had some very similar experiences with Roman Catholic parishoners.  They come to my church for funerals, First Communions, etc... and they say the same thing to me.  They hear the Gospel, like liturgy and they always say "you could teach our priest a thing or two".  But their parish attendence is 5 times the size of mine on a given Sunday.

But it warms my heart that the Latin Mass is making a strong comeback in the USA and it is being atteded by the ever elusive young people of 25-35 year olds.

Rev'd. Matthew J. Uttenreither  SSP
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: GoCubsGo! on November 09, 2007, 05:43:09 PM
Rome survives because it has fairly well perfected the guilt trip. Perhaps part of Rome's shortcomings in Latin America has more to do with its rejection of the Romeros of the church. In our growing Latino ministry, the overwhelming majority are Roman Catholics and while they might hold to a sacramental presence, many are unwilling to commune.
In the US, homiletics is almost an elective in many RC seminaries. Even when we had a significant amount of RC seminarians from St. Louis in the classroom, you could see that they were light years behind us.
John Dornheim

How kind of you to say that Rome has perfected the "guilt trip", John.  The Lutherans don't lay guilt on people?  (Especially those revisionist who say that by not embracing homosexuality I am condoning violence towards GLBTers or even promoting suicide...) And I don't see Rome as rejecting Romero.  Sometimes the RCC has failed to be the Church it is called to be in Latin America, I will grant you.  But the same could be said of a Lutheran Body that fails to reject homosexual behavior, feminist/idolatrous theology, and the shift towards Church Growth/prosperity gospel.

I agree that Roman Catholic priests in general are not good preachers.  For years preaching was not emphasized although post V-II this is slowly changing.  But despite the bad preaching, and the theologically suspect issues of the RCC it is much better than many of the so called enlightened and "gospel inspired" denominations present in North America.

Addressed to Md Brian:
And I wonder, if a person leaves the ELCA or LC-MS for Rome would they be a "recovering" Lutheran?  (That rhetoric is not helpful.)
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 09, 2007, 05:51:06 PM
I am not absolving Lutherans of instilling guilt, they haven't perfected it, for the most part. And I think that your reading of the church's response to Romero and his priests is in error.

John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: grabau14 on November 09, 2007, 06:32:22 PM

I will grant you that mainline Protestant demominations are in decline but Rome and the East are not.  Attendance is up accross the board in those tradtions.  Especially in the high liturgical Roman parishes where the Latin Mass is offered.

I think Protestantism has failed simply because it doesn't stand for anything.  Sola Scriptura; Yippee.  Higher Criticism and all sorts of methods have destroyed the church in so many ways.  It's no wonder that Athiests like Hitchens use the same arguments that the "faithless" critics do. (But that is besides the point).

When I talk to Lutheran/Baptist/Episcopalian/non-Christians who have all gone to Rome through some sort of "conversion" experience they have found a church that teaches the faith (in their opinion) as well as stability.  They can't say that about the many Protestant churches who latch onto all the fads out their.  (Did you see that Willow Creek repents for what they have done?)

It is no wonder that the disenfranchised children of aging hipsters who turned the church into a concert are going to the Emergent Church because they see "back to basics" and are teaching something and therefore it is seen as stable.  Now as good Lutherans or ECs we should say the the Emergent Church is not truly teaching anything, after all there is no hell and therefore no need for atonement.  But the Protestants who have turned the church into a show, taught in Bible Class things like Jesus wasn't really born of a Virgin, etc.. have reaped what they have sown. 

But the Roman Church has done a very good job in recent years in teaching the faith.  A recent convert friend of mine showed me his RICA materials and how indepth it is.  They are teaching the faith, practicing it in the Mass.  I can't say the same thing about many of our Protestant brothers; heck, I know several older and younger Missouri pastors that do the equivalent of 1 week membership class which mainly entails a tour of the facility.  That makes me sick.

Rev'd. Matthew J. Uttenreither   SSP
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Dave_Poedel on November 09, 2007, 06:51:54 PM
We all love our anecdotes, and I love this one I heard this week from a dear friend/prayer partner who is also a rather liberal ELCA Pastor: a Roman Catholic family joined the congregation he serves because, according to the dad of the family "the new Bishop (RC) is making the Church too conservative and emphasizing all of that old fashioned stuff, making it hard for old social liberals like us".
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: LutherMan on November 09, 2007, 07:03:12 PM
Quote
a Roman Catholic family joined the congregation he serves because, according to the dad of the family "the new Bishop (RC) is making the Church too conservative and emphasizing all of that old fashioned stuff, making it hard for old social liberals like us".
Pr. Poedel,
Which part of the anecdote warmed your heart?  That the bishop is restoring conservatism, or that the old social lib' found a comfortable church home in the ELCA parish?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Dave Benke on November 09, 2007, 07:16:00 PM
More and more of our Atlantic District parishes use the RCA format for adult baptismal instruction and preparation for first Holy Communion, including - because this is the Atlantic District - trained lay catechists, the book which is signed by all the baptizands/instructees including the Bishop's signature, and of course the Vigil of Easter.  During Holy Week, cognregations gather for a Eucharist at which the Bishop blesses the oils for use on that Vigil and through the year by those catechumens, baptizands and for the sick.   

Dave Benke

Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: ptmccain on November 09, 2007, 08:22:23 PM
Back to Spong.

Why is that some people shy away from rejecting and condemning his apostasy, washing their hands of it and, in effect, just putting their head in the sand about it, but are quick to denounce in no uncertain terms anyone whom they regard as conservative or "fundamentalistic"?



Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: LutherMan on November 09, 2007, 08:24:12 PM
Because some Lutherans may be embracing apostacy, too? :o
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 09, 2007, 08:44:23 PM
Because some Lutherans may be embracing apostacy, too? :o

Because some Lutherans would rather speak in a voice of love rather than one of hate?
John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: LutherMan on November 09, 2007, 08:51:50 PM
Yes, I suppose The Rev. Stacy Boorn speaks "in a voice of love" doesn't she?

 http://www.herchurch.org/
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 09, 2007, 09:05:26 PM
Yes, I suppose The Rev. Stacy Boorn speaks "in a voice of love" doesn't she?

 http://www.herchurch.org/
Yup, she does.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: hansen on November 09, 2007, 09:26:44 PM
Because some Lutherans would rather speak in a voice of love rather than one of hate?

Yes, I'm sure that the participants at FreeRepublic can feel your love.  A few recent quotes of yours:

Quote
It is unfortunate that this sorry list is still breathing.

Now I know why some people are terrified of clowns.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: grabau14 on November 09, 2007, 09:36:56 PM
Because some Lutherans may be embracing apostacy, too? :o

Because some Lutherans would rather speak in a voice of love rather than one of hate?
John Dornheim

My how we use the word "Love" alot.  I believe speaking the truth publicly is the ultimate act of Love, Here I Stand and all that jazz.  I think that some who use the word "Love" do so to hide their cowardice in not speaking the truth.  I think the Bible has something to say about being luke warm.  It is loving to call someone to repentance and faith.  Or have the courage to defend the heresy that Bishop Spong teaches.  But don't be luke warm.

And it is also a matter of confession to speak the truth.   I'm sure Athanasius and company would have loved to have you there.  No, no don't call Arius a heretic, it's not loving, let him continue to poison the church.  There is no difference between Arius and his vile filth and the what Spong passes off as Christianity.  Lord, have mercy.

Rev'd. Matthew J. Uttenreither  SSP
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: GoCubsGo! on November 09, 2007, 09:49:28 PM
Because some Lutherans may be embracing apostacy, too? :o

Because some Lutherans would rather speak in a voice of love rather than one of hate?
John Dornheim

When I talk of God's intention for human sexuality and how that intentiion conflicts with homosexual behaviors, I am speaking with a voice of love.  When I correct someone for teaching, preaching and praying in the name of "God our Heavenly Mother, I am speaking with a voice of love.  When I ask a couple to live apart before they get married, I am speaking with a voice of love.  When I speak the truth I am speaking with a voice of love.  The voice of love sometimes embraces and sometimes chides and corrects.  True love is not tolerating unacceptable behaviors and actions but is rather challenging those behaviors.  As a "pastor", John, you should know better. :(
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 09, 2007, 11:07:17 PM
Because some Lutherans may be embracing apostacy, too? :o

Because some Lutherans would rather speak in a voice of love rather than one of hate?
John Dornheim

When I talk of God's intention for human sexuality and how that intentiion conflicts with homosexual behaviors, I am speaking with a voice of love.  When I correct someone for teaching, preaching and praying in the name of "God our Heavenly Mother, I am speaking with a voice of love.  When I ask a couple to live apart before they get married, I am speaking with a voice of love.  When I speak the truth I am speaking with a voice of love.  The voice of love sometimes embraces and sometimes chides and corrects.  True love is not tolerating unacceptable behaviors and actions but is rather challenging those behaviors.  As a "pastor", John, you should know better. :(

Joe,
Just because you might doesn't mean that all others do, as well.
John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Dave_Poedel on November 09, 2007, 11:12:25 PM
More and more of our Atlantic District parishes use the RCA format for adult baptismal instruction and preparation for first Holy Communion, including - because this is the Atlantic District - trained lay catechists, the book which is signed by all the baptizands/instructees including the Bishop's signature, and of course the Vigil of Easter.  During Holy Week, cognregations gather for a Eucharist at which the Bishop blesses the oils for use on that Vigil and through the year by those catechumens, baptizands and for the sick.   

Dave Benke



Somewhere in my study I have a Lutheran "RCIA" program with the catechesis thing, the "steps" that parallel the early Church's program for preparing the catechumens. I heard it was a joint AF/CPH program, but AF ended up publishing it (P. McCain, any truth behind that rumor?)

I have long stated that the future direction for folks becoming Lutheran will have to become more and more like the adult catechuminate model.  Folks are not just not born into Christian homes, they often have no prior exposure to the Christian Church.  Before I retired from college teaching a few years back, I had 19-20 year olds who would ask if they could visit my church, what to expect, how to dress, etc.  When I inquired about their backgrounds, they said they had never been inside of a church in their lives.  When I asked about weddings and funerals, they said that weddings were at resorts and guest ranches, funerals (most had not ever been to one) were in funeral homes.

We are going to be starting from scratch, and a 5 session "Pastor's Class" will NOT be adequate catechesis.

The question then becomes:  do we do the traditional Lutheran thing and educate these folks completely and then administer the Sacraments of Initiation?  Or do we do the mysticgogical catechesis approach of St. Ambrose of Milan?

I submit that, with the exception of our esteemed Bishop of the Atlantic District, we in the LCMS are not equipped to implement this new-ancient method of catechesis in our parishes and circuits.  I humbly suggest we get our acts together.  Bishop Benke, is your protocol available anywhere we can get access to it?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: ptmccain on November 09, 2007, 11:17:50 PM
There is no difference between Arius and his vile filth and the what Spong passes off as Christianity.  Lord, have mercy.

Actually, Arius did not deny many of the things that Spong does!
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John_Hannah on November 10, 2007, 05:57:56 AM

Somewhere in my study I have a Lutheran "RCIA" program with the catechesis thing, the "steps" that parallel the early Church's program for preparing the catechumens. I heard it was a joint AF/CPH program, but AF ended up publishing it (P. McCain, any truth behind that rumor?)


The series is titled "Welcome to Christ." Available from AF. Yes it was put togther by a joint group. Art Just was on the LCMS delegation.

Pezce, JOHN HANNAH, STS
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Dave Benke on November 10, 2007, 09:04:50 AM
John Hannah was one of the first, maybe the first, to implement the RCIA model in the Atlantic District, with a wonderful catechist. If this is not under consideration by CPH, it should be. 

I just spoke with a deacon from the South Wisconsin District who is a member of the parish of a Pr. Peter Bender (LCMS).  They have a very complete catechetical series that gets marketed at various conferences - from my initial glance at it, it wouldn't fit the format of RCIA, but the material seems very thoroughgoing. 

We have some very creative folks on the topic and activity of spiritual formation in these parts, including a young PhD/Pastor who's a warrior-poet in the Christian sense named Dien Ashley Taylor up in the Bronx - I say "up" because I'm from Brooklyn.  For instance, and this is a great idea for urban mission with children/youth:
if we're going to invite kids to participate in the Holy Meal, they need to learn how to eat together as a community.  So at his (and I took this right over to my own group in Brooklyn) Youth Nite, which is Friday (because we don't have football, and because there's no homework the next day), after opening the group, there's always a meal, mostly made by one of the parishioners, for all to eat.  Eat as in eat at tables that are set, eat in a group, eat after prayer with conversation around that table, eat with those you care about and who care about you, eat food prepared for you by people who care about you. This is an essential in spiritual formation toward the Holy Meal.  And it's done because kids do not have a place where they participate in such meals in their lives, at least the kids Dien and I get to meet and love.  They eat on the run, they eat in front of a TV, they eat at separate times from the rest of the family, they eat conversing with the Flintstones, in some cases they eat to steer clear of the family, in some cases there isn't much of a family.  Where better to learn the etiquette of holy community dining than at church?  I think you might understand that this is not an easy process.  But that for us is a central aspect of the catechetics of Holy Communion.

Dave Benke

Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: grabau14 on November 10, 2007, 11:43:29 AM
There is no difference between Arius and his vile filth and the what Spong passes off as Christianity.  Lord, have mercy.

Actually, Arius did not deny many of the things that Spong does!

Quite Right!  But both create doubt and confusion concerning the Second Article.  The only difference is that I am unaware of any hymns that Spong produced.  So in that way Arius is worse because music can spread the lies quicker than the spoken word,

Rev'd. Matthew J. Uttenreither   SSP
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: ptmccain on November 10, 2007, 11:52:49 AM
Quite Right!  But both create doubt and confusion concerning the Second Article.  The only difference is that I am unaware of any hymns that Spong produced.  So in that way Arius is worse because music can spread the lies quicker than the spoken word,

Rev'd. Matthew J. Uttenreither   SSP

Absolutely, Matthew. I was merely observing that even Arius did not deny many of the things that Spong does. That's why the shrugging, "Who cares?" some display toward Spong's apostasy is even more disturbing. And the fact that Spong is a bishop in good standing in the ECUSA and, by right of full communion, similarly in the ELCA is even more cause for the gravest of concern. But, I'll grant your point. At least Spong has not taken up hymn writing.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: LutherMan on November 10, 2007, 12:17:34 PM
But, I'll grant your point. At least Spong has not taken up hymn writing.

Thankfully.  Or some "christians" could very well be singing "Jesus Christ didn't Rise Today" on Easter Morning...
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: John Dornheim on November 10, 2007, 12:22:07 PM
But, I'll grant your point. At least Spong has not taken up hymn writing.

Thankfully.  Or some "christians" could very well be singing "Jesus Christ didn't Rise Today" on Easter Morning...

I don't see that one in ELW. Perhaps it is in Missouri's new book?

John Dornheim
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 10, 2007, 12:28:29 PM
Thankfully.  Or some "christians" could very well be singing "Jesus Christ didn't Rise Today" on Easter Morning...
So, we "christians" should sing it on every day but Easter morning?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: ptmccain on November 10, 2007, 12:29:48 PM
On the other hand, anyone who does not actually believe Christ's dead corpse came back to life should not be singing "Jesus Christ is Risen Today."

Correct?
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 10, 2007, 01:03:47 PM
On the other hand, anyone who does not actually believe Christ's dead corpse came back to life should not be singing "Jesus Christ is Risen Today."

Correct?
Correct. Nor should they be confessing the Creeds.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: ptmccain on November 10, 2007, 01:05:24 PM
I thank God, Brian, that we agree on this.

Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 10, 2007, 01:11:43 PM
John Hannah was one of the first, maybe the first, to implement the RCIA model in the Atlantic District, with a wonderful catechist. If this is not under consideration by CPH, it should be. 

I just spoke with a deacon from the South Wisconsin District who is a member of the parish of a Pr. Peter Bender (LCMS).  They have a very complete catechetical series that gets marketed at various conferences - from my initial glance at it, it wouldn't fit the format of RCIA, but the material seems very thoroughgoing. 

We have some very creative folks on the topic and activity of spiritual formation in these parts, including a young PhD/Pastor who's a warrior-poet in the Christian sense named Dien Ashley Taylor up in the Bronx - I say "up" because I'm from Brooklyn.  For instance, and this is a great idea for urban mission with children/youth:
if we're going to invite kids to participate in the Holy Meal, they need to learn how to eat together as a community.  So at his (and I took this right over to my own group in Brooklyn) Youth Nite, which is Friday (because we don't have football, and because there's no homework the next day), after opening the group, there's always a meal, mostly made by one of the parishioners, for all to eat.  Eat as in eat at tables that are set, eat in a group, eat after prayer with conversation around that table, eat with those you care about and who care about you, eat food prepared for you by people who care about you. This is an essential in spiritual formation toward the Holy Meal.  And it's done because kids do not have a place where they participate in such meals in their lives, at least the kids Dien and I get to meet and love.  They eat on the run, they eat in front of a TV, they eat at separate times from the rest of the family, they eat conversing with the Flintstones, in some cases they eat to steer clear of the family, in some cases there isn't much of a family.  Where better to learn the etiquette of holy community dining than at church?  I think you might understand that this is not an easy process.  But that for us is a central aspect of the catechetics of Holy Communion.

Dave Benke
This sounds like an excellent program. Ironically, though, the original Passover "eat it in haste, etc." sounds more like what the kids are used to and less like the family meal described. How do we balance the "family meal" aspect of things (with a table) and the "blood of the covenant" "for the forgiveness of sins" aspect of things (with an altar)? Sometimes the two seem to clash.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: ptmccain on November 10, 2007, 01:14:56 PM
I would, in fact, like to publish this kind of approach to catechesis.

The problem with the last effort the Synod was involved in was that it was too much of a focus on liturgical rites and rituals than the content of catechesis, a problem that has also plagued the RC program.

"Augstine and Catechumenate" is a masterful book written by Bill Harmless, S.J. When I spoke to him about the book he was passionate about what he perceived to be one of the major failings of the Roman catechetical model: too much ritual, not enough teaching.

Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: pr dtp on November 10, 2007, 03:06:33 PM
If I may offer a third option for adult catechisis, and perhaps it has been tried in other places.  It works here.

My groups start out with the SC to be discussed in class, with complimentary assigments from the LC.  We work throug it, as long as it takes.

Then using TLH p 15 (the new group starting in 2 weeks will use DS III from LSB) we walk through the liturgy in about 3-4 hours, explaining where the parts come from, and why they are there.  I will use a couple of tools to assist with this, including some handouts from a well known HT speaker, and a brief selection of points  from Walther's Proper Distinction.

I had one group (mostly people with MA's, MBA's and a PhD from UCLA) go through it in 14 hours, another group took nearly 30.  I don't care how much time, and I have found neither do the people.

Long range, it seems they are becoming the strength of my church, and one is working towards being a deacon, assisting me with outreach and assimilation.
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: ptmccain on November 10, 2007, 03:16:35 PM
Somewhere in my study I have a Lutheran "RCIA" program with the catechesis thing, the "steps" that parallel the early Church's program for preparing the catechumens. I heard it was a joint AF/CPH program, but AF ended up publishing it (P. McCain, any truth behind that rumor?)

Dave, that was before my time at CPH. It might be true. I honestly don't know. I was disappointed that it didn't really come to fruition as was hoped for. I entirely agree with the rest of your post. The problem is that whereas many pastors prefer to use a set curriculum for junior confirmation, there is a great deal of diversity when it comes to adult catechesis. But it seems to me the need for some help is perhaps greatest with adults, who, precisely as you say, are more and more coming to our congregations as "functionally illiterate" when it comes to Christianity, if not wholly illiterate. My wife and I mentored a new member through classes at our church and she had never opened a Bible before, didn't even know where to begin, had not a single clue about it.  That's how basic things have to be when we start.

I would very much be in favor of a Lutheran version of the RCIA that had very good substance. Like I said, this is my understanding of where things kind of fell down with that project previously: too much emphasis on the rituals, and not enough on the content. I think the Large Catechism would be a tremendously helpful core curriculum.

I do not agree that we are not capable of doing it, just don't know enough about it, collectively.

An inspiring text for everyone to read who wants to be serious about adult catechesis is William Harmless book Augustine and The Catechumenate. Harmless is an exciting and engaging speaker, who loves to recite Augstine's Latin to help listeners catch the flavor of how powerful an orator he was, the master of words and teaching.

You can buy it from Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Augustine-Catechumenate-William-Harmless/dp/0814661327/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-1965746-9567332?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1194725823&sr=8-1

Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: grabau14 on November 10, 2007, 03:43:29 PM
Peter Bender's materials have the right balance of Meat and Potato as well as Liturgy.  They can be used for adult and for the young.  I have to revise the materials a bit since we use LSB and his materials are geared toward TLH/LW.

John Pless also has a great llittle book called Didache which also needs updating as it is geared toward LW but I have been thinking of going back to that for the Adults.

Rev'd. Matthew J. Uttenreither  SSP
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: Dave_Poedel on November 10, 2007, 11:36:17 PM
Thanks for all of the other resources, dear brothers.  One of these days (the road to hell...) I will get my passion for the Adult Catechumenate back and tackle this  and put something together that can be used by all of us EC types. 
Title: Re: Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on leaving TEC
Post by: LutherMan on November 10, 2007, 11:43:06 PM
BoC study groups comprised of pastors and laypeople are always good ongoing adult catechesis.