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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Steven Tibbetts on November 09, 2010, 06:47:58 PM

Title: Digging Deeper
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 09, 2010, 06:47:58 PM
And yes, just go to the ELCA website, search for "virgin birth" and read what it says.  Arius would be proud.

Hmm, interesting.  I went to pull up the link in order to post it here, only to find that it has been removed, under their "dig deeper" section.  anyone interested, email me and I'll give you a copy of what USED to be up there as late as last week.

Ah, courtesy Google's cache (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:8KLJayvELLAJ:www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/New-or-Returning-to-Church/Dig-Deeper/Virgin-Birth.aspx+Virgin+Birth+site:www.elca.org&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us), complete with typographical errors:

Virgin Birth

Perhaps a more accurate title for this essay would be "Virginal Conception." From about A.D. 80 to the present, most Christian faith groups, including Lutherans, have taught that Jesus was conceived by his mother, Mary, while she was still a virgin. This is believed to have happened through the action of the Holy Spirit without an act of sexual intercourse.

The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and all other Lutherans, also state:

          Our churches also teach that the Word -- that is, the Son of God -- took on man's nature
          in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary. So there are two natures, divine and human,
          inseparably conjoined in the unity of his person, one Christ, true God and true man....
          (The Book of Concord, Augsburg Confession III -- The Son of God)

This statement, written in the 16th Century, supports the Western Church's traditional understanding of the doctrine referred to as The Virgin Birth. While it remains official and normative for the Evangelical Lutheran Church today, it has not closed the doctrinal debate over Jesus' conception for many Lutherans, and by inference that includes ELCA members. It is a doctrine debated by many other Protestant Christians, scholars and those who inquire about the Christian faith and its tenets.

Origins of the doctrine
The doctrine arises principally from two gospel references - the birth stories of Matthew (1:23) and Luke (1:26-35). The Matthew reference cites Jesus' conception as fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. Luke's account tells of the angel addressing Mary with the news of her impregnation by the Holy Spirit.

Neither the gospels of Mark nor John mention Jesus' birth, yet in spite of those ancient text omissions, suffice it to say, most of Christendom, for most of the Christian era, has adhered to the doctrine that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. Furthermore, that includes a clear conviction that Mary, as the chosen vessel of God's revelation, had not had sexual intercourse at the time of Jesus' conception.* This understanding of Mary's virginity at Jesus' conception seems borne out by all three historic Christian creeds -- Nicene (325), Athanasian (c. 450), and Apostles' (probably 4th Century) -- which define the historic, orthodox Christian faith.

Ancient and modern detractors
Critics note that the manner of Jesus' birth is not prominent in the letters of St. Paul, perhaps the earliest and certainly the most prolific chronicler of Christianity. In Galatians 4:4 Paul notes that Jesus was "born of a woman, born under the law...," and in Romans 1:1-3, he refers to Jesus being "descended from David according to the flesh." These seem to imply that St. Paul viewed Jesus' conception as a very normal human conception and, accordingly, follows St. Matthew's genealogical tracing of Jesus' ancestry through St. Joseph.

Furthermore, not all early theologians espoused the doctrine. Even as popular Christian theology after A.D. 80 apparently embraced it, there were detractors. Marcion (later declared a heretic), attempting to form a canonical list of scripture in 140, includes Luke as the only Gospel, but without Luke's birth stories. In general, however, Christian theologians in the early church regarded rejecting the virgin birth as unacceptable. Origen (185-254) considered the rejection of Mary's virginity to be "madness," St. Ambrose (339-397) said it was "sacrilege" and St. Augustine (354-430) deemed it "heresy." **

Modern detractors, while noting the absence of this doctrine in St. Paul and other Christian writers prior to 805, pose additional questions by observing, among other things:


Where the cart gets before the horse, however, is when arguments for accepting or rejecting the doctrine are used to argue either for or against Christ's divinity.

ELCA Lutherans, including those who adhere to this doctrine which has been considered orthodox by Christians for 20 centuries, do not try to use a miraculous birth to "prove" Jesus' divinity. Rather, those who hold firmly to the doctrine do so on the basis of their belief in God's self revelation in Christ. It is the revelation that births the doctrine, not the doctrine which defines the revelation.

When we confess in the Apostles' Creed that Jesus was "conceived by the power of the Holy Spirt and born of the virgin Mary ...," and in the Nicene Creed that Jesus is "the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father ..." we are not making a gynecological assertion. We are saying that God entered into the world in Christ and, in him, is fully revealed to humankind. This is God's graceful act of reconciliation with creation and humankind's redemption.

What ELCA Lutherans believe in common is that Jesus was


and that born of a woman, he


Resurrection theology
It is resurrection theology which puts all doctrines, including that of the virgin birth, into proper perspective. In the final analysis, it matters little whether St. Paul knew of, or believed in, the doctrine of the virgin birth. What matters is what he wrote following the above cited passage in Romans 1: "(Jesus Christ) ... was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead ..." (Romans 1:4-5). ELCA Lutherans concur with Paul's proclamation of Christ crucified, buried and raised from the dead as the first fruits of God's intention for humankind (1 Corinthians 15:3-30). It is in this that we put our faith and, in that light, view, judge and debate all other doctrine.

= = = = = = =

* The Roman Catholic Church maintains that Mary's virginity was perpetual -- that is to say, she remained a virgin all of her life, and that Biblical references to Jesus' brothers are probably references to cousins or step-brothers who were sons of Joseph. Lutherans appeal to Scripture and tradition, which both refer to Jesus' brothers, believing they were the children of Mary and Joseph. The brief New Testament books of James and Jude were included in that canon by the early church in part based on the belief that they were written by Jesus' brothers.

** Citing the above Galatians and Romans passages, critics suggest that St. Paul's adherence to such a doctrine would have led him to write "born of a virgin" rather than "born of a woman." Included in other documents ignoring the doctrine is the so-called "Q" source which some scholars believe was a collection of Jesus' sayings and provided another source for Matthew's and Luke's gospels. Countering this view of Paul's theology, others would note that Luke, as Paul's traveling companion, would have included material consistent with Paul's beliefs/understanding. They point out that Luke provides a virginal conception account. (Raymond E. Brown, "The Birth of the Messiah," Doubleday, 1999) Anchor Bible Reference Library, 1993, pg. 704] notes: "Belief that Mary conceived as a virgin did not first come from reading what Matthew and Luke wrote; rather Matthew and Luke wrote their accounts to express a faith that they already had in the virgin conception." Mark, on the other hand, provides no birth account. His gospel has, from earliest times, been attributed to Peter's long time companion, John Mark. Most scholars believe that Mark preserves Peter's memory.

*** See Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance materials at www.religioustolerance.org (http://www.religioustolerance.org/). This web site examines the doctrine and attempts to handle it impartially, thus citing its history and both the support for it and questions raised about it currently and historically.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Norsk on November 09, 2010, 06:55:53 PM
Fascinating.  I was just checking those pages yesterday (to confirm what I had been told about them) and they were still live.  So they were taken down in the past 24 hours.  

In the former Virgin Birth page, this assertion seemed particularly interesting: "When we confess in the Apostles’ Creed that Jesus was "conceived by the power of the Holy Spirt and born of the virgin Mary ...," and in the Nicene Creed that Jesus is "the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father ..." we are not making a gynecological assertion."

The Google cache of the former Resurrection page (which as of yesterday contained this assertion: "All of this has led some scholars to write that the risen Jesus (and apparitions of the risen Jesus) is a supernatural reality which does not belong to this world and cannot be the object of historic investigation. Rather, Jesus' resurrection is an object of faith.  Accordingly, ELCA members believe that what history does is to demonstrate the disciples’ faith in the resurrection.") can be found here:
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:0ltVveZSTWYJ:www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/New-or-Returning-to-Church/Dig-Deeper/The-Resurrection.aspx+elca+dig+deeper+resurrection&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Ryan Schwarz

Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: ptmccain on November 09, 2010, 07:55:16 PM
The last thing the ELCA needs now is bad PR. I'm sure that the powers-that-be at ELCA headquarters monitor mentions of these pages, here, and elsewhere and realized that they were reflecting poorly and so, they were taken down and taken in to the shop for a major overhaul.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: totaliter vivens on November 09, 2010, 09:54:23 PM
More than anything, this seems an occasion of "TMI" (Too Much Information.) It seems to me that the primary focus of the ELCA website in this area should be on the importance of the doctrine of the Incarnation of which the doctrine of the Virgin Birth is a supporting pillar. So much could be said about finitum capax infiniti and the gracious condescension of God to redeem us from our sins and model for us righteous living. To my mind, the debate about the exact nature and limits of the virginity of the Mother of God is speculative and rather esoteric to be the focus in the ELCA's evangelical and apologetic web pages.

If someone asks, by all means discuss the matter. But too early a questioning of the tradition on a secondary matter could easily serve to cast doubt on the real Truth, that God is in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to Himself.

FWIW,

SPS
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 09, 2010, 11:25:26 PM
The last thing the ELCA needs now is bad PR. I'm sure that the powers-that-be at ELCA headquarters monitor mentions of these pages, here, and elsewhere and realized that they were reflecting poorly and so, they were taken down and taken in to the shop for a major overhaul.

Not to mention that they are loaded with heresies condemned, oh, by the first seven ecumenical councils of the church.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 09, 2010, 11:45:47 PM
It goes way beyond just this too.  The section on the "Bible" and the section on "the Universal Scope of Salvation in Christ" are fascinating reads as well.  I have those copied from the ELCA website too, prior to the entire section being removed.

As I think George Erdner pointed out in the previous thread where this branched from, one does not need to take down a site to revise it, one merely revises and uploads.  It makes me wonder if they've been receiving so much flak on it that it was time to pull it down?

typical ELCA pattern:  push as far and as hard as you can, until the backlash gets too great, and then back off a notch or two.  the Augsburg "Lutheran Study Bible" is another good example.  Several footnotes which state that "Jesus includes in salvation those who don't even know him" were pulled in subsequent editions because 'the public outcry against them was great.'  Does that make Higgins Road Sodom and Minneapolis Gomorrah?   ;D
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 10, 2010, 06:06:48 AM
Someone writes (re the ELCA website):
Not to mention that they are loaded with heresies condemned, oh, by the first seven ecumenical councils of the church.

I comment:
"Loaded with heresies"? Care to provide specifics? Or an apology?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 10, 2010, 07:10:46 AM
Quote from: topic=3442.msg187867#msg187867 date=1289387208
Someone writes (re the ELCA website):
Not to mention that they are loaded with heresies condemned, oh, by the first seven ecumenical councils of the church.

Someone comments:
"Loaded with heresies"? Care to provide specifics? Or an apology?

Charles, did you read the post that began this thread?  DIRECTLY from the ELCA website?  What more do you need?  Your automatic nay-saying of whatever is said on this forum continues to stun me!

"This understanding of Mary's virginity at Jesus' conception seems borne out by all three historic Christian creeds...

When we confess in the Apostles' Creed that Jesus was "conceived by the power of the Holy Spirt and born of the virgin Mary ...," and in the Nicene Creed that Jesus is "the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father ..." we are not making a gynecological assertion. We are saying that God entered into the world in Christ and, in him, is fully revealed to humankind. This is God's graceful act of reconciliation with creation and humankind's redemption..."

the notion that it is more important that Jesus is "declared" to be God's Son, rather than the fulfillment of Isaiah the prophet in accordance with Matthew's declaration as such is HERESY.  Period. 

This contradicts 2000 years of church doctrine and belief, and parallels exactly what Arius said, later condemned as a heretic!

Unless I missed something, and you suddenly have all authority to undo the early church councils and nearly 2000 years of tradition, history, and orthodoxy??
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 10, 2010, 07:19:40 AM
My concern, as always in this over-heated discussion board, sometimes awash in hysteria, was your phrase "loaded with heresies condemned, oh, by the first seven ecumenical councils of the church."

You now cite one phrasing which bothers you. That is hardly a "load."

And it has long-long-long been noted (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was in seminary) that no damage is done to the doctrine of the virgin birth if we admit that Isaiah 7:14 may not be a direct prophecy concerning the birth of the messiah.

As always, I advocate simple, temperate language, supported by facts. I oppose shotgun blasts.

Someone writes:
Unless I missed something, and you suddenly have all authority to undo the early church councils and nearly 2000 years of tradition, history, and orthodoxy??
I comment:
I claim no such authority. But I do note that a famous person in history got a lot of credit for pointing out that councils can err. And I do not think that every iota of our faith or every phrasing is based upon "tradition" and "history," vague terms at best. As for "orthodoxy." I claim it. But so do people here who wouldn't pick up a worship folder in my congregation and take their happy place in a pew. So there you are. Messy, isn't it?

Someone writes:
Your automatic nay-saying of whatever is said on this forum continues to stun me!

I comment:
This is not true. I quite often affirm what Pastor Stoffregen writes, what Pastor Wolf posts, and occasionally the comments of Pastor Tibbetts. I also affirmed what Senior Chief wrote until he (I think) got disgusted and withdrew, as did another pastor whose comments I generally affirmed.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 10, 2010, 07:35:18 AM
Quote from: topic=3442.msg187870#msg187870 date=1289391580
Someone writes:
And it has long-long-long been noted (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was in seminary) that no damage is done to the doctrine of the virgin birth if we admit that Isaiah 7:14 may not be a direct prophecy concerning the birth of the messiah.


Your argument implodes, however, upon one simple premise:  Matthew 1:22-23.  To have an entire doctrinal statement based upon the flawed and heretical view that Isaiah is not about the Messiah or that Matthew (and Luke) got it wrong, makes the entire statement heretical.  Not only that, but to assume a gnosis that supersedes the Biblical, historical and orthodox teachings just perfectly illustrated what Dr. Braaten has maintained and stated again in Columbus in August, that the ELCA is on a downward slide into Gnosticism.  So I guess I owe you a thanks for illustrating this once again.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 10, 2010, 07:37:09 AM
I think it is time for a "whatever."
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Pr. Terry Culler on November 10, 2010, 08:16:19 AM
Let me share a conversation I had with some prospective members at St. Paul's Free Lutheran.  They were members of an ELCA congregatioin where they had worshipped their entire adult lives.  During a period when they were calling a new pastor they spoke to their interim about some of the things that were troubling them about the ELCA (btw, homosexuality wasn't part of it).  Anyway, they asked this pastor about the virgin birth and were told, "it doesn't matter--we are a resurrection people."  When they asked what that meant--they were simply told again that "we are a resurrection people."  That and other doctrinal issues haave brought them out of the ELCA.  Now I see where that puzzling "we are a resurrection people" answer comes from.  It seems to me that the ELCA, if it wants to jettison 2000 years of Christian teaching, ought to do a better job of preparing its pastors for the inevitable questions from the pews.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 10, 2010, 08:25:50 AM
As I noted the first time this "resurrection people" answer arose, it was a dumb answer and the pastor who gave it needs to do some serious thinking about how to handle questions. And so do pastors who can't handle certain other kinds of questions.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: grabau on November 10, 2010, 09:08:41 AM
The Word might have become flesh by other means than s virgin birth.  He didn't!  grabau
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 10, 2010, 09:29:44 AM
As I noted the first time this "resurrection people" answer arose, it was a dumb answer and the pastor who gave it needs to do some serious thinking about how to handle questions. And so do pastors who can't handle certain other kinds of questions.

So then, Charles, how would you answer the same question?  You seem to have already done so, by simply mimicking the ELCA's "dig deeper" section. 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: SmithL on November 10, 2010, 11:06:54 AM
You now cite one phrasing which bothers you. That is hardly a "load."

How much heresy are you willing to accept from the ELCA?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: ptmccain on November 10, 2010, 11:37:02 AM
Answer: "Whatever!"

 ::)
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 10, 2010, 11:52:17 AM
You now cite one phrasing which bothers you. That is hardly a "load."

How much heresy are you willing to accept from the ELCA?

Until there is an ecclesiastical trial and something is clearly declared heresy by the church, what we have are differences of opinions by individuals.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Pr. Terry Culler on November 10, 2010, 12:30:01 PM
If it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck--the odds are real good it's a duck


You now cite one phrasing which bothers you. That is hardly a "load."

How much heresy are you willing to accept from the ELCA?

Until there is an ecclesiastical trial and something is clearly declared heresy by the church, what we have are differences of opinions by individuals.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Pilgrim on November 10, 2010, 12:51:59 PM
[Until there is an ecclesiastical trial and something is clearly declared heresy by the church, what we have are differences of opinions by individuals.

Tim wonders: Even the Social Statement on Human Sexuality acknowledged that the differences were greater than just between "individuals".

Perhaps a "mock" trail in these precincts would be entertaining. You be the defendent - charged with heresy. Charles can be your defense lawyer. Richard and Peter occupy the judical role. I doubt there would be any shortage of willing prosecutors. We get Court TV to televise the proceedings and the folks whose positions were lost at ELCA headquarters could sell the commercial time earning commissions which would doubtless benefit them and the Churchwide shortfall.  Hey, I'm on a role here. Since we're heavily German, a brewery might underwrite the whole shebang...  ;)
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 10, 2010, 03:00:59 PM
You now cite one phrasing which bothers you. That is hardly a "load."

How much heresy are you willing to accept from the ELCA?

Until there is an ecclesiastical trial and something is clearly declared heresy by the church, what we have are differences of opinions by individuals.

I believe Arius as well as the Gnostics were both already condemned in the first ecumenical councils, specifically finalized at Nicaea and Constantinople.  But I guess one can take an old idea, wrap it in so-called "21st century understanding" and its something totally new.  I'm not fooled.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 10, 2010, 03:06:09 PM
Larry Smith writes:
How much heresy are you willing to accept from the ELCA?

I answer:
None.
But it is not heresy just because you and your friends say it is.
It is not heresy just because people can throw resolutions or historical citations at it.
It is not heresy just because it differs from your interpretation of the Bible.

I guess I have to revise my initial answer:
I am willing to accept the heresy of individual ELCA members who believe they have all the answers and set themselves up as judge and jury of an entire church body. I choose not to, should any of them be in my synod, bring charges.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 10, 2010, 03:16:38 PM
Yep, no tradition or democracy of the dead here, with all respect to Chesterton.  The oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about rule the day.

Translation:  we know better than those who lived, breathed, and spent time with our Lord while he walked the earth.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Keith Falk on November 10, 2010, 03:21:58 PM
[Until there is an ecclesiastical trial and something is clearly declared heresy by the church, what we have are differences of opinions by individuals.

Tim wonders: Even the Social Statement on Human Sexuality acknowledged that the differences were greater than just between "individuals".

Perhaps a "mock" trail in these precincts would be entertaining. You be the defendent - charged with heresy. Charles can be your defense lawyer. Richard and Peter occupy the judical role. I doubt there would be any shortage of willing prosecutors. We get Court TV to televise the proceedings and the folks whose positions were lost at ELCA headquarters could sell the commercial time earning commissions which would doubtless benefit them and the Churchwide shortfall.  Hey, I'm on a role here. Since we're heavily German, a brewery might underwrite the whole shebang...  ;)

I suggest Shiner be the sponsor, especially since the Rev. Spoetzel, a Lutheran pastor, (I think I got that right... going off my memory from our brewery trip during an internship cluster) was involved in the local brewery when it got its start.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: revjagow on November 10, 2010, 03:26:21 PM
Just for comparison, I just popped over the LCMS site (http://lcms.org) to see what we had on the Virgin Birth.  Not as much as what was formally on the ELCA site, actually.

A list of various mentions in articles popped up.  Under the "Belief and Practice" tab, there is the Christian Cyclopedia that collects Biblical and Confessional data for various subjects and people.  There was nothing under "Virgin Birth" except "see Incarnation."  And under "Incarnation (http://www.lcms.org/ca/www/cyclopedia/02/display.asp?t1=i&word=INCARNATION)," pretty much just this sentence:

Quote
4. Inseparably connected with the doctrine of the Incarnation is the doctrine of the Virgin Birth (Is 7:14; Mt 1:18–25; Lk 1:34–35).

Bam!

I suppose using an economy of words helps one avoid too much misunderstanding. 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: SmithL on November 10, 2010, 03:39:19 PM

Quote
4. Inseparably connected with the doctrine of the Incarnation is the doctrine of the Virgin Birth (Is 7:14; Mt 1:18–25; Lk 1:34–35).


Unless you have a different interpretation of the Bible, I guess.
sigh   ::)
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 10, 2010, 03:43:11 PM
Just for comparison, I just popped over the LCMS site (http://lcms.org) to see what we had on the Virgin Birth.  Not as much as what was formally on the ELCA site, actually.

A list of various mentions in articles popped up.  Under the "Belief and Practice" tab, there is the Christian Cyclopedia that collects Biblical and Confessional data for various subjects and people.  There was nothing under "Virgin Birth" except "see Incarnation."  And under "Incarnation (http://www.lcms.org/ca/www/cyclopedia/02/display.asp?t1=i&word=INCARNATION)," pretty much just this sentence:

Quote
4. Inseparably connected with the doctrine of the Incarnation is the doctrine of the Virgin Birth (Is 7:14; Mt 1:18–25; Lk 1:34–35).

Bam!

I suppose using an economy of words helps one avoid too much misunderstanding. 

If you also want to have a bit of fun, compare the basic statements of faith "what we believe" between the ELCA and LCMS websites.  quite interesting differences there...
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 10, 2010, 04:18:30 PM
Larry Smith writes:
How much heresy are you willing to accept from the ELCA?

I answer:
None.
But it is not heresy just because you and your friends say it is.
It is not heresy just because people can throw resolutions or historical citations at it.
It is not heresy just because it differs from your interpretation of the Bible.  
I guess I have to revise my initial answer:
I am willing to accept the heresy of individual ELCA members who believe they have all the answers and set themselves up as judge and jury of an entire church body. I choose not to, should any of them be in my synod, bring charges.
As I remember, the Mormons accept the Bible as authoritative when correctly  interpreted - i.e. according to the Book of Mormon and other Mormon documents and pronouncements; the Jehovah's Witnesses accept the Bible as authoritative when correctly translated and interpreted (understandable since all transaltion is in part interpretation); Christian Science accepts the Bible as authoritative when correctly interpreted (as in Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures); Islam accepts the Bible as authoritative once it is cleansed from corruptions in transmission and interpretation and, yes, interpreted correctly.  Since all these groups are willing to accept the Bible as authoritative even though their interpretations differ from mine, does that make all these groups acceptably Christian?  They each in their own way accept the authority of Scripture which is what Chrsitians are supposed to do.

Dan
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 10, 2010, 04:44:18 PM
Therein, Pastor Fienen, lies the rub.
"Interpretation" of the Bible on what issue? Creation? History of Israel? Truthiness of miracles? Marriage? Person of Jesus? Teaching of Jesus? What?

Lutherans believe the message of the Bible is salvation by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ as savior in the words we confess in our creeds.

Mormons. Nope. (And they have what they claim is equal revelation outside the Bible)
Jehovah's Witnesses. Nope again (and they have a different Bible)
Christian Science. Uh Uh.
Islam. No.

Hauling out those "examples" doesn't get us anywhere.

Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Pilgrim on November 10, 2010, 04:47:48 PM
Tim notes: Neither does thowing out pithy one liners, Charles. Substance. Try real, honest, thoughtful theological substance. You're NOT a headline reporter in here, particularly when extolling the virtues of the party line.  :P
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 10, 2010, 05:11:24 PM
Therein, Pastor Fienen, lies the rub.
"Interpretation" of the Bible on what issue? Creation? History of Israel? Truthiness of miracles? Marriage? Person of Jesus? Teaching of Jesus? What?

Lutherans believe the message of the Bible is salvation by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ as savior in the words we confess in our creeds.

Mormons. Nope. (And they have what they claim is equal revelation outside the Bible)
Jehovah's Witnesses. Nope again (and they have a different Bible)
Christian Science. Uh Uh.
Islam. No.

Hauling out those "examples" doesn't get us anywhere.


If you wish to appeal to the creeds, which interpretation of the creeds?  They also need to be translated and interpreted and translations and interpretations vary.
"Lutherans believe the message of the Bible is salvation by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ as savior" is how Lutherans have interpreted the message of the Bible, but others have interpreted the message of the Bible otherwise.  On what basis do you make this the dividing line between  an acceptable interpretation and an unacceptable one?  Would those who would base salvation on God's grace and our accepting that grace through a specific, datable conversion experiene, or those who would base salvation on God's grace and our cooperation with that grace to produce observeable life transformation, or other interpretation that involve what Lutherans would call mixing of Law and Gospel; would they be considered acceptable interpretations of Scripture?  Or would you call such un Christian because it does not fit with the Lutheran interpretation?  Or how about a church official and scholar who considers (contra the creeds as usually interpreted) that the Body of Jesus was dumped in a shallow grave where it rotted, and that He never really considered himself anything other than a Jewish preacher calling for reform, but that it was Paul who took this obscure preacher and made something of him?  Is that just another acceptable interpretation?  What of the church body that allows such a teacher to be a teacher of the church in good standing?  Acceptable?  If not, why not?  If accepted, why not the Mormon interpretation?

Every time certain people who post here are pointed to a teaching traditionally held in Scripture that they do not care for, they dismiss it as simply one of several interpretations.  The concerns of dissidents in the ELCA who hold to traditional teachings are dismissed as simply holding one interpretation of the several that are current and their interpretation did not win at CWA '09, is not currently held by most of the teachers at ELCA Seminaries, and modern scholarship and popular culture disagrees.  They can hold it if they wish but should not expect the church body to go along with them.  How are lines to be drawn as what is and what is not an acceptable interpretation.  You do not seem to accept the Mormons, JWs, Christian Science or Islam as acceptable Christian interpretations.  Why not, what is your criteria for ruling them out of bounds.

Dan
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 10, 2010, 06:02:02 PM
Just for comparison, I just popped over the LCMS site (http://lcms.org) to see what we had on the Virgin Birth.  Not as much as what was formally on the ELCA site, actually.

A list of various mentions in articles popped up.  Under the "Belief and Practice" tab, there is the Christian Cyclopedia that collects Biblical and Confessional data for various subjects and people.  There was nothing under "Virgin Birth" except "see Incarnation."  And under "Incarnation (http://www.lcms.org/ca/www/cyclopedia/02/display.asp?t1=i&word=INCARNATION)," pretty much just this sentence:

Quote
4. Inseparably connected with the doctrine of the Incarnation is the doctrine of the Virgin Birth (Is 7:14; Mt 1:18–25; Lk 1:34–35).

Bam!

I suppose using an economy of words helps one avoid too much misunderstanding.

I agree with Raymond Brown that "Virgin Birth" is a misunderstanding. Jesus' birth, presumably, was just like any other birth. It's his conception that was unique. Brown uses, "virginal conception" be to be clear about what our doctrine is about.

I also believe that a lot of the interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 depends on the translation.

There's a lot of difference between a translation that says: "A virgin will be with child …." and "A young woman is with child …."

(The second is a more literal reading of the Hebrew.)
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 10, 2010, 06:07:10 PM
Larry Smith writes:
How much heresy are you willing to accept from the ELCA?

I answer:
None.
But it is not heresy just because you and your friends say it is.
It is not heresy just because people can throw resolutions or historical citations at it.
It is not heresy just because it differs from your interpretation of the Bible.  
I guess I have to revise my initial answer:
I am willing to accept the heresy of individual ELCA members who believe they have all the answers and set themselves up as judge and jury of an entire church body. I choose not to, should any of them be in my synod, bring charges.
As I remember, the Mormons accept the Bible as authoritative when correctly  interpreted - i.e. according to the Book of Mormon and other Mormon documents and pronouncements; the Jehovah's Witnesses accept the Bible as authoritative when correctly translated and interpreted (understandable since all transaltion is in part interpretation); Christian Science accepts the Bible as authoritative when correctly interpreted (as in Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures); Islam accepts the Bible as authoritative once it is cleansed from corruptions in transmission and interpretation and, yes, interpreted correctly.  Since all these groups are willing to accept the Bible as authoritative even though their interpretations differ from mine, does that make all these groups acceptably Christian?  They each in their own way accept the authority of Scripture which is what Christians are supposed to do.

You present very good arguments to support my point that the authority of scripture is not the issue. All kinds of groups claim the authority of scriptures. What distinguishes them is how they interpret scriptures. We can also state that what distinguishes them are the lenses through which they approach scriptures. For Lutherans we have the lenses of the Bible being the Word of God, and rightly distinguishing between Law and Gospel, and Justification by grace through faith, (or grace alone, faith alone, word alone).

We approach scriptures with certain beliefs. This is a reason why I like the ELCA's Confession of Faith. It states what beliefs we need to have before we enter into scriptures, e.g., the Trinity, the divinity/humanity of Jesus, the power of the Gospel.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 10, 2010, 06:18:36 PM

There's a lot of difference between a translation that says: "A virgin will be with child …." and "A young woman is with child …."

(The second is a more literal reading of the Hebrew.)

And we are oh so quick to point that out, all the while ignoring what many scholars believe to be something of significant importance, namely that those Hebrew Scholars in the time before Christ, who translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek (the Septuagint) apparently knew enough to translate it to "virgin."  Greek does distinguish "virgin" from "young woman" by the way.

To summarize:  the former is a more literal reading of what a bunch of Hebrew scholars determined some 2200 years ago...
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 10, 2010, 06:26:03 PM

There's a lot of difference between a translation that says: "A virgin will be with child …." and "A young woman is with child …."

(The second is a more literal reading of the Hebrew.)

And we are oh so quick to point that out, all the while ignoring what many scholars believe to be something of significant importance, namely that those Hebrew Scholars in the time before Christ, who translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek (the Septuagint) apparently knew enough to translate it to "virgin."  Greek does distinguish "virgin" from "young woman" by the way.

To summarize:  the former is a more literal reading of what a bunch of Hebrew scholars determined some 2200 years ago...

One Greek Lexicon translations of παρθένος as virgin or unmarried girl

BDAG defines παρθένος as gener. of a young woman of marriageable age, w. or without focus on virginity.

Louw and Nida in a couple of their definitions of παρθένος indicate that the emphasis is on being an unmarried woman. It is used in terms of widows (and widowers) who have not remarried -- and, presumably, are no longer virgins.

To summarize: the Greek word carries much the same sense as the Hebrew. The words refer to a female who is past puberty -- at an age to be married, but not yet married. Usually such young women are virgins, but that is not a necessary part of the words' definitions.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: totaliter vivens on November 10, 2010, 07:41:17 PM

There's a lot of difference between a translation that says: "A virgin will be with child …." and "A young woman is with child …."

(The second is a more literal reading of the Hebrew.)

And we are oh so quick to point that out, all the while ignoring what many scholars believe to be something of significant importance, namely that those Hebrew Scholars in the time before Christ, who translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek (the Septuagint) apparently knew enough to translate it to "virgin."  Greek does distinguish "virgin" from "young woman" by the way.

To summarize:  the former is a more literal reading of what a bunch of Hebrew scholars determined some 2200 years ago...

One Greek Lexicon translations of παρθένος as virgin or unmarried girl

BDAG defines παρθένος as gener. of a young woman of marriageable age, w. or without focus on virginity.

Louw and Nida in a couple of their definitions of παρθένος indicate that the emphasis is on being an unmarried woman. It is used in terms of widows (and widowers) who have not remarried -- and, presumably, are no longer virgins.

To summarize: the Greek word carries much the same sense as the Hebrew. The words refer to a female who is past puberty -- at an age to be married, but not yet married. Usually such young women are virgins, but that is not a necessary part of the words' definitions.

To be fair, though, I think one must point out that the expression Ἀθηνᾶ Παρθένος definitely carries the concept of virginity with it. It is true that both the Greek and the Hebrew may be speaking of a young, unmarried woman. I think it a bit of a stretch though to suggest that the Early Church was "erroneous" in it's understanding of the term in the Hebrew Scriptures. Certainly a bedrock assertion of more modern methods of reading and interpreting Scripture stress that original context is important but so is the meaning subsequent hearers experience in those same Scriptures. This is part of what it means for the Word to be a Living Word.

Isaiah may have had a maiden in mind (emphasis on young and unmarried), but the Early Church certainly experienced and understood their witness to the Virgin Born Christ echoed in Isaiah. We can explore what Isaiah expected and also what the Early Christians knew without prejudice to either.

SPS
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 10, 2010, 07:55:18 PM
Larry Smith writes:
How much heresy are you willing to accept from the ELCA?

I answer:
None.
But it is not heresy just because you and your friends say it is.
It is not heresy just because people can throw resolutions or historical citations at it.
It is not heresy just because it differs from your interpretation of the Bible.  
I guess I have to revise my initial answer:
I am willing to accept the heresy of individual ELCA members who believe they have all the answers and set themselves up as judge and jury of an entire church body. I choose not to, should any of them be in my synod, bring charges.
As I remember, the Mormons accept the Bible as authoritative when correctly  interpreted - i.e. according to the Book of Mormon and other Mormon documents and pronouncements; the Jehovah's Witnesses accept the Bible as authoritative when correctly translated and interpreted (understandable since all transaltion is in part interpretation); Christian Science accepts the Bible as authoritative when correctly interpreted (as in Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures); Islam accepts the Bible as authoritative once it is cleansed from corruptions in transmission and interpretation and, yes, interpreted correctly.  Since all these groups are willing to accept the Bible as authoritative even though their interpretations differ from mine, does that make all these groups acceptably Christian?  They each in their own way accept the authority of Scripture which is what Christians are supposed to do.

You present very good arguments to support my point that the authority of scripture is not the issue. All kinds of groups claim the authority of scriptures. What distinguishes them is how they interpret scriptures. We can also state that what distinguishes them are the lenses through which they approach scriptures. For Lutherans we have the lenses of the Bible being the Word of God, and rightly distinguishing between Law and Gospel, and Justification by grace through faith, (or grace alone, faith alone, word alone).

We approach scriptures with certain beliefs. This is a reason why I like the ELCA's Confession of Faith. It states what beliefs we need to have before we enter into scriptures, e.g., the Trinity, the divinity/humanity of Jesus, the power of the Gospel.
So, if I understand you right, while Scripture has authority of greater authority since it determines how we interpret Scripture and what it authoritatively speaks to us are the prior beliefs that we bring to Scripture since they provide the lenses through which we see the text.

Since different people bring different lenses, different foundational beliefs to Scripture, does that mean that Scriptures will therefore speak authoritatively to them in different ways, saying even contradictory things.

This seems to be what has happened in the ELCA.  Some have come to Scripture with one set of beliefs - inerrancey, virginal conception of Jesus, His bodily resurrection, the inherent sinfullness of homosexual behavior - and others have come with beliefs that allow for more flexibility in interpreting Scripture - that they are essentially human works in some way inspired by God, often not exactly historical but teaching great truths and that PALMSGR are no more inherently sinful than married heterosexual activities.  So Scripture supports either sets of lenses or both, since meaning cannot be determined until the lens set has been determined. 

What I don't understand is if you have people with different lenses that cause Scripture to say different things, why must those who have one set of lenses allow themselves and their churches to be governed by others who have a different set of lenses that determine Scipture as saying different things?  Or is it that the one group should be so grateful that the winning group has promised to tolerate the losers (as long as they do not impose their losing beliefs on anyone else) that they stay and support what they do not believe and do not read through their lenses in Scripture?

Dan
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: totaliter vivens on November 10, 2010, 08:26:33 PM

Since different people bring different lenses, different foundational beliefs to Scripture, does that mean that Scriptures will therefore speak authoritatively to them in different ways, saying even contradictory things.

This seems to be what has happened in the ELCA.  Some have come to Scripture with one set of beliefs - inerrancey, virginal conception of Jesus, His bodily resurrection, the inherent sinfullness of homosexual behavior - and others have come with beliefs that allow for more flexibility in interpreting Scripture - that they are essentially human works in some way inspired by God, often not exactly historical but teaching great truths and that PALMSGR are no more inherently sinful than married heterosexual activities.  So Scripture supports either sets of lenses or both, since meaning cannot be determined until the lens set has been determined. 

What I don't understand is if you have people with different lenses that cause Scripture to say different things, why must those who have one set of lenses allow themselves and their churches to be governed by others who have a different set of lenses that determine Scipture as saying different things?  Or is it that the one group should be so grateful that the winning group has promised to tolerate the losers (as long as they do not impose their losing beliefs on anyone else) that they stay and support what they do not believe and do not read through their lenses in Scripture?

Dan

Dan:

Could you clarify for me how one comes to Scripture with a belief in "inerrancey, virginal conception of Jesus, His bodily resurrection, the inherent sinfullness of homosexual behavior"? I would think you would want to suggest that Scripture leads us to those perspectives. Or maybe you are restating what you understand Brian to be saying, but I'm unsure of your meaning.

SPS
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 10, 2010, 08:57:19 PM
I am restating what I see as Brian's position and exploring the implications of that for understanding Scripture as authoritative, which he affirms.

Dan
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 10, 2010, 10:19:43 PM
Isaiah may have had a maiden in mind (emphasis on young and unmarried), but the Early Church certainly experienced and understood their witness to the Virgin Born Christ echoed in Isaiah. We can explore what Isaiah expected and also what the Early Christians knew without prejudice to either.

I agree. Believing that Isaiah was writing about a young woman who gave birth during the time of Ahaz and while he was still a toddler, the nations Ahaz feared (Aram and Israel) were destroyed as Isaiah prophesied in 7:16. That does not mean that the verse was later adapted and fit the miraculous circumstances of Jesus' conception as recorded by Matthew.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 10, 2010, 10:28:36 PM
Since different people bring different lenses, different foundational beliefs to Scripture, does that mean that Scriptures will therefore speak authoritatively to them in different ways, saying even contradictory things.

Yes.

Quote
This seems to be what has happened in the ELCA.  Some have come to Scripture with one set of beliefs - inerrancey, virginal conception of Jesus, His bodily resurrection, the inherent sinfullness of homosexual behavior - and others have come with beliefs that allow for more flexibility in interpreting Scripture - that they are essentially human works in some way inspired by God, often not exactly historical but teaching great truths and that PALMSGR are no more inherently sinful than married heterosexual activities.  So Scripture supports either sets of lenses or both, since meaning cannot be determined until the lens set has been determined. 

What I don't understand is if you have people with different lenses that cause Scripture to say different things, why must those who have one set of lenses allow themselves and their churches to be governed by others who have a different set of lenses that determine Scipture as saying different things?  Or is it that the one group should be so grateful that the winning group has promised to tolerate the losers (as long as they do not impose their losing beliefs on anyone else) that they stay and support what they do not believe and do not read through their lenses in Scripture?

I think that within the ELCA it is not "different" lenses so much as how narrow or wide is the focus of the lens. Among your list, I think that many in the ELCA continue to have a lens about the virginal conception of Jesus and his bodily resurrection; but not the lenses of inerrancy or the inherent sinfulness of homosexual behavior. There are much more important lenses to insist on, e.g., the doctrine of the Trinity, the two natures of Christ, the power of the Gospel to create and sustain faith. I believe that most will attest to the Bible being inspired by God and being written by humans.

Rather than different lenses, it might be better to talk about a priority of the lenses -- which filters are essential for reading scriptures as Christians, which are optional for Christians, and which are unChristian?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: ptmccain on November 10, 2010, 10:37:47 PM
Much more important lenses than...Christ's resurrection?

Brian, if you honestly believe that, you are not a Christian. It's that simple.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 10, 2010, 10:41:36 PM
ptmccain, as usual, because of his obsessive bias against the ELCA, any interpretation of scripture that does not agree with his and Pastor Stoffregen, misses the nuance and confession of what is essential about the Christian faith here.
We know that.
So we should (I sincerely hope) know that his calling Pastor Stoffregen's faith into question (even with that sneaky "if" word) is out of line.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 10, 2010, 11:02:34 PM
Could you clarify for me how one comes to Scripture with a belief in "inerrancey, virginal conception of Jesus, His bodily resurrection, the inherent sinfullness of homosexual behavior"? I would think you would want to suggest that Scripture leads us to those perspectives. Or maybe you are restating what you understand Brian to be saying, but I'm unsure of your meaning.

There is a bit of a circular pattern of coming to doctrinal statements by reading scriptures which then the Church insists has to be a lens through which one properly reads scriptures. For example, the doctrine of the Trinity comes from some passages of scriptures and, I believe, from people's experiences with God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We, the Church, have conclude that the Trinity is the only Christian way of understanding our God, and thus we read scriptures with that understanding of our God.

The issue of priorities I mentioned before also applies to biblical books.

It happened a couple different times in ecumenical groups when we asked the question, "What is a Christian?" Roman Catholics have always answered, "Someone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ." Lutherans nearly always have answered with something like, "Someone who is justified by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ."

It struck me over the years -- and something I'll be talking a little about in my presentation on Matthew -- that Roman Catholics tend to read the rest or scriptures through the lens of Matthew. Jesus is portrayed more as a teacher in that book. There are five teaching sections in the book. We are commanded at the end to obey everything he has commanded us.

Lutherans tend to read the rest of scriptures through the lens of Romans and Galatians where justification is a major term.

Some comparisons:

δικαιόω - “to justify”
14 verses in Romans
6 verses in Galatians
2 verses in Matthew (11:19b; 12:37, where justification is connected with deeds and words -- not with grace or faith)

δικαιοσύνη - “righteousness”
7 verses in Matthew
0 verses in Mark; 1 in Luke
29 verses in Romans
While Matthew talks more about “righteousness” than the other synoptics, it is certainly not as important to him as to Paul. Like with the verb, Matthew uses a slightly different definition of it than Paul.

χάρις - “grace” — doesn’t occur in Matthew at all!

There is a Pentecostal group that is very clear that they read the Bible through the book of Acts. They baptize only in the name of Jesus, because that's what was done in Acts. They see speaking in tongues as a sign of receiving the second baptism of the Spirit because that's how they read Acts.

Christian Scientist tend to read scriptures through the lens of the healing stories. Seventh Day Adventist tend to read scriptures through the lens of the OT law.

Each of these groups have come to a truth by reading some scriptures, which they then use as a lens for reading the rest of scriptures.

The priority of our lenses is formed by the priority of importance of the biblical books.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 10, 2010, 11:12:01 PM
Much more important lenses than...Christ's resurrection?

Brian, if you honestly believe that, you simply are not a Christian. It's that simple.

Do you know what e.g., means?

I most certainly believe that Christ's resurrection is an essential lens -- and his death on the cross just as or more essential. It is the cross that is the offense of the gospel. Preaching Christ crucified is essential -- and without the resurrection our faith is futile. In fact, the notes I'm working on today I quote Robert Capon:

"The human race is, was and probably always will be deeply unwilling to accept a human messiah. We don't want to be saved in our humanity; we want to be fished out of it. We crucified Jesus, not because he was God, but because he blasphemed: He claimed to be God and then failed to come up to our standards for assessing the claim. It's not that we weren't looking for the Messiah; it's just that he wasn't what we were looking for. Our kind of Messiah would come down from a cross. He would carry a folding phone booth in his back pocket. He wouldn't do a stupid thing like rising from the dead. He would do a smart thing like never dying."

A problem with making too much of the resurrection lens, is that we then expect God to fish us out of all our problems. Luther is right to emphasize the cross. The cross is the lens through which we properly see the resurrection.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 11, 2010, 02:56:07 AM

So we should (I sincerely hope) know that his calling Pastor Stoffregen's faith into question (even with that sneaky "if" word) is out of line.

Having engaged in conversation with him over several years, I think I'll borrow a phrase from Bishop Ullestad in another context (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=2616.msg187278#msg187278) and simply observe that it is the myriads of Pr. Stoffregen's own statements that call it into question. 

kyrie eleison, spt+
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Dadoo on November 11, 2010, 08:55:28 AM
Isaiah may have had a maiden in mind (emphasis on young and unmarried), but the Early Church certainly experienced and understood their witness to the Virgin Born Christ echoed in Isaiah. We can explore what Isaiah expected and also what the Early Christians knew without prejudice to either.

I agree. Believing that Isaiah was writing about a young woman who gave birth during the time of Ahaz and while he was still a toddler, the nations Ahaz feared (Aram and Israel) were destroyed as Isaiah prophesied in 7:16. That does not mean that the verse was later adapted and fit the miraculous circumstances of Jesus' conception as recorded by Matthew.

I think you have this backwards: Isaiah prophesied about Jesus and Israel miss interpreted that saying by assuming that it was talking about Ahaz's son . . .
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Weedon on November 11, 2010, 09:02:56 AM
We probably should guard our terms a bit more:  virginal conception is what most folks are aiming at with their talk of "virgin birth."  But historically, virgin birth referenced the opinion that the Blessed Mother remained a virgo intacta even during the birth.  This is what the Formula refers to when it notes:  "He employed this [uncircumscribed, spiritual] mode of presence when He left the closed grave and came through closed doors, in the bread and wine in the Supper, and, as people believe, when He was born in His mother"  FC VII:100 and "He showed His divine majesty even in His mother's womb, because He was born of a virgin without violating her virginity" FC VIII:24.  Luther speaks of this a bit in House Postils 3:  "Now, although Mary was not required to do this - the law of Moses having no claim over her, for she had given birth without pain and her virginity remained unsullied - nevertheless, she kept quiet, and submitted herself to the common law of all women and let herself be accounted unclean.  She was without doubt a pure, chaste virgin before the birth, in the birth, and after the birth, and she was neither sick nor weakened from the birth, and could certainly have gone out of the house after giving birth, not only because of her exemption under the law, but also because of the uninterrupted soundness of her body.  For her Son did not detract from her virginity, but strengthened it."  (III:256)  The Lutherans (at least at one time) thought it quite significant to confess that the communicated attributes of the divine nature to the human nature were not just post-resurrection.  This runs with the recognition that the state of humiliation is not concurrent with the incarnation itself per se, but with the limited use of those divine powers prior to the state of exaltation.  Now, back to our regularly scheduled programing...
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 11, 2010, 09:11:26 AM
Mr. Gehlhausen writes:
So, unless one applies the same sophistry the ELCA does and denies that the description of the Mother of God as the Virgin Mary is a gynecological assertion,

I comment:
But that is not what the ELCA does. Note the nuance. The words say  (emphasis added):

When we confess in the Apostles' Creed that Jesus was "conceived by the power of the Holy Spirt and born of the virgin Mary ...," and in the Nicene Creed that Jesus is "the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father ..." we are not making a gynecological assertion.

Such an assertion might be made. Go ahead and make it. When we do say the words of the creed regarding the Lord's birth, we mean it. Why is there a need to continually poke away at whether we do or not?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 11, 2010, 09:16:53 AM
We can be saying, Mr. Gehlhausen that we are making such an assertion. Didn't I just say that? 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 11, 2010, 09:18:02 AM
Since different people bring different lenses, different foundational beliefs to Scripture, does that mean that Scriptures will therefore speak authoritatively to them in different ways, saying even contradictory things.

Yes.

If the Bible can speak authoritatively to different people to say different and even entradictory things, then what does the authority of Scripture mean?  Is Scripture authoritative in that we look to Scripture for passages that support the beliefs that we take to Scripture, and when we find Scripture passages that we can understanding as supporting the lenses that we bring to it, it authoritative teaches what we believe?

Dan
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: TravisW on November 11, 2010, 09:25:28 AM
Since different people bring different lenses, different foundational beliefs to Scripture, does that mean that Scriptures will therefore speak authoritatively to them in different ways, saying even contradictory things.

Yes.

If the Bible can speak authoritatively to different people to say different and even entradictory things, then what does the authority of Scripture mean?  Is Scripture authoritative in that we look to Scripture for passages that support the beliefs that we take to Scripture, and when we find Scripture passages that we can understanding as supporting the lenses that we bring to it, it authoritative teaches what we believe?

Dan

Dan, do you remember Brian's thread about authority being something that the individual designates and then submits themselves to?  I think this is where he's coming from.  Therefore "authoritative" doesn't mean the state of bearing true authority; "authoritative" means the state of subjective authority conferred by the individual who submits to it.  I believe he's using "truth" in the same way. 

Green Jello, indeed.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Scott6 on November 11, 2010, 09:46:25 AM
We can be saying, Mr. Gehlhausen that we are making such an assertion. Didn't I just say that? 

The article says that "we are not making a gynecological assertion".

So I guess you are saying that you yourself are making a gynecological assertion when you confess the words "Virgin Mary" in the Creed, but others in the ELCA according to their bound conscience may not be?

Of what use is such a wobbly and varying confession of the faith?  ???

Mike


FWIW, I wouldn't attribute such a wobble to the statement that Charles does.  I find it quite clear in saying that "ELCA Lutherans" (the "we") are not making a gynecological assertion re: the virginity of Mary.

Charles' reading is simply strained.

Further, what is meant by the creeds re: the virginity of Mary, if it's not to be understood physically (i.e. gynecologically), is explained in the following sentence: "We are saying that God entered into the world in Christ and, in him, is fully revealed to humankind. This is God's graceful act of reconciliation with creation and humankind's redemption."  A classic instance of Frei's "mediating theology."
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: ptmccain on November 11, 2010, 10:02:24 AM
Forgive me, but this is ridiculous.

The Scriptures teach, and the Church confesses, that the Blessed Virgin Mary did not have sexual intercourse with a human male. The conception that occurred was due to the miraculous "overshadowing" of the Most High God and in her womb was conceived the One promised of old to be the Messiah, the Savior.

If a pastor can not simply confess this truth, he should be given the opportunity to be corrected, repent of his sin, or if he refused, be removed from the ministry.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: George Erdner on November 11, 2010, 10:15:46 AM
Forgive me, but this is ridiculous.

The Scriptures teach, and the Church confesses, that the Blessed Virgin Mary did not have sexual intercourse with a human male. The conception that occurred was due to the miraculous "overshadowing" of the Most High God and in her womb was conceived the One promised of old to be the Messiah, the Savior.

If a pastor can not simply confess this truth, he should be given the opportunity to be corrected, repent of his sin, or if he refused, be removed from the ministry.

I have been shown the parts of scripture that teach clearly that the Blessed Virgin Mary did not have sexual intercourse with a human male prior to the birth of Jesus Christ. I have also been taught that the Bible is not clear about whether or not she and her husband Joseph engaged in normal marital relations after the birth of Jesus Christ.

Where does it say in the Bible that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, remained a virgin after the birth of Our Lord? I'm aware of the adiaphora from those who wrote things that are not in the canon of Scripture, but I'm unable to find anything in the canon of Scripture that says that. What am I not finding in the Bible about Mary remaining a virgin after Jesus was born?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: ptmccain on November 11, 2010, 10:24:24 AM
George, the issue under discussion here is the Virgin Birth of Christ, not the perpetual virginity of Mary. I suggest we stick to the topic at hand: the Virgin Birth, or the "Virginal Conception" of Christ. There are other topics on this forum having to do with the issue of the semper virgo. If you are interested in that issue, please consult those topics.

If you are interested in reading discussions about the perpetual virginity of Mary, here are some of those discussions:

http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=3303.0

Here's the most recent and thorough discussion:

http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=3272.0

Again, the issue under discussion here is NOT the perpetual virginity of Mary, but the virginal conception of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is effectively cast into doubt by the ELCA's "digging deeper" page, hence the title of this topic.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 11, 2010, 10:29:57 AM
Forgive me, but this is ridiculous.

The Scriptures teach, and the Church confesses, that the Blessed Virgin Mary did not have sexual intercourse with a human male. The conception that occurred was due to the miraculous "overshadowing" of the Most High God and in her womb was conceived the One promised of old to be the Messiah, the Savior.

If a pastor can not simply confess this truth, he should be given the opportunity to be corrected, repent of his sin, or if he refused, be removed from the ministry.

Our belief goes beyond that. There are other stories about human mothers having sexual intercourse with gods, e.g., the parents of Hercules, or perhaps even Genesis 6:1-4; but that is not our belief. Mary conceived without having sexual intercourse with humans or God. She was a virgin. Raymond Brown in The Birth of the Messiah, looks at other stories of children from a god and a human. The story of Jesus' conception without intercourse is unique. He argues that it could not have come from some pagan myth, because there are no myths quite like it.

However, I wonder about the biology of the act. I've never read any discussion about this. Matthew uses the word "genesis" twice in chapter 1 (vv 1 & 18), so there is a connection between the "genesis" of Jesus and the "genesis" of all creation in Genesis 1 & 2. In Genesis' first creation story, God creates out of nothing with a word. With this miraculous conception, did God say: "Let Mary's egg become fertilized," suggesting that a divine sperm appeared and it happened? Or did God say, "Let a zygote be placed in Mary's womb," and it happened, suggesting that both sperm and egg originated from God?

If Mary contributed an egg, and half of her genes, that would follow many of the pagan myths about a person being half human and half god. We don't believe that about Jesus. Rather, he was a human unlike any other human, being fully God; and a God like no other God, also being fully human -- a God who is born and who dies!

We can consider that just as God created the first humans out of nothing; so God could create a truly human zygote without sperm or egg, who is also truly divine.

I've read that "conception" in the first century was still understood as the man planting a seed into the fertile "soil" of the woman. They didn't understand the union of sperm and egg. Thus, God could be seen simply as "the planter" and Mary the "soil" where the divine/human "seed" grew.

What was the virginal conception? A mating of the Father's divine sperm with Mary's human egg? The creation of a divine & human zygote by the power of the Word of God who has both a male and female image within him; so that that Mary is simply the "God-bearer" (theotokos)?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on November 11, 2010, 10:31:51 AM
Just for comparison, I just popped over the LCMS site (http://lcms.org) to see what we had on the Virgin Birth.  Not as much as what was formally on the ELCA site, actually.

A list of various mentions in articles popped up.  Under the "Belief and Practice" tab, there is the Christian Cyclopedia that collects Biblical and Confessional data for various subjects and people.  There was nothing under "Virgin Birth" except "see Incarnation."  And under "Incarnation (http://www.lcms.org/ca/www/cyclopedia/02/display.asp?t1=i&word=INCARNATION)," pretty much just this sentence:

Quote
4. Inseparably connected with the doctrine of the Incarnation is the doctrine of the Virgin Birth (Is 7:14; Mt 1:18–25; Lk 1:34–35).

Bam!

I suppose using an economy of words helps one avoid too much misunderstanding. 
 Brevity being the soul of wit and wisdom.  For example, few statements are more brief than I AM.   Of course, as some of our "learned scholars" might parse "I AM" - "He was then, but is he now?  Back then, nobody had any understanding of the ontological imperitive.  Let's form a summit, comprised of scholars and philosophers representing the wide spectrum of progressive academia.  Together, it will be our goal to study this and determine whether the one who uttered it is indeed God or some other person suffering from delusions of granduer."
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on November 11, 2010, 10:41:23 AM
Just for comparison, I just popped over the LCMS site (http://lcms.org) to see what we had on the Virgin Birth.  Not as much as what was formally on the ELCA site, actually.

A list of various mentions in articles popped up.  Under the "Belief and Practice" tab, there is the Christian Cyclopedia that collects Biblical and Confessional data for various subjects and people.  There was nothing under "Virgin Birth" except "see Incarnation."  And under "Incarnation (http://www.lcms.org/ca/www/cyclopedia/02/display.asp?t1=i&word=INCARNATION)," pretty much just this sentence:

Quote
4. Inseparably connected with the doctrine of the Incarnation is the doctrine of the Virgin Birth (Is 7:14; Mt 1:18–25; Lk 1:34–35).

Bam!

I suppose using an economy of words helps one avoid too much misunderstanding. 
 Brevity being the soul of wit and wisdom.  For example, few statements are more brief than I AM.   Of course, as some of our "learned scholars" might parse "I AM" - "He was then, but is he now?  Back then, nobody had any understanding of the ontological imperitive.  Let's form a summit, comprised of scholars and philosophers representing the wide spectrum of progressive academia.  Together, it will be our goal to study this and determine whether the one who uttered it is indeed God or some other person suffering from delusions of granduer."
  Oh, and we'll call it the "Yahweh Seminar."
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: ptmccain on November 11, 2010, 10:42:32 AM
The "Digging Deeper" article says that "We are not making a gynecological assertion."

Of course we are!

That's the point.

If Mary was not actually a virgin who conceived, then there was no Virgin Birth.

Don't be deceived by the endless verbiage cluttering and obscuring the issue, or trying to. It is nothing but sophistry and deception.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Scott6 on November 11, 2010, 10:51:18 AM
The "Digging Deeper" article says that "We are not making a gynecological assertion."

Of course we are!

That's the point.

If Mary was not actually a virgin who conceived, then there is no Virgin Birth.

Which is why Brian's statement "Mary conceived without having sexual intercourse with humans or God. She was a virgin" (if he really means those words) disagrees with the way the "Digging Deeper" section portrays ELCA Lutherans' belief on the matter.  There, pace Charles, it is quite clear that it portrays ELCA Lutherans' belief as having (gnostically) spiritualized the teaching of Mary's virginity away from the physical (i.e., the gynecological) and into the realm of the ideal.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 11, 2010, 11:18:10 AM
Tim notes: Neither does thowing out pithy one liners, Charles. Substance. Try real, honest, thoughtful theological substance. You're NOT a headline reporter in here, particularly when extolling the virtues of the party line.  :P

  Tim, it's not his gift.  Brian S's responses may seem silly to me, but at he least brings substance to the debate.  Charles, not so much ...
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 11, 2010, 11:20:43 AM
The "Digging Deeper" article says that "We are not making a gynecological assertion."

Of course we are!


 A church that is willing to call the Holy Spirit "she" is probably one with problems around how Mary became pregnant.  Think about it.

Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: iowakatie1981 on November 11, 2010, 11:22:54 AM
May I ask a question?  (Sincerely)

You know how sometimes things just jump off the page of the Bible at you in a way that they haven't before, no matter how many times you've read it?  That happened to me during Holy Week this year, and I've been stuck on this question ever since.

What is truth?

If "popes, kings, and councils" may err, how do we know that any of what we believe that came from popes, kings, or councils is actually true?  How do we know the canon is correct?  How do we know Constantine wasn't wrong to call Nicea I?  For that matter, how do we know the Jerusalem Council was on-target?  (It's attested to in the canon...?)  What evidence do we have that any of the creeds are accurate?  

I mean, I now belong to a church body that apparently doesn't think (at least certain parts of) the Creeds are really all that accurate, or even important.  We certainly wouldn't want to tell unbelievers about it.  It's embarrassing, sheesh.

So how do we know that any of it's true?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 11, 2010, 11:55:25 AM

There's a lot of difference between a translation that says: "A virgin will be with child …." and "A young woman is with child …."

(The second is a more literal reading of the Hebrew.)

And we are oh so quick to point that out, all the while ignoring what many scholars believe to be something of significant importance, namely that those Hebrew Scholars in the time before Christ, who translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek (the Septuagint) apparently knew enough to translate it to "virgin."  Greek does distinguish "virgin" from "young woman" by the way.

To summarize:  the former is a more literal reading of what a bunch of Hebrew scholars determined some 2200 years ago...

One Greek Lexicon translations of παρθένος as virgin or unmarried girl

BDAG defines παρθένος as gener. of a young woman of marriageable age, w. or without focus on virginity.

Louw and Nida in a couple of their definitions of παρθένος indicate that the emphasis is on being an unmarried woman. It is used in terms of widows (and widowers) who have not remarried -- and, presumably, are no longer virgins.

To summarize: the Greek word carries much the same sense as the Hebrew. The words refer to a female who is past puberty -- at an age to be married, but not yet married. Usually such young women are virgins, but that is not a necessary part of the words' definitions.

It does??  Wow.  We've had very different greek instruction, and apparently also very different lexicons.  My copy of BAGD identifies parthenos as 1.  virgin, chaste daughter, or 2. "also used of men who have had no intercourse with women..."

Considering that the overwhelming weight of historical evidence once again is behind the notion or connotation of virginity, and considering there is another word for "young woman" that would not carry the identifier of virginity, I find your conclusions to be totally in error.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: totaliter vivens on November 11, 2010, 11:59:06 AM
Recapping...

The ELCA website "Digging Deeper" is poorly written.

People point out the problems and the doctrinal issues.

The offending web pages go away.

To my mind that is probably the end of the story.

I see no evidence that this episode shows that the ELCA as an institution, its clergy, or its members have any trouble believing and confessing the simple truths of the Creeds.

I hope we will guard against the "Frasier and Niles Crane" syndrome wherein a PERFECT meal is one where everything is superlative but with one flaw that can be picked at all night.  ;D (don't read more into it than humor)

SPS
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 11, 2010, 11:59:52 AM
We can be saying, Mr. Gehlhausen that we are making such an assertion. Didn't I just say that? 

Yes, but the ELCA website, up until3 days ago, Said that we ARE NOT saying that.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 11, 2010, 12:09:49 PM
Recapping...

The ELCA website "Digging Deeper" is poorly written.


on that we are in total agreement.


People point out the problems and the doctrinal issues.

The offending web pages go away.

To my mind that is probably the end of the story.


yes, but they didn't go away for over 2 years... in spite of notification of their heretical content.


I see no evidence that this episode shows that the ELCA as an institution, its clergy, or its members have any trouble believing and confessing the simple truths of the Creeds.


But when such things happen more routinely than not, in all manner of forums, even to a Central/Southern Illinois professional leadership retreat worship 3 years ago that had a litany confessing to God, "you have made us co-creators with Mary..."  Then it is a definite indictment of the theological dumbing down that is presently happening in the ELCA.

Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: totaliter vivens on November 11, 2010, 12:15:49 PM


yes, but they didn't go away for over 2 years... in spite of notification of their heretical content.



Perhaps, if people hadn't been so busy withholding funds, there would have been sufficient staff to make the correction sooner.  ;D

Just a thought...

SPS
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: George Erdner on November 11, 2010, 01:02:31 PM
yes, but they didn't go away for over 2 years... in spite of notification of their heretical content.

But who notified whom? It seems one of the main characteristics of the ELCA is strict division of labor and responsibility. Why else would we read so many excuses like "That's a synod level issue" or "That's up to individual pastors" or "That's someone else's job"?

Once someone noticed heretical content, they'd have to notify someone. Eventually, all the people who were notified would eventually get around to reading the notification and replying that it was someone else's responsibility. That means a second round of notifications, with delays in everyone getting around to reading the second round. In the fullness of time, someone might take an interest in bringing it to the attention of someone in a position of authority to do something about it. That person would begin a series of dialogues and conversations where it could be discussed with love and compassion whether to correct the error or to consider that perhaps what seems like an error was actually a sign from the Holy Spirit of some "new thing". A commission would then be appointed to study it and craft a response that was inclusive and that respected all of the diverse opinions that the ELCA supports on that issue. This commission would miss the meeting date of whatever committee had to review it, so the report would be tabled and put on the agenda of the next scheduled meeting. In the meantime, other groups might decide that they hadn't been asked to provide their input, so they'd prepare alternative reports, and have them put on the agenda for the next committee meeting. When the meeting finally happens, the committee would decide that since there are multiple reports, another commission must be started to examine all of the reports and attempt to come to some loving and supportive consensus that preserves all reports in their wondrous diversity. And that process continues again.

Frankly, if they managed to take action after only two years, that seems like they must have been moving at a greatly accelerated pace than normal.
 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: James_Gale on November 11, 2010, 01:29:16 PM

But who notified whom? It seems one of the main characteristics of the ELCA is strict division of labor and responsibility. Why else would we read so many excuses like "That's a synod level issue" or "That's up to individual pastors" or "That's someone else's job"?


George --

I can't quite figure out what your complaint is.

Sometimes you seem to argue that authority in the ELCA is too concentrated.  We usually see this argument from you when we are discussing efforts by congregations to leave the ELCA.  In these circumstances, you generally argue that it's no big deal for a congregation to change its denominational affiliation.  If you're serious about this vision, a church body would never have much centralized authority.  Congregations would always retain enormous freedom to ignore denominational leadership.

At other times, you seem to think that authority in the ELCA is too diffuse.  We're seeing that argument in this thread.  Under this view, as CEO of ELCA, Inc., PB Hanson is somehow personally responsible for the state of congregational membership records, along with everything else that happens in congregations.

How do you reconcile these two contradictory visions, both of which you advocate in sharp-edged terms?

Jim
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: George Erdner on November 11, 2010, 01:49:25 PM

But who notified whom? It seems one of the main characteristics of the ELCA is strict division of labor and responsibility. Why else would we read so many excuses like "That's a synod level issue" or "That's up to individual pastors" or "That's someone else's job"?


George --

I can't quite figure out what your complaint is.

Sometimes you seem to argue that authority in the ELCA is too concentrated.  We usually see this argument from you when we are discussing efforts by congregations to leave the ELCA.  In these circumstances, you generally argue that it's no big deal for a congregation to change its denominational affiliation.  If you're serious about this vision, a church body would never have much centralized authority.  Congregations would always retain enormous freedom to ignore denominational leadership.

At other times, you seem to think that authority in the ELCA is too diffuse.  We're seeing that argument in this thread.  Under this view, as CEO of ELCA, Inc., PB Hanson is somehow personally responsible for the state of congregational membership records, along with everything else that happens in congregations.

How do you reconcile these two contradictory visions, both of which you advocate in sharp-edged terms?

Jim

I am not so concerned with how the authority is divided up as I am with the resultant actions. I don't much care why the ELCA is going where it's going, and why it's going there in a handbasket. I care that it is headed for a bad destination.

I believe that changing denominational affiliation should be a big deal because denominations should be rock-solid foundations of faith. But, I believe that changing denominational affiliation isn't a big deal in the case of leaving the ELCA because the ELCA is NOT a rock-solid foundation of faith.

I do think that as CEO of ELCA, Inc., PB Hanson is ultimately responsible for all that happens on his watch. I don't suggest that he has to do everything personally, but I believe that as the leader of the entire denomination, it is his responsibility to delegate tasks to subordinates, who in turn can delegate them further if appropriate. And as CEO, he should be aware of results or lack thereof, and should do what needs to be done in leading his subordinates to get them to see to it that what needs to be done is done. That's what the expression "The Buck Stops Here" means. As the leader, it's Hanson's responsibility to see to it that things that need to be done are done and done properly. That's what leadership is.

So, my complaint is that the ELCA doesn't do the things that it should be doing. I don't much care why, though looking at how it operates can provide some clues. When it should be a steadfast rock of faith, and take a strong, firm, and unambiguous stand on matters of faith, it's wishy-washy and ambiguous. When it's a matter of routine operations that should be done in good order, it's inconsistent.

On the other hand, there are times when a church must be flexible in its witness for Christ and in how it cares for and nurtures God's people. At those times, the ELCA turns into a strict, by-the-book institution, at least in some synods. There are 65 synods in the ELCA. They shouldn't be 65 different church bodies. No one who moves from one synod to another should find himself in an unrecognizable church.

Regarding this particular thread, there should be no room for disagreement on the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ in a Christian denomination. Accept it or reject it, but take a stand and stick to it. I believe that rejecting it is wrong and heresy, but that's just me. But I believe that being ambiguous about it is even worse. So, what I was mocking in my earlier post was the process by which the ELCA reaches its wishy-washy, ambiguous non-decisions on matters of faith and theology. 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: amos on November 11, 2010, 02:37:46 PM
Someone said that if many had not with held funds maybe they would have had the staff to fix it.  Perhaps one should consider that many with held funds because of the uncertainty --- or the beginning certainty  -- in just what the ELCA does support.   Unfortunately it seems like many claim to believe in scripture ... or at least the portions that can be made to fit their personal world view, but reject all else.  I was told on another post that no one is asking me to believe in goddess beads, or the risen christ sophia, or universal salvation.  That is true but apparently the ELCA church does because it continues to support these type of heresy.   Removing the post on the ELCA website is just another example of pushing the limit until enough scream about it and then they back off and start someplace else.  Just like the footnotes found in the first edition Lutheran study bible, that was no accident.  It simply reflects the condition of faith and the current form of  ancient heresy so intertwined in church theology today.

If god made a covenant with a non existent man, if there was no virgin birth, if Jesus was not raised from the dead, if his teachings of both law and gospel are not valid then we have noting more than an illusion for a god. That I refuse to believe! No matter what the cheerleaders for the ELCA claim.  As I said once before, Johann Eck is a perfect example of a cheer leader for the mother church and there are still far to many who follow in his footsteps. Do I have all the answers?  NO!  But this much I do believe, Holy Scripture is a gift from God and it means what it says --- not taking just one passage here and there but in balancing to all together.   Preaching and teaching is a blend of both law and gospel, not all one, and not all the other and that is where we as a church have failed.

Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on November 11, 2010, 02:38:18 PM


yes, but they didn't go away for over 2 years... in spite of notification of their heretical content.



Perhaps, if people hadn't been so busy withholding funds, there would have been sufficient staff to make the correction sooner.  ;D

Just a thought...

SPS


I know that you are joking here, Steven, but part of the great irony is that the "Digging Deeper" pages were up precisely when the employment at 8675 W. Higgins Road was at the "high water mark," and only were taken down after the latest lay-offs (65 staff) which brings the employment at Higgins Road, to my knowledge, to it's lowest numbers in the 20 year history of the ELCA.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 11, 2010, 03:19:06 PM
"Amos" writes:
I was told on another post that no one is asking me to believe in goddess beads, or the risen christ sophia, or universal salvation.  That is true but apparently the ELCA church does because it continues to support these type of heresy.

I ask (once again):
Explain to me how you can say the ELCA "does" believe in those things. Show us from the ELCA statement of faith where those things appear. Now... if you want to ascribe "authenticity" to every idea ever implemented in every ELCA parish, you will have a 24/7 job of rooting out "heresy." Good luck with that.
What do you want? That no ELCA church anywhere will ever do something you don't like? That no ELCA theologian will ever raise a topic or write a book that bothers you?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: totaliter vivens on November 11, 2010, 03:23:56 PM


...Holy Scripture is a gift from God and it means what it says --- not taking just one passage here and there but in balancing to all together.   Preaching and teaching is a blend of both law and gospel, not all one, and not all the other and that is where we as a church have failed.



I could not agree more.

SPS
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: totaliter vivens on November 11, 2010, 03:38:25 PM


yes, but they didn't go away for over 2 years... in spite of notification of their heretical content.



Perhaps, if people hadn't been so busy withholding funds, there would have been sufficient staff to make the correction sooner.  ;D

Just a thought...

SPS


I know that you are joking here, Steven, but part of the great irony is that the "Digging Deeper" pages were up precisely when the employment at 8675 W. Higgins Road was at the "high water mark," and only were taken down after the latest lay-offs (65 staff) which brings the employment at Higgins Road, to my knowledge, to it's lowest numbers in the 20 year history of the ELCA.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS


Your observation is true, Jerry. I would suggest that what the ELCA seems never to have had and I think desperately needs is a Department of Doctrinal Proofreading and Coordination.

SPS
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: amos on November 11, 2010, 04:50:22 PM
No Charles, what I would like to see is that the ELCA still believes what Jesus says in Holy Scripture taught and has enough guts to stand up and say to those rogue churches "that kind of teaching is simply not acceptable!"   But it will not happen because they support it. The evidence is that those rogue churches are still ELCA churches. The silence in the ELCA about this (and they are aware of it) is their affirmation.  The post (now removed) on the ELCA "dig deeper" section clearly shows it. That is why many are leaving. It's not just one "little" thing, it is a patten that shows the authority of scripture means nothing in the ELCA.

Nothing is said, no action is taken against those rogue churches but let a congregation question the ELCA and just talk abut leaving and they throw a fit.  Let a pastor question the ELCA and the cheerleaders of the mother church go into overdrive. 

No Charles, I do not expect the ELCA to jump to my wishes.  I do expect them to respect the word of God, and follow His teachings, and insure the churches in the ELCA do the same --- which currently they do not!  It is not about political and cultural acceptance, it is about following what Jesus taught. It's not about co-creating a brave new world, it is about preaching and teaching what scripture tells us our true condition is before God.  Then preaching and teaching the gospel so that folks can repent and have hope and an appreciation for Our Precious Saviors Love and grace.   

When there is no sin there is no need for repentance.  When there is no repentance there is no salvation.  Jesus didn't stutter when he taught.  When Jesus said, No one comes to the father but by me, he was not saying any old path will get you to heaven and He didn't say anything about sophia --- at least not in this passage.   
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: totaliter vivens on November 11, 2010, 05:16:26 PM
No Charles, what I would like to see is that the ELCA still believes what Jesus says in Holy Scripture taught and has enough guts to stand up and say to those rogue churches "that kind of teaching is simply not acceptable!"   But it will not happen because they support it. The evidence is that those rogue churches are still ELCA churches. The silence in the ELCA about this (and they are aware of it) is their affirmation.  The post (now removed) on the ELCA "dig deeper" section clearly shows it. That is why many are leaving. It's not just one "little" thing, it is a patten that shows the authority of scripture means nothing in the ELCA.

Nothing is said, no action is taken against those rogue churches but let a congregation question the ELCA and just talk abut leaving and they throw a fit.  Let a pastor question the ELCA and the cheerleaders of the mother church go into overdrive. 

No Charles, I do not expect the ELCA to jump to my wishes.  I do expect them to respect the word of God, and follow His teachings, and insure the churches in the ELCA do the same --- which currently they do not!  It is not about political and cultural acceptance, it is about following what Jesus taught. It's not about co-creating a brave new world, it is about preaching and teaching what scripture tells us our true condition is before God.  Then preaching and teaching the gospel so that folks can repent and have hope and an appreciation for Our Precious Saviors Love and grace.   

When there is no sin there is no need for repentance.  When there is no repentance there is no salvation.  Jesus didn't stutter when he taught.  When Jesus said, No one comes to the father but by me, he was not saying any old path will get you to heaven and He didn't say anything about sophia --- at least not in this passage.   

Not that it matters in the grand scheme of things what I think, but I'll speak up nonetheless...

I agree with Charles that the aberrations under discussion do not represent either the official or the prevailing faith of the ELCA. That's good.

On the other hand, Amos is not groundless in his fears. I think it significant that both Pastor Wolf and I (representing differing perspectives on "the troubles") have both often voiced concern about muddled Trinitarian theology, experimental and idiosyncratic liturgies, and trendy theologies rooted not in Scripture, Creeds, and Confessions but in movements to combat various 'isms" and further bootless academic speculation.

I think that the ELCA is in trouble but that trouble has NOTHING to do with sexuality (or what Scripture has to say about it). There is a very real danger that the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Chris will be down-graded to just another interesting ethical system among many such systems in the history of world religions. This rot seems still to be under the radar of many, and frankly I detect the odor of that decay coming from both the traditionalist and the revisionist camps (or whatever you wish to call the combatants).

I am worried, no I am afraid for my church.

SPS
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 11, 2010, 05:26:41 PM
"amos" writes:
No Charles, I do not expect the ELCA to jump to my wishes.  I do expect them to respect the word of God, and follow His teachings, and insure the churches in the ELCA do the same --- which currently they do not!

I comment:
Then I must ask: Are you leaving, or are you staying with us in the hopes of offering corrective words?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on November 11, 2010, 06:34:57 PM
Forgive me, but this is ridiculous.

The Scriptures teach, and the Church confesses, that the Blessed Virgin Mary did not have sexual intercourse with a human male. The conception that occurred was due to the miraculous "overshadowing" of the Most High God and in her womb was conceived the One promised of old to be the Messiah, the Savior.

If a pastor can not simply confess this truth, he should be given the opportunity to be corrected, repent of his sin, or if he refused, be removed from the ministry.

Our belief goes beyond that. There are other stories about human mothers having sexual intercourse with gods, e.g., the parents of Hercules, or perhaps even Genesis 6:1-4; but that is not our belief. Mary conceived without having sexual intercourse with humans or God. She was a virgin. Raymond Brown in The Birth of the Messiah, looks at other stories of children from a god and a human. The story of Jesus' conception without intercourse is unique. He argues that it could not have come from some pagan myth, because there are no myths quite like it.

However, I wonder about the biology of the act. I've never read any discussion about this. Matthew uses the word "genesis" twice in chapter 1 (vv 1 & 18), so there is a connection between the "genesis" of Jesus and the "genesis" of all creation in Genesis 1 & 2. In Genesis' first creation story, God creates out of nothing with a word. With this miraculous conception, did God say: "Let Mary's egg become fertilized," suggesting that a divine sperm appeared and it happened? Or did God say, "Let a zygote be placed in Mary's womb," and it happened, suggesting that both sperm and egg originated from God?

If Mary contributed an egg, and half of her genes, that would follow many of the pagan myths about a person being half human and half god. We don't believe that about Jesus. Rather, he was a human unlike any other human, being fully God; and a God like no other God, also being fully human -- a God who is born and who dies!

We can consider that just as God created the first humans out of nothing; so God could create a truly human zygote without sperm or egg, who is also truly divine.

I've read that "conception" in the first century was still understood as the man planting a seed into the fertile "soil" of the woman. They didn't understand the union of sperm and egg. Thus, God could be seen simply as "the planter" and Mary the "soil" where the divine/human "seed" grew.

What was the virginal conception? A mating of the Father's divine sperm with Mary's human egg? The creation of a divine & human zygote by the power of the Word of God who has both a male and female image within him; so that that Mary is simply the "God-bearer" (theotokos)?
The Deus absconditus / Deus revelatus (God is hidden/God is revealed for those w/o Latin or Sem training) paradigm tells me that the "how" of the conception of Jesus in the Virgin Mary is something God has chosen to keep hidden.  Unless, of course, you want to create a freaky tabloid cover article. 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Lutheranistic on November 11, 2010, 06:59:24 PM
Quote
I would suggest that what the ELCA seems never to have had and I think desperately needs is a Department of Doctrinal Proofreading and Coordination.

SPS

Amen, amen, and amen.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 11, 2010, 07:00:24 PM
Forgive me, but this is ridiculous.

The Scriptures teach, and the Church confesses, that the Blessed Virgin Mary did not have sexual intercourse with a human male. The conception that occurred was due to the miraculous "overshadowing" of the Most High God and in her womb was conceived the One promised of old to be the Messiah, the Savior.

If a pastor can not simply confess this truth, he should be given the opportunity to be corrected, repent of his sin, or if he refused, be removed from the ministry.

Our belief goes beyond that. There are other stories about human mothers having sexual intercourse with gods, e.g., the parents of Hercules, or perhaps even Genesis 6:1-4; but that is not our belief. Mary conceived without having sexual intercourse with humans or God. She was a virgin. Raymond Brown in The Birth of the Messiah, looks at other stories of children from a god and a human. The story of Jesus' conception without intercourse is unique. He argues that it could not have come from some pagan myth, because there are no myths quite like it.

However, I wonder about the biology of the act. I've never read any discussion about this. Matthew uses the word "genesis" twice in chapter 1 (vv 1 & 18), so there is a connection between the "genesis" of Jesus and the "genesis" of all creation in Genesis 1 & 2. In Genesis' first creation story, God creates out of nothing with a word. With this miraculous conception, did God say: "Let Mary's egg become fertilized," suggesting that a divine sperm appeared and it happened? Or did God say, "Let a zygote be placed in Mary's womb," and it happened, suggesting that both sperm and egg originated from God?

If Mary contributed an egg, and half of her genes, that would follow many of the pagan myths about a person being half human and half god. We don't believe that about Jesus. Rather, he was a human unlike any other human, being fully God; and a God like no other God, also being fully human -- a God who is born and who dies!

We can consider that just as God created the first humans out of nothing; so God could create a truly human zygote without sperm or egg, who is also truly divine.

I've read that "conception" in the first century was still understood as the man planting a seed into the fertile "soil" of the woman. They didn't understand the union of sperm and egg. Thus, God could be seen simply as "the planter" and Mary the "soil" where the divine/human "seed" grew.

What was the virginal conception? A mating of the Father's divine sperm with Mary's human egg? The creation of a divine & human zygote by the power of the Word of God who has both a male and female image within him; so that that Mary is simply the "God-bearer" (theotokos)?
The Deus absconditus / Deus revelatus (God is hidden/God is revealed for those w/o Latin or Sem training) paradigm tells me that the "how" of the conception of Jesus in the Virgin Mary is something God has chosen to keep hidden.  Unless, of course, you want to create a freaky tabloid cover article. 

True, but it doesn't mean that we shouldn't wonder about such things with the knowledge God has given us about reproduction. I believe that God is able to take all our questions -- he may not answer them, but we can ask.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Weedon on November 11, 2010, 07:06:41 PM
Deuteronomy 29:29.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: amos on November 11, 2010, 08:11:34 PM
Charles, you ask me a fair and just question. Up until our last assembly I had mixed feelings. Some of my brothers and sisters in the ministry are staying in hopes of being a word of wisdom from time of trial.  Others are leaving because they feel they can no longer stay or -- in some cases -- are actually being pushed out.

I respect each of these men and women, their ministry and their decisions.  When a brand new seminary graduate get up at our assembly and says that she just can't accept that even one definition of "bound conscience" would include those who hold to the orthodox theology and then the assembly votes to reject or even acknowledging that there are those who feel they are bound by conscience to orthodox theology.  It was made adamently clear there is no place for orthodox pastors or congregation in this synod and they are not wanted.   

Several congregations got up and walked out of the assembly after that vote. That is what is causing so many votes in this synod to leave. Even the lay people saw the hatred and hostility of the more radical progressives and they ALSO saw it was accepted and condoned by the chair. That was the final straw for many congregations. I believe it will become the final straw for me.  I freely acknowledge not all synods are the same but from pastors I talk to all over this country, this behavior s not unique.   Several of the theological issues in the ELCA are part of the cause,  but the way orthodox pastors and congregations were made fun of, directly ridiculed, and openly mocked in our last assembly made it clear we have no other choice. 

If the Central Southern Illinois Synod begins to see churches leave it will be due to the lack of sound theology in the national church and  --- and --- the treatment they have received by the synod, the synod office and the bishop.  That is one thing you do not do to a German congregation.  They may fuss among themselves but let an outsider start to browbeat them and they will form together harder than Portland cement.

Let me be clear, (at least in this synod) the mood to leave is not being pushed by pastors, many pastors have worked overtime to  calm their congregations and keep them from over reacting to a single issue only to have the synod or the bishop sabotage every thing they have done and then treat those same pastors like dirt.  So far 11 congregations have voted to leave and I have good reasons to believe there are many more in the works.  I have reached the point that I am not sure if God is working to keep heresy out of the church or to get believers out of a church full of heresy. 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 11, 2010, 08:46:38 PM
Deuteronomy 29:29.

Do you really want to go through every word of the law and see how many we continue to follow?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on November 11, 2010, 09:07:47 PM
Amos, thank you for your thoughtful and explanatory post.  Your last paragraph was especially revealing.  I'll be praying for you and your situation.

Jeremy
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Weedon on November 11, 2010, 09:21:40 PM
Brian,

I read the Scripture as a whole.  The Lord saw fit to reveal even more things since Moses wrote that, but the principle remains steadfast:  what the Lord reveals belongs to us and our children; the secret things are His.  There are things He has not seen fit to tell us, most especially the crux theologorum:  "why some and not others?"  He has many secrets we might want to curiously pry into but that He didn't see fit to tell us, and I assume always for our own good.  What He has revealed is what we need to revel in.  He has revealed His Son was born of a Virgin, truly God, truly Man, and that He has borne our sins and destroyed our death by raising from the grave the very body that was born of that Blessed Virgin, exalting it to the right hand of the Father and in it ruling all things for the blessing of the Church until that Day when in glory He appears again in the clouds and calls all for judgment and brings His own into the joys of the new heavens and new earth.  This is His long kept secret, now revealed.  He's revealed of it as much as we will ever need to know to be saved in our earthly pilgrimage.  I suspect when He appears, raises the dead, and brings us into joys that eye has not seen nor heart perceived, we will find the questions that troubled us here to have been rather childish things after all.  Pax!
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on November 11, 2010, 09:42:28 PM
Excellent Will.  Clear, concise.  Good explanation.  The things we need to know are only those things we perceive we need to know.  What we need to know has been revealed.  Perhaps it is given to us to accept the gift we are given and give thanks for it, even if we may be baffled.  And often, the gifts that confuse lead us on a path of exploration and discovery, usually leading us back to the Giver of the Gift.

Jeremy
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on November 11, 2010, 09:56:08 PM
Will,
I echo Jeremy.  I have to vacation in the vicinity of Hamel, IL some time just to get the chance to visit your church and hear you preach.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on November 11, 2010, 10:00:23 PM
Rev. Schueller- go to Issues, Etc and you can find Will in the archives.  His hymn studies and conversations about worship are great.  I listen to Will while riding the bike at the Y.  Now I've probably given Will a big head.  To 'humble' him just a little bit, Art Just's hymn studies are pretty freaking cool too!  www.issuesetc.org

Jeremy
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Weedon on November 11, 2010, 10:04:34 PM
You guys are too kind.  But trust me on this, Pr. Scheuller, you really DON'T want to vacation anywhere near Hamel Illinois unless you enjoy the rumble of semis, the endless fields of corn and soybean, and the occasional cow.  Issues is a far more enjoyable way to listen in, and then you hear a variety of guests (including the inestimable Dr. Just!) and you can listen in in some spectacular parts of the country.  Does "flat" mean anything to you?  :)
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 11, 2010, 10:16:27 PM
"Amos" writes:
Charles, you ask me a fair and just question.

I comment:
But I didn't quite get an answer, did I? Are you leaving or are you among those sticking with us so that your voice and position can still be heard within the ELCA?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on November 11, 2010, 10:50:21 PM
You guys are too kind.  But trust me on this, Pr. Scheuller, you really DON'T want to vacation anywhere near Hamel Illinois unless you enjoy the rumble of semis, the endless fields of corn and soybean, and the occasional cow.  Issues is a far more enjoyable way to listen in, and then you hear a variety of guests (including the inestimable Dr. Just!) and you can listen in in some spectacular parts of the country.  Does "flat" mean anything to you?  :)
Please, call me Kevin, Pastor Weedon.  From your description, your neck of the woods looks, sounds, and smells just like my neck of the woods up in Green Valley (Oconto Falls zipcode), WI.  I did attend the wedding of a friend about 16 years ago in Breese, IL which isn't too far from you.  Anyway - it is good to know about those sources of material you've put out which I'll eagerly download.  I do typically vacation in Chicago (my hometown) or Dayton, (my wife's hometown).
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Team Hesse on November 11, 2010, 11:25:40 PM
You guys are too kind.  But trust me on this, Pr. Scheuller, you really DON'T want to vacation anywhere near Hamel Illinois unless you enjoy the rumble of semis, the endless fields of corn and soybean, and the occasional cow. .  Does "flat" mean anything to you?  :)

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, Pastor Weedon! I have always enjoyed traveling in areas like yours. The stunning natural wealth of rich farmland and the depth of character of those who have been deeply attached to their particular piece of the Lord's garden....the feast for the eyes of miles of green...the rich scents of freshly turned soil or farms with animals...the gifts of divine reason expressed in dynamic machines which make amazing productivity possible...sunrise-sunset---the rhythm of days and seasons....marvelous country for which we should all be grateful.

Lou
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 11, 2010, 11:35:21 PM
You guys are too kind.  But trust me on this, Pr. Scheuller, you really DON'T want to vacation anywhere near Hamel Illinois unless you enjoy the rumble of semis, the endless fields of corn and soybean, and the occasional cow. 


Now, Father Will, Pr. Schueller could be a guest at an STS Great Rivers Chapter retreat in Columbia, then we'll drive up to Hamel as I show him a view of the St. Louis Arch from the east side.  On the way we could stop off at Our Lady of the Snows, Fairmount Park, and the Mother Jones Memorial.   ;)  I can imagine far worse vacations than being near Hamel, Illinois.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Weedon on November 12, 2010, 07:51:43 AM
Now don't get me wrong, Lou.  I love the country and living out in it; but my heart is partial to the sort of country that my grandparents farmed:  rolling hills, gentle rivers, deep woods between farms.  And even though I appreciate the convenience of the Interstate being so close, the constant noise of the traffic is an irritant that I haven't gotten used to even though I have lived here since 1992.  So when I think of vacation, I think of a place where the roar of an interstate is totally inaudible.  Give me the roar of the surf, any day!  Or the ability to hear the birds sing on a some quiet mountain top. 

Fr. Steven, you bring him by for dinner next time!
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: amos on November 12, 2010, 11:36:28 AM
Jeremy -- thank you -- prayers for all the pastors and congregations in this synod are needed and deeply appreciated.

Charles writes:
"But I didn't quite get an answer, did I?"

My LAST response:
Charles, your rabid proclivity to mimic Johann Eck as a cheerleader for the mother church is directly impacting your journalist skills.  You can read but obviously without comprehension.  Either that or it is simply the deliberate attempt of a radical revisionist to thumb your nose at orthodox pastors who do care about the authority of scripture and love and care about the congregations they serve.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on November 12, 2010, 11:40:32 AM
You guys are too kind.  But trust me on this, Pr. Scheuller, you really DON'T want to vacation anywhere near Hamel Illinois unless you enjoy the rumble of semis, the endless fields of corn and soybean, and the occasional cow. 


Now, Father Will, Pr. Schueller could be a guest at an STS Great Rivers Chapter retreat in Columbia, then we'll drive up to Hamel as I show him a view of the St. Louis Arch from the east side.  On the way we could stop off at Our Lady of the Snows, Fairmount Park, and the Mother Jones Memorial.   ;)  I can imagine far worse vacations than being near Hamel, Illinois.

Pax, Steven+
Hey, and that doesn't even have to be a vacation, it could be continuing ed.  I notice the wink by the Mother Jones Memorial - I knew a 21st century Whig couldn't seriously be suggesting such a stop.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 12, 2010, 01:44:32 PM
You brought it up, "Amos", or at least said it was a fair question. It is a simple question. Are you staying or are you leaving?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Jim Lehmann on November 12, 2010, 02:15:37 PM
You guys are too kind.  But trust me on this, Pr. Scheuller, you really DON'T want to vacation anywhere near Hamel Illinois unless you enjoy the rumble of semis, the endless fields of corn and soybean, and the occasional cow.  Issues is a far more enjoyable way to listen in, and then you hear a variety of guests (including the inestimable Dr. Just!) and you can listen in in some spectacular parts of the country.  Does "flat" mean anything to you?  :)

How about living in Flatville, as I do.   :D

Jim
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: George Erdner on November 12, 2010, 02:28:32 PM
You guys are too kind.  But trust me on this, Pr. Scheuller, you really DON'T want to vacation anywhere near Hamel Illinois unless you enjoy the rumble of semis, the endless fields of corn and soybean, and the occasional cow.  Issues is a far more enjoyable way to listen in, and then you hear a variety of guests (including the inestimable Dr. Just!) and you can listen in in some spectacular parts of the country.  Does "flat" mean anything to you?  :)

How about living in Flatville, as I do.   :D

Jim

That would depend on if the town were named for the local terrain, or because it was founded by Mr. Jedediah Flat.

Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: SmithL on November 12, 2010, 03:43:11 PM
Does "flat" mean anything to you?  :)

I was Baptized in the town of Flat River, in the state of Misery.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Weedon on November 12, 2010, 03:45:38 PM
But Misery isn't terribly flat.  Lots of hills and woods and such.  Quite a contrast to the middle and upper parts of Illinois.  Southernmost Illinois is also beautifully wooded and hilly.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: SmithL on November 12, 2010, 03:48:12 PM
But Misery isn't terribly flat.  Lots of hills and woods and such. 

So it would seem.  Sometime during the past few decades, Flat River grew up and became Park Hills.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Jim Lehmann on November 12, 2010, 04:53:41 PM
You guys are too kind.  But trust me on this, Pr. Scheuller, you really DON'T want to vacation anywhere near Hamel Illinois unless you enjoy the rumble of semis, the endless fields of corn and soybean, and the occasional cow.  Issues is a far more enjoyable way to listen in, and then you hear a variety of guests (including the inestimable Dr. Just!) and you can listen in in some spectacular parts of the country.  Does "flat" mean anything to you?  :)

How about living in Flatville, as I do.   :D

Jim

That would depend on if the town were named for the local terrain, or because it was founded by Mr. Jedediah Flat.



Trust me, there is no Mr. Flat -- by any first name.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 12, 2010, 05:50:10 PM
Will, getting back to the post about what God has revealed to us for our "earthly pilgrimage", is that terminology falling out of favor in light of the focus on "creatureliness" in the in the new CTCR document? It seems to me that the idea of treating earthly existence as a pilgrimage or sojourn is not compatible with the idea of earth, not heaven being our home. Rather, the time between one's death and the resurrection on the last day would be considered the time (however time applies) of pilgrimage.   
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Weedon on November 12, 2010, 05:58:35 PM
Peter,

I'm not sure.  If so, it bumps up square against Hebrews, doesn't it?  That's where the pilgrimage lingo and here we have no lasting city but we look for a heavenly one, a building with foundations etc come from.  And Peter's 1 Epistle too - the inheritance in heaven and we are a pilgrim people.  I don't want to lose that Christ makes everything new - new heavens and new earth - but all will be fundamentally changed, and the Scriptures make that clear. 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: revklak on November 12, 2010, 08:02:21 PM
Since the topic is the Digger Deepr link on ELCA.ORG -- anyone else look at it today - -there is a rebuilt page which basically says, and I'm paraphrasing, the site is currently under reconstrcution as we fix those things that got us in trouble..  (like I said, I'm paraphrasing)  But it did say something interesting about its intent was to be helpful and anyone with suggestions for that should send them in.  What can we generate here?????
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: revklak on November 12, 2010, 08:04:42 PM
Maybe one suggestion would be to ask Dr. Suess to help us poor Lutherans now with a new, rhyme-hip doctrinal page.  To add to the Suesachrist we could have the Seussechesis.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on November 13, 2010, 12:23:17 AM
Since the topic is the Digger Deepr link on ELCA.ORG -- anyone else look at it today - -there is a rebuilt page which basically says, and I'm paraphrasing, the site is currently under reconstrcution as we fix those things that got us in trouble..  (like I said, I'm paraphrasing)  But it did say something interesting about its intent was to be helpful and anyone with suggestions for that should send them in.  What can we generate here?????

Here is the new content on the Digging Deeper link:

"The Dig Deeper section of ELCA.org was created to invite fresh explorations of Christian faith for people new or returning to church life. The pages in this section have been removed while they undergo a comprehensive review to improve their usefulness as a resource for study and discussion with others.
If you have suggestions for improvements or new topics in the Dig Deeper section, send them to info@elca.org.

This church's official teaching is expressed in the ELCA Confession of Faith.
Examples of how individual ELCA members express this faith and live it out in their daily lives can be found at www.LivingLutheran.com."


(Personal disclosure:  I am one of the many writers on the LivingLutheran.com site.)
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 13, 2010, 03:30:54 AM
Wow! The ELCA at work. Words from lay people, pastors, seminarians, future seminarians. Global missions. Articles for parishes. Lutherans in different walks of life, living and talking the faith. What a concept.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 13, 2010, 06:36:50 AM
You brought it up, "Amos", or at least said it was a fair question. It is a simple question. Are you staying or are you leaving?


Ignore him Amos.  Charles always wants to make it about other people. The dead give away is the constant usage of "you."  Note the complete lack of the pronoun "I.". His former boss and later my mentor use to say to me it is interesting how poorly official communicators of the church communicate.  I'm thinking projection and lack of listening are part of the dynamic.

Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: George Erdner on November 13, 2010, 08:46:02 AM
Wow! The ELCA at work. Words from lay people, pastors, seminarians, future seminarians. Global missions. Articles for parishes. Lutherans in different walks of life, living and talking the faith. What a concept.

This mush-note to words from Lutherans in different walks of life is brought to you by he who corrects all errors made by lay people, pastors, seminarians, future seminarians, and others, and who won't accept anything written unless he knows the identity (and therefore the credentials) of whoever is making the statement.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 13, 2010, 08:53:58 AM
It comes up yet again. This time I must protest.
So for Pastor Hughes, the late Dr. Carl Mau was a "mentor" and for this humble correspondent, who worked for three years in Geneva when Dr. Mau was general secretary of the LWF, he was "boss." Since Pastor Hughes never, ever, in the history of the world has had any first hand knowledge about my relationship with Dr. Mau, a man I honor and respect for his international leadership of the LWF through immensely difficult times, I continue to take offense at the warped characterization, devised, I believe for Pastor Hughes' own purposes.

Pastor Hughes writes:
Charles always wants to make it about other people. The dead give away is the constant usage of "you."
I comment:
Perhaps if Pastor Hughes were a more consistent participant in this forum, rather than parachuting in from time to time (usually with a different screen name), he would notice some things.
This humble correspondent has been chastised for referring to "my" experiences, "my" resume, "my" contacts in the church nationally and internationally over the years. So I tend not to make it about "me."
This is unlike some who post here, for whom everything is "personal," or - as with the poster currently under discussion - everything he does, reads or cares about somehow holds the answer to all our problems.
"Amos" raised an issue. I asked a question. "Amos" can respond or not respond as he wishes. (But of course, we all know that things will be better if he - and others - take the advice of Pastor Hughes.) Good grief.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 13, 2010, 08:59:31 AM
Wrong again, Mr. Erdner. I think everything I saw on the "Living Lutheran" pages had names and pictures attached to the items. Did you even look?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: ptmccain on November 13, 2010, 09:20:31 AM
You brought it up, "Amos", or at least said it was a fair question. It is a simple question. Are you staying or are you leaving?


Ignore him Amos.  Charles always wants to make it about other people. The dead give away is the constant usage of "you."  Note the complete lack of the pronoun "I.". His former boss and later my mentor use to say to me it is interesting how poorly official communicators of the church communicate.  I'm thinking projection and lack of listening are part of the dynamic.



I second what Pastor Hughes says, Amos. The best way to handle Rev. Austin's presence on this forum is to ignore him. Never give him the satisfaction of any response. Any response you would offer only serves to facilitate his bad habits here.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: MaddogLutheran on November 13, 2010, 09:45:08 AM
Wow! The ELCA at work. Words from lay people, pastors, seminarians, future seminarians. Global missions. Articles for parishes. Lutherans in different walks of life, living and talking the faith. What a concept.
Once again, since you feel the need to "highlight" things such as this, I'll comment that none but the most hard-core critics of the ELCA would deny this is true.  But it's beside the point, at least of what gets argued here, of the ELCA going of its theological rails (as the topic of this thread).  You could easily substitute Roman Catholic Church for ELCA in your above, and that would be equally true, yet that communion is (still) wrong about the chief doctrine of faith on which the church stands or falls.  It's been said many times, but if some within want to re-design Christianity, such as denying the Virgin birth, then we might as well be the Rotary Club doing all these things in fellowship.

Such good things are kind of like a correct official's call in a sporting contest.  People rarely go around saying, "Man, did that referee make a great no-call on that play!"  They only complain when he blows it.

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 13, 2010, 09:57:20 AM
So explain, Mr. Spatz, where the ELCA is "wrong about the chief doctrine of faith on which the church stands or falls". And if it is not.....
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 13, 2010, 10:00:22 AM
  A couple of weeks ago I was with a great group of folks who wonder where this is all going. A recent seminary grad shared that he was one of three students in his class who were likely to continue as orthodox, confessional Lutherans.  After one of his papers was covered with a series of red marked questions because he kept calling God "He," he went to that particular prof and stated he couldn't be failed simply because he was writing from a confessional Lutheran perspective.  The room broke into knowing laughter.  That kind of sums it up doesn't it?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 13, 2010, 10:00:44 AM
You brought it up, "Amos", or at least said it was a fair question. It is a simple question. Are you staying or are you leaving?


Ignore him Amos.  Charles always wants to make it about other people. The dead give away is the constant usage of "you."  Note the complete lack of the pronoun "I.". His former boss and later my mentor use to say to me it is interesting how poorly official communicators of the church communicate.  I'm thinking projection and lack of listening are part of the dynamic.

And yet, when I've used "I" in this forum, I'm criticized for being too subjective, too self-centered, etc. There's almost nothing Charles or I can post without it being deemed wrong by someone.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 13, 2010, 10:03:36 AM
Pastor Hughes writes:
 After one of his papers was covered with a series of red marked questions because he kept calling God "He," he went to that particular prof and stated he couldn't be failed simply because he was writing from a confessional Lutheran perspective.  The room broke into knowing laughter.  That kind of sums it up doesn't it?

I comment:
It doesn't track.
So this student went to the prof, in front of the whole class, to protest a grade? Was the grade an "F"? Or just "red marked" questions?
And the "knowing laughter"? We need a lot more context in order to evaluate a rumor like this one.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 13, 2010, 10:06:10 AM
 A couple of weeks ago I was with a great group of folks who wonder where this is all going. A recent seminary grad shared that he was one of three students in his class who were likely to continue as orthodox, confessional Lutherans.  After one of his papers was covered with a series of red marked questions because he kept calling God "He," he went to that particular prof and stated he couldn't be failed simply because he was writing from a confessional Lutheran perspective.  The room broke into knowing laughter.  That kind of sums it up doesn't it?

Is it impossible for an orthodox, confessional Lutheran to avoid using masculine pronouns for God? I would like to know what distinguishes an orthodox, confession Lutheran from those who are not? Both Charles and I have stated that we are orthodox, confessional Lutherans. We subscribe to the ELCA's Confession of Faith.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: ptmccain on November 13, 2010, 10:08:04 AM
Yes, of course it is impossible Brian. Any "theologian" that makes it a point of "avoiding" the very language of the Bible certifies that he is not a Christian theologian.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: MaddogLutheran on November 13, 2010, 10:16:16 AM
So explain, Mr. Spatz, where the ELCA is "wrong about the chief doctrine of faith on which the church stands or falls". And if it is not.....
Not following you...I made no comment on the ELCA in that regard--I said you could substitute the RCC in your description.  My point was that the RCC being wrong on the most important point, justification by faith through grace, does not effect its ability to do similar (to the ELCA) wonderful things as well.  Being wrong theologically does not preclude doing observable good works, be it the RCC or ELCA.

I think you misread or just plain missed my point.

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 13, 2010, 10:20:57 AM
Yes, of course it is impossible Brian. Any "theologian" that makes it a point of "avoiding" the very language of the Bible certifies that he is not a Christian theologian.

The language of the Bible is Hebrew, Syriac, and Greek. In Greek, "hē" is the nominative, singular, feminine form of the definite article = "the", or the nominative, singular, feminine form of the relative pronoun = "who" or "which".
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: efretheim on November 13, 2010, 10:25:47 AM
"Amos" writes:
I was told on another post that no one is asking me to believe in goddess beads, or the risen christ sophia, or universal salvation.  That is true but apparently the ELCA church does because it continues to support these type of heresy.

I ask (once again):
Explain to me how you can say the ELCA "does" believe in those things. Show us from the ELCA statement of faith where those things appear. Now... if you want to ascribe "authenticity" to every idea ever implemented in every ELCA parish, you will have a 24/7 job of rooting out "heresy." Good luck with that.
What do you want? That no ELCA church anywhere will ever do something you don't like? That no ELCA theologian will ever raise a topic or write a book that bothers you?
If the Bishops take seriously their role of overseer of orthodoxy within the church, and pastor and teacher to pastors, then there are many to the 24/7 ob of rooting out heresy.  But more importantly, there would not be so much heresy to root out as being compasionate, caring, pastoral bishops, they would have gently guided their synond's pastors into the orthodox faith, and not left them dangling inheretical expressions abandoned and alone (or supported their searches for  alternatives to orthodoxy).
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: MaddogLutheran on November 13, 2010, 10:31:41 AM
And yet, when I've used "I" in this forum, I'm criticized for being too subjective, too self-centered, etc. There's almost nothing Charles or I can post without it being deemed wrong by someone.
Pastor Johnson is probably the best to comment further on this (as he has in the past), but I'd say criticism comes not so much from using "I", but because of what follows it, particularly when you implicitly cite yourself as authoritative.  I'd contrast this with Pr. Yakimow, who obviously shares his own thoughts as well, but usually is doing so by referencing several/numerous respected academic sources or Church Fathers in support of his position.  But then, he's one of those ivory tower professional grad students... ::)

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 13, 2010, 10:34:06 AM
And yet, when I've used "I" in this forum, I'm criticized for being too subjective, too self-centered, etc. There's almost nothing Charles or I can post without it being deemed wrong by someone.
Pastor Johnson is probably the best to comment further on this (as he has in the past), but I'd say criticism comes not so much from using "I", but because of what follows it, particularly when you implicitly cite yourself as authoritative.  I'd contrast this with Pr. Yakimow, who obviously shares his own thoughts as well, but usually is doing so by referencing several/numerous respected academic sources or Church Fathers in support of his position.  But then, he's one of those ivory tower professional grad students... ::)

Many of my posts are referencing scriptures. They rank above academic sources or Church Fathers.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 13, 2010, 10:43:36 AM
You brought it up, "Amos", or at least said it was a fair question. It is a simple question. Are you staying or are you leaving?


Ignore him Amos.  Charles always wants to make it about other people. The dead give away is the constant usage of "you."  Note the complete lack of the pronoun "I.". His former boss and later my mentor use to say to me it is interesting how poorly official communicators of the church communicate.  I'm thinking projection and lack of listening are part of the dynamic.



I second what Pastor Hughes says, Amos. The best way to handle Rev. Austin's presence on this forum is to ignore him. Never give him the satisfaction of any response. Any response you would offer only serves to facilitate his bad habits here.

Actually, I prefer to push Charles's buttons.  It makes the forum much more entertaining  8)
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: ptmccain on November 13, 2010, 10:49:23 AM
Well, there is that too.

 ;D
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 13, 2010, 01:33:02 PM

It doesn't track.

Try reading what Brian wrote a second time.  It tracks unless you step into the wrong room.  And FWIW, I did the same as you the first time I read it.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 13, 2010, 04:22:15 PM

It doesn't track.

Try reading what Brian wrote a second time.  It tracks unless you step into the wrong room.  And FWIW, I did the same as you the first time I read it.

Pax, Steven+

Oh, I get it. I had the same problem.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 13, 2010, 04:27:39 PM

It doesn't track.

Try reading what Brian wrote a second time.  It tracks unless you step into the wrong room.  And FWIW, I did the same as you the first time I read it.

Pax, Steven+

You see there was this priest, a rabbi and a recent elca seminary grad ...

Seriously, said recent grad was in the room with a group of us like minded folks.  He shared a story about how difficult it was to use confessional, orthodox (dare I say credal) language to name God.  One too many points taken off on a paper and he'd had it. Figured he had nothing to lose confronting his prof.

I went through the same thing in the early 90's at a Presbyterian seminary. There was a policy that the pronoun He could never be used when naming God.  After a "come to Jesus" conversation with a prof, that silliness at least ended for me. But then I was working on a doctorate, was already ordained in a different tradition and didn't need ffaculty approval to advance to the next hoop.d
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: James_Gale on November 13, 2010, 04:42:24 PM
Many of my posts are referencing scriptures. They rank above academic sources or Church Fathers.

Your posts rank where?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 13, 2010, 06:26:24 PM
Ponder.
Those of us who support the ELCA are supposed to be "sympathetic," "caring," "pastoral" and other warm and fuzzy words towards the traditionalists, respecting their views and their conscience. Should we speak sharp words to people we believe are unnecessarily paranoid or who claim that "their" church or "their" ministry is being taken from them, we are quickly chastised as brutes who don't understand the tears shed on that "other side".

Ponder.
But now it is said, regarding what I am posting: "Ignore him. Don't listen to him. And maybe he will go away." Or, "Let's have some fun by 'pushing his buttons.'"
You guys are really something.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Chuck Sampson on November 13, 2010, 06:37:25 PM
Ponder.
Those of us who support the ELCA are supposed to be "sympathetic," "caring," "pastoral" and other warm and fuzzy words towards the traditionalists, respecting their views and their conscience. Should we speak sharp words to people we believe are unnecessarily paranoid or who claim that "their" church or "their" ministry is being taken from them, we are quickly chastised as brutes who don't understand the tears shed on that "other side".

Ponder.
But now it is said, regarding what I am posting: "Ignore him. Don't listen to him. And maybe he will go away." Or, "Let's have some fun by 'pushing his buttons.'"
You guys are really something.

Well, I do admit to wishing that this message board had an "Ignore" function.   ::)
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: DCharlton on November 13, 2010, 09:07:08 PM
Is it impossible for an orthodox, confessional Lutheran to avoid using masculine pronouns for God?

The question was why a confessional Lutheran should be penalized for using masculine pronouns for God.  Why do seminaries feel they must require confessional Lutherans to avoid masculine pronouns?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: MaddogLutheran on November 13, 2010, 09:13:19 PM
And yet, when I've used "I" in this forum, I'm criticized for being too subjective, too self-centered, etc. There's almost nothing Charles or I can post without it being deemed wrong by someone.
Pastor Johnson is probably the best to comment further on this (as he has in the past), but I'd say criticism comes not so much from using "I", but because of what follows it, particularly when you implicitly cite yourself as authoritative.  I'd contrast this with Pr. Yakimow, who obviously shares his own thoughts as well, but usually is doing so by referencing several/numerous respected academic sources or Church Fathers in support of his position.  But then, he's one of those ivory tower professional grad students... ::)

Many of my posts are referencing scriptures. They rank above academic sources or Church Fathers.
Um, I would have thought I wouldn't have to says this, but...the academic sources or Church Fathers to which I referred previously also reference scriptures.  That's what would make them authoritative, for starters.  Just like our Confessions.  In a nutshell, a basic problem with your posts referencing scripture is that you claim to find things, meaning of words and all, that countless preceding generations apparently missed.  The recent discussion near the beginning of this thread about Isaiah and the Virgin birth being but one example.

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 14, 2010, 12:09:07 AM
Many of my posts are referencing scriptures. They rank above academic sources or Church Fathers.

Your posts rank where?

For some people, my posts are always rank. For others, they aren't so bad.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 14, 2010, 12:11:23 AM
Is it impossible for an orthodox, confessional Lutheran to avoid using masculine pronouns for God?

The question was why a confessional Lutheran should be penalized for using masculine pronouns for God.  Why do seminaries feel they must require confessional Lutherans to avoid masculine pronouns?

Because that is the stated policy of the ELCA. Consider what you might learn by following this rule of the ELCA and seminaries. Consider that you can ignore it once you're in the parish -- if the congregation will let you.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 14, 2010, 12:23:44 AM
And yet, when I've used "I" in this forum, I'm criticized for being too subjective, too self-centered, etc. There's almost nothing Charles or I can post without it being deemed wrong by someone.
Pastor Johnson is probably the best to comment further on this (as he has in the past), but I'd say criticism comes not so much from using "I", but because of what follows it, particularly when you implicitly cite yourself as authoritative.  I'd contrast this with Pr. Yakimow, who obviously shares his own thoughts as well, but usually is doing so by referencing several/numerous respected academic sources or Church Fathers in support of his position.  But then, he's one of those ivory tower professional grad students... ::)

Many of my posts are referencing scriptures. They rank above academic sources or Church Fathers.
Um, I would have thought I wouldn't have to says this, but...the academic sources or Church Fathers to which I referred previously also reference scriptures.  That's what would make them authoritative, for starters.  Just like our Confessions.  In a nutshell, a basic problem with your posts referencing scripture is that you claim to find things, meaning of words and all, that countless preceding generations apparently missed.  The recent discussion near the beginning of this thread about Isaiah and the Virgin birth being but one example.

I believe that I'm in good company with my translation of "young woman" and "is with child" and the promise that the two enemies of Ahaz will be defeated while the child is still a toddler. Note the boldfaced texts below.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted. (Isaiah 7:14-16 NRSV)

Because you do, the Lord of his own accord will give you a sign; it is this: A young woman is with child, and she will give birth to a son and call him Immanuel. By the time he has learnt to reject what is bad and choose what is good, he will be eating curds and honey; before that cild has learnt to reject evil and choose good, the territories of those two kings before whom you now cringe in fear will lie desolate. (Isaiah 7:14-16 REB)

The Lord will give you a sign in any case:
It is this: the young woman is with child
and will give birth to a son
whom she will call Immanuel.
On curds and honey will he feed
until he knows how to refuse the bad
and choose the good.
Before the child knows how to refuse the bad and choose the good,
the lands whose two kings are frightening you will be deserted. (Isaiah 7:14-16 NJB)

Assuredly, my Lord will give you a sign of His own accord! Look, the young woman is with child and about to give birth to a son. Let her name him Immanuel (By the time he learns to reject the bad and choose the good, people will be feeding on curds and honey.) For before the lad knows to reject the bad and choose the good, the ground whose two kings you dread shall be abandoned. (Isaiah 7:14-16 Jewish Publication Society)
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: amos on November 14, 2010, 01:39:30 AM
Pastor McCain and Pastor Hughs -- thank you.

Many years ago as a small child my mother once told me, "Never wrestle with a pig, you just get dirty and the pig likes it."   In a down home country way that advice still makes a lot of common sense.  Peace my friends. 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on November 14, 2010, 01:43:52 AM
Is it impossible for an orthodox, confessional Lutheran to avoid using masculine pronouns for God?

The question was why a confessional Lutheran should be penalized for using masculine pronouns for God.  Why do seminaries feel they must require confessional Lutherans to avoid masculine pronouns?

Because that is the stated policy of the ELCA.

   And this policy has been voted on and ratified by which Churchwide Assembly, the highest legislative authority in the ELCA? 

   Until then, it holds little authority outside of those trying to get published materials through the censors at AF, or assigned to preach at worship at a CWA service.  For everything else, it is a pious opinion only, and is at best adiaphora. 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: David M. Frye, OblSB on November 14, 2010, 07:17:08 AM
Any policy that would proscribe the use of "He" and "Him" to refer to the persons of the Trinity should outline a theology consistent with the Canon, Creeds, and Confessions. If it did not, it would stand as (another) ELCA policy that makes an assertion contrary to these foundational elements we hold as norms of our faith and life.

I would hope it would explain why those terms fail to speak faithfully "to, of, and for the Triune God" (Robert W. Jenson, "Speaking To, Of, and For the Triune God," audio recording, http://www.lutherancore.org/mp3/100825.3.Jenson.mp3 (http://www.lutherancore.org/mp3/100825.3.Jenson.mp3)).

Perhaps, in this case, the ELCA could exercise patience and forbearance, traveling the globe first, making the case to the whole Church for the wisdom and fidelity of this revision to the Tradition, rather than setting off on a path by itself, or with only a few other practitioners of "new things."

But I am not hopeful (about this).

Is it impossible for an orthodox, confessional Lutheran to avoid using masculine pronouns for God?

The question was why a confessional Lutheran should be penalized for using masculine pronouns for God.  Why do seminaries feel they must require confessional Lutherans to avoid masculine pronouns?

Because that is the stated policy of the ELCA.

   And this policy has been voted on and ratified by which Churchwide Assembly, the highest legislative authority in the ELCA? 

   Until then, it holds little authority outside of those trying to get published materials through the censors at AF, or assigned to preach at worship at a CWA service.  For everything else, it is a pious opinion only, and is at best adiaphora. 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 14, 2010, 08:35:25 AM
If seminary professors are hassling students for using masculine references for God, that is stupid, un-Biblical, unconfessional, and a pain in the posterior. It should be stopped.
If seminary professors are hassling students for only using masculine references for God, that is teaching and preparing them for life in the real world.
 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 14, 2010, 08:41:47 AM
Is it impossible for an orthodox, confessional Lutheran to avoid using masculine pronouns for God?

The question was why a confessional Lutheran should be penalized for using masculine pronouns for God.  Why do seminaries feel they must require confessional Lutherans to avoid masculine pronouns?

Because that is the stated policy of the ELCA.

   And this policy has been voted on and ratified by which Churchwide Assembly, the highest legislative authority in the ELCA? 

   Until then, it holds little authority outside of those trying to get published materials through the censors at AF, or assigned to preach at worship at a CWA service.  For everything else, it is a pious opinion only, and is at best adiaphora. 

By that logic, Vision and Expectations and Definition and Guidelines are only pious opinions and at best adiaphora; and thus shouldn't be causing such a rift in the ELCA. Neither the old nor revised ones have been voted on and ratified by a CWA.

Within our structure we have authorized the Church Council to make decisions on behalf of the whole ELCA between CWA.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 14, 2010, 08:44:08 AM
Never having attended an ELCA seminary, I'm a bit confused.  If it is wrong to only use masculine pronouns for God, what other pronouns are we to use?  In my long ago days of learning English grammer there were only 4 kinds of pronouns, masculine, feminine, neuter, and indefinite (like "who").  The indefinite are of limited usefulness without painfully twisting the language, neuter is more often used of inanimate objects but I suppose if you really wanted to you could start calling God "it".  That leaves feminine to alternate with masculine.  Is that what ELCA seminaries and official policy are recommending, that we start refering to God on a regular basis as "she" and "her"?

Dan
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 14, 2010, 08:57:08 AM
Pastor Fienen, I don't know were you have been for the past 20+ years, but these matters have been discussed for a very long time.

Here are some paragraphs from various parts of the ELCA website. I do not know what "standing" any of the documents have.

The use of masculine terms to describe humankind should also be avoided. While in the past, the "generic masculine" was understood to include persons of both genders, this is no longer true. Generic use of terms such as man, mankind, forefathers, brothers, are readily replaced by human, humanity, people, ancestors, or forbearers, brothers and sisters.

Language Describing God
Language used to describe God is just that — descriptive, not literal. Scripture provides us with rich and expansive images to describe God, including: eagle (Deuteronomy 32:11-12) baker (Matthew 13;33) hen (Matthew 23:27) wind (Acts 2:2) bread (John 6;33-35) rock (Isaiah 17:10) and light (John 8:12).

Assigning male pronouns to human occupations (such as judge, teacher, potter, guard) or to objects (fortress, rock, shield) should be avoided when they are used as metaphors for God.


Language Addressing God
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus addressed God as abba, "father." This address does not ascribe human male sexuality to God but is an intimate address that is suggestive of the loving and trusting relationship between parent and child.


The image of father used by Jesus draws upon the deepest and most human of all relationships — that of parent to child. God traditionally has been called "father" in worship to convey the intimate relationship between God and the church. The metaphorical use of the term "father" continues to be used in worship, alongside many other biblical metaphors for God. However, because sin can distort even the fundamental relationships of parents to children, the image of a father may be difficult to comprehend for some who have experienced alienation in their relationship to a human father.

Titles that suggest the activity of God may be used to address God. Such titles include Advocate, Healer, Savior, and Refuge. Many biblical titles for God are also available; They include Adonai, Source of Life, Root of Jesse, and Alpha and Omega.

Similes may be used to address God. For example, "God who cares for us as a mother hen cares for her chicks" or "God, who watches over us as a sentinel standing watch by night. . . . "

Second-person pronouns, instead of gender specific and third person pronouns, may be used to address God.

Language Referring to Jesus
Jesus came to earth as a male human being, therefore the pronoun "he" is used appropriately when referring to Jesus. However, the humanness of Jesus has always been viewed as more significant than his male gender. The christological categories used by the church (human and divine natures, humanity and divinity) clearly show that the central doctrines of the faith are based upon Jesus’ humanness, not his maleness. Although the use of male pronouns is appropriate when referring to Jesus, care should be taken to find other ways to speak of Jesus that emphasize humanness rather than maleness.

Language Addressing Jesus
The Scriptures provide many forms of address for Jesus. A significant confessional address is "Jesus is Lord." Many other forms of address using nonmasculine imagery should be used along with masculine forms for balance. Other forms of addressing Jesus include using Christ, Teacher, Emmanuel, Savior, Redeemer, and Word.

Language Referring to the Spirit
The Scriptures use both the Greek neuter word pneuma and the Hebrew feminine word ruach to describe the Spirit. Throughout the history of the church, feminine pronouns have often been employed in reference to the Spirit. Some see this usage as balancing the masculine Father and Son references. Just as masculine terms are used metaphorically, so are feminine. The use of feminine pronouns does not assign human female sexual being to God’s Spirit, which is beyond human gender.


Now, you may disagree with any of these, but some of us have been involved in this discussion for a long long time.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 14, 2010, 08:59:33 AM
Any policy that would proscribe the use of "He" and "Him" to refer to the persons of the Trinity should outline a theology consistent with the Canon, Creeds, and Confessions. If it did not, it would stand as (another) ELCA policy that makes an assertion contrary to these foundational elements we hold as norms of our faith and life.

The official statement from ELCA Publication Standards is: We avoid exclusive or excessive use of masculine images for God and of gender-specific pronouns in reference to God, except in direct quotations from the Bible or other primary sources. (boldface added)

We do not proscribe the use of "he" and "him" (and when they are used, even for the deity, they are not capitalized according to the Standards,) but we "avoid" exclusive or excessive use of them. In addition, any time one is quoting a primary source about the Trinity and it uses "he" or "him" it should be quoted with those words. A seminarian should challenge a teacher if the objection is over a quote from a primary source that uses "he" or "him" or other masculine term for God. Otherwise, make it an exercise to find ways of talking about God in decent English that avoid masculine pronouns. Often, like with John 3:16, replacing all the "he's" with "God" is not decent English -- and when quoting the passage, one shouldn't change the translation.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 14, 2010, 09:11:11 AM
Never having attended an ELCA seminary, I'm a bit confused.  If it is wrong to only use masculine pronouns for God, what other pronouns are we to use?  

Try writing sentences that avoid using pronouns. Or in cases of people when gender doesn't matter, use plurals, e.g., "children" rather than "a child" so that the pronoun is the genderless "they" rather than picking "he" or "she". In some context, talking about God in the third person can be changed to talking to God in the second person. The second person pronouns, you, your, are genderless.

I don't know about others, but often when writing sermons when "he" or "she" is the grammatically correct pronoun, but I'm not talking about a particular male or female, I go back to see if the antecedent can be changed to a plural or if the sentence can be rewritten to avoid the use of those pronouns (and it isn't just in reference to God, either.)
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 14, 2010, 09:35:01 AM

Because that is the stated policy of the ELCA.

Nonsense.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 14, 2010, 09:36:45 AM

Within our structure we have authorized the Church Council to make decisions on behalf of the whole ELCA between CWA.

Please cite the action of the Church Council that mandated that seminary students avoid use of masculine pronouns for God.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 14, 2010, 10:04:16 AM
Pastor McCain and Pastor Hughs -- thank you.

Many years ago as a small child my mother once told me, "Never wrestle with a pig, you just get dirty and the pig likes it."   In a down home country way that advice still makes a lot of common sense.  Peace my friends. 

Jacob thought he was wrestling with another man, but discovered that he was really wrestling with God -- and he was blessed and forever changed by this encounter. That is an illustration I use of Bible study. While we think we are wrestling with the words of the humans who wrote them, we discover that we are wrestling with God and God blesses and changes us through the encounter.

By avoiding wrestling matches, we may be missing encounters with God and blessings God may want to give us.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 14, 2010, 10:07:29 AM

Because that is the stated policy of the ELCA.

Nonsense.

ELCA Publishing Standards Manual (2003 Edition) is intended to serve as the primary source of standards
applicable to all resources produced by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

The manual is the latest in the series of style guidelines for ELCA resources. In contrast to previous
guidelines that focused exclusively on matters of editorial style, this manual also contains additional
ELCA policies that are applicable to resource content. It consists of materials provided by many ELCA
churchwide units, and has been thoroughly reviewed by ELCA staff members with editorial and policy
responsibilities.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 14, 2010, 10:11:05 AM

Within our structure we have authorized the Church Council to make decisions on behalf of the whole ELCA between CWA.

Please cite the action of the Church Council that mandated that seminary students avoid use of masculine pronouns for God.

The ELCA through its staff members have stated the publishing standards of the ELCA. While I can find no reference that they were approved by the Church Council, they have been reviewed by "many churchwide units" and staff who are responsible for "editorial and policy responsibilities."

I stand by my statement, that this document presents the editorial and publishing policies of the ELCA. It seems reasonable to think that seminaries would follow them.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: efretheim on November 14, 2010, 11:50:06 AM
Never having attended an ELCA seminary, I'm a bit confused.  If it is wrong to only use masculine pronouns for God, what other pronouns are we to use?  In my long ago days of learning English grammer there were only 4 kinds of pronouns, masculine, feminine, neuter, and indefinite (like "who").  The indefinite are of limited usefulness without painfully twisting the language, neuter is more often used of inanimate objects but I suppose if you really wanted to you could start calling God "it".  That leaves feminine to alternate with masculine.  Is that what ELCA seminaries and official policy are recommending, that we start refering to God on a regular basis as "she" and "her"?

Dan
Anyone who has had a solid core of grammar instruction (woefully uncommon now days) knows that for animate objects in the English language, the neuter takes the form of the masculine.  So if we were to refer to God in the neuter, we would say "He is great!"  If we refer to him as "it", then we infer that God is inannimate.  It is like referring to a corpse.  We use the term "it" for the corpse, but "he" for the person which resided in the corpse (unless it was the corpse of a woman - although if it was unknown the proper term would be "he").  In the last few decades there have been many people who don't like the reality of the language and seek to ignore it.  That doesn't mean it isn't so, it just means that people have chosen to be ignorant, and have either deliberately mislead others, or have done so because they were themselves mislead.

The irony is that had they chosen to do so, those who insist God be referred to in the neuter could have had it their way all along simply be pretending that the "He" was the neuter "he" rather than the masculine.  Off course from the Latin and Greek, we know that not to be so, but they could have as handily ignored that as they do pretty much everything else they don't like.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 14, 2010, 03:16:11 PM
Never having attended an ELCA seminary, I'm a bit confused.  If it is wrong to only use masculine pronouns for God, what other pronouns are we to use?  In my long ago days of learning English grammer there were only 4 kinds of pronouns, masculine, feminine, neuter, and indefinite (like "who").  The indefinite are of limited usefulness without painfully twisting the language, neuter is more often used of inanimate objects but I suppose if you really wanted to you could start calling God "it".  That leaves feminine to alternate with masculine.  Is that what ELCA seminaries and official policy are recommending, that we start refering to God on a regular basis as "she" and "her"?

Dan
Anyone who has had a solid core of grammar instruction (woefully uncommon now days) knows that for animate objects in the English language, the neuter takes the form of the masculine.  So if we were to refer to God in the neuter, we would say "He is great!"  If we refer to him as "it", then we infer that God is inannimate.  It is like referring to a corpse.  We use the term "it" for the corpse, but "he" for the person which resided in the corpse (unless it was the corpse of a woman - although if it was unknown the proper term would be "he").  In the last few decades there have been many people who don't like the reality of the language and seek to ignore it.  That doesn't mean it isn't so, it just means that people have chosen to be ignorant, and have either deliberately mislead others, or have done so because they were themselves mislead.

Nope. There was a time when, for example, churches, ships, countries and cities were considered feminine, and she was the appropriate pronoun for them.

From The New Oxford American Dictionary, © 2001 under usage of he: "Until recently, he was used uncontroversially to refer to a person of unspecified sex, as in every child needs to know that he is loved. This use has become problematic and is a hallmark of old-fashionedness and sexism in language. Use of they as an alternative to he in this sense (everyone needs to feel that they matter) has been in use since the 16th century in contexts where it occurs after an indefinite pronoun such as everyone or someone. It is becoming more and more accepted both in speech and in writing and is used as the norm in this dictionary. Another acceptable alternative is he or she, although this can become tiresomely long-winded when used frequently."

This dictionary includes "s/he" as an entry: "a written representation of "he or she" used as a neutral alternative to indicate someone of either sex."

The grammar instruction of which you speak, was considered "old-fashioned" and "sexist" even ten years ago.

Quote
The irony is that had they chosen to do so, those who insist God be referred to in the neuter could have had it their way all along simply be pretending that the "He" was the neuter "he" rather than the masculine.  Off course from the Latin and Greek, we know that not to be so, but they could have as handily ignored that as they do pretty much everything else they don't like.

The irony of your statement is that in Greek, the word for "S/spirit" is neuter -- and all Greek pronouns related to Spirit are neuter, but English translations do not translate them as "it". In Hebrew, the word for S/spirit is feminine and all Hebrew pronouns related to Spirit are feminine, but English translations do not translate them as "she".
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Weedon on November 14, 2010, 05:41:12 PM
All Greek pronouns referring to the Holy Spirit are neuter???  Look again at John 15:26!  The Spirit of truth whom I will send from the Father, THAT ONE [masculine!] will bear witness of me.  Look at John 16:13 and you'll see it again - the reflexive (about himself) is masculine though the referent is the Spirit (neuter).
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 14, 2010, 05:58:39 PM
Now Will, don't confuse him with the facts . . .
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Scott6 on November 14, 2010, 06:14:44 PM
In Hebrew, the word for S/spirit is feminine and all Hebrew pronouns related to Spirit are feminine, but English translations do not translate them as "she".

No. Ruach is both feminine (usually) and masculine (uncommonly).
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 14, 2010, 07:19:43 PM
If seminary professors are hassling students for using masculine references for God, that is stupid, un-Biblical, unconfessional, and a pain in the posterior. It should be stopped.
If seminary professors are hassling students for only using masculine references for God, that is teaching and preparing them for life in the real world.
 

The former was old news when I entered seminary in 1988.  And, you're right, it should be stopped. 


As for the latter, "hassling" and "teaching" are two quite different things.  Unless one is teaching the application of naked power over one's subjects.  I'm not sure which "real world" that is an appropriate teaching for Christians, but North America ought not be like that. 

And as for "only using masculine references for God," seems to me that the Bible itself would be a fine guide for determining an acceptable ratio.  Now, of all the references to God, how many don't use a grammatical gender that is not masculine?

spt+
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 14, 2010, 07:22:44 PM

Here are some paragraphs from various parts of the ELCA website. I do not know what "standing" any of the documents have.

The use of masculine terms to describe humankind should also be avoided. While in the past, the "generic masculine" was understood to include persons of both genders, this is no longer true....


Make up your mind, Charles.  Should we be prepared to minister in the real world, or the one described on the ELCA's website?

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 14, 2010, 07:34:04 PM

This dictionary includes "s/he" as an entry: "a written representation of "he or she" used as a neutral alternative to indicate someone of either sex."


I still prefer writer (and feminist!) Harlan Ellison's written use of "s/h/it" in such situations.

spt+
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: DCharlton on November 14, 2010, 09:45:08 PM
If seminary professors are hassling students for using masculine references for God, that is stupid, un-Biblical, unconfessional, and a pain in the posterior. It should be stopped.
If seminary professors are hassling students for only using masculine references for God, that is teaching and preparing them for life in the real world.
 

Your first sentence describes the regular although not universal practice at Trinity Lutheran Seminary when I attended it 20 years ago.

Your second sentence is more debatable.  Inclusive language is a reality in the ELCA and students should understand it and be able to use it.  However, a strident insistence on inclusive language often creates problems for seminarians when they go out "into the real world."  (I know of classmates whose habit of interrupting others to correct their non-inclusive speech didn't go over well in the parish)  Finally, hassling students for only using masculine references to the first and second persons of the Trinity would be exacltly the attack on orthodoxy that many fear. 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 14, 2010, 11:50:24 PM
All Greek pronouns referring to the Holy Spirit are neuter???  Look again at John 15:26!  The Spirit of truth whom I will send from the Father, THAT ONE [masculine!] will bear witness of me.  Look at John 16:13 and you'll see it again - the reflexive (about himself) is masculine though the referent is the Spirit (neuter).

In John 15:26, ἐκεῖνος like ὅ and ὅν in the verse, refer back to ὁ παράκλητος, which is masculine. ἐκεῖνος in 16:13, like ἐκεῖνος in v. 8, refer back to ὁ παράκλητος in v. 7.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 14, 2010, 11:52:44 PM
In Hebrew, the word for S/spirit is feminine and all Hebrew pronouns related to Spirit are feminine, but English translations do not translate them as "she".

No. Ruach is both feminine (usually) and masculine (uncommonly).

We also have an instance where θεὀς, which is usually masculine, is used to refer to a female God by using the female definite article (Acts 19:37).
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 14, 2010, 11:53:06 PM
Now Will, don't confuse him with the facts . . .

If only he were accurately reporting the facts.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Scott6 on November 15, 2010, 07:40:07 AM
All Greek pronouns referring to the Holy Spirit are neuter???  Look again at John 15:26!  The Spirit of truth whom I will send from the Father, THAT ONE [masculine!] will bear witness of me.  Look at John 16:13 and you'll see it again - the reflexive (about himself) is masculine though the referent is the Spirit (neuter).

In John 15:26, ἐκεῖνος like ὅ and ὅν in the verse, refer back to ὁ παράκλητος, which is masculine. ἐκεῖνος in 16:13, like ἐκεῖνος in v. 8, refer back to ὁ παράκλητος in v. 7.

Re: John 15.26, not quite.  The ὅ refers to τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας (the Spirit of Truth) and is neuter.  ἐκεῖνος, on the other hand, does refer to the παράκλητος, though the πνεῦμα is in apposition and could be considered a compound subject.

Re: John 16:13, the πνεῦμα is nearest at hand and could be considered the grammatical subject except for the fact that the masc pronoun doesn't agree with the neut subject.  Which is what would cause you to search around for something masc, such as ὁ παράκλητος.  Which leaves you begging the question, of course.

But in both cases, John identified that to which he was referring both with masculine (the Advocate) and neuter (the Spirit) nouns.  Both refer to the Holy Spirit.

Re: your citation of Acts 19:37, I wasn't aware that θεὀς was Hebrew and related to ruach.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 15, 2010, 08:38:39 AM
Ponder.
Those of us who support the ELCA are supposed to be "sympathetic," "caring," "pastoral" and other warm and fuzzy words towards the traditionalists, respecting their views and their conscience. Should we speak sharp words to people we believe are unnecessarily paranoid or who claim that "their" church or "their" ministry is being taken from them, we are quickly chastised as brutes who don't understand the tears shed on that "other side".

Ponder.
But now it is said, regarding what I am posting: "Ignore him. Don't listen to him. And maybe he will go away." Or, "Let's have some fun by 'pushing his buttons.'"
You guys are really something.

Charles, I for one no longer ask you or anyone "on the other side" to be sympathetic and caring.  The time for that is long past.  I'm tired of being beaten up at synodical gatherings and having my viewpoints dismissed at conference meetings.

As to pushing your buttons, it was a moment of levity.  And are you honestly going to tell me that this is not what happens whenever someone posts something here that YOU disagree with?  I mean, lets be serious here:  You can't even reply to anything I write by using my forum name...  And for the record, I am a Coach AND have the title of Reverend, so the name is accurate.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 15, 2010, 08:46:53 AM
It also seems the discussion on masculine pronouns here shows, yet again, the rift between those who wish to accommodate to an ever changing world view versus those who believe the church and the Gospel stand apart and opposed to a secularized world view.  Just because newer dictionaries and english primers say that it is no longer appropriate does not make it so.   I would defer to Jim Nestingen, who in class one day (no need to discuss how long ago that was  :D ) said that "victims of incest take great delight in referring to God as their father, since their own abusive father was such a b#st@rd!"
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 15, 2010, 08:56:08 AM
Someone writes:
You can't even reply to anything I write by using my forum name...  And for the record, I am a Coach AND have the title of Reverend, so the name is accurate.

I comment:
The description may be accurate, but the name is still missing. You have only been on this forum for less than three weeks, so you can be excused for not knowing that this is a discussion going back many years and that I consistently and frequently argue that people taking part in this forum, involving brother and sister Lutherans, pastors and lay people concerned for their church, should be open and honest about who they are.
I know of no reason why ninety-nine percent of the people posting here should not be open about who they are in this discussion.
I'm sorry if you feel "beaten up" at synodical gatherings. If people are whopping away on you, that is wrong. On the other hand, sometimes we must  take a little heat for our convictions. Pastor Stoffregen and I (two certain "types" in this discussion) have certainly done so for a number of years.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on November 15, 2010, 09:11:45 AM
Someone writes:
You can't even reply to anything I write by using my forum name...  And for the record, I am a Coach AND have the title of Reverend, so the name is accurate.

I comment:
The description may be accurate, but the name is still missing. You have only been on this forum for less than three weeks, so you can be excused for not knowing that this is a discussion going back many years and that I consistently and frequently argue that people taking part in this forum, involving brother and sister Lutherans, pastors and lay people concerned for their church, should be open and honest about who they are.
I know of no reason why ninety-nine percent of the people posting here should not be open about who they are in this discussion.
I'm sorry if you feel "beaten up" at synodical gatherings. If people are whopping away on you, that is wrong. On the other hand, sometimes we must  take a little heat for our convictions. Pastor Stoffregen and I (two certain "types" in this discussion) have certainly done so for a number of years.


There is a distinction to be made, however, between a compulsory function like a Synod Assembly, an event that is "highly recomended" like a Synodical continuing education event or Bishop's convocation, and something that is completely voluntary and in which nobody would really count it against you if you (a) didn't show up or (b) kept quiet...

Like this forum, for example.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 15, 2010, 09:17:47 AM
Pastor Kliner writes (re my protest against anonymity, I think):
There is a distinction to be made, however, between a compulsory function like a Synod Assembly, an event that is "highly recomended" like a Synodical continuing education event or Bishop's convocation, and something that is completely voluntary and in which nobody would really count it against you if you (a) didn't show up or (b) kept quiet...
Like this forum, for example.

I comment:
I don't get this. No one should get "beat up" in any forum of fellow Lutherans. But sometimes one takes the "blows" for the sake of expressing one's conviction and bearing the consequences. My main complaint over many years has been that the only reason people ever give for hiding behind a screen name is that they are afraid of what might happen if their views are known. I find that unacceptable.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 15, 2010, 10:14:42 AM

As to pushing your buttons, it was a moment of levity.  And are you honestly going to tell me that this is not what happens whenever someone posts something here that YOU disagree with?  I mean, lets be serious here:  You can't even reply to anything I write by using my forum name...  And for the record, I am a Coach AND have the title of Reverend, so the name is accurate.

 He'll quote church law at you and fume about your name, but never actually say anything theologically grounded - well, at least of any depth.  Like I suggested to Amos, ignore him. 

 As per blacklisted, well of course that is the reality of anyone who has made the mistake of publicly seeking to hold back the weirdness inside the ELCA.  It will only get worse.  So if you are seeking a call right now, I wouldn't let Charles bait me into doing something as foolish as using my real name either.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: FatherWilliam57 on November 15, 2010, 10:21:19 AM
My main complaint over many years has been that the only reason people ever give for hiding behind a screen name is that they are afraid of what might happen if their views are known. I find that unacceptable.

Of course, when journalists make regular use of "unnamed sources," that would be a totally different kettle of (red herring) fish.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Team Hesse on November 15, 2010, 10:27:21 AM
Pastor Kliner writes (re my protest against anonymity, I think):
There is a distinction to be made, however, between a compulsory function like a Synod Assembly, an event that is "highly recomended" like a Synodical continuing education event or Bishop's convocation, and something that is completely voluntary and in which nobody would really count it against you if you (a) didn't show up or (b) kept quiet...
Like this forum, for example.

I comment:
I don't get this. No one should get "beat up" in any forum of fellow Lutherans. But sometimes one takes the "blows" for the sake of expressing one's conviction and bearing the consequences. My main complaint over many years has been that the only reason people ever give for hiding behind a screen name is that they are afraid of what might happen if their views are known. I find that unacceptable.

So go do something about it --you know, advocate with your colleagues, offer synod resolutions, stand in solidarity with the victims, advocate for justice until this wrong is righted--stop blaming the victims and help move your communion to greater heights of full inclusion. Actually try to be an example of a suffering servant for the sake of your neighbor. Give it a try and maybe you will come to understand why some are the way they are. Quit posing.

Lou
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 15, 2010, 10:36:07 AM
Pastor Henry writes:
Of course, when journalists make regular use of "unnamed sources," that would be a totally different kettle of (red herring) fish.

I comment:
First, we do not make "regular" use of unnamed sources. Second, when we do, our editors know who the source is. Third, the reason is never just to "protect" the source, but to obtain information that might not otherwise be available.
What reason do you see here for someone not posting under their own name?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 15, 2010, 10:36:22 AM
Or, if anyone wants a perspective on the nature of Pastor Hughes postings here (in his current incarnation, he has been in and out in other personas), you would find, if you looked at his last 100 postings:
*Mostly 1-line or 2-line comments;
*at least (by my rough count) 21 postings (21!) telling all present that I am no theologian;
*gossip about a rumor; and
*a batch of quick jabs at the church body to which he belongs.
And if anyone can find among these jabberings, something "theologically grounded" in anything but Pastor Hughes' personal musings, please let me know.
Good grief.
 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 15, 2010, 10:42:18 AM
Lou writes (to me) I think:
So go do something about it --you know, advocate with your colleagues, offer synod resolutions, stand in solidarity with the victims, advocate for justice until this wrong is righted--stop blaming the victims and help move your communion to greater heights of full inclusion. Actually try to be an example of a suffering servant for the sake of your neighbor. Give it a try and maybe you will come to understand why some are the way they are. Quit posing.

I comment:
O.k., gladly. But in my synod, I have not seen anyone beat up at synod assemblies because of their "traditionalist" views; nor have I seen that in my regular pastors' study group, nor have I seen it in our workshops or other synodical events. As noted far upstream, some of us did our "suffering" in the past as we became advocates for racial justice, peace, liturgical renewal, ecumenical progress and women pastors.
Posing? No.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: RevSteve on November 15, 2010, 10:43:58 AM
Pastor Kliner writes (re my protest against anonymity, I think):
There is a distinction to be made, however, between a compulsory function like a Synod Assembly, an event that is "highly recomended" like a Synodical continuing education event or Bishop's convocation, and something that is completely voluntary and in which nobody would really count it against you if you (a) didn't show up or (b) kept quiet...
Like this forum, for example.

I comment:
I don't get this. No one should get "beat up" in any forum of fellow Lutherans. But sometimes one takes the "blows" for the sake of expressing one's conviction and bearing the consequences. My main complaint over many years has been that the only reason people ever give for hiding behind a screen name is that they are afraid of what might happen if their views are known. I find that unacceptable.

So go do something about it --you know, advocate with your colleagues, offer synod resolutions, stand in solidarity with the victims, advocate for justice until this wrong is righted--stop blaming the victims and help move your communion to greater heights of full inclusion. Actually try to be an example of a suffering servant for the sake of your neighbor. Give it a try and maybe you will come to understand why some are the way they are. Quit posing.

Lou


Amen Lou!!!
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 15, 2010, 10:47:26 AM

As to pushing your buttons, it was a moment of levity.  And are you honestly going to tell me that this is not what happens whenever someone posts something here that YOU disagree with?  I mean, lets be serious here:  You can't even reply to anything I write by using my forum name...  And for the record, I am a Coach AND have the title of Reverend, so the name is accurate.

 He'll quote church law at you and fume about your name, but never actually say anything theologically grounded - well, at least of any depth.  Like I suggested to Amos, ignore him. 

 As per blacklisted, well of course that is the reality of anyone who has made the mistake of publicly seeking to hold back the weirdness inside the ELCA.  It will only get worse.  So if you are seeking a call right now, I wouldn't let Charles bait me into doing something as foolish as using my real name either.

Brian, your continued disrespectful comments are skating close to the edge of a time out. We are all aware of your lack of respect for Pr. Austin, and it is unnecessary for you to continue to display it.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 15, 2010, 10:50:45 AM

I'm sorry if you feel "beaten up" at synodical gatherings. If people are whopping away on you, that is wrong.

Your offering here on ALPB Forum Online might carry a bit more weight if I didn't know several pastors from your own New Jersey Synod who have tired of being "beaten up" at synodical gatherings for expressing their "traditionalist" views.

spt+
Who observes that the using of "handles" on boards such as this has been a normative practice since they were invented, and thus can't understand why the veteran Charles Austin is so huffy about it here.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: RevSteve on November 15, 2010, 10:53:06 AM
Lou writes (to me) I think:
So go do something about it --you know, advocate with your colleagues, offer synod resolutions, stand in solidarity with the victims, advocate for justice until this wrong is righted--stop blaming the victims and help move your communion to greater heights of full inclusion. Actually try to be an example of a suffering servant for the sake of your neighbor. Give it a try and maybe you will come to understand why some are the way they are. Quit posing.

I comment:
O.k., gladly. But in my synod, I have not seen anyone beat up at synod assemblies because of their "traditionalist" views; nor have I seen that in my regular pastors' study group, nor have I seen it in our workshops or other synodical events. As noted far upstream, some of us did our "suffering" in the past as we became advocates for racial justice, peace, liturgical renewal, ecumenical progress and women pastors.
Posing? No.

Yeah because the good bishop could always be relied upon to put barriers in front of traditionalist pastors in a way that could be seen by all. Yeah I am sure there is a word for this attitude but the image in the link below just seems to convey it better than any word I could come up with.

http://www.uknowhy.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/035ostrich_468x538.jpg
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 15, 2010, 10:53:56 AM
Steven writes:
Your offering here on ALPB Forum Online might carry a bit more weight if I didn't know several pastors from your own New Jersey Synod who have tired of being "beaten up" at synodical gatherings .

I comment:
If it happened in any public forum, such as the floor of a synod assembly, or a synodical event, I did not see it. And if I did, I would protest it. Furthermore, as we see on this forum, for some being criticized in whatever tone of voice can be perceived as a "beating." I do not believe that a single church in my synod has taken or is considering taking a vote to leave the ELCA.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on November 15, 2010, 10:55:49 AM
Pastor Kliner writes (re my protest against anonymity, I think):
There is a distinction to be made, however, between a compulsory function like a Synod Assembly, an event that is "highly recomended" like a Synodical continuing education event or Bishop's convocation, and something that is completely voluntary and in which nobody would really count it against you if you (a) didn't show up or (b) kept quiet...
Like this forum, for example.

I comment:
I don't get this. No one should get "beat up" in any forum of fellow Lutherans. But sometimes one takes the "blows" for the sake of expressing one's conviction and bearing the consequences. My main complaint over many years has been that the only reason people ever give for hiding behind a screen name is that they are afraid of what might happen if their views are known. I find that unacceptable.


Actually, just to be clear, I was protesting your drawing equivalence between what you and Brian choose to do on this forum (which is completely voluntary) versus those of us who have had to endure contempt and ridicule at the hands of colleagues and even Bishops at Synodical functions.

Even when we choose to "keep our heads down and our mouths shut," often times we have to endure snide comments, rudeness, and ridicule from our opponents.  Most times I go to Synod Assemblies seeking only to have friendly conversation with my colleagues (most of whom I only get to see on rare occassions), only to have to endure the (usually mis-informed) comments of those who want to opine about the dreaded "conservatives," the "closed minded leagalists," and those misguided souls who have left the ELCA because they "hate" homosexuals.  But this is old stuff and I digress.

I don't mind taking the heat for my beliefs.  Never have.  That's why sometimes I post here and sometimes I don't.  But that's my choice.  But Synodical functions I have less freedom about... sometimes none.  

That...was...my...point.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 15, 2010, 10:59:27 AM
And you do not see those occasions as opportunities for you to express your views, correct misconceptions, and prove that there is no need to "dread" conservatives or that you are not a "close-minded legalist"? That's really sad. Sounds like you are missing some good opportunities. Why?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 15, 2010, 11:00:38 AM

This dictionary includes "s/he" as an entry: "a written representation of "he or she" used as a neutral alternative to indicate someone of either sex."


I still prefer writer (and feminist!) Harlan Ellison's written use of "s/h/it" in such situations.

spt+

 ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 15, 2010, 11:04:12 AM

The description may be accurate, but the name is still missing. You have only been on this forum for less than three weeks, so you can be excused for not knowing that this is a discussion going back many years and that I consistently and frequently tiresomely and obsessively argue that people taking part in this forum, involving brother and sister Lutherans, pastors and lay people concerned for their church, should be open and honest about who they are.

Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on November 15, 2010, 11:07:03 AM
And you do not see those occasions as opportunities for you to express your views, correct misconceptions, and prove that there is no need to "dread" conservatives or that you are not a "close-minded legalist"? That's really sad. Sounds like you are missing some good opportunities. Why?

In a word: No.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: David M. Frye, OblSB on November 15, 2010, 11:20:48 AM
Charles helped the discussion by citing the notes below from the ELCA Web site.

The first sentence of the second block of text shows where the ELCA's theology of language used to speak to God goes awry. It begins with "The image of father." When Jesus tells his followers, and all of us who overhear him, how to pray, he gives us the name to use, not an image to use. Thus "Father" is the proper name of the first person of the Trinity, not an image used to suggest qualities of the first person of the Trinity. As Dr. Jenson pointed out in his lecture in Columbus in August, giving us the name "Father" is the one new thing in the prayer. The rest is simply a compilation of what faithful Jews had always prayed.

So, when we understand that the name is Father, certain pronouns follow directly. Those pronouns point to the name. Those pronouns are "He" and "Him."


Here are some paragraphs from various parts of the ELCA website. I do not know what "standing" any of the documents have.

Language Addressing God
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus addressed God as abba, "father." This address does not ascribe human male sexuality to God but is an intimate address that is suggestive of the loving and trusting relationship between parent and child.


The image of father used by Jesus draws upon the deepest and most human of all relationships — that of parent to child. God traditionally has been called "father" in worship to convey the intimate relationship between God and the church. The metaphorical use of the term "father" continues to be used in worship, alongside many other biblical metaphors for God. However, because sin can distort even the fundamental relationships of parents to children, the image of a father may be difficult to comprehend for some who have experienced alienation in their relationship to a human father.

Titles that suggest the activity of God may be used to address God. Such titles include Advocate, Healer, Savior, and Refuge. Many biblical titles for God are also available; They include Adonai, Source of Life, Root of Jesse, and Alpha and Omega.

Similes may be used to address God. For example, "God who cares for us as a mother hen cares for her chicks" or "God, who watches over us as a sentinel standing watch by night. . . . "

Second-person pronouns, instead of gender specific and third person pronouns, may be used to address God.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 15, 2010, 12:13:52 PM

In a word: No.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS


 In the overall scheme of things, indeed no.  The way forward for the ELCA has been determined.  Latest stat I saw on Breen's site 3DM concludes 4% of Gen Y were likely to have been in a church this past weekend.  Therefore, the most productive use of our time will be expended reaching that generation, not continuing to be involved in unproductive conflicts.  The "winner" of the current conflict will be revealed in another twenty years. Historically thus far it has been the  confessional, faithful disciple producing traditions which have prevailed across the many centuries.  Time to invest elsewhere, yes?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: RogerMartim on November 15, 2010, 01:16:05 PM
Getting back to the original subject of this thread, maybe someone can help me to understand if there is any difference between the Hebrew word for "young woman" and the German Jungfrau which is its word for virgin. I know it is a long stretch from Hebrew to German, but isn't the premise the same?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 15, 2010, 01:52:32 PM
Getting back to the original subject of this thread, maybe someone can help me to understand if there is any difference between the Hebrew word for "young woman" and the German Jungfrau which is its word for virgin. I know it is a long stretch from Hebrew to German, but isn't the premise the same?

Depending on who you talk to on this thread, there isn't even agreement on what parthenos means.  I submit that translations which translate as "young woman" the Hebrew "almah" are driven by an agenda other than faithful translation.  the authority on Koine Greek has been, at least in my lifetime, Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker, and parthenos, the word used in the Septuagint in the Isaiah passage in question is "parthenos," meaning virgin.  end of story.

as far as how it translates to German, I suspect based on the overwhelming weight of history, tradition, and the Scriptures themselves.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: ptmccain on November 15, 2010, 03:35:09 PM
It has always been fascinating to me that when the men working on the Greek translation of the Old Testament, well before Christ came on the scene, came to Is. 7:14, they chose to use the Greek word that means "virgin," "parthenos," rather than another word for the Hebrew word "Almah."

Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 15, 2010, 03:42:27 PM
It has always been fascinating to me that when the men working on the Greek translation of the Old Testament, well before Christ came on the scene, came to Is. 7:14, they chose to use the Greek word that means "virgin," "parthenos," rather than another word for the Hebrew word "Almah."



do you mean they perhaps knew something we don't??!  :o
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: RevDavid on November 15, 2010, 04:39:52 PM
You have only been on this forum for less than three weeks, so you can be excused for not knowing that this is a discussion going back many years and that I consistently and frequently argue that people taking part in this forum, involving brother and sister Lutherans, pastors and lay people concerned for their church, should be open and honest about who they are.
I know of no reason why ninety-nine percent of the people posting here should not be open about who they are in this discussion.

This seems an odd position for the same person who said:
Actually, I would strongly advise limiting one's participation in Facebook because of the potential security issues and misuse of whatever is posted there.

There are those of us who, while enjoying the discussion, see no reason why you would need to know who we are.  What we have to say stands, regardless of what our username is on this site..

~David
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 15, 2010, 05:13:16 PM
Someone notes that I have reservations about Facebook and then says:
There are those of us who, while enjoying the discussion, see no reason why you would need to know who we are.  What we have to say stands, regardless of what our username is on this site..

I comment:
No, it does not "stand," no matter what your username is. You could be an Opus Dei Roman Catholic, a Utah survivalist, a 13-year old geek, a nerdy troublemaker, a woman in her 90s still nursing a grudge because her Lutheran pastor husband had a fling with the church secretary back in 1952, an atheist, a universalist, or a Russian spy.
I ask again: someone give me a good reason for not participating here under their own name. (I was given a good reason by one participant and I respect that, but it is a highly-unusual situation.)
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: ptmccain on November 15, 2010, 05:20:28 PM
do you mean they perhaps knew something we don't??!  :o

Perhaps, and perhaps they actually believed something "we" don't.

 :D
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 15, 2010, 05:22:49 PM
Someone notes that I have reservations about Facebook and then says:
There are those of us who, while enjoying the discussion, see no reason why you would need to know who we are.  What we have to say stands, regardless of what our username is on this site..

I comment:
No, it does not "stand," no matter what your username is. You could be an Opus Dei Roman Catholic, a Utah survivalist, a 13-year old geek, a nerdy troublemaker, a woman in her 90s still nursing a grudge because her Lutheran pastor husband had a fling with the church secretary back in 1952, an atheist, a universalist, or a Russian spy.
I ask again: someone give me a good reason for not participating here under their own name. (I was given a good reason by one participant and I respect that, but it is a highly-unusual situation.)
There are many potential good reasons, and it is incumbent upon you to assume that every anonymous poster has one of them, or at least thinks he does and isn't asking your opinion about it. For one thing, it prevents ad hominem argumentation. Every Utah survivalist and 13 year old geek with a genuine question or insight knows that once you know who he is, that will be the end of it. Just the ravings of a Utah survivalist or 13 year old geek unworthy of further consideration.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 15, 2010, 05:24:56 PM
Quote from: someone=topic=3442.msg188818#msg188818 date=1289859196

(I was given a good reason by one participant and I respect that, but it is a highly-unusual situation.)

and who is that person and what was the reason? 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Mike Bennett on November 15, 2010, 05:26:02 PM
Someone notes that I have reservations about Facebook and then says:
There are those of us who, while enjoying the discussion, see no reason why you would need to know who we are.  What we have to say stands, regardless of what our username is on this site..

I comment:
No, it does not "stand," no matter what your username is. You could be an Opus Dei Roman Catholic, a Utah survivalist, a 13-year old geek, a nerdy troublemaker, a woman in her 90s still nursing a grudge because her Lutheran pastor husband had a fling with the church secretary back in 1952, an atheist, a universalist, or a Russian spy.
I ask again: someone give me a good reason for not participating here under their own name. (I was given a good reason by one participant and I respect that, but it is a highly-unusual situation.)

As I read RevDavid's note, I see that his point is that the quality of what's written is more important than the identity of who wrote it.  I have trouble understanding what's wrong with that.  A Greek restaurant I used to frequent before it closed for the second time had a supposed quote from Socrates near the front door:  "Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss other people."  Too often this forum is a place where anything posted by Contributor A is attacked in knee-jerk fashion by Contributor Z, because it has Contributor A's name on it.  Likewise with Contributor B, C or D, by knee-jerk adversaries Y, X, or W.  It's sometimes amusing to see the long hesitations when a new person writes something, and high volume posters don't reply for awhile because they don't know whether he's friend or foe, to be automatically savaged or automatically affirmed.  This forum isn't the only place that happens, but it is surely one of them.

And so what if RevDavid is a 90 year old woman whose husband fooled with the organist 58 years ago?  

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: ptmccain on November 15, 2010, 05:28:06 PM
Can we all please simply ignore Austin as he continues to, as Richard put it, comment "tiresomely and obsessively" about anonymous contributors?

Don't facilitate his behavior by acknowledging it or responding to it. Ignore it.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Mike Bennett on November 15, 2010, 05:29:08 PM
Can we all please simply ignore Austin as he continues his, as Richard put it, obsessive behaviors about anonymous comments? Don't facilitate his behavior by acknowledging or responding to it.

Contributor X responding to Contributor C.   8)
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 15, 2010, 05:32:22 PM
Peter writes:
There are many potential good reasons, and it is incumbent upon you to assume that every anonymous poster has one of them, or at least thinks he does and isn't asking your opinion about it. For one thing, it prevents ad hominem argumentation. Every Utah survivalist and 13 year old geek with a genuine question or insight knows that once you know who he is, that will be the end of it. Just the ravings of a Utah survivalist or 13 year old geek unworthy of further consideration.
I respond:
For heaven's sake! Are you really such a literalist?!!
I've been around online communications for a long long time, long enough to know what mischief can be worked.
Again: This is a discussion among Lutherans about serious matters concerning the life of our church. You give me one good reason why we should not know who is taking part in the discussion. Give me one good reasons why anonymity should be necessary here. One.

An it is again necessary to notice another attempt by ptmccain to end a discussion. "Just ignore Austin," he says again. Does that not teeter towards the dread ad hominem?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: MaddogLutheran on November 15, 2010, 05:33:25 PM
Someone notes that I have reservations about Facebook and then says:
There are those of us who, while enjoying the discussion, see no reason why you would need to know who we are.  What we have to say stands, regardless of what our username is on this site..

I comment:
No, it does not "stand," no matter what your username is. You could be an Opus Dei Roman Catholic, a Utah survivalist, a 13-year old geek, a nerdy troublemaker, a woman in her 90s still nursing a grudge because her Lutheran pastor husband had a fling with the church secretary back in 1952, an atheist, a universalist, or a Russian spy.
I ask again: someone give me a good reason for not participating here under their own name. (I was given a good reason by one participant and I respect that, but it is a highly-unusual situation.)
I was all set to ignore this, because Esteemed Moderator Johnson previously dealt with this issue (again), but I cannot let your above pass, as it's just plain obnoxious.  Let me ask you a question:  why do YOU need to know the real name of all participants in this forum?  Why don't you justify your need to know first?  The most recent "Someone" you are challenging could indeed be any of those people you catalog in your reply, to which I would ask:  so what?  Unless they are testifying to particular facts which who they really are would allow others to judge the veracity of their claims, a person's exact identity has no bearing on the ideas they express.  Of course, since it has been your M.O. to immediately look up a named participant on various church bodies rosters, you seem keen on knowing such things.  I'd suggest it's none of your business to inquire into a person's background, beyond what they offer publicly--perhaps that's why some people don't use real names.  Until you are appointed a forum moderator by ALPB, it's none of your concern.  You've previously expressed to me your low opinion of the dialog in this forum, so I don't understand why this is such an issue for you.  Some of the LCMS discussion today has been very interesting indeed, with national implications, which demonstrates forum's value.  I take at face value that the First VP has indeed posted a comment here, but considering the nature of the internet, it could just as easily been a Russian spy, as the forum has no method of identity certification.

Sterling Spatz
(I see the other Esteemed Moderator has also chimed in while I wrote, and I thank him as well.)
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Scott6 on November 15, 2010, 05:35:01 PM
Peter writes:
There are many potential good reasons, and it is incumbent upon you to assume that every anonymous poster has one of them, or at least thinks he does and isn't asking your opinion about it. For one thing, it prevents ad hominem argumentation. Every Utah survivalist and 13 year old geek with a genuine question or insight knows that once you know who he is, that will be the end of it. Just the ravings of a Utah survivalist or 13 year old geek unworthy of further consideration.
I respond:
For heaven's sake! Are you really such a literalist?!!
I've been around online communications for a long long time, long enough to know what mischief can be worked.
Again: This is a discussion among Lutherans about serious matters concerning the life of our church. You give me one good reason why we should not know who is taking part in the discussion. Give me one good reasons why anonymity should be necessary here. One.

An it is again necessary to notice another attempt by ptmccain to end a discussion. "Just ignore Austin," he says again. Does that not teeter towards the dread ad hominem?

The discussion has nothing to do with this thread and has littered literally dozens of threads for years.  Start a new thread if you want to revisit anonymity, a practice allowed on this site -- this pet peeve has distracted and derailed this thread enough.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Mike Bennett on November 15, 2010, 05:36:00 PM
Peter writes:
There are many potential good reasons, and it is incumbent upon you to assume that every anonymous poster has one of them, or at least thinks he does and isn't asking your opinion about it. For one thing, it prevents ad hominem argumentation. Every Utah survivalist and 13 year old geek with a genuine question or insight knows that once you know who he is, that will be the end of it. Just the ravings of a Utah survivalist or 13 year old geek unworthy of further consideration.
I respond:
For heaven's sake! Are you really such a literalist?!!
I've been around online communications for a long long time, long enough to know what mischief can be worked.
Again: This is a discussion among Lutherans about serious matters concerning the life of our church. You give me one good reason why we should not know who is taking part in the discussion. Give me one good reasons why anonymity should be necessary here. One.

An it is again necessary to notice another attempt by ptmccain to end a discussion. "Just ignore Austin," he says again. Does that not teeter towards the dread ad hominem?

And Contributor C busts Contributor X in the mouth!

Are we such literalists that' we're to fear that Contributor C will be able to end discussion?

I have a suggestion for ending ad hominems - for one week FORBID any posting to be signed.   ::)

MIke Bennett
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: RevDavid on November 15, 2010, 05:40:30 PM
And so what if RevDavid is a 90 year old woman whose husband fooled with the organist 58 years ago?  

Thanks a lot!  Now that you've outed me, I have to get a new username.
 :)

~David
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 15, 2010, 05:43:37 PM
Sterling Spatz writes:
Unless they are testifying to particular facts which who they really are would allow others to judge the veracity of their claims, a person's exact identity has no bearing on the ideas they express.
I comment:
No. Of course not. A member of the LCMS sees things exactly as a member of the ELCA or the WELS sees them. Someone who has left the ELCA or the LCMS has a real stake in what happens internally in those church bodies. A pastor of a church pressuring him to take it out of the ELCA or the LCMS doesn't have a certain shading to his comments. An isolated lay person, unaccustomed to certain types of dialogue, might have another coloring to his or her comments.
I have interviewed thousands of people on hundreds of issues and in every single case, if those comments are to be for public consumption (with very rare exceptions) I and my readers need to know who they are.

Mr. Spatz writes:
Of course, since it has been your M.O. to immediately look up a named participant on various church bodies rosters, you seem keen on knowing such things. 
I comment:
Not immediately, but at times....

Mr. Spatz writes:
I'd suggest it's none of your business to inquire into a person's background, beyond what they offer publicly--perhaps that's why some people don't use real names.
I comment:
For fear of me? Then we really are in trouble here.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: MaddogLutheran on November 15, 2010, 05:47:27 PM
And yet, when I've used "I" in this forum, I'm criticized for being too subjective, too self-centered, etc. There's almost nothing Charles or I can post without it being deemed wrong by someone.
Pastor Johnson is probably the best to comment further on this (as he has in the past), but I'd say criticism comes not so much from using "I", but because of what follows it, particularly when you implicitly cite yourself as authoritative.  I'd contrast this with Pr. Yakimow, who obviously shares his own thoughts as well, but usually is doing so by referencing several/numerous respected academic sources or Church Fathers in support of his position.  But then, he's one of those ivory tower professional grad students... ::)

Many of my posts are referencing scriptures. They rank above academic sources or Church Fathers.
Um, I would have thought I wouldn't have to says this, but...the academic sources or Church Fathers to which I referred previously also reference scriptures.  That's what would make them authoritative, for starters.  Just like our Confessions.  In a nutshell, a basic problem with your posts referencing scripture is that you claim to find things, meaning of words and all, that countless preceding generations apparently missed.  The recent discussion near the beginning of this thread about Isaiah and the Virgin birth being but one example.

I believe that I'm in good company with my translation of "young woman" and "is with child" and the promise that the two enemies of Ahaz will be defeated while the child is still a toddler.  [snip]
In fairness both to you and my previous point, I respond again.  Yes, the translation you offer, and provide other similar examples, is within the realm of possibility.  I acknowledge that, as have others.  But that was not the point of my previous.  The translations are not simply offered in a vacuum.  They are put forward (not necessarily by you) as reasons to undermine the Virgin birth narrative, the "gynecology" which was the genesis of this discussion.  "A" leads to "B" leads to "C".  If one can discount that Isaiah was prophesying in such a way, that is one more thread to pull out of the tapestry.  Others have since responded on this thread that while, as a matter of simple English, using "young girl" is an adequate translation into modern English, there is something missing and the Church, and apparently even ancient Jewish translators definitely intended that the young girl was also a virgin.  As you have been quick to remind me, ancient Hebrew did not really have a separate word for "wife", apart from possessive casting of "woman".  (At least I hope I've said that correctly.)   I'm of an opinion that something similar is at work here, that implicitly a "young girl" is presumed to be a virgin.  Certainly the church through the ages has adopted that position, hence my point about you "discovering" something no one else seemed to ever notice.  But since I am not an ancient language expert, I withdraw from further discussion (hopefully). YMMV.  I can only go on the teachings I receive from the Church catholic.

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: MaddogLutheran on November 15, 2010, 05:55:48 PM
Sterling Spatz writes:
Unless they are testifying to particular facts which who they really are would allow others to judge the veracity of their claims, a person's exact identity has no bearing on the ideas they express.
I comment:
No. Of course not. A member of the LCMS sees things exactly as a member of the ELCA or the WELS sees them. Someone who has left the ELCA or the LCMS has a real stake in what happens internally in those church bodies. A pastor of a church pressuring him to take it out of the ELCA or the LCMS doesn't have a certain shading to his comments. An isolated lay person, unaccustomed to certain types of dialogue, might have another coloring to his or her comments.
I have interviewed thousands of people on hundreds of issues and in every single case, if those comments are to be for public consumption (with very rare exceptions) I and my readers need to know who they are.
I'll be brief, since Pr. Y (congrats to him on the baby, BTW!) is correct that this is a distraction.  First, as far as I can tell, this forum is not strictly a journalism endeavor, though I'm open to correction on that by the moderators.  Therefore the application of your journalism standard regarding public consumption would seem misplaced.  Second, in the course of dialog, a person's background, and what is motivating them, should invariably come out.  Otherwise, there's not much dialoging.  I don't recall any participant here who has been coy about such background.  In fact, most seem willing to spill their guts as therapy.  What their actual names add, I'm not sure.  And in fact, if someone were determined to pretend to be someone they were not, it's unlikely a "real name" would be a giveaway, for a layman, anyway.

Sterling Spatz
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Maryland Brian on November 15, 2010, 06:29:12 PM

I comment:
For fear of me? Then we really are in trouble here.

Respecting the moderator's wishes this will be my last post aimed in your direction, but I feel compelled to respond to the above sentence. A little over four years ago you posted a series of comments claiming I was well into the process of leaving and trying to take my congregation with me. I repeatedly asked you to stop posting that false information.  You did not cease until I threatened to get my lawyer wife involved.   We were in the middle of a nasty congregation conflict at the time and one of the ring leaders printed out your posts and took them to my Bishop. That resulted in several phone calls and a sit down with the Bishop. Said antagonist is now gone from my congregation and we are recovering.  That time was not pleasant, but we survived it and have expanded in wonderful ways since.

So yes Richard, it is clear I do not like Pastor Charles.  Please pray for me and the anger I allow to be tagged within me.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 15, 2010, 07:57:55 PM
I've been around online communications for a long long time, long enough to know what mischief can be worked.


And yet you continue to argue against an old, settled convention of online communications as if it were a nefarious new idea...
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 15, 2010, 08:19:28 PM
Pastor Hughes writes:
I repeatedly asked you to stop posting that false information.  You did not cease until I threatened to get my lawyer wife involved. 

I comment:
Give us a break. If I stopped posting anything was was most definitely absolutely certainly assuredly positively dang-sure not for fear of your "lawyer wife."
Smart people here know the flaw in post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning. That is what we have here. In platinum.
So what did you do with the "antagonist" who suggested a sit-down with your bishop and is now "gone"?
Good grief.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: amos on November 15, 2010, 09:14:07 PM
Based on the cacophony of negative comments posted, the following verse came to mind.

I will constantly attack with sarcastic glee,
No one “by golly” is smarter than “ME.”
Surely my opinions are pure and whole,
Can’t accuse me of being a mole.
So I’ll make my points with style and flair,
But my biggest fear --- is no one will care.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 15, 2010, 09:39:40 PM
Charles helped the discussion by citing the notes below from the ELCA Web site.

The first sentence of the second block of text shows where the ELCA's theology of language used to speak to God goes awry. It begins with "The image of father." When Jesus tells his followers, and all of us who overhear him, how to pray, he gives us the name to use, not an image to use. Thus "Father" is the proper name of the first person of the Trinity, not an image used to suggest qualities of the first person of the Trinity. As Dr. Jenson pointed out in his lecture in Columbus in August, giving us the name "Father" is the one new thing in the prayer. The rest is simply a compilation of what faithful Jews had always prayed.

"Father" is used of God in the OT. It is not new with Jesus. Consider Isaiah 64:8; Psalm 89:26-27 for a couple of examples.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 15, 2010, 09:48:53 PM
It has always been fascinating to me that when the men working on the Greek translation of the Old Testament, well before Christ came on the scene, came to Is. 7:14, they chose to use the Greek word that means "virgin," "parthenos," rather than another word for the Hebrew word "Almah."

Because as the latest Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich edition states: the Greek word "gener. of a young woman of marriageable age." While such a young woman is usually a virgin, that is not necessarily part of the word's definition. Loew and Nida point out that the word is used of widows and widowers who are no longer married, but who are most likely not virgins. Thus, the primary meaning of the word is "unmarried" -- and usually used of young girls.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 15, 2010, 09:51:48 PM
Someone notes that I have reservations about Facebook and then says:
There are those of us who, while enjoying the discussion, see no reason why you would need to know who we are.  What we have to say stands, regardless of what our username is on this site..

I comment:
No, it does not "stand," no matter what your username is. You could be an Opus Dei Roman Catholic, a Utah survivalist, a 13-year old geek, a nerdy troublemaker, a woman in her 90s still nursing a grudge because her Lutheran pastor husband had a fling with the church secretary back in 1952, an atheist, a universalist, or a Russian spy.
I ask again: someone give me a good reason for not participating here under their own name. (I was given a good reason by one participant and I respect that, but it is a highly-unusual situation.)
I was all set to ignore this, because Esteemed Moderator Johnson previously dealt with this issue (again), but I cannot let your above pass, as it's just plain obnoxious.  Let me ask you a question:  why do YOU need to know the real name of all participants in this forum?  Why don't you justify your need to know first?  

For the same reason that anonymous complaints should not be allowed in congregations.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: MaddogLutheran on November 15, 2010, 09:56:39 PM
Someone notes that I have reservations about Facebook and then says:
There are those of us who, while enjoying the discussion, see no reason why you would need to know who we are.  What we have to say stands, regardless of what our username is on this site..

I comment:
No, it does not "stand," no matter what your username is. You could be an Opus Dei Roman Catholic, a Utah survivalist, a 13-year old geek, a nerdy troublemaker, a woman in her 90s still nursing a grudge because her Lutheran pastor husband had a fling with the church secretary back in 1952, an atheist, a universalist, or a Russian spy.
I ask again: someone give me a good reason for not participating here under their own name. (I was given a good reason by one participant and I respect that, but it is a highly-unusual situation.)
I was all set to ignore this, because Esteemed Moderator Johnson previously dealt with this issue (again), but I cannot let your above pass, as it's just plain obnoxious.  Let me ask you a question:  why do YOU need to know the real name of all participants in this forum?  Why don't you justify your need to know first?  

For the same reason that anonymous complaints should not be allowed in congregations.
This isn't a congregation.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Michael Slusser on November 15, 2010, 10:06:49 PM
On the anonymity/moniker issue:

As you know, I use my own name. If I Google myself, pretty soon I get my ALPB Forum posts. I'm easy with that--retired, careful in what I say, few enemies and those unknown. But on an open Forum like this, accessible all over the internet, many people have good reason not to let their name lie out there for the world to know. (I admired the device used by Scott Yak imow--you'd get him if you Googled Yak--or imow; what are the chances?).

And if you want to know someone's name, e.g. J&S, you can send a personal message!! What's the Schmalkaldic problem, folks?

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: David M. Frye, OblSB on November 16, 2010, 11:12:39 AM
A good point, which led me to refresh my memory.

What Jenson said was that the new thing was that we are invited by Jesus to pray with him, the Son, in addressing the Father, within the context of their paternal/filial relationship.

In any case, the terms are not images, but names. This is a real difference.

An image referring to something does not uniquely identify that something. I am a "Friend of Labradoodles," because I love my dog. But "Friend of Labradoodles" does not identify me in the way that David M. Frye does, because there are many people who like Labradoodles. Granted, there are probably many David M. Fryes in the world; this can lead to confusion. But that's why Jenson also points out that God eliminates the confusion about his identity by telling us his history as well. "I'm God the Father, the one who brought Israel out of Egypt and raised my Son from the dead by the power of our Spirit." Now we know both the name and the history of God, who is uniquely identified in those two ways.

Charles helped the discussion by citing the notes below from the ELCA Web site.

The first sentence of the second block of text shows where the ELCA's theology of language used to speak to God goes awry. It begins with "The image of father." When Jesus tells his followers, and all of us who overhear him, how to pray, he gives us the name to use, not an image to use. Thus "Father" is the proper name of the first person of the Trinity, not an image used to suggest qualities of the first person of the Trinity. As Dr. Jenson pointed out in his lecture in Columbus in August, giving us the name "Father" is the one new thing in the prayer. The rest is simply a compilation of what faithful Jews had always prayed.

"Father" is used of God in the OT. It is not new with Jesus. Consider Isaiah 64:8; Psalm 89:26-27 for a couple of examples.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: A Catholic Lutheran on November 16, 2010, 11:24:11 AM
Charles helped the discussion by citing the notes below from the ELCA Web site.

The first sentence of the second block of text shows where the ELCA's theology of language used to speak to God goes awry. It begins with "The image of father." When Jesus tells his followers, and all of us who overhear him, how to pray, he gives us the name to use, not an image to use. Thus "Father" is the proper name of the first person of the Trinity, not an image used to suggest qualities of the first person of the Trinity. As Dr. Jenson pointed out in his lecture in Columbus in August, giving us the name "Father" is the one new thing in the prayer. The rest is simply a compilation of what faithful Jews had always prayed.

"Father" is used of God in the OT. It is not new with Jesus. Consider Isaiah 64:8; Psalm 89:26-27 for a couple of examples.

All the more reason why your logic that "Father" is only a term of relationship rather than a proper noun falls flat... 

You would think that the continuity with the Old Testament would strengthen the resolve to use the name Father by the Church.  It did for the Church Fathers.  But instead the ELW makes it completely "optional" (you can, using the book itself, avoid the Name altogether...) and you have repeatedly gone on record saying that, because it is not a propper noun but a term of "relationship," that Father can be disposed of in favor of other adjectives.

But, as the Old Testament uses the Name, Jesus uses the name, and the Church uses the name, how is it that we can see it as just one more "option"?

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Coach-Rev on November 16, 2010, 02:22:06 PM
Because as the latest Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich edition states: the Greek word "gener. of a young woman of marriageable age." While such a young woman is usually a virgin, that is not necessarily part of the word's definition. Loew and Nida point out that the word is used of widows and widowers who are no longer married, but who are most likely not virgins. Thus, the primary meaning of the word is "unmarried" -- and usually used of young girls.
...Thereby ignoring ALL previous editions of BAGD, which I quoted previously, by the way, to which I do not recall a response from you on.  Its a simple question:  Do you have the faith to accept 2000 years of interpretation and history, or not?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 16, 2010, 02:47:08 PM
Charles helped the discussion by citing the notes below from the ELCA Web site.

The first sentence of the second block of text shows where the ELCA's theology of language used to speak to God goes awry. It begins with "The image of father." When Jesus tells his followers, and all of us who overhear him, how to pray, he gives us the name to use, not an image to use. Thus "Father" is the proper name of the first person of the Trinity, not an image used to suggest qualities of the first person of the Trinity. As Dr. Jenson pointed out in his lecture in Columbus in August, giving us the name "Father" is the one new thing in the prayer. The rest is simply a compilation of what faithful Jews had always prayed.

"Father" is used of God in the OT. It is not new with Jesus. Consider Isaiah 64:8; Psalm 89:26-27 for a couple of examples.

All the more reason why your logic that "Father" is only a term of relationship rather than a proper noun falls flat... 


I see its use in the OT as a metaphor for the one who brought forth Israel. God's proper name is YHWH or I AM in the OT.

Quote
You would think that the continuity with the Old Testament would strengthen the resolve to use the name Father by the Church.  It did for the Church Fathers.  But instead the ELW makes it completely "optional" (you can, using the book itself, avoid the Name altogether...) and you have repeatedly gone on record saying that, because it is not a propper noun but a term of "relationship," that Father can be disposed of in favor of other adjectives.

The use of the Lord's Prayer with "Father" is not optional. The use of "God, the Father, …" in baptisms is not optional. Where texts are quoting the scriptures, there are no options for "Father".

Quote
But, as the Old Testament uses the Name, Jesus uses the name, and the Church uses the name, how is it that we can see it as just one more "option"?

Because it is not a name. It is a term of relationship that corresponds with Son. Paul even uses the term, father, in a relational way that is not biological.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 16, 2010, 02:49:32 PM
Someone notes that I have reservations about Facebook and then says:
There are those of us who, while enjoying the discussion, see no reason why you would need to know who we are.  What we have to say stands, regardless of what our username is on this site..

I comment:
No, it does not "stand," no matter what your username is. You could be an Opus Dei Roman Catholic, a Utah survivalist, a 13-year old geek, a nerdy troublemaker, a woman in her 90s still nursing a grudge because her Lutheran pastor husband had a fling with the church secretary back in 1952, an atheist, a universalist, or a Russian spy.
I ask again: someone give me a good reason for not participating here under their own name. (I was given a good reason by one participant and I respect that, but it is a highly-unusual situation.)
I was all set to ignore this, because Esteemed Moderator Johnson previously dealt with this issue (again), but I cannot let your above pass, as it's just plain obnoxious.  Let me ask you a question:  why do YOU need to know the real name of all participants in this forum?  Why don't you justify your need to know first?  

For the same reason that anonymous complaints should not be allowed in congregations.
This isn't a congregation.

However, just as a congregation is a relationship of people where anonymity can be destructive to communication, so it is discouraged or even forbidden; so also, this forum is a relationship of communication, where anonymity can be destructive, so why shouldn't it be discouraged?
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 16, 2010, 02:52:46 PM
Because as the latest Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich edition states: the Greek word "gener. of a young woman of marriageable age." While such a young woman is usually a virgin, that is not necessarily part of the word's definition. Loew and Nida point out that the word is used of widows and widowers who are no longer married, but who are most likely not virgins. Thus, the primary meaning of the word is "unmarried" -- and usually used of young girls.
...Thereby ignoring ALL previous editions of BAGD, which I quoted previously, by the way, to which I do not recall a response from you on.  Its a simple question:  Do you have the faith to accept 2000 years of interpretation and history, or not?

I have faith in God who revealed truths primarily through scriptures, secondarily through history, and also in the present day. I believe that we have been given truths today by God that are not in conflict with scriptures, but differ from our tradition, e.g., ordination of married and remarried folks, and women.

The latest BDAG is different from previous ones. It follows a pattern that Loew and Nida do in their Lexicon, which makes a distinction between definitions and glosses. Definitions are what the word means, and in BDAG, they are in bold print. Glosses are suggested ways that the word might be translated, they are in italics.

In case of παρθένος, BDAG also distinguishes a general definition and a more limited definition "in our lit."

gener. of a young woman of marriageable age, w. or without focus on virginity; in our lit. one who has never engaged in sexual intercourse, virgin, chaste person
a.   female of marriageable age w. focus on virginity
b.   male virgin

When it is used in the LXX, it is outside the literature of BDAG and in Isaiah it has the general meaning, which is the same as the Hebrew word.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: David M. Frye, OblSB on November 17, 2010, 10:17:29 AM
The Name is what was revealed (divine passive) to Israel.

Did Jesus reveal a name, recorded in the New Testament, for the God named by that Name?

Charles helped the discussion by citing the notes below from the ELCA Web site.

The first sentence of the second block of text shows where the ELCA's theology of language used to speak to God goes awry. It begins with "The image of father." When Jesus tells his followers, and all of us who overhear him, how to pray, he gives us the name to use, not an image to use. Thus "Father" is the proper name of the first person of the Trinity, not an image used to suggest qualities of the first person of the Trinity. As Dr. Jenson pointed out in his lecture in Columbus in August, giving us the name "Father" is the one new thing in the prayer. The rest is simply a compilation of what faithful Jews had always prayed.

"Father" is used of God in the OT. It is not new with Jesus. Consider Isaiah 64:8; Psalm 89:26-27 for a couple of examples.

All the more reason why your logic that "Father" is only a term of relationship rather than a proper noun falls flat... 


I see its use in the OT as a metaphor for the one who brought forth Israel. God's proper name is YHWH or I AM in the OT.

Quote
You would think that the continuity with the Old Testament would strengthen the resolve to use the name Father by the Church.  It did for the Church Fathers.  But instead the ELW makes it completely "optional" (you can, using the book itself, avoid the Name altogether...) and you have repeatedly gone on record saying that, because it is not a propper noun but a term of "relationship," that Father can be disposed of in favor of other adjectives.

The use of the Lord's Prayer with "Father" is not optional. The use of "God, the Father, …" in baptisms is not optional. Where texts are quoting the scriptures, there are no options for "Father".

Quote
But, as the Old Testament uses the Name, Jesus uses the name, and the Church uses the name, how is it that we can see it as just one more "option"?

Because it is not a name. It is a term of relationship that corresponds with Son. Paul even uses the term, father, in a relational way that is not biological.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Lutheranistic on November 17, 2010, 10:57:02 AM
The heart of religion lies in its personal pronouns. - Martin Luther, 1483 - 1546
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: David M. Frye, OblSB on November 17, 2010, 12:23:45 PM
And the faith of the Church is reflected in her use of those personal pronouns.

The heart of religion lies in its personal pronouns. - Martin Luther, 1483 - 1546
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 17, 2010, 03:21:02 PM
The Name is what was revealed (divine passive) to Israel.

Did Jesus reveal a name, recorded in the New Testament, for the God named by that Name?

Jesus has a unique relationship that is included in the title "Father" that's related to our confession about the Virgin Mary.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Weedon on November 17, 2010, 03:32:52 PM
On pronouns, I love the great thought from old Jacobs:

"It is the office of faith to change the plural pronouns of the Gospel into the singular number."  (Elements of Religion, p. 149)
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 17, 2010, 03:43:55 PM
On pronouns, I love the great thought from old Jacobs:

"It is the office of faith to change the plural pronouns of the Gospel into the singular number."  (Elements of Religion, p. 149)

I'd rather say that it is the office of faith to change third person pronouns to second person -- to talk to God rather than just talking about God.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Weedon on November 17, 2010, 03:45:50 PM
I'm not sure I agree.  I mean, the Goats use the second person:  "When did we see you?" 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 17, 2010, 04:04:19 PM
I'm not sure I agree.  I mean, the Goats use the second person:  "When did we see you?" 

At least they are talking to the king, rather than talking to each other, "Who was he who was speaking to us?"
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: David M. Frye, OblSB on November 17, 2010, 04:53:09 PM
But when he invites us to pray, "Our Father," he invites us to pray with him; he invites us into the relationship that he has with the Father.

As I read your reply, I wonder whether you are saying he is basically saying the following: "You may use 'Father," as a title. But in using that 'title,' you do not share a relationship with the one addressed in the same way that I share a unique relationship with that one."

It seems to me that to relegate the revealed name of the first person of the Trinity to the status of title is to invite the using of many other titles and to hold them all to be roughly equivalent, as titles which are not names.

I don't understand how you can hold this position and embrace the charge given to us in the Great Commission. Why did the risen Lord use "name"?

The Name is what was revealed (divine passive) to Israel.

Did Jesus reveal a name, recorded in the New Testament, for the God named by that Name?

Jesus has a unique relationship that is included in the title "Father" that's related to our confession about the Virgin Mary.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 17, 2010, 05:19:06 PM
But when he invites us to pray, "Our Father," he invites us to pray with him; he invites us into the relationship that he has with the Father.

Hmmm. . . interesting. I've not heard that before; what's the source of that interpretation? Patristic commentary that I've read has emphasized the fact that we never pray singly, but always with the whole Christian community.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Weedon on November 17, 2010, 05:22:53 PM
Chrysostom, homily 19 on Matthew:

See how He straightway stirred up the hearer, and reminded him of all God's bounty in the beginning. For he who calls God Father, by him both remission of sins, and taking away of punishment, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, and adoption, and inheritance, and brotherhood with the Only-Begotten, and the supply of the Spirit, are acknowledged in this single title. For one cannot call God Father, without having attained to all those blessings.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: David M. Frye, OblSB on November 17, 2010, 06:05:04 PM
It's what I understood Robert Jenson to have said in his Columbus lecture from August, "Speaking To, Of, and For the Triune God." It was in the section on the "Our Father." Knowing him, I'm sure he said something like it way back in my systematics class at Gettysburg, but the details of those times are beyond recall!

Just looking at the prayer, the invitation to join him follows from the use of the first-person plural possessive: Our. We don't pray, "Father of Jesus, who art in heaven." We could, but that's not what he chose to teach us.

But when he invites us to pray, "Our Father," he invites us to pray with him; he invites us into the relationship that he has with the Father.

Hmmm. . . interesting. I've not heard that before; what's the source of that interpretation? Patristic commentary that I've read has emphasized the fact that we never pray singly, but always with the whole Christian community.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 17, 2010, 07:14:10 PM
I'm not sure I agree.  I mean, the Goats use the second person:  "When did we see you?" 

At least they are talking to the king, rather than talking to each other, "Who was he who was speaking to us?"

Wow, so in Pr. Stoffregen's ranking, the goats make out better than the disciples on the road to Emmaus.  ::)

1. The disciples on the road do speak directly to Jesus.
2. Neither goats nor sheep are disciples but, "nations of the world," a phrase that always means unbelievers in Matthew.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 17, 2010, 07:18:14 PM
But when he invites us to pray, "Our Father," he invites us to pray with him; he invites us into the relationship that he has with the Father.

As I read your reply, I wonder whether you are saying he is basically saying the following: "You may use 'Father," as a title. But in using that 'title,' you do not share a relationship with the one addressed in the same way that I share a unique relationship with that one."

Not your second comment, but your first one. The Son of the Father is the way that we have a relationship with the Father as his children. "No one comes to the Father, except by me" (John 14:6). I think "father" in that verse, rather than "God" is quite significant.
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: TravisW on November 17, 2010, 09:27:59 PM
Some times when you dig deeper, you find the buried treasure.  Other times, you just wind up with a really deep outhouse pit. 
Title: Re: Digging Deeper
Post by: LCMS87 on November 17, 2010, 10:07:18 PM
But when he invites us to pray, "Our Father," he invites us to pray with him; he invites us into the relationship that he has with the Father.

Hmmm. . . interesting. I've not heard that before; what's the source of that interpretation? . . .

A completely different source, but very much the same teaching can be found in John W. Kleinig's book:  Grace upon Grace, Spirituality for Today (http://www.cph.org/p-486-grace-upon-grace-spirituality-for-today.aspx?SearchTerm=Grace%20upon%20grace).  It comes in his discussion of The Mystery of Prayer, beginning on p. 151.  If you've not seen the book, it's one that's worth reading and re-reading.