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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Matt on November 19, 2010, 01:18:43 PM

Title: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Matt on November 19, 2010, 01:18:43 PM
The following is a thought experiment, and is intended to be fun.

Let's say that you were given the task of choosing 12 individuals (nice, round, symbolic number) to come together as the Koinonia Project as envisioned in Matthew Harrison's paper "It's Time." The only rule is that you should try to represent the full spectrum of LCMS opinion and not try to stack it with your pals. The other rules are up to you.

Should they all be seminary faculty? All pastors? All male? Should they all be prominent theologians? Should bloggers or talk show hosts be included? Should President Harrison be in the room or not? You make the call!
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Matt on November 19, 2010, 01:20:13 PM
My 12, without comment and without titles. Please forgive spelling errors:

Dave Benke, Richard Bolland, Marie Meyer, William Chancellor Weedon (couldn't resist!), Luke Biggs, Pam Nielsen, Gerald Kieschnick, Paul McCain, Dean Wenthe, Dale Meyer, Carl Fickensher, and Bill Cwirla
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on November 19, 2010, 01:46:02 PM
This is a nuanced, get to know folks better, question..

I am extremely interested in whether Pr. Weedon would be willing to bow out for Dr. Just? Not that I'd make such recommendation, just curious?

TV

Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on November 19, 2010, 02:16:35 PM
Why only one group of twelve?

"The group (or groups, since a number of local efforts were the prerequisite for the great result of the Formula of Concord) would have to be of modest size, perhaps a dozen or so." [Harrison, "It's Time," p. 11]
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Weedon on November 19, 2010, 02:19:24 PM
Weedon would happily bow out to Just, but I think that Pr. Kirchner has just pointed out a very important point:  it needs to start locally.  A top down group from across the synod issuing an authoritative statement of some sort is precisely, in my opinion, what we do NOT need at this juncture.  Rather, the discussion needs to move to where the rubber hits the road:  the individual parishes and their leadership (pastoral and lay) and their inter-relationships and commitments. 
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Matt on November 19, 2010, 02:38:29 PM
Why only one group of twelve?

"The group (or groups, since a number of local efforts were the prerequisite for the great result of the Formula of Concord) would have to be of modest size, perhaps a dozen or so." [Harrison, "It's Time," p. 11]

That's why! I'm sticking as close to Pr. Harrison's vision as I can. I certainly hope that there are also district, and even circuit gatherings focussing on the same questions. I think we have a lot of division even at the circuit level. I hope to be involved myself at a low level, and I hope many of the ALPB regulars (at least from the LCMS) will be involved as well, even those with whom I disagree. Whomever sits across the table from Pr. Kirchner will certainly have his or her hands full.  ;D
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 19, 2010, 03:47:54 PM
Everybody on the list who doesn't participate here is of suspect relevance. We could easily pick twelve LCMS regulars from this forum and just git 'er done right here online (with perhaps a Lilly grant to get them all together a few times in suitable environs). It'll be just like Hollywood, with a bunch of hotshot, loose canon, go-it-alone theologians who play by their own rules getting results, while the policy hacks dilly-dally about protocol. Except for instead of going it alone, they'd use Lilly's money. 
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on November 19, 2010, 03:49:54 PM
Weedon would happily bow out to Just, but I think that Pr. Kirchner has just pointed out a very important point:  it needs to start locally. A top down group from across the synod issuing an authoritative statement of some sort is precisely, in my opinion, what we do NOT need at this juncture.  Rather, the discussion needs to move to where the rubber hits the road:  the individual parishes and their leadership (pastoral and lay) and their inter-relationships and commitments. 

Actually that was my first thought, in remembering the working group we (RMD then) had on District Deacons. It left the instructors, deacons, and congregations using deacons, off the committee. An embarrassing oversight corrected. Actually I think at Synod, it was only finally at the 2010 convention that a Deacon/SMP type was finally on the floor committee, (I could be wrong there) and that result was tabled.

I also imagined many leaders in the Synod who even when active in the Synod, - Jerry Kosberg comes to mind,- tend to try and avoid visibilty and distraction from "keeping on keeping on." How do you get guys like Jerry, who from within, influences the Synod as much or more than the Seminaries. (Now I'm in trouble for bringing up his name LOL. But it is not all about those with recognition, but who is influencing the work of the Synod, in major ways?) I have other names from both parties, but I would be shunned from both parties, if I mentioned them here.  ;D Maybe that is reflective of the task ahead.

You will need to answer the question of how to engage those.

TV
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on November 19, 2010, 03:57:35 PM

OK, I nominate Jerry Kosberg then.

We'll kick former Prez K out.  ;)

Mike

Aaargh now I am in trouble! I definitely will not give out the other names that are significantly influencing the Synod in less than politically visible ways .... I'll toss one more. Mike you may want to think about Eloy? Anyway you guys in LCMS need to ponder that.  ;D

TV
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 19, 2010, 03:59:25 PM
just someone needed to go, and he is a conservative male like Pr. Bohler.


You mean the rest, other than Marie, are not conservative males?  ::)
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 19, 2010, 04:00:23 PM
Everybody on the list who doesn't participate here is of suspect relevance. We could easily pick twelve LCMS regulars from this forum and just git 'er done right here online (with perhaps a Lilly grant to get them all together a few times in suitable environs). It'll be just like Hollywood, with a bunch of hotshot, loose canon, go-it-alone theologians who play by their own rules getting results, while the policy hacks dilly-dally about protocol. Except for instead of going it alone, they'd use Lilly's money. 

You just want a slot yourself.  ;D
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on November 19, 2010, 04:09:38 PM
Another thought. You might want to add an overseas missionary, with solid theological credentials, who spent 50 years teaching all of our sister synod's pastors what they believe, and didn't know what to do as he stood in Walmart catatonic, as he retired and came home? If you can't thinkl of any, I know couple. Dr. Voelz spent a few weeks with one overseas last summer.

TV
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on November 19, 2010, 04:23:26 PM
...

<sigh> This is harder and more fun that it first seemed.

Mike

When I set down and made my list of twelve.

1. It had none of the names above (except those I mentioned) yet was a representative cross section. Those Pr Benke would bow out to, those Pr Weedon would bow out to, and those Pr Bolland would bow out to, etc.

2. It occurred to me that 2/3rds would probably decline from battle fatigue in the trenches.

3. They probably had collectively more influence on the Synod than the first list of those well known.

Harder than it seemed indeed!

TV
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: ptmccain on November 19, 2010, 04:25:31 PM
Everybody on the list who doesn't participate here is of suspect relevance. We could easily pick twelve LCMS regulars from this forum and just git 'er done right here online (with perhaps a Lilly grant to get them all together a few times in suitable environs). It'll be just like Hollywood, with a bunch of hotshot, loose canon, go-it-alone theologians who play by their own rules getting results, while the policy hacks dilly-dally about protocol. Except for instead of going it alone, they'd use Lilly's money. 

I think it should be run like "The Apprentice" or "Survivor" where contestants have to demonstrate great skill and tenacity under challenging situations put to them.
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: kls on November 19, 2010, 04:27:24 PM
I think it should be run like "The Apprentice" or "Survivor" where contestants have to demonstrate great skill and tenacity under challenging situations put to them.

Do they get to compete for immunity idols and get voted off through the formation of strategic alliances?  Then it could just be seen as politics as usual.  Hmmmph . . . .
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Matt on November 19, 2010, 04:28:10 PM
C'mon, TV, post your names!
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Scott6 on November 19, 2010, 04:30:39 PM
Everybody on the list who doesn't participate here is of suspect relevance. We could easily pick twelve LCMS regulars from this forum and just git 'er done right here online (with perhaps a Lilly grant to get them all together a few times in suitable environs). It'll be just like Hollywood, with a bunch of hotshot, loose canon, go-it-alone theologians who play by their own rules getting results, while the policy hacks dilly-dally about protocol. Except for instead of going it alone, they'd use Lilly's money. 

I think it should be run like "The Apprentice" or "Survivor" where contestants have to demonstrate great skill and tenacity under challenging situations put to them.

I like it.  Maybe theologizing while smoking a cigar and enjoying a beer, all before going out to do some target practice later.  Oh wait.  That's not "challenging" but merely business as usual...  X that...  :-\
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: ptmccain on November 19, 2010, 04:30:47 PM
Or, they each are suited in armor and sent out to do battle royale!

Hey, I'm just trying to make it more interesting, since the notion that only 12 people should be in a "Koinonia" is silly, why not make silly fun?
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Jim Pierce on November 19, 2010, 04:30:51 PM
The following is a thought experiment, and is intended to be fun.

Hmmm... I don't have a list of names, but I think it would be fun to have the congregations in each district nominate three people of their choice, then select the top twelve names from each list and send those people to the IC for a series of martial arts sparring matches. The twelve who emerge victorious could then begin talking about peace and unity around doctrine.  In the meantime, while they sort out the issues of the Synod, we could sell videos of the sparring matches and pull the synod out of her financial woes.  :D
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: ptmccain on November 19, 2010, 04:31:57 PM
I like it.  Maybe theologizing while smoking a cigar and enjoying a beer, all before going out to do some target practice later.  Oh wait.  That's not "challenging" but merely business as usual...  X that...  :-\

Now that's what I'm talking about, nix the drinking before shooting though. Alcohol and .223 or .40 ammo is a bad combination.
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: kls on November 19, 2010, 04:32:20 PM
Hmmm... I don't have a list of names, but I think it would be fun to have the congregations in each district nominate three people of their choice, then select the top twelve names from each list and send those people to the IC for a series of martial arts sparring matches. The twelve who emerge victorious could then begin talking about peace and unity around doctrine.  In the meantime, while they sort out the issues of the Synod, we could sell videos of the sparring matches and pull the synod out of her financial woes.  :D

Very clever!  I'd pay a steep price to watch that video!
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Scott6 on November 19, 2010, 04:32:50 PM
I like it.  Maybe theologizing while smoking a cigar and enjoying a beer, all before going out to do some target practice later.  Oh wait.  That's not "challenging" but merely business as usual...  X that...  :-\

Now that's what I'm talking about, nix the drinking before shooting though. Alcohol and .223 or .40 ammo is a bad combination.

Now that I'm living in the South, it seems par for the course.  But maybe you're right...  ;D
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Scott6 on November 19, 2010, 04:34:21 PM
...then select the top twelve names from each list and send those people to the IC for a series of martial arts sparring matches.

Sweet!  As I spar on a more than a weekly basis (hits to the face are both expected and painful), this sounds like a great idea!
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: kls on November 19, 2010, 04:40:00 PM
They could each give sermons and have to demonstrate how to swing a thurible correctly and how to get a homeless person to come to church.

So you're removing Marie and Pam from your list, Michael?  Hmmmmm???   ;)  Tsk, tsk, tsk . . .
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on November 19, 2010, 05:24:33 PM
...

OK, I dare you to send that list to President Harrison. In fact, I double dog dare you.  ;)

....

It's too good of an idea to just leave theoretical.

Mike

 ;D Not my problem any more ! Just encouraging you guys to think about it.

Example unnamed liberal - Doctorate, pastor of a small congregation. Graduated from Ft. Wayne Senior College for his bachelor degree in pre-ministry. Has numerous calls on cue all the time. He has at least 4,000 people around the synod who consider him to be "my pastor" even as he objects forcefully to turn to "their" pastor always. Now divide a couple thousand of those by about 20, and you have the congregations and congregational leadership groups that directly pretty much take his sneezes as Gospel. He likely would decline from battle fatigue.

Example two: -conservative - more obscure, but a pastor of a small congregation with Doctorate that I believe Pr. Bolland would yield the floor to, if others would respect him. Was a professor at a Concordia school. Not a heavy board poster but others follow his blogs and comments. Conservatives being a bit more Berean, I will only say they usually give him the benefit of presumption that his sneezes are probably Gospel. He too probably would decline from battlefield wounds.

These are two, that many who we see active in leadership and on boards, find understanding and teachings, or at least follow their blogs religiously. The influence mushrooms when you consider their disciples actively pass on their doctrines, sometimes as leaders in the Synod. You can engage the disciples, but you might want to find a way to pry out the thoughts of those who put forward others to be leaders. Seminaries form young pastors and instruct the masses of clergy. There are others who carry influence of groups from quiet places.

Pr Harrison is more than capable of sorting that out on his own. We just need to grant him the grace to do so.

I provide this as a simple reality to ponder as you seek to engage the issues. It will not be easy, and some of these folks even if not participants, need to be consulted into the discussion, with respect and charity. This is true in local discussions as well.

TV

PS. Since I guess the question looms, I am missionary taught and disciple of a simple retired missionary who does not put himself up, but points to being a disciple of Christ, which he is. He was out of the country during all the controversies, so not many positions there. I have had many other teachers from LCMS, but I still pretty much pay attention to his sneezes.
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: pr dtp on November 19, 2010, 08:25:22 PM
I do not believe this can be done at a district or synodical level.

It must be done at the circuit level - every circuit-  and further it must be 12 people willing to work it through.  And they must start with what we have in common - the doctrine of justification - and the means by which we are justified - word and sacrament.
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Dave Benke on November 19, 2010, 10:54:51 PM
As much as a representational Koinonia back/n/forth would be, and as much as I'm game for any talkathon on matters of importance, the key to the Koinonia Project is and will remain that it remain unpolluted by the overture bug.  The proposal that the dialog be accomplished without changes in policy/handbook/church-political procedure is the whole enchilada, and that's the way it's going to be done.  Open the room to actual dialog with no handbook/bhlaw change options, and actual dialog will take place at any and all levels.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: kls on November 20, 2010, 06:49:04 AM
They could each give theological presentations.  ;)

Better?

Indeed.  Just having a little fun.  ;)
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: SKPeterson on November 20, 2010, 07:37:49 AM
I'd have to put Gene Veith in the list for a layman's perspective and Larry Peters wouldn't be a bad choice either on the pastoral front.
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Matt on November 20, 2010, 10:26:39 AM
the key to the Koinonia Project is and will remain that it remain unpolluted by the overture bug. 

I think I agree with this. As I read Pr. Harrison, the Koinonia Project should not be a legislative body, neither should it be an attempt to produce documents with confessional authority. Neither should it be a mere "talk shop," if it doesn't produce change in how congregations worship and operate at the grass-roots level then it probably isn't worth much.

I think there should be three levels of deliberation: at circuit, district and synod levels. Perhaps the circuit groups meet for a week in the summer and post the results of their deliberations in a public internet forum. Then a week after they conclude, the district groups convene for a week, using the circuit documents as inputs. Then a week after that is over, the Synod group convenes for two or three weeks. So the ideas flow upward from the grass roots. At each stage, the groups pray together, perhaps doing matins and vespers each day, led by different pastors taking turns. Significant time for Bible study should take place before deliberation, and arguments should be framed in terms of Scripture and Confession.

Stage 1 would be to define the areas of controversy; Stage 2 would be an attempt to reach unity in each area of controversy. I envision this functioning a little like the U.S. Supreme Court. After deliberating on a topic, each member of the group would have the right to draft a statement of position about the topic, to be posted in the public forum. Those members in complete agreement could add their signatures to someone else's statement. Thus, you would typically have a majority opinion and minority opinion coming out of a group on a contentious topic and the signatures would indicate who takes the given position. Then, the Synod level group would have an array of opinions from the lower groups to inform their deliberations. And no one will be silenced or forced into endorsing ideas they cannot accept, it will be okay to post a minority opinion of one.

My prayer is that these discussions will be about theological ideas expressed in the terms of scripture and confessions and church history. The end documents will more clearly illuminate where we agree and where we differ. The end result may be a more unified church body and it may be a split, but it will allow us to be more clear about what we believe, teach and confess.
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on November 20, 2010, 10:42:30 AM
Unfortunately, your analogy to the Supreme Court finally requires a vote, and the majority state what the doctrinal position is. Kind of like the CTCR.

I don't think that's what President Harrison has in mind with the Koinonia project. We don't unify by majority vote. As with the Supreme Court, that's running things in the way of the law. The key is The Word that is active and creates, it does what it says. 
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Dave Benke on November 20, 2010, 10:52:55 AM
I agree with Don here, Matt J.   My usual entrance text for preaching on the doctrine of the Word is Hebrews 4:12, the Word, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division between "soul and spirit."  Where is that?  The answer is - you know where that is, because that's the you that's you.  In Elert's way of explication, the ash that's left of the psychic content of you is covered by the cross of Christ, where death meets and conquers death in the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Doing that explication in group setting around controverted or central issues of faith and life promises to be a transformative Body of Christ experience, one not addressed by majority opinions, no matter how they're vetted.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Matt on November 20, 2010, 10:59:40 AM
My suggestion does not involve voting; the analogy with the Supreme Court is not appropriate on that point, only in the drafting of opinions.

There is no voting at any level, and the intention is not to produce legislation or overatures or confessions or canon law. I don't recommend taking power away from any existing boards or committees or the Synod in convention.

Everything works by power of persuasion. The hope is that each group can reach unanimity on a subject and produce one document with 12 signatures. It is possible, I suppose, for a group to produce 12 documents drafted by each of the 12 members. My guess is that most groups will settle on two opinions, perhaps one with eight signatures and one with four.

Then, everything gets posted on the Internet for public comment so that the next higher group may be informed by the opinions of the lower. Again, somewhat like the court system but with no voting or binding powers. My hope is that those reading the documents will support the arguments with the strongest support from scripture and confessions rather than judging the personalities of the people signing the documents. Still, I think it will be very enlightening to have the signatures of many church leaders on positions stating "here I stand, this I believe." This process will provide clarity and transparency and identify who believes what.

Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Matt on November 20, 2010, 11:36:50 AM
Deep study of the Word of God must permeate every level of the discussion. I envision 50% of each group's time together spent on Bible study, 25% on discussion and debate and 25% on writing and signing statements.

Sharper than any two edged sword, I can see a group producing one statement informed by clear reasoning from the Scripture and one or more statements that is not. It very well may be the minority opinion or the opinion of one person that expresses Scriptural truth. I am confident that as Christians read, evaluate and discuss these statements with the help of the Holy Spirit, the truth will become clear.

As far as "the you that's you" and psychic ash, I have no idea what you are talking about. The Word of God is an objective reality that exists outside of me. As a sinful man, my understanding of the Bible is incomplete at best, and perhaps wrong on some points. If someone shows me from scripture that my opinion is wrong, I must change my opinion and humbly thank he who corrected me. I must conform my mind to scripture. The same is true for all Christians. No one's opinion gets to carry the day because of exalted education or office or majority vote. Our Synod in convention has produced decisions that directly contradict the Lutheran Confessions and the Word of God. The CTCR has produced some opinions that are poorly reasoned, poorly written and not helpful for the life of the church. Rank-and-file LCMS'ers have rightfully ignor the worst of this.

No human process is infallible, neither will be the Koinonia Project. But the more the process depends on the Word of God and the less it depends on political maneuvering, the better the outputs will be. If this idea of Koinonia is meant to replace anything, it would be the CTCR. We can think of this as a CTCR with much broader participation and transparency (I do think one of the best things about the CTCR is the posting of minority opinions).
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: pr dtp on November 20, 2010, 12:42:36 PM
Deep study of the Word of God must permeate every level of the discussion. I envision 50% of each group's time together spent on Bible study, 25% on discussion and debate and 25% on writing and signing statements.

Sharper than any two edged sword, I can see a group producing one statement informed by clear reasoning from the Scripture and one or more statements that is not. It very well may be the minority opinion or the opinion of one person that expresses Scriptural truth. I am confident that as Christians read, evaluate and discuss these statements with the help of the Holy Spirit, the truth will become clear.

As far as "the you that's you" and psychic ash, I have no idea what you are talking about. The Word of God is an objective reality that exists outside of me. As a sinful man, my understanding of the Bible is incomplete at best, and perhaps wrong on some points. If someone shows me from scripture that my opinion is wrong, I must change my opinion and humbly thank he who corrected me. I must conform my mind to scripture. The same is true for all Christians. No one's opinion gets to carry the day because of exalted education or office or majority vote. Our Synod in convention has produced decisions that directly contradict the Lutheran Confessions and the Word of God. The CTCR has produced some opinions that are poorly reasoned, poorly written and not helpful for the life of the church. Rank-and-file LCMS'ers have rightfully ignor the worst of this.

No human process is infallible, neither will be the Koinonia Project. But the more the process depends on the Word of God and the less it depends on political maneuvering, the better the outputs will be. If this idea of Koinonia is meant to replace anything, it would be the CTCR. We can think of this as a CTCR with much broader participation and transparency (I do think one of the best things about the CTCR is the posting of minority opinions).


Sorry, I don't think the signing statements will work, anymore than it has in our ordinations and installations.   We all "signed" onto agareement with the confessions and scripture therein - how many more documents can we have? 

However, we can come into agreement on what those documents means - for example AC 4, 7, 8, 14, 24 etc.

One thing as ell - the constant concept that we are all justified sinners - and that our unity will only be found in our being united to Christ.
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on November 20, 2010, 12:49:26 PM
My suggestion does not involve voting; the analogy with the Supreme Court is not appropriate on that point, only in the drafting of opinions.

Well, neither of us has been in the Supreme Court conference room, but my understanding is that, generally, they retire to the conference room after oral argument, take a vote, and the majority and minority opinions are then assigned by the Chief Justice. Others may concur or dissent, with or without separate opinions. So, the drafting of opinions inherently involves a vote. And we have a deeply divided Suypreme Court. So, I don't think the Court's methods are analogous at all to a Koinonia project, thanks be to God.

I'm not sure what you mean by everything working by power of persuasion. I hope you mean by The Word. As Dr. Nagel always warned us, beware of power talk for, if we are doing the persuading, it's law talk. (Hence my aversion toward the "power of prayer" phrase.) When the Lord is running the verbs, however, then we have the power of the Word.
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: pr dtp on November 20, 2010, 01:06:28 PM
My suggestion does not involve voting; the analogy with the Supreme Court is not appropriate on that point, only in the drafting of opinions.

Well, neither of us has been in the Supreme Court conference room, but my understanding is that, generally, they retire to the conference room after oral argument, take a vote, and the majority and minority opinions are then assigned by the Chief Justice. Others may concur or dissent, with or without separate opinions. So, the drafting of opinions inherently involves a vote. And we have a deeply divided Suypreme Court. So, I don't think the Court's methods are analogous at all to a Koinonia project, thanks be to God.

I'm not sure what you mean by everything working by power of persuasion. I hope you mean by The Word. As Dr. Nagel always warned us, beware of power talk for, if we are doing the persuading, it's law talk. (Hence my aversion toward the "power of prayer" phrase.) When the Lord is running the verbs, however, then we have the power of the Word.

Can the moderators add a FB-like "thumbs up" to the forum?  I would like to click such for this one!
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Matt on November 20, 2010, 03:41:56 PM
J&S: I don't propose changing anything about the ordination oath. Whatever documents Koinonia produces would not have the same force as quia subscriptions to the Lutheran Confessions. This is what I mean when
I say (and I believe Pr. Harrison says) that we are not in the business of adding to the confessions or drafting new confessions. Anything that anybody produces that is not in line with scripture and confessions is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Pr. Kirch: Feel free to disagree, but please make the effort to understand what I am saying. Like the Supreme Court, the Koinonia participants would deliberate behind closed doors with an attitude of confidentiality and collegiality as they discuss the issues at hand. Just as the Supreme Court's freedom is restricted by the Constitution, legislation and precedent; the Koinonia participants will be limited to reasoning from Scripture and confessions. This is, I understand, the norm for theological debate in our seminaries and conventions already.

Unlike the Supreme Court, no vote will be taken. The participants will produce as many statements as they need to in order to represent the range of opinion in the room that exists after prayer, Bible study and deliberation. The group should pray that it is led to come to one understanding on the issue at hand so that the 12 participants can sign one document. But if division still exists, we should recognize it honestly and not force anyone to endorse anything that they can not in good conscience endorse.

As to signing one's name to opinions, that is what we do all day long on boards like this one! When I opine on church matters on the Internet, I must be accountable for what I write. If I write something in error or sin against a brother, I expect to be corrected and called to repentence. This has happened many times for me and it has made me a better Christian. Steel has sharpened steel, and I've gained respect for those I disagree with and insight about what they believe. If all, or even most people come to Koinonia with a humble and teachable spirit, I believe it could be a great blessing for our life together in the Synod.
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Dave Benke on November 20, 2010, 04:12:31 PM
Oops.  I think I jumped ahead too quickly there for you on the Elertian reference, Matt J.  What is being discussed is saving faith.  Saving faith is not something you do, is not subjective, is not the you that is you doing anything.  It is quite the opposite,  In the words of the theologians, its a mathematicum punctum, a mathematical point.  And the mathematical point, for Luther, is that the ash left of you when you are along with all humanity dead in your trespasses and sins is covered objectively by the cross of Christ.  The doctrine of the Word is that which reveals the innermost thoughts and discernments of the heart (Hebrews 4) and thereby as the living and active two-edged sword cuts you to the bone, revealing the spot in you and all humanity that is addressed by and covered by the Gospel - the availiing death and resurrection of Christ.  This is the theologians' way of expressing what historically transpired at the hearing of Peter's words in Acts 2. 

There is, of course, a theological category of "appropriating faith," that which clings to the promise delivered.  But saving faith cannot begin with or be anchored in human effort, or you're left with the Baptist "I believe that I believe that I believe that I believe" deal where what you have faith in is your faith, which is a tautology and not a useful one.

I think what you're outlining is useful in terms of the "statements;" the documents will be fluid, and normally proceed on the basis of "here's what we all hold to be true, here's where the areas of difficulty are, and here's what's happened in uncovering those;"  and so forth unto conclusion.

The Synod's Task Force on Harmony has been working for a number of years and their insights as to the areas for theological study will be part and parcel of the Koinonia Project. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Matt on November 20, 2010, 05:08:47 PM
Let me be the first to admit that I have not read deeply or broadly as a theologian; especially compared to the professional theologians in this Forum. The depth of learning demonstrated by (for example) Prs. Benke, Weedon or Stoffregen is very impressive. My Greek is very elementary, my Hebrew nonexistent.

So I am not familiar with Elert and some of the terminology that you are using. I'm not familiar with the term mathematicum punctum and you don't really define what you mean by it. So I'm not sure if I agree or not. I do think it is possible that you might approvingly quote some theologians or theological ideas that I would reject. I hope my ignorance does not disqualify me from participating in this conversation.

I don't think there is disagreement between us given what you just wrote, insofar as I understand it. No one's saving faith will be determined or defined by the Koinonia Project.

Our overarching problem in the LCMS is that we would like to walk together in perfect unity and fellowship, but this is threatened by the longstanding divisions among us. Pr. Harrison is proposing a project to work toward overcoming these divisions and I'm musing about how the details should work. The opinions of those of you who are on the other side of these divisions is most useful. I don't pretend that my opinion counts for anything more than any other lay man or woman but if, by the grace of God, I come up with some good ideas, they might catch on and influence reality. Or not, either way I enjoy the conversation!
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: LCMS87 on November 20, 2010, 08:20:43 PM
I think what you're outlining is useful in terms of the "statements;" the documents will be fluid, and normally proceed on the basis of "here's what we all hold to be true, here's where the areas of difficulty are, and here's what's happened in uncovering those;"  and so forth unto conclusion.

The Synod's Task Force on Harmony has been working for a number of years and their insights as to the areas for theological study will be part and parcel of the Koinonia Project.  

Dave Benke

Reverend President,

I'd click the "like" button on this.  

One thing I hope we are able to do is work out our "statements" in thesis and antithesis.  It can be very helpful to say, "This is what we agree on, and together we reject these contrary understandings."  That's not in style today, but it an age of agreeing to disagree or "You have your truth and I have mine," I think it's extremely valuable.  It facilitates clarity and precision, both of which are necessary for real concordia.
Title: Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
Post by: Dave Benke on November 22, 2010, 10:25:03 AM
I think that's not only workable, but the way it will work.   
Agreed on.
Against.
Left to determine.
Whittling.

Dave Benke