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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: passerby on February 15, 2011, 05:08:59 PM

Title: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: passerby on February 15, 2011, 05:08:59 PM
Lutheran sociologist Peter Berger has an interesting take on same-sex marriage at his blog:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/berger/2011/02/09/some-personal-reflections-on-same-sex-marriage/

I think he takes a minimalist view of the Lutheran view of marriage (is it just that Lutheran ministers bless unions that are already in place?), but he applies the law-gospel teachings in an interesting way to civil unions. What thinketh the forum?
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: vicarbob on February 16, 2011, 12:36:03 AM
I think that some of the comments on the articles page are right on. The author is a sociologist not a Lutheran theologian as evident in his Law/Gospel application to marriage. While marriage is not a Sacrament, it is still Sacred. I do agree with a helpful distinction made by one posting a comment.
Marriage= between man/woman + God
Union= two adults+ State
I did like the article, very informative....just not theologically.
But I'm not sociologist
pax
PiT E
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: revklak on February 16, 2011, 08:10:26 AM
I think that some of the comments on the articles page are right on. The author is a sociologist not a Lutheran theologian as evident in his Law/Gospel application to marriage. While marriage is not a Sacrament, it is still Sacred. I do agree with a helpful distinction made by one posting a comment.
Marriage= between man/woman + God
Union= two adults+ State
I did like the article, very informative....just not theologically.
But I'm not sociologistpax
PiT E

Neither am I -- I am more (four) Marks-ist!   ;D
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Vern on February 18, 2011, 04:29:44 PM
I can't understand how any Lutheran Pastor could chose to bless sin.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 18, 2011, 05:15:07 PM
I can't understand how any Lutheran Pastor could chose to bless sin.

It's likely that most of us pastor do that when we pronounce the benediction. There are unrepentant sinners in the congregation; and we ask God to bless them.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Mike Bennett on February 18, 2011, 05:43:24 PM
I can't understand how any Lutheran Pastor could chose to bless sin.

It's likely that most of us pastor do that when we pronounce the benediction. There are unrepentant sinners in the congregation; and we ask God to bless them.

Signed onto ALPB for the first time in a week, and got ticked off at a subscriber for making a churlish comment.  Next I read your reply here, and I want to respond with a churlish comment.  Can't win.

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 18, 2011, 06:31:25 PM
Theology and pastoral care is messy. Those who want everything in neat packages, black-and-white print in a san serif typeface are going to be disappointed. Those who do not understand, after all these years, how Pastor Stoffregen and I explain our Lutheranism will just have to try harder.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Evangel on February 18, 2011, 06:54:18 PM
Actually there is a huge difference between blessing sinners and blessing sin.  Brian is deflecting rather than saying what he really thinks about Vern's comment.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 18, 2011, 08:01:20 PM
Actually there is a huge difference between blessing sinners and blessing sin.  Brian is deflecting rather than saying what he really thinks about Vern's comment.

I said what I really thought about Vern's comment. Those pastors who conduct "blessing" ceremonies are blessing sinners; not sin -- pretty much like we do at the end of each worship service. An even more parallel action is the blessing of heterosexual couples who have been living "in sin". Does the marriage rite bless their sin?

Also: churlish |ˈ ch ərli sh |adjective: rude in a mean-spirited and surly way

How was my comment: "rude in a mean-spirited and surly way"?
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: George Erdner on February 20, 2011, 07:31:29 AM
Actually there is a huge difference between blessing sinners and blessing sin.  Brian is deflecting rather than saying what he really thinks about Vern's comment.

I said what I really thought about Vern's comment. Those pastors who conduct "blessing" ceremonies are blessing sinners; not sin -- pretty much like we do at the end of each worship service. An even more parallel action is the blessing of heterosexual couples who have been living "in sin". Does the marriage rite bless their sin?

Also: churlish |ˈ ch ərli sh |adjective: rude in a mean-spirited and surly way

How was my comment: "rude in a mean-spirited and surly way"?


That is a crock. They are blessing a relationship that is based on the sin of homoerotic activity. It is a cruel and bitter joke played on the homosexuals. In a normal relationship, a heterosexual couple is expected to refrain from physical intimacy until they are married. It's the whole "save yourself for your wedding night" thing, which is so obvious it shouldn't need to be brought up. The statement at the end of a real wedding between a man and a woman, "You may now kiss the bride" is a euphemism for "You may now engage in intercourse later tonight to consummate the marriage". The "blessing" of a homosexual relationship is a twisted parody of marriage as God intended it, with the implication that once the homosexual partnership is blessed, they can engage in homoerotic activity without it being an act of sin, which is a lie.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: George Erdner on February 20, 2011, 07:33:18 AM
Theology and pastoral care is messy. Those who want everything in neat packages, black-and-white print in a san serif typeface are going to be disappointed. Those who do not understand, after all these years, how Pastor Stoffregen and I explain our Lutheranism will just have to try harder.

Maybe you and Stoffregen could either change your own thinking and return to Lutheranism instead of practicing your own unique variation, or you and Stoffregen could find a new label for your personal belief systems.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 20, 2011, 09:08:00 AM
Mr. Erdner writes:
In a normal relationship, a heterosexual couple is expected to refrain from physical intimacy until they are married. It's the whole "save yourself for your wedding night" thing, which is so obvious it shouldn't need to be brought up. The statement at the end of a real wedding between a man and a woman, "You may now kiss the bride" is a euphemism for "You may now engage in intercourse later tonight to consummate the marriage".
I comment:
There are so many errors there that it would be futile to try and make clarifications.

Mr. Erdner writes:
The "blessing" of a homosexual relationship is a twisted parody of marriage as God intended it, with the implication that once the homosexual partnership is blessed, they can engage in homoerotic activity without it being an act of sin, which is a lie.
I comment:
See above. And we need not go - once again - down the road of wondering just what "homoerotic" or any-kind-of-erotic activity (another repetitive concerrn of Mr. Erdners) really is.

Mr. Erdner:
Maybe you and Stoffregen could either change your own thinking and return to Lutheranism instead of practicing your own unique variation, or you and Stoffregen could find a new label for your personal belief systems.
Me.
Pastor Stoffregen and I are clergy on the roster of the ELCA, and - so far as I can tell from his posts here - operating well within the discipline of the ELCA, as (I hope) am I. At least in nearly 44 years of preaching, teaching and working with people in the LCA and ELCA, and holding positions on national and international Lutheran organizations, no one has run from my sermons or classes and no one has brought charges against me.
Maybe Mr. Erdner could abandon his curious obsession with the two of us, cease the personal attacks (two or three or more in recent days) and get on with something else. I have asked moderators for relief from these kinds of assaults, and a few of his remarks were deleted after my complaints, but the pattern continues.
Nonetheless, cheers to all. This humble corresponent is still fascinated by the recent week in the Persian Gulf, engaged in a couple of worthwhile writing projects, looking forward to a visit to grandchildren this spring, and some more exotic travel in the fall.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: George Erdner on February 20, 2011, 09:27:55 AM
Pastor Stoffregen and I are clergy on the roster of the ELCA

And Bishop Spong was on the equivalent of the clergy roster of the Episcopal Church.

Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 20, 2011, 10:06:01 AM
Another foul shot. I have never defended Bishop Spong and have no intention of doing so.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 20, 2011, 10:09:06 AM
Pastor Stoffregen and I are clergy on the roster of the ELCA

And Bishop Spong was on the equivalent of the clergy roster of the Episcopal Church.

And which clergy roster are you on?
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: George Erdner on February 20, 2011, 10:17:44 AM
Another foul shot. I have never defended Bishop Spong and have no intention of doing so.

It was merely an example that illustrated the fact that simply being on a clergy roster is not proof that one's personal beliefs as expressed in public are in accord with the teachings of that particular church. Being on the roster of a particular Lutheran denomination, especially one whose standards are as lax as the ELCA, is not proof that the person on the roster is a Lutheran. Though one could make a case for the category "Lutheran In Name Only".

I suppose it depends on whether or not one believes that being a "Lutheran" means one believes in the Confessions of the Lutheran faith tradition or that it only means that one's name is on a list somewhere, regardless of what one believes or teaches.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 20, 2011, 02:56:45 PM
Another foul shot. I have never defended Bishop Spong and have no intention of doing so.

It was merely an example that illustrated the fact that simply being on a clergy roster is not proof that one's personal beliefs as expressed in public are in accord with the teachings of that particular church. Being on the roster of a particular Lutheran denomination, especially one whose standards are as lax as the ELCA, is not proof that the person on the roster is a Lutheran. Though one could make a case for the category "Lutheran In Name Only".

I suppose it depends on whether or not one believes that being a "Lutheran" means one believes in the Confessions of the Lutheran faith tradition or that it only means that one's name is on a list somewhere, regardless of what one believes or teaches.

Being on the clergy roster means that one has gone through the scrutiny of a synod candidacy committee and was endorsed by them to be a pastor in the ELCA. (Or, endorsed by the appropriate folks in the predecessor bodies.) Those not on the roster have no such endorsement of their faith.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Pr. Terry Culler on February 20, 2011, 03:47:00 PM
Let me see now--Brian has faith because someone once said they thought he did and George may or may not have faith but we can't know because no one has "endorsed him."  What a load of horse hockey!
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 20, 2011, 04:16:00 PM
Pastor Stoffregen and myself are - like some others here with whom we disagree on certain issues - pastors in the ELCA, authorized to preach, teach, preside at the sacraments, lead congregations, represent the ELCA in public, and given the responsibities of a pastor, which includes supporting the ELCA in its mission and ministry.
It might be time to stop the stupid chatter contending that we are not or that we do not have faith or that our faith is "unique" to us and not to the church at large. It is getting tiresome.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: tom on February 20, 2011, 04:39:40 PM
Truth is ofen difficult when one changes it every day.  But I error truth does not change
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Vern on February 20, 2011, 05:13:32 PM
I can't understand how any Lutheran Pastor could chose to bless sin.

It's likely that most of us pastor do that when we pronounce the benediction. There are unrepentant sinners in the congregation; and we ask God to bless them.
I never said that we shouldn't bless "sinners" sir, i said that we should not bless the sinful act. If we couldn't bless sinners we would be in big trouble because that is what we all are.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: amos on February 20, 2011, 05:29:28 PM
"and given the responsibilies of a pastor, which includes supporting the ELCA in its mission and ministry."

In any denomination with a process of ordination for it's Pastors, what happens when their vow to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ no longer appears to be the the focus of the sponsoring body?  Does the failure of a pastor to honor the non-scriptural promise to the sponsoring human denominational entity somehow nullify the vow given to God at the same time?  I was never taught that the human governmental body took president over God.  It seems to me that I read somewhere that one can not serve two different masters.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 20, 2011, 05:35:38 PM
If, "amos," you feel that being a pastor in the ELCA conflicts with your faith in God and if you believe that the ELCA has departed from what you consider to be valid faith, then you have a decision to make.
If you think that to "teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ no longer appears to be the the focus" of the ELCA, then you have a decision to make.
It seems to me that if you cannot fulfill your obligations as a pastor in the ELCA, then you must resign from its ministry. Your "call" to serve God is still valid, perhaps your ordination can still be recognized and accepted by some church body. But we are not pastors in a vacuum, as I have said many times, we are pastors within the context of a church body and if we find that our responsibilities there conflict with our faith, then we must leave that church body. I would if I felt that way. There was a time (in LCA days) when I considered doing so.

Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Vern on February 20, 2011, 05:41:25 PM
Charles, you often confuse me!
Are you saying that the Almighty Bishop and his cohorts in Chicago can't be wrong?
Also are you saying that you approve of blessing homosexual unions?
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: George Erdner on February 20, 2011, 06:16:39 PM
Pastor Stoffregen and myself are - like some others here with whom we disagree on certain issues - pastors in the ELCA, authorized to preach, teach, preside at the sacraments, lead congregations, represent the ELCA in public, and given the responsibities of a pastor, which includes supporting the ELCA in its mission and ministry.
It might be time to stop the stupid chatter contending that we are not or that we do not have faith or that our faith is "unique" to us and not to the church at large. It is getting tiresome.

You brought the issue up in the first place. Did you not post this?

Theology and pastoral care is messy. Those who want everything in neat packages, black-and-white print in a san serif typeface are going to be disappointed. Those who do not understand, after all these years, how Pastor Stoffregen and I explain our Lutheranism will just have to try harder.

If "your Lutheranism" was not some off-the-wall, unique variation, why would you need to post that those who do not understand you "after all these years" must bear the burden of more effort?

I submit that if "your Lutheranism" (which is your term, not mine!) is so difficult to understand, then it is not all the rest of us who need to try hard to understand you, it is you who need to try harder to do a better job of explaining.

Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 20, 2011, 06:33:42 PM
I submit that if "your Lutheranism" (which is your term, not mine!) is so difficult to understand, then it is not all the rest of us who need to try hard to understand you, it is you who need to try harder to do a better job of explaining.

We have both defined our Lutheranism quite often. It is summarized in the ELCA's Confession of Faith.

I have summarized it even more with: We are justified by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Although I'm reading Douglas Campbell's The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul, where he suggests that the justification model doesn't work and isn't a proper reading of Paul in Romans. I'm not convinced, yet; but I'm only on page 77 out of 936 pages of text and 240 pages of endnotes.

There is also the truth that my "Lutheranism" is put to the test every Sunday by the folks in the congregation; and that is even more true where I'm at now because over half of the worshipers are "snow birds" who belong to other congregations. I heard one visitor state today: "We've now found a church here." Apparently they had been trying different Lutheran congregations in the area.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: George Erdner on February 20, 2011, 06:48:32 PM
I submit that if "your Lutheranism" (which is your term, not mine!) is so difficult to understand, then it is not all the rest of us who need to try hard to understand you, it is you who need to try harder to do a better job of explaining.

We have both defined our Lutheranism quite often. It is summarized in the ELCA's Confession of Faith.

The disagreements aren't over the general summary, the disagreements are over the details and subtleties.

I heard one visitor state today: "We've now found a church here." Apparently they had been trying different Lutheran congregations in the area.

And what was wrong with the others? Were they too Lutheran to suit him?
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: jeric on February 20, 2011, 07:02:47 PM
O.K., time to get back to the topic, eh, what?
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 20, 2011, 07:13:31 PM
I submit that if "your Lutheranism" (which is your term, not mine!) is so difficult to understand, then it is not all the rest of us who need to try hard to understand you, it is you who need to try harder to do a better job of explaining.

We have both defined our Lutheranism quite often. It is summarized in the ELCA's Confession of Faith.

The disagreements aren't over the general summary, the disagreements are over the details and subtleties.

Within the ELCA, it is not the details and subtleties that define us a Lutheran, but the general summary. We allow differences. One's convictions about same-gender marriages does not a Lutheran make.

Quote
I heard one visitor state today: "We've now found a church here." Apparently they had been trying different Lutheran congregations in the area.

And what was wrong with the others? Were they too Lutheran to suit him?

My hunch is that he found us to be the graceful Lutheran one. Just down the street from us is a WELS congregation. There are two LCMS congregations not too far away. One is pretty conservative and the other is the large, more open congregation with a school and two contemporary services each Sunday. Actually, the first time they visited was two weeks ago when I was on vacation. They liked the congregation then, but even more after returning when I was here.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: George Erdner on February 20, 2011, 07:23:36 PM
I submit that if "your Lutheranism" (which is your term, not mine!) is so difficult to understand, then it is not all the rest of us who need to try hard to understand you, it is you who need to try harder to do a better job of explaining.

We have both defined our Lutheranism quite often. It is summarized in the ELCA's Confession of Faith.

The disagreements aren't over the general summary, the disagreements are over the details and subtleties.

Within the ELCA, it is not the details and subtleties that define us a Lutheran, but the general summary. We allow differences. One's convictions about same-gender marriages does not a Lutheran make.


Which is one more reason why the ELCA's theological teachings are suspect at best.

One's position on same-gender marriages or same gender sexual activity can indeed determine if one is a Lutheran or "Lutheran In Name Only". Your arguments that simply being signed up with the ELCA is all it takes to be a Lutheran make it increasingly evident that the ELCA no longer deserves to have an "L" in its acronym.

Pointing out that the fact that the ELCA allows (if not actually encourages) differences on such issues is the most damning statement one can make about the ELCA. Basically, the more you point out how the ELCA doesn't care about the subtleties and nuances of one's beliefs, the more that any claim that being on the roster of the ELCA proves one is a real Lutheran and not just a LINO is so much hogwash.

That's not to say that there aren't people on the ELCA's roster who are Lutherans. It's only to say that there are some on the roster who are and some on the roster who aren't. Which comes back to the same old, "some say this but others say that" pile of crap you've been peddling in here for at least as long as I've been reading what you've written.

Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 20, 2011, 07:51:03 PM
I submit that if "your Lutheranism" (which is your term, not mine!) is so difficult to understand, then it is not all the rest of us who need to try hard to understand you, it is you who need to try harder to do a better job of explaining.

We have both defined our Lutheranism quite often. It is summarized in the ELCA's Confession of Faith.

The disagreements aren't over the general summary, the disagreements are over the details and subtleties.

Within the ELCA, it is not the details and subtleties that define us a Lutheran, but the general summary. We allow differences. One's convictions about same-gender marriages does not a Lutheran make.


Which is one more reason why the ELCA's theological teachings are suspect at best.

One's position on same-gender marriages or same gender sexual activity can indeed determine if one is a Lutheran or "Lutheran In Name Only". Your arguments that simply being signed up with the ELCA is all it takes to be a Lutheran make it increasingly evident that the ELCA no longer deserves to have an "L" in its acronym.

Pointing out that the fact that the ELCA allows (if not actually encourages) differences on such issues is the most damning statement one can make about the ELCA. Basically, the more you point out how the ELCA doesn't care about the subtleties and nuances of one's beliefs, the more that any claim that being on the roster of the ELCA proves one is a real Lutheran and not just a LINO is so much hogwash.

It was stated very clearly in my seminary that each of us were to develop our own theology within the Lutheran framework. Lutheranism was a general framework. Our personal theologies were the differences and subtleties. If you spent much time in an ALC/LCA/ELCA seminary (like we clergy do) I'd think you know this.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: George Erdner on February 20, 2011, 08:06:12 PM
It was stated very clearly in my seminary that each of us were to develop our own theology within the Lutheran framework. Lutheranism was a general framework. Our personal theologies were the differences and subtleties. If you spent much time in an ALC/LCA/ELCA seminary (like we clergy do) I'd think you know this.

I guess you missed that part I highlighted.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: DCharlton on February 20, 2011, 10:10:59 PM
If, "amos," you feel that being a pastor in the ELCA conflicts with your faith in God and if you believe that the ELCA has departed from what you consider to be valid faith, then you have a decision to make.
If you think that to "teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ no longer appears to be the the focus" of the ELCA, then you have a decision to make.
It seems to me that if you cannot fulfill your obligations as a pastor in the ELCA, then you must resign from its ministry. Your "call" to serve God is still valid, perhaps your ordination can still be recognized and accepted by some church body. But we are not pastors in a vacuum, as I have said many times, we are pastors within the context of a church body and if we find that our responsibilities there conflict with our faith, then we must leave that church body. I would if I felt that way. There was a time (in LCA days) when I considered doing so.



Should those who consider the Doctrine of the Trinity to be a form of idolatry that perpetuates the oppression of women also take your advice?  Should those who consider Doctrine of the Incarnation a form of idolatry that perpetuates interreligious prejudice and violence take your advice?  Should those who cannot in good conscience pray the Our Father take your advice? 
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 20, 2011, 11:50:01 PM

It's likely that most of us pastor [sic] do that when we pronounce the benediction. There are unrepentant sinners in the congregation; and we ask God to bless them.

 ::)
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 20, 2011, 11:57:48 PM

Also: churlish |ˈ ch ərli sh |adjective: rude in a mean-spirited and surly way

How was my comment: "rude in a mean-spirited and surly way"?


You might try (re-?) reading how the word was actually used (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=3678.msg205837#msg205837).

spt+
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 21, 2011, 01:17:34 AM
It was stated very clearly in my seminary that each of us were to develop our own theology within the Lutheran framework. Lutheranism was a general framework. Our personal theologies were the differences and subtleties. If you spent much time in an ALC/LCA/ELCA seminary (like we clergy do) I'd think you know this.

I guess you missed that part I highlighted.

Considering that the seminary faculty (the endorsing committee in the ALC) certified me for ordination and a congregation saw fit to call me and a bishop saw fit to authorize my ordination attests to the Lutheranism of my beliefs. In addition, through a good part of my ministry I have been asked to serve on synod committees -- another indication that the wider church considers my beliefs "Lutheran". In my present synod, I'm on the committee that plans the leadership training for our clergy and our bishop's retreat. I've been asked to speak at other events in other synods; and numerous bishops make use of my exegetical work.

Who, besides yourself, has endorsed and certified your Lutheranism?
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 21, 2011, 01:23:10 AM
Mr. Jorgensen writes:
Charles, you often confuse me!
Are you saying that the Almighty Bishop and his cohorts in Chicago can't be wrong? Also are you saying that you approve of blessing homosexual unions?
I comment:
Don't be silly. of course men and women can be wrong. Your use of terminology - "Almighty Bishop," "his cohorts in Chicago" - indicate that you have an animus towards the leaders of the ELCA which suggests that my words to you will be futile. I don't know your status or relationship to the ELCA, but I doubt that it is healthy. That's your problem. It is the policy of the ELCA that pastors may bless same sex unions. Some do and have done so for years. Some will not do so and probably won't do so in the future.
But you know that.

And we must note, yet again, Mr. Erdner's foul language - "pile of crap" - about the views of Pastor Stoffregen and myself and his insistence that he is the one to decide whether one's "Lutheranism" is valid. Pastor Stoffregen and this humble correspondent have consistently refused to use vile language to characterize the views of those who disagree with us or to write them out of the Lutheran fellowship. My complaints to the moderators about Mr. Edner's language have not brought an end to his vituperations, though they have on rare occasion edited some of his viciousness. I count nine times in the past two days that he has used such language.
So all I can do is point out the mean-spirited nature of his posts about us.
But of course, it doesn't matter, because Mr. Erdner believes it is possible to get "close" to knowing the fullness of God. And BTW, he is equally disdainful of the revered theologians that have formed the LCMS and sniffs haughtily when they are cited by members of that church body.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Vern on February 21, 2011, 04:33:28 PM
Charles, you didn't answer the one question very cleary for a lowly lay person like me. Do you or do you not approve of the blessing of sin?
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 21, 2011, 05:13:54 PM
Vernon Jorgensen writes:
Charles, you didn't answer the one question very cleary for a lowly lay person like me. Do you or do you not approve of the blessing of sin?

I respond:
I do not approve the blessing of sin. I suspect that over the years I might have given a blessing to sinners.  ;D ;)
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Vern on February 21, 2011, 07:58:04 PM
Vernon Jorgensen writes:
Charles, you didn't answer the one question very cleary for a lowly lay person like me. Do you or do you not approve of the blessing of sin?

I respond:
I do not approve the blessing of sin. I suspect that over the years I might have given a blessing to sinners.  ;D ;)

I commend you for the blessing of sinners, sir, it what you Pastors are supposed to do, isn't it?
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Michael Slusser on February 21, 2011, 08:01:17 PM
Vernon Jorgensen writes:
Charles, you didn't answer the one question very cleary for a lowly lay person like me. Do you or do you not approve of the blessing of sin?

I respond:
I do not approve the blessing of sin. I suspect that over the years I might have given a blessing to sinners.  ;D ;)

Gracefully answered, Charles--and you have stopped starving your cat, I trust?  ;D

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 21, 2011, 09:32:44 PM
Actually, Fr. Slusser, my "sin" with regard to my companion animal would be overfeeding. But Sally is a judicious eater and will never be a fat cat.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Coach-Rev on February 22, 2011, 08:56:27 AM
If, "amos," you feel that being a pastor in the ELCA conflicts with your faith in God and if you believe that the ELCA has departed from what you consider to be valid faith, then you have a decision to make.
If you think that to "teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ no longer appears to be the the focus" of the ELCA, then you have a decision to make.
It seems to me that if you cannot fulfill your obligations as a pastor in the ELCA, then you must resign from its ministry. Your "call" to serve God is still valid, perhaps your ordination can still be recognized and accepted by some church body. But we are not pastors in a vacuum, as I have said many times, we are pastors within the context of a church body and if we find that our responsibilities there conflict with our faith, then we must leave that church body. I would if I felt that way. There was a time (in LCA days) when I considered doing so.



Charles, stop being judge, jury, and executioner for those who disagree with you!  We are most definitely NOT pastors within the context of a church body as you define, we are supposed to, all of us, be pastors within the context of God's revelation AND mystery, as seen most importantly in the pages of what we call "Holy Scripture."  Quite frankly, I'm tired of your incessant rants that those who disagree with the ELCA have a "choice to make."

And FWIW, amos has done just that:  he has left the ELCA's roster.  And whether or not I leave the ELCA roster is also, quite frankly, none of your business. 

Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 22, 2011, 01:14:55 PM
Coach-rev writes:
Charles, stop being judge, jury, and executioner for those who disagree with you!
I comment:
I am not judging, adjudicating or executing anyone. I am only offering personal comments.

Coach-rev writes:
We are most definitely NOT pastors within the context of a church body as you define, we are supposed to, all of us, be pastors within the context of God's revelation AND mystery, as seen most importantly in the pages of what we call "Holy Scripture."  
I respond:
You persistently misread and misinterpret my comments. Or you are willfully ignorant. When you were ordained as a Lutheran, you were ordained into the public ministry of a particular denomination, given responsibilities within and to that denomination. We are not freelance, independent clergy, but clergy within a certain context. Such were our ordination and installation pledges.
You may deny that, but it happened. You can even abscond from the call to be a pastor within a church body, and say you have your own view of ministry, authority and accountability. But then you place yourself in a different context. That's all right with me; just don't pretend that it is otherwise. Our church bodies have the right to remove us from the roster. You can go on and call yourself pastor in another context; but so long as you are on the roster of the ELCA, or LCMS or WELS, that is the context of your ordained ministry.

Coach-rev:
Quite frankly, I'm tired of your incessant rants that those who disagree with the ELCA have a "choice to make."
Me:
I rant not. And if one says the ELCA is no longer "church," no longer preaches the Gospel, and no longer commands one's loyalty, then - well duh! - a choice has to be made.

Coach-rev:
And FWIW, amos has done just that:  he has left the ELCA's roster.  And whether or not I leave the ELCA roster is also, quite frankly, none of your business.
Me:
For heaven's sake, take a breath! So long as you are on the roster of the ELCA, your ministry and welfare is my business as we are fellow workers in the same vineyard. I should care whether you leave, the way you would care if one of your members leaves your congregation. If "amos" has left the ELCA roster, I wish him (or her) well in the new endeavor. If you do, same to you. But until then, we're together in this, whether you like it or not.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 22, 2011, 01:36:21 PM
When you were ordained as a Lutheran, you were ordained into the public ministry of a particular denomination, given responsibilities within and to that denomination. We are not freelance, independent clergy, but clergy within a certain context. Such were our ordination and installation pledges.


Charles, I have just re-read the ordinations rites in LBW and SBH -- that would be as Coach-Rev, amos, you, and I were ordained.  And what you assert here simply is not anywhere to be found.  We have been ordained into the Holy Ministry of the Church, not a particular denomination. 

I wish I knew where you (and so many of the ELCA's leaders) picked up this sectarian notion that is suddenly infecting this church.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: GoCubsGo on February 22, 2011, 02:24:36 PM
When you were ordained as a Lutheran, you were ordained into the public ministry of a particular denomination, given responsibilities within and to that denomination.
We have been ordained into the Holy Ministry of the Church, not a particular denomination.  

I wish I knew where you (and so many of the ELCA's leaders) picked up this sectarian notion that is suddenly infecting this church.

Pax, Steven+
These are the same leaders who demand denominational loyalty when it suits them (demanding no dual rostering of pastors or congregations) but didn't demand that same loyalty when it doesn't (overlooking those who willfully violated the pre CWA09 V+E standards).

Personally, I'm ready to chuck the whole thing...
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: amos on February 22, 2011, 03:06:15 PM
Charles "Orthodox" is a self-chosen term not in the ELCA lexicon."

However it is certainly not a new term and I agree "orthodox" is not a term in the ELCA lexicon --- it is a term that is not wanted nor accepted in the ELCA.  So much for the false concept of inclusiveness!

For several years, I have been deeply concerned about the direction we have taken.  More and more, ignoring Holy Scripture, rejecting the apostolic faith, putting man's wisdom above God's wisdom, adapting the cultural and "Aristotle" type thinking that Luther also fought with the academics during the reformation.  After much prayer and discernment I finally made a very very difficult decision. I applied to and was accepted into the ordained ministry of the North American Lutheran Church.

This was not done out of spite, hatred of the ELCA, or in any sense of thumbing my nose at the ELCA.  And it was not done in response to the decisions made in 2009.  It was a much broader combination of events, decisions, existing practice and policies made by what used to be my church. I breaks my heart that after years of attempting to find another way I was given no other choice.

As an interim pastor I have kept membership in my home congregation that has (so far) stayed with the ELCA.  My family has been actively involved in this congregation for five generations.  I was baptized, confirmed here and I have buried my grand parents, aunts and uncles and both my father and mother in this congregation  I love the congregation and the people who worship there, I grew up with most of them. They are my friends and relatives. So the decision to leave was not made on a whim.  There was no other choice and remain true to the faith that I have been taught from childhood.

This is the point that I have been trying to make for some time.  Today in the ELCA those who do not march in lock step with with the progressives are viewed as stupid, narrow minded, unenlightened, ignorant and not wanted.  What you refuse to acknowledge is the very real damage that is being done to Christian folks across this nation by the trends and policies of a very human centered denomination that puts automatic compliance and monetary contributions above the word of God.  You yourself and repeatedly asked if we should not sanction pastors who's congregation cut back on their monetary support of the ELCA.  When did we get to the point that money was more important than salvation?  When did we get to the point that the whole concept of Salvation by grace is irrelevant. My decision was not made in arrogance but with a deeply broken heart.  

To the readers of this forum please forgive me for saying what is in my heart, I am in my late 60's, a life long Lutheran, and have served in the ministry for over 20+ years.  This has been one of the most difficult decision of my life but I take comfort that it was made based on my faith in Jesus Christ that I can not, and will not, turn my back on. May God grant me the wisdom, strength, and courage to serve my new church in His Holy Name.


Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 22, 2011, 03:37:59 PM
Steven writes:
Charles, I have just re-read the ordinations rites in LBW and SBH -- that would be as Coach-Rev, amos, you, and I were ordained.  And what you assert here simply is not anywhere to be found.  We have been ordained into the Holy Ministry of the Church, not a particular denomination.
I wish I knew where you (and so many of the ELCA's leaders) picked up this sectarian notion that is suddenly infecting this church.

I comment:
Steven, you guys with your airy, high-in-the-sky, idealistic view of ministry refuse to accept the reality of the earthbound church. O.k., let's stipulate that we are ordained into this ethereal "ministry." Now... when it comes to exercising that ministry, we agree to be subject to - can you bear it? - the context of a denomination. The LCA did not ordain me and then hurl me "out there." It said, and I agreed, that I was a pastor of the LCA, subject to its discipline. I didn't write my own confession of faith, polity or "rules" for my ministry.
I return to the defrockings of the Western Pennsylvania Synod in the 1980s. Asked if the guys bounced from the LCA were "still pastors," I told the press; "if they want to function as pastors, I suppose they are; but they are no longer pastors of the LCA."
That is what I am talking about. I do not "march in lock step" with every single decision the ELCA makes or every single thing it does; but when it comes to the exercise of my ordained ministry, I am an "ELCA pastor" subject to its rules governing its pastors. I suspect "amos" disapproved of those pastors who were in same-gender partnerships in apparent violation of ELCA policies. How does he respond if those people said "their" ministry answered to something "higher" than a church body?
"Amos" says he is in his 60s and has been a pastor for 20+ years. I hit 70 this year and have been a pastor 44 years. I value my ordained ministry. I believe it is indeed a ministry in the Church catholic. But I am obligated to exercise it under the authorization of and with responsibilities to the ELCA. And so are you.
"Amos," apparently having left the ELCA is not. I guess we should wish him well for he says he has not been happy in our fellowship. Now his ministry is under the auspices of the NALC. I hope - for his sake and the sake of the NALC  - he takes that seriously.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 22, 2011, 03:48:31 PM
When you were ordained as a Lutheran, you were ordained into the public ministry of a particular denomination, given responsibilities within and to that denomination. We are not freelance, independent clergy, but clergy within a certain context. Such were our ordination and installation pledges.


Charles, I have just re-read the ordinations rites in LBW and SBH -- that would be as Coach-Rev, amos, you, and I were ordained.  And what you assert here simply is not anywhere to be found.  We have been ordained into the Holy Ministry of the Church, not a particular denomination. 

I wish I knew where you (and so many of the ELCA's leaders) picked up this sectarian notion that is suddenly infecting this church.

We pick it up from the fact that we cannot go into a Roman Catholic Church or Orthodox Church or numerous other congregations and consecrate the elements. It is actually pretty arrogant of us to assume that our ordination qualifies one to be a pastor in any and all Christian Church bodies.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 22, 2011, 04:08:52 PM
P.S. When I preach and preside outside the parish - in a nursing home, or on board ship, or anywhere else - I do so as a pastor of the ELCA, and the worship service is under the auspices of the ELCA. I make that clear when I do so.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Coach-Rev on February 23, 2011, 12:02:39 AM
Well then, by all means, Charles, begin the process to bring me under disciplinary action, for crying out loud.  What for?  Because I object to the directions that this church has decided to take, in departing from the historic faith?  If not that, what then?   Otherwise recognize that what Amos said is correct, that such decisions are not made out of vengeance or mean-spiritedness, but rather out of the extreme sadness over a denomination that has forsaken its own heritage, roots, and faith. 
It was so refreshing to hear reports of those pastors who attended the Ethiopian (Mekane Yesus) global mission event last week, talking about how overjoyed the Ethiopian Lutherans are that there are still people who oppose the ELCA's directions.  But that goes over like the proverbial "fart in church" since the whole concept of respecting the bound conscience was a sham from the start, utilized only for the leadership of the ELCA to get what it wanted:  namely, cultural accommodation. 
I say "thank God" that the African churches are strategizing on how they are going to come back to re-evangelize those who first brought them the Gospel. 

And now if you will excuse me, I'm going to return to lurking.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 23, 2011, 02:31:31 AM

Steven, you guys with your airy, high-in-the-sky, idealistic view of ministry refuse to accept the reality of the earthbound church.

Yes, Charles, it is "airy, high-in-the-sky, idealistic" of me to take the words of the Rite of Ordination at face value.  How na´ve or ethereal of me to believe the words spoken in a liturgical rite mean what they say about the actions within that liturgy.

As for my acceptance of "the reality of the earthbound church," my problem isn't accepting it.  I'm a parish pastor, Charles; before that I was lay leader in my home congregation.  I've been active in the ELCA's debates from the very beginning.  I have been publicly saying for nearly two years:

[F]rom the moment I first read it (http://pastorzip.blogspot.com/2009/04/gift-and-trust.html), I have consistently pointed to the early footnote in Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust that includes this sentence:
            Broken promises and betrayed trust through lies, exploitation, and manipulative behavior
            are exposed, not just as an individual failing, but as an attack on the foundations of our
            lives as social beings.


 That describes the ELCA today.


My problem is that the predominant voices in the ELCA, voices you have chosen to parrot relentlessly here, act as if "the earthbound church" is all there is to our church or our vocatio.  And I'm honestly bewildered that you would argue that such a diminished church is all the "reality" we have.

The again, maybe I shouldn't be.  When the DMS pastors were defrocked, you couldn't even bring yourself to report that it really meant something.  

Christe eleison, Steven+
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 23, 2011, 04:40:07 AM
Coach-rev writes:
Well then, by all means, Charles, begin the process to bring me under disciplinary action, for crying out loud.  What for?  Because I object to the directions that this church has decided to take, in departing from the historic faith?  If not that, what then?   Otherwise recognize that what Amos said is correct, that such decisions are not made out of vengeance or mean-spiritedness, but rather out of the extreme sadness over a denomination that has forsaken its own heritage, roots, and faith.
I comment:
Take another breath and try to relax. I understand the reasons some decide to leave. I understand how difficult the decision might have been. You do not seem to understand the implications of deciding to stay. And you seem to enjoy your "victim" status way too much.

Steven writes:
My problem is that the predominant voices in the ELCA, voices you have chosen to parrot relentlessly here, act as if "the earthbound church" is all there is to our church or our vocatio.  And I'm honestly bewildered that you would argue that such a diminished church is all the "reality" we have.
I comment:
One more time. No, the "earthbound church" is not all we have. But it is the flawed, human institution in which I am a pastor. Within ELCA and LCMS Lutheranism I cannot simply declare myself a pastor (or a bishop) and operate however I feel called to operate. I cannot step into any pulpit or before any altar in the "Church catholic" and exercise my ministry without the endorsement of the earthbound entity overseeing that pulpit and altar.

Steven writes:
When the DMS pastors were defrocked, you couldn't even bring yourself to report that it really meant something.
I respond:
To the contrary. I reported at the time and since that it "meant" that the actions of two pastors so departed from the practice and polity of the ELCA and so disrupted and destroyed congregations and relationships among faithful people that they no longer had the authority to exercise the office of the Holy Ministry as pastors of the LCA. It meant that the LCA found their actions destructive and reprehensible and in violation of their installation promises. What else could be said?
There is nothing wrong with disagreeing about an ELCA social statement, they are neither doctrine, nor are they essential to our salvation. This recent social statement - more than any of the others - makes that clear. But if someone says "this social statement means that the ELCA is no longer Lutheran, no longer Christian, and no longer preaches the Gospel so I'm not supporting the ELCA any more," then - as I have said frequently - decisions must be made.
Note to all: I have always considered Steven a responsible critic of the ELCA and its policies. He tells us he "threatens" to stay in the ELCA and I think that is good, because I believe he will do so in the right manner. I have a different view of some others who declare us heterodox, heretical, apostate or worse, and yet still want to have their names on our rosters.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: GoCubsGo on February 23, 2011, 11:42:53 AM
P.S. When I preach and preside outside the parish - in a nursing home, or on board ship, or anywhere else - I do so as a pastor of the ELCA, and the worship service is under the auspices of the ELCA. I make that clear when I do so.


Really?  Even when you commune Roman Catholics in the hospital you inform them that you are an ELCA pastor?  (Would that it had been so...) ::) >:(
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: DCharlton on February 23, 2011, 12:18:17 PM
I have a different view of some others who declare us heterodox, heretical, apostate or worse, and yet still want to have their names on our rosters.

Saying bad things about the ELCA: "Decisions must be made."  Saying bad things about the Canon, the Creeds, the Lutheran Confessions: Differences of opinion.  Failing to promote and support the ministries of the ELCA: "Decisions must be made."  Failing to promote and support the confession of faith of the ELCA: Whatever.

Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: DCharlton on February 23, 2011, 12:31:34 PM
My problem is that the predominant voices in the ELCA, voices you have chosen to parrot relentlessly here, act as if "the earthbound church" is all there is to our church or our vocatio.  And I'm honestly bewildered that you would argue that such a diminished church is all the "reality" we have.

Well said, Steven.  Charles' exasperation with those who consider loyatly to Canon, Creed and Confessions to be as important as loyalty to the ELCA itself is similar the exasperation of a parent whose child considers the events in Narnia to be as important as doing homework.   Or perhaps it's like a parent whose teenager would rather play video games than go out and get a job.   "The life of the imagination is important, but as one grows up, one learns to distinguish reality from fantasy." 
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 23, 2011, 01:51:55 PM
Pastor Copeck (he of long memory and apparently long grudge) writes re my functioning as an ELCA pastor:
Really?  Even when you commune Roman Catholics in the hospital you inform them that you are an ELCA pastor?  (Would that it had been so...)
I comment:
Pastor Copeck refers to an incident I cited years ago when - in the ICU of a New York hospital - a Polish family saw my collar and literally dragged me to the bed of their dying relative. They spoke virtually no English, but knew German. I did not consider that a time to go into details of the Reformation, but, using German, I anointed the dying relative and communed him and the family. If Pastor Copeck or anyone else finds fault with that, they are welcome to report me to my bishop.
As for the eucharists I have led on board ship and elsewhere, I state clearly that I am a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. On board a ship in the Yangtze River in China, about 25 Roman Catholics and seven or eight Protestants didn't run from that. Instead, two Roman Catholics volunteered as lector an communion assistant and everyone communed.
Again, if Pastor Copeck or anyone else has a problem with that, report me.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 23, 2011, 02:03:23 PM
dcharlton writes:
Well said, Steven.  Charles' exasperation with those who consider loyatly to Canon, Creed and Confessions to be as important as loyalty to the ELCA itself is similar the exasperation of a parent whose child considers the events in Narnia to be as important as doing homework.

I comment:
One more time, ye gods and little fishes! one more time!!!
I DO NOT CONSIDER LOYALTY TO THE ELCA ITSELF AS ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE. I DO NOT. I DO NOT. I DO NOT.
But I do believe that members of the ELCA and public ministers of the ELCA have certain obligations and responsibilities.
If you feel that your "loyalty to canon, creed and confession" means that you cannot in good conscience fulfill your obligations to the ELCA, or any church body that ordained you and oversees your public ministry, then - once again - decisions must be made. And if you believe that membership in the ELCA violates your (apparently personal and unmediated) call from God and your loyalty to "canon creed and confession," then why do you want to continue in our fellowship?
Some of you guys howled like wounded coyotes because pastors went around policies to ordain non-celibate gays and lesbians or perform same-gender union. The people who did that also appealed to their conscience and their "higher" call. BTW, they were wrong, too. Why do you find it offensive that I point out our obligations to our church body? I just don't get it.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on February 23, 2011, 02:08:03 PM
Okay Charles, now you're engaging in "Decision" theology ;)
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: DCharlton on February 23, 2011, 02:15:45 PM
dcharlton writes:
Well said, Steven.  Charles' exasperation with those who consider loyatly to Canon, Creed and Confessions to be as important as loyalty to the ELCA itself is similar the exasperation of a parent whose child considers the events in Narnia to be as important as doing homework.

I comment:
One more time, ye gods and little fishes! one more time!!!
I DO NOT CONSIDER LOYALTY TO THE ELCA ITSELF AS ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE. I DO NOT. I DO NOT. I DO NOT.
But I do believe that members of the ELCA and public ministers of the ELCA have certain obligations and responsibilities.
If you feel that your "loyalty to canon, creed and confession" means that you cannot in good conscience fulfill your obligations to the ELCA, or any church body that ordained you and oversees your public ministry, then - once again - decisions must be made. And if you believe that membership in the ELCA violates your (apparently personal and unmediated) call from God and your loyalty to "canon creed and confession," then why do you want to continue in our fellowship?

Likewise, if your(the generic you, not Charles specifically) loyalty to materialism, universalism, Marxism, feminism or anything else means that you cannot in good conscience preach and teach in accordance with Scripture, Creed and Confessions, then DECISIONS OUGHT TO BE MADE, BUT SELDOM ARE.   Furthermore, anyone who cannot or will not preach and teach in accordance with Scripture, Creed and Confessions HAS ALREADY failed to fulfill his/her obligations to the ELCA, regardless of how much money his/her congregation gives, and regardless of how much of an ELCA booster s/he is.  Again, decisions OUGHT to be made, but have not, and probably never will be.  You, Charles, and the ELCA demand a level of integrity from those to your right that you refuse to demand from those on your left.  

Please note:  I don't disagree that I have decisions to make if I cannot fulfill my obligations.  To this point, it has become more difficlut, but not impossible.  It's just the IRONY of being being lectured about tthe importance of my vows of installation by those who take vows of ordination so lightly.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 23, 2011, 02:41:36 PM
dcharlton writes:
You, Charles, and the ELCA demand a level of integrity from those to your right that you refuse to demand from those on your left. 
I comment:
Again, how many times do I need to say that I have always disagreed with those taking part in the "illicit" ordinations and related matters?
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: DCharlton on February 23, 2011, 02:48:08 PM
dcharlton writes:
You, Charles, and the ELCA demand a level of integrity from those to your right that you refuse to demand from those on your left. 
I comment:
Again, how many times do I need to say that I have always disagreed with those taking part in the "illicit" ordinations and related matters?

Have you told them that "decisions need to be made"?  Have you said in any public forum that they ought to resign from the roster of the ELCA?  Have you said that those whose commitment to an ideology prevents them from fulfiling their vow to "preach and teach in accordance with the Holy Scriptures and these creeds and confessions" that it time to resign?  Or have you merely disagreed with them?
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on February 23, 2011, 03:28:51 PM
It was stated very clearly in my seminary that each of us were to develop our own theology within the Lutheran framework. Lutheranism was a general framework. Our personal theologies were the differences and subtleties. If you spent much time in an ALC/LCA/ELCA seminary (like we clergy do) I'd think you know this.

I guess you missed that part I highlighted.

Considering that the seminary faculty (the endorsing committee in the ALC) certified me for ordination and a congregation saw fit to call me and a bishop saw fit to authorize my ordination attests to the Lutheranism of my beliefs. In addition, through a good part of my ministry I have been asked to serve on synod committees -- another indication that the wider church considers my beliefs "Lutheran". In my present synod, I'm on the committee that plans the leadership training for our clergy and our bishop's retreat. I've been asked to speak at other events in other synods; and numerous bishops make use of my exegetical work.

Who, besides yourself, has endorsed and certified your Lutheranism?
George's pastor at his baptism certified his Lutheranism.
George's pastor, at his affirmation of baptism (a.k.a. confirmation) certified his Lutheranism. 

Those are just 2 that I can think of, Brian.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on February 23, 2011, 03:35:51 PM
...and where, Brian, in your "Lutheran Framework" do you have room for "the priesthood of all believers" in your response to George?  The numerous members of his congregation(s) joined the pastor in certifying his baptism and they joined his pastor in certifying his affirmation of his baptism in the Lutheran Church.  So, numerous folks have "certified" his Lutheranism. 

Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 23, 2011, 04:34:20 PM
dcharlton writes (re my disagreements with the "illicit" ordinations):
Have you told them that "decisions need to be made"?  Have you said in any public forum that they ought to resign from the roster of the ELCA?  Have you said that those whose commitment to an ideology prevents them from fulfiling their vow to "preach and teach in accordance with the Holy Scriptures and these creeds and confessions" that it time to resign?  Or have you merely disagreed with them?
I comment:
Well, I was not in any "public forum" with those people directly involved; but I do remember stating my views in some discussions during those years.
A slight nuance might be that those people were not saying that the ELCA was no longer preaching the gospel. Matter of fact, their desire was to be a part of the ELCA. But that's another shade of wombat.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: passerby on February 23, 2011, 05:15:01 PM
There is a place for these arguments, but I originally posted the topic and link to Berger's article to elicit comments about same-sex marriage and civil unions-- something even opponents in the ELCA can keep separate from their views of the church decision,  according to Lutheran theology. Aside from the first few responses, I don't think most of the responders have even read the original article. But that's the way things are when it comes to conversation in the ELCA today.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 23, 2011, 05:25:57 PM

Well said, Steven.  Charles' exasperation with those who consider loyatly to Canon, Creed and Confessions ...

Yet, when we profess that we are loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions, you (a generic you) call us liars.

Our exasperation is with those who insist that the only way to be loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions is to interpret and use them exactly the same way that they do.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: DCharlton on February 23, 2011, 07:23:23 PM
dcharlton writes (re my disagreements with the "illicit" ordinations):
Have you told them that "decisions need to be made"?  Have you said in any public forum that they ought to resign from the roster of the ELCA?  Have you said that those whose commitment to an ideology prevents them from fulfiling their vow to "preach and teach in accordance with the Holy Scriptures and these creeds and confessions" that it time to resign?  Or have you merely disagreed with them?
I comment:
Well, I was not in any "public forum" with those people directly involved; but I do remember stating my views in some discussions during those years.
A slight nuance might be that those people were not saying that the ELCA was no longer preaching the gospel. Matter of fact, their desire was to be a part of the ELCA. But that's another shade of wombat.


In think you misunderstand.  I'm not talking about events of the past.  Nor am I asking about illicit ordinations, in particular. I'm talking about those whose convictions prevent them from preaching and teaching as they have promised to do.   As I have stated, I'm talking about those who are offended by the doctrine of the Trinity, by orthodox Christology, by the doctrine of the Atonement, by the doctrine of Original Sin.  There are positions taken by ELCA pastors that by the most generous standard are a rejection of the Creeds and Confessions, if not of Scripture itself.  

And what difference does it make that those to whom you refer did not say bad things about the ELCA?  As I said before, would that you were as concerned about those who denounce the the very confession they have sworn to teach and preach as you are about those who say mean things about the denominational body to which they belong.  

Side note:  I don't agree that those opposed to the ELCA policies prior to August 2009 refrained from denouncing the ELCA.  Some pretty harsh charges were leveled against the ELCA, including blasphemy.  But of course, that harsh rhetoric was often praised as being prophetic.  I am aware of no one who was removed from the roster for denouncing the ELCA at that time.  For violating its policies? Yes.  For denouncing its policies and the denomination itself? No.  Can you truly tell me that in all those years,  you never had a chance to tell one of those harsh critics of the ELCA, "A decision must be made?"
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: DCharlton on February 23, 2011, 08:53:36 PM

Well said, Steven.  Charles' exasperation with those who consider loyatly to Canon, Creed and Confessions ...

Yet, when we profess that we are loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions, you (a generic you) call us liars.

Our exasperation is with those who insist that the only way to be loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions is to interpret and use them exactly the same way that they do.

I think you and I would agree that someone who taught a Zwinglian understanding of the  Lord's Supper could not credibly claim to be teaching in accordance with the Lutheran Confessions.  Simply saying, "My interpretation is as Lutheran as yours," would not suffice.  Even being as generous as we can, there are some limits.  Yet a person who rejects Article I of the AC by caling the Trinity an outmoded patriarchal metapor should be given a pass?  Or that those who reject Article III as dangerous doctrine that causes religious strife and sadistic violence?

P.S. I'm not accusing  Brian of either of those things.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: GoCubsGo on February 23, 2011, 10:14:48 PM
Again, if Pastor Copeck or anyone else has a problem with that, report me.


You're not worth the trouble.

And FWIW, I'm pointing out your hyprocrasy.  You clearly state that you are ELCA when it suits you and routinely help others violate the expectations of their denominations.  But this is the way of the ELCA.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: George Erdner on February 23, 2011, 10:32:05 PM

Well said, Steven.  Charles' exasperation with those who consider loyatly to Canon, Creed and Confessions ...

Yet, when we profess that we are loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions, you (a generic you) call us liars.

Our exasperation is with those who insist that the only way to be loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions is to interpret and use them exactly the same way that they do.

You say you profess one loyalty, yet your posts on many subjects, including homosexual carnal relations, are indicative of a very, very different true loyalty. If any one's stated profession of loyalty is to X, then they would not make so many posts that indicate a loyalty to Y. One prime example is in your second sentence, when you make a left-handed reference to the ludicrous theory that every Lutheran gets to make up their own beliefs and understandings, and that each one is equal to every other. It's not that those who are orthodox Lutherans expect all to conform to the individual orthodox Lutheran's interpretation, as you imply. It's that the interpretations of what is orthodox Lutheranism exists. It existed before any of us in here were born. It is not "orthodox" because we say it is. Rather, we are orthodox because we believe in the orthodox understandings of the Lutheran faith tradition. People who accepted orthodox Lutheran teachings at an early point in their lives, and are are even certified as to that by being ordained at that early point in their lives, who then stray away from those orthodox teachings and embrace antinomianism, negate that early certification by their later actions and statements.

It doesn't matter if some authority goes through a formal process of discipline to remove such an individual from among those certified as Lutheran pastors. If someone robs a bank, but isn't caught and isn't tried or punished, that person is still a bank robber. If an entire church body's leadership undertakes a path that takes it away from orthodox Lutheran teaching into heterodoxy, even if it receives no discipline from any authority, is still a heterodox church body.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 23, 2011, 10:40:54 PM

Well said, Steven.  Charles' exasperation with those who consider loyatly to Canon, Creed and Confessions ...

Yet, when we profess that we are loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions, you (a generic you) call us liars.

Our exasperation is with those who insist that the only way to be loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions is to interpret and use them exactly the same way that they do.

I think you and I would agree that someone who taught a Zwinglian understanding of the  Lord's Supper could not credibly claim to be teaching in accordance with the Lutheran Confessions.  Simply saying, "My interpretation is as Lutheran as yours," would not suffice.  Even being as generous as we can, there are some limits.  Yet a person who rejects Article I of the AC by caling the Trinity an outmoded patriarchal metapor should be given a pass?  Or that those who reject Article III as dangerous doctrine that causes religious strife and sadistic violence?

An ELCA pastor at a friend's church was one of those who no longer confessed the Creeds -- and did not do so during worship. He had a decision to make -- whether he could legitimately continue to pastor at a congregation and in a church body whose beliefs he no longer shared. It was also clear that his actions were destroying the congregation. About half of the congregation council resigned. Many were calling for the pastor's resignation. He had a decision to make. He made it. The congregation is presently vacant and trying to regroup after his fairly short pastorate. The pastor before him had different issues (they were not related to misconduct) and was asked to resign and has left the clergy roster.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 23, 2011, 10:44:22 PM

Well said, Steven.  Charles' exasperation with those who consider loyatly to Canon, Creed and Confessions ...

Yet, when we profess that we are loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions, you (a generic you) call us liars.

Our exasperation is with those who insist that the only way to be loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions is to interpret and use them exactly the same way that they do.

You say you profess one loyalty, yet your posts on many subjects, including homosexual carnal relations, are indicative of a very, very different true loyalty. If any one's stated profession of loyalty is to X, then they would not make so many posts that indicate a loyalty to Y. One prime example is in your second sentence, when you make a left-handed reference to the ludicrous theory that every Lutheran gets to make up their own beliefs and understandings, and that each one is equal to every other. It's not that those who are orthodox Lutherans expect all to conform to the individual orthodox Lutheran's interpretation, as you imply. It's that the interpretations of what is orthodox Lutheranism exists. It existed before any of us in here were born. It is not "orthodox" because we say it is. Rather, we are orthodox because we believe in the orthodox understandings of the Lutheran faith tradition. People who accepted orthodox Lutheran teachings at an early point in their lives, and are are even certified as to that by being ordained at that early point in their lives, who then stray away from those orthodox teachings and embrace antinomianism, negate that early certification by their later actions and statements.

It doesn't matter if some authority goes through a formal process of discipline to remove such an individual from among those certified as Lutheran pastors. If someone robs a bank, but isn't caught and isn't tried or punished, that person is still a bank robber. If an entire church body's leadership undertakes a path that takes it away from orthodox Lutheran teaching into heterodoxy, even if it receives no discipline from any authority, is still a heterodox church body.

If there is only one, true Lutheran orthodoxy, there wouldn't be all these different Lutheran denominations. Even in our fairly small city, there are four different Lutheran denominations -- and some significant differences between congregations of the same Lutheran denominations. Lutheranism is a highly mixed bag. "Orthodoxy" is usually the term used to refer to one's own particular brand of Lutheranism -- and other are called heterodox or worse.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: George Erdner on February 23, 2011, 11:05:19 PM
If there is only one, true Lutheran orthodoxy, there wouldn't be all these different Lutheran denominations. Even in our fairly small city, there are four different Lutheran denominations -- and some significant differences between congregations of the same Lutheran denominations. Lutheranism is a highly mixed bag. "Orthodoxy" is usually the term used to refer to one's own particular brand of Lutheranism -- and other are called heterodox or worse.

It's not an all or nothing situation. Most of the folks in here from the LC-MS even begrudgingly admit that they are all 100% in agreement on everything. But there is a world of difference between being in agreement on most of the important issues, as most Lutheran denominations are, and only being in agreement on a bare minimum of issues. There will never be 100% agreement. There will never be 100% disagreement. But there is a point which reasonable people can accept as being agreement on "most" of the important issues, which is sufficient to recognize each other as Lutherans, and to recognize those whose disagreements go so far beyond that reasonable amount as being just too far out to be considered "Lutheran". As someone moves further and further away from the Lutheran core, there is a line that once crossed takes one out of the Lutheran group and into the United Church of Christ or some other denomination or faith tradition. There comes a time when people have to examine themselves and their beliefs and decide if they've wandered from one fold to another, and if they've done so, then they should accept and embrace their new surroundings.

Look at how many people we know in this forum who started out as Methodists who came to realize that their beliefs no longer aligned with the Methodist faith tradition but did align with Lutheran beliefs, and so they changed their affiliation. Look at how many Lutherans "swam the Tiber". There is nothing wrong with discovering that one has grown and changed in one's understandings and has moved away from one faith tradition and into another. The only thing that is wrong is to have changed one's perceptions and beliefs, yet cling to membership in a particular organization out of sheer stubbornness.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 23, 2011, 11:16:08 PM

If there is only one, true Lutheran orthodoxy, there wouldn't be all these different Lutheran denominations.


That simply is not so, Brian.  There are all sorts of reasons we have had different Lutheran denominations/synods that have nothing to do with what is orthodox Lutheranism (or Lutheran orthodoxy).

spt+
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 24, 2011, 02:43:01 AM
dcharlton writes:
I'm not talking about events of the past.  Nor am I asking about illicit ordinations, in particular. I'm talking about those whose convictions prevent them from preaching and teaching as they have promised to do.   As I have stated, I'm talking about those who are offended by the doctrine of the Trinity, by orthodox Christology, by the doctrine of the Atonement, by the doctrine of Original Sin. 
I respond:
If I encountered any of those people and if they held the positions you describe, I would object. You say "There are positions taken by ELCA pastors that by the most generous standard are a rejection of the Creeds and Confessions, if not of Scripture itself." That is your judgment. There may be such pastors. I do not know any.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 24, 2011, 02:56:22 AM
Pastor Copeck writes (re my challenge):
You're not worth the trouble.
I comment:
Then the issue is of no consequence, if you don't have the guts to follow through.

Pastor Copeck:
And FWIW, I'm pointing out your hyprocrasy.  You clearly state that you are ELCA when it suits you and routinely help others violate the expectations of their denominations. 
Me:
It's "hypocrisy." And your comments are absurd. If someone from another denomination attends your church, do you make the decision for them whether they commune or not?
Done here.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: GoCubsGo on February 24, 2011, 08:37:58 AM
Pastor Copeck writes (re my challenge):
You're not worth the trouble.
I comment:
Then the issue is of no consequence, if you don't have the guts to follow through.

Pastor Copeck:
And FWIW, I'm pointing out your hyprocrasy.  You clearly state that you are ELCA when it suits you and routinely help others violate the expectations of their denominations. 
Me:
It's "hypocrisy." And your comments are absurd. If someone from another denomination attends your church, do you make the decision for them whether they commune or not?
Done here.
You're not worth it because I honestly don't believe the ELCA woiuld do anything.  This being the same group with bishops who got up during CWA09 and said, "We should approve the full communion agreement with the UMC since we have been acting as if it were in place for years.  So, when a group thumbs their nose at rules why would the discipline you or breaking one.  Not to mention that your attitude and behavior makes you unworthy of any attempt to correct your behavior.  Like I said you're simply not worth my trouble.

And, if someone from another denomination attends and I know their status, and I know that their denomination forbids their communing (for example Roman Catholics) I don't commune them.  I tell them ahead of time that I don't want to violate the understanding of their denomination and as yet it is always been understood and accepted. 

And thanks for correcting the typo.  It only proves that you are an ass and truly not worth the effort.  I'm done here too.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: DCharlton on February 24, 2011, 09:46:49 AM
dcharlton writes:
I'm not talking about events of the past.  Nor am I asking about illicit ordinations, in particular. I'm talking about those whose convictions prevent them from preaching and teaching as they have promised to do.   As I have stated, I'm talking about those who are offended by the doctrine of the Trinity, by orthodox Christology, by the doctrine of the Atonement, by the doctrine of Original Sin.  
I respond:
If I encountered any of those people and if they held the positions you describe, I would object. You say "There are positions taken by ELCA pastors that by the most generous standard are a rejection of the Creeds and Confessions, if not of Scripture itself." That is your judgment. There may be such pastors. I do not know any.


So you find plenty of conservatives that "have a decision to make" but have never met someone to your left that "had a decision to make".  I think that expresses well not only your bias, but that of the ELCA as well.  I'll summarize:

If you are a liberal pastor of the ELCA, to merely profess loyalty to the ELCA and it's statement of faith is sufficient.  You may condemn the ELCA, prophetically violate its policiesl and encourage others to do so.  It is wrong for anyone to question your commitment or integrity, especially if you continue to send benevolence.

If you are a conservative pastor in the ELCA, is is not enough to profess loyalty to the ELCA and its statement of faith.  You must speak well of the ELCA at all times, and abide its policies without exception, admonishing others to do the same.  If not, you have a decision to make.  
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: DCharlton on February 24, 2011, 09:51:54 AM

Well said, Steven.  Charles' exasperation with those who consider loyatly to Canon, Creed and Confessions ...

Yet, when we profess that we are loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions, you (a generic you) call us liars.

Our exasperation is with those who insist that the only way to be loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions is to interpret and use them exactly the same way that they do.

I think you and I would agree that someone who taught a Zwinglian understanding of the  Lord's Supper could not credibly claim to be teaching in accordance with the Lutheran Confessions.  Simply saying, "My interpretation is as Lutheran as yours," would not suffice.  Even being as generous as we can, there are some limits.  Yet a person who rejects Article I of the AC by caling the Trinity an outmoded patriarchal metapor should be given a pass?  Or that those who reject Article III as dangerous doctrine that causes religious strife and sadistic violence?

An ELCA pastor at a friend's church was one of those who no longer confessed the Creeds -- and did not do so during worship. He had a decision to make -- whether he could legitimately continue to pastor at a congregation and in a church body whose beliefs he no longer shared. It was also clear that his actions were destroying the congregation. About half of the congregation council resigned. Many were calling for the pastor's resignation. He had a decision to make. He made it. The congregation is presently vacant and trying to regroup after his fairly short pastorate. The pastor before him had different issues (they were not related to misconduct) and was asked to resign and has left the clergy roster.

Good for that pastor.  Whether he should have done so sooner or not, he ultimately acted with integrity.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 24, 2011, 11:12:59 AM

Well said, Steven.  Charles' exasperation with those who consider loyatly to Canon, Creed and Confessions ...

Yet, when we profess that we are loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions, you (a generic you) call us liars.

Our exasperation is with those who insist that the only way to be loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions is to interpret and use them exactly the same way that they do.

I think you and I would agree that someone who taught a Zwinglian understanding of the  Lord's Supper could not credibly claim to be teaching in accordance with the Lutheran Confessions.  Simply saying, "My interpretation is as Lutheran as yours," would not suffice.  Even being as generous as we can, there are some limits.  Yet a person who rejects Article I of the AC by caling the Trinity an outmoded patriarchal metapor should be given a pass?  Or that those who reject Article III as dangerous doctrine that causes religious strife and sadistic violence?

An ELCA pastor at a friend's church was one of those who no longer confessed the Creeds -- and did not do so during worship. He had a decision to make -- whether he could legitimately continue to pastor at a congregation and in a church body whose beliefs he no longer shared. It was also clear that his actions were destroying the congregation. About half of the congregation council resigned. Many were calling for the pastor's resignation. He had a decision to make. He made it. The congregation is presently vacant and trying to regroup after his fairly short pastorate. The pastor before him had different issues (they were not related to misconduct) and was asked to resign and has left the clergy roster.

Good for that pastor.  Whether he should have done so sooner or not, he ultimately acted with integrity.

His "integrity" happened after the congregation started falling apart and many were calling for his resignation. Properly, in my opinion, he shouldn't have taken the Call to that congregation -- which is known as a fairly conservative one. While family and financial concerns may be part of a reason for accepting a Call, my hunch is that this pastor accepted the Call primarily for those reasons and not because he believed that he was a good match for that congregation.

(For full disclosure: part of the reason, but a very small part, for accepting my present call is that it is in the same town where my 81-year-old mother lives. The next closest family member is 700 miles away.)
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: James Gustafson on February 24, 2011, 11:53:19 AM
His "integrity" happened after the congregation started falling apart and many were calling for his resignation. Properly, in my opinion, he shouldn't have taken the Call to that congregation -- which is known as a fairly conservative one. While family and financial concerns may be part of a reason for accepting a Call, my hunch is that this pastor accepted the Call primarily for those reasons and not because he believed that he was a good match for that congregation.

(For full disclosure: part of the reason, but a very small part, for accepting my present call is that it is in the same town where my 81-year-old mother lives. The next closest family member is 700 miles away.)

If a person can't confess the Creeds honestly and with integrity, then they shouldn't take the Call to any Christian congregation, at all, anywhere, ever, period.

As to choosing to accept a call with a side benefit of being near to family, you have no reason whatsoever to disclose or apologize for that, not in my book anyway.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: John Theiss on February 24, 2011, 01:31:19 PM

Well said, Steven.  Charles' exasperation with those who consider loyatly to Canon, Creed and Confessions ...

Yet, when we profess that we are loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions, you (a generic you) call us liars.

Our exasperation is with those who insist that the only way to be loyal to the Canon, Creed, and Confessions is to interpret and use them exactly the same way that they do.

Brian, I sense a bit of irony here, as in a very real sense that is your position - that there should be the latitude to interpret and use them in a variety of ways, which latitude should be exactly acceptable to all.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Coach-Rev on February 24, 2011, 04:33:01 PM
If a person can't confess the Creeds honestly and with integrity, then they shouldn't take the Call to any Christian congregation, at all, anywhere, ever, period.


Yes, I agree.  That said, I saw many of my fellow seminary classmates who were there all for the wrong reasons, mainly to show just how "wrong" traditional folk were on a whole host of topics.  It had nothing to do with the Gospel.  It had everything to do with advancing one's own particular agenda, which is something the ELCA has been good at since its inception.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 24, 2011, 05:23:10 PM
As to choosing to accept a call with a side benefit of being near to family, you have no reason whatsoever to disclose or apologize for that, not in my book anyway.

I felt that it was necessary to make a comment, since I was criticizing someone else for taking a call to be closer to family. If that is the primary purpose for accepting a call, I have a problem with that. If one would have accepted the Call even if no family were nearby, then the nearness of family is an added benefit; but not determinative for accepting a Call.

I comment also: my mother is not a member of the congregation I am serving, although she shows up for worship now and then.
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: grabau on February 28, 2011, 01:24:33 PM
In many cases today the spouse's employment becomes determinative.  In my day personal con siderations were not supposed to apply.  grabau
Title: Re: Berger on Same-Sex Marriage
Post by: grabau on February 28, 2011, 01:41:27 PM
It may help to remember that altho the RC Church holds that ordination imparts an indelible character a priest must be granted 'faculties' by his bishop. grabau