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ALPB => Selected Re-Prints => Topic started by: Richard Johnson on June 14, 2005, 11:48:22 AM

Title: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2005)
Post by: Richard Johnson on June 14, 2005, 11:48:22 AM
Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod
By Russell Saltzman
©2005 American Lutheran Publicity Bureau

Any dissenting synod arising in the wake of the coming Orlando churchwide assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America must be as comprehensively Lutheran as possible, without sectarian agendas intruding.

Folks following these pages are probably aware, Lutherans argue passionately about the Confessions and confessional questions. Broadly speaking, very broadly, to be sure, Lutherans fall into at least two categories —“evangelical catholic” or “protestant.” Terms like these are unfortunate and I must confess, Forum Letter has used them about as much as anybody. Obviously, those terms are shorthand for a constellation of peculiarly Lutheran theological concerns, but they are not very convenient, even as shorthand. More particularly, if you like, you can locate the dispute geographically and the old bugaboos stand out: the Upper Midwest vs. the East. Again, that’s shorthand, and, again, subject to the usual limitations.

Take your average Lutheran “protestant” — or, for that matter, your average Lutheran “catholic” — and both will describe themselves as “confessional” Lutherans. It is a matter of how to read the Confessions, or maybe a matter of how they are misread. In some extreme instances, this produces a “more confessional than thou” attitude, but that is extreme, and rare. Usually, we all know how to get along with each other.

Most practically, though, this split produced Word Alone. Call it a “protestant” reaction against bishops in succession, required by Called to Common Mission, the Episcopal/ELCA accord. Ended up, hardly anybody was talking to anyone anymore.

Now, the two sides, “protestant” and “catholic,” are talking, thanks to some effort from both sides. The two find themselves united, so it seems, by their mutual opposition to the proposals that would relax disciplinary standards for clergy and admit same-sex partnered pastors into the church.

Load limits
Too bad it’s sex that unites the factions. There are plenty of concerns, and always have been, in and around the ELCA to inspire a principled opposition. But every camel’s back has a limit to its load-carrying capacity. Homosexuality seems to be the proverbial straw.

So, as we say, conversations are underway. That is all to the good. Yet there are issues. Oh, boy, are there issues. While there are surely more than the ones we will highlight, these appear to be a good starting place. So, in no special order:

The historic episcopate, status of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification between the Lutheran World Federation and the Vatican, use of a eucharistic prayer, lay presidency at the Lord’s Supper, Lutheranism’s identity — whether we are a reforming movement within and for the whole church, or a protestant denomination.

Here’s my own take.

Eucharistic Prayer. First thing, it’s the Lord’s Supper with or without a eucharistic prayer (canon). I prefer its use because it links this assembly in this place and time to the whole of salvation history, beginning with the “making of the universe” and onward to the “night in which he was betrayed.” Thus, it serves an important anti- Gnostic function, linking the God of creation to creation’s redemption.

Martin Luther excised the Eucharistic prayer in his liturgical reform of the mass because the 16th century canon did, as he put it, from the offertory on “smack and savor of sacrifice.” For Luther there was a sharp distinction between proclamation (the Words of Institution, or Verba) and sacrifice (prayer). The Verba is proclaimed to the hearers, but prayer is offered by petitioners. The two should never be confused and to drive the point home relentlessly, he provided that the Verba was to be sung on the same tone as the Gospel, underscoring the proclamatory character of both. (Chanting either of these today, by the way, would seem excessively, if not pointlessly ceremonial, however much it would thrill parishioners to hear their pastor sing.)

But, then, Luther lacked contemporary insights into the history of the mass and, for example, knew little of the very early custom, as Justin Martyr put it, of eucharizing the elements. I like to think, had Luther the benefit of more than a century of liturgical study behind him, as contemporary Lutherans do, he might have retained the eucharistic prayer, after thoroughly “evangelizing” it.

I am well aware of the arguments, from Oliver K. Olson most prominently, that Luther absolutely would have done no such thing. But absent word from Luther himself, who can say? To this, both sides argue from relative silence. In any case, I do not regard the eucharistic prayer as making or breaking the sacrament. I use it; it is a rare Sunday when I do not. (Were I to ask my parishioners about it, most would regard the prayer merely as a longer way of getting around to the “for us” part.) But the sacrament is hardly validated or invalidated by its use or non-use.

And as for the argument that it confuses prayer (sacrifice) with proclamation (Gospel), I don’t understand that at all. Prayer may do both — proclaim and petition — if it acknowledges all of the Father’s bias “for us.”

This is not a question over which dissenting ELCA Lutherans should divide in a dissenting synod.

[Continued on the next post]
Title: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (cont.)
Post by: Richard Johnson on June 14, 2005, 11:52:10 AM
[continued from previous post]

Historic Episcopate. As an issue for dissenting ELCA’ers, again, this is not a question where we should part company. There is no Lutheran theological imperative that requires bishops in historic succession. It would be nice, though, if everyone could acknowledge that the Confessions do speak winsomely of good bishops. There is ample biblical and traditional precedent for the office of the bishop. Along with the late Warren Quanbeck of Luther Seminary, I think we should work at recovering the ministry of bishops. I was wrong to believe that full communion with the Episcopalians was a way of achieving it. I should have stuck to my original notion that, if American Lutherans were to have bishops in historic succession, as many other world Lutheran bodies do, we should do it on our own and for ourselves. Still, that said, the reason — the only reason — for the ELCA to have adopted bishops in succession was to secure full communion with Episcopalians through Called to Common Mission. The value of that has so quickly faded for most of us “catholic” Lutherans who supported the idea, that the whole thing is moot.

Statement on Justification. I do not agree with the assessment, as a friend puts it, that JDDJ “represents a retrenchment to a Thomistic doctrine of justification and the capitulations of the Lutherans involved in the conversations.” But that, even if true, may not matter. From all I observe, JDDJ has gone into the dead letter box.

At the same time, due appreciation for the achievements of the dialogues must be recognized. With few exceptions the Lutheran/Catholic dialogues have been first rate. Reading them, one comes to a better, deeper understanding of the Church of Rome and the Church of the Augsburg Confession. The dialogues have served both to sharpen our understanding of the real differences between us, and to reveal the wide accord we do enjoy. Practically speaking, should a theoretical dissenting synod seek international Lutheran ties within the LWF, JDDJ would require some attention. But this is a question for later, not now.

Lay presidency. As yet a layman (albeit a seminarian, as if that confers any grant of privilege) on a solo internship in inner-city Detroit, I was licensed for Holy Communion, and conducted
several funerals and preformed several baptisms. As a pastor after ordination with umpteen kids needing baptism, the senior deacons in the parishes I then served conducted the baptisms needed in my family. While I am on vacation this month, my two synodically-trained and -certified parish ministry associates will preach and preside in my absence, and both have been authorized by the congregation to distribute Holy Communion to our home-bound at my discretion. Great care must be taken in this matter, licensing and authorization, obviously. But by and large, lay presidency may exist along side of a “high view” of pastoral office. It is the Word, the promise of Christ, that secures the validity of the sacrament, not the person. At least that is so in Lutheran theology. To say otherwise is to risk becoming a Lutheran Donatist. This should not be an issue dividing dissenters.

However, I do question the motivation behind the insistence upon lay presidency. If this “right” of the laity is construed as best representing the doctrine of the Priesthood of All Believers, it is a misunderstanding of the common priesthood all share in Christ. Presidency at the Eucharist is not a matter of “right,” or “privilege,” or even “order” in the church, and it should never be regarded as somehow essential to the common priesthood. Eucharistic presidency — and all of the pastoral implications that carries with it — is very much, however, a matter of call, of ministry, of baptismal vocation. If lay presidency is intended merely as means for the laity to get their slice of the clergy pie, then we have unjustly diminished the vocation of the laity in their daily baptismal call . . . and with equal injustice we have diminished the office of the pastor as, to quote an old pope, “a servant of the servants of Christ.”

The Priesthood of All Believers argues that all work is in dedication to Christ. Luther once used the example of a father changing the baby’s diapers — something I’ve pondered on more than one occasion in the past. Holy work, he called it, that made angels sing. This is the true business of holy calling and right vocation, wherever our fields of service lay.

[continued on the next post]

©2005 American Lutheran Publicity Bureau
Title: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (continued)
Post by: Richard Johnson on June 14, 2005, 12:01:37 PM
[continued from previous post]

Lutheran identity. It has always been my contention that the Lutheran Confessions must be treated as texts in their own right. Call me a “confessional fundamentalist.” I have little sympathy and less patience for those who appear to quote Luther against the Confessions. These are the texts that determine Lutheran identity, not what Luther may or may not have once said.

So, strictly on the texts, I see Lutherans historically as reluctant exiles from the Church of Rome. The Augsburg text clearly says our confession was intended to show that we had not departed from the catholic faith, nor even from the faith of the Church of Rome.

And do, please, forget the influence of politics at the time and the supposed propaganda value the Reformers found in saying that. This alleges, sure, they said it, but they didn’t really mean it. Whatever. It is the text and what it says that we must deal with.

How we get “back to Rome,” though, is pretty much up to Rome. I’ve always thought if the Pope was more serious, he’d start making some inactive calls. In any case, I do not accept the view that we are Protestants — not in the generic North American sense — or that from the very beginning we intended to found a “new” church. If we are Protestant, it is protestant with several unique differences. We are Catholic regarding the Real Presence, “eating orally,” as the Confessions put it. We are Catholic by the confessional standard of offering the sacrament weekly. We are Catholic in teaching baptismal regeneration, Catholic in the preference for continuing private absolution, Catholic in a host of other ways — and in none of these ways are we intentionally aping anything Roman. We come by our catholicity honestly and we have our own way of being Lutheran Catholics— Lutheran on the doctrine of grace, Catholic in an understanding of the universal Church.

Call a truce
All that said, these protestant/catholic tensions have always been present in Lutheranism, at times more pronounced than others, but generally co-existing. The two factions lived rather happily within the ELCA’s predecessors.

The crisis that has become the ELCA cracked us open, hardening our lines and — as if there weren’t other hints before that — revealing to both sides, protestant and catholic, that the ELCA is nothing else but another Liberal Protestant establishment.

Time to call a truce. Because what happens when Lutherans put sectarian “purity” above broad confessional consensus isn’t pretty.

--Russell Saltzman

Copyright ©2005 American Lutheran Publicity Bureau
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Samuel_Zumwalt on June 14, 2005, 01:31:54 PM
To Russell's list of topics in which confessionalists need to find common ground I would go back to the very heart of things -- the Gospel itself.  What do we mean when we say the Gospel?

At our recent North Carolina Synod assembly, the revisionists were out in full force talking about the Gospel.  From the opening sermon to numerous speakers on behalf of freeing the oppressed homosexual minority, the clear understanding of the Gospel was the murky confusion of Law and Gospel that is known as liberation theology.  Of course, that's the official version of the Gospel that holds sway in countless offices at Higgins Road and in seminary classrooms throughout the ELCA not to mention pulpits.

As with the current morass among Anglicans, the revisionist leaders, teachers, clergy seem to lose the unity that Christ gives in baptism and confuse it with the unity we establish by espousing a fragile big tent view of church -- as if the ELCA's survival were the optimal loyalty.

In the ALPB Christian Sexuality book, Gilbert Meilander did a nice job of restating the traditional understanding of the Gospel as pardon for sins and the power for amendment of sinful lives.  That understanding of the Gospel breathes throughout the Lutheran Confessions and is something very different than liberation theology.

As I pointed out at our assembly, we cannot have the visible unity that Augsburg 7 finds in the Gospel and the sacraments if we do not agree on what the Gospel is and does.

I think confessionalists would do well to stake out that territory at the outset especially if there is any chance at all of retaking the ELCA from the revisionist minority.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Mike Bennett on June 17, 2005, 01:40:23 PM
Following our recent (Metro Chicago Synod) Assembly, I fear for the first time the possibility of CWA 2005 by-passing the "local option" ruse and going straight to mandating the blessing of same sex unions and ordaining of homosexually active persons.  As I will be a voting member in August, I'll have only one vote out of the 1,000.  You see, in Chicago last weekend, two such resolutions were passed, one by more than 80%(!) and the other by somewhat less.  

Where is there prospect for such a synod as Russ Saltzman describes?  Every dissenting synod of which I'm presently aware exists primarily for at least of one of the sectarian reasons that he recommends we avoid (and I agree that we should avoid such reasons).  I fear that there will very soon be need for such a synod, and am hoping to hear of plans, at least, preliminary, for its formation.

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Revbert on June 17, 2005, 04:13:47 PM
Russ:

I was with you all the way to the "Priesthood of all believers" reference.

The argument based on this myth is pretty well blasted by Tim Wengert's paper at Valpo earlier this spring.  See http://www.valpo.edu/ils/documents/05_wengert.pdf

Given this myth, any claim to the POAB regarding lay presidency is a non-starter in the conversation, and to acknowledge it only continues the myth.

Peace

Art Hebbeler
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Richard Johnson on June 17, 2005, 09:54:41 PM
Quote
Russ:

I was with you all the way to the "Priesthood of all believers" reference.

The argument based on this myth is pretty well blasted by Tim Wengert's paper at Valpo earlier this spring.  See http://www.valpo.edu/ils/documents/05_wengert.pdf

Given this myth, any claim to the POAB regarding lay presidency is a non-starter in the conversation, and to acknowledge it only continues the myth.



Gosh, I thought that's more or less what Russ said.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Revbert on June 18, 2005, 02:01:02 PM
Well, it is...except that to even suggest that the phrase is one of Martin's is aiding the myth.  That was the point I was trying to make, and didn't do very well at it.    :(
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Dadoo on June 21, 2005, 06:18:06 AM
A strange observation from a, probably, E.C. :  Taking the lead of our forfather Luther, we might just have to adopt his strategy on the Eucharistic prayer.  SInce the prayer also teaches, as Russ points out, we must ask ourselves if the content of the Renewing Worship prayers is what we wish taught.  For my part I would say we are better off without if the RW prayers are the only choice.

Keep the Faith

Peter
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Dennis on June 26, 2005, 03:46:57 PM
I think we should continue to explore Rubric #33 in the LBW and the prayers of Thanksgiving in This Far by Faith.  Why not use the option of a prayer followed by the Words?  This is an option for Lutherans in other places, as well as the Presbyterian Church, USA.  With some new phrasing and careful thought, we could have some good "brief" prayers to precede the Verba.  In the RW prayers, I have noticed that they get longer and longer.  Most congregations don't use prayers that are so long.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Revbert on June 27, 2005, 08:33:06 AM
Quote
I think we should continue to explore Rubric #33 in the LBW and the prayers of Thanksgiving in This Far by Faith.  Why not use the option of a prayer followed by the Words?  This is an option for Lutherans in other places, as well as the Presbyterian Church, USA.  With some new phrasing and careful thought, we could have some good "brief" prayers to precede the Verba.  In the RW prayers, I have noticed that they get longer and longer.  Most congregations don't use prayers that are so long.



FWIW, our associate pastor, formerly in the Presbyterian Church of the Republic of Korea (the "evangelical" Presbys in Korea) led the Korean ministry here from quarterly Eucharist to weekly Eucharist WITH full Eucharistic prayer "cold turkey" about 2 years ago.  We have since made a complete translation of the Mass (using WOV IV as the basis, as it sings in Korean better) that we use in joint services and will be using in regular worship in the coming months.

Jongkil is an educated churchman (including an STM from Yale Divinity School---and he's STILL orthodox), and I just can't see him using the Verba alone anymore.

As I believe someone mentioned earlier...we seem to have forgotten what we learned of the early church from Justin and others, that the president prays "as best he can" over the bread and wine, and didn't simply offer the Verba.

Art
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Dennis on June 27, 2005, 09:02:52 AM
No disagreement, Art.  My point was only that it doesn't have to be either Eucharistic Prayer OR Verba alone.  There is a third option, one with precedent, of Prayer followed by the Verba, thus following the catholic tradtion of a Eucharistic prayer, but having the Verba spoken as proclamation as Luther did.  Almost every Eucharistic prayer in the Book of Common Worship (PCUSA) has that as an option.  In RW, under Thanksgivings at Table, Option C, from BCW, the originial form there has the words following the prayer rather than inserted in it.  That is a change made by RW.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Dadoo on June 27, 2005, 01:27:05 PM
Dennis,

It is this change in the prayer that worries me, not because it care about the PCUSA book but because of what the re-written prayers says.  It gives the words of institution and then prays that the bread and wine "may become to us a communion with the Lord"  or is it "may become to us the body and blood etc", I m quoting from memory here.  First: what is the "to us" doing there and then, why are we praying for a "change" that by the proclamation of the verba has long since happened?  It suggests the transformation by our prayer not by the word of God.  What does this then teach and is it not better to take Martin of Wittenberg's advice to leave the prayer behind rather than teach nonsense?  SOmething that must be said about several of the Eucharistic Prayers; Thanksgiving at table is: "Come Lord Jesus be our guest.."

I agree with the rubric #33 compromise or the LCMS hymnal supplement 98 tack that had a prayer remembering humanity's decent into sin, a rememberance of the work of Jesus, the Lord's prayer, and then the verba.  Pretty tidy.

I wonder if this discussion should not go to a forum of its own, but I am too much of a luddite to start one.

Keep the Faith

Peter
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on June 27, 2005, 05:03:25 PM
Quote
It gives the words of institution and then prays that the bread and wine "may become to us a communion with the Lord"  or is it "may become to us the body and blood etc", I m quoting from memory here.

Interesting.  In the Roman Eucharistic Prayers, the celebrant prays that gifts of bread and wine "may become for us the Body and Blood of Jesus" and then the Verba are said.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 27, 2005, 05:45:21 PM
Quote
It is this change in the prayer that worries me, not because it care about the PCUSA book but because of what the re-written prayers says.  It gives the words of institution and then prays that the bread and wine "may become to us a communion with the Lord"  or is it "may become to us the body and blood etc", I m quoting from memory here.  First: what is the "to us" doing there and then, why are we praying for a "change" that by the proclamation of the verba has long since happened?

The petition in that part of the prayer is not about the bread and wine, but about our unity. I quote:

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us that this meal may be
a communion in the body and blood of our Lord.
Make us one with Christ and with all who share this feast.
Unite us in faith, encourage us with hope, inspire us to love,
that we may serve as your faithful disciples
until we feast at your table in glory.
[/b]

Quote
It suggests the transformation by our prayer not by the word of God.

I don't see it as a prayer about the elements, but a prayer about us.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Dennis on June 28, 2005, 05:23:11 AM
If you read the other Eucharistic prayers, it seems that the phrase "communion of the body and blood of Christ," can mean both a reference to Jesus and to the community.  Here the Reformed are more faithful to the ancient church practice than we, because they do invoke the Holy Spirit during the Communion liturgy.  This is done by Roman Catholics, Orthdox, Anglicans, Reformed. which adds up to quite a sizeable crowd.  The Eucharistic prayer goes back to Hippolytus.  This is troubling for me, because the idea of Verba alone goes back only to Luther.  I understand the theological ideas behind the Verba being "proclaimed" and standing alone, but it really does contradict the practice of the church for 1500 years or so.  I wish Luther had been like Cranmer and rewritten the prayer.

I think one of the best we have is what was produced for the SBH and is currently in the LBW Altar Book as III.
There we pray "With your Word and Holy Spirit"
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: G.Edward on June 28, 2005, 12:44:39 PM
Does anyone really want to create a "dissenting lutheran synod"?   :'(

Why not work towards strengthening our connections to the world-wide Lutheran church and seek something like delegated oversight at churchwide?  

Certainly there are bishops within the LWF leadership who seem ready to serve as overseers.  We have the technology and money to make this happen whenever we want.  We don't have to have the same kind of pyramid organizational structure we've had since Constantine.

It seems like the majority of LWF members are opposed to the sharp left turn the North American ELCA & ELCIC leadership are trying to bring about.  As in the Anglican church, a majority of people in the pews are opposed to the kind of innovations in vogue lately.  

In the same way, the twenty-some thousand responses to JTF confirmed the sense of the church even though the task force minimized their collective common sense in its report and recommendations by relegating their responses to an appendix and neglecting to write openly about them and what they might mean.

Why aren't we calling out to our brothers and sisters around the world for their help?   ???

Or, to ask the same question another way:  Just how big is our sense of the church?  Might it not reach further than Chicago and 1987?
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Dennis on June 28, 2005, 12:56:30 PM
Anglicans went to bishops in other countries because they need a leader/overseer who is in the historic episcopate and in communion with the See of Canterbury.  That is part of being an Anglican.

This is apples to oranges.

Lutherans have never viewed the church in the same way, obviously.  The overseer, whether Bishop, President, or Presiding Pastor does not need to be approved by or in communion with Lutherans in other countries.  

What would be interesting is if some of these "macro/micro synods" applied to join the Lutheran World Federation, as well as other ecumenical groups to which the ELCA now belongs.  If they were to do that, they would be in communion with world Lutheranism, including the ELCA!
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on June 30, 2005, 10:21:20 PM
Quote
Any dissenting synod arising in the wake of the coming Orlando churchwide assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America must be as comprehensively Lutheran as possible, without sectarian agendas intruding.

Pastor Saltzman's opening sentence (posted by Pr. Johnson) superbly throws down the gauntlet.  My dissatisfaction over his article  -- and he appears to be seeking something he can live with rather than "satisfaction" with his conclusions, so he's expecting (pastors like) me to be dissatisfied -- arises from two key elements of his gauntlet, the resolution of the first affecting the acceptability of the second.

The first element is the undefined nature of such a "dissenting synod."  Is Saltzman thinking this would be a new, independent national synod, ala Missouri, Augustana, etc. (or the independent regional/ethnic synods that formed the ULCA and LCA)?  Or would it be something like a new "non-geographic synod" formed by an ELCA constitutional process (which we debated for a while in our Synod Assembly until the Parliamentarian found an excuse to have a proposed Memorial ruled out-of-order)?  Or is Saltzman thinking of something that internally ignores the rest of the ELCA (along the lines of the Free Synod in the Church of Sweden, or WordAlone's new proposed "association") where congregations of various pieties continue their current relationship and involvement to the greater church, while praying and working together in opposition to pro-gay ELCA leadership who will tolerate a open, loyal opposition party?

If something like the last is what Pr. Saltzman is describing, then this Evangelical Catholic believes he can live with a continued ambiguity on CCM, JDDJ, a eucharistic prayer, lay presidency, and Lutheranism’s identity.  After all, I'm living with them right now.  I'm not happy about the state of these issues in the ELCA, but neither have I been convinced that I must depart over their current status.  The current options (see my list on Pastor Zip's US Lutheran Web Links <http://homepage.mac.com/pastorzip/uslutheranlinx.html>) are, for me at least, all less attractive than an ELCA that is, admittedly, growing uglier and uglier.  I can walk together with others opposed to the advancement of the Gay Agenda and who would, if elected, restore a faithful, pastoral response to homosexuals without going after Evangelical Catholics doing "our thing."

But if Pr. Saltzman's "dissenting synod" is more like the first two I've described (a official dissenting Synod, either within or independent of the ELCA), I'm afraid the second key element I'm afraid the second key element begins to hold sway.  Lay presidency in the ELCA is a sectarian intrusion.  So are the most extreme polemics against Eucharistic Prayers, vestments, and the episcopate that continue to be spotlighted by WordAlone and other "protestant" Lutheran organs that oppose an Evangelical Catholic stance on the Ministry and the Liturgy.

Like Pastor Saltzman, I have sought dialogue and endeavored to work with WordAlone supporters and leaders to provide options to the ELCA's gay advance.  Like Pastor Saltzman, I have gone out of my way to not give offense (though not always successfully) and held back when a similar graciousness was not extended towards me.  But the "dissenting synod" Pr. Saltzman describes is, apart from being committed to the reformation of the ELCA from within the ELCA, not "as comprehensively Lutheran as possible."  Rather, on every point he mentions of the (using my best construction here) "interpretive disputes amongst 'confessional' Lutherans," he gives away catholicity for a narrow, hyper-protestant sectarianism.

If that's what a dissenting Lutheran Synod has to offer, well, that is different from being "nothing else but another Liberal Protestant establishment."  But it's not a better alternative for the sheep I've been called to serve.  And Pastor Saltzman seems to have dropped, rather than thrown, his gauntlet.


spt+
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (cont.)
Post by: G.Edward on June 30, 2005, 10:40:53 PM
Quote


Historic Episcopate. As an issue for dissenting ELCA’ers, again, this is not a question where we should part company. There is no Lutheran theological imperative that requires bishops in historic succession. It would be nice, though, if everyone could acknowledge that the Confessions do speak winsomely of good bishops. There is ample biblical and traditional precedent for the office of the bishop. Along with the late Warren Quanbeck of Luther Seminary, I think we should work at recovering the ministry of bishops.



The historic office of bishop seems to me to have been both a symbol of unity among several congregations of a local area, a center of orthodox teaching, and an example of pastoral practice.  We lack these today.

A bishop cannot really be a pastor to 300 pastors spread across much of an entire state or region.  Time and distance along with human limitations make it impossible for a bishop to fulfill this historic role.

A bishop consumed with administration cannot even hope to begin to exercise the teaching office historically located in the office of bishop, nor can they begin to invest the time and effort necessary to admonish and correct.

The bishops I have known do fantastic jobs given the challenges, but I believe we would do ourselves a favor as a church if we returned to a more local, distributed model, not unlike the conference deans of the Evangelical Church in Germany.  
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on July 01, 2005, 07:31:02 AM
As an officer of the Order of Corporate Reunion (OCR) I have a standing  offer to help any theologically and biblically conservative Lutheran Synod (which does not ordain women) recover the historic Apostolic Succession through our Bishops and other Bishops (Old Catholics) who are OCR members gratis with no strings attached (other than round trip airline tickets and expenses.)  This would place their bishops in the Apostolic Succession in more than 20 separate lines of succession.  Send me an e-mail for details.   :)
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Richard Johnson on July 01, 2005, 12:47:04 PM
Quote
As an officer of the Order of Corporate Reunion (OCR) I have a standing  offer to help any theologically and biblically conservative Lutheran Synod (which does not ordain women) recover the historic Apostolic Succession   :)


Irl,
I'm just a tad puzzled about something. In visiting one of your web pages http://www.evcomin.org/ I see what I take to be a photo of you, and a woman I take to be your wife, who is identified as "The Rev. Dr. Linda J. Merrill-Gladfelter, Pastor/Administrator." So what gives here? Have I understood the relationships correctly? Is she ordained in some different synod? Doesn't it cause a problem to you to be strongly opposed to the ordination of women, and yet apparently married to an ordained woman?

And then of course I'm puzzled by someone who seems to place such significance on ministry in apostolic succession hawking wedding services on a web site.

It just doesn't seem to make sense to me. But maybe I've misinterpreted things, or maybe I'm just not getting it here. Could you enlighten us?
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on July 01, 2005, 06:57:09 PM
The website, www.evcomin.org is not one of my websites.  It is the website of  my wife, Linda's, organization which is NOT part of the ECCL.  Linda is not a Priest or even a lay member of the ECCL, although she is very supportive of my work.   Linda is an ordained Minister of one of the Community Church Associations and reports to her own (Protestant) Bishop.  

She does serve under an Indult ("from the Latin: indultus, leave, permission:  In Canon Law, a temporary or indefinite personal favor granted by the competent ecclesiastical authority. If not revoked and still in use they are not abolished by the Code of Canon Law." - reference:  The New Catholic Dictionary) as the Chancellor of the ECCL but that is a non-sacerdotal, lay position the duties of which consist of serving as the Chief Financial Officer and Event Planner for official major denominational functions.  Since she has an M. A. Bus. and was the former Manager of the Houston Youth Symphony and Ballet and Director of the Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston for quite some time, lives under my roof, and I definitely do NOT have any of her skill-sets. I would be crazy not to take advantage of her help. (As Chancellor, she also works with an outside independent C. P. A. who serves as the ECCL's de-facto Comptroller.)

Her organization, Evangelical Community Ministries, which she is the Pastor / Director, is NOT a part of the ECCL.  It does hold an Independent Ministry Charter from the ECCL, but organizations which hold "Independent Ministry Charters," as stated on the ECCL's official website, are "organizations belonging to other Denominations, and are led by clergy who belong to other Denominations. These Ministries are not agencies or ministries of the ECCL, nor are they under the ECCL's ecclesiastical oversight in any way. The Independent Ministry Charter does not imply any form of Communion with them or with the Church to which they belong. The Independent Ministry Charter is nothing more than the ECCL's unique way of endorsing these fine organizations and their activities."

My wife reports her pastoral activities to her own Bishop who requires more detailed information more frequently than I do for my own clergy!  If some other Church / Ekklesia chooses to ordain women, that is up to them, and I do respect their decision to do so.  That is just something the ECCL will not be able do until there is a broad "consensus fidelium across Catholic Christianity that this is to be done (or else we will be tethered to the "Protestant" side of the "Religious Grand Canyon" even if only just barely.)  Since Linda is, as we would say, a "Rostered Pastor" of another denomination, I am "cool with that." That makes her a "free agent," as far as I am concerned.  And ECCL Canon Law, for that matter, has never required that ECCL clergy wives even be members of the ECCL.  

Evangelical Community Ministries is her full-time ministry, and provides customized weddings and other pastoral care for those with no Church home.  I do perform weddings for her Ministry on occasion as one of her contract clergy, when a couple wants to be married by someone who is in the apostolic succession - but I am only one of many ministers who are contract clergy for her organization.  And her Ministry, Evangelical Community Ministries is the agency which advertises (which is typical for destination wedding ministries.)  I have no problem with that.  That is simply how it is.  (My denomination, the  ECCL does not advertise its pastoral services.)
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: ROB_MOSKOWITZ on July 01, 2005, 09:33:09 PM
Quote


Like Pastor Saltzman, I have sought dialogue and endeavored to work with WordAlone supporters and leaders to provide options to the ELCA's gay advance.  Like Pastor Saltzman, I have gone out of my way to not give offense (though not always successfully) and held back when a similar graciousness was not extended towards me.  But the "dissenting synod" Pr. Saltzman describes is, apart from being committed to the reformation of the ELCA from within the ELCA, not "as comprehensively Lutheran as possible."  Rather, on every point he mentions of the (using my best construction here) "interpretive disputes amongst 'confessional' Lutherans," he gives away catholicity for a narrow, hyper-protestant sectarianism.

If that's what a dissenting Lutheran Synod has to offer, well, that is different from being "nothing else but another Liberal Protestant establishment."  But it's not a better alternative for the sheep I've been called to serve.  And Pastor Saltzman seems to have dropped, rather than thrown, his gauntlet.
spt+


Rev. Tibbetts you will have to forgive me but I am confused by your post.   I am a former (Id jest recovering) E.C..     When I was back east and very E.C. I did not mind those who where more protestant.  Infact id say I did not care, it was their perogative.    I wonder now if this stark distinction even existed.   As shown in the posts following yours the so called E.C. camp is as diverce as the so called protestant camp.

I remember talking with my home Pastor while on internship.   He put forth how great CCM was and I replied I guess but you know its adiaphora?   When I was in my first call I had a very conservative Bishop.   One of the few I still respect.   So I would have still considered my self E.C.

Now I have moved and now serve 2 protestant Lutheran churches.   Over the last couple of years I have moved away from that which I believe made me and E.C. (Although a good friend says im fooling myself) and consider myself and Evangelical Lutheran Pastor (protestant).

The sexuality game was a part of this only in that it first showed on the part of the Episcopals that the HE afforded absolutely no defense of the traditional faith or mooring to the conservative church.     As the years have gone by this point has been further made by actions of the ELCA bishops.

Now I still have friends who are E.C.s (boy that sounds like a slur and I mean it not to be, other than its late and Im too lazy to spell it out, forgive me!).   I harbor no resentment toward them, its now their perogative even know im on the other side of this so called fence.   It does make it hard when talking about synods and Bishops because our views now greatly differ.

Anyway, you will have to excuse me.   I see your characterization of WordAlone as very sectarian.    That's a new word for me I don't think I have ever used such.

I think what was put forward by Rev. Saltzman to be an honest thrown gauntlet.   He may have not thrown it in the direction you would have liked but perhaps you can only throw one gauntlet in one direction.

Consequently.    Since coming to Protestant Lutheranism it is my practice to read scripture and confessions daily.    I think there is an important distinction to be made here.    Although the broad camps of E.C.s and P.L.s may read confessions differently, they still read them!    I believe we can even more agree upon the Word of God.   This must be the fiber of any relationship in the church don't you think?   This is the fiber that differs us from the revisionist.   It makes the difference.   I think.

Well Im not sure how this P.L. got on this list.   Im not even sure Im supposed to be posting here?  

Yours In Christ
Rob Moskowitz

Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on July 02, 2005, 08:55:47 AM
Quote
What would be interesting is if some of these "macro/micro synods" applied to join the Lutheran World Federation, as well as other ecumenical groups to which the ELCA now belongs.  If they were to do that, they would be in communion with world Lutheranism, including the ELCA!
 Actually, back in 2000, the ECCL did just that in a letter to the head of the WLF in Geneva.  After a long delay, the ECCL was told, in a very politely worded letter from an ELCA Pastor who was the WLF's representative in the US, in so many words, that the ELCA was the only member Church of the WLF in the United States, and that would remain the case.  If we (the ECCL) wished to become a part of world Lutheranism, represented by the WLF, we would have to "shut down" and, either as parishes and/or as individuals join the ELCA.

At that point we realized that the WLF was no longer an "Association" of Lutheran Churches if, indeed, it ever had been, but had become, in effect, a "Communion" not unlike the Anglican Communion with only one "jurisdictional Province" per nation;  and the ECCL - and by extension, the other microsynods (both Confessing Evangelical and Evangelical Catholic) were viewed by them as, in effect, "vagantes organizations" (technically valid, perhaps, but in some sense "less than licit," or "vagantes" (vagrant) in much the same way as the ECUSA views the smaller "Continuing Anglican" Churches clergy; and the Roman Catholic Church views many if not most of the North American Old Catholic Churches. From our perspective, anyway, to be the position of the WLF today more than ever.

The implications of this were not lost on the ECCL or other Lutherans, and provided the driving force behind the creation of  two new alternate Lutheran "Federations" or "Communions:" (1) The Association of Independent Evangelical Lutheran Churches (  http://www.associationofindependentevangelicallutheranchurches.org/english/information/iassoc.html  ) (which, although its head is a Bishop in the historic apostolic succession lineages which I am in, an Evangelical Catholic organization but has more of a centrist, "Protestant Lutheran" orientation over-all; and (2) the Augustana Evangelical Catholic Communion, which is Evangelical Catholic and strongly oriented toward an eventual reconciliation with Rome.  ((http://home.sprintmail.com/~gallups/id2.html )  The ECCL actually belongs to both organizations.

Now, with ELCA Bishop Hansen heading the WLF and some of the African WLF member churches like that of Tanzania already issuing official statements (llike the ELCT's Bukoba Statement - http://www.elct.org/news/2004.05.001.html) against the ordination of openly gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex "unions," were the WLF to approach the ECCL and other microsynods for that matter inviting us to join them, we would have to give that long and prayerful consideration.  

And in any case, were the ECCL to join the WLF it would quickly find itself openly lining up with the Tanzanians and other Global South Lutheran Churches against the ELCA and ELCIC's "open-ness to diversity" on these points.  So I have to wonder just how productive that would really be.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on July 02, 2005, 07:06:06 PM
Quote
Rev. Tibbetts you will have to forgive me but I am confused by your post.

Well, brother Rob, I suppose that is fair given that I'm confused by yours, too. :(

Fraternally, Steven+
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on July 02, 2005, 07:18:50 PM
Dennis, actually, the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod has founded an international "Federation" or "Communion" of Churches they are in Pulpit and Altar Fellowship with: The International Lutheran Council (http://www.ilc-online.org);  and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) has also founded an International "Federation" or "Communion" of Churches they are in Pulpit and Altar Fellowship with:  The Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (http://www.celc.info/cgi-bin/home.cgi)

So the Lutheran World Federation (WLF) is not the "only game in town:"  Just the "Liberal" one . . . .   ;)
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: G.Edward on July 03, 2005, 01:41:27 AM
ECCL's goal of reconciliation with Rome fits with what seems to have been Luther and his fellow reformers' intent, or at least their underlying hope.  With that up front, I hope some of the ECCL folks in this neighborhood will teach me about where they are coming from.

Let me begin by stating that I'm not convinced in any way that visible unity of human organizations is how the unity Christ spoke of will be manifested.  I suspect that unity will be brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit and it will transcend any organizational structure / synod / federation we can conceive.

Since Rome has not repealed any of the papal decrees regarding the reformers/reformation, I don't see how we "return to Rome" without doing exactly what Luther and his counterparts would not do - recant - and still have any integrity.  While some of the issues may have faded into the dim corners of the last 475 years, it seems like we are still effectively at 1530.

It seems to me that - at least early on -  Luther and the reformers were willing to submit to the authority of Rome and accept the HE/pope if the pope and Rome saw the light on the several theological and scriptural misinterpretations / abuses the reformers raised for discussion.  We know that we've only recently reached the point of agreeing about what we agree and disagree on in JDDJ (already noted in CA - 1531).  What am I missing here?

Not only that, but I'm interested in the scriptural basis for regarding 1) Peter as the head of the church when the whole of scripture and the earliest writings of the church fathers seem to indicate a more collegial arrangement; 2) the bishop of Rome as the earthly head of Christianity when, but for the spoils of war and the particularities of geography / economics, the Orthodox churches could make the same claim for the Partriarch of Constantinople; and 3) the historic episcopate itself as anything other than a human institution serving human ends.

I'm also not convinced, by the way, that women don't have as much place as men serving as church leaders (pastors and bishops) - unless we follow the gospel according to Thomas!  It seems like the canon of scripture supports men and women in these roles.  Please feel free to address my misunderstanding here as well.

I'm sorry if you ECCL folks have already covered some parts of this, but I hope you'll indulge my curiosity.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on July 03, 2005, 06:49:54 AM
Brian, I respectfully disagree on this one.  This is not about "us."  This is an Epiklesis, an invocation of the Holy Spirit over the "gifts and creatures of bread and wine," as the Book of Common Prayer puts it; and which a technical part of a Prayer of Consecration which the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church of Scotland, and even the non-Chalcedonian churches (with the possible exception of the Nestorians) and the ECUSA's Book of Common Prayer have retained thanks to the influence of the Non-Juring Scottics Anglican Bishops who consecrated Bishop Samuel Seabuty, the ECUSA's first Bishop.  

The Epiklesis goes back at least to the Prayer of consecration in the Mass Liturgy of St. Hippolytus (which is in the Minister's Desk Edition of the LBW.)

The absence of an Epiklesis certainly does not invalidate the Consecration of the Bread and Wine, but it is a nice connection with the practice of the wider Church Catholic.

Whether or not this is "Lutheran" or "Lutheran enough," is, as Bill Clinton would say, depends on just what you mean by "Lutheran . . ."   ;)

Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on July 03, 2005, 07:03:58 AM
G. Edward, you and the ECCL have fundamentally different understandings of the doctrines of the nature of the Church, Church Polity, and of the nature of the Office of the Public Ministry of Word and Sacrament.

The ECCL accepts the Roman Catholic (and "high-church") Anglocatholic doctrine on these matters.  We also follow the views of Martin Luther prior to his meeting with Cardinal Cajetan in 1520 as normative (the so-called, "Catholic Luther," not those of the late-career of "Protestant Luther.")

The ECCL, as you will note from our website, accepts as confessional documents insofar as (quatenus) they are faithful witnesses to the Gospel, Tracts for the Times by John Henry Newman before he converted to Roman Catholicism, and put them on the same level as those portions of the Book of Concord (1580) which we also accept insofar as (quatena) they are trustworthy witnesses to the Gospel.

When there is a disagreement between the Lutheran Confessions (especially the ones presented after the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, we view them through an Anglocatholic (high-church Anglican) lens and so come down on the side of Western Catholic donctrines.  

In other words, the ECCL ain't Protestant at all (nor was Luther in 1520 - or even as late as 1537.)  We stick with the so-called "Catholic Luther" and the goals he had in 1520; not as things developed later on, and absolutely disagre with WordAlone and their allies on these doctrines.  That is simply how it is.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Karl E. Moyer on July 03, 2005, 01:27:14 PM
     What parallels exist between the General Council's departure from the General Synod in 1867, the more recent AELC's departure from the LC-MS, and the potential of a (hopefuly short-lived) reforming, confessing body made up of pastors, congregations, and/or entire synods within the present ELCA that would leave the ELCA because they find the ELCA unacceptable?
   It's interesting to ponder the General Council's salutary effect on the eventual ULCA merger in 1918 and how the former General council, General Synod, and General Synod of the South congregations eventually took on faith and order more than not consistent with what the General Council had been calling for all along.  Would  a "momentary" separation from ELCA serve the church and the Gospel well in any similar way?
 As a lay voting member at Orlando, the question "plays" on the "first" recommendation, which I assume to refer not to the unity of the Church but merely the unity of the ELCA, despite its title.  (Is not the unity of the Church a gift of God, upon which we do no vote?)  But is the sense of organic unity withint he ELCA at almost "any cost" really worth it?    Does history, even of Lutheranism as a reforming movement within the Church catholic, encourage us to consider whether a separation from the ELCa or a division of the ELCA might well be appropriate?  
   Hey, this layman needs all the help he can get to try to figure out what constitutes responsible discussion and voting at Orlando!   Thanks.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on July 03, 2005, 01:56:59 PM
Quote
Brian, I respectfully disagree on this one.  This is not about "us."  This is an Epiklesis, an invocation of the Holy Spirit over the "gifts and creatures of bread and wine," as the Book of Common Prayer puts it; and which a technical part of a Prayer of Consecration which the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church of Scotland, and even the non-Chalcedonian churches (with the possible exception of the Nestorians) and the ECUSA's Book of Common Prayer have retained thanks to the influence of the Non-Juring Scottics Anglican Bishops who consecrated Bishop Samuel Seabuty, the ECUSA's first Bishop.
 

Often the Epiklesis -- the invoking of the Spirit -- is directed to both the elements and to the gathered community. To quote from Hippolytus' prayer:

And we ask you:
Send your Spirit
upon these gifts of your Church;
gather into one all who share this bread and wine;
fill us with your Holy Spirit
to establish our faith in truth,
that we may praise and glorify you
through your Son Jesus Christ.

Note that the request for the Spirit is first on "these gifts of your Church" i.e., the bread and wine; but secondly, upon "all who share this bread and wine," and "us".

I also note that Holy Eucharist II in The Book of Common Prayer, p. 363, includes this Epiklesis:

Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom.

In most of the Great Thanksgiving that I have, like the Episcopal one above, the prayer invokes the Holy Spirit on the elements and on the people -- often within the same paragraph, sometimes in subsequent paragraphs.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on July 03, 2005, 02:55:47 PM
  The Epiklesis in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer states, "And we most humbly beseech thee, O merciful Father, to hear us; and, of thy almighty goodness, vouchsafe to bless and sanctify, with thy Word and Holy Spirit, these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine; that we, receiving them according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood."

So, it is actually about both then.  Fair enough.   ;)

(For what it is worth, the Roman Catholic Anglican Use Book of Divine Worship does not have a formal Epiklesis as such (although I understand that will change in the next edition.  Since that is the ECCL primary Liturgy Book, until then, we (the ECCL) add the one cited above from the 1928 BCP.)
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (cont.)
Post by: Gladfelteri on July 03, 2005, 06:43:28 PM
Quote
The historic office of bishop seems to me to have been both a symbol of unity among several congregations of a local area, a center of orthodox teaching, and an example of pastoral practice.  We lack these today.  There is no way a bishop can reasonably serve as a  pastor to 300 pastors and their families spread across much of an entire state or region.  Time and distance along with human limitations make it impossible for a bishop to fulfill this historic role.


This is an organizational problem rather than one inherent in the Episcopacy.  

If a Bishop cannot be (1) the primary Pastor to his diocesan priests and their family, (2) an active minister fo the Gospel involved in at least some aspects of local ministry - saying Mass, baptizing, caring for people at least those attending his own Chapel or Oratory, (3) the primary defender of the integrity of the faith in his own Diocese (4) one the Church's "theologians in residence" - a resource as such to his subordinate Pastors (all of this is in addition to (5) a bishop's role as a symbol of the unity of the Church and (here is where the historic apostolic succession comes in) a visible, tangible link - tactilly to one or more of the orininal apostles) THEN the size of a Bishop's jurisdiction should be trimmed to where that is eminently do-able.  Theoretically there is no reason a Diocese of Synod could not have several Auxuluary Bishops responsible for the care and oversight of subdivisions of a Synod, or a synod could be limited to not over a certain "manageable" number of pastors and their congregations (or they can divide their jurisdictions into districts led by Archdeacons, rural Deans, Vicars General or Domestic Prelates (Monsignori) and delegate much of their duties to them, and then supervise just those officials - except for the specific things only a bishop can perform.  (This is the ECCL's model.  Following the U. S. Army's basic organizational principles, the ECCL does not really want a person to have to be directly responsible for more than 10 people - and they will not once we are finally large enough to have all elements of our polity in place.)

The Moravians (Unitus Fratrum) ( http://www.moravian.org/ ) have an interesting concept of the role of the Office and Order of Bishops.  Their Superintendents (most of whom are NOT bishops)  take care of the day-to-day operation of their Church Districts and most of them are NOT bishps.  Moravian Bishops (who are ordained for life) do not necessarily run a district / diocese.  Some do, but many do not.  Many actually serve as parish Pastors except when called upon to exercise one of their strictly limited Episcopal functions; after which they go right back to their duties in their parish.  Their role is (1) to serve as the primary guardians and teachers of the faith, symbols of the unity of the Church and of continuity with the apostoles (they are in an historic apostolic succession, but there are some questions as to the technical validity due to possible problems with form and intent, and possible breaks in the succession during some points in their history - but that is up to the  theologians to argue;) and (2) to perform all Ordinations.  It seems to me, that the Moravian model of the role of Bishops does fit rather well with Martin Luther's concept that a bishop should first and foremost be a Minsiter of the Gospel.

Moravian Bishops are ordained for life, but their role is quite different than the middle-level and senior management executives (500 lb.  gorillas and occasionally "cheerleaders" ) we have come to consider bishops to be.

In a new dissenting synod, perhaps the Moravian model of the office, order, and function of Bishops is one which might be considered.  And I do know a couple of Lutheran Bishops in the Vatican/Rebiban, Anglican, and several Eastern Orthodox successions who would be happy to participate as co-consecrators in the consecration of such bishops using the Moravian model of function in order to "broaden the apostolic lineages" without asking for any preliminary concordats of full communion or any other strings or ties.

Maybe this is a time for y'all to think outside the box and take a look at the Moravian model of the historic Episcopacy and how it functions among them.  In many ways, I do kind of like the Moravian model, for that that is worth, and those planning a "dissenting Synod" certainly have time to talk to some Moravian Bishops and check out how they do things, and learn from them.

Incidentally, I do think Pr. Saltzmann is 100% right:  a Lutheran Church should NOT have bishops unless and until (only) they are absolutely convinced that it is God's will for their Church and they want it for themselves -- not pursuant to any agreement with other Church families.

Hope this helps.  As usual please excuse the typos.  Proofreading is not my long soot.

As an unrelated aside, I do think Pr. Saltzmann's recommendations are a very thoughtful starting point not for the formation of just another Liberal Lutheran Church but rather for discussions to work out a set of ground rules for a nice, centrist Lutheran Synod inclining, perhaps somewhat to the right. "Good show," Rus.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: G.Edward on July 08, 2005, 10:09:28 AM
Quote
G. Edward, you and the ECCL have fundamentally different understandings of the doctrines of the nature of the Church, Church Polity, and of the nature of the Office of the Public Ministry of Word and Sacrament.


An excellent statement of the obvious.

Quote
The ECCL accepts the Roman Catholic (and "high-church") Anglocatholic doctrine on these matters.  We also follow the views of Martin Luther prior to his meeting with Cardinal Cajetan in 1520 as normative (the so-called, "Catholic Luther," not those of the late-career of "Protestant Luther."


Why choose this part of Luther's writings?  There is tension throughout all of Luther's writings (just as there is tension throughout the canon of scripture).  Isn't our call to live in that tension, not dispense with or ignore the parts that offend the way we think things should be?

Quote
The ECCL, as you will note from our website, accepts as confessional documents insofar as (quatenus) they are faithful witnesses to the Gospel, Tracts for the Times by John Henry Newman before he converted to Roman Catholicism, and put them on the same level as those portions of the Book of Concord (1580) which we also accept insofar as (quatena) they are trustworthy witnesses to the Gospel.


I guess I will go to the ECCL website to seek an understanding of ECCL, though it sounds as if everything is parsed and sifted (in so far as) it agrees with the sensibilities of some group of believers.

Quote
When there is a disagreement between the Lutheran Confessions (especially the ones presented after the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, we view them through an Anglocatholic (high-church Anglican) lens and so come down on the side of Western Catholic donctrines.


What you have avoided completely in all this round-aboutness is any statement of why you believe in apostolic succession.

Quote
In other words, the ECCL ain't Protestant at all (nor was Luther in 1520 - or even as late as 1537.)  We stick with the so-called "Catholic Luther" and the goals he had in 1520; not as things developed later on, and absolutely disagre with WordAlone and their allies on these doctrines.  That is simply how it is.


I don't recall even suggesting that ECCL was protestant.  What you still haven't addressed is how ECCL reconciles the official RCC postions condemning the Lutheran reform movement with your hope of "returning to Rome".  They didn't accept the pre-1520 Luther any more than the post-1520 Luther.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: G.Edward on July 08, 2005, 11:37:49 AM
Quote
This would place their bishops in the Apostolic Succession in more than 20 separate lines of succession.  Send me an e-mail for details.


Gladfelteri,

Are the number of "lines of succession" - the history of who touched whom - a measure of how valid a particular succession claim is?  Are some "lines" more valid and valuable than others?  Such talk sounds more like a breeding convention than a discussion of how to faithfully lead the church.

Again, I ask, where in scripture is the basis for any claim to the historic episcopate?  Other than the sole verse of last recourse, Matthew 16:18-19 - "You are Peter...etc" only seems to appear as a human institution around the time of Constantine, which would make it an artifact of the Roman Empire.  

If you don't want to take the time to answer here, kindly recommend some reference works that might help me begin to see what I'm misunderstanding here.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (cont.)
Post by: G.Edward on July 08, 2005, 02:33:37 PM
Quote


This is an organizational problem rather than one inherent in the Episcopacy.


Episcopacy is a different issue.  I'm going to stick with the organizational aspects here.

Quote
If a Bishop cannot be (1) the primary Pastor to his diocesan priests and their family, (2) an active minister fo the Gospel involved in at least some aspects of local ministry - saying Mass, baptizing, caring for people at least those attending his own Chapel or Oratory, (3) the primary defender of the integrity of the faith in his own Diocese (4) one the Church's "theologians in residence" - a resource as such to his subordinate Pastors (all of this is in addition to (5) a bishop's role as a symbol of the unity of the Church and (here is where the historic apostolic succession comes in) a visible, tangible link - tactilly to one or more of the orininal apostles) THEN the size of a Bishop's jurisdiction should be trimmed to where that is eminently do-able.


I couldn't agree more with your definition of the office of bishop and its role in the life of the church!  May God grant us more bishops who fit that model.

Quote
Theoretically there is no reason a Diocese of Synod could not have several Auxuluary Bishops responsible for the care and oversight of subdivisions of a Synod, or a synod could be limited to not over a certain "manageable" number of pastors and their congregations (or they can divide their jurisdictions into districts led by Archdeacons, rural Deans, Vicars General or Domestic Prelates (Monsignori) and delegate much of their duties to them, and then supervise just those officials - except for the specific things only a bishop can perform.  (This is the ECCL's model.  Following the U. S. Army's basic organizational principles, the ECCL does not really want a person to have to be directly responsible for more than 10 people - and they will not once we are finally large enough to have all elements of our polity in place.)


A span of 10 is a noble goal as long as everyone in the organization has primary responsibilities to a congregation in order to stay grounded in reality.  A larger span, such as those of the ELCA bishops, is doable for bishops/leaders without primary responsibility to a congregation.  A span of 10 with no other reponsibilities would likely lead to micormanagement/medling.  

I like your concept of multiple bishops or local leaders (deans, vicars, etc.) as a more faithful and responsive model for the church, but such an organizational design does open itself up to the possibility of ever-increasing number of layers of buracracy, now that I think about it.

Thank you for pointing out the Moravians as an example.  The EKD also comes to mind - conference deans function much like local bishops.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: G.Edward on July 10, 2005, 04:03:54 PM
Quote
Anglicans went to bishops in other countries because they need a leader/overseer who is in the historic episcopate and in communion with the See of Canterbury.  That is part of being an Anglican.

This is apples to oranges.

Lutherans have never viewed the church in the same way, obviously.  The overseer, whether Bishop, President, or Presiding Pastor does not need to be approved by or in communion with Lutherans in other countries.  


Dennis,

I suppose you are right in the strictest sense when you refer to seeking delegated oversight "apples to oranges," however I believe it would show a new synod's intent to sustain the "good order" the reformers were so fond of trying to uphold.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Pr. William McDonald on July 15, 2005, 03:54:37 PM
I recommend taking a gander at the United Methodist eucharistic prayer (U M Hymnal, p. 9). After all, you may as well get used to it, given the likely ratification of a full communion agreement. Really, it's not that bad. Pretty good, in fact. It is gospel proclamation through and through, a recital of the history of salvation, good trinitarian form.

Can it not be recognized that Luther's reduction to the bare Verba was in light of the bad times upon which eucharistic praying had fallen, and not a declaration that there could be no evangelical canon? Same with bishops, on that score. Sure, bishops screw up. So do congregations. Doesn't mean we can't have them, or eucharistic prayers or monastic vows, for that matter! All too often,  gospel freedom is simply conceived of as "freedom from" and not "freedom for". This freedom for....adiaphora like eucharistic prayers, doesn't mean they're foolproof (we're always simul!). Just because bad prayers are written and sloppy liturgies are performed, not to mention theologically suspect sermons, doesn't call for merely reactionary, reductionist measures.

How can anyone claim to be "catholic" and be having such a debate?
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Revbert on July 15, 2005, 07:27:31 PM
Ah, William...

You make good points, but miss the bull's eye slightly in re: bishops.

While Brother Martin tossed the Eucharistic prayers by the wayside in response to the abuses, as to bishops, he took a different approach.  If the bishops of the church wouldn't act like bishops should (and in particular, to the ordination of evangelical priests), then it was incumbent on the princes, as Notbischofen, or emergency bishops, should act accordingly.

Thus, Luther maintains the need for bishops (in or out of apostolic succession as the case might be).

Of course, the AC and AP also confirm the three-fold order of ministry, too, but that's another battle.....


Art
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on July 15, 2005, 09:56:05 PM
Quote
Are the number of "lines of succession" - the history of who touched whom - a measure of how valid a particular succession claim is?


Not at all.  Only one line of succession is necessary for ordaining / consecrating a Bishop into the historic apostolic succession.  There are several reasons for multiple lines: (1) If there is a gap or break in a given line of succession which one is unaware of, the other lineages will assure validity.  (2) A given line of succession (like the Anglican or Canterbury Succession for instance) may be technically invalid due to defects of form or intent (technical matters addressed in Catholic Canon Law based on the criteria set by St. Augustine in his works, "On the Correction of the Donatists" and "On Baptism.")  The possession of other lines of succession assures that the Bishop is in the historic Apostolic Succession even though one or more of his lines are technically invalid.  (3)  A bishop's having valid apostolic lineages from different branches of the Church (the Vatican or Rebiban Succession, and various Eastern lineages as well) is a symbol of physical, tactile continuity with the Church through the ages both East and West.  

Of course if one is opposed to Episcopal polity and prefers a congregational or presbyterian system, all this is moot.

In scripture, the first instance of the transmission of the apostolic succession by the laying on of hands was the Consecration of St. Matthias in Acts.

For more information, a good general reference on the Apostolic Succession and a real classic is, "Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity" by Elizabethan Anglican Bishop Richard Hooker.

Remember, Martin Luther did not originally want to drop the ministry of Deacons, Priests and Bishops in the historic Apostolic Succession and when he was not able to arrange for the consecration / ordination of Bishops for his movement, he felt that the Bishops who refused to ordain Bishops for them (the Lutherans) were oppressors of the Church, and that his Evangelical Church would operate without bishops temporarily - under "emergency conditions" only. . . that this was not initially intended to be a permanent situation or an intentional "reform."  That came much later.

Since not only the ECCL, but a number of other Lutheran Churches now have their clergy in the historic Apostolic Succession, and in fact, any Lutheran church which wants the AC can now easily obtain it from them - not just from the Episcopal Church (whose primary succession - the Canterbury Succession - is technically invalid anyway)  the time in which we must "operate under emergency conditions" has passed.

Opposition to the historic apostolic succession, and the advocacy of Presbyterian and Congregational Polity and the various forms of inherent anticlericalism underlying all this as permanent and valuable reforms - not as undesirable, temporary emergency measures, were imported into Lutheranism from Calvinism.

We Lutherans keep making things hard for ourselves - by making choices which make it hard to see the Wittenberg skyline without that of Geneva blocking the view. . .
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: G.Edward on July 16, 2005, 03:26:21 AM
Thank you, Gladfelteri, for taking a moment to respond to some of my questions.  I will look into the sources to which you refered.  

You correctly noted, without addressing it directly and also by omission, that there is no broad scriptural basis for the historic episcopate, apostolic succession, or the primacy of Peter.  

I am fully supportive of a threefold pattern of ministry:  deacon, pastor, and bishop.  There is scriptural justification for this order, and it makes sense in human organizational terms, too.  In short, God said it and it works.

However, I found your "one line is enough, though more is better just in case there is a defect" comment fascinating, because it suggests that the authorization must come from some perfect human ritual and not from God.  What a fascinating position for one who claims to be a Lutheran.  Human works/lines over and against God active in the world.  Sounds more Roman Catholic to me.

And let's be honest.  The historic episcopacy - a decidedly human institution and pure adiaphora - is no guaranty of the purity or truth of church teaching or doctrine.  There are a boatload of HE-ASive bishops to prove that.  Because it's a human invention like secular humanism, socialism, capitalism, marxism, pacifism, and communism, it works sometimes but fails over the long run.

No human-constructed church organization will be perfect, but running from the Lutheran church to Rome still seems like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.  Except it's a bigger fire, so maybe we all could hide somewhere for a while.  ::)

That aside, I did greatly admire Pope John Paul II and study his teachings, and I do harbor great hopes for Benedict XVI.  But I remain Lutheran.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on July 16, 2005, 06:31:33 AM
Quote
That aside, I did greatly admire Pope John Paul II and study his teachings, and I do harbor great hopes for Benedict XVI.  But I remain Lutheran.
 So do I . . . but an Evangelical Catholic Lutheran rather than a Confessing Evangelical one . . .  ;)
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on July 16, 2005, 06:33:55 AM
Lets just agree to disagree on the matter of the historic Apostolic Succession and move on to areas where we share common concerns  ;D
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: G.Edward on July 17, 2005, 10:42:21 PM
You're right.  There are much more significant issues staring us right in the face.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Dave_Poedel on July 25, 2005, 07:51:34 AM
Now that peace has been declared regarding the HE, is there any concrete plan to form such a Synod if things go the revisionist route in Orlando?

The joke in the LCMS is that if the extreme right-wing of the Synod would ever stop biting at each other, they would take over the whole LCMS.  Their in-fighting has kept Missouri moderate for periods of time.

It seems to this concerned observer that the extreme left of the ELCA has control of the headquarters and some seminaries (most?) but not the folks in the pews.  My times of guest preaching in ELCA parishes have shown me that the folks are very similar to the LCMS folks I preach with, and I preach the same type of sermons in both congregations without being run out of town.

As an Evangelical Catholic, I see a great middle that is not being served by the polity and politics of either the ELCA or the LCMS.  Perhaps the Spirit is setting a breeze in motion?
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on July 25, 2005, 08:06:09 AM
There is absolutely no reason to "re-invent the wheel"  Any one of several of the microsynods which are already up and running, which range from the most Pietist and Confessing Evangelical like the Lutheran Bretheren Church through some fine "moderate" Churches like the Lutheran Ministerium and Synod to the most Evangelical Catholic (the ECCL and ECC.)  All are theologically orthodox and socially conservative.  Some of these have already laid down considerable infrastructure, with competent leadership already in place, and could easily and smoothly become large, national (dissenting) Synods/Churches practically overnight if things do not go well in Orlando.

Rather than form a new "dissenting synod" doesn't it make sense to simply move into one or more of the already existing microsynods (depending on your "party" and "churchmanship") rather than go to the trouble of "re-inventing the wheel" and form another new synod from scratch?
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Coolrevgaus on July 28, 2005, 08:13:08 PM
Russ' excellent article reminds us that confessional Lutherans of various stripes need to pateint with one another as we work together, often for the first time. We do not need to rush into creating one big powerful united confessional organization, but rather recognize the variety of cultural, historical, and doctrinal differences among us. Why become another Big Tent grouping, it sure hasn't worked well for the ELCA. Instead lets meet, dialogue and confront with Bible in one hand and Confessions in the other if need be. Who knows what might happen if the likes of Benne, Nestingen, Sundberg and Jenson were to be on a panel discussing the place of confesional Lutheranism within the church Catholic. It may never happen but it would be interesting.  This is not to say there cannot be much joint work in areas like youth ministry, mission support,  theological education but by all means lets not surrender those things we passionately believe in for the sake of the kind of stale conformity we often find in the ELCA.  
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on July 30, 2005, 08:20:44 AM
Quote
Why become another Big Tent grouping, it sure hasn't worked well for the ELCA. 
Indeed.  Some of us think that everyone would have been better off IF, instead of becoming a "Big Tent" (sort of like the Anglicans with their Elizabethan Settlement" in which beliefs did not count all that much  - both Puritans and the "high church" Anglocatholics - and later on the Deists - were tolerated - the only requirements were worship using the Book of Common Prayer and submission to the ecclesiastical rule of the Anglican Bishops,)  the founding fathers of the ELCA had simply formed a Synodical Conference in which the predecessor bodies would have remained independent Churches.

Arguably, the Elizabethan Settlement and the resultant Anglican tradition of "muddling through" controversies set the stage for the chaos the Episcopal Church and world Anglicanism is going through (or trying to muddle through) now.  The reason the "Big Tent" has worked so long among the Anglicans is that the Anglican Church(es) are NOT confessional Churches.  (Where the Lutheran Churches ARE confessional Churches.)

In the case of the ELCA, perhaps all would have been better off remaining separate Churches "united in one Communion" (the LWF in this case.)  Then if one of the Churches could not abide postmodernism and the "gay hermeneutic," that Church could simply leave the Communion.  The others could then do as they pleased.

In the past, Lutheran Synodical Conferences seem to have had a definite life pattern: formation, growth, a plateau, and a dissolution.  When a Synodical Conference lost a member Church or dissolved that was no real problem for the Churches involved.  But when you try to take Lutheran Churches and instead of putting them into a Synodical Conference or Communion, you put them in one "Big Tent" Denomination; what would be the departure of a member Church in a Synodical Conference becomes a Schizm in the Denomination and that IS a big problem for the various components of that Church.

Speaking as a "cradle Episcopalian" who has been a Lutheran most of his adult life, it is my humble opinion that  the "Big Tent" model which was used in the formation of the ELCA is essentially a version of the Elizabethan Settlement.  With the formation of the ELCA this was applied to (or adapted to) American Lutheranism.  The Elizabethan Settlement in one form or another works for non-confessional Churches like the Anglicans and arguably the Methodists.  But it will not work for any length of time among Confessional Churches like Lutherans and the Reformed when those Confessional Churches are folded into one "Big Tent" denomination.  

The only way, and I do mean the ONLY way this will work, in my very humble opinion, would be if the component Lutheran Churches within that "Big Tent Church" cease being confessional since that leads to divisions in the church and adopt the following principle: "Consciences must not be forced.  Let all believe as they will.  Only let them worship using the Prayer Book and submit to the authority of our Bishops." (this is a paraphrase of a comment, possibly anecdotal, of Queen Elizabeth I regarding the Anglican Settlement of 1559.)  Of course, I do not see that working among Lutherans.

On a much more practical note, rather than forming another non-Confessional (whether or not you are willing to admit that this is what it is) "Big Tent dissenting Synod," it would be far better to allow Lutherans to go back into a number of separate Synods and gather them into an umbrella Synodical Conference or separately apply for membership in the LWF and if it is not willing to have more than one member Church in a nation, THEN form a new Synodical Conference.  (There is precedent for this.  The LWF is not the only game in town here.  The LCMS, WELS, and the ECCL have their own Synodical Conferences/Federations.)
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Coolrevgaus on July 31, 2005, 05:07:54 PM
Of course one could always just say hey we are in an emergency situation probably until the return of Christ, since many of our  Bishops are more institutional preservers than faithful leaders and like LCMC avoid too much structure and take advantage of pan Lutheran resources on the web, getting together in areas of agreement forming solid networks and concentrating on mission rather than institutional self preservation which is really institutional decline. Paul
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on July 31, 2005, 08:37:16 PM
Quote
Of course one could always just say hey we are in an emergency situation probably until the return of Christ, since many of our  Bishops are more institutional preservers than faithful leaders and like LCMC avoid too much structure
Structure in itself isn't necessarily bad.  All polities have their strengths, weaknesses, inherent problems, and potentials for abuse of the system.  Abdication of the responsability for the  maintenance of doctrinal standards and of Church Discipline by Church leaders whether they be Bishops, State Synod Presidents, Regional Moderators, District Superintendants, whatever - IS bad!
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Coolrevgaus on August 01, 2005, 05:42:25 AM
Yes structure is neccessary, and I was really just pushing the button of challenging the ELCA Bishops passivity through so much of the recent discussion. However it does seem to me that those of us who are in the ELCA would benefit from a certain level of destructuring for a while. Having attended Synod Assemblies for two decades I notice that they seem to be procedurial nightmares, that Synodical budgets simply can't keep up with inflation, that the role of Bishops has become more that of structural preserver than faithful visionary. It may be time to chill for a while and really examine how we can create a structure which encourages our bishops to be faithful theolgians and pastors to pastors, which encourages local relationships between congregations of the same denomination and uses those relationships to buildstrength locally, and which can muster the resources to promote a 1% new start up or branching for mission each year. In other words we need to stop the dysfunction and that will take some radical surgery if this ELCA is to survive. Of course to do all this pastors would have to start taking more interest in synodical affairs (good luck on that one), budgets would have to start again from zero (watch out for all the interest groups), and mission would have to be a priority of the laity (that could take some persuading). Orlando may well determine if there is any hope for anything beyond years of internal bickering to come.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on August 01, 2005, 12:24:54 PM
Quote
It may be time to chill for a while and really examine how we can create a structure which encourages our bishops to be faithful theolgians and pastors to pastors, which encourages local relationships between congregations of the same denomination and uses those relationships to buildstrength locally, and which can muster the resources to promote a 1% new start up or branching for mission each year. In other words we need to stop the dysfunction and that will take some radical surgery if this ELCA is to survive.
In my humble opinion a congregational polity or quasi-congregational polity, this will never happen.  The best way to do this, in my very humble and highly biased position is through a true Episcopal Polity in which the basic unit is the Diocese, not the Congregation, the Bishop is the Pastor of the Diocese and Congregations (Parishes) are led by Rectors who have a delegated portion of the Bishop's authority to be applied locally, and in which authority flows from the top down rather than from the bottom up. (I would add that in this it would help if the Bishops were in the historic Apostolic Succession in lineages other than the Anglican - - and were seen as successors to the Apostles in a direct tactile lineage from the original Apostles, and visible symbols of the unity and continuity of the Church, the watchwords were mutual responsibility and interdependence, and the Bishop was in fact charged with the maintenance of orthodoxy and church discipline with the "teeth and tools" to do just that effectively.)  Of course I do not expect to see that in the ELCA.  They would lose the entire upper Midwest . . .  ;)  Piglets will dance the polka before that happens . . .   And if the wrong people end up as Bishops, well just look at the Episcopal Church and the mess it is in . . .  This polity has its own inherent problems, as all others do.

I have served as organist for "Free Churches" (Southern Baptist) in which the pastors served without tenure at the pleasure of the Church Board perpetually without any form of tenure, and you would not BELIEVE the really egregious abuses of power perpetrated by the Boards and congregations of those Free Churches on their clergy.  The grass is definitely NOT greener on THAT side of the fence.

Perhaps the ELCA's current polity has aspects of the worst of both systems . . .???  
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Paul_L._Knudson on August 21, 2005, 06:54:51 PM
This is my first post, and I am a bit anxious.  I have been reading the input of your regulars for several months and have appreciated the give and take.

I keep going back to Russel Saltzman's article on the Dissenting Lutheran Synod.  I have appreciated especially his keeping his eye on the big picture.  Whether that is the reform of the ELCA from within or in the end needs to involve some other structure, I believe the position he took showed mature judgment.

I have been a WA member from its beginning.  I grieve these days over the death of Dr. Gerhard Forde.  He is clearly my theological mentor and has profoundly shaped my proclamation and ministry over these past thirty-seven years.  Indeed he in many ways is the theological father of the Word Alone movement.  I cannot imagine how anyone can acuse him of being sectarian.

Still in the past year or more it has become apparent that the socalled "protestant" and "evangelical catholic" wings of the ELCA have a lot more in common than I ever imagined through all the years of the CCM battle.  That has been important for me to recognize.

I pray now that the assembly is over that we don't retreat to our purist positions and self-destruct as a potential force for renewal and reformation within the ELCA.  I would also add that I believe we would do well not to write off those we may too conveniently label as "revisionists."

Luther Seminary is a place I know quite well.  It saddens me when some in the WA movement appear to give up on our seminaries.  Maybe I am naive or overly opitmistic, but I believe we would still be well served by working for a strong confessional voice in all of our seminaries.  Starting over from scratch with fledgling institutions is not necessarily advisable.  I still cannot give up on Luther Seminary.  In correspondence with the new president, I believe he at least will try to build bridges within a conflicted faculty.

I agree with others who in their posts encourage caution in running to new and pure structures.  Seeing the possibilities of WA and EC forces working together with others as well has been a sign of hope for me.

I pray that leaders of these various movements will intentionally keep meeting and collaborating.  I do wish more bishops within the ranks would also become more vocal in encouraging these renewal movements.

Thanks for your love for Jesus Christ and his church.  Keep looking at the big picture while laying out confessional truth.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 23, 2005, 04:30:12 AM
Does anyone remember that the recommendation that passed with the greatest majority was the one that said we should stick together despite disagreements? I haven't done scientific research, but my feeling is that I hear more about unity and staying together from those who favor change than I do from those in Word Alone and related organizations.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gary Hatcher on August 23, 2005, 05:14:28 AM
Quote
Does anyone remember that the recommendation that passed with the greatest majority was the one that said we should stick together despite disagreements? I haven't done scientific research, but my feeling is that I hear more about unity and staying together from those who favor change than I do from those in Word Alone and related organizations.

Why shouldn't they?  The stand to gain much if they can drive out those who hold to the tradition.  They gain a structure, colleges, seminaries, churches, public acceptance, credibility and on  and on.
Gary
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 23, 2005, 10:43:14 AM
GARY WROTE (Re my comment about those advocating change speaking more of the unity of the ELCA)

Why shouldn't they?  The stand to gain much if they can drive out those who hold to the tradition.  They gain a structure, colleges, seminaries, churches, public acceptance, credibility and on  and on.  
Gary

I RESPOND
Sigh and alas. My point was to say those seeking change do not seem to be the ones talking about driving anyone out.

Is this question too simple?
Frank Morgan believes that homosexuality is wrong; that same sex unions are wrong and that his congregation would not want to have a pastor who was gay in a "committed relationship," or maybe not want to have a gay pastor at all.

Frieda Mitchell believes that the sexuality of gay and lesbian people is another kind of the gift from God that she received as a heterosexual, that same sex unions are o.k., and that a gay pastor - partnered or not - could serve in her congregation.

Can Frank and Frieda be in the ELCA together? In the same congregation? Can they both support their parishes and the evangelism and mission work of the parish, synod, and ELCA?

Or can't they?
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gary Hatcher on August 23, 2005, 11:19:40 AM
Quote

Can Frank and Frieda be in the ELCA together? In the same congregation? Can they both support their parishes and the evangelism and mission work of the parish, synod, and ELCA?

Or can't they?


The problem exists on at least two levels, one, can those who understand the Scripture to prohibit same sex behavior then turn around and roster those who are involved in same sex behavior?  There are many in the ELCA who hold that should the ELCA allow the rostering of non-celibate homosexuals that they could no longer support the ELCA.  At that point it isn't merely a matter of unity and getting along, it becomes can there be support of a church that has gone against the witness of Scripture?
Two, there might have been a small margin for hope if the homosexual advocates been willing to admit that same sex sexual behavior was sinful, but were asking the church to find a way to bless such relationships.  Since they will never admit that, in fact are upping the ante as it were by insisting on full inclusion for gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, transgender and other sexual minorities, it appears that they are not as interested in unity or shared ministry as they are at getting what they want, even if the limits of what they want has not been defined.  Full inclusion other sexual minorities smacks of being ask to sign a blank check that they will fill in later.
Gary
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: hansen on August 23, 2005, 12:15:18 PM
Yep, it's actually a trick question, which tries to sound really nice and reasonable, but actually favors a particular opinion.

To put it in mathematical terms:

People "A" believe "X" is prohibited.

People "B" believe "X" is good.

If the organization to which "A" and "B" belong takes a stance which allows for "X" (even if it states a preference for not-X) then "B" can live with that a whole lot more than "A" can.  Especially if "B" views it as a stepping stone to their ultimate goal (and "A" views it as another step in the wrong direction).  

It's all slippery slope stuff -- something the liberal-left has mastered.  "Oh, just give us this one little thing..." and then once they're given it, then "well, as long as we already have that, then how about this little thing -- you can live with that, right? -- C'mon, compromise!".  And so on.  Enough is enough.  A sane person cannot state that something is sinful, and then allow it to be lifted to the level of something that is wonderful, as official church policy.  That's far more cognitive dissonance than is humanly possible, without losing one's mind.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: dastorhaug on August 24, 2005, 08:29:39 AM
Quote


Can Frank and Frieda be in the ELCA together? In the same congregation? Can they both support their parishes and the evangelism and mission work of the parish, synod, and ELCA?

Or can't they?


Trick question or not;   isnt' what has already happened in ECUSA (churches taken over,  new locks on doors,   priests removed,  lawsuits, etc.) proof that they can't?

Dave Storhaug
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on August 25, 2005, 09:13:47 AM
Quote


Trick question or not;   isnt' what has already happened in ECUSA (churches taken over,  new locks on doors,   priests removed,  lawsuits, etc.) proof that they can't?
It sure is from my perspective.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 25, 2005, 10:38:36 AM
Episcopal polity - generally - allows the Bishop to take over a parish if it's ministry is threatened or its relations with the Bishop are severed.

Lutheran polity - generally - does not; although in former ULCA/LCA congregations, the property and all probably belong to the Synod if the congregation disbands or otherwise ends its ministry. That is not true for all ELCA congregations.

Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on August 25, 2005, 05:16:01 PM
Lets slow down a bit and clarify things:  There is "episcopal polity" and "Episcopal Church (ECUSA) Polity."  The two are not exactly the same.  Actually, the Episcopal Church' own polity was changed with the adoption of the "Dennis Canon" after a great many Parishes left that Church after its approval of ordination of female priests in the early 1970's.  The text of the Dennis Canon (Title I, Canon 7.4 of the ECUSA's Canon Law Code) follows:  "All real and personal property held by or for the benefit of any Parish, Mission or Congregation is held in trust for this Church and the Diocese thereof in which such Parish, Mission or Congregation is located. The existence of this trust, however, shall in no way limit the power and authority of the Parish, Mission or Congregation otherwise existing over such property so long as the particular Parish, Mission or Congregation remains a part of, and subject to, this Church and its Constitution and Canons."  

Episcopal Church (ECUSA) clergy and Dioceses are  bound by this Canon, the plain meaning of which is that the Episcopal Church owns all Church assets down to the parish and even the personal level (vestments, etc.) Civil courts have consistently favored property rights of superior governing Church bodies over those of individual congregations in hierarchically organized churches when a Church's Canons give that Church the authority to exercise ownership and control over property even if it is not actively exercised on a day-to-day-basis.  The American Anglican Council  asserted that ECUSA General Convention actions violated the preamble of the ECUSA’s Constitution with the adoption of the Dennis Canon, and narrowly applied, they are quite right, but that has not slowed anyone in the ECUSA down in applying the Dennis Canon with all the finesse of a M1A1 main battle tank.  >:(   :o   >:(

Prior to the Dennis Canon, parishes owned their own property and could simply leave and keep everything.  And in the schizms which founded the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) in the 1870's and the Anglican Church in America and its allies (ca 1972), they did.  

But now, under the Dennis Canon, unless a parish was in existence during colonial times before the end of the Revolutionary War and the subsequent establishment of the PECUSA, all local parish properties were properties of the Diocese to be held "in trust" BY that Diocese FOR the local parish.  If the Parish were to leave the PECUSA / ECUSA, the building, grounds and other property automatically would become property of the diocese to do with as it saw fit.  This is why ECUSA Bishops have been able to padlock churches.   >:(

This was deliberately enacted to discourage parishes from leaving the Episcopal Church by holding the parish property hostage, and in the flap over the openly gay Bishop of New Hamshire, it has worked marvelously.   >:( 

Given the choice of leaving the ECUSA but leaving the buildilng and grounds behind, the people have generally chose to keep the furniture and not the faith (or put differently, to simply swallow hard and live with the revisionist faith as long as they do not see or hear too much about it  - or simply go to an early Mass without a sermon . . .)  Some of would be tempted to say that those people showed what they truly worshipped - not God but rather the "idol" of their beloved parish building and grounds.   :'(

The Dennis Canon has been challenged in court in various States, but, as stated above, civil courts have consistently favored property rights of superior governing bodies over those of individual congregations; and so far all legal challenges to the Dennis Canon have been upheld at the apellate court level.   >:(

This has absolutely nothing to do with "episcopal polity" per se.  My own denomination, the ECCL, and all the Old Catholic denominations I know of as well are quite episcopal in their polity, and the bishop does "own" the clergy, but the parish absolutely owns the property.)  This (the Dennis Canon) is simply a brazen "stop-loss measure" enacted after the defection of much of their "high church" over the ordination of women aimed at preventing major future schizms.)

I keep telling my theologically orthodox Episcopalian lay friends to "let them (the revisionists) keep the furniture and you keep the faith."  But I get responses like, "my family has gone to church here for three generations; grandpaw paid for the stained glass window above the altar, mom and dad are buried in the columbatium, I and my kids were baptized and confirmed there, I was married there.  No, I am  sorry they changed the faith, I think they are wrong, but this parish is just too important to me.  I can't walk away from it . . . " :'(

And THIS is exactally what the framers of the Dennis Canon were counting on.  But this is not part of "episcopal polity." this is "Episcopal Church (ECUSA) polity."

Perhaps I misunderstood the point of the post contrasting Episcopal and Lutheran polity, but I just wanted to be sure that "episcopal polity" as a generalization was not being misunderstood and miscast.   :)
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Charles_Austin on August 25, 2005, 07:00:46 PM
YOU WROTE:
My own denomination, the ECCL,

I ASK
What is the ECCL?
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on August 25, 2005, 07:52:22 PM
Quote
The Dennis Canon has been challenged in court in various States, but, as stated above, civil courts have consistently favored property rights of superior governing bodies over those of individual congregations; and so far all legal challenges to the Dennis Canon have been upheld at the apellate court level.   >:(

While perhaps "consistently," ++Irl, not unanimously.  The Diocese of Los Angeles has just had its case against 1 of 3 dissenting parishes dismissed in Superior Court, though +Jon Bruno is appealing.  See the Orange County Register  article at http://www.ocregister.com/ocr/2005/08/16/sections/local/local/article_636215.php (you'll need to register), or Google "St. James" and "Newport Beach".

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on August 25, 2005, 07:59:19 PM
Quote
I ASK
What is the ECCL?
Surely, Charles, you've bookmarked "Pastor Zip's Lutheran Web Links" at http://homepage.mac.com/pastorzip/lutheranlinx.html.  Click on "Lutheran Churches" to get the link to "Pastor Zip's US Lutheran Web Links" (the software for this forum won't let me put in the URL and combining "us" and "luthlinx" together creates a "u very friendly person hlinks") and then click the "Evangelical Catholics" link to go to Pastor Zip's brief description plus a link to "The Evangelical Community Church - Lutheran" that the good Archbishop refers to.

Pax, Zip+
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Chuck on August 25, 2005, 09:23:19 PM
Quote
Lutheran polity - generally - does not; although in former ULCA/LCA congregations, the property and all probably belong to the Synod if the congregation disbands or otherwise ends its ministry. That is not true for all ELCA congregations.


Actually, Charles, you should read Chapter 7 of the Model Constitution for Congregations more carefully.

Title to UNDISPOSED property passes to the synod upon dissolution and it matters not at all whether the congregation was LCA, ALC, or AELC.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on August 25, 2005, 10:32:56 PM
Quote
YOU WROTE:
My own denomination, the ECCL,

I ASK
What is the ECCL?
The Evangelical Community Church - Lutheran, ( http://www.ecclnet.org ) one of the microsynods - actually an Evangelical Catholic Synod at the extreme "Catholic" edge of the Lutheran Evangelical Catholic spectrum.  We are by far the most Roman Catholic-oriented of the U. S. Lutheran Synods.  (We are those "Romanizing Lutherans" the LCMS' Dr. Sasse warned you about. ) :D   Details about the ECCL and various links are on the (official) website noted above.  

The ECCL is a member of the Augustana Evangelical Catholic Communion (http://home.sprintmail.com/~gallups/id2.html ),  the Sudanese Council of Churches - USA, and Sudanese Council of Churches.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Gladfelteri on August 26, 2005, 12:55:48 AM
Quote
Title to UNDISPOSED property passes to the synod upon dissolution and it matters not at all whether the congregation was LCA, ALC, or AELC.
In my state, and probably most if not all the others, all "undisposed property" held by a nonprofit / not-for-profit corporation must pass to some other designated nonprofit / not-for-profit corporation upon dissolution of that corporation; and that the recipient must be designated in the by-laws / articles of incorporation otherwise the disposition of all undisposed property will be made by a civil judge as he or she sees fit.  

I'm willing to bet that that is why that provision is in the ELCA Canons; not to force departing congregations to leave the ELCA with only the clothes on their backs as is the clear intent (at least to me) of the ECUSA's Dennis Canon.
Title: Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
Post by: Chuck on August 26, 2005, 07:19:47 AM
Quote

I'm willing to bet that that is why that provision is in the ELCA Canons; not to force departing congregations to leave the ELCA with only the clothes on their backs as is the clear intent (at least to me) of the ECUSA's Dennis Canon.


I suspect you are right, though dissolution is different than departure. If a congregation leaves the ELCA, generally they keep their property unless they affiliate with a non-Lutheran church body. This (departure) is what Charles may be thinking, as there are differences between the former ALC (and AELC) and LCA congregations when it comes to leaving the ELCA. Former LCA congregations need the permission of their synod council in order to leave and retain title to their property.