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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Brian Stoffregen on October 30, 2015, 03:03:32 PM

Title: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 30, 2015, 03:03:32 PM
ELCA News Service

Oct. 30, 2015

Lutherans, Catholics ‘on the way’ to greater unity15-72-MRC

CHICAGO (ELCA) – Drawing on 50 years of national and international dialogue, Lutherans and Catholics have made available Oct. 30 Declaration on the Way: Church, Ministry and Eucharist – a unique ecumenical document that marks a pathway toward greater unity between Catholics and Lutherans.

“Five hundred years ago wars were fought over the very issues about which Lutherans and Roman Catholics have now achieved consensus,” said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). “Church, ministry and Eucharist have been areas of disagreement and even separation between our two churches, and we still have work to do both theologically and pastorally as we examine the questions. The declaration is so exciting because it shows us 32 important points where already we can say there are not church-dividing issues between us, and it gives us both hope and direction for the future,” she said.

“Pope Francis in his recent visit to the United States emphasized again and again the need for and importance of dialogue,” said Bishop Denis J. Madden of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and Catholic co-chair of the task force creating the document. “This Declaration on the Way represents in concrete form an opportunity for Lutherans and Catholics to join together now in a unifying manner on a way finally to full communion.”

At its heart are 32 “Statements of Agreement” where Lutherans and Catholics already have points of convergence on topics about church, ministry and Eucharist. The document also indicates differences that remain.

The declaration seeks reception of the Statement of Agreements from The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU). The LWF is a global communion of 145 churches in 98 countries worldwide. The ELCA is the communion’s only member church from the United States.

The conclusion of the declaration invites the PCPCU and the LWF to create a process and timetable for addressing the remaining issues. It also suggests that the expansion of opportunities for Lutherans and Catholics to receive Holy Communion together would be a sign of the agreements already reached. In addition, the declaration urges Catholics and Lutherans at local levels to connect in “a deeper commitment to Christ and greater engagement and collaboration with one another,” according to the declaration’s executive summary.

Earlier this month the ELCA Conference of Bishops – an advisory body of the church –received and unanimously affirmed the Statements of Agreements. ELCA bishops requested that the ELCA Church Council accept them and forward the entire document to the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the denomination’s highest legislative body. The statements were also unanimously affirmed by the Bishops Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

A growing unity
In December 2011, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the PCPCU, proposed a declaration “on the way” to seal agreements in the areas of the church, ministry and the Eucharist. The ELCA and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops responded to the cardinal’s proposal by identifying Catholic and Lutheran scholars and leaders to produce the declaration, drawing principally on the statements of international dialogue commissions sponsored by the LWF and the PCPCU and a range of regional dialogues, including those in the United States.

A significant outcome of the Lutheran-Catholic dialogue in the United States and internationally is the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ), signed in 1999 in Augsburg, Germany. With the JDDJ, the LWF and the Catholic Church agreed to a common understanding of the doctrine of justification and declared that certain 16th century condemnations of each other no longer apply.

“I learned of Cardinal Kurt Koch’s hope that there could be a Declaration In Via,” said the Rev. Donald J. McCoid, former executive for ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations. “After consulting with (former ELCA) Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson, I wrote a letter to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops with a hope and a prayer that the ELCA and the (conference) might respond to Cardinal Koch’s hope for a declaration.”

“With great joy we have embraced this assignment together. The Spirit worked and has continued to guide the scholars, co-chairs (of the task force) and staff as we have addressed agreements that we have with ministry, the church, and the Eucharist. In light of 2017 (which marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation), God has given us this moment to be on the way together as Lutherans and Catholics,” said McCoid.

Trying a new thing: The road from dialogue to declaration
The Rev. Jared Wicks, SJ, Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, described the significance of this work: “With the Declaration on the Way, our churches can focus attention on 32 remarkable results of our dialogues of the past half-century. It’s a moment to move from study to declaration, to expand in Catholic and Lutheran believers a shared awareness of their real agreements on significant and well-defined essentials of our faith and life.”

Wicks, a Catholic member of the task force, said the document “puts into the hands of theology teachers and students a concise and well documented account of results of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogues of nearly five decades. I hope and pray that the (declaration) can help to form a new generation of well informed and dedicated ecumenical thinkers and dialogue members.”

“We carefully studied the reports from international, regional and national dialogues,” said the Rev. Joy Schroeder, professor of Church History at Trinity Lutheran Seminary and professor of religion at Capital University, both in Columbus, Ohio.

“While acknowledging that there are matters on which we have not achieved full consensus, we identified numerous places in the dialogue documents where Lutherans and Catholic ecumenists affirmed strong points of agreement regarding the church, ministry and the Lord’s Supper,” said Schroeder, a Lutheran member of the task force. “As we studied the official reports of Catholic-Lutheran dialogues for the past 50 years, we were impressed by the amount of consensus we have already achieved.”

“The Declaration on the Way is a unique document in the history of ecumenical documents,” said Dr. Susan K. Wood, SCL, professor and director, Department of Theology at Marquette University, Milwaukee. Wood is a Catholic member of the task force.

“It is not yet a consensus document of the stature of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. It does not claim that the resolution of all the differences between Catholics and Lutherans on the topics of church, Eucharist, and ministry have been resolved,” said Wood.

“Nevertheless, at the same time, it is not just another dialogue statement on these issues. It gathers the agreements on these topics as presented in international and regional dialogue statements, identifying 32 statements of agreement and presenting the documentation that supports those agreements. These agreements signal that Catholics and Lutherans are indeed ‘on the way’ to full, visible unity,” she said.

“As we approach 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, this witness to growing unity gives a powerful message to a world where conflict and division often seem to drown out more positive messages of hope and reconciliation.Declaration on the Way shows that Lutherans and Catholics are living within the ‘already, but not yet’ relationship of real but imperfect communion. Too often, we have stressed the imperfect nature of our unity. The declaration invites us to celebrate the real communion achieved through 50 years of dialogue that we can recognize and affirm with the reception of this text,” said Wood.

Hope for the declaration’s impact was expressed by the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, a former ELCA presiding bishop who serves as the Lutheran co-chair of the task force: “Thanks be to God that we can now offer this declaration. Trusting in the Holy Spirit and with renewed resolve, we can say confidently that Catholics and Lutherans are on the way to full communion.”

The text of the Declaration on the Way and more information are available at
www.elca.org/Declaration-on-the-Way (http://www.elca.org/Declaration-on-the-Way).
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Terry W Culler on October 31, 2015, 08:48:44 AM
A false unity is not unity and there can be nothing but a false unity between Reformation theology and the theology of the RCC as they stand today.  This reminds me of Cardinal Sodeleto's letter to Geneva seeking their return to the Roman fold.  Calvin answered that letter quite well, I think.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on October 31, 2015, 09:38:14 AM
I'm sorry, Pastor Culler, but that is the kind of thinking that really gives me the irks and wrinkles.
It is not the 16th Century.
We are not who we were then.
The Roman Catholic part of the Church is not what it was then.
To suggest that a 500-year old letter from Calvin will help settle, explain or further improve the situation today just does not work.
Do you discount the past 40+ years of discussion, both nationally and internationally, so much that this is your response?
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on October 31, 2015, 09:57:42 AM
As I listen to my formerly devout Roman parishioners, I come to understand there remains a long way to go for any meaningful sense of unity between Rome and Wittenberg. Sometimes institutional reality is a long way from reality. Most people live in reality.


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Terry W Culler on October 31, 2015, 10:31:13 AM
I'm sorry, Pastor Culler, but that is the kind of thinking that really gives me the irks and wrinkles.
It is not the 16th Century.
We are not who we were then.
The Roman Catholic part of the Church is not what it was then.
To suggest that a 500-year old letter from Calvin will help settle, explain or further improve the situation today just does not work.
Do you discount the past 40+ years of discussion, both nationally and internationally, so much that this is your response?

Has the RCC renounced Trent?  Has the RCC said they are ready to stop praying to Mary?  Has the RCC stopped giving out indulgences?  Has the RCC said they will treat our theology as on a par with theirs?  Has the RCC agreed that the Reformation is right about justification?  Has the RCC said they agree that apostolic succession is about the teachings of the apostles, not the laying on of hands by people?  Could anyone claim they adhere to the Augsburg Confession and still accept the teachings of Rome as valid?  That's pretty much all I have to say on the matter.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: readselerttoo on October 31, 2015, 11:03:34 AM
For many years I believed there was a good chance for Lutheran-Roman Catholic "unity" whatever that word means.  But institutionally that could only happen on their terms.  No matter how much we interpret the wide meaning of the Augsburg Confession, the RC church officially would need to provide their caveats to it.  I say again and this has been my constant word on this:  until there is substantive agreement about the nature of sin and our variant understanding of the image of God and justification, there will be no "unity".  I say that with deep regret.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: MJohn4 on October 31, 2015, 12:15:51 PM
Declaration on the Way appears to be a simple summary of where Lutheran/Catholic relations are at this time. Perhaps it is a useful introduction for those interested in that subject area. Viewed in this way, it's a nicely formatted publishing achievement. Hence, "it is not just another dialogue statement on these issues. It gathers the agreements on these topics as presented in international and regional dialogue statements, identifying 32 statements of agreement and presenting the documentation that supports those agreements"-Task Force member Dr. Susan K. Wood. So, I can't see where it really brings anything new to the table. As pages 72 to 116 illustrate, we have a long way to go.

The Task Force that compiled the Declaration seems to be overselling it.

Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2015, 12:29:09 PM
As I listen to my formerly devout Roman parishioners, I come to understand there remains a long way to go for any meaningful sense of unity between Rome and Wittenberg. Sometimes institutional reality is a long way from reality. Most people live in reality.


But for many, on both sides, their "reality" is one of (false) perceptions. Much of what I as a youth was told by Lutherans about Roman Catholics has proven to be false or exaggerated when I actually talk with Roman Catholics. They have also discovered that what they were told by Roman Catholics about Lutherans was also false or exaggerated.


When I was at Wartburg Seminary, we could share classes with the Roman Catholic Aquinas Institute of Theology and the Presbyterian University of Dubuque Seminary. One of the newer Catholic professors confessed that when he was a student at Aquinas, the Lutheran and Catholic students were not supposed to socialize or have discussions with each other, but they had secret meetings off campuses where they would gather for beer and to talk theology.


Once we actually started talking with each other rather than about each other, we discovered that we had a lot more in common that we had thought. There are still differences; but there is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all." We can start with that common confession.



Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2015, 12:41:53 PM
For many years I believed there was a good chance for Lutheran-Roman Catholic "unity" whatever that word means.  But institutionally that could only happen on their terms.  No matter how much we interpret the wide meaning of the Augsburg Confession, the RC church officially would need to provide their caveats to it.  I say again and this has been my constant word on this:  until there is substantive agreement about the nature of sin and our variant understanding of the image of God and justification, there will be no "unity".  I say that with deep regret.


No matter how much we interpret the wide meaning of the Augsburg Confession, we can't even get Lutherans to come together, even though we, the ELCA, confesses: 2.05. This church accepts the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel, acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.

   
You are also starting at the wrong place, as the summary document indicates.

 Two key points from the conclusion of From Conflict to Communion guided the work:

1) Catholics and Lutherans should always begin from the perspective of unity and not from the point of view of division in order to strengthen what is held in common even though the differences are more easily seen and experienced.

2) Lutherans and Catholics must let themselves continuously be transformed by the encounter with each other and by mutual witness of faith. 

Are you (and others) willing to begin by confessing that there is only one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one Spirit, one God and Father of all; and be willing to be transformed. If we want them to give up elements of Trent, can we say that we willing to give up elements of our Book of Confessions?
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on October 31, 2015, 12:55:36 PM
As I listen to my formerly devout Roman parishioners, I come to understand there remains a long way to go for any meaningful sense of unity between Rome and Wittenberg. Sometimes institutional reality is a long way from reality. Most people live in reality.


But for many, on both sides, their "reality" is one of (false) perceptions. Much of what I as a youth was told by Lutherans about Roman Catholics has proven to be false or exaggerated when I actually talk with Roman Catholics. They have also discovered that what they were told by Roman Catholics about Lutherans was also false or exaggerated.


When I was at Wartburg Seminary, we could share classes with the Roman Catholic Aquinas Institute of Theology and the Presbyterian University of Dubuque Seminary. One of the newer Catholic professors confessed that when he was a student at Aquinas, the Lutheran and Catholic students were not supposed to socialize or have discussions with each other, but they had secret meetings off campuses where they would gather for beer and to talk theology.


Once we actually started talking with each other rather than about each other, we discovered that we had a lot more in common that we had thought. There are still differences; but there is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all." We can start with that common confession.


"As I listen...."


Did you miss that part?


Reality is not, nor should it be institutionalized.


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2015, 01:47:53 PM
As I listen to my formerly devout Roman parishioners, I come to understand there remains a long way to go for any meaningful sense of unity between Rome and Wittenberg. Sometimes institutional reality is a long way from reality. Most people live in reality.


But for many, on both sides, their "reality" is one of (false) perceptions. Much of what I as a youth was told by Lutherans about Roman Catholics has proven to be false or exaggerated when I actually talk with Roman Catholics. They have also discovered that what they were told by Roman Catholics about Lutherans was also false or exaggerated.


When I was at Wartburg Seminary, we could share classes with the Roman Catholic Aquinas Institute of Theology and the Presbyterian University of Dubuque Seminary. One of the newer Catholic professors confessed that when he was a student at Aquinas, the Lutheran and Catholic students were not supposed to socialize or have discussions with each other, but they had secret meetings off campuses where they would gather for beer and to talk theology.


Once we actually started talking with each other rather than about each other, we discovered that we had a lot more in common that we had thought. There are still differences; but there is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all." We can start with that common confession.


"As I listen...."


Did you miss that part?


Reality is not, nor should it be institutionalized.


As I listen to devout Roman Catholics - who remain active Roman Catholics - one a priest, one a deacon, one an active lay person, we have a lot in common. We are not that far apart. We look for the day when we can be in eucharistic fellowship. (When the layman worships with us, he will receive communion.) When we attended the ordinations of the priest and deacon, we refrained from receiving the sacrament out of respect for their tradition and not to offend the bishop who was presiding.



Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: readselerttoo on October 31, 2015, 02:29:05 PM
Declaration on the Way appears to be a simple summary of where Lutheran/Catholic relations are at this time. Perhaps it is a useful introduction for those interested in that subject area. Viewed in this way, it's a nicely formatted publishing achievement. Hence, "it is not just another dialogue statement on these issues. It gathers the agreements on these topics as presented in international and regional dialogue statements, identifying 32 statements of agreement and presenting the documentation that supports those agreements"-Task Force member Dr. Susan K. Wood. So, I can't see where it really brings anything new to the table. As pages 72 to 116 illustrate, we have a long way to go.

The Task Force that compiled the Declaration seems to be overselling it.


I think this comment pretty much summarizes my sentiments also.  Thanks for illustrating further.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: readselerttoo on October 31, 2015, 02:34:12 PM
As I listen to my formerly devout Roman parishioners, I come to understand there remains a long way to go for any meaningful sense of unity between Rome and Wittenberg. Sometimes institutional reality is a long way from reality. Most people live in reality.


But for many, on both sides, their "reality" is one of (false) perceptions. Much of what I as a youth was told by Lutherans about Roman Catholics has proven to be false or exaggerated when I actually talk with Roman Catholics. They have also discovered that what they were told by Roman Catholics about Lutherans was also false or exaggerated.


When I was at Wartburg Seminary, we could share classes with the Roman Catholic Aquinas Institute of Theology and the Presbyterian University of Dubuque Seminary. One of the newer Catholic professors confessed that when he was a student at Aquinas, the Lutheran and Catholic students were not supposed to socialize or have discussions with each other, but they had secret meetings off campuses where they would gather for beer and to talk theology.


Once we actually started talking with each other rather than about each other, we discovered that we had a lot more in common that we had thought. There are still differences; but there is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all." We can start with that common confession.


I would agree with this also but with one exception, my comments above were focused on official teaching and not so much of that at the grassroots level as I hear discussed in your post, P. Stoffregen.  When I was at Wartburg I too took courses at Aquinas.  But always with the clear internal understanding of our official teaching differences in doctrinal matters.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: readselerttoo on October 31, 2015, 02:43:33 PM
As I listen to my formerly devout Roman parishioners, I come to understand there remains a long way to go for any meaningful sense of unity between Rome and Wittenberg. Sometimes institutional reality is a long way from reality. Most people live in reality.


But for many, on both sides, their "reality" is one of (false) perceptions. Much of what I as a youth was told by Lutherans about Roman Catholics has proven to be false or exaggerated when I actually talk with Roman Catholics. They have also discovered that what they were told by Roman Catholics about Lutherans was also false or exaggerated.


When I was at Wartburg Seminary, we could share classes with the Roman Catholic Aquinas Institute of Theology and the Presbyterian University of Dubuque Seminary. One of the newer Catholic professors confessed that when he was a student at Aquinas, the Lutheran and Catholic students were not supposed to socialize or have discussions with each other, but they had secret meetings off campuses where they would gather for beer and to talk theology.


Once we actually started talking with each other rather than about each other, we discovered that we had a lot more in common that we had thought. There are still differences; but there is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all." We can start with that common confession.


"As I listen...."


Did you miss that part?


Reality is not, nor should it be institutionalized.


As I listen to devout Roman Catholics - who remain active Roman Catholics - one a priest, one a deacon, one an active lay person, we have a lot in common. We are not that far apart. We look for the day when we can be in eucharistic fellowship. (When the layman worships with us, he will receive communion.) When we attended the ordinations of the priest and deacon, we refrained from receiving the sacrament out of respect for their tradition and not to offend the bishop who was presiding.

I don't believe we will have official sharing of the Eucharist during my lifetime.  Until Rome reverses its anathemas at Trent, it cannot be an option.  I don't believe Lutherans need to accept whatever the Papacy puts forward that would compromise the New Testament's clear teaching about justification by faith through grace.  To do otherwise would lose the magnification of the benefits that Christ brought for us through His death on the cross and his resurrection. (Apology 4). 
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 31, 2015, 03:20:32 PM

Are you (and others) willing to begin by confessing that there is only one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one Spirit, one God and Father of all; and be willing to be transformed. If we want them to give up elements of Trent, can we say that we willing to give up elements of our Book of Confessions?
Is coming together in unity a matter of negotiating a settlement, like a treaty between nations or a union contract?  Each side gives up something so that the settlement can advance?

Let me ask this, what of the Book of Concord is not in line with Scripture or goes beyond what Scripture teaches and so be given up without denying what Scripture teaches?  More specifically, what of the Augsburg Confession is contrary to Scripture or goes beyond what Scripture teaches and so may be given up without denying what Scripture teaches?

Otherwise, what are you willing to give up that Scripture teaches in order to have unity with the Roman Catholics?  Can you show that all of our remaining disagreements are in areas that Scripture does not teach?

What if one of the remaining sticking points preventing unity with Roman Catholics was the ordination of women or the ordination of partnered homosexuals?  Would you be as willing to give that us as you apparently are willing to give up sections of the Augustana?

I remember reading some years back of an Episcopal priest who also wanted to be a Muslim and suggested that in order to foster greater understanding, peace and unity with the Muslim community we Christians should be willing to back down some of our claims about Jesus being God and Savior.  That is an extreme case and I doubt that you would go along with such a proposal.  But what of the faith would you be willing to jettison to foster unity with Roman Catholics or other religious groups?

Recognizing that generally the opinions of Lutherans who lived more than a hundred years ago are often discounted as irrelevant to today's world I still will go with what a prominent Lutheran has been quoted as saying about departing from what he found Scripture to be teaching: "Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves-I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one's conscience is neither safe nor sound. Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen."
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: readselerttoo on October 31, 2015, 03:32:58 PM
In addition to what I have noted above, officially Lutherans and RCs have different understanding of what a sacrament is.  In terms of grace as substantial matter which one receives from God (without any distinction made as to the origin or agency of this grace) in which one grows, RCs would disagree with us on the number of sacraments because of the fundamental way we define a sacrament.   Holy Matrimony is not a sacrament for us Lutherans.  For RCism, it is.  Jesus' institution and teaching founds a sacrament and not God in general, ie. not God without also talking about Christ.

The foundation is based on the Gospel not on the Law.  For example although Jesus teaches about marriage it is a teaching based on God's law as earlier noted by Jesus in Genesis and in Judaism, in general.  It does not follow that marriage is a sacrament in the Christian church.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2015, 04:21:55 PM
I don't believe we will have official sharing of the Eucharist during my lifetime.  Until Rome reverses its anathemas at Trent, it cannot be an option.  I don't believe Lutherans need to accept whatever the Papacy puts forward that would compromise the New Testament's clear teaching about justification by faith through grace.  To do otherwise would lose the magnification of the benefits that Christ brought for us through His death on the cross and his resurrection. (Apology 4).


The problem is that the New Testament's clear teaching is not all that clear. If it were, why doesn't everyone agree with us Lutherans. It's been pointed out that the Bible never says "justification by grace alone" except where Luther added "alone" in Romans 3. The New Testament clearly states: "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone" (James 2:24, ESV).


Perhaps we have been overstating our case - emphasizing one particular portion of the NT (Romans & Galatians) by which we then interpret the rest of the NT. Similarly, Roman Catholics (as well as other denominations,) emphasize another portion of the NT (I think for Catholics it's the Gospel of Matthew,) and then interpret the rest of the NT in light of what they read in Matthew.


An event I've done a couple of times in ecumenical groups, is to ask, "What is a Christian?" The answers tend to differ along denominational lines, because of our different emphases and different starting points for understanding the NT.


I've mentioned this before. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the side, it has the shape of a rectangle. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the top, it has the shape of a circle. The two could keep arguing, "I'm right and you're wrong" and get nowhere in better understanding the cylinder. If we assume that each person is trying to accurately convey what they see, then we might come to understand how our different perspectives affect our seeing - and that both can be right - and that neither has the whole picture.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2015, 04:26:03 PM
In addition to what I have noted above, officially Lutherans and RCs have different understanding of what a sacrament is.  In terms of grace as substantial matter which one receives from God (without any distinction made as to the origin or agency of this grace) in which one grows, RCs would disagree with us on the number of sacraments because of the fundamental way we define a sacrament.   Holy Matrimony is not a sacrament for us Lutherans.  For RCism, it is.  Jesus' institution and teaching founds a sacrament and not God in general, ie. not God without also talking about Christ.

The foundation is based on the Gospel not on the Law.  For example although Jesus teaches about marriage it is a teaching based on God's law as earlier noted by Jesus in Genesis and in Judaism, in general.  It does not follow that marriage is a sacrament in the Christian church.


Why do you insist on starting with our differences? The document lists the following areas of agreement about the Eucharist.


 C. Agreements on the Eucharist

High Esteem for Eucharistic Union with Christ in Holy Communion
(27) Lutherans and Catholics agree in esteeming highly the spiritual benefits of union with the risen Christ given to them as they receive his body and blood in Holy Communion.

Trinitarian Dimension of Eucharist
(28) Catholics and Lutherans agree that in Eucharistic worship the church participates in a unique way in the life of the Trinity: In the power of the Holy Spirit, called down upon the gifts and the worshiping community, believers have access to the glorified flesh and blood of Christ the Son as our food, and are brought in union with him and with each other to the Father.

Eucharist as Reconciling Sacrifice of Christ and as Sacrifice of the Church’s Praise and Thanksgiving
(29) Catholics and Lutherans agree that Eucharistic worship is the memorial (anamnesis) of Jesus Christ, present as the one crucified for us and risen, that is, in his sacrificial self-giving for us in his death and in his resurrection (Romans 4:25), to which the church responds with its sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

Eucharistic Presence
(30) Lutherans and Catholics agree that in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus Christ himself is present: He is present truly, substantially, as a person, and he is present in his entirety, as Son of God and a human being.

Eschatological Dimension of Eucharist
(31) Catholics and Lutherans agree that Eucharistic Communion, as sacramental participation in the glorified body and blood of Christ, is a pledge that our life in Christ will be eternal, our bodies will rise, and the present world is destined for transformation, in the hope of uniting us in communion with the saints of all ages now with Christ in heaven.

Eucharist and Church
(32) Lutherans and Catholics agree that sharing in the celebration of the Eucharist is an essential sign of the unity of the church, and that the reality of the church as a community is realized and furthered sacramentally in the Eucharistic celebration. The Eucharist both mirrors and builds the church in its unity.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2015, 04:32:05 PM

Are you (and others) willing to begin by confessing that there is only one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one Spirit, one God and Father of all; and be willing to be transformed. If we want them to give up elements of Trent, can we say that we willing to give up elements of our Book of Confessions?
Is coming together in unity a matter of negotiating a settlement, like a treaty between nations or a union contract?  Each side gives up something so that the settlement can advance?

Let me ask this, what of the Book of Concord is not in line with Scripture or goes beyond what Scripture teaches and so be given up without denying what Scripture teaches?


We could give up the entire Book of Concord. There were faithful Christians long before there were any Lutheran Confessions. What if we, together with the Roman Catholics, go back to the root of our faith - the holy Scriptures - devoid of all the other documents like their canons and our confessions, and see what we might discover together. If our doctrines are teaching what scripture teaches, we will discover them in our study of scriptures. If they were created out of biases at the time they were written, we won't find them in scriptures.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: readselerttoo on October 31, 2015, 04:35:50 PM
In addition to what I have noted above, officially Lutherans and RCs have different understanding of what a sacrament is.  In terms of grace as substantial matter which one receives from God (without any distinction made as to the origin or agency of this grace) in which one grows, RCs would disagree with us on the number of sacraments because of the fundamental way we define a sacrament.   Holy Matrimony is not a sacrament for us Lutherans.  For RCism, it is.  Jesus' institution and teaching founds a sacrament and not God in general, ie. not God without also talking about Christ.

The foundation is based on the Gospel not on the Law.  For example although Jesus teaches about marriage it is a teaching based on God's law as earlier noted by Jesus in Genesis and in Judaism, in general.  It does not follow that marriage is a sacrament in the Christian church.


Why do you insist on starting with our differences? The document lists the following areas of agreement about the Eucharist.


 C. Agreements on the Eucharist

High Esteem for Eucharistic Union with Christ in Holy Communion
(27) Lutherans and Catholics agree in esteeming highly the spiritual benefits of union with the risen Christ given to them as they receive his body and blood in Holy Communion.

Trinitarian Dimension of Eucharist
(28) Catholics and Lutherans agree that in Eucharistic worship the church participates in a unique way in the life of the Trinity: In the power of the Holy Spirit, called down upon the gifts and the worshiping community, believers have access to the glorified flesh and blood of Christ the Son as our food, and are brought in union with him and with each other to the Father.

Eucharist as Reconciling Sacrifice of Christ and as Sacrifice of the Church’s Praise and Thanksgiving
(29) Catholics and Lutherans agree that Eucharistic worship is the memorial (anamnesis) of Jesus Christ, present as the one crucified for us and risen, that is, in his sacrificial self-giving for us in his death and in his resurrection (Romans 4:25), to which the church responds with its sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

Eucharistic Presence
(30) Lutherans and Catholics agree that in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus Christ himself is present: He is present truly, substantially, as a person, and he is present in his entirety, as Son of God and a human being.

Eschatological Dimension of Eucharist
(31) Catholics and Lutherans agree that Eucharistic Communion, as sacramental participation in the glorified body and blood of Christ, is a pledge that our life in Christ will be eternal, our bodies will rise, and the present world is destined for transformation, in the hope of uniting us in communion with the saints of all ages now with Christ in heaven.

Eucharist and Church
(32) Lutherans and Catholics agree that sharing in the celebration of the Eucharist is an essential sign of the unity of the church, and that the reality of the church as a community is realized and furthered sacramentally in the Eucharistic celebration. The Eucharist both mirrors and builds the church in its unity.


I begin with differences because that is where the rubber hits the road for me.  There ARE indeed differences that need to be illuminated as much as the commonalities.  There wouldn't be common places (loci communes) unless there were differences.  Shallow "unity" ignores the real and existing differences, imo.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: readselerttoo on October 31, 2015, 04:39:19 PM

Are you (and others) willing to begin by confessing that there is only one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one Spirit, one God and Father of all; and be willing to be transformed. If we want them to give up elements of Trent, can we say that we willing to give up elements of our Book of Confessions?
Is coming together in unity a matter of negotiating a settlement, like a treaty between nations or a union contract?  Each side gives up something so that the settlement can advance?

Let me ask this, what of the Book of Concord is not in line with Scripture or goes beyond what Scripture teaches and so be given up without denying what Scripture teaches?


We could give up the entire Book of Concord. There were faithful Christians long before there were any Lutheran Confessions. What if we, together with the Roman Catholics, go back to the root of our faith - the holy Scriptures - devoid of all the other documents like their canons and our confessions, and see what we might discover together. If our doctrines are teaching what scripture teaches, we will discover them in our study of scriptures. If they were created out of biases at the time they were written, we won't find them in scriptures.

We could give up the Book of Concord but that would be giving up also on a faithful interpretation of scripture.  The Papacy as office would need to give up canon law along with this deal-making, imo.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: readselerttoo on October 31, 2015, 04:44:21 PM
I don't believe we will have official sharing of the Eucharist during my lifetime.  Until Rome reverses its anathemas at Trent, it cannot be an option.  I don't believe Lutherans need to accept whatever the Papacy puts forward that would compromise the New Testament's clear teaching about justification by faith through grace.  To do otherwise would lose the magnification of the benefits that Christ brought for us through His death on the cross and his resurrection. (Apology 4).


The problem is that the New Testament's clear teaching is not all that clear. If it were, why doesn't everyone agree with us Lutherans. It's been pointed out that the Bible never says "justification by grace alone" except where Luther added "alone" in Romans 3. The New Testament clearly states: "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone" (James 2:24, ESV).


Perhaps we have been overstating our case - emphasizing one particular portion of the NT (Romans & Galatians) by which we then interpret the rest of the NT. Similarly, Roman Catholics (as well as other denominations,) emphasize another portion of the NT (I think for Catholics it's the Gospel of Matthew,) and then interpret the rest of the NT in light of what they read in Matthew.


An event I've done a couple of times in ecumenical groups, is to ask, "What is a Christian?" The answers tend to differ along denominational lines, because of our different emphases and different starting points for understanding the NT.


I've mentioned this before. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the side, it has the shape of a rectangle. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the top, it has the shape of a circle. The two could keep arguing, "I'm right and you're wrong" and get nowhere in better understanding the cylinder. If we assume that each person is trying to accurately convey what they see, then we might come to understand how our different perspectives affect our seeing - and that both can be right - and that neither has the whole picture.

Faith and works are a false attempt to bifurcate human beingness.  One cannot be a human person without works.  People are either doing good works or bad works.  There is no third way.  They are either works done under the Gospel via Jesus' reconciliation and forgiveness of the sinner or works done exclusively under the law in order to merit rewards or punishments.  THere is no third way.  Human beingness cannot be separated from human doingness.  To do so is to forego scripture and instead fall into the false bifurcation of the human person (ie. being vs. doing)
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2015, 06:04:41 PM
I don't believe we will have official sharing of the Eucharist during my lifetime.  Until Rome reverses its anathemas at Trent, it cannot be an option.  I don't believe Lutherans need to accept whatever the Papacy puts forward that would compromise the New Testament's clear teaching about justification by faith through grace.  To do otherwise would lose the magnification of the benefits that Christ brought for us through His death on the cross and his resurrection. (Apology 4).


The problem is that the New Testament's clear teaching is not all that clear. If it were, why doesn't everyone agree with us Lutherans. It's been pointed out that the Bible never says "justification by grace alone" except where Luther added "alone" in Romans 3. The New Testament clearly states: "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone" (James 2:24, ESV).


Perhaps we have been overstating our case - emphasizing one particular portion of the NT (Romans & Galatians) by which we then interpret the rest of the NT. Similarly, Roman Catholics (as well as other denominations,) emphasize another portion of the NT (I think for Catholics it's the Gospel of Matthew,) and then interpret the rest of the NT in light of what they read in Matthew.


An event I've done a couple of times in ecumenical groups, is to ask, "What is a Christian?" The answers tend to differ along denominational lines, because of our different emphases and different starting points for understanding the NT.


I've mentioned this before. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the side, it has the shape of a rectangle. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the top, it has the shape of a circle. The two could keep arguing, "I'm right and you're wrong" and get nowhere in better understanding the cylinder. If we assume that each person is trying to accurately convey what they see, then we might come to understand how our different perspectives affect our seeing - and that both can be right - and that neither has the whole picture.

Faith and works are a false attempt to bifurcate human beingness.  One cannot be a human person without works.  People are either doing good works or bad works.  There is no third way.  They are either works done under the Gospel via Jesus' reconciliation and forgiveness of the sinner or works done exclusively under the law in order to merit rewards or punishments.  THere is no third way.  Human beingness cannot be separated from human doingness.  To do so is to forego scripture and instead fall into the false bifurcation of the human person (ie. being vs. doing)


So you disagree with the Lutheran emphasis on grace alone without works?
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2015, 06:10:23 PM

Are you (and others) willing to begin by confessing that there is only one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one Spirit, one God and Father of all; and be willing to be transformed. If we want them to give up elements of Trent, can we say that we willing to give up elements of our Book of Confessions?
Is coming together in unity a matter of negotiating a settlement, like a treaty between nations or a union contract?  Each side gives up something so that the settlement can advance?

Let me ask this, what of the Book of Concord is not in line with Scripture or goes beyond what Scripture teaches and so be given up without denying what Scripture teaches?


We could give up the entire Book of Concord. There were faithful Christians long before there were any Lutheran Confessions. What if we, together with the Roman Catholics, go back to the root of our faith - the holy Scriptures - devoid of all the other documents like their canons and our confessions, and see what we might discover together. If our doctrines are teaching what scripture teaches, we will discover them in our study of scriptures. If they were created out of biases at the time they were written, we won't find them in scriptures.

We could give up the Book of Concord but that would be giving up also on a faithful interpretation of scripture.  The Papacy as office would need to give up canon law along with this deal-making, imo.


Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time. If what other exegetes have found to be true is in the text, we will find it, too. Certainly, after coming to conclusions about a text, exegetes then compare with what others have discovered to verify their work or to see if they might have missed something that others have seen. Reading a commentary or our confessions or even the notes in a study Bible is not studying the scriptures. One has to actually carefully read the words of the Bible - not words about what's in the Bible.



Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on October 31, 2015, 06:22:14 PM
Lou writes:
As I listen to my formerly devout Roman parishioners, I come to understand there remains a long way to go for any meaningful sense of unity between Rome and Wittenberg. Sometimes institutional reality is a long way from reality. Most people live in reality.

I comment:
As I listen to my currently devout Roman Catholic friends and formerly Roman Catholic parishioners, I think there is already a kind of unity between "Rome" and "Wittenberg." The reality they live in is one where faith, service, witness and (sometimes) sacrament is shared. This is the reality some of us live in.

Pastor Culler writes:
Has the RCC renounced Trent?  Has the RCC said they are ready to stop praying to Mary?  Has the RCC stopped giving out indulgences?  Has the RCC said they will treat our theology as on a par with theirs?  Has the RCC agreed that the Reformation is right about justification?  Has the RCC said they agree that apostolic succession is about the teachings of the apostles, not the laying on of hands by people?  Could anyone claim they adhere to the Augsburg Confession and still accept the teachings of Rome as valid?  That's pretty much all I have to say on the matter.

I comment:
Yes, in a way, the Roman Catholic Church has agreed that the Reformation was right about justification. Are those other things at such a high level that they would impede a "unity" of faith and witness and service and even (sometimes) sacrament? No, they are not. Your suggestion seems to reek of "Well! once they agree completely with us, maybe then..."

Pastor Rahn writes:
For many years I believed there was a good chance for Lutheran-Roman Catholic "unity" whatever that word means.  But institutionally that could only happen on their terms.  No matter how much we interpret the wide meaning of the Augsburg Confession, the RC church officially would need to provide their caveats to it.  I say again and this has been my constant word on this:  until there is substantive agreement about the nature of sin and our variant understanding of the image of God and justification, there will be no "unity".  I say that with deep regret.

I comment:
See above; and we are not talking about an "institutional" or structural unity.

Pastor Fienen writes:
Is coming together in unity a matter of negotiating a settlement, like a treaty between nations or a union contract?  Each side gives up something so that the settlement can advance?
I comment:
In a way, yes; ecumenical dialogue often involves certain changes in understanding or attitudes. I know that may be impossible for you, but in our ecumenical relations, that's how it works.

Pastor Fienen:
Let me ask this, what of the Book of Concord is not in line with Scripture or goes beyond what Scripture teaches and so be given up without denying what Scripture teaches?  More specifically, what of the Augsburg Confession is contrary to Scripture or goes beyond what Scripture teaches and so may be given up without denying what Scripture teaches?
I comment:
We are not speaking of "giving up," except perhaps in terms of some interpretations. Again, your presumptions and assumptions mean there could not even be dialogue.

Pastor Fienen again:
Otherwise, what are you willing to give up that Scripture teaches in order to have unity with the Roman Catholics?  Can you show that all of our remaining disagreements are in areas that Scripture does not teach?
I comment:
Yes, but not in a way that would satisfy you. And it is not a question of what the scriptures "teach," for that teaching is dependent upon interpretation. (And I know you do not accept that at all.)

Pastor Fienen writes:
What if one of the remaining sticking points preventing unity with Roman Catholics was the ordination of women or the ordination of partnered homosexuals?  Would you be as willing to give that us as you apparently are willing to give up sections of the Augustana?
I comment:
Again, you show - not unsurprisingly - your ignorance of how 40+ years of dialogue have been conducted and progressed. Never, ever, have we said we have to agree 100 percent on every topic that comes up. And you keep repeating that we are "giving up" on the confessions, were I say we are taking new looks at those confessions. But speaking personally, for myself only, since I believe that while the confessions are a faithful exposition of scripture, I do not believe that the confessions are the absolute, once forever, only, for all time, never ever another word of confession added "rock" upon which every teaching of faith must be based. And I would be happy to find concurrence with the Roman part of the Church - as I believe we have done - even if it meant setting aside some formerly cherished interpretation. To some of you, that makes me non-Lutheran and a traitor. I don't care.

Pastor Fienen:
I remember reading some years back of an Episcopal priest who also wanted to be a Muslim and suggested that in order to foster greater understanding, peace and unity with the Muslim community we Christians should be willing to back down some of our claims about Jesus being God and Savior.  That is an extreme case and I doubt that you would go along with such a proposal.  But what of the faith would you be willing to jettison to foster unity with Roman Catholics or other religious groups?
Me:
Just picking such an extreme, idiosyncratic and widely denounced incident shows your have no real interest in what is going on in ecumenical dialogue. A nearly full type of eucharistic communion could be achieved with the Roman Catholic church without trashing any critical aspect of the faith. But I doubt that can be sensibly discussed here.

Pastor Fienen
Recognizing that generally the opinions of Lutherans who lived more than a hundred years ago are often discounted as irrelevant to today's world I still will go with what a prominent Lutheran has been quoted as saying about departing from what he found Scripture to be teaching: "Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves-I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one's conscience is neither safe nor sound. Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen."
Me:
Again, I am truly sorry that you have not experienced any of the fellowship, enlightenment, joy and Spirit movement of the last 40+ years of Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue. You are where many of us were in 1960 and before. You have noted, of course, that some closely involved in the dialogues, such as our friend Richard John Neuhaus and other prominent Lutherans such as our other friend Russ Salzman have concluded that they could take their still partly "Lutheran" selves into the Roman Catholic part of the Church. Many others, such as this humble correspondent, have taken the dialogues and conclusions to heart and faith, rejoice in such things as that Joint Declaration on Justification, and welcome the ways that we have overcome our formerly triumphalistic Lutheran tendency to yell "Here I stand," whine "well, what about Trent" and pretend that it is still 1580.



Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: readselerttoo on October 31, 2015, 06:44:44 PM
I don't believe we will have official sharing of the Eucharist during my lifetime.  Until Rome reverses its anathemas at Trent, it cannot be an option.  I don't believe Lutherans need to accept whatever the Papacy puts forward that would compromise the New Testament's clear teaching about justification by faith through grace.  To do otherwise would lose the magnification of the benefits that Christ brought for us through His death on the cross and his resurrection. (Apology 4).


The problem is that the New Testament's clear teaching is not all that clear. If it were, why doesn't everyone agree with us Lutherans. It's been pointed out that the Bible never says "justification by grace alone" except where Luther added "alone" in Romans 3. The New Testament clearly states: "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone" (James 2:24, ESV).


Perhaps we have been overstating our case - emphasizing one particular portion of the NT (Romans & Galatians) by which we then interpret the rest of the NT. Similarly, Roman Catholics (as well as other denominations,) emphasize another portion of the NT (I think for Catholics it's the Gospel of Matthew,) and then interpret the rest of the NT in light of what they read in Matthew.


An event I've done a couple of times in ecumenical groups, is to ask, "What is a Christian?" The answers tend to differ along denominational lines, because of our different emphases and different starting points for understanding the NT.


I've mentioned this before. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the side, it has the shape of a rectangle. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the top, it has the shape of a circle. The two could keep arguing, "I'm right and you're wrong" and get nowhere in better understanding the cylinder. If we assume that each person is trying to accurately convey what they see, then we might come to understand how our different perspectives affect our seeing - and that both can be right - and that neither has the whole picture.

Faith and works are a false attempt to bifurcate human beingness.  One cannot be a human person without works.  People are either doing good works or bad works.  There is no third way.  They are either works done under the Gospel via Jesus' reconciliation and forgiveness of the sinner or works done exclusively under the law in order to merit rewards or punishments.  THere is no third way.  Human beingness cannot be separated from human doingness.  To do so is to forego scripture and instead fall into the false bifurcation of the human person (ie. being vs. doing)


So you disagree with the Lutheran emphasis on grace alone without works?


Your phrasing of the topic is inconsistent with confessional Lutheran theology.  It is not grace alone but faith alone without (outside of, with no regard for) works.  Certainly from God in Christ's side it is grace alone.  But from our side as sinners it is trusting in God's promise of forgiveness in this grace alone.  It is trusting in God's promise for us, that God is for us not against us.  You are failing to distinguish between what God does for and to us (grace via the God in Christ) from what we "do" in faith.  Faith in this case happens to the person of faith always including their works.  Faith is trust not as a work but as trust in the promise ie. as Abraham modelled for us in that he believed that God would do what God promised.  Faith is not a work but reliance on Someone greater than oneself.

Also along this same line, the ELCA has co-opted the traditional confessional Lutheran phrase, Justification by Faith and renamed it Justification by Grace.  The fundamental theology built on the latter phrase mixes and confuses what God does and what humans do.  God does grace.  We "do" faith.  Justification of the sinner before God becomes real as one takes in God's forgiveness for them in Christ.  In Christ's death on the cross (which was the only death for sinners) for us, like Abraham, God is inviting us into a relationship where trusting in these promises becomes a way of living.  Sinners in one sense are justified by God's grace.  But in the traditional Lutheran formula it is faith that justifies us before God.  It is the sinner who knows that he cannot escape being a sinner but that in Christ (and only in Christ) the sinner's heart is finally convinced thoroughly and completely that he is forgiven and can thus move forward in confidence.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Richard Johnson on October 31, 2015, 09:17:11 PM

Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time.

Tommyrot.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Michael Slusser on October 31, 2015, 09:29:19 PM

Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time.
Tommyrot.
My sentiment, too.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: scott9 on October 31, 2015, 09:43:48 PM

Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time.
Tommyrot.
My sentiment, too.

Peace,
Michael

Add me to the chorus.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on October 31, 2015, 10:49:12 PM
But if all one ever does is cling to whatever exegesis held sway for whatever time period one likes or from whichever exegete one feels buddy-buddy with, then our understanding and interpretation never becomes personal and never grows. That is dull, stale, flat and unpromising.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Michael Slusser on November 01, 2015, 12:14:53 AM
But if all one ever does is cling to whatever exegesis held sway for whatever time period one likes or from whichever exegete one feels buddy-buddy with, then our understanding and interpretation never becomes personal and never grows. That is dull, stale, flat and unpromising.
The NT writers themselves employed Scripture with great frequency and creativity, but taking their cue from earlier readings. They never give "up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time." When our reading of Scripture is similarly spurred by traditions of interpretation, we are emulating our greatest exemplars.

The echoes and correlations of texts we have heard over and over enrich  and make more personal our own reading and hearing of the biblical text. Without them, we would be likely to read in an impersonal, dull, flat, stale way and miss out on the promise.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 01, 2015, 01:03:55 AM
But if all one ever does is cling to whatever exegesis held sway for whatever time period one likes or from whichever exegete one feels buddy-buddy with, then our understanding and interpretation never becomes personal and never grows. That is dull, stale, flat and unpromising.
The NT writers themselves employed Scripture with great frequency and creativity, but taking their cue from earlier readings. They never give "up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time." When our reading of Scripture is similarly spurred by traditions of interpretation, we are emulating our greatest exemplars.

The echoes and correlations of texts we have heard over and over enrich  and make more personal our own reading and hearing of the biblical text. Without them, we would be likely to read in an impersonal, dull, flat, stale way and miss out on the promise.

Peace,
Michael


Well, what do you know? this Lutheran is on the way to greater unity with this Catholic.....


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on November 01, 2015, 02:21:08 AM
Thread drift alert, prompted by the usual "If Brian says it, it must be wrong" or "gotta ring my favorite chime" phenomenon.
I draw attention to the title of the thread, and apologize for my own contribution to the thread drift.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 01, 2015, 09:31:27 AM

Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time.

Tommyrot.


Spoken like a church historian.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 01, 2015, 09:33:26 AM

Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time.
Tommyrot.
My sentiment, too.


So why bother reading the Bible if we get the proper interpretation from our Confessions or the notes in a Lutheran study Bible. Many seminarians would love to see the Greek requirement dropped. (Maybe German should be required so we can read the Confessions in the original language.)
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 01, 2015, 10:15:38 AM
But if all one ever does is cling to whatever exegesis held sway for whatever time period one likes or from whichever exegete one feels buddy-buddy with, then our understanding and interpretation never becomes personal and never grows. That is dull, stale, flat and unpromising.
The NT writers themselves employed Scripture with great frequency and creativity, but taking their cue from earlier readings. They never give "up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time." When our reading of Scripture is similarly spurred by traditions of interpretation, we are emulating our greatest exemplars.


They most certainly did. All of Matthew's OT quotes in ch. 1-2 are taken out of their OT context and given new meanings in Matthew's context. (I can't speak for all other OT quotes because I haven't studied them as I have those from the opening chapters of Matthew.) In studying NT texts, it's always important to look up the OT quotes - sometimes in both the MT and the LXX to compare them with the NT.


One example that has been discussed in Matthew 1:23. Matthew applies this Isaiah text to Jesus' unique conception. However, Isaiah 7:14 (in Hebrew) doesn't mention "a virgin," but "a young girl." The Hebrew suggests that the young woman is with child (assumed by natural means,) while Matthew changes it to future tense, "will be with child." Isaiah is clear that he is talking about a child who was born during the time that Ahaz was king of Judah and specifically when King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel marched against Jerusalem (Isaiah 7:1). Isaiah is speaking directly to King Ahaz about a sign that is given to him - even though he doesn't want it (Isaiah 7:0-12). Isaiah is clear that "before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted" (Isaiah 7:16). These are the two kings named in v. 1: King Rezin and King Pekah. Their lands were conquered long before Jesus was born.


Matthew certainly gave up this past, clear interpretation, of the text when he inserted it into his birth narrative of Jesus.


Quote
The echoes and correlations of texts we have heard over and over enrich  and make more personal our own reading and hearing of the biblical text. Without them, we would be likely to read in an impersonal, dull, flat, stale way and miss out on the promise.


I was not talking about "our own reading and hearing of the biblical text." For that I use a study Bible and make use of the notes that are provided. My statement was about "proper exegesis" of scriptures. Exegetes begin with the original text and lexicons without any study notes. They seek to put aside any biases (as much as they can) when reading the text like it was the first time they are encountering it.

Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 01, 2015, 10:52:51 AM
The NT writers themselves employed Scripture with great frequency and creativity, but taking their cue from earlier readings. They never give "up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time." When our reading of Scripture is similarly spurred by traditions of interpretation, we are emulating our greatest exemplars.

The echoes and correlations of texts we have heard over and over enrich  and make more personal our own reading and hearing of the biblical text. Without them, we would be likely to read in an impersonal, dull, flat, stale way and miss out on the promise.

Peace,
Michael

A much more civil and reasonable answer than the one I was about to type. Thanks.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on November 01, 2015, 12:56:28 PM
I neither dismiss nor devalue those interpretations and applications of the ancients, but neither do I so canonize and codify them that they can be used as ammo to shoot down every other interpretation.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 01, 2015, 02:35:51 PM

Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time.
Tommyrot.
My sentiment, too.


So why bother reading the Bible if we get the proper interpretation from our Confessions or the notes in a Lutheran study Bible. Many seminarians would love to see the Greek requirement dropped. (Maybe German should be required so we can read the Confessions in the original language.)
So why bother reading the Confessions much less subscribe to them if the first step in reading and understanding Scripture is to set aside however anyone previously interpreted Scripture and approach the text as if you were the first to ever read it?

Quote
Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time. If what other exegetes have found to be true is in the text, we will find it, too. Certainly, after coming to conclusions about a text, exegetes then compare with what others have discovered to verify their work or to see if they might have missed something that others have seen. Reading a commentary or our confessions or even the notes in a study Bible is not studying the scriptures. One has to actually carefully read the words of the Bible - not words about what's in the Bible.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on November 01, 2015, 03:42:59 PM
Pastor Fienen writes:
So why bother reading the Confessions much less subscribe to them if the first step in reading and understanding Scripture is to set aside however anyone previously interpreted Scripture and approach the text as if you were the first to ever read it?

I comment:
So that people like you can overreact to how some of us read the scriptures. The "first step" in reading is not "setting aside" as in rejecting. But we continue to digress.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 01, 2015, 08:12:53 PM
So why bother reading the Confessions much less subscribe to them if the first step in reading and understanding Scripture is to set aside however anyone previously interpreted Scripture and approach the text as if you were the first to ever read it?



Note well, "the first step". Seeking to read and understand Scriptures in the original languages without biases is not the last step. One's exegesis must be compared with our Creeds and our Confessions and the scholarly work of other exegetes and commentators.


Studying scriptures in ecumenical or inter-faith groups can be quite eye-opening because they don't approach a text with the same biases as we do. They might see something in the text we've never noticed before.


A question a man raised when we were studying Mark 10:18: ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ θεός. "Could this verse be used to indicate that Jesus does not claim to be the one God?" He is expressing his bias, because he will not say that Jesus was God. It goes against what he sees as Orthodox Judaism and the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).


It's also been pointed out that the Greek of Mark 1:1 (υἱοῦ θεοῦ) and 15:39 (υἱος θεοῦ) contain no definite articles. The phrase can be translated "a son of a god." An exegete/translator needs to consider that possibility - that Mark might be presenting Jesus as one of many "sons of God" - and be able to argue why it should be "the Son of God" if that's how s/he interprets/translates it.


Perhaps a Confessional Lutheran (or church historian) wouldn't even think of raising such questions. I believe that a biblical exegete has to.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: cssml on November 02, 2015, 11:15:33 AM
So why bother reading the Confessions much less subscribe to them if the first step in reading and understanding Scripture is to set aside however anyone previously interpreted Scripture and approach the text as if you were the first to ever read it?



Note well, "the first step". Seeking to read and understand Scriptures in the original languages without biases is not the last step. One's exegesis must be compared with our Creeds and our Confessions and the scholarly work of other exegetes and commentators.


Studying scriptures in ecumenical or inter-faith groups can be quite eye-opening because they don't approach a text with the same biases as we do. They might see something in the text we've never noticed before.


A question a man raised when we were studying Mark 10:18: ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ θεός. "Could this verse be used to indicate that Jesus does not claim to be the one God?" He is expressing his bias, because he will not say that Jesus was God. It goes against what he sees as Orthodox Judaism and the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).


It's also been pointed out that the Greek of Mark 1:1 (υἱοῦ θεοῦ) and 15:39 (υἱος θεοῦ) contain no definite articles. The phrase can be translated "a son of a god." An exegete/translator needs to consider that possibility - that Mark might be presenting Jesus as one of many "sons of God" - and be able to argue why it should be "the Son of God" if that's how s/he interprets/translates it.


Perhaps a Confessional Lutheran (or church historian) wouldn't even think of raising such questions. I believe that a biblical exegete has to.

Yes, we must listen to all ideas and views with charity, but as disciples, who do we say that he is?  Although you and I understand the following with some difference, we both are grounded in this confession of Peter, that Christ is indeed the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.

Matthew 16 (my emphasis): http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/16

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi* he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14i They replied, “Some say John the Baptist,* others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16* j Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood* has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. 18k And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,* and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. 19l I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.* Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20* m Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 02, 2015, 11:58:06 AM
Yes, we must listen to all ideas and views with charity, but as disciples, who do we say that he is?  Although you and I understand the following with some difference, we both are grounded in this confession of Peter, that Christ is indeed the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.

Matthew 16 (my emphasis): http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/16 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/16)

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi* he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14i They replied, “Some say John the Baptist,* others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16* j Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood* has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. 18k And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,* and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. 19l I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.* Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20* m Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah.


Certainly, as Christians we confess that Jesus is the Son of God. As biblical exegetes we lay that aside (for a time) to see what the Bible really says about Jesus as "Son of God."

For instance, Matthew 16:16 has Peter declare, as you note: σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος. ("You are the Christ the son of the living God.")

However, Mark 8:29 Peter's confession is the shorter: σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστός. ("You are the Christ.")

Luke 9:20 has Peter say: τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ. ("The Christ of God.")

John 6:69 has Peter say: ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ. ("The holy one of God.")

In Thomas 13 Peter confesses: "You are like a righteous angel."

We can wonder if "The Son of God" was a confession of Matthew's community at that time rather than one held by the whole church.

Tracing the development of "Son of God" language for Jesus can lead to conclusions that it appears are in this following book (and description) I found on Amazon: How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

New York Times bestselling author and Bible expert Bart Ehrman reveals how Jesus’s divinity became dogma in the first few centuries of the early church.

The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first.

A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman reveals how an apocalyptic prophet from the backwaters of rural Galilee crucified for crimes against the state came to be thought of as equal with the one God Almighty, Creator of all things. But how did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? In a book that took eight years to research and write, Ehrman sketches Jesus’s transformation from a human prophet to the Son of God exalted to divine status at his resurrection. Only when some of Jesus’s followers had visions of him after his death—alive again—did anyone come to think that he, the prophet from Galilee, had become God. And what they meant by that was not at all what people mean today.

Written for secular historians of religion and believers alike, How Jesus Became God will engage anyone interested in the historical developments that led to the affirmation at the heart of Christianity: Jesus was, and is, God.

I also came across this title: How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus' Divine Nature---A Response to Bart D. Ehrman.

In his recent book How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher From Galilee historian Bart Ehrman explores a claim that resides at the heart of the Christian faith― that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. According to Ehrman, though, this is not what the earliest disciples believed, nor what Jesus claimed about himself.

The first response book to this latest challenge to Christianity from Ehrman, How God Became Jesus features the work of five internationally recognized biblical scholars. While subjecting his claims to critical scrutiny, they offer a better, historically informed account of why the Galilean preacher from Nazareth came to be hailed as “the Lord Jesus Christ.” Namely, they contend, the exalted place of Jesus in belief and worship is clearly evident in the earliest Christian sources, shortly following his death, and was not simply the invention of the church centuries later.

I suggested in a recently church newsletter article that asking, "Is Jesus God?" is the wrong question. How could a human being become something greater than a human being? Rather, a better question, and one that I believe the early church confessed was, "Is God Jesus?" Could the almighty God lower himself to become a human being? When we read "The Word became flesh" and the hymn in Philippians 2, they are about God becoming human.

In addition, there is a question of what does it mean to say that someone is "a/the son(s) of"? "sons of God" is a phrase used in Matthew 5:19; Luke 20:36; Romans 8:14, 19; Galatians 3:26. We, the believers, are called "Sons of God." Does Scriptures use that phrase to make us the same as Jesus as "Son of God," or does "son" take on a different meaning depending on the context?
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 02, 2015, 12:22:10 PM

Certainly, as Christians we confess that Jesus is the Son of God. As biblical exegetes we lay that aside (for a time) to see what the Bible really says about Jesus as "Son of God."


Balderdash. (Luther and Gregory of Nazianus would agree.... They both said, in so many words, that believers have no such requirement in reading scripture.)


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 02, 2015, 01:01:56 PM

Certainly, as Christians we confess that Jesus is the Son of God. As biblical exegetes we lay that aside (for a time) to see what the Bible really says about Jesus as "Son of God."


Balderdash. (Luther and Gregory of Nazianus would agree.... They both said, in so many words, that believers have no such requirement in reading scripture.)


You're right, not necessarily in reading scripture. One doesn't need to know Greek or Hebrew to read scriptures. One can even use The Message for devotions.


However, our the way to greater unity will probably require Lutherans to try and read and understand scriptures from a Roman Catholic point of view; and they will need to try and read and understand scriptures from a Lutheran point of view. If they are unable to temporarily lay aside their own biases, it won't happen.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 02, 2015, 01:21:50 PM
Well, you are not getting the point. What is needed is a theocentric approach to scripture--one that believes what is presented--and not a convergence of various anthropocentric readings of same. Such a reading requires hard work, perseverance, and humility. Attributes in short supply in the fallen context.


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 02, 2015, 03:17:07 PM
Well, you are not getting the point. What is needed is a theocentric approach to scripture--one that believes what is presented--and not a convergence of various anthropocentric readings of same. Such a reading requires hard work, perseverance, and humility. Attributes in short supply in the fallen context.


How can one believe what is presented if they don't read and understand what is presented?


Theocentric vs. anthropocentric readings is a false dichotomy. There is no reading, translating, interpreting that is not centered on our human understanding of the words, grammar, history, context, and theology.


The words God has given us in Mark 15:39, ἀληθῶς οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος υἱος θεοῦ ἦν, are most literally understood/translated: "truly this human was a son of a god." A translator can argue that the genitive, "of god," turns "son" into a definite person so it can be translated, "the son of God" even though "the" is not written in the Greek. That translation comes as much or more from the mind of the translator than from the words of the text.


Which is a theocentric reading of what is presented and which is an anthropocentric reading of it?
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 02, 2015, 03:39:59 PM
Well, you are not getting the point. What is needed is a theocentric approach to scripture--one that believes what is presented--and not a convergence of various anthropocentric readings of same. Such a reading requires hard work, perseverance, and humility. Attributes in short supply in the fallen context.


How can one believe what is presented if they don't read and understand what is presented?


Theocentric vs. anthropocentric readings is a false dichotomy.


An anthropocentric understanding of humanity can only speak this way.....You are very well-tuned in the philosophical categories of Schleiermacher. There are other ways of reasoning more congenial to Christian faith. Jesus, not I, is the alpha and the omega. We need to recover the hearing and understanding that in scripture God is the speaker and we are the hearers and move away from the historical notion that scripture is an ancient artifact to be examined and analyzed by our intellect and other means for whatever we can imagine may have been in there.


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Michael Slusser on November 02, 2015, 04:31:47 PM
I've learned that the same document has appeared on the USCCB's website. http://www.usccb.org/news/2015/15-147.cfm (http://www.usccb.org/news/2015/15-147.cfm) An explanation introduces it and reveals that this is a US initiative that seeks worldwide approval:

Quote
In October both the ELCA Conference of Bishops—an advisory body of the church—and the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) received and unanimously affirmed the 32 Agreements. ELCA bishops requested that the ELCA Church Council accept them and forward the entire document to the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the denomination's highest legislative body.

The document seeks reception of the Statement of Agreements from The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU). The LWF is a global communion of 145 churches in 98 countries worldwide. The ELCA is the communion's only member church from the United States.


So it's cheerful and no doubt worth reading, but not "news" or "the future" in any dramatic sense.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 02, 2015, 05:02:19 PM
Well, you are not getting the point. What is needed is a theocentric approach to scripture--one that believes what is presented--and not a convergence of various anthropocentric readings of same. Such a reading requires hard work, perseverance, and humility. Attributes in short supply in the fallen context.


How can one believe what is presented if they don't read and understand what is presented?


Theocentric vs. anthropocentric readings is a false dichotomy.


An anthropocentric understanding of humanity can only speak this way.....You are very well-tuned in the philosophical categories of Schleiermacher. There are other ways of reasoning more congenial to Christian faith. Jesus, not I, is the alpha and the omega. We need to recover the hearing and understanding that in scripture God is the speaker and we are the hearers and move away from the historical notion that scripture is an ancient artifact to be examined and analyzed by our intellect and other means for whatever we can imagine may have been in there.


Never read Schleiermacher. I still don't see the dichotomy that you are trying to make. I believe that God is certainly the speaker in scriptures. It is the living Word of God. It is also like an onion with many layers. The we peal back, the more we discover God speaking to us. Digging deeper into the words of scripture takes human effort. One of the exercises I do in a Bible study is to ask, "What's the difference between reading the Bible and studying the Bible?" Answers include, the amount of time spent, the resources used (e.g., a dictionary, a concordance, commentaries, multiple translations,) taking notes.


We are not the first people to hear God speaking to us through these words. Discovering how the first hearers, as well as hearers throughout the generations have heard God speaking to them, helps us hear God speaking to us.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 02, 2015, 05:04:02 PM
I've learned that the same document has appeared on the USCCB's website. http://www.usccb.org/news/2015/15-147.cfm (http://www.usccb.org/news/2015/15-147.cfm) An explanation introduces it and reveals that this is a US initiative that seeks worldwide approval:

Quote
In October both the ELCA Conference of Bishops—an advisory body of the church—and the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) received and unanimously affirmed the 32 Agreements. ELCA bishops requested that the ELCA Church Council accept them and forward the entire document to the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the denomination's highest legislative body.

The document seeks reception of the Statement of Agreements from The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU). The LWF is a global communion of 145 churches in 98 countries worldwide. The ELCA is the communion's only member church from the United States.


So it's cheerful and no doubt worth reading, but not "news" or "the future" in any dramatic sense.

Peace,
Michael


Perhaps like what one man and a few followers did in Germany that transformed the entire Christian church, perhaps what a few of us do in the United States might transform Christianity.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Fletch on November 02, 2015, 07:01:18 PM
I've learned that the same document has appeared on the USCCB's website. http://www.usccb.org/news/2015/15-147.cfm (http://www.usccb.org/news/2015/15-147.cfm) An explanation introduces it and reveals that this is a US initiative that seeks worldwide approval:

Quote
In October both the ELCA Conference of Bishops—an advisory body of the church—and the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) received and unanimously affirmed the 32 Agreements. ELCA bishops requested that the ELCA Church Council accept them and forward the entire document to the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the denomination's highest legislative body.

The document seeks reception of the Statement of Agreements from The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU). The LWF is a global communion of 145 churches in 98 countries worldwide. The ELCA is the communion's only member church from the United States.


So it's cheerful and no doubt worth reading, but not "news" or "the future" in any dramatic sense.

Peace,
Michael


Perhaps like what one man and a few followers did in Germany that transformed the entire Christian church, perhaps what a few of us do in the United States might transform Christianity.

I sure hope you are referring to Martin Luther (and Martin Chemnitz and Johann Gerhard) and not Friedrich Schleiermacher in your quest for tranforming Christianity in the US - the latter had a rather destructive impact on orthodox Christianity, in my opinion.

... Fletch
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 02, 2015, 08:34:16 PM
Well, you are not getting the point. What is needed is a theocentric approach to scripture--one that believes what is presented--and not a convergence of various anthropocentric readings of same. Such a reading requires hard work, perseverance, and humility. Attributes in short supply in the fallen context.


How can one believe what is presented if they don't read and understand what is presented?


Theocentric vs. anthropocentric readings is a false dichotomy.


An anthropocentric understanding of humanity can only speak this way.....You are very well-tuned in the philosophical categories of Schleiermacher. There are other ways of reasoning more congenial to Christian faith. Jesus, not I, is the alpha and the omega. We need to recover the hearing and understanding that in scripture God is the speaker and we are the hearers and move away from the historical notion that scripture is an ancient artifact to be examined and analyzed by our intellect and other means for whatever we can imagine may have been in there.


Never read Schleiermacher. I still don't see the dichotomy that you are trying to make.


Agreed, you don't.


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 03, 2015, 12:39:20 AM
Well, you are not getting the point. What is needed is a theocentric approach to scripture--one that believes what is presented--and not a convergence of various anthropocentric readings of same. Such a reading requires hard work, perseverance, and humility. Attributes in short supply in the fallen context.


How can one believe what is presented if they don't read and understand what is presented?


Theocentric vs. anthropocentric readings is a false dichotomy.


An anthropocentric understanding of humanity can only speak this way.....You are very well-tuned in the philosophical categories of Schleiermacher. There are other ways of reasoning more congenial to Christian faith. Jesus, not I, is the alpha and the omega. We need to recover the hearing and understanding that in scripture God is the speaker and we are the hearers and move away from the historical notion that scripture is an ancient artifact to be examined and analyzed by our intellect and other means for whatever we can imagine may have been in there.


Never read Schleiermacher. I still don't see the dichotomy that you are trying to make.


Agreed, you don't.


Please illustrate the difference by exegeting a passage of scripture from both your theocentric and what you suppose is an anthropocentric approach. Perhaps key verses in Protestant Catholic discussions: Matthew 16:13-20.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on November 03, 2015, 04:30:16 AM
The steps being taken are "news," Fr. Slusser, and do have some real possibilities of being a part of "the future."
Ecumenical dialogue - that is, the official, bi-lateral, church-endorsed discussions - takes place "officially" involving the theologians, priests, pastors and lay people appointed to those dialogues by our church bodies. The dialogue teams meet, sometimes for years, and issue their reports. Those reports can make news and the findings and agreements can make their way into the lives of our people and our churches.
But a key step in the "official" process is official "reception" of the dialogues and their recommendations. On the inter-Protestant level, this happens when we conclude that we can declare "altar and pulpit fellowship" or share clergy across denominational lines. This is where the official dialogues has real "official" impact on the lives of our people and our parishes.
When actions by the ELCA Church Council, our bishops and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops make specific recommendations and policies for our churches, this means the "theological" dialogues become churchly and pastoral reality.
That's why some of us are excited about the plans to commemorate the events of 1517 ecumenically and with the new emphasis on the results of 40+ years of dialogue rather than on the schism in the church 500 years ago.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 03, 2015, 06:58:26 AM
Well, you are not getting the point. What is needed is a theocentric approach to scripture--one that believes what is presented--and not a convergence of various anthropocentric readings of same. Such a reading requires hard work, perseverance, and humility. Attributes in short supply in the fallen context.


How can one believe what is presented if they don't read and understand what is presented?


Theocentric vs. anthropocentric readings is a false dichotomy.


An anthropocentric understanding of humanity can only speak this way.....You are very well-tuned in the philosophical categories of Schleiermacher. There are other ways of reasoning more congenial to Christian faith. Jesus, not I, is the alpha and the omega. We need to recover the hearing and understanding that in scripture God is the speaker and we are the hearers and move away from the historical notion that scripture is an ancient artifact to be examined and analyzed by our intellect and other means for whatever we can imagine may have been in there.


Never read Schleiermacher. I still don't see the dichotomy that you are trying to make.


Agreed, you don't.


Please illustrate the difference by exegeting a passage of scripture from both your theocentric and what you suppose is an anthropocentric approach. Perhaps key verses in Protestant Catholic discussions: Matthew 16:13-20.



This should be a key passage......is it about Peter, the Church, and what we are to do? Or about Jesus? His person and work, and how that work is impacting the world?


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 03, 2015, 07:02:41 AM
The steps being taken are "news," Fr. Slusser, and do have some real possibilities of being a part of "the future."
Ecumenical dialogue - that is, the official, bi-lateral, church-endorsed discussions - takes place "officially" involving the theologians, priests, pastors and lay people appointed to those dialogues by our church bodies. The dialogue teams meet, sometimes for years, and issue their reports. Those reports can make news and the findings and agreements can make their way into the lives of our people and our churches.
But a key step in the "official" process is official "reception" of the dialogues and their recommendations. On the inter-Protestant level, this happens when we conclude that we can declare "altar and pulpit fellowship" or share clergy across denominational lines. This is where the official dialogues has real "official" impact on the lives of our people and our parishes.
When actions by the ELCA Church Council, our bishops and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops make specific recommendations and policies for our churches, this means the "theological" dialogues become churchly and pastoral reality.
That's why some of us are excited about the plans to commemorate the events of 1517 ecumenically and with the new emphasis on the results of 40+ years of dialogue rather than on the schism in the church 500 years ago.


And the orchestra played on while the great ship Titanic slipped beneath the cold, icy waters of the north Atlantic....


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on November 03, 2015, 09:04:16 AM
I am not surprised, Lou, that you are as apocalyptic about the Church Catholic as you are about our nation and the world. Everything, you say, is lost or sinking. Except perhaps you and your congregation; and you don't seem much interested in reaching out or serious dialogue with the rest of us.
But I could be wrong about that.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 03, 2015, 09:50:57 AM
I am not surprised, Lou, that you are as apocalyptic about the Church Catholic as you are about our nation and the world. Everything, you say, is lost or sinking. Except perhaps you and your congregation; and you don't seem much interested in reaching out or serious dialogue with the rest of us.
But I could be wrong about that.


No, I am interested in serious dialog... tell me about our Lord Jesus, His way, and work in the world. Try it. Other than that, you might want to take a peak at Ecclesiastes--my uncle recommended to me a long time ago that every pastor should read Luther's commentary on that tome annually. It tends to be sobering.
And I am not as apocalyptic as you may suppose. Like Jeremiah who was told to go by a field as the destruction of Judah was being foretold, we are in the process of buying another farm. There is life and then there is LIFE. It is important to know the distinction.


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Fletch on November 03, 2015, 09:52:27 AM
Well, you are not getting the point. What is needed is a theocentric approach to scripture--one that believes what is presented--and not a convergence of various anthropocentric readings of same. Such a reading requires hard work, perseverance, and humility. Attributes in short supply in the fallen context.


How can one believe what is presented if they don't read and understand what is presented?


Theocentric vs. anthropocentric readings is a false dichotomy.


An anthropocentric understanding of humanity can only speak this way.....You are very well-tuned in the philosophical categories of Schleiermacher. There are other ways of reasoning more congenial to Christian faith. Jesus, not I, is the alpha and the omega. We need to recover the hearing and understanding that in scripture God is the speaker and we are the hearers and move away from the historical notion that scripture is an ancient artifact to be examined and analyzed by our intellect and other means for whatever we can imagine may have been in there.


Never read Schleiermacher. I still don't see the dichotomy that you are trying to make.


Agreed, you don't.


Please illustrate the difference by exegeting a passage of scripture from both your theocentric and what you suppose is an anthropocentric approach. Perhaps key verses in Protestant Catholic discussions: Matthew 16:13-20.



This should be a key passage......is it about Peter, the Church, and what we are to do? Or about Jesus? His person and work, and how that work is impacting the world?


Lou

And from Matthew 16:13-20 "on this rock", is the church going to be built on Peter (the man - anthropocentric) or on Peter's confession (the church of confessing Christians - theocentric)?

... Fletch
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Fletch on November 03, 2015, 10:04:50 AM
I am not surprised, Lou, that you are as apocalyptic about the Church Catholic as you are about our nation and the world. Everything, you say, is lost or sinking. Except perhaps you and your congregation; and you don't seem much interested in reaching out or serious dialogue with the rest of us.
But I could be wrong about that.

Seems Lou believes in original sin and the prophecies of the Book of Revelation, among others.  Of course, from an experential perspective, it seems the hourly/daily/weekly/yearly news reports reinforce that things are indeed getting worse but that only confirms the accuracy of Scripture - assuming one does not over rely on the importance of the historical critical hermeneutic (initiated by Schleiermacher?) vs. the Scripture interprets Scripture hermeneutic.  I think I'll side with Lou and a few thousand years of Scripture interpretation vs. the moderns and postmoderns on this one.

... Fletch
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 03, 2015, 10:17:55 AM
Well, you are not getting the point. What is needed is a theocentric approach to scripture--one that believes what is presented--and not a convergence of various anthropocentric readings of same. Such a reading requires hard work, perseverance, and humility. Attributes in short supply in the fallen context.


How can one believe what is presented if they don't read and understand what is presented?


Theocentric vs. anthropocentric readings is a false dichotomy.


An anthropocentric understanding of humanity can only speak this way.....You are very well-tuned in the philosophical categories of Schleiermacher. There are other ways of reasoning more congenial to Christian faith. Jesus, not I, is the alpha and the omega. We need to recover the hearing and understanding that in scripture God is the speaker and we are the hearers and move away from the historical notion that scripture is an ancient artifact to be examined and analyzed by our intellect and other means for whatever we can imagine may have been in there.


Never read Schleiermacher. I still don't see the dichotomy that you are trying to make.


Agreed, you don't.


Please illustrate the difference by exegeting a passage of scripture from both your theocentric and what you suppose is an anthropocentric approach. Perhaps key verses in Protestant Catholic discussions: Matthew 16:13-20.



This should be a key passage......is it about Peter, the Church, and what we are to do? Or about Jesus? His person and work, and how that work is impacting the world?


Of course it's about Jesus' work - but how is his work being done that impacts the world? How can you separate Jesus' work from his words to Peter (and to us?)? Does our confession about Jesus make a difference in the work Jesus can accomplish among us? Jews, Muslims, and Mormons consider Jesus a great prophet. What is the "rock" on which Jesus is building his church? The person of Peter (with all his faults)? The confession of Peter that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of the living God? The recognition that a proper confession/revelation comes only from the Father and not from flesh and blood?


Is Peter meant to represent the whole church when Jesus gives the keys to him or just an individual whom Jesus has placed in a position of authority to use the keys? ("You" in those verses is singular. It is addressed only to Peter.)


There can't be a separation of God's work and Peter's response. The revelation about Jesus from the Father has to result in a public confession of it by Peter. We can also throw in the importance of the location: Caesarea Philippi. Knowing something about that city adds to our understanding of Jesus' questions.


So we hear this conversation between Jesus and Peter. Is it to be like a news report that we watch on TV about people in a far away place and a long ago time? Or is it meant to do something in our lives here and now - we become part of the ongoing story?
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 03, 2015, 10:21:00 AM
I am not surprised, Lou, that you are as apocalyptic about the Church Catholic as you are about our nation and the world. Everything, you say, is lost or sinking. Except perhaps you and your congregation; and you don't seem much interested in reaching out or serious dialogue with the rest of us.
But I could be wrong about that.


No, I am interested in serious dialog... tell me about our Lord Jesus, His way, and work in the world.


Yup, the Lord is working in the world to bring Lutherans and Catholics together. Bad shepherds were those who let the sheep scatter. Our Good Shepherd seeks to bring us together. Do you know not see "on the way to greater unity" as the work of our one Lord?
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 03, 2015, 10:57:03 AM
Well, you are not getting the point. What is needed is a theocentric approach to scripture--one that believes what is presented--and not a convergence of various anthropocentric readings of same. Such a reading requires hard work, perseverance, and humility. Attributes in short supply in the fallen context.


How can one believe what is presented if they don't read and understand what is presented?


Theocentric vs. anthropocentric readings is a false dichotomy.


An anthropocentric understanding of humanity can only speak this way.....You are very well-tuned in the philosophical categories of Schleiermacher. There are other ways of reasoning more congenial to Christian faith. Jesus, not I, is the alpha and the omega. We need to recover the hearing and understanding that in scripture God is the speaker and we are the hearers and move away from the historical notion that scripture is an ancient artifact to be examined and analyzed by our intellect and other means for whatever we can imagine may have been in there.


Never read Schleiermacher. I still don't see the dichotomy that you are trying to make.


Agreed, you don't.


Please illustrate the difference by exegeting a passage of scripture from both your theocentric and what you suppose is an anthropocentric approach. Perhaps key verses in Protestant Catholic discussions: Matthew 16:13-20.



This should be a key passage......is it about Peter, the Church, and what we are to do? Or about Jesus? His person and work, and how that work is impacting the world?


Lou

And from Matthew 16:13-20 "on this rock", is the church going to be built on Peter (the man - anthropocentric) or on Peter's confession (the church of confessing Christians - theocentric)?


First of all, in both cases it is Jesus who is building his church (theocentric) whether on Peter or Peter's confession. Even if it is built upon sinful people like Peter, it is to him that the Father gave a revelation about Jesus (theocentric); it is to him that Jesus gives the keys to the kingdom (theocentric). He is in that position because of God's work in his life.

Secondly, what exegetical support do you offer that it is Peter's confession? Over and over again Jesus refers to "you" (singular = Peter). Jesus is speaking directly to the person of Peter, and not about an "it," like his confession. While in Greek, πέτρος (masculine form, Peter's name) and πέτρα (feminine form, "rock") are slightly different, so some argue that Jesus is talking about something slightly different than the person "Peter." However, in Aramaic, the language Jesus probably spoke, they would have been exactly the same. "You are Rock and upon this rock I will build my assembly."


Note also that Jesus had talked in 7:24 about building on a rock (πέτρα): "Therefore everyone who is hearing these words of mine and doing them, shall be like a wise man who built his house on the rock." There is both hearing what Jesus has said (theocentric) and doing them (anthropocentric) that creates the solid foundation on rock. Later he will talk about those who hear and don't do.

I maintain a separation of theos (God's actions) and anthropos (our responses) in our study of scriptures results in houses on sand that will not stand.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 03, 2015, 11:15:49 AM
I am not surprised, Lou, that you are as apocalyptic about the Church Catholic as you are about our nation and the world. Everything, you say, is lost or sinking. Except perhaps you and your congregation; and you don't seem much interested in reaching out or serious dialogue with the rest of us.
But I could be wrong about that.


No, I am interested in serious dialog... tell me about our Lord Jesus, His way, and work in the world.


Yup, the Lord is working in the world to bring Lutherans and Catholics together. Bad shepherds were those who let the sheep scatter. Our Good Shepherd seeks to bring us together. Do you know not see "on the way to greater unity" as the work of our one Lord?


When working to achieve whatever you hope to achieve you are denying what has already been given. Unity is ours in Christ, whatever else you are up to is something else.


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 03, 2015, 12:33:35 PM
I am not surprised, Lou, that you are as apocalyptic about the Church Catholic as you are about our nation and the world. Everything, you say, is lost or sinking. Except perhaps you and your congregation; and you don't seem much interested in reaching out or serious dialogue with the rest of us.
But I could be wrong about that.


No, I am interested in serious dialog... tell me about our Lord Jesus, His way, and work in the world.


Yup, the Lord is working in the world to bring Lutherans and Catholics together. Bad shepherds were those who let the sheep scatter. Our Good Shepherd seeks to bring us together. Do you know not see "on the way to greater unity" as the work of our one Lord?


When working to achieve whatever you hope to achieve you are denying what has already been given. Unity is ours in Christ, whatever else you are up to is something else.


Nein! We seek to witness to the world what God has given. Our witness to the unity that is ours in Christ is abysmal. Does the world see the followers of Jesus loving one another? Not so much.


Why did Peter have to utter his words of confession. Couldn't God's revelation have been kept in his head - in his thoughts. If Jesus knows our thoughts, he wouldn't have to say: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." He speaks so that the rest of us know that God has given him that revelation. Our actions witness to what God has done.


God's gifts call out a responds from us. A tree bears fruit - and it is known by its fruit. We are known as Jesus' followers by our fruit.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 03, 2015, 01:22:23 PM
I am not surprised, Lou, that you are as apocalyptic about the Church Catholic as you are about our nation and the world. Everything, you say, is lost or sinking. Except perhaps you and your congregation; and you don't seem much interested in reaching out or serious dialogue with the rest of us.
But I could be wrong about that.


No, I am interested in serious dialog... tell me about our Lord Jesus, His way, and work in the world.


Yup, the Lord is working in the world to bring Lutherans and Catholics together. Bad shepherds were those who let the sheep scatter. Our Good Shepherd seeks to bring us together. Do you know not see "on the way to greater unity" as the work of our one Lord?


When working to achieve whatever you hope to achieve you are denying what has already been given. Unity is ours in Christ, whatever else you are up to is something else.


Nein! We seek to witness to the world what God has given. Our witness to the unity that is ours in Christ is abysmal. Does the world see the followers of Jesus loving one another? Not so much.


Why did Peter have to utter his words of confession. Couldn't God's revelation have been kept in his head - in his thoughts. If Jesus knows our thoughts, he wouldn't have to say: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." He speaks so that the rest of us know that God has given him that revelation. Our actions witness to what God has done.


God's gifts call out a responds from us. A tree bears fruit - and it is known by its fruit. We are known as Jesus' followers by our fruit.


Sure, Brian. So how are you doing? No grudges, no vengeance, keeping the law, forgiving, being merciful, prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, preaching, teaching, presiding, baptizing, and lots more; feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, care for the widow and orphan, and lots more.....all kinds of things to get done before I even begin to worry about some notion of a visible unity. Working on unity seems to become a distraction when viewed through this lens, no? Kind of reminds me of the old movie "The Russians are coming, the Russians are coning." the character played by Jonathan Winters spent his time running around saying "we have got to get organized" while everyone else actually dealt with the crisis. When the movie ended Winters was sort of ready to begin (he felt organized) and the crisis was past.


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 03, 2015, 06:22:31 PM
I am not surprised, Lou, that you are as apocalyptic about the Church Catholic as you are about our nation and the world. Everything, you say, is lost or sinking. Except perhaps you and your congregation; and you don't seem much interested in reaching out or serious dialogue with the rest of us.
But I could be wrong about that.


No, I am interested in serious dialog... tell me about our Lord Jesus, His way, and work in the world.


Yup, the Lord is working in the world to bring Lutherans and Catholics together. Bad shepherds were those who let the sheep scatter. Our Good Shepherd seeks to bring us together. Do you know not see "on the way to greater unity" as the work of our one Lord?


When working to achieve whatever you hope to achieve you are denying what has already been given. Unity is ours in Christ, whatever else you are up to is something else.


Nein! We seek to witness to the world what God has given. Our witness to the unity that is ours in Christ is abysmal. Does the world see the followers of Jesus loving one another? Not so much.


Why did Peter have to utter his words of confession. Couldn't God's revelation have been kept in his head - in his thoughts. If Jesus knows our thoughts, he wouldn't have to say: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." He speaks so that the rest of us know that God has given him that revelation. Our actions witness to what God has done.


God's gifts call out a responds from us. A tree bears fruit - and it is known by its fruit. We are known as Jesus' followers by our fruit.


Sure, Brian. So how are you doing? No grudges, no vengeance, keeping the law, forgiving, being merciful, prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, preaching, teaching, presiding, baptizing, and lots more; feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, care for the widow and orphan, and lots more.....all kinds of things to get done before I even begin to worry about some notion of a visible unity. Working on unity seems to become a distraction when viewed through this lens, no? Kind of reminds me of the old movie "The Russians are coming, the Russians are coning." the character played by Jonathan Winters spent his time running around saying "we have got to get organized" while everyone else actually dealt with the crisis. When the movie ended Winters was sort of ready to begin (he felt organized) and the crisis was past.


Many of those things I am doing through ecumenical and interfaith groups. United we can to more than we each do individually or congregationally.


Jesus did not say, "They will know you are my disciples by the way you feed the hungry." He did say that the way we love one another (and I think he was referring specifically to believers) is our witness to the world that we are Jesus' disciples. All kinds of groups feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc. Secular schools have food and clothing drives. What made the early Christian community stand out in the world was the way they loved and cared for each other - regardless of their nationality, gender, economic status, etc.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 03, 2015, 09:18:48 PM

So it's cheerful and no doubt worth reading, but not "news" or "the future" in any dramatic sense.


I think it is fair to say that the North American L-RC Dialogues have, over the years, been, uh, enthusiastic in describing that their work -- which has been generally theologically first-rate, sometimes leading the international dialogues -- would soon lead to Eucharistic sharing between Lutherans and Catholic.  I think it is pretty clear that their work has had a positive effect, even down to parish life, in how Lutherans and Catholics speak of and live the Faith. 

At the same time, I'd say that the North American Dialogues have also been more eager about concretely expressing our unity than either the International Dialogues or, ahem, the ecclesial officials of North American churches participating in the Dialogues.  At least that's how the USCCB and ELCA news releases read to me.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Michael Slusser on November 03, 2015, 09:36:40 PM

So it's cheerful and no doubt worth reading, but not "news" or "the future" in any dramatic sense.


I think it is fair to say that the North American L-RC Dialogues have, over the years, been, uh, enthusiastic in describing that their work -- which has been generally theologically first-rate, sometimes leading the international dialogues -- would soon lead to Eucharistic sharing between Lutherans and Catholic.  I think it is pretty clear that their work has had a positive effect, even down to parish life, in how Lutherans and Catholics speak of and live the Faith. 

At the same time, I'd say that the North American Dialogues have also been more eager about concretely expressing our unity than either the International Dialogues or, ahem, the ecclesial officials of North American churches participating in the Dialogues.  At least that's how the USCCB and ELCA news releases read to me.

Pax, Steven+
I think your analysis is very reasonable.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 03, 2015, 10:56:55 PM
United we can to more than we each do individually or congregationally.





This is the part that frightens me the most--the idea "we can do more". Historically when we "unite to do more" it has translated into more death and destruction, including when "the church" has been more united. The Roman Church in its unified days of hegemony unleashed some awful things against the neighbor. Likewise, the Eastern Church does not have a sterling reputation among its neighbors for actions taken during times of its hegemony. None of us think "bigness" is particularly a good thing in most facets of life. Our nation went through a "trust-buster" period against "big business". Some believe today that Wall street has gotten way too big. Others are of a mind Big Labor is a problem. Monsanto is believed to be much too big. One party rule has meant problems for many countries. Too much concentration of power and authority in fallen human institutions peopled by fallen individuals has not meant good things for the greater populace. It is simple hubris to believe these facets of human nature do not apply to the very human institution we call the "visible church." I think one of the reasons God has allowed the disunity to predominate is because it is safer for His people. If we could actually be unified as one as the father and Jesus are one it would be a different story but until God actually does that by raising us to new life, it best remain our prayer rather than become our agenda.


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 04, 2015, 02:24:48 AM
United we can to more than we each do individually or congregationally.





This is the part that frightens me the most--the idea "we can do more". Historically when we "unite to do more" it has translated into more death and destruction, including when "the church" has been more united. The Roman Church in its unified days of hegemony unleashed some awful things against the neighbor. Likewise, the Eastern Church does not have a sterling reputation among its neighbors for actions taken during times of its hegemony. None of us think "bigness" is particularly a good thing in most facets of life. Our nation went through a "trust-buster" period against "big business". Some believe today that Wall street has gotten way too big. Others are of a mind Big Labor is a problem. Monsanto is believed to be much too big. One party rule has meant problems for many countries. Too much concentration of power and authority in fallen human institutions peopled by fallen individuals has not meant good things for the greater populace. It is simple hubris to believe these facets of human nature do not apply to the very human institution we call the "visible church." I think one of the reasons God has allowed the disunity to predominate is because it is safer for His people. If we could actually be unified as one as the father and Jesus are one it would be a different story but until God actually does that by raising us to new life, it best remain our prayer rather than become our agenda.


When the church was united with itself - the first 300 years. It was an effective witness in a world of heathens. When the church became united with Empire. Then death and destruction came. As the saying goes: "Power tends to corrupt." The church gained power. A quote I read, but can't remember where, is that the Christianity changed from being a religion we were willing to die for, to one we were willing to kill for. Another author suggested, and I agree, that Constantine's conversion was more about changing Christianity than about changing Constantine.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 04, 2015, 07:32:30 AM
United we can to more than we each do individually or congregationally.





This is the part that frightens me the most--the idea "we can do more". Historically when we "unite to do more" it has translated into more death and destruction, including when "the church" has been more united. The Roman Church in its unified days of hegemony unleashed some awful things against the neighbor. Likewise, the Eastern Church does not have a sterling reputation among its neighbors for actions taken during times of its hegemony. None of us think "bigness" is particularly a good thing in most facets of life. Our nation went through a "trust-buster" period against "big business". Some believe today that Wall street has gotten way too big. Others are of a mind Big Labor is a problem. Monsanto is believed to be much too big. One party rule has meant problems for many countries. Too much concentration of power and authority in fallen human institutions peopled by fallen individuals has not meant good things for the greater populace. It is simple hubris to believe these facets of human nature do not apply to the very human institution we call the "visible church." I think one of the reasons God has allowed the disunity to predominate is because it is safer for His people. If we could actually be unified as one as the father and Jesus are one it would be a different story but until God actually does that by raising us to new life, it best remain our prayer rather than become our agenda.


When the church was united with itself - the first 300 years. It was an effective witness in a world of heathens. When the church became united with Empire. Then death and destruction came. As the saying goes: "Power tends to corrupt." The church gained power. A quote I read, but can't remember where, is that the Christianity changed from being a religion we were willing to die for, to one we were willing to kill for. Another author suggested, and I agree, that Constantine's conversion was more about changing Christianity than about changing Constantine.


Thank you for supporting my contention. We live in the post-Constantinian age. Pandora's box was opened. The cat is out of the bag. People think in terms and categories consistent with that age. Some in the church think all would be well if we all were united, but the only unity we know is the unity of Rome we embraced so many  centuries ago. Rome was not christianized so much as christianity was Romanized. We have all returned to being creatures of law, attempting to force, coerce, negotiate, and compromise our way to some sense of a visible unity rather than soaking in the unity provided by the Lord and radiating that same unity out into the world.


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on November 04, 2015, 08:36:30 AM
Lou writes:
The cat is out of the bag.

I comment:
Would someone explain to me how this is supposed to be a bad thing? Why should the poor cat be in the bag in the first place? Seems to me that letting it out of the bag would be a good thing to do.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 04, 2015, 09:31:23 AM
Lou writes:
The cat is out of the bag.

I comment:
Would someone explain to me how this is supposed to be a bad thing? Why should the poor cat be in the bag in the first place? Seems to me that letting it out of the bag would be a good thing to do.


It is an idiom. I do not know the origin. But I do know feral cats. When you catch one it is best to keep them "in the bag" until you are ready to deal with them in all of their ferocity.


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 04, 2015, 10:48:25 AM
United we can to more than we each do individually or congregationally.





This is the part that frightens me the most--the idea "we can do more". Historically when we "unite to do more" it has translated into more death and destruction, including when "the church" has been more united. The Roman Church in its unified days of hegemony unleashed some awful things against the neighbor. Likewise, the Eastern Church does not have a sterling reputation among its neighbors for actions taken during times of its hegemony. None of us think "bigness" is particularly a good thing in most facets of life. Our nation went through a "trust-buster" period against "big business". Some believe today that Wall street has gotten way too big. Others are of a mind Big Labor is a problem. Monsanto is believed to be much too big. One party rule has meant problems for many countries. Too much concentration of power and authority in fallen human institutions peopled by fallen individuals has not meant good things for the greater populace. It is simple hubris to believe these facets of human nature do not apply to the very human institution we call the "visible church." I think one of the reasons God has allowed the disunity to predominate is because it is safer for His people. If we could actually be unified as one as the father and Jesus are one it would be a different story but until God actually does that by raising us to new life, it best remain our prayer rather than become our agenda.


When the church was united with itself - the first 300 years. It was an effective witness in a world of heathens. When the church became united with Empire. Then death and destruction came. As the saying goes: "Power tends to corrupt." The church gained power. A quote I read, but can't remember where, is that the Christianity changed from being a religion we were willing to die for, to one we were willing to kill for. Another author suggested, and I agree, that Constantine's conversion was more about changing Christianity than about changing Constantine.


Thank you for supporting my contention. We live in the post-Constantinian age. Pandora's box was opened. The cat is out of the bag. People think in terms and categories consistent with that age. Some in the church think all would be well if we all were united, but the only unity we know is the unity of Rome we embraced so many  centuries ago. Rome was not christianized so much as christianity was Romanized. We have all returned to being creatures of law, attempting to force, coerce, negotiate, and compromise our way to some sense of a visible unity rather than soaking in the unity provided by the Lord and radiating that same unity out into the world.


Nope, we know the unity in the Spirit expressed in scriptures - before Constantine converted the church. Some experts say that we need to get back to the pre-christendom mindset if we are to be effective in our non-Christian world.


A few years ago I heard Diana Butler Bass speak. She made reference to The Future of Faith by Harvey Cox. He presents these different understandings about the Christian faith:

0-400 CE – faith IN Jesus – people trusted Jesus
 
400-1900 CE – faith ABOUT Jesus – fights occur over right theology
 
1900 CE – experience of Jesus – this began with the modern Pentecostal experience

Ironically, in recent discussions, how often were "liberals" criticized for talking about "experiences"?

I believe that it was Bass who mentioned in exact date in the 400 when the church changed. The date was when a Christian killed another Christian for not having quite the right doctrine of Christianity. The faith had become one adherents were willing to kill for rather than one they were willing to die for - as it was in earlier generations.

In those early years, Christians didn't have time or energy to be fighting one another, because they were at war with the world. They were united in their simple confession: "Jesus is Lord." (In some places they might have added, "and Caesar is not.") We have a model of a united church that was not Rome based.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 04, 2015, 11:00:54 AM
United we can to more than we each do individually or congregationally.





This is the part that frightens me the most--the idea "we can do more". Historically when we "unite to do more" it has translated into more death and destruction, including when "the church" has been more united. The Roman Church in its unified days of hegemony unleashed some awful things against the neighbor. Likewise, the Eastern Church does not have a sterling reputation among its neighbors for actions taken during times of its hegemony. None of us think "bigness" is particularly a good thing in most facets of life. Our nation went through a "trust-buster" period against "big business". Some believe today that Wall street has gotten way too big. Others are of a mind Big Labor is a problem. Monsanto is believed to be much too big. One party rule has meant problems for many countries. Too much concentration of power and authority in fallen human institutions peopled by fallen individuals has not meant good things for the greater populace. It is simple hubris to believe these facets of human nature do not apply to the very human institution we call the "visible church." I think one of the reasons God has allowed the disunity to predominate is because it is safer for His people. If we could actually be unified as one as the father and Jesus are one it would be a different story but until God actually does that by raising us to new life, it best remain our prayer rather than become our agenda.


When the church was united with itself - the first 300 years. It was an effective witness in a world of heathens. When the church became united with Empire. Then death and destruction came. As the saying goes: "Power tends to corrupt." The church gained power. A quote I read, but can't remember where, is that the Christianity changed from being a religion we were willing to die for, to one we were willing to kill for. Another author suggested, and I agree, that Constantine's conversion was more about changing Christianity than about changing Constantine.


Thank you for supporting my contention. We live in the post-Constantinian age. Pandora's box was opened. The cat is out of the bag. People think in terms and categories consistent with that age. Some in the church think all would be well if we all were united, but the only unity we know is the unity of Rome we embraced so many  centuries ago. Rome was not christianized so much as christianity was Romanized. We have all returned to being creatures of law, attempting to force, coerce, negotiate, and compromise our way to some sense of a visible unity rather than soaking in the unity provided by the Lord and radiating that same unity out into the world.


Nope, we know the unity in the Spirit expressed in scriptures - before Constantine converted the church. Some experts say that we need to get back to the pre-christendom mindset if we are to be effective in our non-Christian world.


A few years ago I heard Diana Butler Bass speak. She made reference to The Future of Faith by Harvey Cox. He presents these different understandings about the Christian faith:

0-400 CE – faith IN Jesus – people trusted Jesus
 
400-1900 CE – faith ABOUT Jesus – fights occur over right theology
 
1900 CE – experience of Jesus – this began with the modern Pentecostal experience

Ironically, in recent discussions, how often were "liberals" criticized for talking about "experiences"?

I believe that it was Bass who mentioned in exact date in the 400 when the church changed. The date was when a Christian killed another Christian for not having quite the right doctrine of Christianity. The faith had become one adherents were willing to kill for rather than one they were willing to die for - as it was in earlier generations.

In those early years, Christians didn't have time or energy to be fighting one another, because they were at war with the world. They were united in their simple confession: "Jesus is Lord." (In some places they might have added, "and Caesar is not.") We have a model of a united church that was not Rome based.


Nope, when you speak of "getting more done" by being united you are working with a visible outcome based model entirely consistent with Constantine's stated desire for a unified outcome from Nicea so the Empire could flourish rather than spending time, talents, and treasure in meaningless (to many) discourse about the nature of the Trinity. You are also adopting the ethic of Charles V at Augsburg who needed Christian unity in the face of the threat of the Turks. You are adopting the stance of Pope Urban who hoped Christendom would unite to expel the infidel from the Holy Land rather than spending their blood and treasure in the countless wars of the petty christian states. All good and valid reasons in their own way, having nothing to do with discipleing the nations.


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 04, 2015, 11:03:23 AM

Nope, we know the unity in the Spirit expressed in scriptures - before Constantine converted the church.


We tend not to know as much as we think we know....."A man ought not think too highly of himself"


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 04, 2015, 01:23:15 PM

Nope, we know the unity in the Spirit expressed in scriptures - before Constantine converted the church.


We tend not to know as much as we think we know....."A man ought not think too highly of himself"


Some of us believe that God is revealing his will in scriptures - and the unity of God's people is God's will.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 04, 2015, 01:39:49 PM

Nope, we know the unity in the Spirit expressed in scriptures - before Constantine converted the church.


We tend not to know as much as we think we know....."A man ought not think too highly of himself"


Some of us believe that God is revealing his will in scriptures - and the unity of God's people is God's will.


And so you are going out to do God's will. And some think I am a Pietist.... ::)


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: readselerttoo on November 04, 2015, 02:59:49 PM

Nope, we know the unity in the Spirit expressed in scriptures - before Constantine converted the church.


We tend not to know as much as we think we know....."A man ought not think too highly of himself"


Some of us believe that God is revealing his will in scriptures - and the unity of God's people is God's will.


And so you are going out to do God's will. And some think I am a Pietist.... ::)


Lou


Those "some of us" are the winners and not the losers.  Jesus said, "..deny yourself and take up your cross..."   The problem with the visible unity agenda is that it does not have the mark of Jesus' cross on it, as far as I can tell.  Visible unity is only in Christ and hidden.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 04, 2015, 04:01:31 PM

Nope, we know the unity in the Spirit expressed in scriptures - before Constantine converted the church.


We tend not to know as much as we think we know....."A man ought not think too highly of himself"


Some of us believe that God is revealing his will in scriptures - and the unity of God's people is God's will.


And so you are going out to do God's will. And some think I am a Pietist.... ::)


Lou


Those "some of us" are the winners and not the losers.  Jesus said, "..deny yourself and take up your cross..."   The problem with the visible unity agenda is that it does not have the mark of Jesus' cross on it, as far as I can tell.  Visible unity is only in Christ and hidden.


"Visible unity" as you put it, not I, is seen when clergy gather together for study and fellowship, when congregations come together for ecumenical worship services, when pastors exchange pulpits, when we, as separate congregations and denominations, work together rather than fight with one another. "Visible unity" does not have to be the merger of denominations. It is more about attitude than institutional structures. (I write this just after getting back to the office after lunch with a Methodist colleague - where we discussed to some extent, our ecumenical Thanksgiving Eve Worship service.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Matt Staneck on November 04, 2015, 04:07:43 PM
Why is everything all or nothing with ecumenism? I read the document and found several positives, but I also found some things that I think were charitably naive. Obviously as a Missouri Synod member the document and its intentions do not necessarily speak for me, but I still find value in it. I also think there are things in there that can be a springboard for conversation between Rome and the ILC (which are due to begin soon). No matter the perspective one comes from I just don't understand the "ALL IN" approach or the "dumpster fire" approach to ecumenism. Let ecumenism be what it is: An honest effort to foster dialogue that prayerfully leads to cooperation and if, in God's time, it leads to unity then ring the bells and never let the Alleluias cease. Just don't force it, and don't blast it either.

My 0.02.

M. Staneck
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Fletch on November 04, 2015, 04:13:58 PM
Why is everything all or nothing with ecumenism? I read the document and found several positives, but I also found some things that I think were charitably naive. Obviously as a Missouri Synod member the document and its intentions do not necessarily speak for me, but I still find value in it. I also think there are things in there that can be a springboard for conversation between Rome and the ILC (which are due to begin soon). No matter the perspective one comes from I just don't understand the "ALL IN" approach or the "dumpster fire" approach to ecumenism. Let ecumenism be what it is: An honest effort to foster dialogue that prayerfully leads to cooperation and if, in God's time, it leads to unity then ring the bells and never let the Alleluias cease. Just don't force it, and don't blast it either.

My 0.02.

M. Staneck

Several good points there.  My view would be ecumenism AS CURRENTLY PRACTICED tends to be a race to the bottom.  Said another way, "truth" is thrown out with the bathwater in the name of glad-handing (with the devil?) and succumbing to the siren call of wanting to play nice with secularist movements so as to fit in.  My 0.02. 

... Fletch
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Steverem on November 04, 2015, 04:26:30 PM
Why is everything all or nothing with ecumenism? I read the document and found several positives, but I also found some things that I think were charitably naive. Obviously as a Missouri Synod member the document and its intentions do not necessarily speak for me, but I still find value in it. I also think there are things in there that can be a springboard for conversation between Rome and the ILC (which are due to begin soon). No matter the perspective one comes from I just don't understand the "ALL IN" approach or the "dumpster fire" approach to ecumenism. Let ecumenism be what it is: An honest effort to foster dialogue that prayerfully leads to cooperation and if, in God's time, it leads to unity then ring the bells and never let the Alleluias cease. Just don't force it, and don't blast it either.

My 0.02.

M. Staneck

Well said.  My personal experience is that ecumenism works best when it is bottom-up.  When it is approached from a top-down perspective (think big ecumenical councils of the national and world levels), agendas get set and things get a little dicey.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Randy Bosch on November 04, 2015, 04:40:51 PM
Musing about Christian unity.  Some who abhor their perception of "Constantine style" (my air quotes) unity are all on board with the new ecumenism's dogma and practices.  First, old Constantine gets more blame/credit than is likely his due.  Whoever would be the new Constantine (run and hide!) is up for more credit/blame than is likely his/her due.  Any spin probably has more to do with the perceiver's preferences or biases than with what actually occurred/is occurring.  To badly mix metaphors, as with newscast teasers, "Whose ox is being gored?  Film at 11".
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Dave Likeness on November 04, 2015, 05:18:22 PM
There is something that the Lutheran laity and the Roman Catholic
laity already understand.   Despite our doctrinal differences we are
still brothers and sisters in Christ.  Many 21st century RC laity do not
stand in awe of the Pope or his pronouncements. They do not buy into
purgatory.  RC laity actually admire Lutheranism for following Martin
Luther's example of being a married pastor.   They respect the fact of
a husband and wife and children in the parsonage.

Bottom Line:  At this time in history, the Lutheran laity and the Roman
Catholic laity accept Jesus Christ as their Savior from sin who died and
rose again to gain our forgiveness and eternal life.

P.S.  These comments about the laity apply in particular to the
United States of America.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on November 04, 2015, 05:32:06 PM
 Please tell me, Fletch, what "secularist movement" we are involved with ecumenically.  Please tell me what "truth" has been thrown out.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: wmattsfield on November 04, 2015, 05:42:01 PM
0-400 CE – faith IN Jesus – people trusted Jesus
400-1900 CE – faith ABOUT Jesus – fights occur over right theology
1900 CE – experience of Jesus – this began with the modern Pentecostal experience

Actually, the "fights over right theology" go back at least as far as the early second century - e.g Marcion, - and could even go back to the writing of the New Testament.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Dave Benke on November 04, 2015, 05:47:45 PM
United we can to more than we each do individually or congregationally.





This is the part that frightens me the most--the idea "we can do more". Historically when we "unite to do more" it has translated into more death and destruction, including when "the church" has been more united. The Roman Church in its unified days of hegemony unleashed some awful things against the neighbor. Likewise, the Eastern Church does not have a sterling reputation among its neighbors for actions taken during times of its hegemony. None of us think "bigness" is particularly a good thing in most facets of life. Our nation went through a "trust-buster" period against "big business". Some believe today that Wall street has gotten way too big. Others are of a mind Big Labor is a problem. Monsanto is believed to be much too big. One party rule has meant problems for many countries. Too much concentration of power and authority in fallen human institutions peopled by fallen individuals has not meant good things for the greater populace. It is simple hubris to believe these facets of human nature do not apply to the very human institution we call the "visible church." I think one of the reasons God has allowed the disunity to predominate is because it is safer for His people. If we could actually be unified as one as the father and Jesus are one it would be a different story but until God actually does that by raising us to new life, it best remain our prayer rather than become our agenda.


When the church was united with itself - the first 300 years. It was an effective witness in a world of heathens. When the church became united with Empire. Then death and destruction came. As the saying goes: "Power tends to corrupt." The church gained power. A quote I read, but can't remember where, is that the Christianity changed from being a religion we were willing to die for, to one we were willing to kill for. Another author suggested, and I agree, that Constantine's conversion was more about changing Christianity than about changing Constantine.


Thank you for supporting my contention. We live in the post-Constantinian age. Pandora's box was opened. The cat is out of the bag. People think in terms and categories consistent with that age. Some in the church think all would be well if we all were united, but the only unity we know is the unity of Rome we embraced so many  centuries ago. Rome was not christianized so much as christianity was Romanized. We have all returned to being creatures of law, attempting to force, coerce, negotiate, and compromise our way to some sense of a visible unity rather than soaking in the unity provided by the Lord and radiating that same unity out into the world.


Lou

I like what you're saying in theory, Lou.  At the same time, the Pre-Constantinian Church was not without flaws and its unity was compromised as well.  There is no perfect time and place in the history of Christianity.  And all the human systems meant to quantify the Lord's Church are going to fall short in some way.  But those of us who choose to remain in, let's say, a Protestant denomination in the US, are not wrong for so doing automatically, or wrong for seeking greater operating and theological unity among the various denominations and faith groupings.  "Negotiate" is just another way to say there are people representing more than one point of view trying to figure out whether they can come to a substantial agreement.  That doesn't pend whether we're Post-Constantinian or Pre-Constantinian, does it?  Sometimes it can get a little hot, that negotiating.  From my personal perspective, I was asked to leave my denomination, and chose to say No, and was welcomed back with open arms, or something approximating open arms.  Maybe a raised digit.  It's hard to remember it exactly.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Fletch on November 04, 2015, 06:42:07 PM
Please tell me, Fletch, what "secularist movement" we are involved with ecumenically.  Please tell me what "truth" has been thrown out.

To your first question:  Need we really go over yet again joining with those who sanction of gay marriage, abortion (murder) of the defenseless, twisting Scripture to fit personal or corporate agendas?  To your second question:  The authority of Scripture.  Belief in absolute vs. relative truth.  Basically, "Who is going to be God?  God or man?"

... Fletch
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 04, 2015, 07:31:06 PM
0-400 CE – faith IN Jesus – people trusted Jesus
400-1900 CE – faith ABOUT Jesus – fights occur over right theology
1900 CE – experience of Jesus – this began with the modern Pentecostal experience

Actually, the "fights over right theology" go back at least as far as the early second century - e.g Marcion, - and could even go back to the writing of the New Testament.


Although those early fights resulted in excommunication, not wars with killing faulty believers.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 04, 2015, 07:39:57 PM
Please tell me, Fletch, what "secularist movement" we are involved with ecumenically.  Please tell me what "truth" has been thrown out.

To your first question:  Need we really go over yet again joining with those who sanction of gay marriage, abortion (murder) of the defenseless, twisting Scripture to fit personal or corporate agendas?  To your second question:  The authority of Scripture.  Belief in absolute vs. relative truth.  Basically, "Who is going to be God?  God or man?"


Married gays cannot be saved? Nor those who support them? A woman who has had an abortion cannot be saved? Nor those who supported her decision? Everyone twists Scriptures to fit personal or corporate agendas. Some of us believe that the LCMS has twisted scriptures to keep women from being ordained (or voting members of congregations). Jesus is the Truth. That's absolute. You cannot talk about Truth without it being in relation to something else. We cannot think or say anything about God without it going through human brains. God being God without us thinking or speaking about God exists only in theory. As soon as it gets real in our lives, humans are involved. Like I've told Lou, the theos/anthropos dichotomy is a false one.


The Universalists present a better understanding of letting God be God - and save everyone regardless of what the humans believe, than the conservatives who insist on some kind of agreement with traditional doctrines before God can save them.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: readselerttoo on November 04, 2015, 09:24:59 PM
Please tell me, Fletch, what "secularist movement" we are involved with ecumenically.  Please tell me what "truth" has been thrown out.

To your first question:  Need we really go over yet again joining with those who sanction of gay marriage, abortion (murder) of the defenseless, twisting Scripture to fit personal or corporate agendas?  To your second question:  The authority of Scripture.  Belief in absolute vs. relative truth.  Basically, "Who is going to be God?  God or man?"


Married gays cannot be saved? Nor those who support them? A woman who has had an abortion cannot be saved? Nor those who supported her decision? Everyone twists Scriptures to fit personal or corporate agendas. Some of us believe that the LCMS has twisted scriptures to keep women from being ordained (or voting members of congregations). Jesus is the Truth. That's absolute. You cannot talk about Truth without it being in relation to something else. We cannot think or say anything about God without it going through human brains. God being God without us thinking or speaking about God exists only in theory. As soon as it gets real in our lives, humans are involved. Like I've told Lou, the theos/anthropos dichotomy is a false one.


The Universalists present a better understanding of letting God be God - and save everyone regardless of what the humans believe, than the conservatives who insist on some kind of agreement with traditional doctrines before God can save them.

Not everyone will be saved but Scripture says "each one who calls on the name of The Lord will be saved."  The adjective points to a singular noun not a plural.  Acts of the Apostles 2:21.  (Comment on universalist agenda)
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on November 04, 2015, 11:14:47 PM
I asked:
Please tell me, Fletch, what "secularist movement" we are involved with ecumenically.  Please tell me what "truth" has been thrown out.

Fletch responds:
To your first question:  Need we really go over yet again joining with those who sanction of gay marriage, abortion (murder) of the defenseless, twisting Scripture to fit personal or corporate agendas?  To your second question:  The authority of Scripture.  Belief in absolute vs. relative truth.  Basically, "Who is going to be God?  God or man?"

I comment:
Spoken (posted) like one with zero zip nada experience in serious ecumenical discussion. You refer to "secularist movement" and our dialogues are with church bodies. You draw up your checklist and denounce anyone who doesn't agree with you. This thread began with a discussion of Lutheran-Roman Catholic relations. Do they sanction same sex marriage or abortion?
Good grief!
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 04, 2015, 11:37:48 PM
Please tell me, Fletch, what "secularist movement" we are involved with ecumenically.  Please tell me what "truth" has been thrown out.

To your first question:  Need we really go over yet again joining with those who sanction of gay marriage, abortion (murder) of the defenseless, twisting Scripture to fit personal or corporate agendas?  To your second question:  The authority of Scripture.  Belief in absolute vs. relative truth.  Basically, "Who is going to be God?  God or man?"


Married gays cannot be saved? Nor those who support them? A woman who has had an abortion cannot be saved? Nor those who supported her decision? Everyone twists Scriptures to fit personal or corporate agendas. Some of us believe that the LCMS has twisted scriptures to keep women from being ordained (or voting members of congregations). Jesus is the Truth. That's absolute. You cannot talk about Truth without it being in relation to something else. We cannot think or say anything about God without it going through human brains. God being God without us thinking or speaking about God exists only in theory. As soon as it gets real in our lives, humans are involved. Like I've told Lou, the theos/anthropos dichotomy is a false one.


The Universalists present a better understanding of letting God be God - and save everyone regardless of what the humans believe, than the conservatives who insist on some kind of agreement with traditional doctrines before God can save them.

Not everyone will be saved but Scripture says "each one who calls on the name of The Lord will be saved."  The adjective points to a singular noun not a plural.  Acts of the Apostles 2:21.  (Comment on universalist agenda)


This supports my point: salvation becomes dependent upon a person's ability or willingness to call on the name of the Lord.


πᾶς is often translated "every" or "everyone" as it is Philippians 2:9-11


"Therefore God hyper-exalted him and graced his name over every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee would bow, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue would confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."


This text indicates that God has done something that causes every single person to bow and confess that Jesus is Lord.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 04, 2015, 11:40:14 PM
Spoken (posted) like one with zero zip nada experience in serious ecumenical discussion. You refer to "secularist movement" and our dialogues are with church bodies. You draw up your checklist and denounce anyone who doesn't agree with you. This thread began with a discussion of Lutheran-Roman Catholic relations. Do they sanction same sex marriage or abortion?
Good grief!


It would seem logical that the truths that Fletch seeks should cause the LCMS to rush into ecumenical relationships with the Roman Catholics. Perhaps theological truths are centered on things other than homosexuality and abortion or even women's ordination.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: SomeoneWrites on November 05, 2015, 12:26:29 AM


This text indicates that God has done something that causes every single person to bow and confess that Jesus is Lord.

Well, that would be the case after the second coming.  If you're translating "would" to imply "in the future."
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Team Hesse on November 05, 2015, 01:05:00 AM
United we can to more than we each do individually or congregationally.





This is the part that frightens me the most--the idea "we can do more". Historically when we "unite to do more" it has translated into more death and destruction, including when "the church" has been more united. The Roman Church in its unified days of hegemony unleashed some awful things against the neighbor. Likewise, the Eastern Church does not have a sterling reputation among its neighbors for actions taken during times of its hegemony. None of us think "bigness" is particularly a good thing in most facets of life. Our nation went through a "trust-buster" period against "big business". Some believe today that Wall street has gotten way too big. Others are of a mind Big Labor is a problem. Monsanto is believed to be much too big. One party rule has meant problems for many countries. Too much concentration of power and authority in fallen human institutions peopled by fallen individuals has not meant good things for the greater populace. It is simple hubris to believe these facets of human nature do not apply to the very human institution we call the "visible church." I think one of the reasons God has allowed the disunity to predominate is because it is safer for His people. If we could actually be unified as one as the father and Jesus are one it would be a different story but until God actually does that by raising us to new life, it best remain our prayer rather than become our agenda.


When the church was united with itself - the first 300 years. It was an effective witness in a world of heathens. When the church became united with Empire. Then death and destruction came. As the saying goes: "Power tends to corrupt." The church gained power. A quote I read, but can't remember where, is that the Christianity changed from being a religion we were willing to die for, to one we were willing to kill for. Another author suggested, and I agree, that Constantine's conversion was more about changing Christianity than about changing Constantine.


Thank you for supporting my contention. We live in the post-Constantinian age. Pandora's box was opened. The cat is out of the bag. People think in terms and categories consistent with that age. Some in the church think all would be well if we all were united, but the only unity we know is the unity of Rome we embraced so many  centuries ago. Rome was not christianized so much as christianity was Romanized. We have all returned to being creatures of law, attempting to force, coerce, negotiate, and compromise our way to some sense of a visible unity rather than soaking in the unity provided by the Lord and radiating that same unity out into the world.


Lou

I like what you're saying in theory, Lou.  At the same time, the Pre-Constantinian Church was not without flaws and its unity was compromised as well.  There is no perfect time and place in the history of Christianity.  And all the human systems meant to quantify the Lord's Church are going to fall short in some way.  But those of us who choose to remain in, let's say, a Protestant denomination in the US, are not wrong for so doing automatically, or wrong for seeking greater operating and theological unity among the various denominations and faith groupings.  "Negotiate" is just another way to say there are people representing more than one point of view trying to figure out whether they can come to a substantial agreement.  That doesn't pend whether we're Post-Constantinian or Pre-Constantinian, does it?  Sometimes it can get a little hot, that negotiating.  From my personal perspective, I was asked to leave my denomination, and chose to say No, and was welcomed back with open arms, or something approximating open arms.  Maybe a raised digit.  It's hard to remember it exactly.

Dave Benke


We have no argument. I am a regular attender at our local Ministerial Association. In fact, this year they asked me to be the Vice-president of said association. It can be more than a little irritating at times as some trumpet how many salvations they notched in the last month, but I usually find an opening to mystify more than a few by actually speaking Lutheran distinctions into the crowd. There have been a few "teaching moments." On the ground, local engagement with Christians of other denominations does not bother me as much as the top-down, "we need unity so we can get more done, let's all go solve XYZ problem" type of advocacy I hear coming from too many Ecumenists. When people have united to stamp out some problem it usually means butchery because one never eliminates sin without eliminating sinners.


And I agree the pre-Constantinian church was no bed of roses.


Lou
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 05, 2015, 01:11:34 AM


This text indicates that God has done something that causes every single person to bow and confess that Jesus is Lord.

Well, that would be the case after the second coming.  If you're translating "would" to imply "in the future."


That is a possibility with the subjunctive aorist in Greek. A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature by F. Blass and A. Debunner, translated and revised by Robert Funk, states: "For this mixture in late Greek, growing out of the futuristic subj. and favored by the phonetic leveling of -σει with -σῃ, -σεις with -σῃς, -σομεν with -σωμεν, etc., which led e.g., to a purely futuristic use of the aor. subj." (p. 183)


Thus, the subjectives can be understood as wishful thinking about the future, e.g., "might bow" and "might confess" or "should bow" and "should confess". Or, they can be equivalent to the future tense: "will bow" and "will confess". This is what is expected in the future. There are numerous variant readings of Phl 2:11 that use the future tense: "will confess". It's possible that a copyist changed it to subjunctive to match the subjunctive: "would bow".


On the other hand, Isaiah 45:23 (LXX) uses the same verbs in the future tense: "because to me every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess God." A copyist may have been influenced by this and changed it to match the OT. (But why not both verbs?)
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 05, 2015, 01:21:18 AM
On the ground, local engagement with Christians of other denominations does not bother me as much as the top-down, "we need unity so we can get more done, let's all go solve XYZ problem" type of advocacy I hear coming from too many Ecumenists. When people have united to stamp out some problem it usually means butchery because one never eliminates sin without eliminating sinners.


My main argument for ecumenicism has never been to "solve XYZ problem." That might happen. Rather, as I've stated, it is our Christian witness to the world that we are to show our love for one another in Christ. We confess that there is one Lord and one faith, and one God who is Father of all, then we should act like it. It is our confession of faith that is at stake when we bite and devour one another we could fine ourselves eaten up (Gal 5:15). This doesn't mean that we don't speak the truth in love when we see errors - and it also means we need to accept criticism from others that are to be offered in love.


I remember when a colleague and I were on different sides of an issue. He never shook his finger at me and said, "You're wrong." Rather, he said calmly, "I disagree with you about this." We never came to an agreement on that issue, but there were many other issues where we did agree - especially on the more important matters of the Christian faith, e.g., the Trinity, the two natures of Christ, the Bible being the Word of God, etc.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 05, 2015, 02:07:57 AM
0-400 CE – faith IN Jesus – people trusted Jesus
400-1900 CE – faith ABOUT Jesus – fights occur over right theology
1900 CE – experience of Jesus – this began with the modern Pentecostal experience

Actually, the "fights over right theology" go back at least as far as the early second century - e.g Marcion, - and could even go back to the writing of the New Testament.

Although those early fights resulted in excommunication, not wars with killing faulty believers.

So, who's got the history wrong, Cox or your description of Cox?
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: readselerttoo on November 05, 2015, 06:25:50 AM
Please tell me, Fletch, what "secularist movement" we are involved with ecumenically.  Please tell me what "truth" has been thrown out.

To your first question:  Need we really go over yet again joining with those who sanction of gay marriage, abortion (murder) of the defenseless, twisting Scripture to fit personal or corporate agendas?  To your second question:  The authority of Scripture.  Belief in absolute vs. relative truth.  Basically, "Who is going to be God?  God or man?"


Married gays cannot be saved? Nor those who support them? A woman who has had an abortion cannot be saved? Nor those who supported her decision? Everyone twists Scriptures to fit personal or corporate agendas. Some of us believe that the LCMS has twisted scriptures to keep women from being ordained (or voting members of congregations). Jesus is the Truth. That's absolute. You cannot talk about Truth without it being in relation to something else. We cannot think or say anything about God without it going through human brains. God being God without us thinking or speaking about God exists only in theory. As soon as it gets real in our lives, humans are involved. Like I've told Lou, the theos/anthropos dichotomy is a false one.


The Universalists present a better understanding of letting God be God - and save everyone regardless of what the humans believe, than the conservatives who insist on some kind of agreement with traditional doctrines before God can save them.

Not everyone will be saved but Scripture says "each one who calls on the name of The Lord will be saved."  The adjective points to a singular noun not a plural.  Acts of the Apostles 2:21.  (Comment on universalist agenda)


This supports my point: salvation becomes dependent upon a person's ability or willingness to call on the name of the Lord.


πᾶς is often translated "every" or "everyone" as it is Philippians 2:9-11


"Therefore God hyper-exalted him and graced his name over every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee would bow, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue would confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."


This text indicates that God has done something that causes every single person to bow and confess that Jesus is Lord.


It is not a matter of a person's willingness.  It is a matter of a fact that each person who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  God will make this happen for the person who cries out to God for help or in terms of trust.  I don't believe that the issue is about human willing or not willing.  It is about what God does for the person who abandons all hope in anything other than the true God, ie. Jesus.  This has loads to say about our upcoming Gospel reading for this Sunday in terms of giving up all hope except in the Gospel.  The widow is a true disciple of Jesus as in deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Jesus.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: readselerttoo on November 05, 2015, 06:35:10 AM


This text indicates that God has done something that causes every single person to bow and confess that Jesus is Lord.

Well, that would be the case after the second coming.  If you're translating "would" to imply "in the future."


That is a possibility with the subjunctive aorist in Greek. A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature by F. Blass and A. Debunner, translated and revised by Robert Funk, states: "For this mixture in late Greek, growing out of the futuristic subj. and favored by the phonetic leveling of -σει with -σῃ, -σεις with -σῃς, -σομεν with -σωμεν, etc., which led e.g., to a purely futuristic use of the aor. subj." (p. 183)


Thus, the subjectives can be understood as wishful thinking about the future, e.g., "might bow" and "might confess" or "should bow" and "should confess". Or, they can be equivalent to the future tense: "will bow" and "will confess". This is what is expected in the future. There are numerous variant readings of Phl 2:11 that use the future tense: "will confess". It's possible that a copyist changed it to subjunctive to match the subjunctive: "would bow".


On the other hand, Isaiah 45:23 (LXX) uses the same verbs in the future tense: "because to me every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess God." A copyist may have been influenced by this and changed it to match the OT. (But why not both verbs?)


But what does God mean in the phrase before this in Isaiah 45:23 that these words will not return?  Sounds as if the potential is there but may not happen.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Fletch on November 05, 2015, 09:50:05 AM
Please tell me, Fletch, what "secularist movement" we are involved with ecumenically.  Please tell me what "truth" has been thrown out.

To your first question:  Need we really go over yet again joining with those who sanction of gay marriage, abortion (murder) of the defenseless, twisting Scripture to fit personal or corporate agendas?  To your second question:  The authority of Scripture.  Belief in absolute vs. relative truth.  Basically, "Who is going to be God?  God or man?"


Married gays cannot be saved? Nor those who support them? A woman who has had an abortion cannot be saved? Nor those who supported her decision? Everyone twists Scriptures to fit personal or corporate agendas. Some of us believe that the LCMS has twisted scriptures to keep women from being ordained (or voting members of congregations). Jesus is the Truth. That's absolute. You cannot talk about Truth without it being in relation to something else. We cannot think or say anything about God without it going through human brains. God being God without us thinking or speaking about God exists only in theory. As soon as it gets real in our lives, humans are involved. Like I've told Lou, the theos/anthropos dichotomy is a false one.


The Universalists present a better understanding of letting God be God - and save everyone regardless of what the humans believe, than the conservatives who insist on some kind of agreement with traditional doctrines before God can save them.

Talk about twisting ...... and straw men ..... You posed a rebuttal to something I did not say.  Again.  But there is always hope for the wayward, the twisted, even those who try to make the gate wide enough to progressively fit their camel through.

... Fletch
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 05, 2015, 11:37:18 AM


This text indicates that God has done something that causes every single person to bow and confess that Jesus is Lord.

Well, that would be the case after the second coming.  If you're translating "would" to imply "in the future."


That is a possibility with the subjunctive aorist in Greek. A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature by F. Blass and A. Debunner, translated and revised by Robert Funk, states: "For this mixture in late Greek, growing out of the futuristic subj. and favored by the phonetic leveling of -σει with -σῃ, -σεις with -σῃς, -σομεν with -σωμεν, etc., which led e.g., to a purely futuristic use of the aor. subj." (p. 183)


Thus, the subjectives can be understood as wishful thinking about the future, e.g., "might bow" and "might confess" or "should bow" and "should confess". Or, they can be equivalent to the future tense: "will bow" and "will confess". This is what is expected in the future. There are numerous variant readings of Phl 2:11 that use the future tense: "will confess". It's possible that a copyist changed it to subjunctive to match the subjunctive: "would bow".


On the other hand, Isaiah 45:23 (LXX) uses the same verbs in the future tense: "because to me every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess God." A copyist may have been influenced by this and changed it to match the OT. (But why not both verbs?)


But what does God mean in the phrase before this in Isaiah 45:23 that these words will not return?  Sounds as if the potential is there but may not happen.


The CEB translates 45:23-24:
I have sworn a solemn pledge;
a word has left my mouth;
it is reliable and won't fail.
Surely every knee will bow
and every tongue will confess;
they will say, "Righteousness and strength comes only form the LORD.
All who are angry with him will come to shame.


What God says will happen. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 05, 2015, 11:38:12 AM
Please tell me, Fletch, what "secularist movement" we are involved with ecumenically.  Please tell me what "truth" has been thrown out.

To your first question:  Need we really go over yet again joining with those who sanction of gay marriage, abortion (murder) of the defenseless, twisting Scripture to fit personal or corporate agendas?  To your second question:  The authority of Scripture.  Belief in absolute vs. relative truth.  Basically, "Who is going to be God?  God or man?"


Married gays cannot be saved? Nor those who support them? A woman who has had an abortion cannot be saved? Nor those who supported her decision? Everyone twists Scriptures to fit personal or corporate agendas. Some of us believe that the LCMS has twisted scriptures to keep women from being ordained (or voting members of congregations). Jesus is the Truth. That's absolute. You cannot talk about Truth without it being in relation to something else. We cannot think or say anything about God without it going through human brains. God being God without us thinking or speaking about God exists only in theory. As soon as it gets real in our lives, humans are involved. Like I've told Lou, the theos/anthropos dichotomy is a false one.


The Universalists present a better understanding of letting God be God - and save everyone regardless of what the humans believe, than the conservatives who insist on some kind of agreement with traditional doctrines before God can save them.

Talk about twisting ...... and straw men ..... You posed a rebuttal to something I did not say.  Again.  But there is always hope for the wayward, the twisted, even those who try to make the gate wide enough to progressively fit their camel through.


Humans can't ever fit their camel through the narrow gate, but what's impossible for us to do, God does.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 05, 2015, 12:06:57 PM
Please tell me, Fletch, what "secularist movement" we are involved with ecumenically.  Please tell me what "truth" has been thrown out.

To your first question:  Need we really go over yet again joining with those who sanction of gay marriage, abortion (murder) of the defenseless, twisting Scripture to fit personal or corporate agendas?  To your second question:  The authority of Scripture.  Belief in absolute vs. relative truth.  Basically, "Who is going to be God?  God or man?"


Married gays cannot be saved? Nor those who support them? A woman who has had an abortion cannot be saved? Nor those who supported her decision? Everyone twists Scriptures to fit personal or corporate agendas. Some of us believe that the LCMS has twisted scriptures to keep women from being ordained (or voting members of congregations). Jesus is the Truth. That's absolute. You cannot talk about Truth without it being in relation to something else. We cannot think or say anything about God without it going through human brains. God being God without us thinking or speaking about God exists only in theory. As soon as it gets real in our lives, humans are involved. Like I've told Lou, the theos/anthropos dichotomy is a false one.


The Universalists present a better understanding of letting God be God - and save everyone regardless of what the humans believe, than the conservatives who insist on some kind of agreement with traditional doctrines before God can save them.
Ultimately, it does not matter if I think a person is saved or not, it is what God says.

I do, however, think that there is a much more fundamental question here that is not being recognized.  What does it mean to be saved?

One view of salvation has God as the celestial gatekeeper.  God stands at the gate of heaven (http://www.panoramio.com/photo/5462782) deciding who to let in and who to send away.  If God decides to let everyone in no matter what they believe or who they worship or what they do, who are we to gainsay?  Similar to this is the Theme Park Heaven.  Heaven is like a marvelous theme part that has an impossibly high entrance fee.  But God through Christ is giving away free tickets so that those who cannot make the entrance fee (requirements) on their own, still get in.  Naturally the point of going to a Theme Park is to enjoy the attractions of the Theme Park, not to hang out with the Owner or Manager.

But this is not what I read in the Bible.  Heaven is not a place that we all want to go no matter who happens to own it or run it.  Heaven is ultimately being with God.  For all that heaven is at times described as a luxurious place, most often talk of heaven involves being with God.  To reject the one, true God is to reject heaven.  Rejecting God doesn't disqualify you for heaven or get you kicked out, that rejection rejects heaven itself since heaven is being with God. 

We read in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; "18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

God reconciled the world to himself in Christ, willing to accept us despite our sin, but the other side of this is the call for us to be reconciled to God.  Ephesians 2:8-9  "8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9  not a result of works, so that no one may boast."  Faith brings us the grace that reconciles us to God and that faith is not our work but God's.  Similarly, we are reconciled to God through faith in Him, that faith also is God's work not ours.
 
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Fletch on November 05, 2015, 12:16:28 PM
Please tell me, Fletch, what "secularist movement" we are involved with ecumenically.  Please tell me what "truth" has been thrown out.

To your first question:  Need we really go over yet again joining with those who sanction of gay marriage, abortion (murder) of the defenseless, twisting Scripture to fit personal or corporate agendas?  To your second question:  The authority of Scripture.  Belief in absolute vs. relative truth.  Basically, "Who is going to be God?  God or man?"


Married gays cannot be saved? Nor those who support them? A woman who has had an abortion cannot be saved? Nor those who supported her decision? Everyone twists Scriptures to fit personal or corporate agendas. Some of us believe that the LCMS has twisted scriptures to keep women from being ordained (or voting members of congregations). Jesus is the Truth. That's absolute. You cannot talk about Truth without it being in relation to something else. We cannot think or say anything about God without it going through human brains. God being God without us thinking or speaking about God exists only in theory. As soon as it gets real in our lives, humans are involved. Like I've told Lou, the theos/anthropos dichotomy is a false one.


The Universalists present a better understanding of letting God be God - and save everyone regardless of what the humans believe, than the conservatives who insist on some kind of agreement with traditional doctrines before God can save them.

Talk about twisting ...... and straw men ..... You posed a rebuttal to something I did not say.  Again.  But there is always hope for the wayward, the twisted, even those who try to make the gate wide enough to progressively fit their camel through.


Humans can't ever fit their camel through the narrow gate, but what's impossible for us to do, God does.

I do believe you either misread or read something I did not say into what I wrote, or are purposely engaged in more twisting.  I'm done.  This is like trying to nail Greek yoghurt to the wall. ;D  Peace brother, have your fun, and I hope the Last Day is a good one for you.

... F
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 05, 2015, 01:38:45 PM

I do, however, think that there is a much more fundamental question here that is not being recognized.  What does it mean to be saved?


That's is a good question. σῴζω carries the sense of "to save" or "to rescue" from danger. Not so much as an entrance into heaven  except that it is not eternal punishment.   
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: David Garner on November 07, 2015, 10:35:14 PM
In reviewing the document, something I found interesting is that the vast majority of the remaining disagreements, however classified, dealt with basic ecclesiology and Church structure.

Something I've said almost since becoming an Orthodox catechumen is that ecclesiology, not justification, is what divides us from Lutherans.  It appears Catholics see it roughly the same way.  I'm not sure how that divide will ever be bridged, but I certainly pray it might be.  Unfortunately (and I say this because I know what a great concession it would be, not because I do not wish for unity), I think Lutherans accepting the same basic ecclesiology Orthodox and Catholics hold to would mean they cease being Lutheran.  And from our perspective, we would cease to be Church if we accepted yours.  That bridge will be difficult to cross, IMHO.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on November 08, 2015, 03:41:00 AM
From National Catholic News Service, the news agency of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference:

http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2015/catholic-lutheran-document-sums-up-agreements-maps-steps-to-full-unity.cfm
Title: What 50 years of talks between Catholics and Lutherans looks like
Post by: LutherMan on November 08, 2015, 03:18:35 PM
What 50 years of talks between Catholics and Lutherans looks like

http://www.catholicsun.org/2015/11/04/what-50-years-of-talks-between-catholics-and-lutherans-looks-like/
Title: Re: What 50 years of talks between Catholics and Lutherans looks like
Post by: Dave Benke on November 08, 2015, 07:39:17 PM
What 50 years of talks between Catholics and Lutherans looks like

http://www.catholicsun.org/2015/11/04/what-50-years-of-talks-between-catholics-and-lutherans-looks-like/

Thanks for this - I have been involved with this in the past, and will be attempting to do more in the future now that I'm more fully back in parish work: 
Parishes should establish “covenants” with each other by praying for each other at the Sunday liturgy. The declaration emphasized that Catholic and Lutheran clergy should pray together regularly and make regular retreats in manifestation of the “real, if imperfect, communion with each other.”

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: LutherMan on November 09, 2015, 04:14:26 PM
http://onenewsnow.com/church/2015/11/09/new-catholic-lutheran-declaration-doesnt-mean-much

CHURCH
New Catholic-Lutheran declaration doesn't mean much
Monday, November 9, 2015
 |
Bill Bumpas (OneNewsNow.com)
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church pewsThe head of a conservative religious think tank believes the joint document issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 32 statements of agreement about church, ministry, and Eucharist is pretty much a yawner.

According to a press release on the "declaration on the way to full unity," the announcement of the joint document came on the eve of the anniversary of Martin Luther's posting the 95 theses and provides a unique snapshot of progress made in Catholic-Lutheran dialogues worldwide.

But "who cares?" basically sums up the reaction from Mark Tooley, president of The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD).

"I don't think it's very important, and I would question how many official bishops and others in the ELCA even take their own doctrines very seriously," he responds. "They are a theologically liberal church and have been affected by 20th century theological liberalism that essentially reinterprets what Christian doctrine means -- typically more into metaphor than anything concrete."

Tooley adds that the average churchgoer will be completely unaware of this agreement.

Tooley, Mark (IRD)"The [ECLA] is in fast decline, and its decline accelerated when it compromised its teachings on marriage and sexuality," the IRD president asserts. "So obviously, it's at odds with the Catholic Church on those important topics. It's just another declining old-line denomination that no longer has a lot of cultural or spiritual influence."

"It's just part of their outreach to dialogue with various Protestant communions in this country and around the world," he comments regarding the Catholic Bishops. "So I doubt there's anyone in the Vatican who gave this particular document more than 90 seconds of thought -- just another day."

Tooley adds that a conversation between Catholic bishops and the more conservative Lutheran Church Missouri Synod would be more significant, but he is not aware of any such dialogue.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on November 09, 2015, 07:48:49 PM
What is a yawner is whatever the IRD writes about any major denomination, for they have nurtured a hatred for "mainline" churches for decades.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: MJohn4 on November 09, 2015, 08:05:24 PM
What is a yawner is whatever the IRD writes about any major denomination, for they have nurtured a hatred for "mainline" churches for decades.
Hatred, or accountability? It's all in the eyes of the beholder.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: George Erdner on November 09, 2015, 10:01:26 PM
Does the fact that the phrase "on the way" in the title of this thread is written with scare quotes mean that it is being used in an ironic sense?
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Steverem on November 10, 2015, 10:17:38 AM
What is a yawner is whatever the IRD writes about any major denomination, for they have nurtured a hatred for "mainline" churches for decades.

"Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance."  - Francis of Assisi

Here is hoping Charles is able to nurture the former two traits.  Alas, the latter appear to be in the ascendancy - particularly as they relate to his views of the IRD.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on November 10, 2015, 11:21:07 AM
I have known the IRD since its beginning. For years, I had no real "opinion" on the nature of the organization and thought I understood its raison d'etre. I now have an opinion and I believe it is a self-serving, possibly even hate-filled organization who desires to inflict as much harm as it can on a large segment of American Christianity. But I also see that it has had relatively little influence, despite its sometimes bombastic declarations.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Steverem on November 10, 2015, 11:56:34 AM
I have known the IRD since its beginning. For years, I had no real "opinion" on the nature of the organization and thought I understood its raison d'etre. I now have an opinion and I believe it is a self-serving, possibly even hate-filled organization who desires to inflict as much harm as it can on a large segment of American Christianity. But I also see that it has had relatively little influence, despite its sometimes bombastic declarations.

Seriously, you have no understanding of IRD, its composition, purposes, or intents - or its effectiveness.  And I say this as someone who does.

But, by all means, feel free to think that because you once knew people who were part of the organization three decades ago that you have some sort of inside knowledge of what drives it now.  Whatever makes you feel superior to the rest of us ...
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on November 10, 2015, 12:57:04 PM
It constantly amazes me how people in this forum who have never met me seem so certain that they know how I feel and why I feel that way.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Charles Austin on November 10, 2015, 01:12:09 PM
From the IRD Website (My comments added)
IRD is especially committed to reforming the social witness of the churches. In 1981, IRD was founded by concerned United Methodists and other Christians distressed that denominational and ecumenical officials were openly supporting Marxist causes and opposing democracy and human rights. (This, of course, was disputed by the denominations. CA)

We continue to monitor and report on similar egregious political shenanigans. (Kind words, open to dialogue, right? CA)

Many church elites, often claiming to speak on our behalf, lobby for abortion rights, homosexual rights, big government, extreme environmentalism, pacifism, and anti-Americanism. (Church elites, meaning those chosen by the churches to lead denominations and their agencies. Pacifism being, of course, a non-Christian concept. Pro-Americanism being, of course, a necessary point of Christian doctrine. CA)

IRD strives to be a voice for church members whom church bureaucrats would prefer to ignore. (According to....? See above. ) We connect church members with renewal groups who believe in biblical and historic Christianity. (Because that truth of truth doesn't exist in the denominations. We got it. They don't. CA) And we teach them how to work for change in their denominations—with a focus on the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the Anglican Communion.

I comment:
There has been in this forum outrage and vigorous denunciation of the "outsiders" who have allegedly influenced, if not controlled denominational decisions on matters of sexuality. Self-selected groups with an "agenda" are accused of all kinds of political and financial machinations in order to change denominational practices. Yuck! say people here. Bad! say people here. Lefties interfering with true religion, say people here.
But... IRD does that and there is no complaint? IRD, in its early days funded by some of the most right-wing organizations in the nation? IRD, whose stated goal is to oppose and remove the leadership of American denominations?
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 10, 2015, 03:01:17 PM
It constantly amazes me how people in this forum who have never met me seem so certain that they know how I feel and why I feel that way.
It constantly amazes me how you in this forum seem so certain that you know how people that you have never met feel, why they feel the way that they do and what their motivations are.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 10, 2015, 03:04:31 PM
Does the fact that the phrase "on the way" in the title of this thread is written with scare quotes mean that it is being used in an ironic sense?

Given that the thread title is the headline (https://www.elca.org/News-and-Events/7792) from the ELCA News Service, I have great confidence that 1) there are no scare quotes in the headline and 2) there is no ironic sense in it.  Rather (as reading the news release itself shows), it's a direct quote.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 10, 2015, 03:38:07 PM

But... IRD does that and there is no complaint? IRD, in its early days funded by some of the most right-wing organizations in the nation? IRD, whose stated goal is to oppose and remove the leadership of American denominations?

FWIW, the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau has been a member of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, one of whose founders was (then) Pastor Richard John Neuhaus.  (Note: I am unable to find a list of member organizations on the IRD's website, so I cannot attest that there continues to be an official IRD-ALPB relationship.)  Perhaps the observer ought not be so surprised (?) that there is little protest about IRD here, especially given that it has generally not directly worked on Lutheran church matters.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: John_Hannah on November 10, 2015, 04:14:55 PM

FWIW, the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau has been a member of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, one of whose founders was (then) Pastor Richard John Neuhaus.  (Note: I am unable to find a list of member organizations on the IRD's website, so I cannot attest that there continues to be an official IRD-ALPB relationship.)  Perhaps the observer ought not be so surprised (?) that there is little protest about IRD here, especially given that it has generally not directly worked on Lutheran church matters.

Pax, Steven+

As far as I know, the ALPB no longer has a formal relationship with IRD. Perhaps, it's something that lapsed when RJN was no longer editor.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Steverem on November 10, 2015, 05:26:48 PM

But... IRD does that and there is no complaint? IRD, in its early days funded by some of the most right-wing organizations in the nation? IRD, whose stated goal is to oppose and remove the leadership of American denominations?

FWIW, the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau has been a member of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, one of whose founders was (then) Pastor Richard John Neuhaus.  (Note: I am unable to find a list of member organizations on the IRD's website, so I cannot attest that there continues to be an official IRD-ALPB relationship.)  Perhaps the observer ought not be so surprised (?) that there is little protest about IRD here, especially given that it has generally not directly worked on Lutheran church matters.

Pax, Steven+

Not sure about ALPB's engagement with IRD in the past, but I'm pretty sure it's been a while since there has been any formal connection.  I started working at IRD in 1999, and I didn't know of any formal relationship between the two during my time there.

For the record, the IRD is not an association, and is not composed of "members," be they ALPB or anyone else.  However, they have helped to create programs like the Association for Church Renewal.  (I believe this is the most recent incarnation of the ACR - The Common Ground Christian Network (http://commongroundchristian.com/).  Frankly, I've been out of the loop for a while and wasn't aware of this rebranding.)  Lutheran CORE and NALC (and the Great Commission Network before those) have been a part of that association for some time.

I will admit that the current tone of IRD is a bit more strident that it was during my tenure.  Much of that, I believe, is due to the current president's denominational background.  (Methodists are much more happy to "mix things up," and Mark is definitely not afraid of a fight.)  My personal style is more akin to Mr. Tooley's predecessors (Jim Tonkowich, Alan Wisdom, Diane Knippers, Kent Hill), who were a more irenic and scholarly in approach, but that does not diminish the work that has been done, and is continuing to be done, at the IRD.  As for the organization's "successes" - a highly subjective term, to be sure - I won't go through a laundry list here, lest it look like bragging, but I will suggest that ELCA Lutherans might not see the impact the IRD has had in different venues (e.g., reforms in the United Methodist Church - which, last time I checked, was larger in the U.S. than the ELCA and LCMS combined; human rights work in places like South Sudan, China, and elsewhere).  The fact that the IRD has more-or-less outlived the NCC - the large ecumenical network which IRD was initially created to challenge - is worth noting.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 10, 2015, 07:23:20 PM
I haven't run across anything in working on the ALPB history that suggests that ALPB as an organization was a "member" of IRD; and the kerfuffle that arose from Neuhaus's involvement makes be question whether that is really true. What's your source for this, Steven?
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: MJohn4 on November 10, 2015, 07:50:18 PM
... But I also see that it has had relatively little influence, despite its sometimes bombastic declarations.

Wasn't it the IRD that alerted Americans to the issue of mainline churches funding the Soviet and Cuban backed government in a civil war in Angola? That was during the heady days of liberation theology, of course. I could be wrong.
Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: MJohn4 on November 10, 2015, 08:13:10 PM
... bombastic declarations.

Do you mean like these?

"Jesus Christ is Lord. That is the first and final assertion Christians make about all of reality, including politics. Believers now assert by faith what one day will be manifest to the sight of all: every earthly sovereignty is subordinate to the sovereignty of Jesus Christ." -RJN

https://theird.org/about/founding-document/ (https://theird.org/about/founding-document/)

Title: Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
Post by: John Mundinger on November 14, 2015, 08:46:48 AM
http://www.nev.it/archivio/NEV_7770002119.html