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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: jebutler on May 01, 2020, 05:31:24 PM

Title: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 01, 2020, 05:31:24 PM
This was tweeted by the ELCA's official account on April 28:

Mother God, you have fed us with the nourishment of your spiritual food. Raise us up into salvation and rid us of our bitterness, so that we may share the sweetness of your holy word with all the world.



Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dave Likeness on May 01, 2020, 05:41:19 PM
In the Sermon on The Mount, Jesus said, "Pray then like this:"

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name".(ESV)


When we honor the Triune God, we remember God the Father,
God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 01, 2020, 06:22:44 PM
Absolutely am sure that this is an attempt to please a segment of the general population which “prays” to the god of the Enlightenment.  But can this be missional?  No.  It is foolish.

Imo, of course!

The only appeal to the segment of the population which believes and expresses itself this way is for the Christian church to draw its line as a Christian church and put forward Jesus Christ is the Savior.  Then it would pastorally move folks from their place toward the sacrament of Holy Baptism and if so baptized already, then steer them into talking about being and living within the Body of Christ.  Then one could talk about how Jesus’ Father is our kind and loving Father:   A unique relationship open to all.

The point being that this unique relationship is a one-off (one of a kind) not needing the aspects of a woman’s kindness to counter any past hurtful encounters with a bad dad.  Not denigrating a woman’s kindness here but actually accentuating a type of unique kindness surrounding and including a woman’s kindness but driving the character of kindness further and deeper than any human, male or female, can offer or express.

Just use the resources of Holy Scripture and we need not have to either reference or make apology on a sociological or psychological level.  Scripture presents unique ways to express God’s love and kindness when we emphasize the uniqueness, qualitatively different aspect of Jesus’ relationship to His Father in heaven.  Resorting to analogy from sociology or psychology steers folk away from what the scriptures actually say and confess who God is.  Imo
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Eileen Smith on May 01, 2020, 07:32:56 PM
Absolutely am sure that this is an attempt to please a segment of the general population which “prays” to the god of the Enlightenment.  But can this be missional?  No.  It is foolish.

Imo, of course!

The only appeal to the segment of the population which believes and expresses itself this way is for the Christian church to draw its line as a Christian church and put forward Jesus Christ is the Savior.  Then it would pastorally move folks from their place toward the sacrament of Holy Baptism and if so baptized already, then steer them into talking about being and living within the Body of Christ.  Then one could talk about how Jesus’ Father is our kind and loving Father:   A unique relationship open to all.



The point being that this unique relationship is a one-off (one of a kind) not needing the aspects of a woman’s kindness to counter any past hurtful encounters with a bad dad.  Not denigrating a woman’s kindness here but actually accentuating a type of unique kindness surrounding and including a woman’s kindness but driving the character of kindness further and deeper than any human, male or female, can offer or express.

Just use the resources of Holy Scripture and we need not have to either reference or make apology on a sociological or psychological level.  Scripture presents unique ways to express God’s love and kindness when we emphasize the uniqueness, qualitatively different aspect of Jesus’ relationship to His Father in heaven.  Resorting to analogy from sociology or psychology steers folk away from what the scriptures actually say and confess who God is.  Imo

I am surprised by these comments.  I know there is concern that a high Mariology might point away from Jesus but I think it does the opposite.  Mary points the way to Jesus for us, giving all glory to her son.  Some of the very beautiful icons show Mary's hand extended in love pointing the way to the Father; that is, through her son.

I pray to Mary daily.  She is the mother of the church.  I find the Hail Mary a most beautiful intercessory prayers. 

I think by now people know me well enough that I don't jump on to all that the ELCA says and does but here I find a beautiful way of praying and a beautiful way of teaching children to pray.  I see nothing untoward about it.

I wonder if there is a link I'm missing that gives more information.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Weedon on May 01, 2020, 08:11:12 PM
Eileen, I’m confused by your comments. The prayer didn’t say Mother of God, but Mother God.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 01, 2020, 08:13:23 PM
This was tweeted by the ELCA's official account on April 28:

Mother God, you have fed us with the nourishment of your spiritual food. Raise us up into salvation and rid us of our bitterness, so that we may share the sweetness of your holy word with all the world.


Are you praising or criticizing? Why did you start the discussion?


The Bible uses mother images in terms of God. Why shouldn't we?


Numbers 11:12-13 —
Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, 'Give us meat to eat!'

Deuteronomy 32:18 —
You deserted the Rock, who bore you;
  you forgot the God who gave you birth.

Job 38:28-30 —
Does the rain have a father?
  Who fathers the drops of dew?
From whose womb comes the ice?
  Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
when the waters become hard as stone,
  when the surface of the deep is frozen?

Psalm 90:2 CEB
Before the mountains were born,
  before you birthed the earth and the inhabited world -
  from forever in the past to forever in the future, you are God.

Psalm 131:2 —
But I have calmed myself
  and quieted my ambitions.
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
  like a weaned child I am content.

Isaiah 49:15 —
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
  and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
  I will not forget you!

Isaiah 66:9 —
"Do I bring to the moment of birth
  and not give delivery?" says the Lord

"Do I close up the womb
  when I bring to delivery?" says your God.

While not certain, the Hebrew phrase El Shaddai (אֵל שַׁדַּי) may be related to the word for (female) breast shad (שַׁד). The CEB suggests that it could be "God of the mountains."



P.S. The Tetons are named for the French word for breast.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 01, 2020, 09:33:24 PM
The prayer posted by J.E. Butler can be found in the book Bread for the Day 2020 (Augsburg Fortress) on page 137.  It's the prayer of the day for April 28.  As such, it would be the appointed prayer of the day for Matins and Vespers for congregations using the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Lectionary. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 01, 2020, 09:36:09 PM
Old news, folks, the ELCA has been using references to "mother God" or a "mothering God" for a whole bunch of mothering years. Did our Lord say his prayer was the "only way" to pray? Do we rigidly genderize the almighty?
I'm not sure what "missional" is or why everything has to be that, but while I am not likely to use "Mother God" very often, I do not think it is silly.
And among us it is certainly not new.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Eileen Smith on May 01, 2020, 09:39:24 PM
Eileen, I’m confused by your comments. The prayer didn’t say Mother of God, but Mother God.

Thanks for your pointing this out.  It may just seem an excuse but in these days of essential procedures I've had eye surgery put on hold.  Reading is no longer as interesting as I don't always catch words. 

In describing God I appreciate Pr. Stoffregen's comments but it does change my view on prayer.  Thanks again!
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 01, 2020, 09:51:54 PM
Old news, folks, the ELCA has been using references to "mother God" or a "mothering God" for a whole bunch of mothering years. Did our Lord say his prayer was the "only way" to pray? Do we rigidly genderize the almighty?
I'm not sure what "missional" is or why everything has to be that, but while I am not likely to use "Mother God" very often, I do not think it is silly.
And among us it is certainly not new.

You are correct.  Right or wrong the ELCA in its churchwide expression considers Mother to be an appropriate way to address the Father of our Lord Jesus.  They have also fully accepted the theological consequences of that decision. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on May 01, 2020, 11:32:35 PM
The prayer’s use of an upper case “W” in word would’ve been appreciated.

Peter (who, me?) Garrison
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 02, 2020, 11:05:23 AM

God does not actually have gender, He is a totally different kind of being to which gender categories do not apply. That said, generally in His dealing with us He appears anthropomorphized as male. He encouraged His people to call Him Father. For all the passages that Brian found that uses mother imagery for God, are there any passages that address God as Mother? In addressing God in prayer as Father we are following ancient tradition and Biblical precedent. In addressing God in prayer as Mother, what tradition are we following and what Biblical precedent are we following? To say that at times God has acted in ways that are similar to how we think of mothers acting is not the same as affirming that He is a mother.


For example, in Mt. 23:37, Jesus compared Himself to a hen who gathers her chicks. Does that mean the Jesus was actually a mother hen? The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "Mother hen" as "a person who assumes an overly protective maternal attitude" and give as an example of mother hen in a sentence "a football coach who fusses over his players like a mother hen." Are we then to gather that the football coach is actually a woman since he is said to mother hen his players?


We need to be careful lest we allow social or political concerns to dictate our language about God. The temptation has always been to remake God into what we would like Him to be. That also applies to those who would use our traditional masculine imagery for God to somehow elevate males over females as being more in God's image or some such nonsense.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on May 02, 2020, 11:37:20 AM
Augustine wrote or dictated 50 million words about God.
He also wrote these seven, (7 counting in Latin): “Words about God are worthless.”

Peter (49,999,993 still worth it) Garrison
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 02, 2020, 11:43:52 AM
Pastor Fienen writes:
We need to be careful lest we allow social or political concerns to dictate our language about God.
I comment:
Sigh. We have been down this road before. But here we go as I have hitched up the team.
1. There is a tendency on the part of people who don't like what is going on to immediately and uncritically attach the motivation to "social or political concerns." I say here, for the seventy-umpteenth time, I do not believe that is what motivates most of the discussion about, concern for and changes in liturgical or pious language. Can you possibly understand that some of the concern is theological, pastoral and - in certain ways - scriptural? Can you possibly understand that such changes can be driven by actual, living, breathing faithful people who ask pastors and others about language?
2. And such language as "mothering God" is not ubiquitous, required or even dominant. Why does it bother you that it is present? When I was still in a parish, I frequently re-wrote the stuff that came online in liturgical materials, sometimes to make it more inclusive, sometimes to make it less so. (More often to clean up inelegant or inept or silly language and sentence structure. Frankly, I'd rather stick with Book of Common Prayer language and keep teaching people how to understand those wonderful words, but...)
3. All our language about God, even "Our Father," is - in its own way - temporal and impermanent.
4. Yes, despite what I said about these changes not being "driven" by social concerns, it is true that the patriarchal nature of our language and our language about God can get in the way of proclamation of the Gospel. Not always, and maybe not in every place, and maybe not in your place, but believe me: It does. As I just said above, this is still not being "dictated" by social and political concerns.
5. Neither expect you to comprehend these things, nor do I suggest that you alter your references.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 02, 2020, 12:02:49 PM
I realize that the Hebrew Scriptures offer images of God that have feminine attributes or at least references.  But they do not reference God as person/s directly.  Christians confess one God in three persons and three persons in one God.  The persons are directed to Father, Son and Holy Spirit not to a father, a son or a holy spirit.  The Trinity is unique and cannot be compared in analogy or even reference.  It is encounter of the person of the Father, the person of the Son Jesus and the person of the Holy Spirit.  These are unique, one-off persons uncontained by analogous reference.  You will see this in John's Gospel and the Gospel readings in Easter leading up to Pentecost Sunday.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 02, 2020, 12:15:49 PM
Our Lord Jesus (who is God and is definitely a male, hence His circumcision) teaches us to pray: "Our FATHER..."  As far as I know, there is absolutely NO reference in Scripture to anyone praying to "Mother God".  At least not one who is praying to the true God.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 02, 2020, 12:17:22 PM
Are we, Pastor Bohler, only and always and forever and ever, limited in our language about and to God to words of the scriptures as we know them today in our various languages?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 02, 2020, 12:21:00 PM
Are we, Pastor Bohler, only and always and forever and ever, limited in our language about and to God to words of the scriptures as we know them today in our various languages?

As a general rule, that would be best. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 02, 2020, 12:22:49 PM
OK that would be “best.” But that would not be the only way? Right?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 02, 2020, 12:29:20 PM
OK that would be “best.” But that would not be the only way? Right?

Why would you choose to address someone (let alone God) by a different name than the one he has given you to call him?  If you introduced yourself to me as Charles Austin and I called you Ralph Jones, wouldn't you be offended?  Now, add to this that "Mother God" has connections to numerous false gods.  It would be sort of like you introduced yourself to me as Charles Austin and I insisted on calling you Aleister Crowley.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 02, 2020, 12:34:38 PM
Pastor Fienen writes:
We need to be careful lest we allow social or political concerns to dictate our language about God.
I comment:
Sigh. We have been down this road before. But here we go as I have hitched up the team.
1. There is a tendency on the part of people who don't like what is going on to immediately and uncritically attach the motivation to "social or political concerns." I say here, for the seventy-umpteenth time, I do not believe that is what motivates most of the discussion about, concern for and changes in liturgical or pious language. Can you possibly understand that some of the concern is theological, pastoral and - in certain ways - scriptural? Can you possibly understand that such changes can be driven by actual, living, breathing faithful people who ask pastors and others about language?
2. And such language as "mothering God" is not ubiquitous, required or even dominant. Why does it bother you that it is present? When I was still in a parish, I frequently re-wrote the stuff that came online in liturgical materials, sometimes to make it more inclusive, sometimes to make it less so. (More often to clean up inelegant or inept or silly language and sentence structure. Frankly, I'd rather stick with Book of Common Prayer language and keep teaching people how to understand those wonderful words, but...)
3. All our language about God, even "Our Father," is - in its own way - temporal and impermanent.
4. Yes, despite what I said about these changes not being "driven" by social concerns, it is true that the patriarchal nature of our language and our language about God can get in the way of proclamation of the Gospel. Not always, and maybe not in every place, and maybe not in your place, but believe me: It does. As I just said above, this is still not being "dictated" by social and political concerns.
5. Neither expect you to comprehend these things, nor do I suggest that you alter your references.

You have no respect for people who do not agree with you do you? Think that I am too dumb, stupid, and ignorant to comprehend your concerns?


I did not say that social or political concerns dictate our language about God. At most I cautioned against that and implied that it could be a factor. Just as I implied that it could be a factor for those who are so vehement against mother language about God.


1. One reason that I have read for discouraging Father language for God and encouraging Mother language is that some, especially women, have had bad experiences with men and especially fathers. Well, some, especially men, have had bad experiences with women and especially mothers. Should that discourage Mother language for God? That these concern are real means that they need to be considered and dealt with. I recognize the pastoral concern as it affects people. I do not question the motivation, what I question is whether changing our address of God to Mother is the best way to handle those concerns.


I ask again, while there is Biblical precedent for mother imagery to be used in describing God, is there Biblical precedent for addressing God as Mother. That for me is a Scriptural concern, maybe not for you But I am serious in my question. What does the Bible say about talking to God and how we address God?


I also point out that there is an (I hope) outlier movement within the ELCA (Ebenezer Lutheran Church, San Francisco) that would do much more than pick up on feminine imagery.


2. With a few exceptions (HerChurch) mother language about God impresses me more as faddish and perhaps unwise than necessarily a serious theological issue. I also suggest that there is a difference between "mothering God" and "Mother God." In the first mothering acts as an adjective to describe God as acting in the way that a mother might act, with little implication as to gender for God. In the second, the prayer addresses God as being a mother, something that I find to be different and something that I would not like to do.


Oh, and I did not say that I was particularly outraged or even bothered that an ELCA prayer addressed God as Mother. Some are. I was simply commenting on what Brian cited to support that usage and that I thought his support was a bit off base.


3. Definitely. God is sui generis so all of our language about God is anthropomorphic and analogical.


4. Ah, yes, the dreaded patriarchal rears its ugly head. Mustn't allow even a hint of that. Again, I was saying that social and political factors weren't the only considerations driving the push toward mother language for God, but you demonstrate that it is a factor.


5. If you do not expect me comprehend your concerns, why mention them. If I am so far beneath your intellectual and pastoral level as to be incapable to understanding you, why do you bother? I suspect that I understand much more than you think I do. Perhaps you cannot conceive of anyone understanding your concerns and not agreeing with you. But I think that is more your failure of imagination than it is my lack of intellectual and empathetic capacity.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 02, 2020, 12:36:45 PM
OK that would be “best.” But that would not be the only way? Right?

Why would you choose to address someone (let alone God) by a different name than the one he has given you to call him?  If you introduced yourself to me as Charles Austin and I called you Ralph Jones, wouldn't you be offended?  Now, add to this that "Mother God" has connections to numerous false gods.  It would be sort of like you introduced yourself to me as Charles Austin and I insisted on calling you Aleister Crowley.

Your examples make clear the uniqueness of the trinitarian persons-issue I was talking about above.  Thanks
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 02, 2020, 12:38:40 PM

2. And such language as "mothering God" is not ubiquitous, required or even dominant. Why does it bother you that it is present?

Then be consistent. Why use a feminine word with a neuter title ("mother God")? Why not use the term "mother Goddess"?


3. All our language about God, even "Our Father," is - in its own way - temporal and impermanent.

Here is your problem: you argue that this deals with "our language about God." It doesn't. It is about the language that the Lord God used to reveal Himself. You begin at the wrong place: "our language." The correct place to begin is with the Biblical text: God's language.

But let's go with your argument. Given that "All our language about God...is...temporal and impermanent" then what would be wrong with using the term "Goddess"? If it's OK to pray to the "Mothering God" then why can't the prayer read, "Mothering Goddess"? What would be the difference?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 02, 2020, 12:42:40 PM
OK that would be “best.” But that would not be the only way? Right?

Why would you choose to address someone (let alone God) by a different name than the one he has given you to call him?  If you introduced yourself to me as Charles Austin and I called you Ralph Jones, wouldn't you be offended?  Now, add to this that "Mother God" has connections to numerous false gods.  It would be sort of like you introduced yourself to me as Charles Austin and I insisted on calling you Aleister Crowley.

I can remember how well Charles received the few posters who dared to address him on occasion as Chuck. Did not go over well.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 02, 2020, 12:50:24 PM
OK that would be “best.” But that would not be the only way? Right?

The question is not "Are we...only and always and forever and ever, limited in our language about and to God to words of the scriptures as we know them today in our various languages?"

The question is: Is the language about God (or in this case an address used in prayer) we use contrary to Scripture? One can certainly use terms such as "He who set the atoms to dance" or "who set our sphere to circle the sun". Those are simply expressions of God as creator and fully congruent with the Scriptures.

The question is simple: is the address in this prayer "Mother God" congruent with the Scriptures? Since this is an innovation in language (one cannot find the the term in the Scriptures where no only Jesus prays to the "Father" but Paul also says we cry out "Abba, Father") then it is on the ELCA to defend the use of the term.

They also need to answer why they are not consistent use the term "Mother Goddess." Because I, for one, don't see the distinction.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 02, 2020, 12:52:24 PM
OK that would be “best.” But that would not be the only way? Right?

Why would you choose to address someone (let alone God) by a different name than the one he has given you to call him?  If you introduced yourself to me as Charles Austin and I called you Ralph Jones, wouldn't you be offended?  Now, add to this that "Mother God" has connections to numerous false gods.  It would be sort of like you introduced yourself to me as Charles Austin and I insisted on calling you Aleister Crowley.

I can remember how well Charles received the few posters who dared to address him on occasion as Chuck. Did not go over well.

But given his argument, that it is our language about him and that such language is temporal and impermanent, I'm sure he's happy to be called Chuck now. Or Chuckles. Or Chucky. Or Charliebus. Or even Charlotte.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 02, 2020, 01:09:11 PM
OK that would be “best.” But that would not be the only way? Right?

Why would you choose to address someone (let alone God) by a different name than the one he has given you to call him?  If you introduced yourself to me as Charles Austin and I called you Ralph Jones, wouldn't you be offended?  Now, add to this that "Mother God" has connections to numerous false gods.  It would be sort of like you introduced yourself to me as Charles Austin and I insisted on calling you Aleister Crowley.

I can remember how well Charles received the few posters who dared to address him on occasion as Chuck. Did not go over well.

This is really the key issue.  In the ELCA, everyone acknowledges the pastoral concerns that motivated our leaders to alter the language for God.  The revisionists, on the other hand, will not acknowledge the theological concerns of those who insist on Biblical language. 

The key question is whether God wants us to be known and worshiped as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, and in the Scriptures, or whether God wants us to seek him out on our own.  In other words, is Jesus Christ the final and sufficient revelation of God's identity, purpose and will, or not? 

The answer of the revisionists to the above is NO.  God's revelation in Jesus of Nazareth is partial, incomplete and imperfect.  First of all because Jesus is not the only mediator between God and humanity.  There are aspects of the truth that are better revealed in other religions.  Secondly, because of the way the revelation in Jesus of Nazareth was distorted by the men, and perhaps women, who wrote what we call the New Testament.  Their prejudices, their captivity by the structures of oppression of their own day, obscured the truth revealed in Jesus. 

Praying to God as "Mother" is one of the ways we improve upon the historically conditioned and imperfect Scriptures, Creeds, and liturgy that we have.  Another way to do that is to bring images and voices from other religions.  So, for instance, you might do a prayer to the spirit of the four directions. 

By the way, the people of the ELCA never knowingly voted to do this.  It is simply the reigning paradigm among our leaders, particularly those who write and publish liturgical resources.  The introduction of the ELW was one of the major milestones in our journey from Nicene Christianity to a more gnostic version.  By the time we voted in 2019 for more expansive language about God, people simply assumed that this approach was true, since that is the way its done in the ELW.  Lex orandi, lex credendi.

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dave Benke on May 02, 2020, 01:09:38 PM
Back in the day I had a tiff with some of the guys in theological and professorial leadership in the LCMS over a paper that took off on a tangent when it came to the Imago Dei.  The paper went through all kinds of exegetical conniptions to let us in on a fresh insight - that the image of God referred to the physical masculinity of God.  After a re-parse of the Scriptural passages, the theological/philosophical line of reasoning was that the deep and penetrating structures of the universe are masculine.  Yes, the word "penetrating" was used.  Women are eligible for the image in an auxiliary way, as ribs, #2s to the #1.

I begged to differ; there were a couple of shouting matches.  I said if you're right then our manifestation of God at the altar should be a totem pole, or the Washington Monument.  That comment was not well received.  However, finally, the paper was withdrawn.  More or less.  The thought process went on in its way.

To me the term "Father" is a metaphor, as in the parable of the Prodigal Son, as in Our Father, as in Paul's "Abba."  It has to do with a primary relationship - God is my always caring progenitor.  I am a child of God.  I can call God "Dad (!)" or "Daddy" (Abba) in that sense, as a child calls for her/his dad to take the child into his arms.  Colossians 1 and 2 tie us to Christ and His righteousness through baptism.

Anyway, I wouldn't pray to Mother God.  There are many images that pertain which are feminine.  God is Spirit.  The feminine images are biblical and are appropriate of a loving and gathering God.  They are pertinent.  But my prayers run through the articulation of Jesus "who taught us to pray Padre nuestro, que estas en el cielo..."

I'm fully aware that the image of God as father has been badly distorted by bad dads, invisible dads, deadbeat dads, violent dads and the like.  That's not just re-taught effectively by simple replacement - as well, here's a good dad.  Because the scars are deep.  But the metaphor remains "Father" at the end of the road.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 02, 2020, 01:18:29 PM
Its not a metaphor, its the revealed name of a person, just like Dave Benke.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2020, 01:30:51 PM

God does not actually have gender, He is a totally different kind of being to which gender categories do not apply. That said, generally in His dealing with us He appears anthropomorphized as male. He encouraged His people to call Him Father. For all the passages that Brian found that uses mother imagery for God, are there any passages that address God as Mother? In addressing God in prayer as Father we are following ancient tradition and Biblical precedent. In addressing God in prayer as Mother, what tradition are we following and what Biblical precedent are we following? To say that at times God has acted in ways that are similar to how we think of mothers acting is not the same as affirming that He is a mother.


For example, in Mt. 23:37, Jesus compared Himself to a hen who gathers her chicks. Does that mean the Jesus was actually a mother hen? The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "Mother hen" as "a person who assumes an overly protective maternal attitude" and give as an example of mother hen in a sentence "a football coach who fusses over his players like a mother hen." Are we then to gather that the football coach is actually a woman since he is said to mother hen his players?


We need to be careful lest we allow social or political concerns to dictate our language about God. The temptation has always been to remake God into what we would like Him to be. That also applies to those who would use our traditional masculine imagery for God to somehow elevate males over females as being more in God's image or some such nonsense.


Gender language also works the other way. There are football coaches who will shout to the linemen, "You're acting like a bunch of ladies." Does that mean they have become females?


We translate the biblical languages into English. We do not call God, "Ab," "Abba," or "Patēr". We translate those ideas into a corresponding English word, "Father." However, that's only one way of translating the words. Other ways in BDB: "Ancestor," "Grandfather," "Producer," "Ruler," "Chief." ("Mother" is not listed as a gloss.)


We also realize that the ancient uses of these words was in a patriarchal society. Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2020, 01:34:40 PM
I realize that the Hebrew Scriptures offer images of God that have feminine attributes or at least references.  But they do not reference God as person/s directly.  Christians confess one God in three persons and three persons in one God.  The persons are directed to Father, Son and Holy Spirit not to a father, a son or a holy spirit.  The Trinity is unique and cannot be compared in analogy or even reference.  It is encounter of the person of the Father, the person of the Son Jesus and the person of the Holy Spirit.  These are unique, one-off persons uncontained by analogous reference.  You will see this in John's Gospel and the Gospel readings in Easter leading up to Pentecost Sunday.


Neither the original Greek or Hebrew of scriptures distinguished between Father and father. Hebrew doesn't have upper and lower case letters. The Greek of the uncials was all upper case (and no spaces: FATHERSONANDHOLYSPIRIT).
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 02, 2020, 01:35:43 PM
The insistence that Father, Son and Spirit are metaphors brings us back to Modalism.  One senses God acting in a parental way, and so seeks a metaphor to express it.  One experiences God exhibiting childlikeness, and so seeks a second metaphor to express it.  One perceives God acting as an invisible but present force and seeks a third metaphor to express it.  The question then is, "Why trinity?"  Why not a quaternity, as Jung would have preferred?  Or why not follow Hinduism and say that God has many faces, and many names? After all, there are dozens of Biblical metaphors for God. 

On the other hand, if Father, Son and Holy Spirit are names of persons, not just three different metaphors for the same thing, the Doctrine of the Trinity is the result.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2020, 01:56:50 PM
Our Lord Jesus (who is God and is definitely a male, hence His circumcision) teaches us to pray: "Our FATHER..."  As far as I know, there is absolutely NO reference in Scripture to anyone praying to "Mother God".  At least not one who is praying to the true God.


In Luke, it is just "Father" in the Lord's Prayer. Mark has Jesus saying, "Abba, Father" in the garden. Paul also uses, "Abba, Father," language. In Exodus, when Moses asked for God's name, he wasn't given, אָב. That would have been much easier to translate than what God gave to Moses: אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה (Exodus 3:14a - various translation possibilities are in footnotes). This was shortened to אֶהְיֶה a half verse later. These, and the proper name, יהוה, are connected with the Hebrew verb meaning "to be."


There are numerous names for the Hebrew God. The following are the ones given in The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, "God, Names of."
A. God
   1. Elohim
   2. Eloah
   3. El
B. Yahweh
C. God/Lord of Hosts
D. Lord
   1. Baal
   2. Adon/Adonai
E. Names with "El"
   1. El Shadday
   2. El Elyon
   3. El, Creator of Heaven and Earth
   4. El Roi
   5. El Olam
   6. El Berit
F. Kinship Terms
   1. Father, Mother [the maternal images: God conceiving, giving birth, and nursing Israel]
   2. Brother
   3. Uncle
   4. Husband
G. Other Designations of God
   1. Holy One
   2. Jealous
   3. Mighty One
   4. Fear of Isaac
   5. Shield (of Abraham)
   6. Rock
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RandyBosch on May 02, 2020, 02:22:30 PM
Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.

Israel had several Queens by their own cultural definition.  The wife of a King who gave birth to a male heir was given the title of Queen.
You enfolded "patriarchy" into the batter, perhaps meaning to make clear that Israel had no Queens by birthright?

Interesting article on the subject:
https://www.thetorah.com/article/jewish-queens-from-the-story-of-esther-to-the-history-of-shelamzion
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2020, 02:34:01 PM
This is really the key issue.  In the ELCA, everyone acknowledges the pastoral concerns that motivated our leaders to alter the language for God.  The revisionists, on the other hand, will not acknowledge the theological concerns of those who insist on Biblical language.


Who is altering the language for God? As I see it, we are expanding our language to better include the multitude of biblical images for God.

Quote
The key question is whether God wants us to be known and worshiped as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, and in the Scriptures, or whether God wants us to seek him out on our own.  In other words, is Jesus Christ the final and sufficient revelation of God's identity, purpose and will, or not?


Yes, Jesus is the revelation of God; but so was the burning bush; and the three "men" who came to Abram and Sarai; and so were the many angels who came and revealed God's message to humans (including Joseph, Jesus' father).
 
Quote
The answer of the revisionists to the above is NO.  God's revelation in Jesus of Nazareth is partial, incomplete and imperfect.  First of all because Jesus is not the only mediator between God and humanity.  There are aspects of the truth that are better revealed in other religions.  Secondly, because of the way the revelation in Jesus of Nazareth was distorted by the men, and perhaps women, who wrote what we call the New Testament.  Their prejudices, their captivity by the structures of oppression of their own day, obscured the truth revealed in Jesus.


"No," is not the answer of the revisionists. It's the answer you are imposing on them. Revisionists are folks who revisit scriptures. Sometimes we see things there that we hadn't noticed before; like the passages that talk about maternal aspects of God. They do not eliminate the paternal aspects that scriptures also talks about.

Quote
Praying to God as "Mother" is one of the ways we improve upon the historically conditioned and imperfect Scriptures, Creeds, and liturgy that we have.  Another way to do that is to bring images and voices from other religions.  So, for instance, you might do a prayer to the spirit of the four directions.


Praying to God as "Mother" is one of the way we expand our knowledge of scriptures and our understanding of God. Praying to the Spirit as "Wind" is recognizing that in Hebrew and Greek and many other languages, the word translated "Spirit" is the same word that is translated "Wind" or "Breath". Why shouldn't English-speakers be aware of this?

Quote
By the way, the people of the ELCA never knowingly voted to do this.  It is simply the reigning paradigm among our leaders, particularly those who write and publish liturgical resources.  The introduction of the ELW was one of the major milestones in our journey from Nicene Christianity to a more gnostic version.  By the time we voted in 2019 for more expansive language about God, people simply assumed that this approach was true, since that is the way its done in the ELW.  Lex orandi, lex credendi.


Is it possible for you to use ELW in a way that satisfies your orthodox sensibilities? "Expansive language about God" doesn't mean that the old language has disappeared. Some of the prayers in ELW are quite old, e.g., the Great Thanksgiving from Hippolytus. However, the rubrics for Form XI state that it may follow immediately after the preface dialogue, omitting the proper preface and sanctus (as it was done in the writing of Hippolytus). That may seem like a new innovation; but it is following this liturgy from the early 3rd century.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2020, 02:43:19 PM
Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.

Israel had several Queens by their own cultural definition.  The wife of a King who gave birth to a male heir was given the title of Queen.
You enfolded "patriarchy" into the batter, perhaps meaning to make clear that Israel had no Queens by birthright?

Interesting article on the subject:
https://www.thetorah.com/article/jewish-queens-from-the-story-of-esther-to-the-history-of-shelamzion (https://www.thetorah.com/article/jewish-queens-from-the-story-of-esther-to-the-history-of-shelamzion)


I would go further than to say that they had no queens by birthright; the Bible gives us no names of Israelite queens. There are foreign queens: Sheba; Vashti, Esther. The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible says about "Queen": "The majority of biblical queens, however, are not called queen. Athaliah, e.g., is the wife of a king, mother of a king, and for six years sole monarch of Judah (2 Kgs 11;3), but she is never titled queen. Collective reference to the wives of the king (e.g., 1 Kgs 4:11; 2 Chr 11:21; 21:17) and specific mention of prominent wives (e.g., Bathsheba, Jezebel) occur throughout the narratives of Israel's monarchy, and Herodias is mentioned in the NT (Matt 14;1-11; Mark 6:17-28); yet, again, the term queen is never applied."
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 02, 2020, 02:45:18 PM
"Begotten" is right there in the catechism and creed. As is "conceived." Not sure how much of a metaphorical Savior I really want.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2020, 02:52:52 PM
"Begotten" is right there in the catechism and creed. As is "conceived." Not sure how much of a metaphorical Savior I really want.


The "conception" and "birth" of which you speak happened to Mary. The "conception" and "birth" in Numbers 11:12-13 is Moses' complaint that he did not conceive nor give birth to these people (and by implication, God did). Deuteronomy 32:18 talks about God "giving birth" to Israel. Motherly metaphors are used for God.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RandyBosch on May 02, 2020, 02:57:32 PM
Who is altering the language for God? As I see it, we are expanding our language to better include the multitude of biblical images for God.

I would go further than that.  "Altering" is not only "expanding" (as in your tailor or tailoress altering your clothes if your girth expanded (gravity's fault, of course...).  "Altering also includes a "taking in", reducing sizes and language to a less encompassing size.

Some perform that tailoring in the search for repristination, or a return to simpler earlier uses and definitions, some by applying the reliable black "Sharpie" to retract or obscure unwanted language, some to modify what you wrote on your bank check to steal your pension.  Plagiarizers often alter the original text enough that they think it hides the fact that they stole it from the true author.

Altering can change meaning and effect in a variety of different ways, sometimes to the point that altered text makes a text that es laast sich nicht lessen, for example.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RandyBosch on May 02, 2020, 03:04:14 PM
Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.

Israel had several Queens by their own cultural definition.  The wife of a King who gave birth to a male heir was given the title of Queen.
You enfolded "patriarchy" into the batter, perhaps meaning to make clear that Israel had no Queens by birthright?

Interesting article on the subject:
https://www.thetorah.com/article/jewish-queens-from-the-story-of-esther-to-the-history-of-shelamzion (https://www.thetorah.com/article/jewish-queens-from-the-story-of-esther-to-the-history-of-shelamzion)
There are foreign queens:...

Ah, you've modified the definition.  The Queens that you listed were given the title of Queen because they were foreign born and/ornot Jewish from birth.  They were given the title of Queen ONLY because they were married to an Israelite King.  Still Queens of Israel.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 02, 2020, 03:09:37 PM

God does not actually have gender, He is a totally different kind of being to which gender categories do not apply.

YHWH (He/Him/His)

Pax et bonum, Steven+
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 02, 2020, 03:18:02 PM

Who is altering the language for God? As I see it, we are expanding our language to better include the multitude of biblical images for God.


Expansion is an alteration.

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 02, 2020, 03:19:08 PM
This is really the key issue.  In the ELCA, everyone acknowledges the pastoral concerns that motivated our leaders to alter the language for God.  The revisionists, on the other hand, will not acknowledge the theological concerns of those who insist on Biblical language.


Who is altering the language for God? As I see it, we are expanding our language to better include the multitude of biblical images for God.

Quote
The key question is whether God wants us to be known and worshiped as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, and in the Scriptures, or whether God wants us to seek him out on our own.  In other words, is Jesus Christ the final and sufficient revelation of God's identity, purpose and will, or not?


Yes, Jesus is the revelation of God; but so was the burning bush; and the three "men" who came to Abram and Sarai; and so were the many angels who came and revealed God's message to humans (including Joseph, Jesus' father).
 
Quote
The answer of the revisionists to the above is NO.  God's revelation in Jesus of Nazareth is partial, incomplete and imperfect.  First of all because Jesus is not the only mediator between God and humanity.  There are aspects of the truth that are better revealed in other religions.  Secondly, because of the way the revelation in Jesus of Nazareth was distorted by the men, and perhaps women, who wrote what we call the New Testament.  Their prejudices, their captivity by the structures of oppression of their own day, obscured the truth revealed in Jesus.


"No," is not the answer of the revisionists. It's the answer you are imposing on them. Revisionists are folks who revisit scriptures. Sometimes we see things there that we hadn't noticed before; like the passages that talk about maternal aspects of God. They do not eliminate the paternal aspects that scriptures also talks about.

Quote
Praying to God as "Mother" is one of the ways we improve upon the historically conditioned and imperfect Scriptures, Creeds, and liturgy that we have.  Another way to do that is to bring images and voices from other religions.  So, for instance, you might do a prayer to the spirit of the four directions.


Praying to God as "Mother" is one of the way we expand our knowledge of scriptures and our understanding of God. Praying to the Spirit as "Wind" is recognizing that in Hebrew and Greek and many other languages, the word translated "Spirit" is the same word that is translated "Wind" or "Breath". Why shouldn't English-speakers be aware of this?

Quote
By the way, the people of the ELCA never knowingly voted to do this.  It is simply the reigning paradigm among our leaders, particularly those who write and publish liturgical resources.  The introduction of the ELW was one of the major milestones in our journey from Nicene Christianity to a more gnostic version.  By the time we voted in 2019 for more expansive language about God, people simply assumed that this approach was true, since that is the way its done in the ELW.  Lex orandi, lex credendi.


Is it possible for you to use ELW in a way that satisfies your orthodox sensibilities? "Expansive language about God" doesn't mean that the old language has disappeared. Some of the prayers in ELW are quite old, e.g., the Great Thanksgiving from Hippolytus. However, the rubrics for Form XI state that it may follow immediately after the preface dialogue, omitting the proper preface and sanctus (as it was done in the writing of Hippolytus). That may seem like a new innovation; but it is following this liturgy from the early 3rd century.

Given your argument above, Brian, why not simply refer the Lord as the "Goddess"? From your argumentation, I don't see any reason why one would not. HerChurch already does. It seems to me that group has simply taken your argument to its natural conclusion.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 02, 2020, 03:51:22 PM
"Begotten" is right there in the catechism and creed. As is "conceived." Not sure how much of a metaphorical Savior I really want.


The "conception" and "birth" of which you speak happened to Mary. The "conception" and "birth" in Numbers 11:12-13 is Moses' complaint that he did not conceive nor give birth to these people (and by implication, God did). Deuteronomy 32:18 talks about God "giving birth" to Israel. Motherly metaphors are used for God.
I didn’t speak of birth. I spoke of “begotten.”
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 02, 2020, 03:56:54 PM
Yes, Jesus is the revelation of God; but so was the burning bush; and the three "men" who came to Abram and Sarai; and so were the many angels who came and revealed God's message to humans (including Joseph, Jesus' father).

You deny that what I say is true, then you demonstrate the very thing you deny.  If there is no difference between Jesus and the burning bush, why not a quarternity of Father, Son, Spirit and Burning Bush?
 
Quote
"No," is not the answer of the revisionists. It's the answer you are imposing on them. Revisionists are folks who revisit scriptures. Sometimes we see things there that we hadn't noticed before; like the passages that talk about maternal aspects of God. They do not eliminate the paternal aspects that scriptures also talks about.

Here you deny that what I say is true, only to do the very thing that I describe in your next response. 

Quote
Praying to God as "Mother" is one of the way we expand our knowledge of scriptures and our understanding of God. Praying to the Spirit as "Wind" is recognizing that in Hebrew and Greek and many other languages, the word translated "Spirit" is the same word that is translated "Wind" or "Breath". Why shouldn't English-speakers be aware of this?

I never said that revisionists eliminate traditional language, I say that they find it incomplete, insufficient, provisional.  That's the same thing you say above.  Revisionists believe that language Jesus used to speak of the other persons of the Trinity is incomplete, insufficient, provisional and distorted by Jesus historical limitations. 

Quote
Is it possible for you to use ELW in a way that satisfies your orthodox sensibilities? "Expansive language about God" doesn't mean that the old language has disappeared. Some of the prayers in ELW are quite old, e.g., the Great Thanksgiving from Hippolytus. However, the rubrics for Form XI state that it may follow immediately after the preface dialogue, omitting the proper preface and sanctus (as it was done in the writing of Hippolytus). That may seem like a new innovation; but it is following this liturgy from the early 3rd century.

Yes, it is possible.  The problem is that, if a congregation uses the ELW as it is, it will change their theology (lex orandi, lex credenda).  They will cease being Nicene Trinitarians and become post-Nicene Unitarian Modalists.  If they use  the current resources coming from Sundays and Seasons, they might become post-Nicene Unitarian Universalist Modalists.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 02, 2020, 04:16:24 PM
If I understand correctly, Hinduism has a trinity of its own, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.  I also understand that other god's of Hinduism are manifestations of one or more of the three principal deities.  The kind of unitarian modalism that Pastor Stoffregen proposes seems perfectly compatible, with Hinduism.  Since the ELCA is moving toward universalism, I don't see any reason in principle while it could not adopt the Hindu deities into its next hymnal.  After all, if Jesus is a mediator and not the mediator, and if what is revealed in him is a revelation, but not the final revelation, for the Church, then there's no reason it can't be done.

Another way to think of the issue is to ask whether God is revealed through and in language, or whether language is a barrier to revelation.  If the latter, then one of the ways to get beyond the barrier is to either achieve mystical union, or multiply metaphors to mitigate the distortion of specific language.  Whether you agree with the solutions proposed by people like Barth and Brunner, I think they correctly diagnosed the trajectory of modern theology.  Modern theology in the end denies special revelation and would make Scripture and the Incarnation merely examples of general revelation.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on May 02, 2020, 04:24:55 PM
Sometimes good poetry is bad theology.

Peter (I got your metaphor right here...) Garrison
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 02, 2020, 04:32:06 PM
I realize that the Hebrew Scriptures offer images of God that have feminine attributes or at least references.  But they do not reference God as person/s directly.  Christians confess one God in three persons and three persons in one God.  The persons are directed to Father, Son and Holy Spirit not to a father, a son or a holy spirit.  The Trinity is unique and cannot be compared in analogy or even reference.  It is encounter of the person of the Father, the person of the Son Jesus and the person of the Holy Spirit.  These are unique, one-off persons uncontained by analogous reference.  You will see this in John's Gospel and the Gospel readings in Easter leading up to Pentecost Sunday.


Neither the original Greek or Hebrew of scriptures distinguished between Father and father. Hebrew doesn't have upper and lower case letters. The Greek of the uncials was all upper case (and no spaces: FATHERSONANDHOLYSPIRIT).


Being baptized into Christ's Body means access to this unique relationship.  Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the relationship that is established with us and for us.  Again, it is not a relationship like a son has with a father, although from our side that might have an influence.  But from God's side esp. in John's Gospel chapters 15-17 this unique personal relationship becomes the fount and origin of what it means to live in faith.  What your response above actually and in a partial way affirms and enhances is the unique quality of God's personal relationship with believers.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 02, 2020, 04:49:50 PM
I need to emphasize that the issue of relationship is that the relations and oneness of the Trinity are UNIQUE.  There isn't to be found another (no matter how "like" it would be) in any other religion or human-based construction as we have it taught in family relations theory.  Science, sociology, etc. cannot define or approximate who God is for us.  Thus God's love for us is unique in this very way.  IE. God, here in Christianity, is for you and not against you in this unique relationship.  Judaism comes the closest to approximation if there was the chance for approximation to be had here....Read Romans 9-11.

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2020, 06:30:15 PM
Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.

Israel had several Queens by their own cultural definition.  The wife of a King who gave birth to a male heir was given the title of Queen.
You enfolded "patriarchy" into the batter, perhaps meaning to make clear that Israel had no Queens by birthright?

Interesting article on the subject:
https://www.thetorah.com/article/jewish-queens-from-the-story-of-esther-to-the-history-of-shelamzion (https://www.thetorah.com/article/jewish-queens-from-the-story-of-esther-to-the-history-of-shelamzion)
There are foreign queens:...

Ah, you've modified the definition.  The Queens that you listed were given the title of Queen because they were foreign born and/ornot Jewish from birth.  They were given the title of Queen ONLY because they were married to an Israelite King.  Still Queens of Israel.


Huh? Queen of Sheba was never a queen of Israel, but of Sheba. She was not married to an Israelite King. Queen Vashti was never a queen of Israel, but of the Persian Empire. She was not married to a King of Israel. She was followed by Esther. Not married to an Israelite King.


Please list where the Bible refers to the wife of an Israelite or Judean king as a queen.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2020, 06:32:41 PM

Who is altering the language for God? As I see it, we are expanding our language to better include the multitude of biblical images for God.


Expansion is an alteration.


When I've expanded the number of worship services, I didn't alter them. There was just more of them.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 02, 2020, 06:57:06 PM

Who is altering the language for God? As I see it, we are expanding our language to better include the multitude of biblical images for God.


Expansion is an alteration.

When I've expanded the number of worship services, I didn't alter them. There was just more of them.

Once again you play the clever 12-year-old boy.  I doubt, though, you fit in his clothes without expanding them.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2020, 07:22:01 PM
Our Lord Jesus (who is God and is definitely a male, hence His circumcision) teaches us to pray: "Our FATHER..."  As far as I know, there is absolutely NO reference in Scripture to anyone praying to "Mother God".  At least not one who is praying to the true God.


Jesus was male.
יהוה has no gender - a proper name.
רוּחַ is a feminine noun.
θεός can be male or female (see Acts 19:37)
πνεῦμα is neuter


Do you address every prayer you ever pray to "Our Father"? Perhaps because he was quoting a psalm, Jesus prayed to "My God, my God …" from the cross.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 02, 2020, 07:23:52 PM
We also realize that the ancient uses of these words was in a patriarchal society. Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.



How fortunate for us that we have such wise theologians who can see through the cultural bias that distorted Israel's portrait of God that they handed down to us in Scripture and filter it out without, of course, introducing any of their own cultural bias in their refined and much improved portrait of God. >:(
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2020, 07:25:33 PM
"Begotten" is right there in the catechism and creed. As is "conceived." Not sure how much of a metaphorical Savior I really want.


The "conception" and "birth" of which you speak happened to Mary. The "conception" and "birth" in Numbers 11:12-13 is Moses' complaint that he did not conceive nor give birth to these people (and by implication, God did). Deuteronomy 32:18 talks about God "giving birth" to Israel. Motherly metaphors are used for God.
I didn’t speak of birth. I spoke of “begotten.”


Same word in Greek. Translated: "beget" when used of males; "give birth" when used of females. The OT talks about God "giving birth." That's what females do.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2020, 07:27:41 PM
We also realize that the ancient uses of these words was in a patriarchal society. Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.



How fortunate for us that we have such wise theologians who can see through the cultural bias that distorted Israel's portrait of God that they handed down to us in Scripture and filter it out without, of course, introducing any of their own cultural bias in their refined and much improved portrait of God. >:(


They didn't distort it. We have. As I pointed out, one of the pictures handed down to us in Scripture is of God giving birth. I suggest that it's your cultural bias that is unwilling to see and use this female picture of God that has been handed down to us in Scripture.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 02, 2020, 07:38:52 PM
We also realize that the ancient uses of these words was in a patriarchal society. Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.


How fortunate for us that we have such wise theologians who can see through the cultural bias that distorted Israel's portrait of God that they handed down to us in Scripture and filter it out without, of course, introducing any of their own cultural bias in their refined and much improved portrait of God. >:(

They didn't distort it. We have. As I pointed out, one of the pictures handed down to us in Scripture is of God giving birth. I suggest that it's your cultural bias that is unwilling to see and use this female picture of God that has been handed down to us in Scripture.

What you refer to as Pr. Fienen's "cultural bias" is called Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy.  The same "cultural bias" is subscribed to  by the Lutheran Confessions and by the Confession of Faith as the ELCA.  Your cultural bias, on the other hand, is unitarian modalism, with a gnostic Christology. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 02, 2020, 08:07:44 PM
We also realize that the ancient uses of these words was in a patriarchal society. Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.


How fortunate for us that we have such wise theologians who can see through the cultural bias that distorted Israel's portrait of God that they handed down to us in Scripture and filter it out without, of course, introducing any of their own cultural bias in their refined and much improved portrait of God. >:(

They didn't distort it. We have. As I pointed out, one of the pictures handed down to us in Scripture is of God giving birth. I suggest that it's your cultural bias that is unwilling to see and use this female picture of God that has been handed down to us in Scripture.

What you refer to as Pr. Fienen's "cultural bias" is called Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy.  The same "cultural bias" is subscribed to  by the Lutheran Confessions and by the Confession of Faith as the ELCA.  Your cultural bias, on the other hand, is unitarian modalism, with a gnostic Christology.


Where in Chacedonian orthodoxy does it say that we cannot talk about God "giving birth" as scripture does? Or talk about God as a mother? I prefer the term "biblical Christianity" over your heretical terms.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 02, 2020, 08:22:12 PM
We also realize that the ancient uses of these words was in a patriarchal society. Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.


How fortunate for us that we have such wise theologians who can see through the cultural bias that distorted Israel's portrait of God that they handed down to us in Scripture and filter it out without, of course, introducing any of their own cultural bias in their refined and much improved portrait of God. >:(

They didn't distort it. We have. As I pointed out, one of the pictures handed down to us in Scripture is of God giving birth. I suggest that it's your cultural bias that is unwilling to see and use this female picture of God that has been handed down to us in Scripture.

What you refer to as Pr. Fienen's "cultural bias" is called Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy.  The same "cultural bias" is subscribed to  by the Lutheran Confessions and by the Confession of Faith as the ELCA.  Your cultural bias, on the other hand, is unitarian modalism, with a gnostic Christology.

Where in Chacedonian orthodoxy does it say that we cannot talk about God "giving birth" as scripture does? Or talk about God as a mother? I prefer the term "biblical Christianity" over your heretical terms.

Let me note first that I didn't call you a heretic.  You were the first to use that term.  And I realize that my views are heretical to you and the other "brights" of the ELCA.  (I"m also a heretic to you because I don't stick to the ELCA party line.)  However, Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy is what is confessed in the Ecumenical Creeds and the Lutheran Confessions.  As a result, it is also confessed in the ELCA Constitution.  If that's heretical, then you should be honest and openly repudiate the Creeds and the Confessions and resign your call as an ELCA pastor. 

What you and the other "brights" in the ELCA should do is openly repudiate Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy and make an attempt to change the ELCA Confession of Faith to reflect your true views. Better yet, you should form a new church, perhaps the Unitarian Universalist Lutheran Church.   You won't do that, however, because you want the cover of orthodoxy.  To openly reject Nicene orthodoxy would be to lose power.  That is something the "brights" in the ELCA will never do, forfeit power. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 02, 2020, 08:45:08 PM
We also realize that the ancient uses of these words was in a patriarchal society. Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.



How fortunate for us that we have such wise theologians who can see through the cultural bias that distorted Israel's portrait of God that they handed down to us in Scripture and filter it out without, of course, introducing any of their own cultural bias in their refined and much improved portrait of God. >:(


They didn't distort it. We have. As I pointed out, one of the pictures handed down to us in Scripture is of God giving birth. I suggest that it's your cultural bias that is unwilling to see and use this female picture of God that has been handed down to us in Scripture.

Brian, given your argument, do you believe it is proper to pray to "Mother Goddess"?

Can you think of anyone reason why one should not?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RandyBosch on May 02, 2020, 08:53:51 PM
Huh? Queen of Sheba was never a queen of Israel, but of Sheba. She was not married to an Israelite King. Queen Vashti was never a queen of Israel, but of the Persian Empire. She was not married to a King of Israel. She was followed by Esther. Not married to an Israelite King.  Please list where the Bible refers to the wife of an Israelite or Judean king as a queen.

You stated upstream that Israel had no Queens.  Now you've brought in the Queen of Sheba (not part of Israel), the Queen of the Persian Empire (not part of Israel).  Where did you learn that they were married to a King of Israel?  Enquiring minds want to know.  Cite sources.
 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 02, 2020, 09:16:46 PM
We also realize that the ancient uses of these words was in a patriarchal society. Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.



How fortunate for us that we have such wise theologians who can see through the cultural bias that distorted Israel's portrait of God that they handed down to us in Scripture and filter it out without, of course, introducing any of their own cultural bias in their refined and much improved portrait of God. >:(


They didn't distort it. We have. As I pointed out, one of the pictures handed down to us in Scripture is of God giving birth. I suggest that it's your cultural bias that is unwilling to see and use this female picture of God that has been handed down to us in Scripture.

You are referring to deus absconditus as opposed to Jesus, deus revelatus.   The hidden God cannot be grasped except through the “darkness” of analogy or metaphor.  Jesus is fully God and fully human and graspable.   I’d rather have Jesus.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 02, 2020, 09:20:21 PM
Huh? Queen of Sheba was never a queen of Israel, but of Sheba. She was not married to an Israelite King. Queen Vashti was never a queen of Israel, but of the Persian Empire. She was not married to a King of Israel. She was followed by Esther. Not married to an Israelite King.  Please list where the Bible refers to the wife of an Israelite or Judean king as a queen.

You stated upstream that Israel had no Queens.  Now you've brought in the Queen of Sheba (not part of Israel), the Queen of the Persian Empire (not part of Israel).  Where did you learn that they were married to a King of Israel?  Enquiring minds want to know.  Cite sources.
 
I think you're just repeating the point Brian made to someone else.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2020, 03:11:45 AM
Huh? Queen of Sheba was never a queen of Israel, but of Sheba. She was not married to an Israelite King. Queen Vashti was never a queen of Israel, but of the Persian Empire. She was not married to a King of Israel. She was followed by Esther. Not married to an Israelite King.  Please list where the Bible refers to the wife of an Israelite or Judean king as a queen.

You stated upstream that Israel had no Queens.  Now you've brought in the Queen of Sheba (not part of Israel), the Queen of the Persian Empire (not part of Israel).  Where did you learn that they were married to a King of Israel?  Enquiring minds want to know.  Cite sources.
 


I said that they were not married to Israelite kings.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2020, 03:47:08 AM
We also realize that the ancient uses of these words was in a patriarchal society. Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.



How fortunate for us that we have such wise theologians who can see through the cultural bias that distorted Israel's portrait of God that they handed down to us in Scripture and filter it out without, of course, introducing any of their own cultural bias in their refined and much improved portrait of God. >:(


They didn't distort it. We have. As I pointed out, one of the pictures handed down to us in Scripture is of God giving birth. I suggest that it's your cultural bias that is unwilling to see and use this female picture of God that has been handed down to us in Scripture.

Brian, given your argument, do you believe it is proper to pray to "Mother Goddess"?

Can you think of anyone reason why one should not?


First of all, God being all-powerful, hears our prayers regardless of who they are addressed to. A question I raised some years ago: Does our God hear the prayers of Muslims? Does our God respond to those prayers? I think he does. Whether I think it's proper or not to pray to Mother Goddess, it doesn't matter. God hears.


Secondly, it's not part of my tradition to use "Mother" or "Goddess" in my prayers. In part because I had a loving father. The use of Father language for God is natural to me. I do not share the experiences of someone who was abused or abandoned by a father - and for whom that word creates bad feelings. Telling them that they shouldn't have those feelings is like telling a converted Jew or Muslim that they can now eat pork and they shouldn't throw up. Our words cannot change what happens in their minds and bodies. They are so conditioned to believe that pork is unclean and should be avoided; that a converted Muslim I met said that when he learned that he had eaten pork two hours after eating it; he still threw up.


Thirdly, 20th century archaeological discoveries show that the goddess Asherah was often part of Israelite worship (at least among the common folks). Her religious statutes were found in homes. There was also found three inscriptions that referred to Yahweh in conjunction with his "asherah". The belief is that some Israelites worship Asherah as a consort to Yahweh. At the same time, there are biblical commands against building images to Asherah (e.g., Deuteronomy 16:21-22). There are numerous passages where statues to Asherah are torn down.


A paragraph in The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible about Asherah:


Yet the fact that the biblical writers find it necessary to condemn repeatedly Asherah worship, and the fact that kings Asa, Hezekiah, and Josiah are said to have repeatedly destroyed an asherah icon (King Asa in the 9th cent. BCE; King Hezekiah in the 9th cent. BCE; and King Josiah in the 7th cent. BCE) suggests that whatever the opposition of the bibilical writers to Asherah worship, many if not most in ancient Israel found devotion to Asherah to be an appropriate part of their devotion to Yahweh. The Asherah icon that Josiah destroyed was said to have stood in Yahweh's Temple in Jerusalem. In addition, sacrifice was offered to the goddess there, and support - for women who were in Asherah's service. Thus it appears that, at least in Josiah's day (ca. 640-609 BCE), there were some associated with the Temple in Jerusalem (priests?) who saw Asherah worship as an appropriate part of the worship of Yahweh.


My impression is that there were two approaches, like I've seen with Native Americans. One approach is that there cannot be any syncretism. Native American religious symbols have no place in Christian worship. Another approach is to incorporate Native symbols into Christian worship. Apparently, there were some who were comfortable with incorporate goddess worship into the worship of Yahweh; while others sought to destroy such symbols of goddess worship.


One could use the passages in Deuteronomy, Judges, 1 & 2 Kings to root out goddess worship.


Those who use such language, look at the actual practice of Israelites over many centuries where they combined goddess statues with the worship of Yahweh.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2020, 03:54:27 AM
What you and the other "brights" in the ELCA should do is openly repudiate Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy and make an attempt to change the ELCA Confession of Faith to reflect your true views. Better yet, you should form a new church, perhaps the Unitarian Universalist Lutheran Church.   You won't do that, however, because you want the cover of orthodoxy.  To openly reject Nicene orthodoxy would be to lose power.  That is something the "brights" in the ELCA will never do, forfeit power.


I don't know where you get your information; but I strongly and repeatedly have affirmed the Confession of Faith that is expressed in the ELCA Constitution. I used that in confirmation and new member classes to talk about what the ELCA believes: what makes us similar to other Christians, and our special documents and what they emphasize.


I was using the Nicene Creed every Sunday, which is the proper creed for the communion liturgy. I got complaints. People wanted the Apostles' Creed. They were more familiar with that. I relented and used the shorter creed on "green" Sundays.


What evidence do you have to claim that I do not believe in the Chalcedonian orthodoxy?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 03, 2020, 08:03:14 AM
We also realize that the ancient uses of these words was in a patriarchal society. Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.



How fortunate for us that we have such wise theologians who can see through the cultural bias that distorted Israel's portrait of God that they handed down to us in Scripture and filter it out without, of course, introducing any of their own cultural bias in their refined and much improved portrait of God. >:(


They didn't distort it. We have. As I pointed out, one of the pictures handed down to us in Scripture is of God giving birth. I suggest that it's your cultural bias that is unwilling to see and use this female picture of God that has been handed down to us in Scripture.

Brian, given your argument, do you believe it is proper to pray to "Mother Goddess"?

Can you think of anyone reason why one should not?


First of all, God being all-powerful, hears our prayers regardless of who they are addressed to. A question I raised some years ago: Does our God hear the prayers of Muslims? Does our God respond to those prayers? I think he does. Whether I think it's proper or not to pray to Mother Goddess, it doesn't matter. God hears.


Secondly, it's not part of my tradition to use "Mother" or "Goddess" in my prayers. In part because I had a loving father. The use of Father language for God is natural to me. I do not share the experiences of someone who was abused or abandoned by a father - and for whom that word creates bad feelings. Telling them that they shouldn't have those feelings is like telling a converted Jew or Muslim that they can now eat pork and they shouldn't throw up. Our words cannot change what happens in their minds and bodies. They are so conditioned to believe that pork is unclean and should be avoided; that a converted Muslim I met said that when he learned that he had eaten pork two hours after eating it; he still threw up.


Thirdly, 20th century archaeological discoveries show that the goddess Asherah was often part of Israelite worship (at least among the common folks). Her religious statutes were found in homes. There was also found three inscriptions that referred to Yahweh in conjunction with his "asherah". The belief is that some Israelites worship Asherah as a consort to Yahweh. At the same time, there are biblical commands against building images to Asherah (e.g., Deuteronomy 16:21-22). There are numerous passages where statues to Asherah are torn down.


A paragraph in The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible about Asherah:


Yet the fact that the biblical writers find it necessary to condemn repeatedly Asherah worship, and the fact that kings Asa, Hezekiah, and Josiah are said to have repeatedly destroyed an asherah icon (King Asa in the 9th cent. BCE; King Hezekiah in the 9th cent. BCE; and King Josiah in the 7th cent. BCE) suggests that whatever the opposition of the bibilical writers to Asherah worship, many if not most in ancient Israel found devotion to Asherah to be an appropriate part of their devotion to Yahweh. The Asherah icon that Josiah destroyed was said to have stood in Yahweh's Temple in Jerusalem. In addition, sacrifice was offered to the goddess there, and support - for women who were in Asherah's service. Thus it appears that, at least in Josiah's day (ca. 640-609 BCE), there were some associated with the Temple in Jerusalem (priests?) who saw Asherah worship as an appropriate part of the worship of Yahweh.


My impression is that there were two approaches, like I've seen with Native Americans. One approach is that there cannot be any syncretism. Native American religious symbols have no place in Christian worship. Another approach is to incorporate Native symbols into Christian worship. Apparently, there were some who were comfortable with incorporate goddess worship into the worship of Yahweh; while others sought to destroy such symbols of goddess worship.


One could use the passages in Deuteronomy, Judges, 1 & 2 Kings to root out goddess worship.


Those who use such language, look at the actual practice of Israelites over many centuries where they combined goddess statues with the worship of Yahweh.

So the answer is, "There is no reason not to do so. Praying to the Goddess is in line with Lutheran theology and practice. Oh, and syncretism is way cool."

There are no words.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 03, 2020, 09:58:28 AM
What you and the other "brights" in the ELCA should do is openly repudiate Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy and make an attempt to change the ELCA Confession of Faith to reflect your true views. Better yet, you should form a new church, perhaps the Unitarian Universalist Lutheran Church.   You won't do that, however, because you want the cover of orthodoxy.  To openly reject Nicene orthodoxy would be to lose power.  That is something the "brights" in the ELCA will never do, forfeit power.

I don't know where you get your information; but I strongly and repeatedly have affirmed the Confession of Faith that is expressed in the ELCA Constitution. I used that in confirmation and new member classes to talk about what the ELCA believes: what makes us similar to other Christians, and our special documents and what they emphasize.

I was using the Nicene Creed every Sunday, which is the proper creed for the communion liturgy. I got complaints. People wanted the Apostles' Creed. They were more familiar with that. I relented and used the shorter creed on "green" Sundays.

What evidence do you have to claim that I do not believe in the Chalcedonian orthodoxy?

What I'm alleging is that the theology you have expressed on this thread is actually Unitarian Modalism.  You seem to be unaware of it, but that is what it is.  Furthermore, you treat the people who defend Nicene orthodoxy as heretics. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 03, 2020, 10:50:53 AM
This was tweeted by the ELCA's official account on April 28:

Mother God, you have fed us with the nourishment of your spiritual food. Raise us up into salvation and rid us of our bitterness, so that we may share the sweetness of your holy word with all the world.



Are you praising or criticizing? Why did you start the discussion?



The Bible uses mother images in terms of God. Why shouldn't we?


Can you draw a distinction between affirming that God is a mother and comparing God to a mother? There have been many images used to describe God in the Bible, does each of those mean that God is that which He is compared to?
Quote
Numbers 11:12-13 —
Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, 'Give us meat to eat!'

Is this supposed to be an example of the Bible using mother imagery for God? These verses are from Moses and about Moses. Did Moses give birth to the people? But would you say that by using the mother image for Moses, that make Moses a mother?


Quote
Deuteronomy 32:18 —
You deserted the Rock, who bore you;

  you forgot the God who gave you birth.


This passage at least does refer to God. But in addition to talking about God giving birth to the people, it also calls God a rock. Are we to learn from this that our God is really a rock and that a rock can conceive, gestate, go into labor, and give birth?


Perhaps we need to have a remedial lesson on the nature of metaphor.

Quote
Job 38:28-30 —
Does the rain have a father?
  Who fathers the drops of dew?
From whose womb comes the ice?
  Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
when the waters become hard as stone,

  when the surface of the deep is frozen?
If God is a mother, He is a very strange mother. How many mothers have you encountered who have given birth to ice or cold weather? Could this be referring not to a literal mother, but using a metaphor comparing God's creative actions to that of a mother who gives birth? Or would God have to be female in order for the metaphor to be applicable?


Quote
Psalm 90:2 CEB
Before the mountains were born,
  before you birthed the earth and the inhabited world -

  from forever in the past to forever in the future, you are God.
Again, a very strange mother who can give birth to an entire planet and its population.


Quote
Psalm 131:2 —
But I have calmed myself
  and quieted my ambitions.
I am like a weaned child with its mother;

  like a weaned child I am content.
This Psalm verse does not call God a mother, just comparing how the Psalmist feels, presumably in contemplating and relating to God, to the way a small child would feel with its mother.


Quote
Isaiah 49:15 —
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
  and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,

  I will not forget you!
Again, a comparison is made rather than an affirmation as to the nature of God. God cares for His people even more than a mother cares for her baby. If anything, this passages says that God is not a mother but better than a mother.

Quote
Isaiah 66:9 —
"Do I bring to the moment of birth
  and not give delivery?" says the Lord

"Do I close up the womb

  when I bring to delivery?" says your God.
Again this passage does not in any way compare God to a mother. At most it affirms that God facilitates mothers giving birth.


I have no problem with agreeing that Scripture at times uses mother imagery to describe God, or mother metaphors for certain aspects of how God relates to people. No big deal. But neither does it somehow indicate that God is in some way a mother in His nature or that somehow God is female in His nature. Part of the power of metaphor is the use of incongruous comparisons to highlight the aspect of what is being described and what that is compared to that is similar.


The point where I might find fault with the prayer that occasioned this thread is not an implicit comparison of God to a mother, but that it addresses God as "Mother God." There is a distinct difference between comparing God to a mother, and calling God a mother or addressing Him as mother.


My challenge still stands. Can you point out a place in Scripture where God is addressed as Mother?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RandyBosch on May 03, 2020, 12:56:50 PM
Welcome to Brian's House of Mirrors with its many strange and distorted reflections.  Some of the reflections are "true", even though many of them are reverse views of "true".  Many have fun in the House of Mirrors, and as I do, many are drawn into it searching for a "true" and single reflection, or a way through the maze.  All the best with that.

An acquaintance* suggested that I reflect upon an observation by Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

‘ποίησις’ (poiēsis) means ‘a making, a creation, a production’... ‘μóρφωσις’ (morphōsis) in essence means the same thing: ‘a shaping, a bringing into shape.’ But Coleridge has in mind the New Testament use of the word as ‘semblance’ or ‘outward appearance’, which the KJV translates as ‘form’: ‘An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form [μóρφωσις] of knowledge and of the truth in the law’ [Romans 2:20]; ‘Having a form [μóρφωσις] of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away’ [2 Timothy 3:5]."

 I trust that's clear.  Biblical wise advice!

*…by directing me to a posting in the "Samuel Taylor Bloggeridge" at samueltaylorbloggeridge.blogspot.com/.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2020, 04:31:17 PM
What you and the other "brights" in the ELCA should do is openly repudiate Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy and make an attempt to change the ELCA Confession of Faith to reflect your true views. Better yet, you should form a new church, perhaps the Unitarian Universalist Lutheran Church.   You won't do that, however, because you want the cover of orthodoxy.  To openly reject Nicene orthodoxy would be to lose power.  That is something the "brights" in the ELCA will never do, forfeit power.

I don't know where you get your information; but I strongly and repeatedly have affirmed the Confession of Faith that is expressed in the ELCA Constitution. I used that in confirmation and new member classes to talk about what the ELCA believes: what makes us similar to other Christians, and our special documents and what they emphasize.

I was using the Nicene Creed every Sunday, which is the proper creed for the communion liturgy. I got complaints. People wanted the Apostles' Creed. They were more familiar with that. I relented and used the shorter creed on "green" Sundays.

What evidence do you have to claim that I do not believe in the Chalcedonian orthodoxy?

What I'm alleging is that the theology you have expressed on this thread is actually Unitarian Modalism.  You seem to be unaware of it, but that is what it is.  Furthermore, you treat the people who defend Nicene orthodoxy as heretics.


Yes, you're alleging it without any evidence. I believe in the Trinity: one God in three persons. We should not confuse the persons - mesh them into each other. The Father is not the Son. The Son is not the Spirit. Father, Son, and Spirit are one God. I think to say that the Spirit who came at Pentecost is the same as the Son is wrong. Thus, I see a difference between Matthew's ending with Jesus' promise to be with the disciples aways; and Luke and John's ending that have Jesus leaving (ascended in Luke/Acts) so that the Spirit can come. I will state that God is with us always. Jesus is God. The Spirit is God. The divine presence is the same. The person of that presence is different.


What is heretical about that?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2020, 04:38:27 PM
We also realize that the ancient uses of these words was in a patriarchal society. Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.



How fortunate for us that we have such wise theologians who can see through the cultural bias that distorted Israel's portrait of God that they handed down to us in Scripture and filter it out without, of course, introducing any of their own cultural bias in their refined and much improved portrait of God. >:(


They didn't distort it. We have. As I pointed out, one of the pictures handed down to us in Scripture is of God giving birth. I suggest that it's your cultural bias that is unwilling to see and use this female picture of God that has been handed down to us in Scripture.

Brian, given your argument, do you believe it is proper to pray to "Mother Goddess"?

Can you think of anyone reason why one should not?


First of all, God being all-powerful, hears our prayers regardless of who they are addressed to. A question I raised some years ago: Does our God hear the prayers of Muslims? Does our God respond to those prayers? I think he does. Whether I think it's proper or not to pray to Mother Goddess, it doesn't matter. God hears.


Secondly, it's not part of my tradition to use "Mother" or "Goddess" in my prayers. In part because I had a loving father. The use of Father language for God is natural to me. I do not share the experiences of someone who was abused or abandoned by a father - and for whom that word creates bad feelings. Telling them that they shouldn't have those feelings is like telling a converted Jew or Muslim that they can now eat pork and they shouldn't throw up. Our words cannot change what happens in their minds and bodies. They are so conditioned to believe that pork is unclean and should be avoided; that a converted Muslim I met said that when he learned that he had eaten pork two hours after eating it; he still threw up.


Thirdly, 20th century archaeological discoveries show that the goddess Asherah was often part of Israelite worship (at least among the common folks). Her religious statutes were found in homes. There was also found three inscriptions that referred to Yahweh in conjunction with his "asherah". The belief is that some Israelites worship Asherah as a consort to Yahweh. At the same time, there are biblical commands against building images to Asherah (e.g., Deuteronomy 16:21-22). There are numerous passages where statues to Asherah are torn down.


A paragraph in The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible about Asherah:


Yet the fact that the biblical writers find it necessary to condemn repeatedly Asherah worship, and the fact that kings Asa, Hezekiah, and Josiah are said to have repeatedly destroyed an asherah icon (King Asa in the 9th cent. BCE; King Hezekiah in the 9th cent. BCE; and King Josiah in the 7th cent. BCE) suggests that whatever the opposition of the bibilical writers to Asherah worship, many if not most in ancient Israel found devotion to Asherah to be an appropriate part of their devotion to Yahweh. The Asherah icon that Josiah destroyed was said to have stood in Yahweh's Temple in Jerusalem. In addition, sacrifice was offered to the goddess there, and support - for women who were in Asherah's service. Thus it appears that, at least in Josiah's day (ca. 640-609 BCE), there were some associated with the Temple in Jerusalem (priests?) who saw Asherah worship as an appropriate part of the worship of Yahweh.


My impression is that there were two approaches, like I've seen with Native Americans. One approach is that there cannot be any syncretism. Native American religious symbols have no place in Christian worship. Another approach is to incorporate Native symbols into Christian worship. Apparently, there were some who were comfortable with incorporate goddess worship into the worship of Yahweh; while others sought to destroy such symbols of goddess worship.


One could use the passages in Deuteronomy, Judges, 1 & 2 Kings to root out goddess worship.


Those who use such language, look at the actual practice of Israelites over many centuries where they combined goddess statues with the worship of Yahweh.

So the answer is, "There is no reason not to do so. Praying to the Goddess is in line with Lutheran theology and practice. Oh, and syncretism is way cool."

There are no words.


Wrong answer. Like with Paul's advice about food sacrificed to idols; there will be some who find nothing wrong with it because idols don't exist; and others whose conscience will not let them participate in the pagan practice. Likewise, there are some who will use goddess language in reference to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God who is known as the Trinity. For them, our God is big enough to be expressed in such terms. For others, their conscience will not let them participate in what is seen as pagan language and practices.


Yes, there are words. Do you want to place those who have been freed from the Law by Jesus back under the Law? "You can't do that!"


I also disagree somewhat with the title of this thread. At best, the ELCA allowed a prayer to "Mother God." There is a freedom in our denomination that isn't always found in other denominations. When language like that showed up in a petition, I usually changed it, e.g., "God, who loves us like a mother, …." I have the freedom to do that, just as others have the freedom to use that language.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 03, 2020, 04:50:04 PM
"Mother God" is not the same God that I worship.  "Mother God" is not the God of the Bible.  "Mother God" is not the Triune God of Christianity.  It is another god, a false god.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 03, 2020, 05:34:22 PM
I would not use “Mother God,” myself, Pastor Bohler, as I find it odd in most circles.
But if someone or several someones in the ELCA does, finding it not odd in their circles, I am not calling out the Inquisition.
You?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 03, 2020, 05:40:04 PM
I would not use “Mother God,” myself, Pastor Bohler, as I find it odd in most circles.
But if someone or several someones in the ELCA does, finding it not odd in their circles, I am not calling out the Inquisition.
You?

Well, Charlotte, if someone in the ELCA does it, I'm not calling out the inquisition. Not my church. It's Her Church.

But if a pastor or church worker in the LCMS did it, I do everything I could to get the false teacher off our roster. That's a promise, Chuck.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 03, 2020, 06:00:58 PM
Is this “MotherGod” prayer all that different from Aaron’s golden calf?  Here is your god, O ELCA, the one who led you out of bondage to patriarchy....
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RDPreus on May 03, 2020, 06:13:32 PM
On Trinity Sunday, May 30, 1999, I was driving from Mayville, ND to East Grand Forks, Minnesota and I heard a sermon on KCNN from a pastor of a congregation of the ELCA in Grand Forks.  The preacher said that while we address God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, it would also be appropriate to address God as Mother, Lover, and Friend. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2020, 06:14:16 PM
Is this “MotherGod” prayer all that different from Aaron’s golden calf?  Here is your god, O ELCA, the one who led you out of bondage to patriarchy....


Yes, it's different. The golden calf was an object to be worshiped. It was breaking the commandment against graven images.


"Mother God" is addressed to the Almighty, all-powerful God. It is not creating an image of God. At least, not any more than "Father God" might create an image of a old guy with a long beard.


Does our God, the Father of Jesus Christ, hear prayers addressed to Mother God? I think so.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RDPreus on May 03, 2020, 06:18:23 PM
God is Father and Church is Mother.  That's not so hard to understand, is it?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 03, 2020, 06:22:00 PM
What you and the other "brights" in the ELCA should do is openly repudiate Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy and make an attempt to change the ELCA Confession of Faith to reflect your true views. Better yet, you should form a new church, perhaps the Unitarian Universalist Lutheran Church.   You won't do that, however, because you want the cover of orthodoxy.  To openly reject Nicene orthodoxy would be to lose power.  That is something the "brights" in the ELCA will never do, forfeit power.

I don't know where you get your information; but I strongly and repeatedly have affirmed the Confession of Faith that is expressed in the ELCA Constitution. I used that in confirmation and new member classes to talk about what the ELCA believes: what makes us similar to other Christians, and our special documents and what they emphasize.

I was using the Nicene Creed every Sunday, which is the proper creed for the communion liturgy. I got complaints. People wanted the Apostles' Creed. They were more familiar with that. I relented and used the shorter creed on "green" Sundays.

What evidence do you have to claim that I do not believe in the Chalcedonian orthodoxy?

I claim that what you argued earlier on this thread was Unitarian Modalism.  I think that is the correct name for the doctrine that you espoused.  It is in contradiction to your claim to believe in the Trinity.  How do I account for this contradiction?  I think you are confused.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 03, 2020, 06:31:14 PM
What you and the other "brights" in the ELCA should do is openly repudiate Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy and make an attempt to change the ELCA Confession of Faith to reflect your true views. Better yet, you should form a new church, perhaps the Unitarian Universalist Lutheran Church.   You won't do that, however, because you want the cover of orthodoxy.  To openly reject Nicene orthodoxy would be to lose power.  That is something the "brights" in the ELCA will never do, forfeit power.

I don't know where you get your information; but I strongly and repeatedly have affirmed the Confession of Faith that is expressed in the ELCA Constitution. I used that in confirmation and new member classes to talk about what the ELCA believes: what makes us similar to other Christians, and our special documents and what they emphasize.

I was using the Nicene Creed every Sunday, which is the proper creed for the communion liturgy. I got complaints. People wanted the Apostles' Creed. They were more familiar with that. I relented and used the shorter creed on "green" Sundays.

What evidence do you have to claim that I do not believe in the Chalcedonian orthodoxy?

I claim that what you argued earlier on this thread was Unitarian Modalism.  I think that is the correct name for the doctrine that you espoused.  It is in contradiction to your claim to believe in the Trinity.  How do I account for this contradiction?  I think you are confused.


You claimed it. I never bought it. I'm not even sure what "unitarian modalism" means. One God in three modes? God is the Father or the Son or the Spirit, but not all three at once? (Unitarians do not consider Jesus to be divine, but modalists do.)
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 03, 2020, 06:49:36 PM
What you and the other "brights" in the ELCA should do is openly repudiate Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy and make an attempt to change the ELCA Confession of Faith to reflect your true views. Better yet, you should form a new church, perhaps the Unitarian Universalist Lutheran Church.   You won't do that, however, because you want the cover of orthodoxy.  To openly reject Nicene orthodoxy would be to lose power.  That is something the "brights" in the ELCA will never do, forfeit power.

I don't know where you get your information; but I strongly and repeatedly have affirmed the Confession of Faith that is expressed in the ELCA Constitution. I used that in confirmation and new member classes to talk about what the ELCA believes: what makes us similar to other Christians, and our special documents and what they emphasize.

I was using the Nicene Creed every Sunday, which is the proper creed for the communion liturgy. I got complaints. People wanted the Apostles' Creed. They were more familiar with that. I relented and used the shorter creed on "green" Sundays.

What evidence do you have to claim that I do not believe in the Chalcedonian orthodoxy?

I claim that what you argued earlier on this thread was Unitarian Modalism.  I think that is the correct name for the doctrine that you espoused.  It is in contradiction to your claim to believe in the Trinity.  How do I account for this contradiction?  I think you are confused.


You claimed it. I never bought it. I'm not even sure what "unitarian modalism" means. One God in three modes? God is the Father or the Son or the Spirit, but not all three at once? (Unitarians do not consider Jesus to be divine, but modalists do.)

I'm only responding to what you write here.  I'm not capable of reading your mind or seeing what is in your heart.  However, I am replying to the Brian Stoffregen who posts on this thread.  Perhaps "Brian Stoffregen" is a mask that you wear on ALPB Forum and the real Brian is the one behind the mask.  I don't know.  So let me address "Brian Stoffregen".

You are Modalist because you say that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are metaphors like Burning Bush, Mother, Rock, and all the other metaphors employed for God in the Bible.  If this were true, then Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not persons, but simply the expression of human perceptions.  This is Modalism, where Father, Son and Holy Spirit describe different aspects of how the one God is perceived by humans.

You appear to be Unitarian because you even deny the uniqueness of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  You argue that they are metaphors that are in no way unique, but equivalent to all other Biblical metaphors.  There is nothing essential about the three metaphors.  Regular modalism is an attempt to explain how Father, Son and Holy Spirit can be one God, and not three.   It grows out of an acknowledgment that this is indeed WHO God is.  You deny that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is WHO God is, but instead claim that it is one metaphor among many that expresses WHAT God is to us.  If what you assert were true, there would be no reason to insist that God is a trinity.  God could just a easily be a quaternity, a , quinternity, or a union of any number of metaphors. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 03, 2020, 08:56:06 PM
Is this “MotherGod” prayer all that different from Aaron’s golden calf?  Here is your god, O ELCA, the one who led you out of bondage to patriarchy....


Yes, it's different. The golden calf was an object to be worshiped. It was breaking the commandment against graven images.


"Mother God" is addressed to the Almighty, all-powerful God. It is not creating an image of God. At least, not any more than "Father God" might create an image of a old guy with a long beard.


Does our God, the Father of Jesus Christ, hear prayers addressed to Mother God? I think so.

So, "Mother God" is not to be worshipped?  Then why pray to her?  The problem was not simply that the golden calf was a graven image; it was that Aaron had "made" a new god -- even though he claimed it was the same one -- by changing God's revelation of Himself to Moses.  Those who use the "Mother God" prayer are making a new god, even though they might be claiming it is the same one -- they are changing God's self-revelation as Father to something THEY chose.  That is idolatry.

As to whether or not God hears such prayers -- or those offered to any other false gods -- sure, He hears them.  He hears everything.  But, as they are not addressed to Him, He does not acknowledge them.  Much like if a father hears someone else's kid in Walmart ask "Dad, give me a dollar" -- he would hear the request, but it is not meant for him, so he would not give the child the money. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 04, 2020, 02:49:29 AM
You are Modalist because you say that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are metaphors like Burning Bush, Mother, Rock, and all the other metaphors employed for God in the Bible.  If this were true, then Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not persons, but simply the expression of human perceptions.  This is Modalism, where Father, Son and Holy Spirit describe different aspects of how the one God is perceived by humans.


I said that in the context of "all language is metaphor". Fr. Richard Rohr says the same thing. https://cac.org/all-language-is-metaphor-2017-01-11/


The words "my father" is not my father. It represents my father. So do the words, "Paul Stoffregen." Even those 14 letters on a page is his name, they are not my dad. Since they "represent" my dad, the words are metaphors.


If the words, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are not metaphor; what are they? Why wouldn't ὁ πατὴρ καὶ ὁ υἱὸς καὶ τὸ ἁγιος πνεῦμα be more of whatever you want those words to be, since those are the words in the Bible? We know that Jesus used, "abba" in reference to God. If the words are God, we'd better use the same word Jesus used. If the words represent the truth about God, then we can translate the meaning of that word into many different languages.

Quote
You appear to be Unitarian because you even deny the uniqueness of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  You argue that they are metaphors that are in no way unique, but equivalent to all other Biblical metaphors.  There is nothing essential about the three metaphors.  Regular modalism is an attempt to explain how Father, Son and Holy Spirit can be one God, and not three.   It grows out of an acknowledgment that this is indeed WHO God is.  You deny that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is WHO God is, but instead claim that it is one metaphor among many that expresses WHAT God is to us.  If what you assert were true, there would be no reason to insist that God is a trinity.  God could just a easily be a quaternity, a , quinternity, or a union of any number of metaphors.


I do not deny that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is WHO GOD IS. I argue that these English words, like all words, accurately represent our Triune God, the words are not god. Thus are metaphors. It is the language we use to talk about the three persons of the Trinity. (In olden days it was Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. At some point, it was decided that "ghost" was not a good word to represent the third person of the Trinity.) If we were speaking Spanish or Japanese or Korean or Finnish, we would use different words to represent the same truth about the Trinity.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 04, 2020, 03:37:59 AM
Is this “MotherGod” prayer all that different from Aaron’s golden calf?  Here is your god, O ELCA, the one who led you out of bondage to patriarchy....


Yes, it's different. The golden calf was an object to be worshiped. It was breaking the commandment against graven images.


"Mother God" is addressed to the Almighty, all-powerful God. It is not creating an image of God. At least, not any more than "Father God" might create an image of a old guy with a long beard.


Does our God, the Father of Jesus Christ, hear prayers addressed to Mother God? I think so.

So, "Mother God" is not to be worshipped?  Then why pray to her?  The problem was not simply that the golden calf was a graven image; it was that Aaron had "made" a new god -- even though he claimed it was the same one -- by changing God's revelation of Himself to Moses.  Those who use the "Mother God" prayer are making a new god, even though they might be claiming it is the same one -- they are changing God's self-revelation as Father to something THEY chose.  That is idolatry.


Where does it indicate that Aaron was trying to represent YHWH? It seems to me that the people had given up on Moses as the visible representative of YHWH who was leading out of Egypt to the Promised Land. He had been gone too long. They were impatient. They want "gods" (note the plural in most translations) who would lead them - a new representative of God. Note that they already had instructions about gold cherubim on the ark that designated God's seat (Exodus 25), which would be built later (Exodus 37). There was nothing wrong with having these gold symbols for God's presence among the people. Like the mercy seat on the Ark, bulls were often depicted as a pedestal for the divine in the ancient near east. The golden calf/bull was not a replacement for YHWH, but a replacement for Moses. It was the new link between the people and God. They got tired of waiting for Moses to return.


Later, Jeroboam, in contrast to the Cherubim in the temple in Jerusalem, created statues of bulls in the places of worship and sacrifice in the Northern Kingdom (1 Kings 12:28-32). He used much the same phrase as in Exodus: "Here are your gods who brought you out from the land of Egypt" (1 Kings 12:28). There is a theory that this event with two calves, where the plural was appropriate, was imbedded into the Exodus story, where the plural noun and verbs were used even though there was only one calf.


While the people and Aaron (and later Jeroboam) made use of a common myth of their time about a god resting on the back of a bull; I don't think that we can claim any American myths that involve gods and goddesses that are being adopted when a prayer is addressed to "Mother God." Such myths are not part of our culture.

Quote
As to whether or not God hears such prayers -- or those offered to any other false gods -- sure, He hears them.  He hears everything.  But, as they are not addressed to Him, He does not acknowledge them.  Much like if a father hears someone else's kid in Walmart ask "Dad, give me a dollar" -- he would hear the request, but it is not meant for him, so he would not give the child the money.


If I hear a child cry for help, I will respond, even when they are not my own. I have given money to strangers who asked for help.


If we believe that God created me and all that exists; how could God not be the creator of all people? There's no such thing as "someone else's creation".
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 04, 2020, 09:44:27 AM
Rev. Stoffregen,

You ask: "Where does it indicate that Aaron was trying to represent YHWH?"       

I answer: "...Then they said, 'This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!'  So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, 'Tomorrow is a feast to Lord.'" (Exodus 32:4b-5)      The plural in v. 1 and 4 ("gods") that you mention is Elohim which is, of course, also used for Yahweh.  The fact that Aaron connects this golden calf with Yahweh in v. 5 (using the proper name) makes that identification between the idol and God even more clear.

For both the golden calf AND the "Mother God" prayer, the bottom line is, as I said before, people rejecting God's self-revelation for a god of their own making.  Idolatry.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 04, 2020, 09:49:18 AM
I have a question for you, Pastor Bohler. Supposing in a service the one presiding prays using the term “Mother God.” Supposing in that service, is the “traditional” liturgy, the traditional creed, readings from scripture (ours), and the celebration of holy communion. But there’s that one prayer using the dreaded term.
Is it still Idolatry?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 04, 2020, 10:06:39 AM
You are Modalist because you say that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are metaphors like Burning Bush, Mother, Rock, and all the other metaphors employed for God in the Bible.  If this were true, then Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not persons, but simply the expression of human perceptions.  This is Modalism, where Father, Son and Holy Spirit describe different aspects of how the one God is perceived by humans.

I said that in the context of "all language is metaphor". Fr. Richard Rohr says the same thing. https://cac.org/all-language-is-metaphor-2017-01-11/

Richard Rohr is a gnostic, so I wouldn't put much stock in what he says.

Quote
The words "my father" is not my father. It represents my father. So do the words, "Paul Stoffregen." Even those 14 letters on a page is his name, they are not my dad. Since they "represent" my dad, the words are metaphors.

If the words, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are not metaphor; what are they? Why wouldn't ὁ πατὴρ καὶ ὁ υἱὸς καὶ τὸ ἁγιος πνεῦμα be more of whatever you want those words to be, since those are the words in the Bible? We know that Jesus used, "abba" in reference to God. If the words are God, we'd better use the same word Jesus used. If the words represent the truth about God, then we can translate the meaning of that word into many different languages.

Brian Stoffregen is a person, not a metaphor.  It morally and ethically acceptable to torture a metaphor, although it may be aesthetically in bad taste.  It is evil to torture a person. 

Quote
Quote
You appear to be Unitarian because you even deny the uniqueness of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  You argue that they are metaphors that are in no way unique, but equivalent to all other Biblical metaphors.  There is nothing essential about the three metaphors.  Regular modalism is an attempt to explain how Father, Son and Holy Spirit can be one God, and not three.   It grows out of an acknowledgment that this is indeed WHO God is.  You deny that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is WHO God is, but instead claim that it is one metaphor among many that expresses WHAT God is to us.  If what you assert were true, there would be no reason to insist that God is a trinity.  God could just a easily be a quaternity, a , quinternity, or a union of any number of metaphors.

I do not deny that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is WHO GOD IS. I argue that these English words, like all words, accurately represent our Triune God, the words are not god. Thus are metaphors. It is the language we use to talk about the three persons of the Trinity. (In olden days it was Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. At some point, it was decided that "ghost" was not a good word to represent the third person of the Trinity.) If we were speaking Spanish or Japanese or Korean or Finnish, we would use different words to represent the same truth about the Trinity.

I argue that persons reveal themselves through language.  It is only through language that another person can reveal him/herself to me.  Apart from language we can only know things, not persons. One way that we reveal ourselves to others is by saying, "Hello, my name is..." 

As a Christian, I believe that God is not a thing, but a person, or more accurately, three persons. God reveals Godself by speaking, through the Word.  God reveals Godself in the most personal manner possible through the Incarnate Word, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.  It is through the very words that Jesus spoke that God reveals Godself to us.  The words of Jesus do not present a barrier that we must overcome.  They are God's self revelation. 

The metaphorical theology that you espouse is based on the assumption that we only know God as an object, but not as a person.  Just as we do with a rock, a tree, a car or a pet, we give God names.  But God never speaks and gives us his/her/its name.  In a sense, we throw as many metaphors at God as we can, waiting to see what sticks.  In this view, God is like a multifaceted object.  Every time a metaphor is added, we gain a fuller picture of who God is to us. 

If your approach was correct, "trinity" would be a metaphor just like all the rest.  You would no more know that God is triune, than you would know that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  What you would be dealing with would be an unknown God to which you attached those metaphors that best expressed your own perception. 

That's one of the key flaws about your argument.  Apart from God's self disclosure through language, you would never know that God is Triune.  At best, you might know that you perceive God to be triune.  "Triune" would then be nothing more than your own preferred metaphor for God.  People who perceived God to be a monad, a duality, a quaternity, or hepternity, would have as much chance of being right as you would. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 04, 2020, 10:09:16 AM
I have a question for you, Pastor Bohler. Supposing in a service the one presiding prays using the term “Mother God.” Supposing in that service, is the “traditional” liturgy, the traditional creed, readings from scripture (ours), and the celebration of holy communion. But there’s that one prayer using the dreaded term.
Is it still Idolatry?
What is the point of trying to determine the precise amount of error or idolatry is permissible before the whole service is rendered idolatrous or unorthodox?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Eileen Smith on May 04, 2020, 10:16:09 AM
I have a question for you, Pastor Bohler. Supposing in a service the one presiding prays using the term “Mother God.” Supposing in that service, is the “traditional” liturgy, the traditional creed, readings from scripture (ours), and the celebration of holy communion. But there’s that one prayer using the dreaded term.
Is it still Idolatry?

As one making amends for a misreading of the original statement above, may I offer my (re)take on Mother God.  Is it idolatry?  Yes.  Idolatry isn't as simple as a word or phrase used in a "traditional" liturgy, it is the intent as well.  We set our needs above what God wills for us and cast aside his promises.  Yes, there are women who may find it difficult to pray to God the Father but does the church not lead them to understand that no matter the relationship with their earthy father or spouse, God protects and cares for them.  We are doing no favors to affirm language created with the express intent to superimpose the god that we wish to create over the God who created us.  Substituting language for something not intended shows a lack of trust in God's promises.

We seem to think that we are superior to those who first handed down the faith of the church and so we we might say, It's complicated.  Actually, it's not complicated at all.    Scripture is quite clear on who our Father is and through Whom we have access to our Father.   
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 04, 2020, 10:23:37 AM

Reminds me of the old question, "How bad can I be and still get to heaven?"


I can understand using mother imagery to describe God. The Bible occasionally uses mother imagery to describe God. But that is different than calling God, "Mother." While it is easy to find Biblical precedent for using mother imagery for God, can anyone find Biblical precedent for addressing God as Mother? It seems to me to be presumptuous as least to impose on God address that He has not chosen since He has revealed to us ways in which we may address Him. Do we really want to tell God that we don't like what He has called Himself in speaking to us and have decided to call Him something of our choosing and preference?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 04, 2020, 10:24:25 AM
I have a question for you, Pastor Bohler. Supposing in a service the one presiding prays using the term “Mother God.” Supposing in that service, is the “traditional” liturgy, the traditional creed, readings from scripture (ours), and the celebration of holy communion. But there’s that one prayer using the dreaded term.
Is it still Idolatry?

Here's one for you.  Supposing in a lifetime of general obedience to the laws of the land -- he doesn't speed, he pays his taxes on time and the proper amount, he separates his recyclables, and so on -- a man one day picks up a knife and stabs to death his neighbor after a heated argument over his dog pooping in the yard.  Is it still murder?

The answer is "yes".  To your question and mine.  Yes, it is.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 04, 2020, 10:28:09 AM
I have a question for you, Pastor Bohler. Supposing in a service the one presiding prays using the term “Mother God.” Supposing in that service, is the “traditional” liturgy, the traditional creed, readings from scripture (ours), and the celebration of holy communion. But there’s that one prayer using the dreaded term.
Is it still Idolatry?

Here's one for you.  Supposing in a lifetime of general obedience to the laws of the land -- he doesn't speed, he pays his taxes on time and the proper amount, he separates his recyclables, and so on -- a man one day picks up a knife and stabs to death his neighbor after a heated argument over his dog pooping in the yard.  Is it still murder?

The answer is "yes".  To your question and mine.  Yes, it is.

Oh, and stop pooping these prayers in God's yard.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 04, 2020, 10:37:09 AM

Seems to me that in dealing with women who have had a bad relationship with a father, or with men and for whom relating to God as Father is problematic that we have here a teachable moment.


In the long run, which is more beneficial for women who have been in an abusive relationship, to help them work through their trauma, heal, and begin to be able to form positive relationships, or to help them avoid dealing with their trauma and avoid ever having to interact with those of the same class as those who abused them? (If it was a father, avoid ever having to deal with fathers, or men, etc.)


First, there are Biblical ways to speak to God other than as Father. Prayers can be addressed to Jesus, or to our Good Shepherd. Second this could be an opportunity, carefully and gently, to help the person come to realize that the father who so badly treated them was not what a father is supposed to be like. He was not a good father, as God is our good Father. Part of her healing could be to come to recognize how wrong her father had been, not her fault, not what fathers should be. To pretend that God is not Father but Mother may make her more comfortable but do little to help her heal. The wounds that her human father inflicted are still being allowed to fester and color all her life and relationships rather than heal as a wound inflicted by a bad person but she is a person who can meet and relate to others without allowing her bad father to continue to control her and her relationships with others. Probably a long process needing much care and patience but a needed process.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 04, 2020, 10:39:58 AM
I have a question for you, Pastor Bohler. Supposing in a service the one presiding prays using the term “Mother God.” Supposing in that service, is the “traditional” liturgy, the traditional creed, readings from scripture (ours), and the celebration of holy communion. But there’s that one prayer using the dreaded term.
Is it still Idolatry?

As one making amends for a misreading of the original statement above, may I offer my (re)take on Mother God.  Is it idolatry?  Yes.  Idolatry isn't as simple as a word or phrase used in a "traditional" liturgy, it is the intent as well.  We set our needs above what God wills for us and cast aside his promises.  Yes, there are women who may find it difficult to pray to God the Father but does the church not lead them to understand that no matter the relationship with their earthy father or spouse, God protects and cares for them.  We are doing no favors to affirm language created with the express intent to superimpose the god that we wish to create over the God who created us.  Substituting language for something not intended shows a lack of trust in God's promises.

We seem to think that we are superior to those who first handed down the faith of the church and so we we might say, It's complicated.  Actually, it's not complicated at all.    Scripture is quite clear on who our Father is and through Whom we have access to our Father.

Yes, and to add to what you have said: mothers too can be abusive, unloving, mean, and negligent.  It is not just fathers who have a corner on that market.  Indeed, in my time in the social service field, I dealt with more cases of mothers abusing/neglecting their children than fathers -- partly, I am sure, because many of these were one-parent households with no father present.  But still, the mothers were the ones abusing and neglecting the kids.  So, what does it say to those with such mothers when the prayer is now addressed to "Mother God"? 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: pearson on May 04, 2020, 10:56:35 AM

I said that in the context of "all language is metaphor". Fr. Richard Rohr says the same thing. https://cac.org/all-language-is-metaphor-2017-01-11/

The words "my father" is not my father. It represents my father. So do the words, "Paul Stoffregen." Even those 14 letters on a page is his name, they are not my dad. Since they "represent" my dad, the words are metaphors.


"Representations" are not metaphors.  Not all "representations" are even linguistic.

I know Fr. Rohr, a man who speaks (and writes) with great rhetorical passion and minimal conceptual precision.  I am always edified when I have heard him speak, but there's not much theological grit in his insights.

As for "all language is metaphor": that became a technical catch-phrase in philosophy of language in the second half of the twentieth century; but no one really knows what it means.  It's inherently circular, and thus incoherent -- is "all language is metaphor" itself a metaphor?  Now, where are we?

If you're going to dive into these metaphorical waters, you really need to get out more.  Read some Mark Johnson.  Read some Paul Ricoeur.  Even read some more of Pr. David Charlton; he seems to get it.

Tom Pearson 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 04, 2020, 10:58:55 AM


Where in Chacedonian orthodoxy does it say that we cannot talk about God "giving birth" as scripture does? Or talk about God as a mother? I prefer the term "biblical Christanity" over your heretical terms.

I make a distinction between using mother imagery or metaphors for God and asserting the God is a mother.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 04, 2020, 11:16:26 AM



<<Nested quote boxes snipped out>>

Wrong answer. Like with Paul's advice about food sacrificed to idols; there will be some who find nothing wrong with it because idols don't exist; and others whose conscience will not let them participate in the pagan practice. Likewise, there are some who will use goddess language in reference to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God who is known as the Trinity. For them, our God is big enough to be expressed in such terms. For others, their conscience will not let them participate in what is seen as pagan language and practices.


Yes, there are words. Do you want to place those who have been freed from the Law by Jesus back under the Law? "You can't do that!"


I also disagree somewhat with the title of this thread. At best, the ELCA allowed a prayer to "Mother God." There is a freedom in our denomination that isn't always found in other denominations. When language like that showed up in a petition, I usually changed it, e.g., "God, who loves us like a mother, …." I have the freedom to do that, just as others have the freedom to use that language.

Your presentation of Paul's discussion of food sacrificed to idols from 1 Corinthians and Romans is superficial. Paul does not simply say that idols are nothing so if your conscience allows it you can freely participate in the pagan practices associated with the idols with no problems. In 1 Corinthians 10, he specifically considers participation in the rites and rituals associated with the idols of Corinth and urgently warns the Corinthians against it. That brought death and ruin upon many in Israel over the ages. See especially 1 Cor. 10:14-22. Even a superficial reading of 1 Corinthians should have alerted you to this.


Paul's point about the permissibility of eating meat sacrificed to idols was that there were occasions and situations where meat could be consumed that at some point in its journey from hoof to table had been a part of an idolatrous sacrificial rite, but that did not alter the nature of the meat or make it unfit for Christian consumption. He very carefully and emphatically warned against personal participation in idolatrous rites. Such actions are destructive of one's relationship with God.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 04, 2020, 02:45:42 PM


<<snip>>

Thirdly, 20th century archaeological discoveries show that the goddess Asherah was often part of Israelite worship (at least among the common folks). Her religious statutes were found in homes. There was also found three inscriptions that referred to Yahweh in conjunction with his "asherah". The belief is that some Israelites worship Asherah as a consort to Yahweh. At the same time, there are biblical commands against building images to Asherah (e.g., Deuteronomy 16:21-22). There are numerous passages where statues to Asherah are torn down.


A paragraph in The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible about Asherah:


Yet the fact that the biblical writers find it necessary to condemn repeatedly Asherah worship, and the fact that kings Asa, Hezekiah, and Josiah are said to have repeatedly destroyed an asherah icon (King Asa in the 9th cent. BCE; King Hezekiah in the 9th cent. BCE; and King Josiah in the 7th cent. BCE) suggests that whatever the opposition of the bibilical writers to Asherah worship, many if not most in ancient Israel found devotion to Asherah to be an appropriate part of their devotion to Yahweh. The Asherah icon that Josiah destroyed was said to have stood in Yahweh's Temple in Jerusalem. In addition, sacrifice was offered to the goddess there, and support - for women who were in Asherah's service. Thus it appears that, at least in Josiah's day (ca. 640-609 BCE), there were some associated with the Temple in Jerusalem (priests?) who saw Asherah worship as an appropriate part of the worship of Yahweh.


My impression is that there were two approaches, like I've seen with Native Americans. One approach is that there cannot be any syncretism. Native American religious symbols have no place in Christian worship. Another approach is to incorporate Native symbols into Christian worship. Apparently, there were some who were comfortable with incorporate goddess worship into the worship of Yahweh; while others sought to destroy such symbols of goddess worship.


One could use the passages in Deuteronomy, Judges, 1 & 2 Kings to root out goddess worship.


Those who use such language, look at the actual practice of Israelites over many centuries where they combined goddess statues with the worship of Yahweh.

I am puzzled by the point that you are trying to make here. I have no doubt that many ancient Israelites combined Asherah worship with that of Yahweh, even making them consorts. For that matter, others combined Baal and many other Near Eastern gods and goddesses with Yahweh as the objects of their religious worship. Does the fact that it was done mean that it was proper for that to have been done? Or that it was God pleasing for them to do so? Were the Old Testament prophets who fought and railed against combining worship of Yahweh with that of other deities wrong and Yahweh was content or even pleased simply to be a part of their personal or national pantheons?


The fact that Israelites frequently indulged in idolatry does not encourage me to consider adding or changing over to goddess worship as God pleasing. Does God get to have a say in who we worship?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 04, 2020, 03:31:45 PM


<<snip>>

Thirdly, 20th century archaeological discoveries show that the goddess Asherah was often part of Israelite worship (at least among the common folks). Her religious statutes were found in homes. There was also found three inscriptions that referred to Yahweh in conjunction with his "asherah". The belief is that some Israelites worship Asherah as a consort to Yahweh. At the same time, there are biblical commands against building images to Asherah (e.g., Deuteronomy 16:21-22). There are numerous passages where statues to Asherah are torn down.


A paragraph in The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible about Asherah:


Yet the fact that the biblical writers find it necessary to condemn repeatedly Asherah worship, and the fact that kings Asa, Hezekiah, and Josiah are said to have repeatedly destroyed an asherah icon (King Asa in the 9th cent. BCE; King Hezekiah in the 9th cent. BCE; and King Josiah in the 7th cent. BCE) suggests that whatever the opposition of the bibilical writers to Asherah worship, many if not most in ancient Israel found devotion to Asherah to be an appropriate part of their devotion to Yahweh. The Asherah icon that Josiah destroyed was said to have stood in Yahweh's Temple in Jerusalem. In addition, sacrifice was offered to the goddess there, and support - for women who were in Asherah's service. Thus it appears that, at least in Josiah's day (ca. 640-609 BCE), there were some associated with the Temple in Jerusalem (priests?) who saw Asherah worship as an appropriate part of the worship of Yahweh.


My impression is that there were two approaches, like I've seen with Native Americans. One approach is that there cannot be any syncretism. Native American religious symbols have no place in Christian worship. Another approach is to incorporate Native symbols into Christian worship. Apparently, there were some who were comfortable with incorporate goddess worship into the worship of Yahweh; while others sought to destroy such symbols of goddess worship.


One could use the passages in Deuteronomy, Judges, 1 & 2 Kings to root out goddess worship.


Those who use such language, look at the actual practice of Israelites over many centuries where they combined goddess statues with the worship of Yahweh.

I am puzzled by the point that you are trying to make here. I have no doubt that many ancient Israelites combined Asherah worship with that of Yahweh, even making them consorts. For that matter, others combined Baal and many other Near Eastern gods and goddesses with Yahweh as the objects of their religious worship. Does the fact that it was done mean that it was proper for that to have been done? Or that it was God pleasing for them to do so? Were the Old Testament prophets who fought and railed against combining worship of Yahweh with that of other deities wrong and Yahweh was content or even pleased simply to be a part of their personal or national pantheons?


The fact that Israelites frequently indulged in idolatry does not encourage me to consider adding or changing over to goddess worship as God pleasing. Does God get to have a say in who we worship?

Thank you, Rev. Fienen!  Rev. Stoffregen appears to latch onto the very thing the prophets condemned, and wants to make it something to be emulated.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 04, 2020, 03:51:27 PM
Brian Stoffregen is a person, not a metaphor.  It morally and ethically acceptable to torture a metaphor, although it may be aesthetically in bad taste.  It is evil to torture a person.
 


Yes, Brian Stoffregen is a person (and as far as I know, there's only one person with that name).


You're missing my point … again. The two words, "Brian Stoffregen," is not me. The words are not the person. They represent the person. They are just an arrangement of 15 letters: abeeffginnorrst on a page or screen. In some cases, like the words, John Jones, they can represent many different people.

Quote
I argue that persons reveal themselves through language.  It is only through language that another person can reveal him/herself to me.  Apart from language we can only know things, not persons. One way that we reveal ourselves to others is by saying, "Hello, my name is..." 

As a Christian, I believe that God is not a thing, but a person, or more accurately, three persons. God reveals Godself by speaking, through the Word.  God reveals Godself in the most personal manner possible through the Incarnate Word, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.  It is through the very words that Jesus spoke that God reveals Godself to us.  The words of Jesus do not present a barrier that we must overcome.  They are God's self revelation. 

Certainly, people reveal themselves through language. Language is a tool. It isn't the thing. I've attached a chart of the basic communication model. Language (the message) is to take what is in the sender's head and make it appear in the receiver's head. You want to make the message the thing that's in the sender's head. It is not. It is a "code" for what's in the head. Communication happens when the "code" is accurately "decoded" by the receiver.

For instance: I have this picture in my head: 🪑
That gets encoded into English as "chair" (or "silla" in Spanish; or "Stuhl" in German; or "ἑδρα" in Greek; etc.). Those words need to be properly decoded so that the hearer has the same (or something quite similar) in their mind. The words are not the chair. They represent the chair. They are symbols of the chair; just like ♿︎ is not a wheelchair, but is a symbol for it. Words are the message that seeks to reveal what is in one person's head into another person's head. (The word "head" is not really the "head" but sort of refers to the "brain," but not really that organ, but the "thinking" that happens within our brains.)

Quote
The metaphorical theology that you espouse is based on the assumption that we only know God as an object, but not as a person.  Just as we do with a rock, a tree, a car or a pet, we give God names.  But God never speaks and gives us his/her/its name.  In a sense, we throw as many metaphors at God as we can, waiting to see what sticks.  In this view, God is like a multifaceted object.  Every time a metaphor is added, we gain a fuller picture of who God is to us. 


Again you are reading much more into what I write than what I intend. I don't believe I've ever talked about "metaphorical theology." My point was, is, and will be, the metaphorical aspect of words.

Quote
If your approach was correct, "trinity" would be a metaphor just like all the rest.  You would no more know that God is triune, than you would know that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  What you would be dealing with would be an unknown God to which you attached those metaphors that best expressed your own perception. 

My approach is correct. The word "trinity" is a metaphor just like every other word that represents that revealed truth about our God. Trinity; Trinitatis; die Trinität; τριάδα; Trinidad, etc. All these words are different metaphors that represent the same thing. They aren't the thing. They are just an arrangement of letters.

If I were to write "Jesus Christ" on a sheet of paper, and then eat the paper, would I have eaten Jesus Christ? One answer is, "Yes," I have eaten those words. Another answer is, "No," I have not eaten the person of Jesus Christ. I've only eaten paper with letters on it. The words are not the person.


If I write "chair" on a piece of paper, put it on the ground, and sit on it; am I sitting on a chair? I'm sitting on a word, not a chair. When I argue that the words are not the thing they represent, this is what I mean.

Now, if you believe that eating the words Jesus Christ on a piece of paper is the same thing as eating the person of Jesus, or sitting on a piece of paper that says "chair" is the same as sitting on a chair; then we will continue to fail to communicate. You are not able to properly decode my encoded messages.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 05, 2020, 06:01:18 PM
Brian Stoffregen is a person, not a metaphor.  It morally and ethically acceptable to torture a metaphor, although it may be aesthetically in bad taste.  It is evil to torture a person.
 

Yes, Brian Stoffregen is a person (and as far as I know, there's only one person with that name).

You're missing my point … again. The two words, "Brian Stoffregen," is not me. The words are not the person. They represent the person. They are just an arrangement of 15 letters: abeeffginnorrst on a page or screen. In some cases, like the words, John Jones, they can represent many different people.

No, I'm not missing your point.  I'm disagreeing with your point and offering a differing understanding of language.  I understand that you and other people believe this.  I think you are in error. 

Quote
My approach is correct. The word "trinity" is a metaphor just like every other word that represents that revealed truth about our God. Trinity; Trinitatis; die Trinität; τριάδα; Trinidad, etc. All these words are different metaphors that represent the same thing. They aren't the thing. They are just an arrangement of letters.

So how do you get beyond the words to the thing in itself? You actually think you have the power to go beyond the Word in which God has clothed himself and see God's naked glory?  You have the power to make God into an object of your observation and analysis?   God has revealed himself in human language as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but finding God's language inadequate, you are going to move beyond the Word to find a more adequate description of God?

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 05, 2020, 07:16:19 PM
Brian Stoffregen is a person, not a metaphor.  It morally and ethically acceptable to torture a metaphor, although it may be aesthetically in bad taste.  It is evil to torture a person.
 

Yes, Brian Stoffregen is a person (and as far as I know, there's only one person with that name).

You're missing my point … again. The two words, "Brian Stoffregen," is not me. The words are not the person. They represent the person. They are just an arrangement of 15 letters: abeeffginnorrst on a page or screen. In some cases, like the words, John Jones, they can represent many different people.

No, I'm not missing your point.  I'm disagreeing with your point and offering a differing understanding of language.  I understand that you and other people believe this.  I think you are in error. 

Quote
My approach is correct. The word "trinity" is a metaphor just like every other word that represents that revealed truth about our God. Trinity; Trinitatis; die Trinität; τριάδα; Trinidad, etc. All these words are different metaphors that represent the same thing. They aren't the thing. They are just an arrangement of letters.

So how do you get beyond the words to the thing in itself?


Through the decoding process in our heads. The letters c-h-a-i-r create a picture in my head. It may or may not be the same picture in the head of the one who said or wrote those letters. The picture in my head is determined by my experiences. The picture of "father" in my head will be different than yours. We had different fathers. The picture of our human fathers influences the picture of the divine Father.



Quote
You actually think you have the power to go beyond the Word in which God has clothed himself and see God's naked glory?


We all do that. How many different pictures of Jesus are there. (You can Google it.) They are all illustrations of people going beyond the words "Jesus Christ" to give us a glimpse of what happens in their heads.


No, we do not see God's naked glory. Our image(s) of God always come through words and our experiences. 


Quote
You have the power to make God into an object of your observation and analysis?


No, we study the metaphors of the words that have been given us - words that now come to us in many different languages and in many different English translations.


Quote
God has revealed himself in human language as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but finding God's language inadequate, you are going to move beyond the Word to find a more adequate description of God?


Who ever said God's language was inadequate? (Oh, you did.) You quickly went from "human language" to "God's language."


"God's language," if you're going to use that phrase, is meant to convey what is in God's mind. (Remember the chart?) We cannot look into God's or anyone else's mind. We only have the words (=the message) that they have encoded to convey what they are thinking. Those words are decoded by our knowledge and experiences to create something in our minds.


Let's take for example the word, "Trinidad." For some people, that might be decoded as "an island in the Caribbean." My first decoding is the first name of my nephrologist. For Spanish speaking people, it can be decoded as the "Trinity". The language and context of the sentence and paragraph, and knowledge of the one speaking, can help us correctly choose which of these decodings is the one the speaker/writer intends.


"Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" is a translator's depiction of the Greek words that Matthew (whoever that was) has recorded that a translator of Jesus' Aramaic words has given us. Actually, "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" isn't quite what translators give us in Matthew 28. It's a shortened version. τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος = the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit. (Nestle-Aland's 28th revised edition does not use commas or capitol letters, so why should we?)


In fact, searching in BibleGateway for Father, Son, Holy Spirit in the ESV comes up with only one verse where those words are used together. So there are 31,301 verses of God's revelation to us, that never use the phrase, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."


There is one other verse where the three terms are used, Galatians 4:6: "And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'"


Technically, the English phrase, "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" never occurs in the Bible. It is something that happens in our heads from many words that God has given us in the Bible. It is a phrase that English-speaking Christians have used and confessed for centuries. It is really our human summary of words and images that God has given us. We believe that God has inspired our thoughts and words.


You didn't answer my questions about eating a piece of paper with "Jesus Christ" written on it; or sitting on a piece of paper on the ground with "chair" written on it. Is one eating Jesus Christ? Is one sitting on a chair?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 05, 2020, 08:06:56 PM
Going back to my original question, and I don't know what else to say about this. I don't care for analogies in such things, but here goes...
Setting this up.
Let us say I have a friend named Mark Grant. He teaches chemistry in high school, is an active church member, an avid volunteer in his community and loved by all. Many of my friends have met him or heard me speak of him with respect and affection. Mark Grant, they know is an integral and meaningful part of my life.
Now... In a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, sits Mark Grant, not the one I know and love, but another Mark Grant, convicted of heinous crimes against people and society, a man who gained considerable notoriety when being tried for his lurid crimes.
The "reality" situation.
Mark Grant is my friend and a respected member of society.
Mark Grant, another one of that name, is a convicted criminal of the lowest reputation.
Taking it to the actual and "liturgical" setting.
If in my converse with friends, I refer to "Mark Grant," can there be any doubt that I mean my friend and not the convict?
And to my original question: If, in a liturgy which includes scripture, creed, other references to the Holy Trinity, and the celebration of the Eucharist a prayer refers to "Mother God," can there be any doubt that we refer to the God referenced in the Holy Trinity and not a pagan, female deity reverenced by ancient or modern mystery cults?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 05, 2020, 08:43:36 PM
Going back to my original question, and I don't know what else to say about this. I don't care for analogies in such things, but here goes...
Setting this up.
Let us say I have a friend named Mark Grant. He teaches chemistry in high school, is an active church member, an avid volunteer in his community and loved by all. Many of my friends have met him or heard me speak of him with respect and affection. Mark Grant, they know is an integral and meaningful part of my life.
Now... In a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, sits Mark Grant, not the one I know and love, but another Mark Grant, convicted of heinous crimes against people and society, a man who gained considerable notoriety when being tried for his lurid crimes.
The "reality" situation.
Mark Grant is my friend and a respected member of society.
Mark Grant, another one of that name, is a convicted criminal of the lowest reputation.
Taking it to the actual and "liturgical" setting.
If in my converse with friends, I refer to "Mark Grant," can there be any doubt that I mean my friend and not the convict?
And to my original question: If, in a liturgy which includes scripture, creed, other references to the Holy Trinity, and the celebration of the Eucharist a prayer refers to "Mother God," can there be any doubt that we refer to the God referenced in the Holy Trinity and not a pagan, female deity reverenced by ancient or modern mystery cults?

I answered you before, but I will again: YES!
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 05, 2020, 09:28:42 PM
Brian Stoffregen is a person, not a metaphor.  It morally and ethically acceptable to torture a metaphor, although it may be aesthetically in bad taste.  It is evil to torture a person.
 

Yes, Brian Stoffregen is a person (and as far as I know, there's only one person with that name).

You're missing my point … again. The two words, "Brian Stoffregen," is not me. The words are not the person. They represent the person. They are just an arrangement of 15 letters: abeeffginnorrst on a page or screen. In some cases, like the words, John Jones, they can represent many different people.

No, I'm not missing your point.  I'm disagreeing with your point and offering a differing understanding of language.  I understand that you and other people believe this.  I think you are in error. 

Quote
My approach is correct. The word "trinity" is a metaphor just like every other word that represents that revealed truth about our God. Trinity; Trinitatis; die Trinität; τριάδα; Trinidad, etc. All these words are different metaphors that represent the same thing. They aren't the thing. They are just an arrangement of letters.

So how do you get beyond the words to the thing in itself?


Through the decoding process in our heads. The letters c-h-a-i-r create a picture in my head. It may or may not be the same picture in the head of the one who said or wrote those letters. The picture in my head is determined by my experiences. The picture of "father" in my head will be different than yours. We had different fathers. The picture of our human fathers influences the picture of the divine Father.



Quote
You actually think you have the power to go beyond the Word in which God has clothed himself and see God's naked glory?


We all do that. How many different pictures of Jesus are there. (You can Google it.) They are all illustrations of people going beyond the words "Jesus Christ" to give us a glimpse of what happens in their heads.


No, we do not see God's naked glory. Our image(s) of God always come through words and our experiences. 


Quote
You have the power to make God into an object of your observation and analysis?


No, we study the metaphors of the words that have been given us - words that now come to us in many different languages and in many different English translations.


Quote
God has revealed himself in human language as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but finding God's language inadequate, you are going to move beyond the Word to find a more adequate description of God?


Who ever said God's language was inadequate? (Oh, you did.) You quickly went from "human language" to "God's language."


"God's language," if you're going to use that phrase, is meant to convey what is in God's mind. (Remember the chart?) We cannot look into God's or anyone else's mind. We only have the words (=the message) that they have encoded to convey what they are thinking. Those words are decoded by our knowledge and experiences to create something in our minds.


Let's take for example the word, "Trinidad." For some people, that might be decoded as "an island in the Caribbean." My first decoding is the first name of my nephrologist. For Spanish speaking people, it can be decoded as the "Trinity". The language and context of the sentence and paragraph, and knowledge of the one speaking, can help us correctly choose which of these decodings is the one the speaker/writer intends.


"Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" is a translator's depiction of the Greek words that Matthew (whoever that was) has recorded that a translator of Jesus' Aramaic words has given us. Actually, "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" isn't quite what translators give us in Matthew 28. It's a shortened version. τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος = the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit. (Nestle-Aland's 28th revised edition does not use commas or capitol letters, so why should we?)


In fact, searching in BibleGateway for Father, Son, Holy Spirit in the ESV comes up with only one verse where those words are used together. So there are 31,301 verses of God's revelation to us, that never use the phrase, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."


There is one other verse where the three terms are used, Galatians 4:6: "And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'"


Technically, the English phrase, "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" never occurs in the Bible. It is something that happens in our heads from many words that God has given us in the Bible. It is a phrase that English-speaking Christians have used and confessed for centuries. It is really our human summary of words and images that God has given us. We believe that God has inspired our thoughts and words.


You didn't answer my questions about eating a piece of paper with "Jesus Christ" written on it; or sitting on a piece of paper on the ground with "chair" written on it. Is one eating Jesus Christ? Is one sitting on a chair?

You are trying to impose a very modern understanding of language onto the Bible.  If Dr. Pearson is to be believed, which I think he is, the notion you are proposing has been largely abandoned by philosophers by now.  I'm not going to try to unravel the threads of the ideas you are using.

Theologically, I think you are advocating a type of liberal theology that Barth called out a century ago when he said, "One cannot speak of God by simply speaking of man in a loud voice."  You're following in the footsteps of Schleiermacher, who thought we encountered God in the feeling of absolute dependence, not in the external Word.  The Word was merely an expression of our inner experience of God that in turn either validated or stimulated similar experiences in others.  If this was the case, the metaphor would be the very best we could do as we attempt to describe feelings that are beyond words.

What's amusing is that the project you are supporting is very Western, white, and male.  It was the European men of the Enlightenment to took offense at the historical nature of the Gospel.  As Lessing was supposed to have said,  “The accidental truths of history can never become the proof for necessary truths of reason."  It's impossible to believe that the eternal truth about all things is contained in the very culturally and historically conditioned actions and words of a first century Galilean Jew.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 05, 2020, 09:47:48 PM
Going back to my original question, and I don't know what else to say about this. I don't care for analogies in such things, but here goes...
Setting this up.
Let us say I have a friend named Mark Grant. He teaches chemistry in high school, is an active church member, an avid volunteer in his community and loved by all. Many of my friends have met him or heard me speak of him with respect and affection. Mark Grant, they know is an integral and meaningful part of my life.
Now... In a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, sits Mark Grant, not the one I know and love, but another Mark Grant, convicted of heinous crimes against people and society, a man who gained considerable notoriety when being tried for his lurid crimes.
The "reality" situation.
Mark Grant is my friend and a respected member of society.
Mark Grant, another one of that name, is a convicted criminal of the lowest reputation.
Taking it to the actual and "liturgical" setting.
If in my converse with friends, I refer to "Mark Grant," can there be any doubt that I mean my friend and not the convict?
And to my original question: If, in a liturgy which includes scripture, creed, other references to the Holy Trinity, and the celebration of the Eucharist a prayer refers to "Mother God," can there be any doubt that we refer to the God referenced in the Holy Trinity and not a pagan, female deity reverenced by ancient or modern mystery cults?

I don't know.  Would you have a problem with the Eucharist being celebrated at home by a lay person, with grape juice and crackers and without the Verba.  After all, it would be clear to everyone that the man intended to celebrate the Eucharist.  So what difference would it make it wasn't done exactly the way you would do it?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 05, 2020, 10:03:43 PM
Not parallel; not parallel at all.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 05, 2020, 10:23:15 PM
Not parallel; not parallel at all.

Of course it is. Wine and bread, according to Pr. Stoffregen are metaphors, because all words are metaphors.  And since no metaphor is better than another, we could easily replace the metaphor of bread and wine with the metaphor of beer and pizza.  After all, beer and pizza are much more culturally relevant as metaphors than bread and wine.

Remember, language and metaphor are the tools of oppression.  The only way to overcome that oppression is to find new metaphors that speak of the experience of the marginalized. The metaphors of priest, pastor, or cleric for instance are symbols of "hierarchical dualism".  As such, they are metaphors of patriarchy.  Remember, in a matriarchal society relations are not hierarchical but mutual and horizontal.  By deconstructing the metaphor of pastor, the church dethrones patriarchy.

The same is true of bread and wine.  Bread and wine are primarily foods of the western and northern hemispheres.  They are symbols of the superiority of northern and western cultures.  When people choose metaphors that are more indigenous to their own experience, the power of colonialism is broken.  By permitting anyone to host the meal, and by allowing each host to choose the most culturally relevant metaphors for grace, we undercut the power of white supremacy and patriarchy.

By the way, many believe that the notion that God gave his Son for our sins, and that Jesus gives his body and blood to us, represent patriarchy and child abuse.  The metaphor of dying for sins, and giving ones body and blood for others might not be appropriate for a post-colonial, post-patriarchal, world.  A better metaphor might be something that represents love and cooperation, such as milk and cookies, or birthday cake.   

So while we're exchanging the metaphor of Father for that of Mother, why not exchange the metaphor of body and blood, bread and wine, for something more suitable to a post-colonial, post patriarchal age?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 05, 2020, 11:38:59 PM
Don’t compare what I was saying with what Brian was talking about. I don’t necessarily agree with him he’s talking about a different matter. I am merely speaking about language and the use of language. When in a worship service, or even in casual conversation, I say “God,” I’ll bet that the people around me know that I mean the Christian God, no matter which words I might use.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: James J Eivan on May 06, 2020, 01:16:16 AM

Going back to my original question, and I don't know what else to say about this. I don't care for analogies in such things, but here goes...
Setting this up.
Let us say I have a friend named Mark Grant. He teaches chemistry in high school, is an active church member, an avid volunteer in his community and loved by all. Many of my friends have met him or heard me speak of him with respect and affection. Mark Grant, they know is an integral and meaningful part of my life.
Now... In a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, sits Mark Grant, not the one I know and love, but another Mark Grant, convicted of heinous crimes against people and society, a man who gained considerable notoriety when being tried for his lurid crimes.
The "reality" situation.
Mark Grant is my friend and a respected member of society.
Mark Grant, another one of that name, is a convicted criminal of the lowest reputation.
Taking it to the actual and "liturgical" setting.
If in my converse with friends, I refer to "Mark Grant," can there be any doubt that I mean my friend and not the convict?
And to my original question: If, in a liturgy which includes scripture, creed, other references to the Holy Trinity, and the celebration of the Eucharist a prayer refers to "Mother God," can there be any doubt that we refer to the God referenced in the Holy Trinity and not a pagan, female deity reverenced by ancient or modern mystery cults?
How about this one ... In a few years you will celebrate God willing 60 years in the Holy Ministry ... a beautiful service is planned ... including a detailed recitation of your life's work and accomplishments ... containing all the details you might find in a combined obituary/eulogy.  The writer of this CV/resume, if you you will, is very meticulous to address you as Charles, Mr Austin, Vicar Austin, Rev Austin, Pastor Austin as is grammatically and professionally appropriate ... a very well written document. You are very pleased and humbled at the honor bestowed on you.

Following the service, there is a very formal banquet in your honor.  The master of ceremony, wishing to exercise literary freedom presents your life's accomplishments much in the same manner as they were presented in the church service except he chooses to address you through out his presentation as Charlie, Chuck, and Chuckles.  Remember ... same person  ... every one knows who he is talking about  ... from his presentation and tone of voice he is according you the same honor and respect that you received in the church service moments earlier. 


Same reaction ??? Very pleased and humbled at the honor bestowed on you?? I think not ... in fact, from your years on this forum, I know not.

How do you respond ... and no, the "Not parallel. Not parallel from above without detailed explanation is not acceptable.

Now you know why mother god is NOT acceptable!
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 06, 2020, 02:49:35 AM
Going back to my original question, and I don't know what else to say about this. I don't care for analogies in such things, but here goes...
Setting this up.
Let us say I have a friend named Mark Grant. He teaches chemistry in high school, is an active church member, an avid volunteer in his community and loved by all. Many of my friends have met him or heard me speak of him with respect and affection. Mark Grant, they know is an integral and meaningful part of my life.
Now... In a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, sits Mark Grant, not the one I know and love, but another Mark Grant, convicted of heinous crimes against people and society, a man who gained considerable notoriety when being tried for his lurid crimes.
The "reality" situation.
Mark Grant is my friend and a respected member of society.
Mark Grant, another one of that name, is a convicted criminal of the lowest reputation.
Taking it to the actual and "liturgical" setting.
If in my converse with friends, I refer to "Mark Grant," can there be any doubt that I mean my friend and not the convict?
And to my original question: If, in a liturgy which includes scripture, creed, other references to the Holy Trinity, and the celebration of the Eucharist a prayer refers to "Mother God," can there be any doubt that we refer to the God referenced in the Holy Trinity and not a pagan, female deity reverenced by ancient or modern mystery cults?

I answered you before, but I will again: YES!


Then the problem is not the language, because the context makes it plain that the language is in reference to the Trinity. So, the problem must be the hearer.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 06, 2020, 04:15:28 AM
You are trying to impose a very modern understanding of language onto the Bible.  If Dr. Pearson is to be believed, which I think he is, the notion you are proposing has been largely abandoned by philosophers by now.  I'm not going to try to unravel the threads of the ideas you are using.


Actually, I think it's the most ancient understanding of language. Originally, written language were pictures, icons of what they represented. The Hebrew 'aleph represented a bull, beth represented a tent/house, gimel represented a camel, and so on. Even today, Chinese characters are pictures of what they represent. The Japanese exchange student who lived with us said that he can read the Chinese characters because they are used in Japan, but he can't speak Chinese. They recognize what the picture means, but they express it with different words.


For instance, 1 is a symbol that becomes the word "one" in English, "eins" in German, "uno" in Spanish, "un" in French, ένας in Greek, "ichi" in Japanese. We can understand the symbol 1, even though we might not understand the words used in different languages for that symbol.


Originally, written languages were symbols to represent something in reality, e.g., a picture of a cow represented the cow. Modern languages use letters, e.g., c o w to create a sound that represents the animal. This metaphorical use of languages goes back to the first petroglyphs as early humans began writing on walls and stones.

Quote
Theologically, I think you are advocating a type of liberal theology that Barth called out a century ago when he said, "One cannot speak of God by simply speaking of man in a loud voice."



Nope, one cannot speak of God without using words. Those words become understandable through our human experiences, which includes education to learn what words mean.


Quote
You're following in the footsteps of Schleiermacher, who thought we encountered God in the feeling of absolute dependence, not in the external Word.  The Word was merely an expression of our inner experience of God that in turn either validated or stimulated similar experiences in others.  If this was the case, the metaphor would be the very best we could do as we attempt to describe feelings that are beyond words.


Why do you use "Word"? What makes you think that's how we should translate ὁ λόγος in John 1? The three pages of meaning in DBAG become 60 pages in the TDNT. There are 13 different entries in Lowe & Nida's Lexicon. That word has many other ways of being understood - meaning, it symbolizes a number of different things that we express by different words in English. It comes into English as the word "logic." Why shouldn't we refer to Jesus as "The Logic"?


In my translating work, one has to look at language as metaphor. The words in Greek represent something - actually, often a range of things. Sometimes λόγος means the same thing as ῥῆμα, i.e. "words that are spoken." Sometimes they are quite different. λόγος can be the "logic" or "reasoning," while ῥῆμα is more about the "words" or "rhetoric." Sometimes λόγος is used in contexts that has nothing to do with words, e.g., when the king wished to settle "accounts" with his slaves in Matthew 18:23; also 25:19.


The translators job is to try and figure out what English word (or phrases) comes closest to representing as near as possible the same thing(s) as the Greek word (within its context). Sometimes λόγος is translated "question". Sometimes it is translated "answer." It cannot be translated the same way every time it appears in scriptures. How much translating do you do? I'm doing it at least once a week.


Quote
What's amusing is that the project you are supporting is very Western, white, and male.  It was the European men of the Enlightenment to took offense at the historical nature of the Gospel.  As Lessing was supposed to have said,  “The accidental truths of history can never become the proof for necessary truths of reason."  It's impossible to believe that the eternal truth about all things is contained in the very culturally and historically conditioned actions and words of a first century Galilean Jew.


It's quite amusing that you think that. As I noted, the earliest writings (even by non-white people) was pictures. The writing represented something. As I noted, Chinese characters (another non-white culture) are pictures, icons, that depict something.


It is certainly possible to believe that the eternal truth about all things is contained in the very culturally and historically conditioned actions and words of a first century Galilean Jew. Our job as translators and preachers and teachers is to figure out how to express those eternal truths in words that convey the proper meaning today. Our people don't speak Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek. We have to discover the meanings behind the words - what the metaphors represent - and then convey that meaning in words/metaphors that make sense to our hearers. We might even tell a few parables to convey the truth of Jesus' message.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 06, 2020, 08:42:49 AM
Going back to my original question, and I don't know what else to say about this. I don't care for analogies in such things, but here goes...
Setting this up.
Let us say I have a friend named Mark Grant. He teaches chemistry in high school, is an active church member, an avid volunteer in his community and loved by all. Many of my friends have met him or heard me speak of him with respect and affection. Mark Grant, they know is an integral and meaningful part of my life.
Now... In a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, sits Mark Grant, not the one I know and love, but another Mark Grant, convicted of heinous crimes against people and society, a man who gained considerable notoriety when being tried for his lurid crimes.
The "reality" situation.
Mark Grant is my friend and a respected member of society.
Mark Grant, another one of that name, is a convicted criminal of the lowest reputation.
Taking it to the actual and "liturgical" setting.
If in my converse with friends, I refer to "Mark Grant," can there be any doubt that I mean my friend and not the convict?
And to my original question: If, in a liturgy which includes scripture, creed, other references to the Holy Trinity, and the celebration of the Eucharist a prayer refers to "Mother God," can there be any doubt that we refer to the God referenced in the Holy Trinity and not a pagan, female deity reverenced by ancient or modern mystery cults?

I answered you before, but I will again: YES!


Then the problem is not the language, because the context makes it plain that the language is in reference to the Trinity. So, the problem must be the hearer.

No, the problem is the one who refuses to use God's self-given names.  The problem is trying to make God into our image.  The problem is the same as that Elijah spoke of at Mount Carmel.  The problem is idolatry.  Or, if you prefer, syncretism (which really is a form of idolatry).
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 06, 2020, 09:25:23 AM
When in a worship service, or even in casual conversation, I say “God,” I’ll bet that the people around me know that I mean the Christian God, no matter which words I might use.

That sentence makes no sense, Charles. It's contradictory.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: James J Eivan on May 06, 2020, 09:40:56 AM
Your disregard for the offense that is deliberately and preemptively occurred is selfish and sinful.

Drink in moderation can be God pleasingly  .... but not so much so in the company of known alcoholics and/or in the presence of those who may have a drinking problem.

Insisting on the use novel language for self-serving and political reasons ... deliberately creating an offense can hardly be God pleasing  ...and should be beneath a shepherd of our Lord.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 06, 2020, 09:52:44 AM
Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. Not feeding the troll.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 06, 2020, 10:06:52 AM
Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. Not feeding the troll.
This is the opposite of ignoring. It is drawing attention to the dispute. Please do ignore, but don't post that you're ignoring. Just stop responding.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on May 06, 2020, 10:14:16 AM
Good ol’ Pastor Austin is like the Accuser. If he didn’t exist, we would have to invent him so we could test ourselves and our faith.

Peter (Weaving “a circle ‘round him thrice, and crossing (myself) with holy dread, for he on honeydew hath fed and drunk the milk of paradise.”) Garrison
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 06, 2020, 11:33:25 AM
Going back to my original question, and I don't know what else to say about this. I don't care for analogies in such things, but here goes...
Setting this up.
Let us say I have a friend named Mark Grant. He teaches chemistry in high school, is an active church member, an avid volunteer in his community and loved by all. Many of my friends have met him or heard me speak of him with respect and affection. Mark Grant, they know is an integral and meaningful part of my life.
Now... In a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, sits Mark Grant, not the one I know and love, but another Mark Grant, convicted of heinous crimes against people and society, a man who gained considerable notoriety when being tried for his lurid crimes.
The "reality" situation.
Mark Grant is my friend and a respected member of society.
Mark Grant, another one of that name, is a convicted criminal of the lowest reputation.
Taking it to the actual and "liturgical" setting.
If in my converse with friends, I refer to "Mark Grant," can there be any doubt that I mean my friend and not the convict?
And to my original question: If, in a liturgy which includes scripture, creed, other references to the Holy Trinity, and the celebration of the Eucharist a prayer refers to "Mother God," can there be any doubt that we refer to the God referenced in the Holy Trinity and not a pagan, female deity reverenced by ancient or modern mystery cults?

I think I understand the point of your analogy. If people pray to Mother God in the context of a Christian worship service it is reasonable to assume that they are not including prayers to some goddess out of a pagan religion. So it is not necessarily idolatry or syncretism. Fair enough I suppose. But that still does not mean that is a good idea.  Similarly we could include prayers to Baal God in our liturgy. Baal is an ancient near eastern honorific meaning Lord or Master. So to pray to Baal God could be similar to praying to Lord God. A good idea? It could certainly be confusing. Or how about praying to Allah? That is a word that is more contemporary in usage and is the Arabic word for God. If used in the context of a Christian service, should the hearers not assume we are not praying to the deity of Islam but the Christian God? Possibilities for confusion are even greater. (And yes, I know that Arabic speaking Christians do call the Triune God Allah when praying in their native tongues. but we are not Arabic speakers.)


Standard usage from Biblical times has been to address God and refer to God using masculine designators and pronouns. What does it communicate to break with that tradition and address God with specifically female referents? One thing that bothers me about this whole discussion and the drive to also use female referents for God is that it suggests that God is in His nature gendered. From all that I have read in the Bible, to actually assign a gender to God would be a category error. God is not the sort of person to have a gender. To specifically assign gender would be to make of God something that He is not, and to take a step to reforming God to be more like us.


So why do we call God Father and use masculine pronouns to refer to Him. Other than God, and possibly angels, we know of no persons who are not gendered. In our everyday experience the genderless are things and not persons. Also at least in English the masculine has also served as gender nonspecific referents. Some years back I read an article I believe in the journal Logia in which author argued that God in His essence is masculine in a way that transcends human masculinity but in which human masculinity participates. That article bothered me as much or more than an ELCA prepared liturgical prayer to Mother God. One of the dangers in this discussion is that it furthers the temptation to remake God to be more like us, and to enlist Him into our gender battles and wars.


We are in an era of the Balkanization of the human family. How many genders do we now divide people into, with more genders everyday. How many varieties of sexual orientation is recognized in the expanded alphabet soup of LGBT+++? Does each gender, orientation, generational cohort, political leaning, ethnic subtype need to have their own God? How many worship services should we really be hosting each Sunday, we need a service where God is addressed as male, one for female, and shouldn't we have services where God is addressed by all the other gender subtypes? Oh yes, and we definitely need services for worshipers of God the Republican, God the Democrat, God the Capitalist, and God the Socialist, God the youthful, God the aged, and God of the middle aged. etc.


If we need to address God as Mother because of women who have had bad experiences with fathers, how can they worship in a service where God is addressed as Father? But what of those, men and women, who have had bad experiences with mothers and still recovering from those trauma. Would not prayers to Mother God be a trigger for them? Should not part of their recovery and healing process (and it is often a long healing process) to learn to not generalize from their bad experience to all fathers or all men but recognize that their bad father was not normal but a bad father. God is what a good father or mother should be like. And no, one does not just flip a switch and make it so. But does allowing women or men with trauma to stay traumatized and over generalizing doesn't help them heal either.


For whatever reason, in the Bible we are encouraged to address God as Father, I know of no Biblical prayer that address God as Mother. We may no like that, but it seems to me a species of hubris to take it upon ourselves to correct what the Bible says because it suits us.


And yes, I know that there are passages where God is compared to a mother. I distinguish between metaphors and imagery for God and addressing God.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Mike in Pennsylvania on May 06, 2020, 11:53:27 AM
Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. Not feeding the troll.

Pastor Austin promising to ignore or leave a discussion is like President Trump promising to stop tweeting.   ;)
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 06, 2020, 11:54:59 AM
Why do you use "Word"? What makes you think that's how we should translate ὁ λόγος in John 1? The three pages of meaning in DBAG become 60 pages in the TDNT. There are 13 different entries in Lowe & Nida's Lexicon. That word has many other ways of being understood - meaning, it symbolizes a number of different things that we express by different words in English. It comes into English as the word "logic." Why shouldn't we refer to Jesus as "The Logic"?

Why?  Because I'm speaking and writing English, and language that both of us speak.  Furthermore, I'm using a theological language that we both understand.  A person who speaks English and who was trained in a Lutheran seminary in America knows what I mean by those words. 

Meanwhile, you believe that you have discovered a scientific method by which you can transcend language, turning language into a dead corpse which you can dissect and reassemble like Dr. Frankenstein.  I don't think you can.  That's our disagreement.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 06, 2020, 12:20:07 PM
Christians have been brought into the Church, the Body of Christ, by way of the sacrament of Holy Baptism.  This is the entrance into divine life in which the one God is in three persons and three persons are the one God.  These persons are not like unto other persons but are unique persons who are always for you and never against you.  No analogy or metaphor can reproduce this.  I think we need to emphasize that it is the uniqueness of the persons that is present and that these persons are not "like unto someone or something else."  The Gospel reading for this Sunday (5th Sunday of Easter) somewhat emphasizes this esp. in the dialogue between Philip and Jesus.  To pray to God for the Christian is always and ideally set within the parameters of this functional relationship of love between the Father and Jesus in the Holy Spirit.  The ending of these prayers pinpoints to whom this God we are praying is:   "...through Jesus Christ, our Lord who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.  Amen."  Or some variation dependent on who the prayer is addressed to, ie.  the Father, or the Son or the Holy Spirit.  Even the general prayer beginning with "O God" should end at least with "...in Jesus name."
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 06, 2020, 01:39:22 PM
Why do you use "Word"? What makes you think that's how we should translate ὁ λόγος in John 1? The three pages of meaning in DBAG become 60 pages in the TDNT. There are 13 different entries in Lowe & Nida's Lexicon. That word has many other ways of being understood - meaning, it symbolizes a number of different things that we express by different words in English. It comes into English as the word "logic." Why shouldn't we refer to Jesus as "The Logic"?

Why?  Because I'm speaking and writing English, and language that both of us speak.  Furthermore, I'm using a theological language that we both understand.  A person who speaks English and who was trained in a Lutheran seminary in America knows what I mean by those words. 

Meanwhile, you believe that you have discovered a scientific method by which you can transcend language, turning language into a dead corpse which you can dissect and reassemble like Dr. Frankenstein.  I don't think you can.  That's our disagreement.


As soon as we ask, "What does this word mean?" we are transcending language. We recognize that there is/are meaning(s) behind the word. When I first had a class on Method of Bible Study at Lutheran Bible Institute in Seattle, the primary tools were (1) the Bible, and (2) a Dictionary. (The class just dealt with an English translation - RSV. Since, I've expanded that method to use Greek and Hebrew texts, too.) If we don't know what the words mean, we can't understand a passage. Sometimes, when looking up a word in a dictionary, we discover nuances of meaning that we hadn't thought of before.


Lowe & Nida's Lexicon, and Danker's third edition of BAG, make a distinction between "definitions" and "glosses". Definition seek to describe what a Greek word means. Glosses are English words that might be used in expressing that meaning in English. Too often dictionaries just give glosses and we think they are definitions.


The first definition in DBAG for λὀγος is: "a communication whereby the mind finds expression."
Glosses under this definition include: "word, statement, question, assertion, declaration, speech, matter, thing"


As such, λόγος represents, is an expression of, what's in the mind. When we ask (and answer) "What does this word mean (within this context)?" We are seeking to get to the mind of the speaker/writer.


Within this discussion, the definition of metaphor that I am using is: "a thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else." Words represent or symbolize inward thoughts of the mind. Thus, in my understanding, all words are metaphors. They represent something else. In olden days, a "writer" might draw a picture of a cow to express what he's thinking. That's no less a symbol of a real cow than the letters c o w. Those letters, in that order, symbolize
"a fully grown female animal of a domesticated breed of ox, kept to produce milk or beef"
or more generally, "any domestic bovine animal, regardless of sex or age,"
or, (in ranching) "a female domestic bovine animal which has borne more than one calf" (compare with "heifer"),
or "the female of certain other large animals," for example elephant, rhinoceros, whale.



Words, perhaps like an ethernet cable (or wireless connection), allows information from one person to flow to another person. The wire is not the information; but the means by which it is transferred. The information in my head gets to your head through words - assuming I've correctly encoded my thoughts into words that you can properly decode. When that happens, we have communicated. The meaning I have for the word cow is "an older female bovine who has given birth to multiple calves," and the meaning you have is "a female elephant," we have not communicated. What I'm thinking has not been transferred by the word "cow" to what you're thinking.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 06, 2020, 01:48:14 PM
As soon as we ask, "What does this word mean?" we are transcending language.

No.  You are literally using language.  Try asking, "What does this word mean?" without using a language. 

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 06, 2020, 02:11:14 PM
Going back to my original question, and I don't know what else to say about this. I don't care for analogies in such things, but here goes...
Setting this up.
Let us say I have a friend named Mark Grant. He teaches chemistry in high school, is an active church member, an avid volunteer in his community and loved by all. Many of my friends have met him or heard me speak of him with respect and affection. Mark Grant, they know is an integral and meaningful part of my life.
Now... In a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, sits Mark Grant, not the one I know and love, but another Mark Grant, convicted of heinous crimes against people and society, a man who gained considerable notoriety when being tried for his lurid crimes.
The "reality" situation.
Mark Grant is my friend and a respected member of society.
Mark Grant, another one of that name, is a convicted criminal of the lowest reputation.
Taking it to the actual and "liturgical" setting.
If in my converse with friends, I refer to "Mark Grant," can there be any doubt that I mean my friend and not the convict?
And to my original question: If, in a liturgy which includes scripture, creed, other references to the Holy Trinity, and the celebration of the Eucharist a prayer refers to "Mother God," can there be any doubt that we refer to the God referenced in the Holy Trinity and not a pagan, female deity reverenced by ancient or modern mystery cults?

I answered you before, but I will again: YES!


Then the problem is not the language, because the context makes it plain that the language is in reference to the Trinity. So, the problem must be the hearer.

No, the problem is the one who refuses to use God's self-given names.  The problem is trying to make God into our image.  The problem is the same as that Elijah spoke of at Mount Carmel.  The problem is idolatry.  Or, if you prefer, syncretism (which really is a form of idolatry).


God's self given name is יהוה. It was considered so holy, that the ancient Jews wouldn't pronounce it (so we don't really know how to pronounce it). It came into English as "Jehovah," and more lately as "Yahweh". The God-given name of the Son is Jesus (or Joshua in Hebrew). The Spirit isn't really given a name; although "Paraclete" is used in John. (It's also used of Jesus in 1 John.)
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 06, 2020, 02:17:37 PM
As soon as we ask, "What does this word mean?" we are transcending language.

No.  You are literally using language.  Try asking, "What does this word mean?" without using a language.


To transcend: "be or go beyond the range or limits of"
Language, as I meant it: "the words used in a particular sentence"


To "transcend language" or perhaps better, "to transcend these words" means going beyond just the words on the page to the meaning(s) that the words represent. Almost no one believes that Jesus really wants us to cut off a hand that sins - even if that's what the words say. We go beyond those words to what Jesus might have meant by those words.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 06, 2020, 02:21:06 PM
Going back to my original question, and I don't know what else to say about this. I don't care for analogies in such things, but here goes...
Setting this up.
Let us say I have a friend named Mark Grant. He teaches chemistry in high school, is an active church member, an avid volunteer in his community and loved by all. Many of my friends have met him or heard me speak of him with respect and affection. Mark Grant, they know is an integral and meaningful part of my life.
Now... In a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, sits Mark Grant, not the one I know and love, but another Mark Grant, convicted of heinous crimes against people and society, a man who gained considerable notoriety when being tried for his lurid crimes.
The "reality" situation.
Mark Grant is my friend and a respected member of society.
Mark Grant, another one of that name, is a convicted criminal of the lowest reputation.
Taking it to the actual and "liturgical" setting.
If in my converse with friends, I refer to "Mark Grant," can there be any doubt that I mean my friend and not the convict?
And to my original question: If, in a liturgy which includes scripture, creed, other references to the Holy Trinity, and the celebration of the Eucharist a prayer refers to "Mother God," can there be any doubt that we refer to the God referenced in the Holy Trinity and not a pagan, female deity reverenced by ancient or modern mystery cults?

I answered you before, but I will again: YES!


Then the problem is not the language, because the context makes it plain that the language is in reference to the Trinity. So, the problem must be the hearer.

No, the problem is the one who refuses to use God's self-given names.  The problem is trying to make God into our image.  The problem is the same as that Elijah spoke of at Mount Carmel.  The problem is idolatry.  Or, if you prefer, syncretism (which really is a form of idolatry).


God's self given name is יהוה. It was considered so holy, that the ancient Jews wouldn't pronounce it (so we don't really know how to pronounce it). It came into English as "Jehovah," and more lately as "Yahweh". The God-given name of the Son is Jesus (or Joshua in Hebrew). The Spirit isn't really given a name; although "Paraclete" is used in John. (It's also used of Jesus in 1 John.)

Thank you for this lesson.  Of course, it is what we all learned our first year in seminary (if not before).  However, there are many names God gives us to call Him in the Bible.  Such as "Father".  It NEVER teaches us to call Him "Mother".  Those who pray to "Mother God" have discarded/rejected God's self-revelation for a god(ess) of their own making.  Idolatry.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 06, 2020, 02:23:55 PM
As soon as we ask, "What does this word mean?" we are transcending language.

No.  You are literally using language.  Try asking, "What does this word mean?" without using a language.

To transcend: "be or go beyond the range or limits of"
Language, as I meant it: "the words used in a particular sentence"

To "transcend language" or perhaps better, "to transcend these words" means going beyond just the words on the page to the meaning(s) that the words represent. Almost no one believes that Jesus really wants us to cut off a hand that sins - even if that's what the words say. We go beyond those words to what Jesus might have meant by those words.

Okay, fair enough.  Now show me how you go beyond words, without in the process using words.  If, as John 1:1 says, the Word was in the beginning, and that the Word was God, you are going to have to go back beyond the beginning, and even beyond the Second Person of the Trinity, to transcend words.  You are also going to have to do so without the use of any created thing, because everything that was made was made through the Word.  Good luck.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 06, 2020, 02:27:02 PM
I think I understand the point of your analogy. If people pray to Mother God in the context of a Christian worship service it is reasonable to assume that they are not including prayers to some goddess out of a pagan religion. So it is not necessarily idolatry or syncretism. Fair enough I suppose. But that still does not mean that is a good idea.  Similarly we could include prayers to Baal God in our liturgy. Baal is an ancient near eastern honorific meaning Lord or Master. So to pray to Baal God could be similar to praying to Lord God. A good idea? It could certainly be confusing. Or how about praying to Allah? That is a word that is more contemporary in usage and is the Arabic word for God. If used in the context of a Christian service, should the hearers not assume we are not praying to the deity of Islam but the Christian God? Possibilities for confusion are even greater. (And yes, I know that Arabic speaking Christians do call the Triune God Allah when praying in their native tongues. but we are not Arabic speakers.)

Standard usage from Biblical times has been to address God and refer to God using masculine designators and pronouns. What does it communicate to break with that tradition and address God with specifically female referents? One thing that bothers me about this whole discussion and the drive to also use female referents for God is that it suggests that God is in His nature gendered. From all that I have read in the Bible, to actually assign a gender to God would be a category error. God is not the sort of person to have a gender. To specifically assign gender would be to make of God something that He is not, and to take a step to reforming God to be more like us.

So why do we call God Father and use masculine pronouns to refer to Him. Other than God, and possibly angels, we know of no persons who are not gendered. In our everyday experience the genderless are things and not persons. Also at least in English the masculine has also served as gender nonspecific referents. Some years back I read an article I believe in the journal Logia in which author argued that God in His essence is masculine in a way that transcends human masculinity but in which human masculinity participates. That article bothered me as much or more than an ELCA prepared liturgical prayer to Mother God. One of the dangers in this discussion is that it furthers the temptation to remake God to be more like us, and to enlist Him into our gender battles and wars.

We are in an era of the Balkanization of the human family. How many genders do we now divide people into, with more genders everyday. How many varieties of sexual orientation is recognized in the expanded alphabet soup of LGBT+++? Does each gender, orientation, generational cohort, political leaning, ethnic subtype need to have their own God? How many worship services should we really be hosting each Sunday, we need a service where God is addressed as male, one for female, and shouldn't we have services where God is addressed by all the other gender subtypes? Oh yes, and we definitely need services for worshipers of God the Republican, God the Democrat, God the Capitalist, and God the Socialist, God the youthful, God the aged, and God of the middle aged. etc.

If we need to address God as Mother because of women who have had bad experiences with fathers, how can they worship in a service where God is addressed as Father? But what of those, men and women, who have had bad experiences with mothers and still recovering from those trauma. Would not prayers to Mother God be a trigger for them? Should not part of their recovery and healing process (and it is often a long healing process) to learn to not generalize from their bad experience to all fathers or all men but recognize that their bad father was not normal but a bad father. God is what a good father or mother should be like. And no, one does not just flip a switch and make it so. But does allowing women or men with trauma to stay traumatized and over generalizing doesn't help them heal either.

For whatever reason, in the Bible we are encouraged to address God as Father, I know of no Biblical prayer that address God as Mother. We may no like that, but it seems to me a species of hubris to take it upon ourselves to correct what the Bible says because it suits us.

And yes, I know that there are passages where God is compared to a mother. I distinguish between metaphors and imagery for God and addressing God.


The word, "god" is used of all sorts of pagan deities; yet, no one seems confused when we use "God" in Christian worship that we are referring to the Triune God.


While male terms were used generically in the past, e.g., "men" could refer to a group of people that included females; English evolves. The way some words used to be used (and spelled) changes over time. We no longer use thee and thou in normal talk like they did in the 17th century; nor the verb forms that went with those pronouns.


I remember reading a short book from the American Bible Society about the Good News Bible soon after it was published. It argued that they are not changing the Bible, but new translations are necessary because English changes. While language that was acceptable in generations past may not be considered proper language today.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 06, 2020, 02:33:07 PM
As soon as we ask, "What does this word mean?" we are transcending language.

No.  You are literally using language.  Try asking, "What does this word mean?" without using a language.

To transcend: "be or go beyond the range or limits of"
Language, as I meant it: "the words used in a particular sentence"

To "transcend language" or perhaps better, "to transcend these words" means going beyond just the words on the page to the meaning(s) that the words represent. Almost no one believes that Jesus really wants us to cut off a hand that sins - even if that's what the words say. We go beyond those words to what Jesus might have meant by those words.

Okay, fair enough.  Now show me how you go beyond words, without in the process using words.  If, as John 1:1 says, the Word was in the beginning, and that the Word was God, you are going to have to go back beyond the beginning, and even beyond the Second Person of the Trinity, to transcend words.  You are also going to have to do so without the use of any created thing, because everything that was made was made through the Word.  Good luck.


What do you think "Word" means in that sentence? (Or if you prefer, what does ὁ λόγος mean in that verse?) Asking, "What does this word mean?' is going beyond that particular word. Perhaps, better, it is seeking to look behind that particular word to the reasons the writer/speaker chose that word in that sentence. It is seeking to discover what might have been going on in the head of the speaker/writer when s/he used that word.


I think it was Bultmann who preferred the idea and word Revealer rather than Word for John 1.


Some have suggested John 1 is derived from the personification of Wisdom in the Old Testament and Apocrypha.


That's what I mean be going beyond the word.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 06, 2020, 02:57:54 PM
As soon as we ask, "What does this word mean?" we are transcending language.

No.  You are literally using language.  Try asking, "What does this word mean?" without using a language.

To transcend: "be or go beyond the range or limits of"
Language, as I meant it: "the words used in a particular sentence"

To "transcend language" or perhaps better, "to transcend these words" means going beyond just the words on the page to the meaning(s) that the words represent. Almost no one believes that Jesus really wants us to cut off a hand that sins - even if that's what the words say. We go beyond those words to what Jesus might have meant by those words.

Okay, fair enough.  Now show me how you go beyond words, without in the process using words.  If, as John 1:1 says, the Word was in the beginning, and that the Word was God, you are going to have to go back beyond the beginning, and even beyond the Second Person of the Trinity, to transcend words.  You are also going to have to do so without the use of any created thing, because everything that was made was made through the Word.  Good luck.

What do you think "Word" means in that sentence? (Or if you prefer, what does ὁ λόγος mean in that verse?) Asking, "What does this word mean?' is going beyond that particular word. Perhaps, better, it is seeking to look behind that particular word to the reasons the writer/speaker chose that word in that sentence. It is seeking to discover what might have been going on in the head of the speaker/writer when s/he used that word.

I think it was Bultmann who preferred the idea and word Revealer rather than Word for John 1.

Some have suggested John 1 is derived from the personification of Wisdom in the Old Testament and Apocrypha.

That's what I mean be going beyond the word.

But you're still using words.  I'm waiting for you to show me how to transcend words, without in the process using words. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 06, 2020, 03:29:11 PM
I object to addressing God as "Mother," but as usual I don't see the issue as first and foremost whether we can or not. Rather, why would anyone choose to? I object to the desire behind the call for an alternate to "Father" more than I object to whatever alternative people come up with. Why not have God's Word shape our understanding of God, our selves, our neighbors, and the world rather than starting from our own elf-understanding and imposing that on God? 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 06, 2020, 03:39:46 PM
I object to addressing God as "Mother," but as usual I don't see the issue as first and foremost whether we can or not. Rather, why would anyone choose to? I object to the desire behind the call for an alternate to "Father" more than I object to whatever alternative people come up with. Why not have God's Word shape our understanding of God, our selves, our neighbors, and the world rather than starting from our own elf-understanding and imposing that on God?

Wait, wait, wait -- "elf-understanding"?  Now they want to make God into an elf?!??  :)
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 06, 2020, 04:10:02 PM
I object to addressing God as "Mother," but as usual I don't see the issue as first and foremost whether we can or not. Rather, why would anyone choose to? I object to the desire behind the call for an alternate to "Father" more than I object to whatever alternative people come up with. Why not have God's Word shape our understanding of God, our selves, our neighbors, and the world rather than starting from our own elf-understanding and imposing that on God?

Wait, wait, wait -- "elf-understanding"?  Now they want to make God into an elf?!??  :)
Doesn't everyone? Be honest...
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 06, 2020, 06:41:53 PM
As soon as we ask, "What does this word mean?" we are transcending language.

No.  You are literally using language.  Try asking, "What does this word mean?" without using a language.

To transcend: "be or go beyond the range or limits of"
Language, as I meant it: "the words used in a particular sentence"

To "transcend language" or perhaps better, "to transcend these words" means going beyond just the words on the page to the meaning(s) that the words represent. Almost no one believes that Jesus really wants us to cut off a hand that sins - even if that's what the words say. We go beyond those words to what Jesus might have meant by those words.

Okay, fair enough.  Now show me how you go beyond words, without in the process using words.  If, as John 1:1 says, the Word was in the beginning, and that the Word was God, you are going to have to go back beyond the beginning, and even beyond the Second Person of the Trinity, to transcend words.  You are also going to have to do so without the use of any created thing, because everything that was made was made through the Word.  Good luck.

What do you think "Word" means in that sentence? (Or if you prefer, what does ὁ λόγος mean in that verse?) Asking, "What does this word mean?' is going beyond that particular word. Perhaps, better, it is seeking to look behind that particular word to the reasons the writer/speaker chose that word in that sentence. It is seeking to discover what might have been going on in the head of the speaker/writer when s/he used that word.

I think it was Bultmann who preferred the idea and word Revealer rather than Word for John 1.

Some have suggested John 1 is derived from the personification of Wisdom in the Old Testament and Apocrypha.

That's what I mean be going beyond the word.

But you're still using words.  I'm waiting for you to show me how to transcend words, without in the process using words.


Yup, because I'm not doing what you're accusing me doing. I seek to transcend the single word in a phrase and/or the few words within a phrase, not all words. Transcending that word means asking and seeking to discover the meaning(s) it could have and which are likely the ones the speaker/writer had when using that particular word in that context. I best express my thoughts by using words. Hearers then need to seek the meaning I mean through the words I speak or write.


I state that you transcend the words of Jesus when you do not cut off your hand or poke out your eye. That's what Jesus says. You've decided that those words within those phrases do not mean what they literally say. You're going beyond even their dictionary meanings when you explore what you believe Jesus meant when he uttered those words. Of course you use words to express your thoughts about the meaning of those words. Words are the primary way that we express our thoughts. (Gestures and facial expressions are some others ways.)
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 06, 2020, 06:53:39 PM
I object to addressing God as "Mother," but as usual I don't see the issue as first and foremost whether we can or not. Rather, why would anyone choose to? I object to the desire behind the call for an alternate to "Father" more than I object to whatever alternative people come up with. Why not have God's Word shape our understanding of God, our selves, our neighbors, and the world rather than starting from our own elf-understanding and imposing that on God?


Do you refuse to sing A Mighty Fortress, because "mighty fortress" is an alternative to "Father" for God?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 06, 2020, 07:54:02 PM
I object to addressing God as "Mother," but as usual I don't see the issue as first and foremost whether we can or not. Rather, why would anyone choose to? I object to the desire behind the call for an alternate to "Father" more than I object to whatever alternative people come up with. Why not have God's Word shape our understanding of God, our selves, our neighbors, and the world rather than starting from our own elf-understanding and imposing that on God?


Do you refuse to sing A Mighty Fortress, because "mighty fortress" is an alternative to "Father" for God?
I don't address God as "Mighty Fortress" in prayer. And if a particularly militaristic people kept insisting on using such imagery in prayer, I would object. And as in the "Mother" case, my objection would only partly be to the use alternative language. Mostly, I would object to the desire behind it, or the things that makes people want such alternative language.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RPG on May 06, 2020, 09:51:49 PM
I object to addressing God as "Mother," but as usual I don't see the issue as first and foremost whether we can or not. Rather, why would anyone choose to? I object to the desire behind the call for an alternate to "Father" more than I object to whatever alternative people come up with. Why not have God's Word shape our understanding of God, our selves, our neighbors, and the world rather than starting from our own elf-understanding and imposing that on God?

Wait, wait, wait -- "elf-understanding"?  Now they want to make God into an elf?!??  :)
Doesn't everyone? Be honest...


I blame the Scandinavians.  ;) 8)
RPG+
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 06, 2020, 10:51:08 PM
One more take:
I am not likely, personally or when leading worship (should I ever do that again), to pray to "Mother God" or to use any "name" but Holy Trinity, or Father, Son, and/or Holy Spirit, perhaps at times praying to God as "Creator," or "Redeemer," or "Savior."
And I would bet that only the teeniest, tiniest segment of the ELCA today would do anything but what I have just described. I sincerely doubt that it will become a rampaging thing to do in large segments of our ELCA family.
Should I ever hear the dread term in an ELCA setting, the dynamic I mentioned upstream would come into play, assuring me and the people around me that the God referenced is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus, the God whom we Christians know best as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Folks here who want to hang me will have to find another hook than the one labeled "pagan female goddess".

Oh, a P.S.
I cannot help but think that the super-heated uproar from some over a feminine reference to God is somehow fueled by the way those some see women. Just sayin'.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 06, 2020, 11:03:21 PM
One more take:
I am not likely, personally or when leading worship (should I ever do that again), to pray to "Mother God" or to use any "name" but Holy Trinity, or Father, Son, and/or Holy Spirit, perhaps at times praying to God as "Creator," or "Redeemer," or "Savior."
And I would bet that only the teeniest, tiniest segment of the ELCA today would do anything but what I have just described. I sincerely doubt that it will become a rampaging thing to do in large segments of our ELCA family.
Should I ever hear the dread term in an ELCA setting, the dynamic I mentioned upstream would come into play, assuring me and the people around me that the God referenced is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus, the God whom we Christians know best as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Folks here who want to hang me will have to find another hook than the one labeled "pagan female goddess".

Oh, a P.S.
I cannot help but think that the super-heated uproar from some over a feminine reference to God is somehow fueled by the way those some see women. Just sayin'.

1. How long will this "likely not to use" last?  As long as your claim that you would not join in telecommunion? 
2. Idolatry is more than just praying to a "pagan female goddess".  Any remaking of God from His self-revelation suffices.
3. In regards to your P.S., I will simply repeat to you your comment to me on another thread: are you engaging in "long-distance psychoanalyzing"?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 03:39:06 AM
I object to addressing God as "Mother," but as usual I don't see the issue as first and foremost whether we can or not. Rather, why would anyone choose to? I object to the desire behind the call for an alternate to "Father" more than I object to whatever alternative people come up with. Why not have God's Word shape our understanding of God, our selves, our neighbors, and the world rather than starting from our own elf-understanding and imposing that on God?


Do you refuse to sing A Mighty Fortress, because "mighty fortress" is an alternative to "Father" for God?
I don't address God as "Mighty Fortress" in prayer. And if a particularly militaristic people kept insisting on using such imagery in prayer, I would object. And as in the "Mother" case, my objection would only partly be to the use alternative language. Mostly, I would object to the desire behind it, or the things that makes people want such alternative language.


For many of us, we seek to expand people's exposure and understanding of images of God in scriptures. There were complaints about some invocations in ELW and Sundays and Seasons, but language of these came nearly directly from scriptures. One of my complaints against ELW is that I wished they would have included the scripture verses related to the texts in the liturgies like LSB does. It does have a "Scripture and Worship" section in the back of the book, pp. 1154-1159; but it's not the same has having the references next to the texts, e.g., the versicles for the daily offices. There is a lot of Bible in the liturgy, we often don't know it.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 03:44:39 AM
One more take:
I am not likely, personally or when leading worship (should I ever do that again), to pray to "Mother God" or to use any "name" but Holy Trinity, or Father, Son, and/or Holy Spirit, perhaps at times praying to God as "Creator," or "Redeemer," or "Savior."
And I would bet that only the teeniest, tiniest segment of the ELCA today would do anything but what I have just described. I sincerely doubt that it will become a rampaging thing to do in large segments of our ELCA family.
Should I ever hear the dread term in an ELCA setting, the dynamic I mentioned upstream would come into play, assuring me and the people around me that the God referenced is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus, the God whom we Christians know best as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Folks here who want to hang me will have to find another hook than the one labeled "pagan female goddess".

Oh, a P.S.
I cannot help but think that the super-heated uproar from some over a feminine reference to God is somehow fueled by the way those some see women. Just sayin'.


I'm with you about "Mother" and "Goddess" language. I've not used it, nor plan to, should I be leading worship. As I said, I sometimes changed the wording in the intercessions that were published in Sundays and Seasons.


On the other hand, we worshiped at a friend's congregation some years ago who used God all over the place to avoid masculine pronouns. There was not a clear reference that this God she kept talking about and to, was the Triune God. I would have liked some reference to a traditional designation of the Trinity - and, we were good enough friends, that I told her that. I don't know if my comments had any affect or not.


Perhaps it was the year of independent study, but I don't feel that I have to do what someone tells me to do. I can and do think for myself. I'm not a computer who just regurgitates what's been programmed into it.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2020, 06:07:44 AM
Pastor Bohler (re my not using the dread phrase):
1. How long will this "likely not to use" last?  As long as your claim that you would not join in telecommunion? 
Me:
Don”t know. Don’t care.
Experimented with virtual sacrament once, on Holy Thursday. Lightning did not strike me down. Haven’t done it since. Not planning to, but who knows where God might lead? (Because, you see, and I know  this is hard for you to comprehend, we terrible liberals do not do things just for Selfish or trivial reasons, but with prayer and trust in God’s guidance.)

Pastor Bohler:
2. Idolatry is more than just praying to a "pagan female goddess".  Any remaking of God from His self-revelation suffices.
Me:
If - note the if - you are right on this, then I am glad God is gracious. You should be, too, with your views that there can be no more words or guidance from God than what you already “know.”

Pastor Bohler:
3. In regards to your P.S., I will simply repeat to you your comment to me on another thread: are you engaging in "long-distance psychoanalyzing"?
Me:
It’s just that for some of you anything - repeat anything - that lifts women from the place and/or roles you presently comprehend for them sends teeth-rattling shock waves through your bodies and minds. Your whole world and your faith feels under attack. You cannot bear even discussing women pastors, so the idea of a feminine reference to God... well, no way!
Beloved Spouse sometimes asks this humble correspondent, “Why are you (men) so afraid of us (women)?”

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 07, 2020, 08:37:32 AM
Pastor Bohler (re my not using the dread phrase):
1. How long will this "likely not to use" last?  As long as your claim that you would not join in telecommunion? 
Me:
Don”t know. Don’t care.
Experimented with virtual sacrament once, on Holy Thursday. Lightning did not strike me down. Haven’t done it since. Not planning to, but who knows where God might lead? (Because, you see, and I know  this is hard for you to comprehend, we terrible liberals do not do things just for Selfish or trivial reasons, but with prayer and trust in God’s guidance.)

Pastor Bohler:
2. Idolatry is more than just praying to a "pagan female goddess".  Any remaking of God from His self-revelation suffices.
Me:
If - note the if - you are right on this, then I am glad God is gracious. You should be, too, with your views that there can be no more words or guidance from God than what you already “know.”

Pastor Bohler:
3. In regards to your P.S., I will simply repeat to you your comment to me on another thread: are you engaging in "long-distance psychoanalyzing"?
Me:
It’s just that for some of you anything - repeat anything - that lifts women from the place and/or roles you presently comprehend for them sends teeth-rattling shock waves through your bodies and minds. Your whole world and your faith feels under attack. You cannot bear even discussing women pastors, so the idea of a feminine reference to God... well, no way!
Beloved Spouse sometimes asks this humble correspondent, “Why are you (men) so afraid of us (women)?”

1.  Thank you for making my point.  Your word today means nothing for tomorrow.  So, all your protestations about how you personally would not use "Mother God" in prayer are not worth a thimbleful of spit. 

2. Yes, I am eternally grateful for God's grace.  For my many sins.  But grace is no excuse for continued sin, especially when it is intentional.

3. Accusing an individual obliquely by use of the "some of you" is pretty childish.  If you want to say someone about me, say it. Don't hide behind a "some of you" wall.  That being said, who is the "you" that you are referencing there anyway?  What group are you attacking? 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 07, 2020, 09:20:25 AM
we terrible liberals do not do things just for Selfish or trivial reasons, but with prayer and trust in God’s guidance.

If you trust in God's guidance beyond the words of Scripture, why? What is wrong with sola scriptura?   
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2020, 10:02:31 AM
Peter writes:
If you trust in God's guidance beyond the words of Scripture, why?
I comment:
Because I do not believe that God is finished speaking to us.

Peter writes:
What is wrong with sola scriptura?   
I comment:
See above. And then there’s that pesky matter of interpretation.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RDPreus on May 07, 2020, 10:02:45 AM
The "Mother God" prayer is prayed, not to God, but against every form of patriarchy.  The identification of God as Father with all human fatherhood derivative from it is the foundation of a patriarchal culture and religion.  The visceral, savage, irrational attacks on patriarchy have given us planned barrenness and abortion on demand (so a woman can prove she's a woman!  ???), the normalization of sexual perversion, and the denigration of the office of motherhood.  Those who pray to the "Mother God" advocate positions in opposition to the dignity of true motherhood.  There's an irony for you.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2020, 10:08:42 AM
And when patriarchy insists that men are closer to God, that men only can be God’s agents in the world and that man is a better representation of God than woman....
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 07, 2020, 10:17:55 AM
Pastor Bohler (re my not using the dread phrase):
1. How long will this "likely not to use" last?  As long as your claim that you would not join in telecommunion? 
Me:
Don”t know. Don’t care.

Experimented with virtual sacrament once, on Holy Thursday. Lightning did not strike me down. Haven’t done it since. Not planning to, but who knows where God might lead? (Because, you see, and I know  this is hard for you to comprehend, we terrible liberals do not do things just for Selfish or trivial reasons, but with prayer and trust in God’s guidance.)


I know this is hard for you to comprehend, but we terrible conservatives do not always do things just because of fear, greed for power or control, spite, or just for Selfish or trivial reasons, but with prayer and trust in God's guidance. Just as sometimes some liberals do things for selfish, trivial, or putting liberal ideology over Scripture reasons, sometimes some conservatives do things out of fear, etc. No group is perfect or always acts completely out of pure motives. But to generalize one group according to the best of motives and actors and the other group according to the worst of motives and actors does not facilitate productive discussion.
Quote
Pastor Bohler:
2. Idolatry is more than just praying to a "pagan female goddess".  Any remaking of God from His self-revelation suffices.
Me:
If - note the if - you are right on this, then I am glad God is gracious. You should be, too, with your views that there can be no more words or guidance from God than what you already “know.”

Pastor Bohler:
3. In regards to your P.S., I will simply repeat to you your comment to me on another thread: are you engaging in "long-distance psychoanalyzing"?
Me:
It’s just that for some of you anything - repeat anything - that lifts women from the place and/or roles you presently comprehend for them sends teeth-rattling shock waves through your bodies and minds. Your whole world and your faith feels under attack. You cannot bear even discussing women pastors, so the idea of a feminine reference to God... well, no way!
Beloved Spouse sometimes asks this humble correspondent, “Why are you (men) so afraid of us (women)?”



I cannot speak for Pr. Bohler even though you often get us confused. I guess to the liberal all conservatives look alike and are interchangeable. But no matter. Your reaction is a bit of an overgeneralization. Instead of actually talking about why female references to God should be acceptable you simply accuse him of not thinking but simply reacting emotionally and irrationally. Why bother thinking about what people who hold different thoughts or beliefs actually say, since they obviously aren't actually thinking or they would automatically agree with you?


Again, I can't speak for Pr. Bohler but I draw a distinction between using female referents for God, addressing Him as Mother, using feminine pronouns in reference to Him, or addressing Him as Goddess (as is done in at least one ELCA congregation, no doubt an outlier), and using feminine imagery to describe God's actions towards us. The latter could include Jesus talking about Him acting like a mother hen as He lamented over Jerusalem or God's creative work as being like giving birth. For the last there is Scriptural precedent, for the former none.


As to discussing the possibility of women pastors, we have discussed it a number of times and at great length. In our discussions we have come to different conclusions than has the ELCA. Is the ordination of women and partnered homosexuals up for serious discussion within the ELCA with the possibility that the ELCA decides that they were wrong and reverses their actions? Or are those basically settled questions not to be reopened just because someone has a burr under their saddle?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RDPreus on May 07, 2020, 10:23:40 AM
And when patriarchy insists that men are closer to God, that men only can be God’s agents in the world and that man is a better representation of God than woman....

Patriarchy does not teach that men are closer to God than women.  It does not teach that only men can be God's agents in the world.  As far as a "representation of God" is concerned, it is true that patriarchy excludes women from the pastoral office, but it is not only pastors who represent God. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 07, 2020, 10:29:09 AM
The "Mother God" prayer is prayed, not to God, but against every form of patriarchy.  The identification of God as Father with all human fatherhood derivative from it is the foundation of a patriarchal culture and religion.  The visceral, savage, irrational attacks on patriarchy have given us planned barrenness and abortion on demand (so a woman can prove she's a woman!  ??? ), the normalization of sexual perversion, and the denigration of the office of motherhood.  Those who pray to the "Mother God" advocate positions in opposition to the dignity of true motherhood.  There's an irony for you.



And when patriarchy insists that men are closer to God, that men only can be God's agents in the world and that man is a better representation of God than woman....
RDPreus and Charles Austin are here describing the extreme fringes of those who desire prayers to "Mother God" and those who object to prayers to "Mother God." I have little doubt that both extremes exist. As examples I could cite Ebenezer Lutheran Church (HerChurch) and the journal article I referred to earlier that asserted that God is in His essence male and human masculinity is a reflection of that divine, transcendent masculinity. Are those extremes the only positions possible? Can there not be more reasonable positions? So long as each side insists that the other is simply the extreme no fruitful discussion is possible. Perhaps if we tone down the rhetoric a bit it might be actually possible to understand where each other is coming from and not simply dismiss those of differing opinion as being from the fruitcake brigade.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2020, 10:40:56 AM
Pastor Preus, I will try to say this with some charity, but you do not get it and I doubt that you will ever get it. I do not have the energy or patience to help you understand patriarchy, not as you say it is, but as it truly is and has been experienced by women over the ages. I do not believe you are able to hear this, to listen to women (save for those who already agree with you), or to grasp what is felt by women who oppose patriarchy as it has been expressed and experienced.
You and others are not, I believe, even able to hear theologically trained, spiritually sound and faithful women in your own community who raise questions about women's roles.

Pastor Fienen writes(again):
Is the ordination of women and partnered homosexuals up for serious discussion within the ELCA with the possibility that the ELCA decides that they were wrong and reverses their actions?
I answer (again):
Yes. Let anyone who wishes make the motion at a synod or church-wide assembly, and I will, if present, gladly offer a second. (Steven will soon chime in to say that such attempts were squashed, but that is his interpretation of our procedures.) Now tell me what would happen if a group or an individual at an LCMS assembly offered a motion aimed at discussing the possibility of women clergy. Tell me what would happen if those people organized, sought support at district conventions, rounded up theologians on their side (or at least willing to discuss the matter) and energetically pursued their cause.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 07, 2020, 10:55:05 AM
Let us all take note that Pr. Austin is our resident expert on all things ELCA and sole authority. Anyone else whose experience in the ELCA differs from his representation simply does not understand the ELCA and presents a picture only of their spite at the ELCA and not the Way Things Really Are and should be quiet about their experience as it is obvious a false picture and Not Helpful.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 07, 2020, 10:55:40 AM
Peter writes:
If you trust in God's guidance beyond the words of Scripture, why?
I comment:
Because I do not believe that God is finished speaking to us.

Peter writes:
What is wrong with sola scriptura?   
I comment:
See above. And then there’s that pesky matter of interpretation.
How do you know it is God speaking? There is a great line in the Waco docudrama on Netflix when the FBI negotiator says something like, "I've dealt with a lot of people who claim to be modern day prophets, and one thing God always seems to say to them is to have sex with a lot of young women."

If God is speaking to you, how does anyone else know that it was God?

To be sure, God still speaks to us. The Holy Spirit works through the Word today, not just yesterday. But it is the same Word He works through.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 07, 2020, 11:07:40 AM
Peter writes:
If you trust in God's guidance beyond the words of Scripture, why?
I comment:
Because I do not believe that God is finished speaking to us.

Peter writes:
What is wrong with sola scriptura?   
I comment:
See above. And then there’s that pesky matter of interpretation.
How do you know it is God speaking? There is a great line in the Waco docudrama on Netflix when the FBI negotiator says something like, "I've dealt with a lot of people who claim to be modern day prophets, and one thing God always seems to say to them is to have sex with a lot of young women."

If God is speaking to you, how does anyone else know that it was God?

To be sure, God still speaks to us. The Holy Spirit works through the Word today, not just yesterday. But it is the same Word He works through.

Peter, all I can say to your words is:  "Amen!"

Whenever I hear people say "God is still speaking!" I usually assume what they actually mean is "I have a feeling that God agrees with my opinions!"
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 07, 2020, 11:27:17 AM
Peter writes:
If you trust in God's guidance beyond the words of Scripture, why?
I comment:
Because I do not believe that God is finished speaking to us.

Peter writes:
What is wrong with sola scriptura?   
I comment:
See above. And then there’s that pesky matter of interpretation.
How do you know it is God speaking? There is a great line in the Waco docudrama on Netflix when the FBI negotiator says something like, "I've dealt with a lot of people who claim to be modern day prophets, and one thing God always seems to say to them is to have sex with a lot of young women."

If God is speaking to you, how does anyone else know that it was God?

To be sure, God still speaks to us. The Holy Spirit works through the Word today, not just yesterday. But it is the same Word He works through.

Peter, all I can say to your words is:  "Amen!"

Whenever I hear people say "God is still speaking!" I usually assume what they actually mean is "I have a feeling that God agrees with my opinions!"

That's been a really a big thing in the ELCA for at least 20 years. I recall The Lutheran magazine had a husband-wife pastoral team advice column. The question was about a innovative, controversial practice similar to this one. The gist of their answer: "God has not finished speaking."

For the longest time, as one would enter Walker, MN from the north, the ELCA church had a big sign out front: "God is not finished speaking."

You are right, Tom. Often, it means "God is not finished speaking until He sees it my way."
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2020, 11:37:08 AM
Pastor Eckstein writes:
Whenever I hear people say "God is still speaking!" I usually assume what they actually mean is "I have a feeling that God agrees with my opinions!"
I comment:
This is one of those crappy things that I tire of hearing. My "opinion" is that I should be able to hit back at everyone who persecutes me, I do not want to forgive my enemies or those who sin against me, I am not eager to love my neighbors. In my "opinion," my opportunities to kill or violate other commandments should be much larger.
Once, God said the chosen people were defined by circumcision. Then God said that was not the only way to be people of God. Once - quite a few generations of the church, and those who translated the King James Bible, said kings had "divine rights" and were always anointed by God.
Good grief, when we in the LCA decided to ordain women, I opposed it, for all the usual reasons, some of them still presented in this modest forum.
On what basis do you say that God never, ever, anytime anywhere could not speak to us today? On what basis do you say that our interpretation of what God has said in the past has always, every time and in every place been spot on correct?
But a familiar, rutted road lies ahead on this topic. Sigh.

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: James J Eivan on May 07, 2020, 12:04:33 PM

Let us all take note that Pr. Austin is our resident expert on all things ELCA and sole authority. Anyone else whose experience in the ELCA differs from his representation simply does not understand the ELCA and presents a picture only of their spite at the ELCA and not the Way Things Really Are and should be quiet about their experience as it is obvious a false picture and Not Helpful.


In the same way, Rev Austin’s definition of patriarchy is the be all end all definition that ALL must agree with and abide by his self righteous decrees ... anyone who fails to walk in lock step with him and his ilk is closed minded, stubborn and just plain wrong.
:-[

I do not have the energy or patience to help you understand patriarchy, not as you say it is, but as it truly is and has been experienced by women over the ages. I do not believe you are able to hear this, to listen to women (save for those who already agree with you), or to grasp what is felt by women who oppose patriarchy as it has been expressed and experienced.
You and others are not, I believe, even able to hear theologically trained, spiritually sound and faithful women in your own community who raise questions about women's roles.

So if questions raised by men concerning women’s roles in the church have been soundly and scripturally rejected, we should rehash the same material because the opposite gender raises the issue.  For someone who continually urges equality of the gender, why should we diss men and reopen subjects with women that have been completely hashed out previously?

Apparently as Rev Kirchner stated above, you believe “God is not finished speaking until He sees it my way.” And your continued angling and reangling on the same subject is designed to wear God’s people down to accept the world’s ways (your ways) rather than God’s ways.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: mariemeyer on May 07, 2020, 12:10:48 PM
And when patriarchy insists that men are closer to God, that men only can be God’s agents in the world and that man is a better representation of God than woman....

Patriarchy does not teach that men are closer to God than women.  It does not teach that only men can be God's agents in the world.  As far as a "representation of God" is concerned, it is true that patriarchy excludes women from the pastoral office, but it is not only pastors who represent God.


The LCMS rightly teaches that God is spirit, neither male or female.  The LCMS then goes on to claim that God is masculine, not feminine; therefore men represent and speak for God in a way not given to women who are by nature feminine.  The LCMS also teaches that God's order in the church is patriarchal. God has assigned man a position in the order of creation where man is closer to God than woman. Man's headship authority in relation to to woman is likened to Christ's Headship authority over the Church.  The CPH Commentary on I Corinthians states that a woman must always be under the authority of a man in the home, her father, her husband or some other adult man in the house.  Woman's status remains that of child or a "mini" adult.

I also read a CTQ book review where authority in the church is said to come down to the basics of the normal sex act.   I also attended a Fort Wayne Theological Convocation where the pastoral  office was to limited men since they are the one who plant the seed of God's Word. 

The Lutheran Study Bible has one page in small type on Women DisciplesThe Social Status of Mary is listed as "The wife of Joseph, the carpenter, and the mother of Jesus, James, Jude and other children.

Mary's relationship to Jesus reads:   Mary was the mother of Jesus. She respected Him and knew He was special,  (jn2:1-5), but was confused by His calling (Lk 2:48-49).  She did not agree with Jesus decision to leave the carpentry trade and live as a rabbi (Mk 3:21 Lk 8: 19-21.  Jesus down played the suggestion that Mary was especially blessed because of their  earthly relationship (xLk 11:27).  At the crucifixion He showed kindness to her by entrusting her to the care of the apostle John (Jn 19:26-27).  She gathered with the apostles after Jesus' resurrection (Acts 1:14).   Revelation 12 may memorialize her special witness to the ministry of John and Jesus.

I have not, nor will I, pray to Mary or to the "Mother God."   I will however state that TLSB minimal comments on Mary are shameful.   It reflects how the patriarchal mindset of LCMS theologians permeates their determination that women know their place in the church and home.

Marie Meyer
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RandyBosch on May 07, 2020, 12:24:53 PM
And when patriarchy insists that men are closer to God, that men only can be God’s agents in the world and that man is a better representation of God than woman....

Patriarchy does not teach that men are closer to God than women.  It does not teach that only men can be God's agents in the world.  As far as a "representation of God" is concerned, it is true that patriarchy excludes women from the pastoral office, but it is not only pastors who represent God.


The LCMS rightly teaches that God is spirit, neither male or female.  The LCMS then goes on to claim that God is masculine, not feminine; therefore men represent and speak for God in a way not given to women who are by nature feminine.  The LCMS also teaches that God's order in the church is patriarchal. God has assigned man a position in the order of creation where man is closer to God than woman. Man's headship authority in relation to to woman is likened to Christ's Headship authority over the Church.  The CPH Commentary on I Corinthians states that a woman must always be under the authority of a man in the home, her father, her husband or some other adult man in the house.  Woman's status remains that of child or a "mini" adult.

I also read a CTQ book review where authority in the church is said to come down to the basics of the normal sex act.   I also attended a Fort Wayne Theological Convocation where the pastoral  office was to limited men since they are the one who plant the seed of God's Word. 

The Lutheran Study Bible has one page in small type on Women DisciplesThe Social Status of Mary is listed as "The wife of Joseph, the carpenter, and the mother of Jesus, James, Jude and other children.

Mary's relationship to Jesus reads:   Mary was the mother of Jesus. She respected Him and knew He was special,  (jn2:1-5), but was confused by His calling (Lk 2:48-49).  She did not agree with Jesus decision to leave the carpentry trade and live as a rabbi (Mk 3:21 Lk 8: 19-21.  Jesus down played the suggestion that Mary was especially blessed because of their  earthly relationship (xLk 11:27).  At the crucifixion He showed kindness to her by entrusting her to the care of the apostle John (Jn 19:26-27).  She gathered with the apostles after Jesus' resurrection (Acts 1:14).   Revelation 12 may memorialize her special witness to the ministry of John and Jesus.

I have not, nor will I, pray to Mary or to the "Mother God."   I will however state that TLSB minimal comments on Mary are shameful.   It reflects how the patriarchal mindset of LCMS theologians permeates their determination that women know their place in the church and home.

Marie Meyer

You have a unique opportunity on this Forum to address how these things came to be present in The Lutheran Study Bible.  The General Editor for The Lutheran Study Bible is active on the ALPB Forum.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RDPreus on May 07, 2020, 12:26:10 PM
The "Mother God" prayer is prayed, not to God, but against every form of patriarchy.  The identification of God as Father with all human fatherhood derivative from it is the foundation of a patriarchal culture and religion.  The visceral, savage, irrational attacks on patriarchy have given us planned barrenness and abortion on demand (so a woman can prove she's a woman!  ??? ), the normalization of sexual perversion, and the denigration of the office of motherhood.  Those who pray to the "Mother God" advocate positions in opposition to the dignity of true motherhood.  There's an irony for you.



And when patriarchy insists that men are closer to God, that men only can be God's agents in the world and that man is a better representation of God than woman....
RDPreus and Charles Austin are here describing the extreme fringes of those who desire prayers to "Mother God" and those who object to prayers to "Mother God." I have little doubt that both extremes exist. As examples I could cite Ebenezer Lutheran Church (HerChurch) and the journal article I referred to earlier that asserted that God is in His essence male and human masculinity is a reflection of that divine, transcendent masculinity. Are those extremes the only positions possible? Can there not be more reasonable positions? So long as each side insists that the other is simply the extreme no fruitful discussion is possible. Perhaps if we tone down the rhetoric a bit it might be actually possible to understand where each other is coming from and not simply dismiss those of differing opinion as being from the fruitcake brigade.

Rev. Fienen, I think you are wrong to say that I am identifying an extreme fringe of those who pray to "Mother God."  Ask yourself if you know anyone who prays to "Mother God" who:

a) Supports patriarchy
b) Opposes contraception and abortion
c) Identifies homosexuality as a perversion
d) Believes that there is no higher calling for a woman than to be a wife and a mother

I have accurately described Rev. Austin's position.  He has inaccurately described mine.  He listed three features of patriarchy, all of which I reject.  His argument with me is, as usual, that I cannot possibly understand and he hasn't got the energy or patience to explain things to me. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: James J Eivan on May 07, 2020, 12:29:33 PM

And when patriarchy insists that men are closer to God, that men only can be God’s agents in the world and that man is a better representation of God than woman....


Patriarchy does not teach that men are closer to God than women.  It does not teach that only men can be God's agents in the world.  As far as a "representation of God" is concerned, it is true that patriarchy excludes women from the pastoral office, but it is not only pastors who represent God.


The LCMS rightly teaches that God is spirit, neither male or female.  The LCMS then goes on to claim that God is masculine, not feminine; therefore men represent and speak for God in a way not given to women who are by nature feminine.  The LCMS also teaches that God's order in the church is patriarchal. God has assigned man a position in the order of creation where man is closer to God than woman. Man's headship authority in relation to to woman is likened to Christ's Headship authority over the Church.  The CPH Commentary on I Corinthians states that a woman must always be under the authority of a man in the home, her father, her husband or some other adult man in the house.  Woman's status remains that of child or a "mini" adult.

I also read a CTQ book review where authority in the church is said to come down to the basics of the normal sex act.   I also attended a Fort Wayne Theological Convocation where the pastoral  office was to limited men since they are the one who plant the seed of God's Word. 

The Lutheran Study Bible has one page in small type on Women DisciplesThe Social Status of Mary is listed as "The wife of Joseph, the carpenter, and the mother of Jesus, James, Jude and other children.

Mary's relationship to Jesus reads:   Mary was the mother of Jesus. She respected Him and knew He was special,  (jn2:1-5), but was confused by His calling (Lk 2:48-49).  She did not agree with Jesus decision to leave the carpentry trade and live as a rabbi (Mk 3:21 Lk 8: 19-21.  Jesus down played the suggestion that Mary was especially blessed because of their  earthly relationship (xLk 11:27).  At the crucifixion He showed kindness to her by entrusting her to the care of the apostle John (Jn 19:26-27).  She gathered with the apostles after Jesus' resurrection (Acts 1:14).   Revelation 12 may memorialize her special witness to the ministry of John and Jesus.

I have not, nor will I, pray to Mary or to the "Mother God."   I will however state that TLSB minimal comments on Mary are shameful.   It reflects how the patriarchal mindset of LCMS theologians permeates their determination that women know their place in the church and home.

Marie Meyer
The social status of Mary at the time she lived in Biblical times was indeed “The wife of Joseph, the carpenter, and the mother of Jesus, James, Jude and other children.”. If this statement is not supported by historical fact, please clearly articulate it from scriptural evidence. 
I fear that what is being attempted today is a rewirite of Holy Scripture ... to reflect the true life and realities of life at the time of Christ in the eyes of today’s sinful society. The issue here is not how Mary should be viewed in society today ... the issue is how she was viewed in the society of her day.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RandyBosch on May 07, 2020, 12:29:45 PM
...Yes. Let anyone who wishes make the motion at a synod or church-wide assembly, and I will, if present, gladly offer a second.

Very magnanimous of you Pastor Austin.  You have made similar offers a number of times, going back to before the 2009 Churchwide Assembly.

A question for you.  When was the last time that you were a registered Voting attendee at a Synod Assembly or a Churchwide Assembly?  Did you offer a Second to a proper motion at any of them?  Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 07, 2020, 12:34:46 PM
Pastor Eckstein writes:
Whenever I hear people say "God is still speaking!" I usually assume what they actually mean is "I have a feeling that God agrees with my opinions!"
I comment:
This is one of those crappy things that I tire of hearing. My "opinion" is that I should be able to hit back at everyone who persecutes me, I do not want to forgive my enemies or those who sin against me, I am not eager to love my neighbors. In my "opinion," my opportunities to kill or violate other commandments should be much larger.
Once, God said the chosen people were defined by circumcision. Then God said that was not the only way to be people of God. Once - quite a few generations of the church, and those who translated the King James Bible, said kings had "divine rights" and were always anointed by God.
Good grief, when we in the LCA decided to ordain women, I opposed it, for all the usual reasons, some of them still presented in this modest forum.
On what basis do you say that God never, ever, anytime anywhere could not speak to us today? On what basis do you say that our interpretation of what God has said in the past has always, every time and in every place been spot on correct?
But a familiar, rutted road lies ahead on this topic. Sigh.

Charles, my point in asserting that when many people say "God is still speaking!" they really mean "I have a feeling that God agrees with my opinions!" is that such people believe that God speaks things to their hearts directly and that they can affirm such "whispers of God" even though such "whispers" conflict with God's clear teaching in Holy Scripture.  This is pure pagan enthusiasm! 

I have heard some ELCA laypeople and even pastors say:  "I don't care if Scripture teaches that such and such is a sin.  God tells me differently in my heart."  This is what many people mean by "God is still speaking."

As for you comment about circumcision, it wasn't that God at one time only wanted to save the Jews (and thus marked them with circumcision) and then changed His mind in the New Testament.  Genesis 12:1-3 makes it clear that God has always wanted to save everyone!  Therefore, the point of circumcision was to mark Israel as the nation from whom the Savior of ALL nations would come - and this is why the temporary ceremonial practice of circumcision was set aside because it was fulfilled in Christ.  In contrast, the prohibitions against same-sex behavior and women serving in the pastoral office have NEVER been set aside and are still part of the Faith once for all entrusted to the saints.

As Peter said, the Spirit continues to speak today - THROUGH GOD'S WRITTEN WORD.  Now, does this mean God can't give a person a vision about something?  No.  But it DOES mean that the Spirit will not give teachings to someone's heart which are in direct conflict with God's teaching giving in Holy Scripture.  Any speaking from the "spirit" that conflicts with the Spirit inspired Scriptures are not from the Holy Spirit but another "spirit."
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 07, 2020, 12:40:00 PM
And when patriarchy insists that men are closer to God, that men only can be God’s agents in the world and that man is a better representation of God than woman....

Patriarchy does not teach that men are closer to God than women.  It does not teach that only men can be God's agents in the world.  As far as a "representation of God" is concerned, it is true that patriarchy excludes women from the pastoral office, but it is not only pastors who represent God.

The LCMS rightly teaches that God is spirit, neither male or female.  The LCMS then goes on to claim that God is masculine, not feminine; therefore men represent and speak for God in a way not given to women who are by nature feminine.  The LCMS also teaches that God's order in the church is patriarchal. God has assigned man a position in the order of creation where man is closer to God than woman. Man's headship authority in relation to to woman is likened to Christ's Headship authority over the Church.  The CPH Commentary on I Corinthians states that a woman must always be under the authority of a man in the home, her father, her husband or some other adult man in the house.  Woman's status remains that of child or a "mini" adult.

I also read a CTQ book review where authority in the church is said to come down to the basics of the normal sex act.   I also attended a Fort Wayne Theological Convocation where the pastoral  office was to limited men since they are the one who plant the seed of God's Word. 

The Lutheran Study Bible has one page in small type on Women DisciplesThe Social Status of Mary is listed as "The wife of Joseph, the carpenter, and the mother of Jesus, James, Jude and other children.

Mary's relationship to Jesus reads:   Mary was the mother of Jesus. She respected Him and knew He was special,  (jn2:1-5), but was confused by His calling (Lk 2:48-49).  She did not agree with Jesus decision to leave the carpentry trade and live as a rabbi (Mk 3:21 Lk 8: 19-21.  Jesus down played the suggestion that Mary was especially blessed because of their  earthly relationship (xLk 11:27).  At the crucifixion He showed kindness to her by entrusting her to the care of the apostle John (Jn 19:26-27).  She gathered with the apostles after Jesus' resurrection (Acts 1:14).   Revelation 12 may memorialize her special witness to the ministry of John and Jesus.

I have not, nor will I, pray to Mary or to the "Mother God."   I will however state that TLSB minimal comments on Mary are shameful.   It reflects how the patriarchal mindset of LCMS theologians permeates their determination that women know their place in the church and home.

Marie Meyer

Marie, yes, God is Spirit.  But He also reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and the eternal Son became incarnate as a MALE.  Paul clearly teaches in Ephesians 5 that the husband is the "head" of the wife as Christ is the "head" of Church, and these roles are NOT interchangeable!  Also, in 1 Cor. 11 Paul teaches that God [the Father] is the "head" of Christ [the Son], and these roles are NOT interchangeable!  Being equal in status does NOT mean having the same roles or functions.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 07, 2020, 12:40:40 PM
I will try to say this with some charity


Please try harder.

Fraternally, Steven+
The extent of my chiming.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: mariemeyer on May 07, 2020, 01:42:25 PM
And when patriarchy insists that men are closer to God, that men only can be God’s agents in the world and that man is a better representation of God than woman....

Patriarchy does not teach that men are closer to God than women.  It does not teach that only men can be God's agents in the world.  As far as a "representation of God" is concerned, it is true that patriarchy excludes women from the pastoral office, but it is not only pastors who represent God.

The LCMS rightly teaches that God is spirit, neither male or female.  The LCMS then goes on to claim that God is masculine, not feminine; therefore men represent and speak for God in a way not given to women who are by nature feminine.  The LCMS also teaches that God's order in the church is patriarchal. God has assigned man a position in the order of creation where man is closer to God than woman. Man's headship authority in relation to to woman is likened to Christ's Headship authority over the Church.  The CPH Commentary on I Corinthians states that a woman must always be under the authority of a man in the home, her father, her husband or some other adult man in the house.  Woman's status remains that of child or a "mini" adult.

I also read a CTQ book review where authority in the church is said to come down to the basics of the normal sex act.   I also attended a Fort Wayne Theological Convocation where the pastoral  office was to limited men since they are the one who plant the seed of God's Word. 

The Lutheran Study Bible has one page in small type on Women DisciplesThe Social Status of Mary is listed as "The wife of Joseph, the carpenter, and the mother of Jesus, James, Jude and other children.

Mary's relationship to Jesus reads:   Mary was the mother of Jesus. She respected Him and knew He was special,  (jn2:1-5), but was confused by His calling (Lk 2:48-49).  She did not agree with Jesus decision to leave the carpentry trade and live as a rabbi (Mk 3:21 Lk 8: 19-21.  Jesus down played the suggestion that Mary was especially blessed because of their  earthly relationship (xLk 11:27).  At the crucifixion He showed kindness to her by entrusting her to the care of the apostle John (Jn 19:26-27).  She gathered with the apostles after Jesus' resurrection (Acts 1:14).   Revelation 12 may memorialize her special witness to the ministry of John and Jesus.

I have not, nor will I, pray to Mary or to the "Mother God."   I will however state that TLSB minimal comments on Mary are shameful.   It reflects how the patriarchal mindset of LCMS theologians permeates their determination that women know their place in the church and home.

Marie Meyer

Marie, yes, God is Spirit.  But He also reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and the eternal Son became incarnate as a MALE.  Paul clearly teaches in Ephesians 5 that the husband is the "head" of the wife as Christ is the "head" of Church, and these roles are NOT interchangeable!  Also, in 1 Cor. 11 Paul teaches that God [the Father] is the "head" of Christ [the Son], and these roles are NOT interchangeable!  Being equal in status does NOT mean having the same roles or functions.

The above states what has been repeated here numerous times.  It plays like a broken record that begins with presuppositions that originate  in natural human reason.   

Now, please address the examples I gave of how procreative maleness is the unacknowledged premise upon which LCMS patriarchal theology is  based.

Marie Meyer
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 07, 2020, 02:23:25 PM
And when patriarchy insists that men are closer to God, that men only can be God’s agents in the world and that man is a better representation of God than woman....

Patriarchy does not teach that men are closer to God than women.  It does not teach that only men can be God's agents in the world.  As far as a "representation of God" is concerned, it is true that patriarchy excludes women from the pastoral office, but it is not only pastors who represent God.

The LCMS rightly teaches that God is spirit, neither male or female.  The LCMS then goes on to claim that God is masculine, not feminine; therefore men represent and speak for God in a way not given to women who are by nature feminine.  The LCMS also teaches that God's order in the church is patriarchal. God has assigned man a position in the order of creation where man is closer to God than woman. Man's headship authority in relation to to woman is likened to Christ's Headship authority over the Church.  The CPH Commentary on I Corinthians states that a woman must always be under the authority of a man in the home, her father, her husband or some other adult man in the house.  Woman's status remains that of child or a "mini" adult.

I also read a CTQ book review where authority in the church is said to come down to the basics of the normal sex act.   I also attended a Fort Wayne Theological Convocation where the pastoral  office was to limited men since they are the one who plant the seed of God's Word. 

The Lutheran Study Bible has one page in small type on Women DisciplesThe Social Status of Mary is listed as "The wife of Joseph, the carpenter, and the mother of Jesus, James, Jude and other children.

Mary's relationship to Jesus reads:   Mary was the mother of Jesus. She respected Him and knew He was special,  (jn2:1-5), but was confused by His calling (Lk 2:48-49).  She did not agree with Jesus decision to leave the carpentry trade and live as a rabbi (Mk 3:21 Lk 8: 19-21.  Jesus down played the suggestion that Mary was especially blessed because of their  earthly relationship (xLk 11:27).  At the crucifixion He showed kindness to her by entrusting her to the care of the apostle John (Jn 19:26-27).  She gathered with the apostles after Jesus' resurrection (Acts 1:14).   Revelation 12 may memorialize her special witness to the ministry of John and Jesus.

I have not, nor will I, pray to Mary or to the "Mother God."   I will however state that TLSB minimal comments on Mary are shameful.   It reflects how the patriarchal mindset of LCMS theologians permeates their determination that women know their place in the church and home.

Marie Meyer

Marie, yes, God is Spirit.  But He also reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and the eternal Son became incarnate as a MALE.  Paul clearly teaches in Ephesians 5 that the husband is the "head" of the wife as Christ is the "head" of Church, and these roles are NOT interchangeable!  Also, in 1 Cor. 11 Paul teaches that God [the Father] is the "head" of Christ [the Son], and these roles are NOT interchangeable!  Being equal in status does NOT mean having the same roles or functions.

The above states what has been repeated here numerous times.  It plays like a broken record that begins with presuppositions that originate  in natural human reason.   

Now, please address the examples I gave of how procreative maleness is the unacknowledged premise upon which LCMS patriarchal theology is  based.

Marie Meyer

Marie!  The Scriptures I quote do NOT originate in "natural human reason" but are part of the inspired Word of God.  Scripture teaches that the husband is the "head" of his wife and that God [the Father] is the "head" of Christ [the Son] - and these roles cannot be exchanged.  Do you agree or not?

As for "procreative maleness" being the "unacknowledged premise upon which LCMS patriarchal theology is  based," I think you totally misrepresent our official teaching.  Do some LCMS laypeople and pastors speak in ways that are unhelpful in understanding our official position?  Yes.  But the fact is that the official LCMS position is that even though both men and woman are of equal worth before God, we also have been given different functions and roles as male and female within marriage and the church.  This is based on clear teaching of Scripture and not on "natural human reason."  In fact, "natural human reason" would not conclude that the husband is the "head" of his wife as Christ is the "head" of His Church.  "Natural human reason" would not conclude that God [the Father] is the "head" of Christ [His Son].  This is all from SPECIAL revelation given to us by God.  If you have issues with this, see Him about it.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 07, 2020, 02:33:17 PM
And when patriarchy insists that men are closer to God, that men only can be God’s agents in the world and that man is a better representation of God than woman....

Patriarchy does not teach that men are closer to God than women.  It does not teach that only men can be God's agents in the world.  As far as a "representation of God" is concerned, it is true that patriarchy excludes women from the pastoral office, but it is not only pastors who represent God.

The LCMS rightly teaches that God is spirit, neither male or female.  The LCMS then goes on to claim that God is masculine, not feminine; therefore men represent and speak for God in a way not given to women who are by nature feminine.  The LCMS also teaches that God's order in the church is patriarchal. God has assigned man a position in the order of creation where man is closer to God than woman. Man's headship authority in relation to to woman is likened to Christ's Headship authority over the Church.  The CPH Commentary on I Corinthians states that a woman must always be under the authority of a man in the home, her father, her husband or some other adult man in the house.  Woman's status remains that of child or a "mini" adult.

I also read a CTQ book review where authority in the church is said to come down to the basics of the normal sex act.   I also attended a Fort Wayne Theological Convocation where the pastoral  office was to limited men since they are the one who plant the seed of God's Word. 

The Lutheran Study Bible has one page in small type on Women DisciplesThe Social Status of Mary is listed as "The wife of Joseph, the carpenter, and the mother of Jesus, James, Jude and other children.

Mary's relationship to Jesus reads:   Mary was the mother of Jesus. She respected Him and knew He was special,  (jn2:1-5), but was confused by His calling (Lk 2:48-49).  She did not agree with Jesus decision to leave the carpentry trade and live as a rabbi (Mk 3:21 Lk 8: 19-21.  Jesus down played the suggestion that Mary was especially blessed because of their  earthly relationship (xLk 11:27).  At the crucifixion He showed kindness to her by entrusting her to the care of the apostle John (Jn 19:26-27).  She gathered with the apostles after Jesus' resurrection (Acts 1:14).   Revelation 12 may memorialize her special witness to the ministry of John and Jesus.

I have not, nor will I, pray to Mary or to the "Mother God."   I will however state that TLSB minimal comments on Mary are shameful.   It reflects how the patriarchal mindset of LCMS theologians permeates their determination that women know their place in the church and home.

Marie Meyer

Marie, yes, God is Spirit.  But He also reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and the eternal Son became incarnate as a MALE.  Paul clearly teaches in Ephesians 5 that the husband is the "head" of the wife as Christ is the "head" of Church, and these roles are NOT interchangeable!  Also, in 1 Cor. 11 Paul teaches that God [the Father] is the "head" of Christ [the Son], and these roles are NOT interchangeable!  Being equal in status does NOT mean having the same roles or functions.

The above states what has been repeated here numerous times.  It plays like a broken record that begins with presuppositions that originate  in natural human reason.   

Now, please address the examples I gave of how procreative maleness is the unacknowledged premise upon which LCMS patriarchal theology is  based.

Marie Meyer

Marie, I think these words written by you are problematic:  "The LCMS also teaches that God's order in the church is patriarchal. God has assigned man a position in the order of creation where man is closer to God than woman. Man's headship authority in relation to to woman is likened to Christ's Headship authority over the Church."  You misunderstand the LCMS position in several ways:

1.  The LCMS does NOT teach that men are closer to God than women.  What we DO teach is that husband is the "head" of His wife and that the pastor represents Christ who is the "head" over His collective Bride, the Church.  In each case, God is serving the latter through the former.  There is no talk here about a men being "closer to God" than women.

2.  The LCMS does NOT teach that ALL men are "heads" of ALL women as Christ is the head of His Church.  What we DO teach is that the husband is the "head" of his wife as Christ is the "head" of His Church and that this same "order" is reflected when men represent Christ in the pastoral office thereby giving gifts to His collective Bride, the Church.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 02:51:29 PM
we terrible liberals do not do things just for Selfish or trivial reasons, but with prayer and trust in God’s guidance.

If you trust in God's guidance beyond the words of Scripture, why? What is wrong with sola scriptura?


sola scriptura has lead to every heresy that has been known. something more than scriptures is also needed, thus we have sola gratia and sola fide. It's a bit like a three legged stool, if one of the legs is missing, it falls over.


Jesus tells us that he was not able to tell us everything. The Spirit was sent to guide us in all truth (John 16:12-13). We should not expect scriptures to be the total of God's revelation to us, even as we maintain it's authority over any new revelations the Spirit might give us.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 07, 2020, 02:52:25 PM

On what basis do you say that God never, ever, anytime anywhere could not speak to us today?
Nobody on planet earth has ever said that, certainly no Christian. I, and the others here who are agreeing with me, say that God does indeed speak to us today. The Holy Spirit never stops calling people by the Gospel. It is just the same old Gospel He calls people by. He doesn't say anything to me that He didn't say to, say, my great-grandfather.

Now, of course God COULD speak something new to us today, something not in the Scriptures we already have and that He never shared with prior generations. It is theoretically possible. The issue is not whether He COULD but whether He HAS. What does His voice sound like apart from Scripture? How would we know it was Him and not the zeitgeist, some delusion, or even demon impersonating Him?

Again, nobody says God doesn't speak today. Nobody says He couldn't speak new things. We're asking how you know some new thing is a revelation from God.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 02:58:51 PM
Let us all take note that Pr. Austin is our resident expert on all things ELCA and sole authority. Anyone else whose experience in the ELCA differs from his representation simply does not understand the ELCA and presents a picture only of their spite at the ELCA and not the Way Things Really Are and should be quiet about their experience as it is obvious a false picture and Not Helpful.


I am certain that Charles or Steven or Richard or I are much better informed about all things ELCA than LCMS folks. All of us have been to ELCA Churchwide Assemblies. We've been to many synod assemblies. We've seen, first-hand, how things work in the ELCA.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 03:05:17 PM
Peter writes:
If you trust in God's guidance beyond the words of Scripture, why?
I comment:
Because I do not believe that God is finished speaking to us.

Peter writes:
What is wrong with sola scriptura?   
I comment:
See above. And then there’s that pesky matter of interpretation.
How do you know it is God speaking? There is a great line in the Waco docudrama on Netflix when the FBI negotiator says something like, "I've dealt with a lot of people who claim to be modern day prophets, and one thing God always seems to say to them is to have sex with a lot of young women."

If God is speaking to you, how does anyone else know that it was God?

To be sure, God still speaks to us. The Holy Spirit works through the Word today, not just yesterday. But it is the same Word He works through.

Peter, all I can say to your words is:  "Amen!"

Whenever I hear people say "God is still speaking!" I usually assume what they actually mean is "I have a feeling that God agrees with my opinions!"


It's more likely that we believe God is agree with our decision. For example, when a congregation votes to Call a new pastor. Is God speaking to them through their decision process? They can't really look to scriptures to see if they should Call Bob or Bill as their pastors.


In recent weeks, congregations have made changes in the way they worship. Hopefully, in a short time, they will decide to return to worshiping as a gathered community. Is God part of these decisions? Doesn't God respond to the many prayers for guidance - by guiding the decisions?


If God were not still speaking, no minister should be writing/delivering sermons. We should just read from scriptures. Say, "Amen." And sit down. We don't do that. Ironically, even in liturgies that historically did not include preaching, Matins, Vespers, Compline, we often insert a sermon anyway. Reading scriptures, singing psalms, and offering prayers isn't enough. Many people expect to hear God's word proclaimed in sermon.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RDPreus on May 07, 2020, 03:06:15 PM
we terrible liberals do not do things just for Selfish or trivial reasons, but with prayer and trust in God’s guidance.

If you trust in God's guidance beyond the words of Scripture, why? What is wrong with sola scriptura?


sola scriptura has lead to every heresy that has been known. something more than scriptures is also needed, thus we have sola gratia and sola fide. It's a bit like a three legged stool, if one of the legs is missing, it falls over.


Jesus tells us that he was not able to tell us everything. The Spirit was sent to guide us in all truth (John 16:12-13). We should not expect scriptures to be the total of God's revelation to us, even as we maintain it's authority over any new revelations the Spirit might give us.

If Jesus sent the Spirit to lead the disciples into all truth and they put down into writing what the Holy Spirit told them, why do you assume that the Spirit didn't lead them into all truth but reserved some of the truth to be revealed later on?  Or am I misunderstanding you?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 07, 2020, 03:07:07 PM
we terrible liberals do not do things just for Selfish or trivial reasons, but with prayer and trust in God’s guidance.

If you trust in God's guidance beyond the words of Scripture, why? What is wrong with sola scriptura?


sola scriptura has lead to every heresy that has been known. something more than scriptures is also needed, thus we have sola gratia and sola fide. It's a bit like a three legged stool, if one of the legs is missing, it falls over.


Jesus tells us that he was not able to tell us everything. The Spirit was sent to guide us in all truth (John 16:12-13). We should not expect scriptures to be the total of God's revelation to us, even as we maintain it's authority over any new revelations the Spirit might give us.

Brian, sola gratia and sola fide are not ways God speaks to us.  Any "three legged stool" analogy has to be based on ways God speaks to us - and thus Rome's view of Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium forming a "three legged stool" of authoritative revelation.

As Peter asked Charles, how do we know when the Spirit is giving us a new revelation?

Finally, in John 16:12-13 Jesus is talking about the Spirit revealing things to Jesus APOSTLES whose teaching would then become the foundation for all future generations (see John 17:20).  John 16:12-13 is NOT teaching that the Spirit would give new revelations to ALL believers of ALL times and places that are in addition to or in conflict with the teaching Jesus has given us through His APOSTLES.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 07, 2020, 03:14:28 PM
Peter writes:
If you trust in God's guidance beyond the words of Scripture, why?
I comment:
Because I do not believe that God is finished speaking to us.

Peter writes:
What is wrong with sola scriptura?   
I comment:
See above. And then there’s that pesky matter of interpretation.
How do you know it is God speaking? There is a great line in the Waco docudrama on Netflix when the FBI negotiator says something like, "I've dealt with a lot of people who claim to be modern day prophets, and one thing God always seems to say to them is to have sex with a lot of young women."

If God is speaking to you, how does anyone else know that it was God?

To be sure, God still speaks to us. The Holy Spirit works through the Word today, not just yesterday. But it is the same Word He works through.

Peter, all I can say to your words is:  "Amen!"

Whenever I hear people say "God is still speaking!" I usually assume what they actually mean is "I have a feeling that God agrees with my opinions!"


It's more likely that we believe God is agree with our decision. For example, when a congregation votes to Call a new pastor. Is God speaking to them through their decision process? They can't really look to scriptures to see if they should Call Bob or Bill as their pastors.


In recent weeks, congregations have made changes in the way they worship. Hopefully, in a short time, they will decide to return to worshiping as a gathered community. Is God part of these decisions? Doesn't God respond to the many prayers for guidance - by guiding the decisions?


If God were not still speaking, no minister should be writing/delivering sermons. We should just read from scriptures. Say, "Amen." And sit down. We don't do that. Ironically, even in liturgies that historically did not include preaching, Matins, Vespers, Compline, we often insert a sermon anyway. Reading scriptures, singing psalms, and offering prayers isn't enough. Many people expect to hear God's word proclaimed in sermon.

Brian, once again I see someone needs to explain to you the basic distinction between how the Spirit inspired Jesus' Apostles (John 16:12-13) versus how the Spirit guides a pastors sermon.  The Spirit does NOT inspire me or you or any pastor today in the same way He inspired those who wrote the Holy Scriptures.

When I preach a sermon I am NOT giving a new revelation from the Spirit but teaching and applying what the Holy Spirit has already revealed through Holy Scripture.  In addition, the sermon is not mere giving of information but also the pastoral office using God's Word to convict of sin and forgive such sin in Christ's Name.  But this function of the pastoral office is not the same as being give new revelation from the Holy Spirit.

As for the Spirit guiding a congregation to Call a pastor, again, this type of "guidance" is not revealing to us new doctrines - especially new doctrines that conflict with the clear teaching of Scripture.  I believe there are times in my 30 years of pastoral ministry that the Spirit has given me a "feeling" or "desire" to go visit a certain member only to find out they are in a crisis situation.  But, again, this is not the same as the Spirit giving new revelation through me for the entire Church catholic!
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 07, 2020, 03:22:26 PM
Let us all take note that Pr. Austin is our resident expert on all things ELCA and sole authority. Anyone else whose experience in the ELCA differs from his representation simply does not understand the ELCA and presents a picture only of their spite at the ELCA and not the Way Things Really Are and should be quiet about their experience as it is obvious a false picture and Not Helpful.


I am certain that Charles or Steven or Richard or I are much better informed about all things ELCA than LCMS folks. All of us have been to ELCA Churchwide Assemblies. We've been to many synod assemblies. We've seen, first-hand, how things work in the ELCA.
I was there in 2009. That's when I met Richard for the first time. Bumped into my cousin, too, who was there (I think) as a delegate and on the progressive side of things. As I recall, President Kieschnick dis the LCMS proud with a pastoral, eloquent but blunt appeal for the traditionalist side of things. The Holy Spirit apparently did a new thing that day, though. It remains unclear to me how anyone knew it was the Holy Spirit, and why the one third minority who were found to be resisting the work of the Spirit with their votes were nevertheless also declared to be a valid voice of the church despite apparently having no ear or heart for the Spirit's work. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 07, 2020, 03:29:32 PM
Let us all take note that Pr. Austin is our resident expert on all things ELCA and sole authority. Anyone else whose experience in the ELCA differs from his representation simply does not understand the ELCA and presents a picture only of their spite at the ELCA and not the Way Things Really Are and should be quiet about their experience as it is obvious a false picture and Not Helpful.


I am certain that Charles or Steven or Richard or I are much better informed about all things ELCA than LCMS folks. All of us have been to ELCA Churchwide Assemblies. We've been to many synod assemblies. We've seen, first-hand, how things work in the ELCA.
I was there in 2009. That's when I met Richard for the first time. Bumped into my cousin, too, who was there (I think) as a delegate and on the progressive side of things. As I recall, President Kieschnick dis the LCMS proud with a pastoral, eloquent but blunt appeal for the traditionalist side of things. The Holy Spirit apparently did a new thing that day, though. It remains unclear to me how anyone knew it was the Holy Spirit, and why the one third minority who were found to be resisting the work of the Spirit with their votes were nevertheless also declared to be a valid voice of the church despite apparently having no ear or heart for the Spirit's work.

Peter, I guess sometimes the Spirit can talk out of both sides of His mouth.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 03:30:52 PM
As for you comment about circumcision, it wasn't that God at one time only wanted to save the Jews (and thus marked them with circumcision) and then changed His mind in the New Testament.  Genesis 12:1-3 makes it clear that God has always wanted to save everyone!  Therefore, the point of circumcision was to mark Israel as the nation from whom the Savior of ALL nations would come - and this is why the temporary ceremonial practice of circumcision was set aside because it was fulfilled in Christ.  In contrast, the prohibitions against same-sex behavior and women serving in the pastoral office have NEVER been set aside and are still part of the Faith once for all entrusted to the saints.


"Circumcision," From New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible:


Circumcision was not practiced exclusively by the Israelites. The prophet Jeremiah (9:25-26) lists "Egypt, Judah, Edom, the Ammonites, Moab, and all those with shaven temples who live in the desert" as being circumcised. The Greek historian Herodotus (2.37, 104), writing in the 5th cent. BCE, contended that circumcision originated with the Egyptians; archaeological data support the presence of the practice among the Egyptians from at least the 23rd cent. BCE. Yet, other archaeological evidence shows Syrian warriors circumcised from about 3000 BCE; thus, it may be that the practice began with Northwest Semites and extended, in tern to Egypt. (p. 668)


Circumcision seems to have been practiced throughout the area by many different people. It isn't what distinguished Israelites from many of their neighbors.

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 03:32:57 PM
we terrible liberals do not do things just for Selfish or trivial reasons, but with prayer and trust in God’s guidance.

If you trust in God's guidance beyond the words of Scripture, why? What is wrong with sola scriptura?


sola scriptura has lead to every heresy that has been known. something more than scriptures is also needed, thus we have sola gratia and sola fide. It's a bit like a three legged stool, if one of the legs is missing, it falls over.


Jesus tells us that he was not able to tell us everything. The Spirit was sent to guide us in all truth (John 16:12-13). We should not expect scriptures to be the total of God's revelation to us, even as we maintain it's authority over any new revelations the Spirit might give us.

If Jesus sent the Spirit to lead the disciples into all truth and they put down into writing what the Holy Spirit told them, why do you assume that the Spirit didn't lead them into all truth but reserved some of the truth to be revealed later on?  Or am I misunderstanding you?


Where do you find the truth about the coronavirus in the Bible? Do you believe that the Spirit guides congregation councils and church leaders in their decisions about to close or open their congregations for corporate worship? I think that such decisions made with prayer, study, and discussion are ways that God continues to speak and guide us.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 07, 2020, 03:39:02 PM
As for you comment about circumcision, it wasn't that God at one time only wanted to save the Jews (and thus marked them with circumcision) and then changed His mind in the New Testament.  Genesis 12:1-3 makes it clear that God has always wanted to save everyone!  Therefore, the point of circumcision was to mark Israel as the nation from whom the Savior of ALL nations would come - and this is why the temporary ceremonial practice of circumcision was set aside because it was fulfilled in Christ.  In contrast, the prohibitions against same-sex behavior and women serving in the pastoral office have NEVER been set aside and are still part of the Faith once for all entrusted to the saints.


"Circumcision," From New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible:


Circumcision was not practiced exclusively by the Israelites. The prophet Jeremiah (9:25-26) lists "Egypt, Judah, Edom, the Ammonites, Moab, and all those with shaven temples who live in the desert" as being circumcised. The Greek historian Herodotus (2.37, 104), writing in the 5th cent. BCE, contended that circumcision originated with the Egyptians; archaeological data support the presence of the practice among the Egyptians from at least the 23rd cent. BCE. Yet, other archaeological evidence shows Syrian warriors circumcised from about 3000 BCE; thus, it may be that the practice began with Northwest Semites and extended, in tern to Egypt. (p. 668)


Circumcision seems to have been practiced throughout the area by many different people. It isn't what distinguished Israelites from many of their neighbors.

Brian, thanks for reminding me of what I learned about the history of circumcision from my 1st year in college.

Of course other nations practiced circumcision - maybe even before Israel did!  But that's not the issue.  The issue is why God told Israel to practice circumcision - and Scripture is clear about that!
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 03:39:46 PM
Brian, sola gratia and sola fide are not ways God speaks to us.  Any "three legged stool" analogy has to be based on ways God speaks to us - and thus Rome's view of Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium forming a "three legged stool" of authoritative revelation.


Without the legs of grace and faith, scriptures are misinterpreted. I don't believe that a misinterpreted scriptures is God speaking to us - even if the folks quote biblical passages. Every heresy used scriptures to back up their assertions about God.

Quote
As Peter asked Charles, how do we know when the Spirit is giving us a new revelation?


By faith.

Quote
Finally, in John 16:12-13 Jesus is talking about the Spirit revealing things to Jesus APOSTLES whose teaching would then become the foundation for all future generations (see John 17:20).  John 16:12-13 is NOT teaching that the Spirit would give new revelations to ALL believers of ALL times and places that are in addition to or in conflict with the teaching Jesus has given us through His APOSTLES.


Do you require women to cover their heads in worship? If not, why not? Why isn't that word from scriptures God's revelation for all people for all time? Do you forbid clergy from marrying a second time after divorce or a wife's death? That's what scriptures says. I don't think that even the LCMS considers that God's revelation for all clergy for all time.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2020, 03:44:13 PM
RandyBosch:
A question for you.  When was the last time that you were a registered Voting attendee at a Synod Assembly or a Churchwide Assembly?
Me:
2017. New Jersey Synod. 

RandyBosch:
Did you offer a Second to a proper motion at any of them?
Me:
Yes, but no motion concerning the topic at hand in this modest forum came up.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RDPreus on May 07, 2020, 03:46:47 PM
we terrible liberals do not do things just for Selfish or trivial reasons, but with prayer and trust in God’s guidance.

If you trust in God's guidance beyond the words of Scripture, why? What is wrong with sola scriptura?


sola scriptura has lead to every heresy that has been known. something more than scriptures is also needed, thus we have sola gratia and sola fide. It's a bit like a three legged stool, if one of the legs is missing, it falls over.


Jesus tells us that he was not able to tell us everything. The Spirit was sent to guide us in all truth (John 16:12-13). We should not expect scriptures to be the total of God's revelation to us, even as we maintain it's authority over any new revelations the Spirit might give us.

If Jesus sent the Spirit to lead the disciples into all truth and they put down into writing what the Holy Spirit told them, why do you assume that the Spirit didn't lead them into all truth but reserved some of the truth to be revealed later on?  Or am I misunderstanding you?


Where do you find the truth about the coronavirus in the Bible? Do you believe that the Spirit guides congregation councils and church leaders in their decisions about to close or open their congregations for corporate worship? I think that such decisions made with prayer, study, and discussion are ways that God continues to speak and guide us.

God guides us, but we can't know for sure what God wants or says apart from the clear Scriptures.  We are talking about livestreaming our services.  There are pros and cons.  We probably will do it, but while I don't doubt that God is always guiding us, I wouldn't presume to say that God told us to go to livestreaming.  When we are dealing with matters that are not clearly addressed by God in the written Word, we pray, act, entrust ourselves to God, and rest confident that if we made a bad choice God is able to turn bad into good.  He does it all the time. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 07, 2020, 03:49:30 PM


Quote
As Peter asked Charles, how do we know when the Spirit is giving us a new revelation?


By faith.


One Lord, one faith, one baptism... so, by which faith? By faith in what? You trust a voice that tells you it is the voice of God, but you don't trust every voice that tells you it is the voice of God. So how do you discern them?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: mariemeyer on May 07, 2020, 03:56:27 PM
And when patriarchy insists that men are closer to God, that men only can be God’s agents in the world and that man is a better representation of God than woman....

Patriarchy does not teach that men are closer to God than women.  It does not teach that only men can be God's agents in the world.  As far as a "representation of God" is concerned, it is true that patriarchy excludes women from the pastoral office, but it is not only pastors who represent God.

The LCMS rightly teaches that God is spirit, neither male or female.  The LCMS then goes on to claim that God is masculine, not feminine; therefore men represent and speak for God in a way not given to women who are by nature feminine.  The LCMS also teaches that God's order in the church is patriarchal. God has assigned man a position in the order of creation where man is closer to God than woman. Man's headship authority in relation to to woman is likened to Christ's Headship authority over the Church.  The CPH Commentary on I Corinthians states that a woman must always be under the authority of a man in the home, her father, her husband or some other adult man in the house.  Woman's status remains that of child or a "mini" adult.

I also read a CTQ book review where authority in the church is said to come down to the basics of the normal sex act.   I also attended a Fort Wayne Theological Convocation where the pastoral  office was to limited men since they are the one who plant the seed of God's Word. 

The Lutheran Study Bible has one page in small type on Women DisciplesThe Social Status of Mary is listed as "The wife of Joseph, the carpenter, and the mother of Jesus, James, Jude and other children.

Mary's relationship to Jesus reads:   Mary was the mother of Jesus. She respected Him and knew He was special,  (jn2:1-5), but was confused by His calling (Lk 2:48-49).  She did not agree with Jesus decision to leave the carpentry trade and live as a rabbi (Mk 3:21 Lk 8: 19-21.  Jesus down played the suggestion that Mary was especially blessed because of their  earthly relationship (xLk 11:27).  At the crucifixion He showed kindness to her by entrusting her to the care of the apostle John (Jn 19:26-27).  She gathered with the apostles after Jesus' resurrection (Acts 1:14).   Revelation 12 may memorialize her special witness to the ministry of John and Jesus.

I have not, nor will I, pray to Mary or to the "Mother God."   I will however state that TLSB minimal comments on Mary are shameful.   It reflects how the patriarchal mindset of LCMS theologians permeates their determination that women know their place in the church and home.

Marie Meyer

Marie, yes, God is Spirit.  But He also reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and the eternal Son became incarnate as a MALE.  Paul clearly teaches in Ephesians 5 that the husband is the "head" of the wife as Christ is the "head" of Church, and these roles are NOT interchangeable!  Also, in 1 Cor. 11 Paul teaches that God [the Father] is the "head" of Christ [the Son], and these roles are NOT interchangeable!  Being equal in status does NOT mean having the same roles or functions.

The above states what has been repeated here numerous times.  It plays like a broken record that begins with presuppositions that originate  in natural human reason.   

Now, please address the examples I gave of how procreative maleness is the unacknowledged premise upon which LCMS patriarchal theology is  based.

Marie Meyer

Marie, I think these words written by you are problematic:  "The LCMS also teaches that God's order in the church is patriarchal. God has assigned man a position in the order of creation where man is closer to God than woman. Man's headship authority in relation to to woman is likened to Christ's Headship authority over the Church."  You misunderstand the LCMS position in several ways:

1.  The LCMS does NOT teach that men are closer to God than women.  What we DO teach is that husband is the "head" of His wife and that the pastor represents Christ who is the "head" over His collective Bride, the Church.  In each case, God is serving the latter through the former.  There is no talk here about a men being "closer to God" than women.

2.  The LCMS does NOT teach that ALL men are "heads" of ALL women as Christ is the head of His Church.  What we DO teach is that the husband is the "head" of his wife as Christ is the "head" of His Church and that this same "order" is reflected when men represent Christ in the pastoral office thereby giving gifts to His collective Bride, the Church.

Pr. Eckstein:

I respectfully request that you read through the 1968 CTCR report, Women Suffrage in the Church; the 1985 CTCR report, Women in the Church and the 2010 CTCR report, The Creator's Tapestry.  All state that the relationship of husband and wife is applicable to the relationship of man and woman in the church.

I would also refer you to the 1983 Opinion of the Exegetical Department of Concordia Theological Seminary Concerning Women Suffrage,   "Woman was created from man and for man and is, therefore, by nature subordinate to man."   Here the subordination of woman to man is clearly ontological, not just a difference in role.    The entire report deals with man and woman in the church, not just husbands and wives.

Next is the 1995 CPH Touchpoint Bible Study The Service of Women in the Church. Here again the report deals with man and woman in the church.  Also, the 1991 tract, "It is not Given a Woman to Teach"  A Lex in search of a Ratio by Dr. William Weinrich. Here the rational for the LAW that does not permit a woman to teach man in the church is that God created Adam before Eve thereby revealing God's will that persons relate to one another in a masculine or in a feminine way that includes the spiritual activities of man and woman.

Final reference for today is the Lockwood CPH Commentary on I Corinthians. 

Once you have had the opportunity to review how writings by LCMS theologians apply the order of creation authority of man in relation to woman and woman's subordination to man we can move on to a discussion of a biblical interpretation of head (Kephale) as it applies to Christ and the Church, and to the marriage relationship of one husband and wife.   

Almost forgot, check out the two primary resources used to teach the subordination of woman to man according to the order of creation, The Office of Woman by Fritz Zerbst and Man and Woman in Christ by Stephen Clark. 


Marie Meyer
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 07, 2020, 04:15:15 PM
Brian, sola gratia and sola fide are not ways God speaks to us.  Any "three legged stool" analogy has to be based on ways God speaks to us - and thus Rome's view of Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium forming a "three legged stool" of authoritative revelation.


Without the legs of grace and faith, scriptures are misinterpreted. I don't believe that a misinterpreted scriptures is God speaking to us - even if the folks quote biblical passages. Every heresy used scriptures to back up their assertions about God.

Quote
As Peter asked Charles, how do we know when the Spirit is giving us a new revelation?


By faith.

Quote
Finally, in John 16:12-13 Jesus is talking about the Spirit revealing things to Jesus APOSTLES whose teaching would then become the foundation for all future generations (see John 17:20).  John 16:12-13 is NOT teaching that the Spirit would give new revelations to ALL believers of ALL times and places that are in addition to or in conflict with the teaching Jesus has given us through His APOSTLES.


Do you require women to cover their heads in worship? If not, why not? Why isn't that word from scriptures God's revelation for all people for all time? Do you forbid clergy from marrying a second time after divorce or a wife's death? That's what scriptures says. I don't think that even the LCMS considers that God's revelation for all clergy for all time.

Brian, first, I agree that God's work in Christ is needed to properly understand Scripture - but we get the information about God's work in Christ FROM SCRIPTURE!  My point was that God does not speak to us via grace or faith.  You are making a category mistake!

Second, we've been over the issues of head coverings and remarriage many times on this forum, but I'll give you a brief response anyway.

Regarding "head coverings" or "long hair," this was the local expression of the universal principle - namely, there should be a distinction between male and female.  HOW the distinction between male and female is expressed in various cultures differs throughout time and place, but the command that such a distinction exists is universal and we follow that distinction at our congregation.  If a woman wanted to attend church pretended to be a man or a man wanted to attend church pretending to be a woman, we would point out her/his error and lovingly lead them to repentance.

As for Paul's command that pastors be a μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα - this is best understood as teaching that a pastor needs to be faithful to his wife, and so I DISAGREE with those who teach that a pastor can't remarry if his first wife dies because this conflicts with what Scripture clearly teaches elsewhere and the words μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα do NOT teach that a pastor can't get married after this first wife dies. 

Now, regarding remarriage after divorce - this depends!  Scripture clearly teaches that such marriage is allowed in the case of adultery or desertion, that is, the "innocent" party is allowed to remarry.  But in other cases such remarriage would be sinful if the goal of the divorce was simply the desire to be with another person.  Right now I'm dealing with a couple who are separated and want a divorce, but I'm being very clear with them that God wants them to stay together, forgive each, and work on their issues in humility and love.  So, I'm not ignoring what Scripture teaches about divorce!

So, your examples mean nothing because I do believe God's teachings on these issues are for all people of all times.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 04:30:11 PM
Brian, once again I see someone needs to explain to you the basic distinction between how the Spirit inspired Jesus' Apostles (John 16:12-13) versus how the Spirit guides a pastors sermon.  The Spirit does NOT inspire me or you or any pastor today in the same way He inspired those who wrote the Holy Scriptures.


I disagree. John 16:13 says that the Spirit "will guide" (ὁδηγέω) you (just the disciples or all believers?) into all the truth. It doesn't talk about "inspiring." This word literally means, "to lead on the way" or "to show the way."

Quote
When I preach a sermon I am NOT giving a new revelation from the Spirit but teaching and applying what the Holy Spirit has already revealed through Holy Scripture.  In addition, the sermon is not mere giving of information but also the pastoral office using God's Word to convict of sin and forgive such sin in Christ's Name.  But this function of the pastoral office is not the same as being give new revelation from the Holy Spirit.


Neither were the biblical writers giving new revelations from the Spirit. The Spirit guided them to the stories about Jesus and they wrote them. They took the tradition and applied it to the people they were writing to. Exactly the same thing we preachers should be doing. Preaching isn't about new revelations, but applying the tradition we have received to the people sitting before us. Back in the 60's when many preachers applied the parable of the Good Samaritan to race relations; that wasn't a new revelation; but an application of the tradition to the present situation.

Quote
As for the Spirit guiding a congregation to Call a pastor, again, this type of "guidance" is not revealing to us new doctrines - especially new doctrines that conflict with the clear teaching of Scripture.  I believe there are times in my 30 years of pastoral ministry that the Spirit has given me a "feeling" or "desire" to go visit a certain member only to find out they are in a crisis situation.  But, again, this is not the same as the Spirit giving new revelation through me for the entire Church catholic!


The mistake you make is to assume that "God is still speaking," means "God is giving new revelations." Almost never does that happen. The Spirit often guides us into ways we can apply the tradition we have received to the new circumstances we find ourselves. If God were not doing this, why bother preaching? We could just read scriptures, say, "Amen." And sit down.


Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 04:31:41 PM


Quote
As Peter asked Charles, how do we know when the Spirit is giving us a new revelation?


By faith.


One Lord, one faith, one baptism... so, by which faith? By faith in what? You trust a voice that tells you it is the voice of God, but you don't trust every voice that tells you it is the voice of God. So how do you discern them?


We are told that the sheep knows the shepherd's voice. We are told that the Spirit of Truth will guide us. I trust Jesus' words of promise. That's faith.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 07, 2020, 04:36:24 PM
And when patriarchy insists that men are closer to God, that men only can be God’s agents in the world and that man is a better representation of God than woman....

Patriarchy does not teach that men are closer to God than women.  It does not teach that only men can be God's agents in the world.  As far as a "representation of God" is concerned, it is true that patriarchy excludes women from the pastoral office, but it is not only pastors who represent God.

The LCMS rightly teaches that God is spirit, neither male or female.  The LCMS then goes on to claim that God is masculine, not feminine; therefore men represent and speak for God in a way not given to women who are by nature feminine.  The LCMS also teaches that God's order in the church is patriarchal. God has assigned man a position in the order of creation where man is closer to God than woman. Man's headship authority in relation to to woman is likened to Christ's Headship authority over the Church.  The CPH Commentary on I Corinthians states that a woman must always be under the authority of a man in the home, her father, her husband or some other adult man in the house.  Woman's status remains that of child or a "mini" adult.

I also read a CTQ book review where authority in the church is said to come down to the basics of the normal sex act.   I also attended a Fort Wayne Theological Convocation where the pastoral  office was to limited men since they are the one who plant the seed of God's Word. 

The Lutheran Study Bible has one page in small type on Women DisciplesThe Social Status of Mary is listed as "The wife of Joseph, the carpenter, and the mother of Jesus, James, Jude and other children.

Mary's relationship to Jesus reads:   Mary was the mother of Jesus. She respected Him and knew He was special,  (jn2:1-5), but was confused by His calling (Lk 2:48-49).  She did not agree with Jesus decision to leave the carpentry trade and live as a rabbi (Mk 3:21 Lk 8: 19-21.  Jesus down played the suggestion that Mary was especially blessed because of their  earthly relationship (xLk 11:27).  At the crucifixion He showed kindness to her by entrusting her to the care of the apostle John (Jn 19:26-27).  She gathered with the apostles after Jesus' resurrection (Acts 1:14).   Revelation 12 may memorialize her special witness to the ministry of John and Jesus.

I have not, nor will I, pray to Mary or to the "Mother God."   I will however state that TLSB minimal comments on Mary are shameful.   It reflects how the patriarchal mindset of LCMS theologians permeates their determination that women know their place in the church and home.

Marie Meyer

Marie, yes, God is Spirit.  But He also reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and the eternal Son became incarnate as a MALE.  Paul clearly teaches in Ephesians 5 that the husband is the "head" of the wife as Christ is the "head" of Church, and these roles are NOT interchangeable!  Also, in 1 Cor. 11 Paul teaches that God [the Father] is the "head" of Christ [the Son], and these roles are NOT interchangeable!  Being equal in status does NOT mean having the same roles or functions.

The above states what has been repeated here numerous times.  It plays like a broken record that begins with presuppositions that originate  in natural human reason.   

Now, please address the examples I gave of how procreative maleness is the unacknowledged premise upon which LCMS patriarchal theology is  based.

Marie Meyer

Marie, I think these words written by you are problematic:  "The LCMS also teaches that God's order in the church is patriarchal. God has assigned man a position in the order of creation where man is closer to God than woman. Man's headship authority in relation to to woman is likened to Christ's Headship authority over the Church."  You misunderstand the LCMS position in several ways:

1.  The LCMS does NOT teach that men are closer to God than women.  What we DO teach is that husband is the "head" of His wife and that the pastor represents Christ who is the "head" over His collective Bride, the Church.  In each case, God is serving the latter through the former.  There is no talk here about a men being "closer to God" than women.

2.  The LCMS does NOT teach that ALL men are "heads" of ALL women as Christ is the head of His Church.  What we DO teach is that the husband is the "head" of his wife as Christ is the "head" of His Church and that this same "order" is reflected when men represent Christ in the pastoral office thereby giving gifts to His collective Bride, the Church.

Pr. Eckstein:

I respectfully request that you read through the 1968 CTCR report, Women Suffrage in the Church; the 1985 CTCR report, Women in the Church and the 2010 CTCR report, The Creator's Tapestry.  All state that the relationship of husband and wife is applicable to the relationship of man and woman in the church.

I would also refer you to the 1983 Opinion of the Exegetical Department of Concordia Theological Seminary Concerning Women Suffrage,   "Woman was created from man and for man and is, therefore, by nature subordinate to man."   Here the subordination of woman to man is clearly ontological, not just a difference in role.    The entire report deals with man and woman in the church, not just husbands and wives.

Next is the 1995 CPH Touchpoint Bible Study The Service of Women in the Church. Here again the report deals with man and woman in the church.  Also, the 1991 tract, "It is not Given a Woman to Teach"  A Lex in search of a Ratio by Dr. William Weinrich. Here the rational for the LAW that does not permit a woman to teach man in the church is that God created Adam before Eve thereby revealing God's will that persons relate to one another in a masculine or in a feminine way that includes the spiritual activities of man and woman.

Final reference for today is the Lockwood CPH Commentary on I Corinthians. 

Once you have had the opportunity to review how writings by LCMS theologians apply the order of creation authority of man in relation to woman and woman's subordination to man we can move on to a discussion of a biblical interpretation of head (Kephale) as it applies to Christ and the Church, and to the marriage relationship of one husband and wife.   

Almost forgot, check out the two primary resources used to teach the subordination of woman to man according to the order of creation, The Office of Woman by Fritz Zerbst and Man and Woman in Christ by Stephen Clark. 


Marie Meyer

Marie, I have read all these things that you mentioned and I don't deny that SOME have (wrongly) taught about the relationship of men and women in an ontological manner.  But this is NOT our official teaching.  The 1983 opinion of CTS is just that, their opinion, and is NOT our current official teaching.

As for the Creator's Tapestry, I'll have to read it again to be sure, but I don't recall that document teaching that ALL women are subordinate to ALL men by nature but rather that such subordination takes place with in marriage and the Church - and by "the Church" we do not mean ALL Christian women are in submission to ALL Christian men in the Church but that women, along with lay men, are to be in submission to the pastoral office.  Simply put, I don't have a problem with a lay woman teaching or witnessing to a lay man, but I DO have a problem with a woman thinking she can represent Christ in the pastoral office and given authoritative teaching to the collective Bride, the Church.

As for Weinrich's article, and I'll have to read it again to be sure, but I believe he uses Genesis chapters 1 & 2 to teach that Adam was πρῶτος not in the sense that he was first chronologically or essentially, but πρῶτος in the sense that Adam was the "head" of Eve.  Weinrich then goes on to show how this applies not only to marriage but also to the pastoral office where a man represents Christ who is πρῶτος or "head" over His collective Bride, the Church.  Simply put, I don't recall Weinrich asserting that Genesis teaches that ALL men are πρῶτος over ALL women.  But I'll read it again to be sure.  Can you show me any quotes from Weinrich's article where he clearly teaches that ALL women are subordinate to ALL men?

Finally, just FYI, I don't deny that SOME in the LCMS have had an ontological view of the man/women relationship rather than a Christological view - and this, I believe, led to our confusion over whether or not women could vote.  Simply put, the pastoral office is not about left-hand kingdom male authority over all women.  The pastoral office is about men representing Christ who is the "head" of His Bride, the Church.

Now, if you would answer my questions: 1.  Do you believe that a wife can be the "head" of her husband?  2.  Do you believe that the Church can be the "head" of Christ?  3.  Do you believe that the Son can be the "head" of the Father?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 07, 2020, 04:57:59 PM
Brian, once again I see someone needs to explain to you the basic distinction between how the Spirit inspired Jesus' Apostles (John 16:12-13) versus how the Spirit guides a pastors sermon.  The Spirit does NOT inspire me or you or any pastor today in the same way He inspired those who wrote the Holy Scriptures.


I disagree. John 16:13 says that the Spirit "will guide" (ὁδηγέω) you (just the disciples or all believers?) into all the truth. It doesn't talk about "inspiring." This word literally means, "to lead on the way" or "to show the way."

Quote
When I preach a sermon I am NOT giving a new revelation from the Spirit but teaching and applying what the Holy Spirit has already revealed through Holy Scripture.  In addition, the sermon is not mere giving of information but also the pastoral office using God's Word to convict of sin and forgive such sin in Christ's Name.  But this function of the pastoral office is not the same as being give new revelation from the Holy Spirit.


Neither were the biblical writers giving new revelations from the Spirit. The Spirit guided them to the stories about Jesus and they wrote them. They took the tradition and applied it to the people they were writing to. Exactly the same thing we preachers should be doing. Preaching isn't about new revelations, but applying the tradition we have received to the people sitting before us. Back in the 60's when many preachers applied the parable of the Good Samaritan to race relations; that wasn't a new revelation; but an application of the tradition to the present situation.

Quote
As for the Spirit guiding a congregation to Call a pastor, again, this type of "guidance" is not revealing to us new doctrines - especially new doctrines that conflict with the clear teaching of Scripture.  I believe there are times in my 30 years of pastoral ministry that the Spirit has given me a "feeling" or "desire" to go visit a certain member only to find out they are in a crisis situation.  But, again, this is not the same as the Spirit giving new revelation through me for the entire Church catholic!


The mistake you make is to assume that "God is still speaking," means "God is giving new revelations." Almost never does that happen. The Spirit often guides us into ways we can apply the tradition we have received to the new circumstances we find ourselves. If God were not doing this, why bother preaching? We could just read scriptures, say, "Amen." And sit down.

Whether you want to use the word "inspire" or "guide," John 16:12-13 is clear that Jesus is speaking of a special work of the Spirit through His APOSTLES whose teaching will be the basis for all believers of all times and  places (John 17:20; Acts 2:42; Ephesians 2:20; 1st Thessalonians 2:15; 2nd Peter 3:1-2; Jude 3).  Neither your sermons nor my sermons are "inspired" or "guided" by the Holy Spirit in the same way that the Scriptures were.  But you know this.  You just keep hoping we won't know the difference.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 07, 2020, 04:58:36 PM
We also realize that the ancient uses of these words was in a patriarchal society. Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.



How fortunate for us that we have such wise theologians who can see through the cultural bias that distorted Israel's portrait of God that they handed down to us in Scripture and filter it out without, of course, introducing any of their own cultural bias in their refined and much improved portrait of God. >:(


They didn't distort it. We have. As I pointed out, one of the pictures handed down to us in Scripture is of God giving birth. I suggest that it's your cultural bias that is unwilling to see and use this female picture of God that has been handed down to us in Scripture.

Brian, given your argument, do you believe it is proper to pray to "Mother Goddess"?

Can you think of anyone reason why one should not?


First of all, God being all-powerful, hears our prayers regardless of who they are addressed to. A question I raised some years ago: Does our God hear the prayers of Muslims? Does our God respond to those prayers? I think he does. Whether I think it's proper or not to pray to Mother Goddess, it doesn't matter. God hears.


Secondly, it's not part of my tradition to use "Mother" or "Goddess" in my prayers. In part because I had a loving father. The use of Father language for God is natural to me. I do not share the experiences of someone who was abused or abandoned by a father - and for whom that word creates bad feelings. Telling them that they shouldn't have those feelings is like telling a converted Jew or Muslim that they can now eat pork and they shouldn't throw up. Our words cannot change what happens in their minds and bodies. They are so conditioned to believe that pork is unclean and should be avoided; that a converted Muslim I met said that when he learned that he had eaten pork two hours after eating it; he still threw up.


Thirdly, 20th century archaeological discoveries show that the goddess Asherah was often part of Israelite worship (at least among the common folks). Her religious statutes were found in homes. There was also found three inscriptions that referred to Yahweh in conjunction with his "asherah". The belief is that some Israelites worship Asherah as a consort to Yahweh. At the same time, there are biblical commands against building images to Asherah (e.g., Deuteronomy 16:21-22). There are numerous passages where statues to Asherah are torn down.


A paragraph in The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible about Asherah:


Yet the fact that the biblical writers find it necessary to condemn repeatedly Asherah worship, and the fact that kings Asa, Hezekiah, and Josiah are said to have repeatedly destroyed an asherah icon (King Asa in the 9th cent. BCE; King Hezekiah in the 9th cent. BCE; and King Josiah in the 7th cent. BCE) suggests that whatever the opposition of the bibilical writers to Asherah worship, many if not most in ancient Israel found devotion to Asherah to be an appropriate part of their devotion to Yahweh. The Asherah icon that Josiah destroyed was said to have stood in Yahweh's Temple in Jerusalem. In addition, sacrifice was offered to the goddess there, and support - for women who were in Asherah's service. Thus it appears that, at least in Josiah's day (ca. 640-609 BCE), there were some associated with the Temple in Jerusalem (priests?) who saw Asherah worship as an appropriate part of the worship of Yahweh.


My impression is that there were two approaches, like I've seen with Native Americans. One approach is that there cannot be any syncretism. Native American religious symbols have no place in Christian worship. Another approach is to incorporate Native symbols into Christian worship. Apparently, there were some who were comfortable with incorporate goddess worship into the worship of Yahweh; while others sought to destroy such symbols of goddess worship.


One could use the passages in Deuteronomy, Judges, 1 & 2 Kings to root out goddess worship.


Those who use such language, look at the actual practice of Israelites over many centuries where they combined goddess statues with the worship of Yahweh.

So the answer is, "There is no reason not to do so. Praying to the Goddess is in line with Lutheran theology and practice. Oh, and syncretism is way cool."

There are no words.


Wrong answer. Like with Paul's advice about food sacrificed to idols; there will be some who find nothing wrong with it because idols don't exist; and others whose conscience will not let them participate in the pagan practice. Likewise, there are some who will use goddess language in reference to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God who is known as the Trinity. For them, our God is big enough to be expressed in such terms. For others, their conscience will not let them participate in what is seen as pagan language and practices.


Yes, there are words. Do you want to place those who have been freed from the Law by Jesus back under the Law? "You can't do that!"


I also disagree somewhat with the title of this thread. At best, the ELCA allowed a prayer to "Mother God." There is a freedom in our denomination that isn't always found in other denominations. When language like that showed up in a petition, I usually changed it, e.g., "God, who loves us like a mother, …." I have the freedom to do that, just as others have the freedom to use that language.

1) How did I give a "wrong answer"? Everyone of your arguments supports praying to the Goddess. Your first paragraph of your response--right after telling me I misunderstand you--says there are "some who will use goddess language." You argue that it is a matter of conscience only. So the answer is: If your conscience is OK with it, pray to the Goddess, it's cool.

2) I don't think people who pray to the Goddess have been freed by Jesus. They are under idolatry.

3) I'm sorry you don't like the title of my thread. However, the ELCA's official Twitter account published a prayer addressed to "Mother God" (it was on their Facebook account as well). This is not an argument for allowing it, it is actually doing it. And since it was on their official account, then yes, the ELCA had a prayer to "Mother God[dess]."
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 05:03:02 PM
Brian, first, I agree that God's work in Christ is needed to properly understand Scripture - but we get the information about God's work in Christ FROM SCRIPTURE!  My point was that God does not speak to us via grace or faith.  You are making a category mistake!


Yes, God speaks to us from Scripture. Then we have to interpret that Scripture. Throughout the ages, folks have misinterpreted it. The Church has given us boundaries for our interpretation, grace and faith. Or, our Lutheran "law/gospel distinction" or "what preaches Christ." We cannot approach scripture ALONE. We have the tradition of the church (and our confessions) that are necessary for proper use of scriptures.

Quote
Second, we've been over the issues of head coverings and remarriage many times on this forum, but I'll give you a brief response anyway.

Regarding "head coverings" or "long hair," this was the local expression of the universal principle - namely, there should be a distinction between male and female.  HOW the distinction between male and female is expressed in various cultures differs throughout time and place, but the command that such a distinction exists is universal and we follow that distinction at our congregation.  If a woman wanted to attend church pretended to be a man or a man wanted to attend church pretending to be a woman, we would point out her/his error and lovingly lead them to repentance.


Oh, "local expression" is important for interpreting scriptures! What the words meant within its own culture is important! That's the liberal historical critical method at work! I'm glad that you agree with it! You're on the road to the ELCA. We believe that such "localizing" of scriptures must be applied to all passages, not just the one about hair and head coverings. However, I happen to think that your understanding of the "local expression" in 1st century Corinth is wrong; but I'm glad to see that you attempt to use historical-critical tools.

Quote
As for Paul's command that pastors be a μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα - this is best understood as teaching that a pastor needs to be faithful to his wife, and so I DISAGREE with those who teach that a pastor can't remarry if his first wife dies because this conflicts with what Scripture clearly teaches elsewhere and the words μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα do NOT teach that a pastor can't get married after this first wife dies. 


Who says that it is best understood your way? Did that come from a new revelation?


The NRSV interprets/translates it "married only once." However, in support of your view, the CEB interprets/translates it "faithful to their spouse". However, the Orthodox rule is that while priests can be married before ordination, they cannot marry after ordination should their wife die. The "married only once" interpretation has a long, long history. Wouldn't anything new be considered a "new revelation"?


Quote
Now, regarding remarriage after divorce - this depends!  Scripture clearly teaches that such marriage is allowed in the case of adultery or desertion, that is, the "innocent" party is allowed to remarry.  But in other cases such remarriage would be sinful if the goal of the divorce was simply the desire to be with another person.  Right now I'm dealing with a couple who are separated and want a divorce, but I'm being very clear with them that God wants them to stay together, forgive each, and work on their issues in humility and love.  So, I'm not ignoring what Scripture teaches about divorce!

So, your examples mean nothing because I do believe God's teachings on these issues are for all people of all times.


Matthew teaches that divorces are allowed in the case of adultery. Paul teaches that an unbelieving spouse can divorce a believer. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul state that marrying after a divorce is committing adultery. Paul allows an exception if the spouse has died.


Jesus stated that divorce laws were given because of "hardness of heart." People still have hard hearts. Divorces are still necessary. That isn't the question. It's whether a divorced person can marry again. It's committing adultery.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: pearson on May 07, 2020, 05:05:26 PM

Without the legs of grace and faith, scriptures are misinterpreted. I don't believe that a misinterpreted scriptures is God speaking to us - even if the folks quote biblical passages. Every heresy used scriptures to back up their assertions about God.


How do you know a scriptural "misinterpretation" when you see one?  (The emphasis is on know in that question).

Tom Pearson
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 07, 2020, 05:10:37 PM
To those who are wondering, this thread does represent how theology is done in the ELCA.  The dual approach of revisionists is represented by Pastors Stoffregen and Austin.  The first is to argue that those who oppose changes do so because they just don't understand the revisionist position and if they did they would see that nothing was really changing.  So, Pastor Stoffregen argues that those who disagree just don't understand how language works and that when they do, they will realize that nothing of substance is being lost.  The second approach, represented by Pastor Austin is to scream at those who disagree and accuse them of being bigots of one stripe of another.  On this thread the accusation is of being a patriarchalist who wants to subordinate and control women.  At no point are the arguments of traditionalists either acknowledged or addressed.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: mariemeyer on May 07, 2020, 05:11:28 PM
Pr. Eckstein asks....

Now, if you would answer my questions: 1.  Do you believe that a wife can be the "head" of her husband?  2.  Do you believe that the Church can be the "head" of Christ?  3.  Do you believe that the Son can be the "head" of the Father?


The answer to question one is "no."

The answer to question two is "no."

The answer to question three is "no."

There is nothing in Scripture that even hints any of these questions can be answered with a "yes." Nor have I ever written anything here that suggests I would answer "yes" to these questions.

Marie Meyer
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 07, 2020, 05:16:18 PM
Going back to my original question, and I don't know what else to say about this. I don't care for analogies in such things, but here goes...
Setting this up.
Let us say I have a friend named Mark Grant. He teaches chemistry in high school, is an active church member, an avid volunteer in his community and loved by all. Many of my friends have met him or heard me speak of him with respect and affection. Mark Grant, they know is an integral and meaningful part of my life.
Now... In a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, sits Mark Grant, not the one I know and love, but another Mark Grant, convicted of heinous crimes against people and society, a man who gained considerable notoriety when being tried for his lurid crimes.
The "reality" situation.
Mark Grant is my friend and a respected member of society.
Mark Grant, another one of that name, is a convicted criminal of the lowest reputation.
Taking it to the actual and "liturgical" setting.
If in my converse with friends, I refer to "Mark Grant," can there be any doubt that I mean my friend and not the convict?
And to my original question: If, in a liturgy which includes scripture, creed, other references to the Holy Trinity, and the celebration of the Eucharist a prayer refers to "Mother God," can there be any doubt that we refer to the God referenced in the Holy Trinity and not a pagan, female deity reverenced by ancient or modern mystery cults?

How many Wiccans have you met? I used to know a lot of them; they were all friends with my oldest daughter. They used to hang out at my house all the time--black shirts with pentagrams, the whole nine yards. Many of them came to church with us. At one time, we had a whole pew filled with Wiccans.

If had a prayer to "Mother God" they would have instantly merged that with their belief in the Goddess, regardless of anything else I might have said or done.

You might not see it that way, but they would have. And so would I.

But hey, you do you and pray to the Goddess and teach others in your congregation to do likewise.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2020, 05:21:37 PM
jebutler writes:
How many Wiccans have you met?
I respond:
Two, that I know of.

jebutler:
I used to know a lot of them; they were all friends with my oldest daughter. They used to hang out at my house all the time--black shirts with pentagrams, the whole nine yards. Many of them came to church with us. At one time, we had a whole pew filled with Wiccans.
Me:
I'm assuming you denounced them as pagans, and prayed God's vengeance upon them if they did not repent. How did that work out?

jebutler:
If had a prayer to "Mother God" they would have instantly merged that with their belief in the Goddess, regardless of anything else I might have said or done.
Me:
Good thing you didn't do that, then. I have said I will most likely never pray to "Mother God."

jebutler:
You might not see it that way, but they would have. And so would I.
Me:
Maybe. Yes. No. Maybe not. What else did they hear in the liturgy or sermon or scripture? And if they were in a "traditional" (mostly) liturgy that would happen to use those two dread words, would those two words overpower every other mention of the Word?

jebutler:
But hey, you do you and pray to the Goddess and teach others in your congregation to do likewise.
Me:
Why the snark here? I've already said I'm not praying to any Goddess.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 07, 2020, 05:21:55 PM
Pr. Eckstein asks....

Now, if you would answer my questions: 1.  Do you believe that a wife can be the "head" of her husband?  2.  Do you believe that the Church can be the "head" of Christ?  3.  Do you believe that the Son can be the "head" of the Father?


The answer to question one is "no."

The answer to question two is "no."

The answer to question three is "no."

There is nothing in Scripture that even hints any of these questions can be answered with a "yes." Nor have I ever written anything here that suggests I would answer "yes" to these questions.

Marie Meyer

Thanks for answering my questions.  I agree with your answers.  I also suggest you consider how your answers to these questions relate to how husbands and wives relate to each other and how this is reflected in Scripture's teaching that men represent Christ in the pastoral office which serves Christ's collective Bride, which is the Church.

Also, below are some paragraph's from "Creator's Tapestry."  I skimmed it again just minutes ago and could find NOTHING which suggests that ALL women should be in submission to ALL men in some ontological sense.  Anyway, here are the texts from CT:

The Bible’s clear direction regarding responsible male leadership in
the home and male ordination to pastoral ministry may not be assumed
to mean that only men can exercise any kind of leadership or authority in
home, church, or society. Some view this as an inconsistency, but it is not.
In Baptism every believer is called to service in his or her vocations within
the various spheres of life. The body of Christ requires that its individual
members exercise the wide variety of their gifts, whether that individual is
male or female (1 Cor 12:7). Therefore our church has affirmed the calling
of women teachers, deaconesses, professors, and missionaries. We have
endorsed such organizations as the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League
and the Women’s Leadership Institute. We have affirmed the freedom of
congregations to grant women’s suffrage and have opened to women various lay leadership positions in congregations, districts, and Synod. We have
recognized and encouraged the leadership of women in business, government, the professions, and other sectors of society.65
Such leadership of women is not inconsistent with Scriptural teaching.
On the contrary, it exists in the very context of our church’s life and teaching which upholds and promulgates the divinely ordered responsibility of
pastors and husbands. When women serve in this way they are enhancing
the work of the priesthood of all believers, serving as members of the body
of Christ, and not usurping pastoral authority or violating the “order of creation.” Scripture provides numerous examples of such service, for instance
Priscilla’s instruction of Apollos (Acts 18:26) or the teaching Timothy
received from his mother and grandmother (2 Tim 1:5).
This also helps to address the circumstance of single women in the
church.66 Paul’s advice to wives which urges them to endorse and encourage their husband’s spiritual responsibility obviously does not apply to
unmarried women (1 Cor 14:35). However, single women are encouraged to
seek spiritual counsel from their pastor or those who assist him in ministry.
Moreover, a single woman, like a single man, is reminded by the Word of
God that she has a special opportunity for service to Christ (see 1 Cor 7:32-
35). The church ought not place unbiblical restrictions on those whom God
has uniquely enabled to provide “undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Cor
7:35).
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 07, 2020, 05:26:52 PM
Brian, first, I agree that God's work in Christ is needed to properly understand Scripture - but we get the information about God's work in Christ FROM SCRIPTURE!  My point was that God does not speak to us via grace or faith.  You are making a category mistake!


Yes, God speaks to us from Scripture. Then we have to interpret that Scripture. Throughout the ages, folks have misinterpreted it. The Church has given us boundaries for our interpretation, grace and faith. Or, our Lutheran "law/gospel distinction" or "what preaches Christ." We cannot approach scripture ALONE. We have the tradition of the church (and our confessions) that are necessary for proper use of scriptures.

Quote
Second, we've been over the issues of head coverings and remarriage many times on this forum, but I'll give you a brief response anyway.

Regarding "head coverings" or "long hair," this was the local expression of the universal principle - namely, there should be a distinction between male and female.  HOW the distinction between male and female is expressed in various cultures differs throughout time and place, but the command that such a distinction exists is universal and we follow that distinction at our congregation.  If a woman wanted to attend church pretended to be a man or a man wanted to attend church pretending to be a woman, we would point out her/his error and lovingly lead them to repentance.


Oh, "local expression" is important for interpreting scriptures! What the words meant within its own culture is important! That's the liberal historical critical method at work! I'm glad that you agree with it! You're on the road to the ELCA. We believe that such "localizing" of scriptures must be applied to all passages, not just the one about hair and head coverings. However, I happen to think that your understanding of the "local expression" in 1st century Corinth is wrong; but I'm glad to see that you attempt to use historical-critical tools.

Quote
As for Paul's command that pastors be a μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα - this is best understood as teaching that a pastor needs to be faithful to his wife, and so I DISAGREE with those who teach that a pastor can't remarry if his first wife dies because this conflicts with what Scripture clearly teaches elsewhere and the words μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα do NOT teach that a pastor can't get married after this first wife dies. 


Who says that it is best understood your way? Did that come from a new revelation?


The NRSV interprets/translates it "married only once." However, in support of your view, the CEB interprets/translates it "faithful to their spouse". However, the Orthodox rule is that while priests can be married before ordination, they cannot marry after ordination should their wife die. The "married only once" interpretation has a long, long history. Wouldn't anything new be considered a "new revelation"?
Now, regarding remarriage after divorce - this depends!  Scripture clearly teaches that such marriage is allowed in the case of adultery or desertion, that is, the "innocent" party is allowed to remarry.  But in other cases such remarriage would be sinful if the goal of the divorce was simply the desire to be with another person.  Right now I'm dealing with a couple who are separated and want a divorce, but I'm being very clear with them that God wants them to stay together, forgive each, and work on their issues in humility and love.  So, I'm not ignoring what Scripture teaches about divorce!

So, your examples mean nothing because I do believe God's teachings on these issues are for all people of all times.

Brian, using historical cultural information to better understand what Scripture is teaching does NOT mean I accept that Scripture itself contains errors as some do who use the historical/critical method.  In fact, the historical/cultural information of Corinth helps us distinguish between the local expression of an universal principle and the universal principle itself - a universal principle which many in the ELCA, sadly, reject because they put cultural zeitgeist over the revealed Word of God.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 07, 2020, 05:40:36 PM
Brian, first, I agree that God's work in Christ is needed to properly understand Scripture - but we get the information about God's work in Christ FROM SCRIPTURE!  My point was that God does not speak to us via grace or faith.  You are making a category mistake!


Yes, God speaks to us from Scripture. Then we have to interpret that Scripture. Throughout the ages, folks have misinterpreted it. The Church has given us boundaries for our interpretation, grace and faith. Or, our Lutheran "law/gospel distinction" or "what preaches Christ." We cannot approach scripture ALONE. We have the tradition of the church (and our confessions) that are necessary for proper use of scriptures.



The interpretive key for scripture is...(wait for it) SCRIPTURE.  It is not grace or faith or anything other than scriptura scripturae interpres or scripture interprets scripture.  Anything outside of this, even a teaching office, disrupts the purity of the biblical hermeneutic.

After Pentecost the Holy Spirit, by way of the kerygmatic message of the Gospel, inspired Peter and the other disciples (Paul uses apostles in 1 Cor. 15) to disseminate the Gospel message in its truth and purity.  The scriptures are that testimony to be preached and the intepretation comes from preachers who preach that message.  Certainly interpretation is involved but it is interpretation that confines itself to God's word and not human words although human words do disseminate a message and hopefully it is the Gospel in its purity and truth.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 05:45:21 PM
Brian, once again I see someone needs to explain to you the basic distinction between how the Spirit inspired Jesus' Apostles (John 16:12-13) versus how the Spirit guides a pastors sermon.  The Spirit does NOT inspire me or you or any pastor today in the same way He inspired those who wrote the Holy Scriptures.


I disagree. John 16:13 says that the Spirit "will guide" (ὁδηγέω) you (just the disciples or all believers?) into all the truth. It doesn't talk about "inspiring." This word literally means, "to lead on the way" or "to show the way."

Quote
When I preach a sermon I am NOT giving a new revelation from the Spirit but teaching and applying what the Holy Spirit has already revealed through Holy Scripture.  In addition, the sermon is not mere giving of information but also the pastoral office using God's Word to convict of sin and forgive such sin in Christ's Name.  But this function of the pastoral office is not the same as being give new revelation from the Holy Spirit.


Neither were the biblical writers giving new revelations from the Spirit. The Spirit guided them to the stories about Jesus and they wrote them. They took the tradition and applied it to the people they were writing to. Exactly the same thing we preachers should be doing. Preaching isn't about new revelations, but applying the tradition we have received to the people sitting before us. Back in the 60's when many preachers applied the parable of the Good Samaritan to race relations; that wasn't a new revelation; but an application of the tradition to the present situation.

Quote
As for the Spirit guiding a congregation to Call a pastor, again, this type of "guidance" is not revealing to us new doctrines - especially new doctrines that conflict with the clear teaching of Scripture.  I believe there are times in my 30 years of pastoral ministry that the Spirit has given me a "feeling" or "desire" to go visit a certain member only to find out they are in a crisis situation.  But, again, this is not the same as the Spirit giving new revelation through me for the entire Church catholic!


The mistake you make is to assume that "God is still speaking," means "God is giving new revelations." Almost never does that happen. The Spirit often guides us into ways we can apply the tradition we have received to the new circumstances we find ourselves. If God were not doing this, why bother preaching? We could just read scriptures, say, "Amen." And sit down.

Whether you want to use the word "inspire" or "guide," John 16:12-13 is clear that Jesus is speaking of a special work of the Spirit through His APOSTLES whose teaching will be the basis for all believers of all times and  places (John 17:20; Acts 2:42; Ephesians 2:20; 1st Thessalonians 2:15; 2nd Peter 3:1-2; Jude 3).  Neither your sermons nor my sermons are "inspired" or "guided" by the Holy Spirit in the same way that the Scriptures were.  But you know this.  You just keep hoping we won't know the difference.


Why do you assume Jesus' words are addressed only to his "apostles"? I would like to point out that John never uses the word "apostles" for his followers. (The Greek word ἀπόστολος occurs once: John 13:16, but it is usually translated "messenger." It is not a word used for the Twelve.) μαθητής is used of the people who have gathered for the evening meal that turned into the foot-washing and new commandment (John 13:5, 22, 23, 35). I take μαθητής to refer to all of Jesus' disciples from then until now. When Jesus says: "This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other" (John 13:35). It is a command that disciples of today are to hear as addressed to them. It wasn't just for the few who were at the meal with Jesus.

I see "disciples" as those who are addressed by the (plural) you's throughout the farewell discourse. (μαθητής shows up occasionally in the discourse, 15:8; 16:17, 29.) We are to hear these words as addressed to us.

I also, along with some commentators, see John 17:20 as referring to those who will believe because of the believers' witness - including our witness. We are part of those whom the Father gave Jesus (17:6-19).

I understand Jesus' farewell discourse and prayer to be addressed to the disciples of Jesus of all times and places, not just to the select few whose feet he washed.

Certainly the Christian faith rests on the witness of the apostles as your non-Johannine references indicate; but the difference is not that they were differently inspired than us, but that they were first-hand witnesses to what Jesus said and did. The criteria for the new apostle candidates was not that they were uniquely inspired, but that they had been with Jesus from his baptism to his ascension. That's what gave their witness its unique authority.

There is also no indication that any of the original 12 wrote any of the New Testament books. Saying that the apostles were uniquely inspired says nothing about the inspiration of the biblical books. Certainly none of the Gospels tell us who wrote them; nor do they argue that their authority comes from being inspired by the Spirit.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 05:47:09 PM
I will try to say this with some charity


Please try harder.

Fraternally, Steven+
The extent of my chiming.


Consider what it would be like if he wasn't trying.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 07, 2020, 05:51:52 PM
jebutler writes:
How many Wiccans have you met?
I respond:
Two, that I know of.

Then a lot less than me. What did we have? 10? 12? Something like that.

jebutler:
I used to know a lot of them; they were all friends with my oldest daughter. They used to hang out at my house all the time--black shirts with pentagrams, the whole nine yards. Many of them came to church with us. At one time, we had a whole pew filled with Wiccans.
Me:
I'm assuming you denounced them as pagans, and prayed God's vengeance upon them if they did not repent. How did that work out?

Wow, and you complain about snark, Chuck.

Actually, they used to hang out at my house all the time. They called me 'Pastor Dad.' They felt quite welcome. In fact, my daughter was gone for 10 days on a mission trip and they kept coming over to see my and I. They didn't even knock; they'd just walk right in. We never knew how many we'd have for dinner on any given night.

We used to talk a lot. I would listen and then ask questions about what they believed. For example, the creed of Wicca--Do what you will, harm none. I would ask what was meant by harm? Did it need to be intentional? If their action was innocent, but I said it harmed me, did their intentions or my response take precedence? On what basis did the Goddess decide whether or not something was harmful? Can something that seems harmful now turn out for good (cf. the story of Joseph in Genesis)? So which way does the Goddess go on that?

And they would ask me some challenging questions as well.

My goal was simple. I wanted them to see that their religion was one of works. It was all based on them "being good" (whatever that meant). I wanted them to know that God was different from their goddess. It wasn't about being good; it was about grace.

But you go with denouncing them as pagans, if that works for you. You do you, Chuck.

jebutler:
If had a prayer to "Mother God" they would have instantly merged that with their belief in the Goddess, regardless of anything else I might have said or done.
Me:
Good thing you didn't do that, then. I have said I will most likely never pray to "Mother God."

But "most likely" is not "never." And you have no reason not to. Everything you have written is in defense of the practice.

jebutler:
You might not see it that way, but they would have. And so would I.
Me:
Maybe. Yes. No. Maybe not. What else did they hear in the liturgy or sermon or scripture? And if they were in a "traditional" (mostly) liturgy that would happen to use those two dread words, would those two words overpower every other mention of the Word?

Yes, they would have. They would have seen me as agreeing with them. Of that I have no doubt.

jebutler:
But hey, you do you and pray to the Goddess and teach others in your congregation to do likewise.
Me:
Why the snark here? I've already said I'm not praying to any Goddess.

Well, you would be praying to just "any Goddess" but to the ELCA's "Mother God" whoever that is.

The reason why you won't use that terminology is that you don't have the courage of your convictions. You make it clear that you think its permissible to refer to the Lord as "Mother God[dess]." You have consistently defended it on this forum. You have never said, "It is wrong and the ELCA Twitter feed was wrong to refer to "Mother God'" or anything approaching those words.

I'm just telling you to be consistent. If there is nothing wrong with it, then do it and teach others to do the same. Me? I'll denounce it and I'll teach others to do the same.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: James J Eivan on May 07, 2020, 05:52:35 PM
To those who are wondering, this thread does represent how theology is done in the ELCA.  The dual approach of revisionists is represented by Pastors Stoffregen and Austin.  The first is to argue that those who oppose changes do so because they just don't understand the revisionist position and if they did they would see that nothing was really changing.  So, Pastor Stoffregen argues that those who disagree just don't understand how language works and that when they do, they will realize that nothing of substance is being lost.  The second approach, represented by Pastor Austin is to scream at those who disagree and accuse them of being bigots of one stripe of another.  On this thread the accusation is of being a patriarchalist who wants to subordinate and control women.  At no point are the arguments of traditionalists either acknowledged or addressed.
Add to the above Rev Stoffregen’s statement that he and Rev Austin have  been attacked (http://alpb.org/Forum/index.php?topic=7360.msg476962#msg476962) ... and on line no less. Apparently to ‘earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints’ is considered an attack as well in the revisionist ELCA environment while posting antics of Rev Stoffregen/Austin is considered acceptable and standard operation procedure. >:(
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 05:53:55 PM
1) How did I give a "wrong answer"? Everyone of your arguments supports praying to the Goddess. Your first paragraph of your response--right after telling me I misunderstand you--says there are "some who will use goddess language." You argue that it is a matter of conscience only. So the answer is: If your conscience is OK with it, pray to the Goddess, it's cool.


It's wrong because you continue to misunderstand what I'm saying. Yes, some will use goddess language. They are praying to the God who is the Father of Jesus Christ. Should they want to use "Goddess" or "Mother" or "Hey, you," as the way they address the one, true God. They can. I don't. You don't.

Quote
2) I don't think people who pray to the Goddess have been freed by Jesus. They are under idolatry.


And your conscience will guide the way you pray.


Quote
3) I'm sorry you don't like the title of my thread. However, the ELCA's official Twitter account published a prayer addressed to "Mother God" (it was on their Facebook account as well). This is not an argument for allowing it, it is actually doing it. And since it was on their official account, then yes, the ELCA had a prayer to "Mother God[dess]."


The prayer was addressed to the Triune God with language you don't like. It's like the accusation against Roman Catholics that they pray to Mary or to the saints; when they argue that they are not praying to them, but asking them to pray to God on behalf of us. How we talk about things makes a lot of difference.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 06:10:26 PM

Without the legs of grace and faith, scriptures are misinterpreted. I don't believe that a misinterpreted scriptures is God speaking to us - even if the folks quote biblical passages. Every heresy used scriptures to back up their assertions about God.


How do you know a scriptural "misinterpretation" when you see one?  (The emphasis is on know in that question).


1. When it supports one of the ancient heresies rather than orthodoxy.


2. When an interpretation is not really based on the words of the text. I remember a seminary professor criticizing an unnamed student who argued for the personalizing of communion because the Bible says, "given for you." Unfortunately for him, the Greek uses a plural, you; not the singular as the student argued. In that case, his conclusion might have some truth to it, but it is still a misinterpretation.


3. When the context suggests another interpretation. Just a few minutes ago I took issue with Tom Eckstein about Jesus' words in John 16 being addressed to "apostles." I believe that's a misinterpretation, first of all, because John never uses the word "apostle" in the technical sense. Secondly, I believe that the farewell discourse as a whole, is addressed to all believers. We all are to love one another as Christ loved us. The world today will know we are Jesus' disciples by the way we love one another. Those words were not just for the few who came to dinner. While Christ only washed the feet of those who came to dinner, his example wasn't just for those few, but for all of us to serve others. Because of the context of those verses, I think Tom's interpretation is faulty.

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 06:16:47 PM
Brian, using historical cultural information to better understand what Scripture is teaching does NOT mean I accept that Scripture itself contains errors as some do who use the historical/critical method.  In fact, the historical/cultural information of Corinth helps us distinguish between the local expression of an universal principle and the universal principle itself - a universal principle which many in the ELCA, sadly, reject because they put cultural zeitgeist over the revealed Word of God.


What translation do you use that doesn't contain errors? All the translations that I use have footnotes that indicate errors in ancient manuscripts, and possible errors in translations, e.g., "Hebrew unclear". I'm wondering where you found one that doesn't have any of those errors.


Yes, we will differ about what parts are "local expressions" and which parts are "universal principles". The "local expression" of the silence of women in worship is seen as a universal principle of "you shouldn't disrupt the worship service by talking to your neighbor." I'm pretty sure you don't see it that way.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 06:34:57 PM
The interpretive key for scripture is...(wait for it) SCRIPTURE.  It is not grace or faith or anything other than scriptura scripturae interpres or scripture interprets scripture.  Anything outside of this, even a teaching office, disrupts the purity of the biblical hermeneutic.

After Pentecost the Holy Spirit, by way of the kerygmatic message of the Gospel, inspired Peter and the other disciples (Paul uses apostles in 1 Cor. 15) to disseminate the Gospel message in its truth and purity.  The scriptures are that testimony to be preached and the interpretation comes from preachers who preach that message.  Certainly interpretation is involved but it is interpretation that confines itself to God's word and not human words although human words do disseminate a message and hopefully it is the Gospel in its purity and truth.


Every heresy used scriptures to support their beliefs. Consider Christian Scientists. The Bible clearly talks about miraculous healings. Why shouldn't we proclaim that people who truly believe in the power of God, will expect God to heal every disease. The use of doctors and medicines are signs of disbelief.


Pentecostals look at the speaking in tongues in Acts and 1 Corinthians and conclude that it is the sign of being filled with the Spirit. Some will only baptism "in the name of Jesus," since that the only water baptism talked about in Acts. It's separated from baptism in the Spirit. They argue that the early church perverted the truth of the teaching in Acts, which is the earliest record we have of life after Jesus.


Consider also the split between East and West partly over "filioque." Does the Spirit proceed from the Father? Does the Spirit proceed from the Father and the Son? Passages are used by both sides to support their position.


The Protestants lost something when they sort of removed the Church as the correct interpreter of scriptures. There is a sense that the Church is both over scriptures, e.g., created the canon of scriptures; and under the authority of scriptures. The removal of an authoritative interpreter of scriptures, led to the plethora of denominations - all based on their interpretation of scriptures (which also involved letting scripture interpret scripture). If the interpretation of scriptures is so clearcut, there wouldn't be so many denominations and differences among Christians. Even those with similar backgrounds can't agree, e.g., Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians - all have had divisions within them - all claiming to be Bible-based.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 07, 2020, 07:36:57 PM

Without the legs of grace and faith, scriptures are misinterpreted. I don't believe that a misinterpreted scriptures is God speaking to us - even if the folks quote biblical passages. Every heresy used scriptures to back up their assertions about God.


How do you know a scriptural "misinterpretation" when you see one?  (The emphasis is on know in that question).


1. When it supports one of the ancient heresies rather than orthodoxy.


2. When an interpretation is not really based on the words of the text. I remember a seminary professor criticizing an unnamed student who argued for the personalizing of communion because the Bible says, "given for you." Unfortunately for him, the Greek uses a plural, you; not the singular as the student argued. In that case, his conclusion might have some truth to it, but it is still a misinterpretation.


3. When the context suggests another interpretation. Just a few minutes ago I took issue with Tom Eckstein about Jesus' words in John 16 being addressed to "apostles." I believe that's a misinterpretation, first of all, because John never uses the word "apostle" in the technical sense. Secondly, I believe that the farewell discourse as a whole, is addressed to all believers. We all are to love one another as Christ loved us. The world today will know we are Jesus' disciples by the way we love one another. Those words were not just for the few who came to dinner. While Christ only washed the feet of those who came to dinner, his example wasn't just for those few, but for all of us to serve others. Because of the context of those verses, I think Tom's interpretation is faulty.

Whether we're using the word "apostle" or "disciple" the fact is that Jesus speaking to the 12 in John 16.  I fully recognize that some things Jesus says to His apostles/disciples also apply to all Christians but some things Jesus says to His apostles/disciples (the 12; and later Paul and James) apply to THEM ALONE.  Only Jesus' chosen apostles were moved by the Spirit to give foundational teaching for ALL Christians of ALL times - and in this sense neither your sermons nor mine are on the same level as Scripture.  But you know this.

As for "errors" in Scripture you refer to the variants found in the many manuscripts.  Once again, information I learned about in my 1st year of college ... but you can continue to teach us as though we don't know such things.  Obviously, when I and others say that the Scriptures are inerrant we do NOT mean that there are no variants in the manuscripts.  But once again, you know this.  You just hope we forgot what we believe.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 07, 2020, 08:32:08 PM

jebutler:
But hey, you do you and pray to the Goddess and teach others in your congregation to do likewise.
Me:
Why the snark here? I've already said I'm not praying to any Goddess.

Not yet.  But then you were not going to participate in telecommunion either.  Until you did.  Like just a few days later.  And told us how wonderful it was, and how blessed you (and Beloved Spouse) were by it.  So, I fully expect that someday -- maybe soon -- you will tell us that you prayed to this "Mother God" and it was great (!), and you and your Beloved Spouse (who wonders why men are so afraid of women, anyway) were greatly blessed by it (and by "Mother God"). 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2020, 09:49:41 PM
Whether we're using the word "apostle" or "disciple" the fact is that Jesus speaking to the 12 in John 16.  I fully recognize that some things Jesus says to His apostles/disciples also apply to all Christians but some things Jesus says to His apostles/disciples (the 12; and later Paul and James) apply to THEM ALONE.  Only Jesus' chosen apostles were moved by the Spirit to give foundational teaching for ALL Christians of ALL times - and in this sense neither your sermons nor mine are on the same level as Scripture.  But you know this.


John has no list of 12 like the synoptics, although John will occasionally talk about "the Twelve" (6:67, 70, 71; 20:24). John only gives us the names of: Simon Peter, Andrew, Philip, Nathaniel, Thomas, Judas Iscariot, Judas (not Iscariot), and "Sons of Zebedee" - 9 disciples.


There is no indication that it was "the Twelve" who were in the room with Jesus. That's a conjecture on your part. We are never told who was in there with Jesus. Unless it is clearly indicated, I take "disciples" to refer to all followers of Jesus - past and present. The farewell discourse is addressed to "disciples". That includes us.


I do not argue that the chosen 12 and their support of Paul and James, made them the foundation of Christianity. What made them so was their personal contact with Jesus. Something we do not have in the same way they did.


I have never claimed that sermons were on the same level of scriptures. However, I do believe that we are preaching the Word of God. What we preach has the power to create and nurture faith. Our words, as the Word of God, have the power to forgive sins.

Quote
As for "errors" in Scripture you refer to the variants found in the many manuscripts.  Once again, information I learned about in my 1st year of college ... but you can continue to teach us as though we don't know such things.  Obviously, when I and others say that the Scriptures are inerrant we do NOT mean that there are no variants in the manuscripts.  But once again, you know this.  You just hope we forgot what we believe.


Because there are variants in the manuscripts, the Bibles we have are capable of having errors. Thus, by definition, they cannot be called inerrant.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2020, 09:57:12 PM
Pastor Bohler:
But then you were not going to participate in telecommunion either.  Until you did.  Like just a few days later.  And told us how wonderful it was, and how blessed you (and Beloved Spouse) were by it.
Me:
Yes. But that does not mean I fully endorse it. As usual, you think the worst. What is it about you and that?

Pastor Bohler:
So, I fully expect that someday -- maybe soon -- you will tell us that you prayed to this "Mother God" and it was great (!), and you and your Beloved Spouse (who wonders why men are so afraid of women, anyway) were greatly blessed by it (and by "Mother God").
Me:
Expect all you want; because in your mean-spirited attitude, you relish finding more to hate about someone not on your wavelength. Rather than saying (when I said I would not use “Mother God” in a prayer) “Good! I hope you stick to that,” you predicted hopefully that I would fail.
Nice.


Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 07, 2020, 10:00:01 PM
1) How did I give a "wrong answer"? Everyone of your arguments supports praying to the Goddess. Your first paragraph of your response--right after telling me I misunderstand you--says there are "some who will use goddess language." You argue that it is a matter of conscience only. So the answer is: If your conscience is OK with it, pray to the Goddess, it's cool.

It's wrong because you continue to misunderstand what I'm saying. Yes, some will use goddess language. They are praying to the God who is the Father of Jesus Christ. Should they want to use "Goddess" or "Mother" or "Hey, you," as the way they address the one, true God. They can. I don't. You don't.

Ummm, if they pray to the "Goddess" then they pray to the "Mother" of the Lord Jesus Christ.

While you may not use that terminology, you make it clear that one can should "they want to." I hold that they cannot. As I mentioned to Humble Correspondent Charles "Chuck Amuck" Austen above, it's not about how we refer to God, it's about how God has revealed Himself to us. But you do you, Bri.


I don't think people who pray to the Goddess have been freed by Jesus. They are under idolatry.

And your conscience will guide the way you pray.

Yes, and Paul told Timothy that consciences may be seared. Some people's consciences say that throuples are awesome, even foursomes.

It's really simple. All you have to do is point to a place in Scripture where Moses, one of the prophets, Jesus or Paul addresses the Lord as "Mother." Not "like a mother" but "Mother God." That would end the entire conversation.

Heck, I'll even take a name like Abijah (Yahweh is my father). Just point to one. (Sorry, Asherahs don't count. I think that got the people sent off to Assyria and Babylon.)


3) I'm sorry you don't like the title of my thread. However, the ELCA's official Twitter account published a prayer addressed to "Mother God" (it was on their Facebook account as well). This is not an argument for allowing it, it is actually doing it. And since it was on their official account, then yes, the ELCA had a prayer to "Mother God[dess]."

The prayer was addressed to the Triune God with language you don't like. It's like the accusation against Roman Catholics that they pray to Mary or to the saints; when they argue that they are not praying to them, but asking them to pray to God on behalf of us. How we talk about things makes a lot of difference.

You're funny.

The ELCA's official Twitter feed sends a tweet that addresses "Mother God." The same prayer is posted on the official ELCA Facebook page. There is no question but that the ELCA has published a prayer to "Mother God."

If the LCMS sent out an announcement via Twitter and published it on the LCMS Facebook page, then it would be proper to say "The LCMS has said..."

This has nothing to do with "language (I) don't like." Nor does it have anything to do with prayers to Mary (another of your marvelous non sequiturs). It has to do with an idolatrous prayer that the ELCA has published on their Twitter feed and their Facebook page. It is not that they merely "allow" such language (that would be bad enough); it is language that your church body has used.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 07, 2020, 10:14:54 PM
This thread came to mind this morning as I was reading the lesson from Exodus 32 for Matins in the 2-year LBW/BCP Daily Lectionary: "You shall tear down their altars, and break their pillars, and cut down their Ashe'rim (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they play the harlot after their gods and scrifice to their gods and one invites you, you eat of his sacrifice, and you take of their daughters for your sons, and thier daughters play the harlot after their gods and make your sons play the harlot after their gods."

Kyrie eleison, Steven+
ELCA Pastor
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 07, 2020, 10:20:00 PM
The mistake you make is to assume that "God is still speaking," means "God is giving new revelations." Almost never does that happen.


Then why is it used so routinely to justify new revelations that you accept?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 07, 2020, 10:55:57 PM
The interpretive key for scripture is...(wait for it) SCRIPTURE.  It is not grace or faith or anything other than scriptura scripturae interpres or scripture interprets scripture.  Anything outside of this, even a teaching office, disrupts the purity of the biblical hermeneutic.

After Pentecost the Holy Spirit, by way of the kerygmatic message of the Gospel, inspired Peter and the other disciples (Paul uses apostles in 1 Cor. 15) to disseminate the Gospel message in its truth and purity.  The scriptures are that testimony to be preached and the interpretation comes from preachers who preach that message.  Certainly interpretation is involved but it is interpretation that confines itself to God's word and not human words although human words do disseminate a message and hopefully it is the Gospel in its purity and truth.


Every heresy used scriptures to support their beliefs. Consider Christian Scientists. The Bible clearly talks about miraculous healings. Why shouldn't we proclaim that people who truly believe in the power of God, will expect God to heal every disease. The use of doctors and medicines are signs of disbelief.


Pentecostals look at the speaking in tongues in Acts and 1 Corinthians and conclude that it is the sign of being filled with the Spirit. Some will only baptism "in the name of Jesus," since that the only water baptism talked about in Acts. It's separated from baptism in the Spirit. They argue that the early church perverted the truth of the teaching in Acts, which is the earliest record we have of life after Jesus.


Consider also the split between East and West partly over "filioque." Does the Spirit proceed from the Father? Does the Spirit proceed from the Father and the Son? Passages are used by both sides to support their position.


The Protestants lost something when they sort of removed the Church as the correct interpreter of scriptures. There is a sense that the Church is both over scriptures, e.g., created the canon of scriptures; and under the authority of scriptures. The removal of an authoritative interpreter of scriptures, led to the plethora of denominations - all based on their interpretation of scriptures (which also involved letting scripture interpret scripture). If the interpretation of scriptures is so clearcut, there wouldn't be so many denominations and differences among Christians. Even those with similar backgrounds can't agree, e.g., Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians - all have had divisions within them - all claiming to be Bible-based.

My claim is that heresies are heresies because heretics did not check thoroughly and exhaustively the full witness of scripture to develop the truth of the Gospel.  They are heresies because at some point the heretics rejected the interpretive key of scripture-interprets-scripture for something else in order to ground their doctrine.  Also we Lutherans correctly ground interpretation of scripture based only on scripture and not some third party.  We also ground the canonical issue differently (and correctly, in my view) by saying and teaching that the scriptures are the apostolic and prophetic writings of the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament as evidenced in the Formula of Concord, Summary, Rule and Norm section.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 07, 2020, 11:02:45 PM
Pastor Bohler:
But then you were not going to participate in telecommunion either.  Until you did.  Like just a few days later.  And told us how wonderful it was, and how blessed you (and Beloved Spouse) were by it.
Me:
Yes. But that does not mean I fully endorse it. As usual, you think the worst. What is it about you and that?

Pastor Bohler:
So, I fully expect that someday -- maybe soon -- you will tell us that you prayed to this "Mother God" and it was great (!), and you and your Beloved Spouse (who wonders why men are so afraid of women, anyway) were greatly blessed by it (and by "Mother God").
Me:
Expect all you want; because in your mean-spirited attitude, you relish finding more to hate about someone not on your wavelength. Rather than saying (when I said I would not use “Mother God” in a prayer) “Good! I hope you stick to that,” you predicted hopefully that I would fail.
Nice.

When you said that you thought telecommunion was a bad idea, and would not participate in it, I congratulated and thanked you.  And then you did what?

When you said years ago that women could not be pastors and opposed such -- had I been in contact with you then -- I would have congratulated and thanked you.  And then you did what?

When you said that homosexual "marriage" would not affect those churches and individuals who would oppose it, I hoped you were right.  And then, when legal action was taken against them, you did what?

When you and your church body said that there was room for pastors/congregations who did not go along with homosexual clergy in your denomination, I wanted to think perhaps that could be.  And then, when pastors and congregations did NOT support calling homosexual clergy to particular congregations, you did what?

Do you sense a pattern here?  I do.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2020, 11:44:49 PM
Well, Pastor Bohler, your church body has found ways for more than 25 years to declare my church body heterodox or worse. You broke fellowship with the ALC, they are now part of us. You threw out some distinguished faculty members at your seminary and most of them are now part of us. So you have many reasons to say nasty things about us and you have said them for more than 20 years.
Some of you even want to break up our cooperation in social services and in resettling refugees. You don’t like the fact that we have bishops, you don’t approve of our pastors, you despise our Ecumenical Agreements, you don’t like our social statements, And you do not like the way we interpret scripture or the creeds or the confessions.
At this point I get annoyed with myself for even discussing what people like you think is wrong with the church body I serve. I really want to stop trying to do that.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RDPreus on May 08, 2020, 12:37:21 AM
"You threw out some distinguished faculty members at your seminary and most of them are now part of us."

That's not true.  Nobody threw them out.  They went on strike, refused to return when told to do so, and were found to have breached their contract. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 08, 2020, 03:56:58 AM
The mistake you make is to assume that "God is still speaking," means "God is giving new revelations." Almost never does that happen.


Then why is it used so routinely to justify new revelations that you accept?


I don't recall accepting any new revelations. I've come to believe in interpretations of scriptures that go against some traditional practices, such as male only ordinations. Or that the law always accuses. I don't find that in scriptures. It can accuse, but it's described as being as sweet as honey.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 08, 2020, 08:25:49 AM
"You threw out some distinguished faculty members at your seminary and most of them are now part of us."

That's not true.  Nobody threw them out.  They went on strike, refused to return when told to do so, and were found to have breached their contract.

Like a good journalist, Rev. Austin just will NOT let facts get in the way of his chosen story.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 08, 2020, 08:31:30 AM
Well, Pastor Bohler, your church body has found ways for more than 25 years to declare my church body heterodox or worse. You broke fellowship with the ALC, they are now part of us. You threw out some distinguished faculty members at your seminary and most of them are now part of us. So you have many reasons to say nasty things about us and you have said them for more than 20 years.
Some of you even want to break up our cooperation in social services and in resettling refugees. You don’t like the fact that we have bishops, you don’t approve of our pastors, you despise our Ecumenical Agreements, you don’t like our social statements, And you do not like the way we interpret scripture or the creeds or the confessions.
At this point I get annoyed with myself for even discussing what people like you think is wrong with the church body I serve. I really want to stop trying to do that.

I have no clue what any of this untrue tantrum has to do with what I posted.  What I posted, basically, is that you say one thing today and then something different the next.  So, why should I believe you this time?  Your slanted rant above doesn't address that at all.  But if it makes you feel better...
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 08, 2020, 08:42:18 AM
And when patriarchy insists that men are closer to God, that men only can be God’s agents in the world and that man is a better representation of God than woman....

Patriarchy does not teach that men are closer to God than women.  It does not teach that only men can be God's agents in the world.  As far as a "representation of God" is concerned, it is true that patriarchy excludes women from the pastoral office, but it is not only pastors who represent God.


The LCMS rightly teaches that God is spirit, neither male or female.  The LCMS then goes on to claim that God is masculine, not feminine; therefore men represent and speak for God in a way not given to women who are by nature feminine.  The LCMS also teaches that God's order in the church is patriarchal. God has assigned man a position in the order of creation where man is closer to God than woman. Man's headship authority in relation to to woman is likened to Christ's Headship authority over the Church.  The CPH Commentary on I Corinthians states that a woman must always be under the authority of a man in the home, her father, her husband or some other adult man in the house.  Woman's status remains that of child or a "mini" adult.

I also read a CTQ book review where authority in the church is said to come down to the basics of the normal sex act.   I also attended a Fort Wayne Theological Convocation where the pastoral  office was to limited men since they are the one who plant the seed of God's Word. 

The Lutheran Study Bible has one page in small type on Women DisciplesThe Social Status of Mary is listed as "The wife of Joseph, the carpenter, and the mother of Jesus, James, Jude and other children.

Mary's relationship to Jesus reads:   Mary was the mother of Jesus. She respected Him and knew He was special,  (jn2:1-5), but was confused by His calling (Lk 2:48-49).  She did not agree with Jesus decision to leave the carpentry trade and live as a rabbi (Mk 3:21 Lk 8: 19-21.  Jesus down played the suggestion that Mary was especially blessed because of their  earthly relationship (xLk 11:27).  At the crucifixion He showed kindness to her by entrusting her to the care of the apostle John (Jn 19:26-27).  She gathered with the apostles after Jesus' resurrection (Acts 1:14).   Revelation 12 may memorialize her special witness to the ministry of John and Jesus.

I have not, nor will I, pray to Mary or to the "Mother God."   I will however state that TLSB minimal comments on Mary are shameful.   It reflects how the patriarchal mindset of LCMS theologians permeates their determination that women know their place in the church and home.

Marie Meyer

You have a unique opportunity on this Forum to address how these things came to be present in The Lutheran Study Bible.  The General Editor for The Lutheran Study Bible is active on the ALPB Forum.

I echo Mr. Bosch's post.  Mrs. Meyer, rather than quiz pastors about these things, why not directly address them to the General Editor himself right here?  I would hope that might prove more fruitful. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 08, 2020, 08:52:10 AM
What?!! And divert him from his incessant, vindictive attack on Synod and "gan ainm"? Don't hold your breath, Steve. :(

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: James J Eivan on May 08, 2020, 10:26:32 AM
"You threw out some distinguished faculty members at your seminary and most of them are now part of us."

That's not true.  Nobody threw them out.  They went on strike, refused to return when told to do so, and were found to have breached their contract.

Like a good journalist, Rev. Austin just will NOT let facts get in the way of his chosen story.
Nah ... he is just demonstrating his propensity to double standards  ... holding himself to much lower standards than he expects from others.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 08, 2020, 10:49:57 AM
You fanatic literalists sometimes make me laugh. Of course I know what happened to the faculty that became Seminex. You were on the way to throwing them out when the walkout occurred. So it almost becomes one of those “you can’t fire me, I quit“ situations.
Or in this case, “I’m not quitting but I’m pretty sure what I’m doing now is going to make you fire me.“
I think the reason some of you are so sensitive about this Is that even you can see the dark side of all of it. Including actions on “your side”.
But that water ran down to the Gulf a long time ago. Carry-on.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: James J Eivan on May 08, 2020, 11:02:57 AM
You fanatic literalists sometimes make me laugh. Of course I know what happened to the faculty that became Seminex. You were on the way to throwing them out when the walkout occurred. So it almost becomes one of those “you can’t fire me, I quit“ situations.
Or in this case, “I’m not quitting but I’m pretty sure what I’m doing now is going to make you fire me.“
I think the reason some of you are so sensitive about this Is that even you can see the dark side of all of it. Including actions on “your side”.
But that water ran down to the Gulf a long time ago. Carry-on.

Regrettably  ... and I say that in all seriousness  ... from what I've read here and other sources, those who left the LCMS seem to be responsible for a great portion of the theological differences between the ELCA and LCMS. 
In some ways, the LCMS gains from the departures of the '70's resulted in a large part of the ELCA's theological losses since then.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 08, 2020, 11:04:09 AM
You fanatic literalists sometimes make me laugh. Of course I know what happened to the faculty that became Seminex. You were on the way to throwing them out when the walkout occurred. So it almost becomes one of those “you can’t fire me, I quit“ situations.
Or in this case, “I’m not quitting but I’m pretty sure what I’m doing now is going to make you fire me.“
I think the reason some of you are so sensitive about this Is that even you can see the dark side of all of it. Including actions on “your side”.
But that water ran down to the Gulf a long time ago. Carry-on.

Are we in the ELCA any nobler?  Firing people while they are recovering from a quintuple bypass?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: mariemeyer on May 08, 2020, 11:12:05 AM
And when patriarchy insists that men are closer to God, that men only can be God’s agents in the world and that man is a better representation of God than woman....

Patriarchy does not teach that men are closer to God than women.  It does not teach that only men can be God's agents in the world.  As far as a "representation of God" is concerned, it is true that patriarchy excludes women from the pastoral office, but it is not only pastors who represent God.


The LCMS rightly teaches that God is spirit, neither male or female.  The LCMS then goes on to claim that God is masculine, not feminine; therefore men represent and speak for God in a way not given to women who are by nature feminine.  The LCMS also teaches that God's order in the church is patriarchal. God has assigned man a position in the order of creation where man is closer to God than woman. Man's headship authority in relation to to woman is likened to Christ's Headship authority over the Church.  The CPH Commentary on I Corinthians states that a woman must always be under the authority of a man in the home, her father, her husband or some other adult man in the house.  Woman's status remains that of child or a "mini" adult.

I also read a CTQ book review where authority in the church is said to come down to the basics of the normal sex act.   I also attended a Fort Wayne Theological Convocation where the pastoral  office was to limited men since they are the one who plant the seed of God's Word. 

The Lutheran Study Bible has one page in small type on Women DisciplesThe Social Status of Mary is listed as "The wife of Joseph, the carpenter, and the mother of Jesus, James, Jude and other children.

Mary's relationship to Jesus reads:   Mary was the mother of Jesus. She respected Him and knew He was special,  (jn2:1-5), but was confused by His calling (Lk 2:48-49).  She did not agree with Jesus decision to leave the carpentry trade and live as a rabbi (Mk 3:21 Lk 8: 19-21.  Jesus down played the suggestion that Mary was especially blessed because of their  earthly relationship (xLk 11:27).  At the crucifixion He showed kindness to her by entrusting her to the care of the apostle John (Jn 19:26-27).  She gathered with the apostles after Jesus' resurrection (Acts 1:14).   Revelation 12 may memorialize her special witness to the ministry of John and Jesus.

I have not, nor will I, pray to Mary or to the "Mother God."   I will however state that TLSB minimal comments on Mary are shameful.   It reflects how the patriarchal mindset of LCMS theologians permeates their determination that women know their place in the church and home.

Marie Meyer

You have a unique opportunity on this Forum to address how these things came to be present in The Lutheran Study Bible.  The General Editor for The Lutheran Study Bible is active on the ALPB Forum.

I would welcome comments by the General Editor on why Mary, the mother of the Incarnate Son of God, was simply lumped together with other women disciples mentioned in the NT. 

Mary, unlike any other woman, is the woman from whom God the Son received human flesh - her's and that of all other humans.  She carried him in her womb like all the rest of us were carried in the womb of a woman. She nursed him at her breasts just as I nursed my children, but hers was a totally unique honor. 

Although Luther is often quoted in TLSB, why was there no mention of his Magnificat Commentary, particularly as it is considered one of Luther's most explicit  interpretation of the theology of the cross. Why no mention of his comment, "Mary, by the example of her words and experience teaches us  how to know and love God."

Why no mention of Mary as Archetype of the Church?

Totally ignored in this discussion is what Mary teaches men and women about Being the Church, the Virgin Bride of Christ and the Mother of us all.   What is the significance of the many men and women who ARE the Church of recognizing that they, men and women, ARE the ONE Holy Body of Christ, HIS Bride? 

Why no mention of the living present reality of the Biblical truth that the same resurrected Christ is now, through Word and Sacrament, a living presence in the many women and men to whom Christ joins Himself. 

I would plead with my LCMS brothers in Christ to open their eyes to the reality that the same risen Christ is, by the power of the Holy Spirit, present in your sisters in Christ.  He, as True God and True Man, is not bound to your created human maleness nor limited by the created femaleness of your sisters in Christ. 

Christ is the Head and Bridegroom of the Church, the many women and men who ARE His Holy Body.  They, as His Body, receive all that comes to them as Head of the Church. The Church as His Body is not divided into two parts, male and female. Together, they, man and woman, are to grow up into the fullness of Christ their Head so that they may be the Church, the Mother of us all.

Marie Meyer 

 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 08, 2020, 11:34:25 AM

I would plead with my LCMS brothers in Christ to open their eyes to the reality that the same risen Christ is, by the power of the Holy Spirit, present in your sisters in Christ.  He, as True God and True Man, is not bound to your created human maleness nor limited by the created femaleness of your sisters in Christ. 

Marie Meyer 

Consider it done! I have never said, thought, implied, or otherwise been aware of any idea that Christ is present in a given Christian man in a way that He isn't present in a given Christian woman. Christ lives and dwells equally in my sons and daughters, my mom and dad, and my wife and myself. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 08, 2020, 11:47:01 AM
You fanatic literalists sometimes make me laugh. Of course I know what happened to the faculty that became Seminex. You were on the way to throwing them out when the walkout occurred. So it almost becomes one of those “you can’t fire me, I quit“ situations.
Or in this case, “I’m not quitting but I’m pretty sure what I’m doing now is going to make you fire me.“
I think the reason some of you are so sensitive about this Is that even you can see the dark side of all of it. Including actions on “your side”.
But that water ran down to the Gulf a long time ago. Carry-on.

Carl Braaten certainly saw the dark side of the walkout!

"The unexpected consequence of such a strong contingency of Seminex personnel was to move the faculty and student body to the left on social, cultural, and theological issues. Having been condemned as liberals and heretics in their home church, they became advocates of progressive agendas in their new ecclesial setting. The poison of political correctness spread into every aspect of seminary life. The LSTC practice of having social gatherings exclusively for faculty members and spouses was changed to include nonacademic staff - secretaries, janitors, and kitchen help. Committees on every conceivable matter were expanded beyond the faculty to include an equal number of students and staff. The cult of egalitarianism drove out every remnant of elitism. Orwellian shades of 1984 had arrived: we were all equal, but some were "more equal than others." This was not unilaterally the work of the Seminex faculty; the entire faculty was involved in contributing to the transformation of LSTC into a modern Protestant seminary, hospitable to the many isms of American culture.

The theology that backed up the "paradigm shift" at LSTC was either antinomian or a close relative. Robert Bertram and Edward Schroeder were founders of Crossings, an educational institution whose purpose was to relate the gospel to daily life. Both were greatly influenced by the law/gospel theology of the German Lutheran theologian Werner Elert of Erlangen University. They followed Elert in rejecting the third use of the law. Elert maintained that the title of Article VI of the Formula of Concord, "Third Use of the Law," mislabeled what it really affirmed. The question was debated among first-generation Lutherans whether the law applies to regenerated Christians; that is, whether they are to live in obedience to the Ten Commandments.

Lutheran theologian Werner Elert of Erlangen University. They followed Elert in rejecting the third use of the law. Elert maintained that the title of Article VI of the Formula of Concord, "Third Use of the Law," mislabeled what it really affirmed. The question was debated among first-generation Lutherans whether the law applies to regenerated Christians; that is, whether they are to live in obedience to the Ten Commandments.

The first use is the public law that everyone must obey or else face the punishment. The second use is the law that accuses and leads to the knowledge of sin. The third use is the law that shows believers how to order their lives. Do Christians need the guidelines of the third use of the law, or is the gospel sufficient of itself to provide moral guidance for the Christian life? Traditionally Lutherans have affirmed the necessity of the third function of the law; even the saintliest believers are sinners who need to be guided by the moral wisdom enshrined in the laws and commandments of God. Many modern Lutherans have set aside the third use; thereby, they have jumped from the frying pan of legalism into the fire of antinomianism.

The ideology of Crossings moved in a straight line from the rejection of the third use of the law to the support of the gay/lesbian agenda that has since taken the ELCA by the throat. Does the gospel by itself offer any rules or restrictions regarding the sexual behavior of Christians? To say that it does is to legalize the gospel, that is, to make the gospel of God's love and forgiveness do what the law is designed to do. Antinomianism is thus pernicious in theology and the church, not only because it truncates the law but also because it subverts the gospel." [Carl E. Braaten, Because of Christ: Memoirs of a Lutheran Pastor-Theologian]
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RDPreus on May 08, 2020, 11:51:02 AM
You fanatic literalists sometimes make me laugh. Of course I know what happened to the faculty that became Seminex. You were on the way to throwing them out when the walkout occurred. So it almost becomes one of those “you can’t fire me, I quit“ situations.
Or in this case, “I’m not quitting but I’m pretty sure what I’m doing now is going to make you fire me.“
I think the reason some of you are so sensitive about this Is that even you can see the dark side of all of it. Including actions on “your side”.
But that water ran down to the Gulf a long time ago. Carry-on.

Rev. Austin, let me tell you a story.

I was a junior in college attending Concordia in St. Paul.  John Tietjen had recently been suspended from office and "Operation Outreach" had begun.  Faculty and students from the St. Louis seminary were traveling the country giving people their perspective on what was going on.  A friend told me that some seminary students would be speaking at a meeting at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and asked me if I would like to go.  I said yes, and we went.

As you may know, I grew up on the campus of Concordia Seminary.  Children of Edgar Krentz, Martin Scharlemann, Bill Danker, and Robert Bertram were classmates and friends of mine.  We all grew up on the seminary campus.  I knew most of the seminary families.  We lived next door to the Feurbringers and later the Tietjens. 

Three students spoke at Mt. Olive about how they viewed the situation, and as you would expect, they presented a version of events that completely excluded the conservative point of view.  It was as if it didn't exist.  After they opened it up for questions, I asked the three seminarians if any of them had ever taken classes from any of the following professors:  Martin Scharlemann, Robert Preus, Lorenz Wunderlich, Richard Klan, or Ralph Bohlmann.  They looked at each other for a while and then one of them blurted out, "My roommate had a class with Martin Scharlemann."  The group broke out laughing.  Then a man asked me if I were Robert Preus' son.  There was a groan in the room.  I said I was, somebody else said, "That's alright," and people applauded.

Rev. Austin, I know this is very hard for you to understand or accept, but some of us conservatives really do know and understand the positions you promote.  We grew up surrounded by them.  We really do understand the different sides of the issues we are still debating.  We really do.  But, based on my experience (and I know that experience is not the best basis for every judgment), it is usually the liberals who don't understand the conservatives, not the other way around.

Thank you for letting me share!  :)
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 08, 2020, 12:10:46 PM
Charles, have you ever considered that the LCMS backing away from the ALC and LCA in the 70s might have been part of God's providence? The LCMS has always been a rather conservative church body even though during the sixties it was trending more moderate. Even if the more moderate faction of the LCMS could have won out over the more conservative faction, held fellowship with the ALC and ultimately joined in the great merger into the ELCA, that still would have brought a great many conservatives into the new church, tipping the balance more conservative.


Now, it has been suggested that in approving the ordination of homosexuals in committed same sex relationships, the ELCA was listening to the promptings of God and carrying out God's will. Something that the LCMS has refused to hear. Even so, it was a close thing. It took several tries at several CWAs for it to pass and even then one more vote in opposition would have again blocked it in 2009. If the addition of another large group of churches, pastors, and members had been made a part of the ELCA it seems likely that it would have again failed. An LCMS who would join the ELCA would not have been as conservative as the LCMS that is now but it still would have been on average on the conservative side of the ELCA. So if it was God's will to approve the ordination of partnered homosexual pastors perhaps it was also God's will that the LCMS wasn't part of the mix and likely blocking for all the acceptance of homosexuality. 


Just speculating.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 08, 2020, 12:14:50 PM
You fanatic literalists sometimes make me laugh. Of course I know what happened to the faculty that became Seminex. You were on the way to throwing them out when the walkout occurred. So it almost becomes one of those “you can’t fire me, I quit“ situations.
Or in this case, “I’m not quitting but I’m pretty sure what I’m doing now is going to make you fire me.“
I think the reason some of you are so sensitive about this Is that even you can see the dark side of all of it. Including actions on “your side”.
But that water ran down to the Gulf a long time ago. Carry-on.

Carl Braaten certainly saw the dark side of the walkout!

"The unexpected consequence of such a strong contingency of Seminex personnel was to move the faculty and student body to the left on social, cultural, and theological issues. Having been condemned as liberals and heretics in their home church, they became advocates of progressive agendas in their new ecclesial setting. The poison of political correctness spread into every aspect of seminary life. The LSTC practice of having social gatherings exclusively for faculty members and spouses was changed to include nonacademic staff - secretaries, janitors, and kitchen help. Committees on every conceivable matter were expanded beyond the faculty to include an equal number of students and staff. The cult of egalitarianism drove out every remnant of elitism. Orwellian shades of 1984 had arrived: we were all equal, but some were "more equal than others." This was not unilaterally the work of the Seminex faculty; the entire faculty was involved in contributing to the transformation of LSTC into a modern Protestant seminary, hospitable to the many isms of American culture.

The theology that backed up the "paradigm shift" at LSTC was either antinomian or a close relative. Robert Bertram and Edward Schroeder were founders of Crossings, an educational institution whose purpose was to relate the gospel to daily life. Both were greatly influenced by the law/gospel theology of the German Lutheran theologian Werner Elert of Erlangen University. They followed Elert in rejecting the third use of the law. Elert maintained that the title of Article VI of the Formula of Concord, "Third Use of the Law," mislabeled what it really affirmed. The question was debated among first-generation Lutherans whether the law applies to regenerated Christians; that is, whether they are to live in obedience to the Ten Commandments.

Lutheran theologian Werner Elert of Erlangen University. They followed Elert in rejecting the third use of the law. Elert maintained that the title of Article VI of the Formula of Concord, "Third Use of the Law," mislabeled what it really affirmed. The question was debated among first-generation Lutherans whether the law applies to regenerated Christians; that is, whether they are to live in obedience to the Ten Commandments.

The first use is the public law that everyone must obey or else face the punishment. The second use is the law that accuses and leads to the knowledge of sin. The third use is the law that shows believers how to order their lives. Do Christians need the guidelines of the third use of the law, or is the gospel sufficient of itself to provide moral guidance for the Christian life? Traditionally Lutherans have affirmed the necessity of the third function of the law; even the saintliest believers are sinners who need to be guided by the moral wisdom enshrined in the laws and commandments of God. Many modern Lutherans have set aside the third use; thereby, they have jumped from the frying pan of legalism into the fire of antinomianism.

The ideology of Crossings moved in a straight line from the rejection of the third use of the law to the support of the gay/lesbian agenda that has since taken the ELCA by the throat. Does the gospel by itself offer any rules or restrictions regarding the sexual behavior of Christians? To say that it does is to legalize the gospel, that is, to make the gospel of God's love and forgiveness do what the law is designed to do. Antinomianism is thus pernicious in theology and the church, not only because it truncates the law but also because it subverts the gospel." [Carl E. Braaten, Because of Christ: Memoirs of a Lutheran Pastor-Theologian]


I don't believe Werner Elert rejected the third use of the law.  What was rejected by Elert was a position which jettisoned the accusatory nature of the law from the teaching guidance that the law certainly has.  The emphasis is that the law does indicate how the reborn are to behave in a moral standing but that this isn't the sole reason for the law's use in a so-called reborn individual.  Elert never rejected St. Paul's saying in Romans 3 that with the law comes the knowledge of sin.  And because there isn't such a thing as a fully reborn Christian (one without sin) the accusatory nature of the law still stands in order to convict and put to death sinners.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 08, 2020, 12:17:42 PM
Charles, have you ever considered that the LCMS backing away from the ALC and LCA in the 70s might have been part of God's providence? The LCMS has always been a rather conservative church body even though during the sixties it was trending more moderate. Even if the more moderate faction of the LCMS could have won out over,the more conservative faction, held fellowship with the ALC and ultimately joined in the great merger into the ELCA, that still would have brought a great many conservatives into the new church, tipping the balance more conservative.

Now, it has been suggested that in approving the ordination of homosexuals in committed same sex relationships, the ELCA was listening to the promptings of God and carrying out God's will. Something that the LCMS has refused to hear. Even so, it was a close thing. It took several tries at several CWAs for it to pass and even then one more vote in opposition would have again blocked it in 2009. If the addition of another large group of churches, pastors, and members had been made a part of the ELCA it seems likely that it would have again failed. An LCMS who would join the ELCA would not have been as conservative as the LCMS that is now but it still would have been on average on the conservative side of the ELCA. So if it was God's will to approve the ordination of partnered homosexual pastors perhaps it was also God's will that the LCMS wasn't part of the mix and likely blocking for all the acceptance of homosexuality. 

Just speculating.

Well-stated, Dan. The flip side of Braaten's observations above.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 08, 2020, 12:53:11 PM
You fanatic literalists sometimes make me laugh. Of course I know what happened to the faculty that became Seminex. You were on the way to throwing them out when the walkout occurred. So it almost becomes one of those “you can’t fire me, I quit“ situations.
Or in this case, “I’m not quitting but I’m pretty sure what I’m doing now is going to make you fire me.“
I think the reason some of you are so sensitive about this Is that even you can see the dark side of all of it. Including actions on “your side”.
But that water ran down to the Gulf a long time ago. Carry-on.

Carl Braaten certainly saw the dark side of the walkout!

"The unexpected consequence of such a strong contingency of Seminex personnel was to move the faculty and student body to the left on social, cultural, and theological issues. Having been condemned as liberals and heretics in their home church, they became advocates of progressive agendas in their new ecclesial setting. The poison of political correctness spread into every aspect of seminary life. The LSTC practice of having social gatherings exclusively for faculty members and spouses was changed to include nonacademic staff - secretaries, janitors, and kitchen help. Committees on every conceivable matter were expanded beyond the faculty to include an equal number of students and staff. The cult of egalitarianism drove out every remnant of elitism. Orwellian shades of 1984 had arrived: we were all equal, but some were "more equal than others." This was not unilaterally the work of the Seminex faculty; the entire faculty was involved in contributing to the transformation of LSTC into a modern Protestant seminary, hospitable to the many isms of American culture.

The theology that backed up the "paradigm shift" at LSTC was either antinomian or a close relative. Robert Bertram and Edward Schroeder were founders of Crossings, an educational institution whose purpose was to relate the gospel to daily life. Both were greatly influenced by the law/gospel theology of the German Lutheran theologian Werner Elert of Erlangen University. They followed Elert in rejecting the third use of the law. Elert maintained that the title of Article VI of the Formula of Concord, "Third Use of the Law," mislabeled what it really affirmed. The question was debated among first-generation Lutherans whether the law applies to regenerated Christians; that is, whether they are to live in obedience to the Ten Commandments.

Lutheran theologian Werner Elert of Erlangen University. They followed Elert in rejecting the third use of the law. Elert maintained that the title of Article VI of the Formula of Concord, "Third Use of the Law," mislabeled what it really affirmed. The question was debated among first-generation Lutherans whether the law applies to regenerated Christians; that is, whether they are to live in obedience to the Ten Commandments.

The first use is the public law that everyone must obey or else face the punishment. The second use is the law that accuses and leads to the knowledge of sin. The third use is the law that shows believers how to order their lives. Do Christians need the guidelines of the third use of the law, or is the gospel sufficient of itself to provide moral guidance for the Christian life? Traditionally Lutherans have affirmed the necessity of the third function of the law; even the saintliest believers are sinners who need to be guided by the moral wisdom enshrined in the laws and commandments of God. Many modern Lutherans have set aside the third use; thereby, they have jumped from the frying pan of legalism into the fire of antinomianism.

The ideology of Crossings moved in a straight line from the rejection of the third use of the law to the support of the gay/lesbian agenda that has since taken the ELCA by the throat. Does the gospel by itself offer any rules or restrictions regarding the sexual behavior of Christians? To say that it does is to legalize the gospel, that is, to make the gospel of God's love and forgiveness do what the law is designed to do. Antinomianism is thus pernicious in theology and the church, not only because it truncates the law but also because it subverts the gospel." [Carl E. Braaten, Because of Christ: Memoirs of a Lutheran Pastor-Theologian]


I don't know when Bertram/Schroeder began teaching Elert's understanding of the third use, but it was being taught at Wartburg Seminary when I went there in 1972 - before seminex began. It was also stated that "third use" language did not come from Luther.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 08, 2020, 01:00:55 PM
Rev. Austin, I know this is very hard for you to understand or accept, but some of us conservatives really do know and understand the positions you promote.  We grew up surrounded by them.  We really do understand the different sides of the issues we are still debating.  We really do.  But, based on my experience (and I know that experience is not the best basis for every judgment), it is usually the liberals who don't understand the conservatives, not the other way around.

Thank you for letting me share!  :)


No, I find (and even within this forum,) that conservatives often do not understand liberals. They believe what other conservatives say about liberals, rather than actually talking and listening to liberals. (Granted, the same can be said of liberals not listening to conservatives.)


I purposely joined this forum, and some conservative ELCA sites on Facebook for two reasons. 1. To hear/read what conservatives are saying and try to learn from them; and 2. To try and correct misunderstandings when I see them.


I've also tried to correct misunderstandings that get posted on the liberal sites, too.


As I've said elsewhere, a true "liberal" needs "to be willing to respect or accept behavior or opinions different from one's own; open to new ideas" (New Oxford American Dictionary). Many fail to be "liberal" in this definition of the word.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 08, 2020, 01:05:47 PM
Charles, have you ever considered that the LCMS backing away from the ALC and LCA in the 70s might have been part of God's providence? The LCMS has always been a rather conservative church body even though during the sixties it was trending more moderate. Even if the more moderate faction of the LCMS could have won out over the more conservative faction, held fellowship with the ALC and ultimately joined in the great merger into the ELCA, that still would have brought a great many conservatives into the new church, tipping the balance more conservative.

Yup, and many within the ALC were hoping that would happen. We had put off merging with the LCA for years, hoping for a time when LCMS could also be part of it. The LCMS's invitation to cooperate on a new hymnal in the 60's was a start in that direction. (Note that the ALC/LCA had done a new hymnal in 1958, so agree to this process was more about Lutheran unity than our need for a new hymnal.)
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: mariemeyer on May 08, 2020, 01:17:12 PM

I would plead with my LCMS brothers in Christ to open their eyes to the reality that the same risen Christ is, by the power of the Holy Spirit, present in your sisters in Christ.  He, as True God and True Man, is not bound to your created human maleness nor limited by the created femaleness of your sisters in Christ. 

Marie Meyer 

Consider it done! I have never said, thought, implied, or otherwise been aware of any idea that Christ is present in a given Christian man in a way that He isn't present in a given Christian woman. Christ lives and dwells equally in my sons and daughters, my mom and dad, and my wife and myself.

The question is not whether Christ is "equally" present in woman as in man.  The issue is whether the Living Resurrected Christ is present as True God and True Man within the heart and mind, spirit and will of the Christian woman.  If so, is Christ than free to speak and act through woman according to His nature as True God and True Woman?   

Marie Meyer
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 08, 2020, 01:42:10 PM

I would plead with my LCMS brothers in Christ to open their eyes to the reality that the same risen Christ is, by the power of the Holy Spirit, present in your sisters in Christ.  He, as True God and True Man, is not bound to your created human maleness nor limited by the created femaleness of your sisters in Christ. 

Marie Meyer 



Consider it done! I have never said, thought, implied, or otherwise been aware of any idea that Christ is present in a given Christian man in a way that He isn't present in a given Christian woman. Christ lives and dwells equally in my sons and daughters, my mom and dad, and my wife and myself.

The question is not whether Christ is "equally" present in woman as in man.  The issue is whether the Living Resurrected Christ is present as True God and True Man within the heart and mind, spirit and will of the Christian woman. If so, is Christ than free to speak and act through woman according to His nature as True God and True Woman?   

Marie Meyer

Marie, what do you mean that Christ's nature is True God and True Woman?  As Peter said above, the resurrected Christ dwells in all believers.  But this doesn't change the fact that God still has distinctive functions for both men and women within marriage and the Church.  The resurrected Christ also dwells in believing children, but this doesn't mean that the distinctive roles for children and their parents are abolished.

Maybe I don't understand what you're trying to say, but speaking of Christ's nature as being True God and True Women is problematic at best!  The fact that Christ dwells in both Christian men and women does not change the fact that Christ is incarnate as MALE and not female.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 08, 2020, 01:52:45 PM
The mistake you make is to assume that "God is still speaking," means "God is giving new revelations." Almost never does that happen.


Then why is it used so routinely to justify new revelations that you accept?

I don't recall accepting any new revelations. I've come to believe in interpretations of scriptures that go against some traditional practices, such as male only ordinations. Or that the law always accuses. I don't find that in scriptures. It can accuse, but it's described as being as sweet as honey.

Sigh!  Apparently same-sex marriage isn't among your recollections...
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 08, 2020, 02:10:56 PM

I would plead with my LCMS brothers in Christ to open their eyes to the reality that the same risen Christ is, by the power of the Holy Spirit, present in your sisters in Christ.  He, as True God and True Man, is not bound to your created human maleness nor limited by the created femaleness of your sisters in Christ. 

Marie Meyer 

Consider it done! I have never said, thought, implied, or otherwise been aware of any idea that Christ is present in a given Christian man in a way that He isn't present in a given Christian woman. Christ lives and dwells equally in my sons and daughters, my mom and dad, and my wife and myself.

The question is not whether Christ is "equally" present in woman as in man.  The issue is whether the Living Resurrected Christ is present as True God and True Man within the heart and mind, spirit and will of the Christian woman.  If so, is Christ than free to speak and act through woman according to His nature as True God and True Woman?   

Marie Meyer
Only by obliterating the meaning of "woman" (which, in English, is always a specifically gendered word, unlike "man" or "mankind") can we talk about Christ as true God and true woman. He lives equally in men and women, but He was not and never will be a woman. He was/is human, and women are human. But He was not a woman. Jesus Christ is free to do whatever He wants through whatever or whomever He wants, but if it really Him doing it, it will still be a He, not a she, doing it, as long as words have meaning.

The nature of humanity is such that every individual human being is either male or female. It is not possible to be neither or both or to switch back and forth, though it is possible for it to be unclear which it is in any given case. To talk about Christ as true woman is to accept a completely new anthropology not in use from Genesis to the recent past or to render language pointless.
 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: mariemeyer on May 08, 2020, 03:07:50 PM

I would plead with my LCMS brothers in Christ to open their eyes to the reality that the same risen Christ is, by the power of the Holy Spirit, present in your sisters in Christ.  He, as True God and True Man, is not bound to your created human maleness nor limited by the created femaleness of your sisters in Christ. 

Marie Meyer 

Consider it done! I have never said, thought, implied, or otherwise been aware of any idea that Christ is present in a given Christian man in a way that He isn't present in a given Christian woman. Christ lives and dwells equally in my sons and daughters, my mom and dad, and my wife and myself.

The question is not whether Christ is "equally" present in woman as in man.  The issue is whether the Living Resurrected Christ is present as True God and True Man within the heart and mind, spirit and will of the Christian woman.  If so, is Christ than free to speak and act through woman according to His nature as True God and True Woman?   

Marie Meyer
Only by obliterating the meaning of "woman" (which, in English, is always a specifically gendered word, unlike "man" or "mankind") can we talk about Christ as true God and true woman. He lives equally in men and women, but He was not and never will be a woman. He was/is human, and women are human. But He was not a woman. Jesus Christ is free to do whatever He wants through whatever or whomever He wants, but if it really Him doing it, it will still be a He, not a she, doing it, as long as words have meaning.

The nature of humanity is such that every individual human being is either male or female. It is not possible to be neither or both or to switch back and forth, though it is possible for it to be unclear which it is in any given case. To talk about Christ as true woman is to accept a completely new anthropology not in use from Genesis to the recent past or to render language pointless.

My  bad...the last line should read as "True God and True Man.  I did not intend to talk about Christ as True Woman.   

Through the Word spoken at Baptism and the consecration of the Bread and Wine, the Living Christ is now present as True God and True Man in the life of woman just as he is present in man. 

I realize words have meaning - Sorry for the mistake.

Back to whether the Living Christ  is free at work in and through woman according to His nature and Real Presence in the Sacraments?

Marie
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 08, 2020, 03:26:44 PM

I would plead with my LCMS brothers in Christ to open their eyes to the reality that the same risen Christ is, by the power of the Holy Spirit, present in your sisters in Christ.  He, as True God and True Man, is not bound to your created human maleness nor limited by the created femaleness of your sisters in Christ. 

Marie Meyer 

Consider it done! I have never said, thought, implied, or otherwise been aware of any idea that Christ is present in a given Christian man in a way that He isn't present in a given Christian woman. Christ lives and dwells equally in my sons and daughters, my mom and dad, and my wife and myself.

The question is not whether Christ is "equally" present in woman as in man.  The issue is whether the Living Resurrected Christ is present as True God and True Man within the heart and mind, spirit and will of the Christian woman.  If so, is Christ than free to speak and act through woman according to His nature as True God and True Woman?   

Marie Meyer
Only by obliterating the meaning of "woman" (which, in English, is always a specifically gendered word, unlike "man" or "mankind") can we talk about Christ as true God and true woman. He lives equally in men and women, but He was not and never will be a woman. He was/is human, and women are human. But He was not a woman. Jesus Christ is free to do whatever He wants through whatever or whomever He wants, but if it really Him doing it, it will still be a He, not a she, doing it, as long as words have meaning.

The nature of humanity is such that every individual human being is either male or female. It is not possible to be neither or both or to switch back and forth, though it is possible for it to be unclear which it is in any given case. To talk about Christ as true woman is to accept a completely new anthropology not in use from Genesis to the recent past or to render language pointless.

My  bad...the last line should read as "True God and True Man.  I did not intend to talk about Christ as True Woman.   

Through the Word spoken at Baptism and the consecration of the Bread and Wine, the Living Christ is now present as True God and True Man in the life of woman just as he is present in man. 

I realize words have meaning - Sorry for the mistake.

Back to whether the Living Christ  is free at work in and through woman according to His nature and Real Presence in the Sacraments?

Marie

Thanks for the clarification.  We all make mistakes.

Now, regarding your comment:  "Back to whether the Living Christ  is free at work in and through woman according to His nature and Real Presence in the Sacraments?"  My response is:  "Of course.  Who in the LCMS has ever questioned this?"

But as I said in my initial response to your post, the fact that the resurrected and ascended Christ dwells in ALL believers, both men and women, doesn't change the fact that God still has distinctive roles for men and women within marriage and the Church.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 08, 2020, 06:11:31 PM
The mistake you make is to assume that "God is still speaking," means "God is giving new revelations." Almost never does that happen.


Then why is it used so routinely to justify new revelations that you accept?

I don't recall accepting any new revelations. I've come to believe in interpretations of scriptures that go against some traditional practices, such as male only ordinations. Or that the law always accuses. I don't find that in scriptures. It can accuse, but it's described as being as sweet as honey.

Sigh!  Apparently same-sex marriage isn't among your recollections...


Of course it is. I came to my conclusions about it through my study of scriptures way back in the early 90's. It's also highly likely that you wouldn't agree with those interpretations. That happens. the LCMS doesn't agree with the ELCA's interpretation of the silent women. Their disagreement doesn't mean that our decisions didn't come from a study of and interpretation of scriptures.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 08, 2020, 06:29:39 PM
Of course it is. I came to my conclusions about it through my study of scriptures way back in the early 90's. It's also highly likely that you wouldn't agree with those interpretations. That happens. the LCMS doesn't agree with the ELCA's interpretation of the silent women. Their disagreement doesn't mean that our decisions didn't come from a study of and interpretation of scriptures.

You old fuddy duddy! 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 08, 2020, 10:37:07 PM
The mistake you make is to assume that "God is still speaking," means "God is giving new revelations." Almost never does that happen.


Then why is it used so routinely to justify new revelations that you accept?

I don't recall accepting any new revelations. I've come to believe in interpretations of scriptures that go against some traditional practices, such as male only ordinations. Or that the law always accuses. I don't find that in scriptures. It can accuse, but it's described as being as sweet as honey.

Sigh!  Apparently same-sex marriage isn't among your recollections...
Of course it is. I came to my conclusions about it through my study of scriptures way back in the early 90's. It's also highly likely that you wouldn't agree with those interpretations. That happens. the LCMS doesn't agree with the ELCA's interpretation of the silent women. Their disagreement doesn't mean that our decisions didn't come from a study of and interpretation of scriptures.

So it's a revelation from 1900 years earlier that no one had noticed before, not a new one?

And you just can't fathom how some on this forum have trouble with your assertions that you are orthodox in your expression of the Faith...
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: James J Eivan on May 08, 2020, 11:35:00 PM
Sigh!  Apparently same-sex marriage isn't among your recollections...
Of course it is. I came to my conclusions about it through my study of scriptures way back in the early 90's. It's also highly likely that you wouldn't agree with those interpretations. That happens. the LCMS doesn't agree with the ELCA's interpretation of the silent women. Their disagreement doesn't mean that our decisions didn't come from a study of and interpretation of scriptures. <strike thru added>
Why the premeditated and intentional thread drift (see strike through)?


Rev Tibbetts Tibbetts clearly addresses your abandonment of the historical Biblical teaching concerning same sex behavior. Predictably your belief and interpretation is diametrically opposed to the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Tragically you honestly admit that your personal belief has been in opposition to historical Biblical teaching since the early '90’s. 'That it happens' as you say is truly an abomination.


Your continued ramblings indicated by the strike thru is sadly predictable.

Whether you are intentionally ofucating your deviant beliefs is unknown to us ... and possibly yourself as well,  it is evident that Rev Tibbetts reference to your same sex beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with your totally unrelated reference to the LCMS.

Apparently it is another of many efforts divert threads down ever diminishing rabbit holes.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2020, 03:02:51 AM
Sigh!  Apparently same-sex marriage isn't among your recollections...
Of course it is. I came to my conclusions about it through my study of scriptures way back in the early 90's. It's also highly likely that you wouldn't agree with those interpretations. That happens. the LCMS doesn't agree with the ELCA's interpretation of the silent women. Their disagreement doesn't mean that our decisions didn't come from a study of and interpretation of scriptures. <strike thru added>
Why the premeditated and intentional thread drift (see strike through)?


Rev Tibbetts Tibbetts clearly addresses your abandonment of the historical Biblical teaching concerning same sex behavior. Predictably your belief and interpretation is diametrically opposed to the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Tragically you honestly admit that your personal belief has been in opposition to historical Biblical teaching since the early '90’s. 'That it happens' as you say is truly an abomination.

Your continued ramblings indicated by the strike thru is sadly predictable.

Whether you are intentionally ofucating your deviant beliefs is unknown to us ... and possibly yourself as well,  it is evident that Rev Tibbetts reference to your same sex beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with your totally unrelated reference to the LCMS.

Apparently it is another of many efforts divert threads down ever diminishing rabbit holes.



I'm arguing that different groups of people can and do come to different interpretations of scriptures. Even within church bodies, differences happen over time. Some of those may be different than historic interpretations. At one time clergy were married. (Peter had a mother-in-law.) Then it was decided priests could not be married. Then Protestants decided that pastors could be married. For many years the church believed that if a pastor got divorced, he was no longer fit for the ministry. Then the church decided that divorce, by itself, was not grounds for removal. Even the ALC/LCA and predecessor used to interpret scriptures as allowing only male clergy, but then in 1970, their understanding and application of texts changed, and the first women were ordained. Part of that change was also about the priority of texts. Which ones do we deem clear that need to be used to interpret other texts. "No male or female" became a higher priority text than "women are silent." In addition, the "women are silent" texts were interpreted within their historical context; and like the head covering issue, no longer directly applies to life in the 20th century.


For much of church history, not until the 19th century, "homosexual" and "homosexuality" weren't even words that were used in the church or anywhere else. The King James Version (17th century) translates ἀρσενοκοίτης with "those who abuse themselves with mankind." Luther translated it (16th century) with die Knabenschänder ("boy molesters"). The Vulgate uses masculorum concubitores. The way that word and the two passages where it occurs has been understood and translated has changed over the history of the church as our understanding of homosexuality has also changed.



Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2020, 03:09:22 AM
The mistake you make is to assume that "God is still speaking," means "God is giving new revelations." Almost never does that happen.


Then why is it used so routinely to justify new revelations that you accept?

I don't recall accepting any new revelations. I've come to believe in interpretations of scriptures that go against some traditional practices, such as male only ordinations. Or that the law always accuses. I don't find that in scriptures. It can accuse, but it's described as being as sweet as honey.

Sigh!  Apparently same-sex marriage isn't among your recollections...
Of course it is. I came to my conclusions about it through my study of scriptures way back in the early 90's. It's also highly likely that you wouldn't agree with those interpretations. That happens. the LCMS doesn't agree with the ELCA's interpretation of the silent women. Their disagreement doesn't mean that our decisions didn't come from a study of and interpretation of scriptures.

So it's a revelation from 1900 years earlier that no one had noticed before, not a new one?

And you just can't fathom how some on this forum have trouble with your assertions that you are orthodox in your expression of the Faith...


I'm not sure that anyone had noticed that there were homosexuals who wanted to marry each other. That created a new situation that the church needed to address. We've always been against sex outside of marriage. What happens when a same-sex couple can marry? The Bible says nothing about same-sex marriages. (Actually, I've argued often that much of what the Bible says about "marriage": the buying of a girl with a bride-price to her parents and then sleeping together; and sexual relationships (it's OK to have sex with your own slaves and concubines) are not views that the church has adopted. The Bible was not really the source of their views on marriage and sex.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 09, 2020, 10:55:10 AM
Sigh!  Apparently same-sex marriage isn't among your recollections...
Of course it is. I came to my conclusions about it through my study of scriptures way back in the early 90's. It's also highly likely that you wouldn't agree with those interpretations. That happens. the LCMS doesn't agree with the ELCA's interpretation of the silent women. Their disagreement doesn't mean that our decisions didn't come from a study of and interpretation of scriptures. <strike thru added>
Why the premeditated and intentional thread drift (see strike through)?


Rev Tibbetts Tibbetts clearly addresses your abandonment of the historical Biblical teaching concerning same sex behavior. Predictably your belief and interpretation is diametrically opposed to the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Tragically you honestly admit that your personal belief has been in opposition to historical Biblical teaching since the early '90’s. 'That it happens' as you say is truly an abomination.

Your continued ramblings indicated by the strike thru is sadly predictable.

Whether you are intentionally ofucating your deviant beliefs is unknown to us ... and possibly yourself as well,  it is evident that Rev Tibbetts reference to your same sex beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with your totally unrelated reference to the LCMS.

Apparently it is another of many efforts divert threads down ever diminishing rabbit holes.



I'm arguing that different groups of people can and do come to different interpretations of scriptures. Even within church bodies, differences happen over time. Some of those may be different than historic interpretations. At one time clergy were married. (Peter had a mother-in-law.) Then it was decided priests could not be married. Then Protestants decided that pastors could be married. For many years the church believed that if a pastor got divorced, he was no longer fit for the ministry. Then the church decided that divorce, by itself, was not grounds for removal. Even the ALC/LCA and predecessor used to interpret scriptures as allowing only male clergy, but then in 1970, their understanding and application of texts changed, and the first women were ordained. Part of that change was also about the priority of texts. Which ones do we deem clear that need to be used to interpret other texts. "No male or female" became a higher priority text than "women are silent." In addition, the "women are silent" texts were interpreted within their historical context; and like the head covering issue, no longer directly applies to life in the 20th century.


For much of church history, not until the 19th century, "homosexual" and "homosexuality" weren't even words that were used in the church or anywhere else. The King James Version (17th century) translates ἀρσενοκοίτης with "those who abuse themselves with mankind." Luther translated it (16th century) with die Knabenschänder ("boy molesters"). The Vulgate uses masculorum concubitores. The way that word and the two passages where it occurs has been understood and translated has changed over the history of the church as our understanding of homosexuality has also changed.





Brian, and again, you know this (but you think we don't?), however "arsenokoites" may have been translated by various languages, the fact is that until a more "enlightened" minority within Christianity within the past few decades, Christians since the time of the apostles have agreed that Scripture condemns all forms of same-sex behavior - even between two committed and consenting adults.

For example, pro-gay scholar, Louis Crompton, in his book Homosexuality & Civilization, writes the following:  "The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.”
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 09, 2020, 11:33:36 AM
Pastor Eckstein writes:
For example, pro-gay scholar, Louis Crompton, in his book Homosexuality & Civilization, writes the following:  "The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.”
I muse:
Well, Golly Gee! I bet that 75% of the things that govern our lives, things we know for sure, things that we use daily, actions we all consider moral  would’ve been “wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.‘
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 09, 2020, 11:53:51 AM
Pastor Eckstein writes:
For example, pro-gay scholar, Louis Crompton, in his book Homosexuality & Civilization, writes the following:  "The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.”
I muse:
Well, Golly Gee! I bet that 75% of the things that govern our lives, things we know for sure, things that we use daily, actions we all consider moral  would’ve been “wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.‘

 Charles, if you had read the book from which I quoted or actually do some serious study on what scripture teaches on this issue, you will find out that in Paul's day the Jews & Christians were aware of committed and consensual homosexual relationships and they still condemned them unanimously.  In other words, it was same sex behavior that was condemned regardless of the motivation or orientation of the individual.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 09, 2020, 01:11:38 PM
I wasn't talking about "awareness" of the existence of same sex relationships, Pastor Eckstein; I was referring to the general understanding of human sexuality in those days and in ours.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 09, 2020, 01:56:47 PM
I wasn't talking about "awareness" of the existence of same sex relationships, Pastor Eckstein; I was referring to the general understanding of human sexuality in those days and in ours.

 Charles, the point is that the basic understanding of sexuality from the 1st century until now regarding same sex behavior has not changed. Even in Paul's day they knew that some people had desires for the same sex, but that didn't change the fact that they condemned the behavior because God clearly condemned it.

 Also, the point of the author from whose book I quoted was that the modern notion that mutual devotion makes same sex behavior OK would have been rejected outright not only by the 1st christians but by all christians from the time of the apostles until the last few decades. Why do you have such a hard time understanding this?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 09, 2020, 02:12:51 PM
I wasn't talking about "awareness" of the existence of same sex relationships, Pastor Eckstein; I was referring to the general understanding of human sexuality in those days and in ours.

Why would the "general understanding of human sexuality" be any different "in those days and in ours"? What's changed?

Seriously, I'd like to see you flesh this out. As it stands, it's a vague, generalized statement that says nothing. I'd appreciate some specifics.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 09, 2020, 02:19:21 PM
I wasn't talking about "awareness" of the existence of same sex relationships, Pastor Eckstein; I was referring to the general understanding of human sexuality in those days and in ours.

Why would the "general understanding of human sexuality" be any different "in those days and in ours"? What's changed?

Seriously, I'd like to see you flesh this out. As it stands, it's a vague, generalized statement that says nothing. I'd appreciate some specifics.


 I might be wrong, but my guess is that Charles probably thinks that because we now have an understanding of human biology that is more advanced than the 1st century that this means we now have a better moral take on same sex behavior. But even modern scientists agree that we have not found a genetic link for same sex behavior. That doesn't mean that people choose to have same sex attraction. It just means we don't know why they have this attraction. But the same dilemma existed in the 1st century. Even though they didn't have our knowledge of human biology, they understood very well that we all have various desires that are in conflict with God's will for our lives and that we are to crucify the desires of the sinful nature and then continue to trust in Jesus for the forgiveness and strength we need to live according to God's loving will for our lives.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on May 09, 2020, 02:40:55 PM
Common Christian sense!
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 09, 2020, 03:50:20 PM
(Actually, I've argued often that...


True, you have argued often.  But on this forum you will argue anything, including with yourself -- though when you do that, you usually don't acknowledge that you're doing so -- especially when change your position in the middle of a paragraph.  On this forum you will refer to your arguments regardless of whether they are accurate, relevant, successful, and/or convincing to anyone -- again, including yourself.

So your arguing often doesn't really help advance a discussion.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2020, 03:55:46 PM
Brian, and again, you know this (but you think we don't?), however "arsenokoites" may have been translated by various languages, the fact is that until a more "enlightened" minority within Christianity within the past few decades, Christians since the time of the apostles have agreed that Scripture condemns all forms of same-sex behavior - even between two committed and consenting adults.

For example, pro-gay scholar, Louis Crompton, in his book Homosexuality & Civilization, writes the following:  "The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.”


So, he's expressing his opinion without any evidence to back it up. I can say, "The idea that there could be mutual devotion between two males would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian." One evidence of this are the ways ἀρσενοκοίτης had been translated. Those translations implied abusive behaviors.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2020, 04:12:17 PM
Pastor Eckstein writes:
For example, pro-gay scholar, Louis Crompton, in his book Homosexuality & Civilization, writes the following:  "The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.”
I muse:
Well, Golly Gee! I bet that 75% of the things that govern our lives, things we know for sure, things that we use daily, actions we all consider moral  would’ve been “wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.‘

 Charles, if you had read the book from which I quoted or actually do some serious study on what scripture teaches on this issue, you will find out that in Paul's day the Jews & Christians were aware of committed and consensual homosexual relationships and they still condemned them unanimously.  In other words, it was same sex behavior that was condemned regardless of the motivation or orientation of the individual.


Books I've read would take issue with that. Normal sexual relationships were between a superior/dominate and inferior/subordinate. Males were the dominant. Females were subordinate. Sex between them was OK. Masters were dominant. Slaves were subordinate (regardless of gender). Sex between them was OK. Homosexual relationships between two free men was condemned because one would be put in the inferior position - and that was considered "unnatural". Sex between two women meant that one assumed a dominant position; "unnatural." Such are the findings of Diana M. Swancutt in her essay, “’The Disease of Effemination’; The Charge of Effeminacy and the Verdict of God (Romans 1:18-2:16),” by Diana M. Swancutt, Yale Divinity School, published in Semeia Studies: New Testament Masculinities (© 2003 Society of Biblical Literature).

 
To my knowledge, of the early interpreters of Romans, only Ambrosiaster explicitly identifies the sex partners of the women as other women. Clement of Alexandria’s Paed. 2.10 is far more typical of patristic responses to 1:26. Displaying a total disinterest in the identity of the women’s sex objects, Clement highlights the gender-transgressiveness and lustiness of women’s sexual activity. He also lists several possible sex acts as “contrary to nature”:

It is surely impious for the natural [kata physin] designs to be irrationally perverted into customs that are not natural [para physin].... desire can alter the character of somebody already formed.... the point of this parable [concerning the excessive desire and sexual activity of the female hare] is to advice abstinence from excessive desire, mutual intercourse [epallelon synousion], relations with pregnant women, reversal of roles in intercourse [allelobasias], corruption of boys, adultery, and lewdness.

Clement assumes that women who indulged desire in excess would act para physin in various types of intercourse ranging from adultery and sex while pregnant to “mutual intercourse” and a “reversal of sexual roles.” [FOOTNOTE 1 below] As John Boswell saw, Clement’s emphasis on “mutual intercourse” and the “reversal of sex roles” reflects his discomfort with women who unnaturally assumed the masculine, penetrative role in sex, whether that penetration was of women or of men (Boswell: 358; contra Brooten: 331). The desire that caused gender-transgression could, as Clement notes, alter the character of women. Hence, Clement sought to emphasize that women like those in Rom 1:26 who engaged in unnatural sex both “harm[ed] themselves” and upset the “design of nature.” [FOOTNOTE 2 below] pp. 208-210

[1] See also Augustine (Nupt. 20.35), who interprets 1:26 as referring to nonprocreative intercourse between women and men (Brooten: 353).

[2] It is the treatment of para physin in passages such as Paed. 2.10 that finally convinces me that Brooten is incorrect in identifying Rom 1:26 as a reference to female homosexual sex. Her main argument, that “ancient sources depict sexual relations between women as unnatural” (250), works only if ancient sources only depicted sexual relations between women as unnatural. But the bottom line is that they do not (and when they do discuss same-sex intercourse, it is the psychic and/or physical manliness of one of the women that is deemed unnatural). Brooten does not discuss Clement’s list at any length. She dismisses the relevance of Philo, who clearly says that sex with menstruants and nonprocreative sex are unnatural (248-52). She also fails to discuss Roman Stoic depictions of sex para physin (251 nn. 101, 103), which, like Clement, circumscribe natural sex to desire-free procreativity. If, as Clement did, we account for the standards of Stoics such as Musonius Rufus, Epictetus, and Seneca, the Romans could have treated as unnatural any unmarried, nonprocreative sex—including women pursuing another woman’s husband, women penetrating boys, men, girls or women, and the forms of “unnatural sex” Brooten lists and dismisses. Give that homoios does not specify the identity of the sex objects in 1:26, that ancients describe a variety of forms of sex involving women as unnatural, and that only one early patristic interpreter of Romans explicitly identified female same-sex intercourse as the subject of 1:26, naming the sex objects of the women in Rom 1:26 is probably a fruitless (and for Paul, at least, an unnecessary) exercise.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2020, 04:18:50 PM
I wasn't talking about "awareness" of the existence of same sex relationships, Pastor Eckstein; I was referring to the general understanding of human sexuality in those days and in ours.

 Charles, the point is that the basic understanding of sexuality from the 1st century until now regarding same sex behavior has not changed. Even in Paul's day they knew that some people had desires for the same sex, but that didn't change the fact that they condemned the behavior because God clearly condemned it.

 Also, the point of the author from whose book I quoted was that the modern notion that mutual devotion makes same sex behavior OK would have been rejected outright not only by the 1st christians but by all christians from the time of the apostles until the last few decades. Why do you have such a hard time understanding this?


Disagree.
1. The basic understanding of sexuality in the 1st century is not the same as now.


2. The idea of "mutual devotion" in regards to any sexual behaviors was foreign to the thinking in the first century - and for many centuries since. Even in "enlightened" America, it wasn't until the 20th century that a wife could charge her husband for rape if he forcibly had sex with her. Sex was not about mutual devotion, it was about doing what the man wanted when he wanted it. What the woman wanted didn't matter. She couldn't say, "No."


The reason we have a hard time understanding this is because it's not true. (I'll bet that you have a hard time agreeing with our understanding of history.)
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2020, 04:20:40 PM
I wasn't talking about "awareness" of the existence of same sex relationships, Pastor Eckstein; I was referring to the general understanding of human sexuality in those days and in ours.

Why would the "general understanding of human sexuality" be any different "in those days and in ours"? What's changed?


Equality of women. Women's rights. Elimination of [legal] slavery. Women given the right to vote. Women being able to file for divorce (which was not permitted under Jewish law).

Quote
Seriously, I'd like to see you flesh this out. As it stands, it's a vague, generalized statement that says nothing. I'd appreciate some specifics.


Change in marital rape laws.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2020, 04:46:30 PM
I wasn't talking about "awareness" of the existence of same sex relationships, Pastor Eckstein; I was referring to the general understanding of human sexuality in those days and in ours.

Why would the "general understanding of human sexuality" be any different "in those days and in ours"? What's changed?

Seriously, I'd like to see you flesh this out. As it stands, it's a vague, generalized statement that says nothing. I'd appreciate some specifics.


 I might be wrong, but my guess is that Charles probably thinks that because we now have an understanding of human biology that is more advanced than the 1st century that this means we now have a better moral take on same sex behavior. But even modern scientists agree that we have not found a genetic link for same sex behavior. That doesn't mean that people choose to have same sex attraction. It just means we don't know why they have this attraction. But the same dilemma existed in the 1st century. Even though they didn't have our knowledge of human biology, they understood very well that we all have various desires that are in conflict with God's will for our lives and that we are to crucify the desires of the sinful nature and then continue to trust in Jesus for the forgiveness and strength we need to live according to God's loving will for our lives.


We can compare it to being left-handed. We don't know why a minority of people prefer using their left hand over their right hand. There was a period in our history when we thought we could change all those unnatural people to be like the majority. My grandmother was forced to write with her right hand in school, even though she was left-hand dominate. She never did learn to write very legibly. We've learned, even though we don't know what causes it, we can't change it their hand preference. Forcing lefties to behave like righties just doesn't work very well. So, today we make concessions for lefties. There are left-handed stores with tools designed for lefties. You can buy a left-handed guitar or scissors.

What makes you think that it's God's will for followers of Jesus to marry? "What would Jesus do?" He never married. That's what he did. Why shouldn't he be a model for the rest of us? Paul states clearly that it is better to remain single (1 Cor 7: 8) . (He also admits that that's his opinion, but he thinks he has the Spirit of the Lord (1 Cor 7:25, 40).) He allowed marriage because some people are not able to control their sexual desires. Marriage is a concession to our human sinfulness. Luther argues this point in the Large Catechism: "Therefore, to make it easier for people to avoid unchastity in some measure, God has established marriage, so that all may have their allotted portion and be satisfied with it."

In addition, Jesus makes it clear that there will be no marriages in the future life (Mark 12:25). We could say that if we want "heaven on earth" it means not marrying.


Based on Jesus, his comments about marriage, and Paul's opinion statement: marriage for Christians happens, not because it's necessarily God's will, but because we cannot control our self-pleasing, sexual desires. If we can't control them, it's best to give them expression within marriage.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 09, 2020, 04:54:18 PM
Pastor Eckstein writes:
For example, pro-gay scholar, Louis Crompton, in his book Homosexuality & Civilization, writes the following:  "The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.”
I muse:
Well, Golly Gee! I bet that 75% of the things that govern our lives, things we know for sure, things that we use daily, actions we all consider moral  would’ve been “wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.‘

 Charles, if you had read the book from which I quoted or actually do some serious study on what scripture teaches on this issue, you will find out that in Paul's day the Jews & Christians were aware of committed and consensual homosexual relationships and they still condemned them unanimously.  In other words, it was same sex behavior that was condemned regardless of the motivation or orientation of the individual.


Books I've read would take issue with that. Normal sexual relationships were between a superior/dominate and inferior/subordinate. Males were the dominant. Females were subordinate. Sex between them was OK. Masters were dominant. Slaves were subordinate (regardless of gender). Sex between them was OK. Homosexual relationships between two free men was condemned because one would be put in the inferior position - and that was considered "unnatural". Sex between two women meant that one assumed a dominant position; "unnatural." Such are the findings of Diana M. Swancutt in her essay, “’The Disease of Effemination’; The Charge of Effeminacy and the Verdict of God (Romans 1:18-2:16),” by Diana M. Swancutt, Yale Divinity School, published in Semeia Studies: New Testament Masculinities (© 2003 Society of Biblical Literature).

 
To my knowledge, of the early interpreters of Romans, only Ambrosiaster explicitly identifies the sex partners of the women as other women. Clement of Alexandria’s Paed. 2.10 is far more typical of patristic responses to 1:26. Displaying a total disinterest in the identity of the women’s sex objects, Clement highlights the gender-transgressiveness and lustiness of women’s sexual activity. He also lists several possible sex acts as “contrary to nature”:

It is surely impious for the natural [kata physin] designs to be irrationally perverted into customs that are not natural [para physin].... desire can alter the character of somebody already formed.... the point of this parable [concerning the excessive desire and sexual activity of the female hare] is to advice abstinence from excessive desire, mutual intercourse [epallelon synousion], relations with pregnant women, reversal of roles in intercourse [allelobasias], corruption of boys, adultery, and lewdness.

Clement assumes that women who indulged desire in excess would act para physin in various types of intercourse ranging from adultery and sex while pregnant to “mutual intercourse” and a “reversal of sexual roles.” [FOOTNOTE 1 below] As John Boswell saw, Clement’s emphasis on “mutual intercourse” and the “reversal of sex roles” reflects his discomfort with women who unnaturally assumed the masculine, penetrative role in sex, whether that penetration was of women or of men (Boswell: 358; contra Brooten: 331). The desire that caused gender-transgression could, as Clement notes, alter the character of women. Hence, Clement sought to emphasize that women like those in Rom 1:26 who engaged in unnatural sex both “harm[ed] themselves” and upset the “design of nature.” [FOOTNOTE 2 below] pp. 208-210

[1] See also Augustine (Nupt. 20.35), who interprets 1:26 as referring to nonprocreative intercourse between women and men (Brooten: 353).

[2] It is the treatment of para physin in passages such as Paed. 2.10 that finally convinces me that Brooten is incorrect in identifying Rom 1:26 as a reference to female homosexual sex. Her main argument, that “ancient sources depict sexual relations between women as unnatural” (250), works only if ancient sources only depicted sexual relations between women as unnatural. But the bottom line is that they do not (and when they do discuss same-sex intercourse, it is the psychic and/or physical manliness of one of the women that is deemed unnatural). Brooten does not discuss Clement’s list at any length. She dismisses the relevance of Philo, who clearly says that sex with menstruants and nonprocreative sex are unnatural (248-52). She also fails to discuss Roman Stoic depictions of sex para physin (251 nn. 101, 103), which, like Clement, circumscribe natural sex to desire-free procreativity. If, as Clement did, we account for the standards of Stoics such as Musonius Rufus, Epictetus, and Seneca, the Romans could have treated as unnatural any unmarried, nonprocreative sex—including women pursuing another woman’s husband, women penetrating boys, men, girls or women, and the forms of “unnatural sex” Brooten lists and dismisses. Give that homoios does not specify the identity of the sex objects in 1:26, that ancients describe a variety of forms of sex involving women as unnatural, and that only one early patristic interpreter of Romans explicitly identified female same-sex intercourse as the subject of 1:26, naming the sex objects of the women in Rom 1:26 is probably a fruitless (and for Paul, at least, an unnecessary) exercise.

 O Brian, your selective quotations re:  "arsenokiotes" are amusing. If you actually study the entire use of this word you will find that in many cases it refers to any type of same sex behavior. See a thorough study of this in the following book by Dr. Kevin DeYoung:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1433549379/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1589057064&sr=8-2

Also, the scholarly work on "arsenokiotes" in "The New Testament on Sexuality"  by pro-gay scholar, William loader, agrees with what I said re:  "arsenokoites"  and completely disagrees with you.

 Finally, Brian, are you actually attempting to argue that any of the early church fathers or Martin Luther or any other prominent theologian before the previous century would have ever been open to the idea of affirming two people engaging in same sex behavior simply because they were committed and devoted to one another? If you are actually arguing that then you are completely ignorant of the historical take on same sex behavior since the time of the apostles.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 09, 2020, 05:04:09 PM
Pastor Eckstein writes:
For example, pro-gay scholar, Louis Crompton, in his book Homosexuality & Civilization, writes the following:  "The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.”
I muse:
Well, Golly Gee! I bet that 75% of the things that govern our lives, things we know for sure, things that we use daily, actions we all consider moral  would’ve been “wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.‘

 Charles, if you had read the book from which I quoted or actually do some serious study on what scripture teaches on this issue, you will find out that in Paul's day the Jews & Christians were aware of committed and consensual homosexual relationships and they still condemned them unanimously.  In other words, it was same sex behavior that was condemned regardless of the motivation or orientation of the individual.


Books I've read would take issue with that. Normal sexual relationships were between a superior/dominate and inferior/subordinate. Males were the dominant. Females were subordinate. Sex between them was OK. Masters were dominant. Slaves were subordinate (regardless of gender). Sex between them was OK. Homosexual relationships between two free men was condemned because one would be put in the inferior position - and that was considered "unnatural". Sex between two women meant that one assumed a dominant position; "unnatural." Such are the findings of Diana M. Swancutt in her essay, “’The Disease of Effemination’; The Charge of Effeminacy and the Verdict of God (Romans 1:18-2:16),” by Diana M. Swancutt, Yale Divinity School, published in Semeia Studies: New Testament Masculinities (© 2003 Society of Biblical Literature).

 
To my knowledge, of the early interpreters of Romans, only Ambrosiaster explicitly identifies the sex partners of the women as other women. Clement of Alexandria’s Paed. 2.10 is far more typical of patristic responses to 1:26. Displaying a total disinterest in the identity of the women’s sex objects, Clement highlights the gender-transgressiveness and lustiness of women’s sexual activity. He also lists several possible sex acts as “contrary to nature”:

It is surely impious for the natural [kata physin] designs to be irrationally perverted into customs that are not natural [para physin].... desire can alter the character of somebody already formed.... the point of this parable [concerning the excessive desire and sexual activity of the female hare] is to advice abstinence from excessive desire, mutual intercourse [epallelon synousion], relations with pregnant women, reversal of roles in intercourse [allelobasias], corruption of boys, adultery, and lewdness.

Clement assumes that women who indulged desire in excess would act para physin in various types of intercourse ranging from adultery and sex while pregnant to “mutual intercourse” and a “reversal of sexual roles.” [FOOTNOTE 1 below] As John Boswell saw, Clement’s emphasis on “mutual intercourse” and the “reversal of sex roles” reflects his discomfort with women who unnaturally assumed the masculine, penetrative role in sex, whether that penetration was of women or of men (Boswell: 358; contra Brooten: 331). The desire that caused gender-transgression could, as Clement notes, alter the character of women. Hence, Clement sought to emphasize that women like those in Rom 1:26 who engaged in unnatural sex both “harm[ed] themselves” and upset the “design of nature.” [FOOTNOTE 2 below] pp. 208-210

[1] See also Augustine (Nupt. 20.35), who interprets 1:26 as referring to nonprocreative intercourse between women and men (Brooten: 353).

[2] It is the treatment of para physin in passages such as Paed. 2.10 that finally convinces me that Brooten is incorrect in identifying Rom 1:26 as a reference to female homosexual sex. Her main argument, that “ancient sources depict sexual relations between women as unnatural” (250), works only if ancient sources only depicted sexual relations between women as unnatural. But the bottom line is that they do not (and when they do discuss same-sex intercourse, it is the psychic and/or physical manliness of one of the women that is deemed unnatural). Brooten does not discuss Clement’s list at any length. She dismisses the relevance of Philo, who clearly says that sex with menstruants and nonprocreative sex are unnatural (248-52). She also fails to discuss Roman Stoic depictions of sex para physin (251 nn. 101, 103), which, like Clement, circumscribe natural sex to desire-free procreativity. If, as Clement did, we account for the standards of Stoics such as Musonius Rufus, Epictetus, and Seneca, the Romans could have treated as unnatural any unmarried, nonprocreative sex—including women pursuing another woman’s husband, women penetrating boys, men, girls or women, and the forms of “unnatural sex” Brooten lists and dismisses. Give that homoios does not specify the identity of the sex objects in 1:26, that ancients describe a variety of forms of sex involving women as unnatural, and that only one early patristic interpreter of Romans explicitly identified female same-sex intercourse as the subject of 1:26, naming the sex objects of the women in Rom 1:26 is probably a fruitless (and for Paul, at least, an unnecessary) exercise.


 Brian, I have a question. Whom are you quoting who takes issue with Bernadette Brooten's understanding of Romans chapter 1 verse 26?

Having said that, what you fail to realize is that even though other types of sexual behavior, such as abusive forms or bestiality, were have considered unnatural. The fact is that same sex behavior between 2 women and 2 men were also considered to be unnatural.

Finally, the issue for us is not what the pagans thought of same sex behavior. The issue for us is what the early christians thought of same sex behavior based on their understanding of scripture, and their understanding was that same sex behavior of any type is condemned by God. That's why the best pro gay scholars agree with us that scripture clearly teaches that same sex behavior of any kind is condemned by God because this is how the early christians and christians throughout the centuries since the apostles have always understood it.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2020, 05:04:40 PM
(Actually, I've argued often that...


True, you have argued often.  But on this forum you will argue anything, including with yourself -- though when you do that, you usually don't acknowledge that you're doing so -- especially when change your position in the middle of a paragraph.  On this forum you will refer to your arguments regardless of whether they are accurate, relevant, successful, and/or convincing to anyone -- again, including yourself.

So your arguing often doesn't really help advance a discussion.


Well, as a seminary professor stated: "You should be able to argue both sides of an issue with conviction." He also said that we should know our opponents' arguments better than they know them.


Friends who were in competitive debate said that's absolutely true. They didn't know whether they would have to argue pro or con in competition. They had to be prepared - and convincingly argue - whatever side they were assigned.


I could get into how my approach comes naturally to my personality type; but I'm pretty sure you're not interested in that argument. I doesn't advance this discussion.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 09, 2020, 05:11:35 PM
I wasn't talking about "awareness" of the existence of same sex relationships, Pastor Eckstein; I was referring to the general understanding of human sexuality in those days and in ours.

Why would the "general understanding of human sexuality" be any different "in those days and in ours"? What's changed?

Seriously, I'd like to see you flesh this out. As it stands, it's a vague, generalized statement that says nothing. I'd appreciate some specifics.


 I might be wrong, but my guess is that Charles probably thinks that because we now have an understanding of human biology that is more advanced than the 1st century that this means we now have a better moral take on same sex behavior. But even modern scientists agree that we have not found a genetic link for same sex behavior. That doesn't mean that people choose to have same sex attraction. It just means we don't know why they have this attraction. But the same dilemma existed in the 1st century. Even though they didn't have our knowledge of human biology, they understood very well that we all have various desires that are in conflict with God's will for our lives and that we are to crucify the desires of the sinful nature and then continue to trust in Jesus for the forgiveness and strength we need to live according to God's loving will for our lives.


We can compare it to being left-handed. We don't know why a minority of people prefer using their left hand over their right hand. There was a period in our history when we thought we could change all those unnatural people to be like the majority. My grandmother was forced to write with her right hand in school, even though she was left-hand dominate. She never did learn to write very legibly. We've learned, even though we don't know what causes it, we can't change it their hand preference. Forcing lefties to behave like righties just doesn't work very well. So, today we make concessions for lefties. There are left-handed stores with tools designed for lefties. You can buy a left-handed guitar or scissors.

What makes you think that it's God's will for followers of Jesus to marry? "What would Jesus do?" He never married. That's what he did. Why shouldn't he be a model for the rest of us? Paul states clearly that it is better to remain single (1 Cor 7:8). (He also admits that that's his opinion, but he thinks he has the Spirit of the Lord (1 Cor 7:25, 40).) He allowed marriage because some people are not able to control their sexual desires. Marriage is a concession to our human sinfulness. Luther argues this point in the Large Catechism: "Therefore, to make it easier for people to avoid unchastity in some measure, God has established marriage, so that all may have their allotted portion and be satisfied with it."

In addition, Jesus makes it clear that there will be no marriages in the future life (Mark 12:25). We could say that if we want "heaven on earth" it means not marrying.


Based on Jesus, his comments about marriage, and Paul's opinion statement: marriage for Christians happens, not because it's necessarily God's will, but because we cannot control our self-pleasing, sexual desires. If we can't control them, it's best to give them expression within marriage.

 Brian, are you seriously trying to make a comparison between being left handed and acting out on sinful same sex desires?   Also, modern science has shown that alcoholism is likely genetic. This doesn't mean we celebrate somebody's desire to abuse alcohol simply because they have that orientation. We tell them that they do not have to be in bondage to this but can overcome that predisposition with help from other people. 

 Ask for your comments regarding Jesus, in Matthew chapter 19 it is clear that the only option to marriage between one man and one woman is celibacy. No matter how much someone struggles with sinful sexual desires, scripture never condones those behaviors. In scripture marriage is always and only between one man and one woman and so marriage between 2 men and 2 women would never ever be considered a possibility.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2020, 05:32:18 PM
Pastor Eckstein writes:
For example, pro-gay scholar, Louis Crompton, in his book Homosexuality & Civilization, writes the following:  "The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.”
I muse:
Well, Golly Gee! I bet that 75% of the things that govern our lives, things we know for sure, things that we use daily, actions we all consider moral  would’ve been “wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.‘

 Charles, if you had read the book from which I quoted or actually do some serious study on what scripture teaches on this issue, you will find out that in Paul's day the Jews & Christians were aware of committed and consensual homosexual relationships and they still condemned them unanimously.  In other words, it was same sex behavior that was condemned regardless of the motivation or orientation of the individual.


Books I've read would take issue with that. Normal sexual relationships were between a superior/dominate and inferior/subordinate. Males were the dominant. Females were subordinate. Sex between them was OK. Masters were dominant. Slaves were subordinate (regardless of gender). Sex between them was OK. Homosexual relationships between two free men was condemned because one would be put in the inferior position - and that was considered "unnatural". Sex between two women meant that one assumed a dominant position; "unnatural." Such are the findings of Diana M. Swancutt in her essay, “’The Disease of Effemination’; The Charge of Effeminacy and the Verdict of God (Romans 1:18-2:16),” by Diana M. Swancutt, Yale Divinity School, published in Semeia Studies: New Testament Masculinities (© 2003 Society of Biblical Literature).

 
To my knowledge, of the early interpreters of Romans, only Ambrosiaster explicitly identifies the sex partners of the women as other women. Clement of Alexandria’s Paed. 2.10 is far more typical of patristic responses to 1:26. Displaying a total disinterest in the identity of the women’s sex objects, Clement highlights the gender-transgressiveness and lustiness of women’s sexual activity. He also lists several possible sex acts as “contrary to nature”:

It is surely impious for the natural [kata physin] designs to be irrationally perverted into customs that are not natural [para physin].... desire can alter the character of somebody already formed.... the point of this parable [concerning the excessive desire and sexual activity of the female hare] is to advice abstinence from excessive desire, mutual intercourse [epallelon synousion], relations with pregnant women, reversal of roles in intercourse [allelobasias], corruption of boys, adultery, and lewdness.

Clement assumes that women who indulged desire in excess would act para physin in various types of intercourse ranging from adultery and sex while pregnant to “mutual intercourse” and a “reversal of sexual roles.” [FOOTNOTE 1 below] As John Boswell saw, Clement’s emphasis on “mutual intercourse” and the “reversal of sex roles” reflects his discomfort with women who unnaturally assumed the masculine, penetrative role in sex, whether that penetration was of women or of men (Boswell: 358; contra Brooten: 331). The desire that caused gender-transgression could, as Clement notes, alter the character of women. Hence, Clement sought to emphasize that women like those in Rom 1:26 who engaged in unnatural sex both “harm[ed] themselves” and upset the “design of nature.” [FOOTNOTE 2 below] pp. 208-210

[1] See also Augustine (Nupt. 20.35), who interprets 1:26 as referring to nonprocreative intercourse between women and men (Brooten: 353).

[2] It is the treatment of para physin in passages such as Paed. 2.10 that finally convinces me that Brooten is incorrect in identifying Rom 1:26 as a reference to female homosexual sex. Her main argument, that “ancient sources depict sexual relations between women as unnatural” (250), works only if ancient sources only depicted sexual relations between women as unnatural. But the bottom line is that they do not (and when they do discuss same-sex intercourse, it is the psychic and/or physical manliness of one of the women that is deemed unnatural). Brooten does not discuss Clement’s list at any length. She dismisses the relevance of Philo, who clearly says that sex with menstruants and nonprocreative sex are unnatural (248-52). She also fails to discuss Roman Stoic depictions of sex para physin (251 nn. 101, 103), which, like Clement, circumscribe natural sex to desire-free procreativity. If, as Clement did, we account for the standards of Stoics such as Musonius Rufus, Epictetus, and Seneca, the Romans could have treated as unnatural any unmarried, nonprocreative sex—including women pursuing another woman’s husband, women penetrating boys, men, girls or women, and the forms of “unnatural sex” Brooten lists and dismisses. Give that homoios does not specify the identity of the sex objects in 1:26, that ancients describe a variety of forms of sex involving women as unnatural, and that only one early patristic interpreter of Romans explicitly identified female same-sex intercourse as the subject of 1:26, naming the sex objects of the women in Rom 1:26 is probably a fruitless (and for Paul, at least, an unnecessary) exercise.


 Brian, I have a question. Whom are you quoting who takes issue with Bernadette Brooten's understanding of Romans chapter 1 verse 26?


I gave the reference before the quote, Diana M. Swancutt. At the time she wrote it, she was an associate professor of New Testament at Yale, specializing in Pauline studies. Her Ph.D. came from Duke University in New Testament and Early Christian Studies.

Quote
Having said that, what you fail to realize is that even though other types of sexual behavior, such as abusive forms or bestiality, were have considered unnatural. The fact is that same sex behavior between 2 women and 2 men were also considered to be unnatural.


I don't think we can use our ideas of "natural/unnatural" with what they thought in biblical times. Paul states: "Does not nature itself teaches you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. (1 Cor 11:14-15)


My answer to Paul's question is, "No! Nature does not teach us that." I'm pretty sure that Samson would disagree with Paul, too; as well as nearly every artist who created pictures of Jesus. Whatever Paul meant by "nature" in his question is not what we mean by the word. So, we can't be certain about Paul's meaning when he uses the words in Romans 1.


Quote
Finally, the issue for us is not what the pagans thought of same sex behavior. The issue for us is what the early christians thought of same sex behavior based on their understanding of scripture, and their understanding was that same sex behavior of any type is condemned by God. That's why the best pro gay scholars agree with us that scripture clearly teaches that same sex behavior of any kind is condemned by God because this is how the early christians and christians throughout the centuries since the apostles have always understood it.


And yet you offer no biblical references. All you've given are the opinions of some people - based on what?


The following video is a Southern Baptist minister explaining how his mind was changed about homosexuality - through the study of history and biblical passages, even though expressing his new beliefs could have meant his termination.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqYvkVqVLFo&t=12s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqYvkVqVLFo&t=12s)
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 09, 2020, 05:57:59 PM
Pastor Eckstein writes:
For example, pro-gay scholar, Louis Crompton, in his book Homosexuality & Civilization, writes the following:  "The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.”
I muse:
Well, Golly Gee! I bet that 75% of the things that govern our lives, things we know for sure, things that we use daily, actions we all consider moral  would’ve been “wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.‘

 Charles, if you had read the book from which I quoted or actually do some serious study on what scripture teaches on this issue, you will find out that in Paul's day the Jews & Christians were aware of committed and consensual homosexual relationships and they still condemned them unanimously.  In other words, it was same sex behavior that was condemned regardless of the motivation or orientation of the individual.


Books I've read would take issue with that. Normal sexual relationships were between a superior/dominate and inferior/subordinate. Males were the dominant. Females were subordinate. Sex between them was OK. Masters were dominant. Slaves were subordinate (regardless of gender). Sex between them was OK. Homosexual relationships between two free men was condemned because one would be put in the inferior position - and that was considered "unnatural". Sex between two women meant that one assumed a dominant position; "unnatural." Such are the findings of Diana M. Swancutt in her essay, “’The Disease of Effemination’; The Charge of Effeminacy and the Verdict of God (Romans 1:18-2:16),” by Diana M. Swancutt, Yale Divinity School, published in Semeia Studies: New Testament Masculinities (© 2003 Society of Biblical Literature).

 
To my knowledge, of the early interpreters of Romans, only Ambrosiaster explicitly identifies the sex partners of the women as other women. Clement of Alexandria’s Paed. 2.10 is far more typical of patristic responses to 1:26. Displaying a total disinterest in the identity of the women’s sex objects, Clement highlights the gender-transgressiveness and lustiness of women’s sexual activity. He also lists several possible sex acts as “contrary to nature”:

It is surely impious for the natural [kata physin] designs to be irrationally perverted into customs that are not natural [para physin].... desire can alter the character of somebody already formed.... the point of this parable [concerning the excessive desire and sexual activity of the female hare] is to advice abstinence from excessive desire, mutual intercourse [epallelon synousion], relations with pregnant women, reversal of roles in intercourse [allelobasias], corruption of boys, adultery, and lewdness.

Clement assumes that women who indulged desire in excess would act para physin in various types of intercourse ranging from adultery and sex while pregnant to “mutual intercourse” and a “reversal of sexual roles.” [FOOTNOTE 1 below] As John Boswell saw, Clement’s emphasis on “mutual intercourse” and the “reversal of sex roles” reflects his discomfort with women who unnaturally assumed the masculine, penetrative role in sex, whether that penetration was of women or of men (Boswell: 358; contra Brooten: 331). The desire that caused gender-transgression could, as Clement notes, alter the character of women. Hence, Clement sought to emphasize that women like those in Rom 1:26 who engaged in unnatural sex both “harm[ed] themselves” and upset the “design of nature.” [FOOTNOTE 2 below] pp. 208-210

[1] See also Augustine (Nupt. 20.35), who interprets 1:26 as referring to nonprocreative intercourse between women and men (Brooten: 353).

[2] It is the treatment of para physin in passages such as Paed. 2.10 that finally convinces me that Brooten is incorrect in identifying Rom 1:26 as a reference to female homosexual sex. Her main argument, that “ancient sources depict sexual relations between women as unnatural” (250), works only if ancient sources only depicted sexual relations between women as unnatural. But the bottom line is that they do not (and when they do discuss same-sex intercourse, it is the psychic and/or physical manliness of one of the women that is deemed unnatural). Brooten does not discuss Clement’s list at any length. She dismisses the relevance of Philo, who clearly says that sex with menstruants and nonprocreative sex are unnatural (248-52). She also fails to discuss Roman Stoic depictions of sex para physin (251 nn. 101, 103), which, like Clement, circumscribe natural sex to desire-free procreativity. If, as Clement did, we account for the standards of Stoics such as Musonius Rufus, Epictetus, and Seneca, the Romans could have treated as unnatural any unmarried, nonprocreative sex—including women pursuing another woman’s husband, women penetrating boys, men, girls or women, and the forms of “unnatural sex” Brooten lists and dismisses. Give that homoios does not specify the identity of the sex objects in 1:26, that ancients describe a variety of forms of sex involving women as unnatural, and that only one early patristic interpreter of Romans explicitly identified female same-sex intercourse as the subject of 1:26, naming the sex objects of the women in Rom 1:26 is probably a fruitless (and for Paul, at least, an unnecessary) exercise.


 Brian, I have a question. Whom are you quoting who takes issue with Bernadette Brooten's understanding of Romans chapter 1 verse 26?


I gave the reference before the quote, Diana M. Swancutt. At the time she wrote it, she was an associate professor of New Testament at Yale, specializing in Pauline studies. Her Ph.D. came from Duke University in New Testament and Early Christian Studies.

Quote
Having said that, what you fail to realize is that even though other types of sexual behavior, such as abusive forms or bestiality, were have considered unnatural. The fact is that same sex behavior between 2 women and 2 men were also considered to be unnatural.


I don't think we can use our ideas of "natural/unnatural" with what they thought in biblical times. Paul states: "Does not nature itself teaches you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. (1 Cor 11:14-15)


My answer to Paul's question is, "No! Nature does not teach us that." I'm pretty sure that Samson would disagree with Paul, too; as well as nearly every artist who created pictures of Jesus. Whatever Paul meant by "nature" in his question is not what we mean by the word. So, we can't be certain about Paul's meaning when he uses the words in Romans 1.


Quote
Finally, the issue for us is not what the pagans thought of same sex behavior. The issue for us is what the early christians thought of same sex behavior based on their understanding of scripture, and their understanding was that same sex behavior of any type is condemned by God. That's why the best pro gay scholars agree with us that scripture clearly teaches that same sex behavior of any kind is condemned by God because this is how the early christians and christians throughout the centuries since the apostles have always understood it.


And yet you offer no biblical references. All you've given are the opinions of some people - based on what?


The following video is a Southern Baptist minister explaining how his mind was changed about homosexuality - through the study of history and biblical passages, even though expressing his new beliefs could have meant his termination.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqYvkVqVLFo&t=12s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqYvkVqVLFo&t=12s)

 Brian, you know the relevant scripture passages regarding same sex behavior as well as I do.  Regarding what Paul means by "nature" in 1st Corinthians chapter 11, he is referring to the local cultural custom of how men should wear their hair. However, in Romans chapter one Paul is echoing Genesis chapter 1 to make the argument that "nature" teaches that men are designed to have sex with women rather than men. The context of Romans chapter 1 makes this clear.

Now, you have not even addressed the point I made earlier. How do you respond to the fact that christians since the time of the apostles until the prior century also knew about each one of these relevant passages and unanimously concluded that they condemned all forms of same sex behavior even between 2 men or 2 women who were committed and consensual?  Again, I ask you, are you actually suggesting that any Christian leaders since the apostles except for a liberal minority in the past few decades would have affirmed 2 men or 2 women having same sex relations as long as they were committed or consensual?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: pearson on May 09, 2020, 06:19:10 PM

I don't think we can use our ideas of "natural/unnatural" with what they thought in biblical times. Paul states: "Does not nature itself teaches you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. (1 Cor 11:14-15)

My answer to Paul's question is, "No! Nature does not teach us that." I'm pretty sure that Samson would disagree with Paul, too; as well as nearly every artist who created pictures of Jesus. Whatever Paul meant by "nature" in his question is not what we mean by the word. So, we can't be certain about Paul's meaning when he uses the words in Romans 1.


We've been over this part of the ground in the past, so this will surely be repetitive.

If we take seriously the historical, cultural, and intellectual context in which St. Paul lived and wrote (which I believe you do, Pr. Stoffregen), I think we can be reasonably certain what Paul was referring to when he used terms like "natural" and "unnatural."  In the Hellenistic period (and for a long time before that), "nature" had nothing to do with the specific and eccentric characteristics of individual persons (such as their "sexual identity," whatever exactly that means).  "Nature" was always a reference to the species identity of a thing.  So what was "natural" for an individual would be defined in terms of what was "natural" for any member of that individual's species.  As far as I know, every scrap of evidence that we have from the Hellenistic period in the west about how "nature," "the natural," and "the unnatural" were defined points in the same direction; and this is the direction in which the evidence points.

But I suspect you are right when you say that "I don't think we can use our ideas of "natural/unnatural" with what they thought in biblical times."  That's because, ever since the second half of the seventeenth century in the west, we've gradually segregated "nature" from "creation," in order to study "nature" as an autonomous domain of scientific scrutiny.  The result is that no one is quite sure any more just what is meant by "nature."  Consider some of our ethical boundary issues today:  is CRISPR technology for gene editing "natural"?  Are performance-enhancing drugs "natural"?  Are life support devices and techniques for end-of-life patients "natural"?  Are organ transplants and prosthetics "natural"?  Is any human artifact "natural"?  Is death itself "natural"?  Well, we just don't know any more.  And so we default to the position of relegating "the natural" to the specific and eccentric characteristics of individual persons, which is not at all what anyone would have meant by "the natural" in biblical times.  No wonder so many of our discussions about "the nature" of homosexuality turn out to be so futile today.

Tom Pearson
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 09, 2020, 08:46:55 PM

I don't think we can use our ideas of "natural/unnatural" with what they thought in biblical times. Paul states: "Does not nature itself teaches you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. (1 Cor 11:14-15)

My answer to Paul's question is, "No! Nature does not teach us that." I'm pretty sure that Samson would disagree with Paul, too; as well as nearly every artist who created pictures of Jesus. Whatever Paul meant by "nature" in his question is not what we mean by the word. So, we can't be certain about Paul's meaning when he uses the words in Romans 1.


We've been over this part of the ground in the past, so this will surely be repetitive.

If we take seriously the historical, cultural, and intellectual context in which St. Paul lived and wrote (which I believe you do, Pr. Stoffregen), I think we can be reasonably certain what Paul was referring to when he used terms like "natural" and "unnatural."  In the Hellenistic period (and for a long time before that), "nature" had nothing to do with the specific and eccentric characteristics of individual persons (such as their "sexual identity," whatever exactly that means).  "Nature" was always a reference to the species identity of a thing.  So what was "natural" for an individual would be defined in terms of what was "natural" for any member of that individual's species.  As far as I know, every scrap of evidence that we have from the Hellenistic period in the west about how "nature," "the natural," and "the unnatural" were defined points in the same direction; and this is the direction in which the evidence points.

But I suspect you are right when you say that "I don't think we can use our ideas of "natural/unnatural" with what they thought in biblical times."  That's because, ever since the second half of the seventeenth century in the west, we've gradually segregated "nature" from "creation," in order to study "nature" as an autonomous domain of scientific scrutiny.  The result is that no one is quite sure any more just what is meant by "nature."  Consider some of our ethical boundary issues today:  is CRISPR technology for gene editing "natural"?  Are performance-enhancing drugs "natural"?  Are life support devices and techniques for end-of-life patients "natural"?  Are organ transplants and prosthetics "natural"?  Is any human artifact "natural"?  Is death itself "natural"?  Well, we just don't know any more.  And so we default to the position of relegating "the natural" to the specific and eccentric characteristics of individual persons, which is not at all what anyone would have meant by "the natural" in biblical times.  No wonder so many of our discussions about "the nature" of homosexuality turn out to be so futile today.

Tom Pearson

 Tom, I agree with you regarding how the hellenists viewed nature. The only thing I would add is that Paul was influenced more by Jewish thought than he was by Hellenism. In Greek thought the universe was eternal whereas from a Jewish point of view God was the creator of all things and therefore nature was considered in light of how God had ordered things. Surely Paul, in Romans chapter one, was using "nsture" in light of this Jewish view of God being the creator.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 09, 2020, 08:54:31 PM

I don't think we can use our ideas of "natural/unnatural" with what they thought in biblical times. Paul states: "Does not nature itself teaches you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. (1 Cor 11:14-15)

My answer to Paul's question is, "No! Nature does not teach us that." I'm pretty sure that Samson would disagree with Paul, too; as well as nearly every artist who created pictures of Jesus. Whatever Paul meant by "nature" in his question is not what we mean by the word. So, we can't be certain about Paul's meaning when he uses the words in Romans 1.


We've been over this part of the ground in the past, so this will surely be repetitive.

If we take seriously the historical, cultural, and intellectual context in which St. Paul lived and wrote (which I believe you do, Pr. Stoffregen), I think we can be reasonably certain what Paul was referring to when he used terms like "natural" and "unnatural."  In the Hellenistic period (and for a long time before that), "nature" had nothing to do with the specific and eccentric characteristics of individual persons (such as their "sexual identity," whatever exactly that means).  "Nature" was always a reference to the species identity of a thing.  So what was "natural" for an individual would be defined in terms of what was "natural" for any member of that individual's species.  As far as I know, every scrap of evidence that we have from the Hellenistic period in the west about how "nature," "the natural," and "the unnatural" were defined points in the same direction; and this is the direction in which the evidence points.

But I suspect you are right when you say that "I don't think we can use our ideas of "natural/unnatural" with what they thought in biblical times."  That's because, ever since the second half of the seventeenth century in the west, we've gradually segregated "nature" from "creation," in order to study "nature" as an autonomous domain of scientific scrutiny.  The result is that no one is quite sure any more just what is meant by "nature."  Consider some of our ethical boundary issues today:  is CRISPR technology for gene editing "natural"?  Are performance-enhancing drugs "natural"?  Are life support devices and techniques for end-of-life patients "natural"?  Are organ transplants and prosthetics "natural"?  Is any human artifact "natural"?  Is death itself "natural"?  Well, we just don't know any more.  And so we default to the position of relegating "the natural" to the specific and eccentric characteristics of individual persons, which is not at all what anyone would have meant by "the natural" in biblical times.  No wonder so many of our discussions about "the nature" of homosexuality turn out to be so futile today.

Tom Pearson

 Tom, I agree with you regarding how the hellenists viewed nature. The only thing I would add is that Paul was influenced more by Jewish thought than he was by Hellenism. In Greek thought the universe was eternal whereas from a Jewish point of view God was the creator of all things and therefore nature was considered in light of how God had ordered things. Surely Paul, in Romans chapter one, was using "nsture" in light of this Jewish view of God being the creator.

The immediacy between God the Creator and nature seems preserved via Paul’s Jewish inheritance of thought claims.  Whereas the Greek notions seem to put a third in between God and God’s creation.  Nature is not a third but the immediate result of God’s “Let there be...”   I agree that the scientific worldview accepts better the Greek intermediary terms rather than the immediacy of the Jewish worldview of the extreme closeness between God and his creation. 

Therefore it is easier for the modern to distance oneself from the divine impact of the closeness of God and be satisfied in studying nature as a third either through reflection via the telescope or microscope.  It is therefore easier for modernity to discover narratives which promote the normalization or same-sex behavior without honest evaluation of the linear nature of the Genesis discourse since the exile from the Garden of Eden.  The hubris of modern man is able to reject that linear narrative because the majority have been convinced of its untenability based on the Enlightenment project.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 09, 2020, 09:22:47 PM
What we have done as moderns is alienate ourselves from the divine Creator’s narrative so that by removing ourselves from being subject to God as creatures of the creator we can hold God at a distance and study and reflect under deception that evaluation of God’s creature can be neutralized by being at a distance.  But God does not operate under our conceptions but continues as our Creator first as a life-giver but then takes it away immediately from our need to possess it as our own.  The fall narrative is constantly played out and played out inescapably as unredeemed nature.  Paul reads nature this way in Romans 1.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: pearson on May 09, 2020, 09:46:37 PM

Tom, I agree with you regarding how the hellenists viewed nature. The only thing I would add is that Paul was influenced more by Jewish thought than he was by Hellenism. In Greek thought the universe was eternal whereas from a Jewish point of view God was the creator of all things and therefore nature was considered in light of how God had ordered things. Surely Paul, in Romans chapter one, was using "nature" in light of this Jewish view of God being the creator.


Thanks for this, Pr. Eckstein.  I think somewhere in the dim past we've also discussed this matter on the Forum as well.

While there's still a modest amount of controversy about it, it seems pretty well agreed that Judaism was thoroughly Hellenized by the 1st century CE.  There were perhaps as many as 15 times more Jews in the diaspora than were residing in Palestine by that time, and Palestine had been under Greek and Roman influence for more than three centuries by the time of Jesus; so when it came to religious practices, there wasn't a lot of discernable religious difference between Palestinian Jews and diaspora Jews.  The city of Tarsus (if that is where St. Paul originally was from) was a Greek city, with a minority Jewish population in the 1st century CE.  Archeologists have discovered two large gymnasia there (there was also one in Jerusalem), where men would undergo their physical training naked; and there is some evidence that Jews participated in this training (contrary to traditional Hebraic law).  There were also flourishing Stoic, Epicurean and Academic (Skeptic) schools in Tarsus.  It certainly doesn't appear that the Jewish community was insulated from any of this by the time of St. Paul, in Tarsus or elsewhere in the Empire.  Contemporary scholarship seems to be finding it harder and harder to locate Jewish communities that held strongly to the full set of "Old Testament Hebraic" religious practices and attitudes in the Hellenized Empire during this period.  Certainly the Jews, in Palestine and elsewhere, did not abandon wholesale their Hebraic heritage, the Mosaic law or synagogue rituals.  But even the Pharisees (considered the "liberals" of their day by Jews) had adapted their Jewish practices to Hellenistic models.  (See Anthony Saldarini's Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees in Palestinian Society and Shaye Cohen's From the Maccabees to the Mishna for a discussion of this issue).

So I don't think it's safe to assume that St. Paul was operating out of an Old Testament, or traditional Hebraic, mindset when he wrote the letter to the Romans.  It seems safer to assume that St. Paul, like most of his fellow Jews, was deeply saturated with Greek thought and practice at that time.

As to the nature/creation issue, no doubt St. Paul (and Jews in general, I assume) believed that the world had been created in time by a wise God (so did Plato, for that matter).  So did a large part of the Hellenistic world; not all the philosophical schools and religious cults held to the notion of an eternal cosmos.  It wasn't until around a millennium and a half later that "nature" begins to shed its connection with "creation," and stand alone to be admired by an emerging scientific community.

Blessings on your ministry, Pr. Eckstein.  I appreciate your contributions to this conversation.

Tom Pearson
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 09, 2020, 10:01:34 PM

Tom, I agree with you regarding how the hellenists viewed nature. The only thing I would add is that Paul was influenced more by Jewish thought than he was by Hellenism. In Greek thought the universe was eternal whereas from a Jewish point of view God was the creator of all things and therefore nature was considered in light of how God had ordered things. Surely Paul, in Romans chapter one, was using "nature" in light of this Jewish view of God being the creator.


Thanks for this, Pr. Eckstein.  I think somewhere in the dim past we've also discussed this matter on the Forum as well.

While there's still a modest amount of controversy about it, it seems pretty well agreed that Judaism was thoroughly Hellenized by the 1st century CE.  There were perhaps as many as 15 times more Jews in the diaspora than were residing in Palestine by that time, and Palestine had been under Greek and Roman influence for more than three centuries by the time of Jesus; so when it came to religious practices, there wasn't a lot of discernable religious difference between Palestinian Jews and diaspora Jews.  The city of Tarsus (if that is where St. Paul originally was from) was a Greek city, with a minority Jewish population in the 1st century CE.  Archeologists have discovered two large gymnasia there (there was also one in Jerusalem), where men would undergo their physical training naked; and there is some evidence that Jews participated in this training (contrary to traditional Hebraic law).  There were also flourishing Stoic, Epicurean and Academic (Skeptic) schools in Tarsus.  It certainly doesn't appear that the Jewish community was insulated from any of this by the time of St. Paul, in Tarsus or elsewhere in the Empire.  Contemporary scholarship seems to be finding it harder and harder to locate Jewish communities that held strongly to the full set of "Old Testament Hebraic" religious practices and attitudes in the Hellenized Empire during this period.  Certainly the Jews, in Palestine and elsewhere, did not abandon wholesale their Hebraic heritage, the Mosaic law or synagogue rituals.  But even the Pharisees (considered the "liberals" of their day by Jews) had adapted their Jewish practices to Hellenistic models.  (See Anthony Saldarini's Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees in Palestinian Society and Shaye Cohen's From the Maccabees to the Mishna for a discussion of this issue).

So I don't think it's safe to assume that St. Paul was operating out of an Old Testament, or traditional Hebraic, mindset when he wrote the letter to the Romans.  It seems safer to assume that St. Paul, like most of his fellow Jews, was deeply saturated with Greek thought and practice at that time.

As to the nature/creation issue, no doubt St. Paul (and Jews in general, I assume) believed that the world had been created in time by a wise God (so did Plato, for that matter).  So did a large part of the Hellenistic world; not all the philosophical schools and religious cults held to the notion of an eternal cosmos.  It wasn't until around a millennium and a half later that "nature" begins to shed its connection with "creation," and stand alone to be admired by an emerging scientific community.

Blessings on your ministry, Pr. Eckstein.  I appreciate your contributions to this conversation.

Tom Pearson

 Tom, thanks for your insights. I agree with you that much of Judaism was at least in some way influenced by Hellenism in Paul's day. I remember reading about this when I was doing research on the Apocrypha for a study I was publishing for Concordia publishing house. However, from what I understand of Paul's writings, I do not see him being too deeply influenced by Hellenistic thought. Also, considering the fact that he was mentored by the resurrected Jesus himself, I would assume Paul would have an Old Testament view of nature versus a Hellenistic view of nature. I can't help but believe this would not have affected his understanding of nature in Romans chapter one.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 10, 2020, 02:24:56 AM

I don't think we can use our ideas of "natural/unnatural" with what they thought in biblical times. Paul states: "Does not nature itself teaches you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. (1 Cor 11:14-15)

My answer to Paul's question is, "No! Nature does not teach us that." I'm pretty sure that Samson would disagree with Paul, too; as well as nearly every artist who created pictures of Jesus. Whatever Paul meant by "nature" in his question is not what we mean by the word. So, we can't be certain about Paul's meaning when he uses the words in Romans 1.


We've been over this part of the ground in the past, so this will surely be repetitive.

If we take seriously the historical, cultural, and intellectual context in which St. Paul lived and wrote (which I believe you do, Pr. Stoffregen), I think we can be reasonably certain what Paul was referring to when he used terms like "natural" and "unnatural."  In the Hellenistic period (and for a long time before that), "nature" had nothing to do with the specific and eccentric characteristics of individual persons (such as their "sexual identity," whatever exactly that means).  "Nature" was always a reference to the species identity of a thing.  So what was "natural" for an individual would be defined in terms of what was "natural" for any member of that individual's species.  As far as I know, every scrap of evidence that we have from the Hellenistic period in the west about how "nature," "the natural," and "the unnatural" were defined points in the same direction; and this is the direction in which the evidence points.

But I suspect you are right when you say that "I don't think we can use our ideas of "natural/unnatural" with what they thought in biblical times."  That's because, ever since the second half of the seventeenth century in the west, we've gradually segregated "nature" from "creation," in order to study "nature" as an autonomous domain of scientific scrutiny.  The result is that no one is quite sure any more just what is meant by "nature."  Consider some of our ethical boundary issues today:  is CRISPR technology for gene editing "natural"?  Are performance-enhancing drugs "natural"?  Are life support devices and techniques for end-of-life patients "natural"?  Are organ transplants and prosthetics "natural"?  Is any human artifact "natural"?  Is death itself "natural"?  Well, we just don't know any more.  And so we default to the position of relegating "the natural" to the specific and eccentric characteristics of individual persons, which is not at all what anyone would have meant by "the natural" in biblical times.  No wonder so many of our discussions about "the nature" of homosexuality turn out to be so futile today.


I suspect you're right. From my reading, there wasn't a sense of individual identity in the biblical world. One was always defined by the group(s) they were part of. More specifically, φύσις, φυσικός, and φυσικῶς defined the "instincts" or "inborn" qualities" of a group at birth. People are born Jews (with all the characteristics that were attributed to Jews). People are born Samaritans (and they are all alike - and none of them good). Jesus came from Nazareth, and Nathanael indicates that everyone knows what people from Nazareth are like.


As such, it was assumed that all men are sexually attracted to women; just like a male lion wants to mate with females. It's part of the nature or instincts of lions from birth.


Hopefully, we have moved beyond such stereotypes because of birth or where one grew up (or race, skin color, accents, etc.). Not all humans have the same sexual desires. While Paul seems to recognize that men will "burn with passion," some are able to control it. They can remain single (and celibate) as Paul did. He also recognized that it's not a gift that all men have. The issue did not seem to be having a different sexual desire, but whether or not one had the discipline to control that desire or not.


Because we do understand individual differences in ways that the ancient people did not, our understanding of what is or isn't natural is different than theirs.



Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 10, 2020, 07:31:35 AM

I don't think we can use our ideas of "natural/unnatural" with what they thought in biblical times. Paul states: "Does not nature itself teaches you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. (1 Cor 11:14-15)

My answer to Paul's question is, "No! Nature does not teach us that." I'm pretty sure that Samson would disagree with Paul, too; as well as nearly every artist who created pictures of Jesus. Whatever Paul meant by "nature" in his question is not what we mean by the word. So, we can't be certain about Paul's meaning when he uses the words in Romans 1.


We've been over this part of the ground in the past, so this will surely be repetitive.

If we take seriously the historical, cultural, and intellectual context in which St. Paul lived and wrote (which I believe you do, Pr. Stoffregen), I think we can be reasonably certain what Paul was referring to when he used terms like "natural" and "unnatural."  In the Hellenistic period (and for a long time before that), "nature" had nothing to do with the specific and eccentric characteristics of individual persons (such as their "sexual identity," whatever exactly that means).  "Nature" was always a reference to the species identity of a thing.  So what was "natural" for an individual would be defined in terms of what was "natural" for any member of that individual's species.  As far as I know, every scrap of evidence that we have from the Hellenistic period in the west about how "nature," "the natural," and "the unnatural" were defined points in the same direction; and this is the direction in which the evidence points.

But I suspect you are right when you say that "I don't think we can use our ideas of "natural/unnatural" with what they thought in biblical times."  That's because, ever since the second half of the seventeenth century in the west, we've gradually segregated "nature" from "creation," in order to study "nature" as an autonomous domain of scientific scrutiny.  The result is that no one is quite sure any more just what is meant by "nature."  Consider some of our ethical boundary issues today:  is CRISPR technology for gene editing "natural"?  Are performance-enhancing drugs "natural"?  Are life support devices and techniques for end-of-life patients "natural"?  Are organ transplants and prosthetics "natural"?  Is any human artifact "natural"?  Is death itself "natural"?  Well, we just don't know any more.  And so we default to the position of relegating "the natural" to the specific and eccentric characteristics of individual persons, which is not at all what anyone would have meant by "the natural" in biblical times.  No wonder so many of our discussions about "the nature" of homosexuality turn out to be so futile today.


I suspect you're right. From my reading, there wasn't a sense of individual identity in the biblical world. One was always defined by the group(s) they were part of. More specifically, φύσις, φυσικός, and φυσικῶς defined the "instincts" or "inborn" qualities" of a group at birth. People are born Jews (with all the characteristics that were attributed to Jews). People are born Samaritans (and they are all alike - and none of them good). Jesus came from Nazareth, and Nathanael indicates that everyone knows what people from Nazareth are like.


As such, it was assumed that all men are sexually attracted to women; just like a male lion wants to mate with females. It's part of the nature or instincts of lions from birth.


Hopefully, we have moved beyond such stereotypes because of birth or where one grew up (or race, skin color, accents, etc.). Not all humans have the same sexual desires. While Paul seems to recognize that men will "burn with passion," some are able to control it. They can remain single (and celibate) as Paul did. He also recognized that it's not a gift that all men have. The issue did not seem to be having a different sexual desire, but whether or not one had the discipline to control that desire or not.


Because we do understand individual differences in ways that the ancient people did not, our understanding of what is or isn't natural is different than theirs.

Plato's "Symposium" and much other evidence do indeed suggest that those in the 1st century and before new of people who had same-sex attraction. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Matt Hummel on May 10, 2020, 09:38:04 AM
The more I delve into history, the more it seems to me that the folks of the ancient be Mediterranean world knew rather a great deal about homosexual behavior. In some cities it would seem hard to miss.

So the question becomes, is their observation/interpretation different from ours?  The answer seems to be, "Yes."

And as a thoroughgoing Copernican when it comes to history, I ask, "What makes our understanding inherently better than that of Paul or others?" All I see is a lot of privileging of the thoughts of folks whose claim to fame is they are breathing and are not dust. To which I say, "#decolonize_history!"
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 10, 2020, 10:56:49 AM
The more I delve into history, the more it seems to me that the folks of the ancient be Mediterranean world knew rather a great deal about homosexual behavior. In some cities it would seem hard to miss.

E.g., Pompeii graffiti.

https://theconversation.com/the-grim-reality-of-the-brothels-of-pompeii-88853
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 10, 2020, 12:59:45 PM
The more I delve into history, the more it seems to me that the folks of the ancient be Mediterranean world knew rather a great deal about homosexual behavior. In some cities it would seem hard to miss.


No doubt about it. Even the Old Testament seems to know of same-sex behaviors (at least for men). There is also prohibitions against being female and male (temple) prostitutes (Deut. 23:17-18). Interestingly, at least to me, the Hebrew for "cult prostitute" in v. 17, קְדֵשָׁה for the female and קָדֵשׁ  for the male, is based on the same root as the word for "holy" as in "Be holy, for the LORD your God is holy" (Lev 19:2, also 20:26). It's a word of being consecrated, set apart. Sex with these prostitutes was seen as a (pagan) religious act. Deuteronomy 23:18 uses different words: זוֹנָה = "harlot, (female) prostitute, and כֶּלֶב  which literally, means "dog," but is used as a euphemism for "male prostitute."


Male cultic prostitutes (קָדֵשׁ) also show up in 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7. (Male) homosexual behaviors were present in ancient Israel - and condemned - at least for the Israelites; but it was always connected with prostitution and pagan worship. Never do we read about same-sex couples in publicly accountable, life-long, monogamous relationships.


We do read about masters and slaves, but that isn't the same type of relationship as marriage.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 10, 2020, 01:18:00 PM

I don't think we can use our ideas of "natural/unnatural" with what they thought in biblical times. Paul states: "Does not nature itself teaches you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. (1 Cor 11:14-15)

My answer to Paul's question is, "No! Nature does not teach us that." I'm pretty sure that Samson would disagree with Paul, too; as well as nearly every artist who created pictures of Jesus. Whatever Paul meant by "nature" in his question is not what we mean by the word. So, we can't be certain about Paul's meaning when he uses the words in Romans 1.


We've been over this part of the ground in the past, so this will surely be repetitive.

If we take seriously the historical, cultural, and intellectual context in which St. Paul lived and wrote (which I believe you do, Pr. Stoffregen), I think we can be reasonably certain what Paul was referring to when he used terms like "natural" and "unnatural."  In the Hellenistic period (and for a long time before that), "nature" had nothing to do with the specific and eccentric characteristics of individual persons (such as their "sexual identity," whatever exactly that means).  "Nature" was always a reference to the species identity of a thing.  So what was "natural" for an individual would be defined in terms of what was "natural" for any member of that individual's species.  As far as I know, every scrap of evidence that we have from the Hellenistic period in the west about how "nature," "the natural," and "the unnatural" were defined points in the same direction; and this is the direction in which the evidence points.

But I suspect you are right when you say that "I don't think we can use our ideas of "natural/unnatural" with what they thought in biblical times."  That's because, ever since the second half of the seventeenth century in the west, we've gradually segregated "nature" from "creation," in order to study "nature" as an autonomous domain of scientific scrutiny.  The result is that no one is quite sure any more just what is meant by "nature."  Consider some of our ethical boundary issues today:  is CRISPR technology for gene editing "natural"?  Are performance-enhancing drugs "natural"?  Are life support devices and techniques for end-of-life patients "natural"?  Are organ transplants and prosthetics "natural"?  Is any human artifact "natural"?  Is death itself "natural"?  Well, we just don't know any more.  And so we default to the position of relegating "the natural" to the specific and eccentric characteristics of individual persons, which is not at all what anyone would have meant by "the natural" in biblical times.  No wonder so many of our discussions about "the nature" of homosexuality turn out to be so futile today.


I suspect you're right. From my reading, there wasn't a sense of individual identity in the biblical world. One was always defined by the group(s) they were part of. More specifically, φύσις, φυσικός, and φυσικῶς defined the "instincts" or "inborn" qualities" of a group at birth. People are born Jews (with all the characteristics that were attributed to Jews). People are born Samaritans (and they are all alike - and none of them good). Jesus came from Nazareth, and Nathanael indicates that everyone knows what people from Nazareth are like.


As such, it was assumed that all men are sexually attracted to women; just like a male lion wants to mate with females. It's part of the nature or instincts of lions from birth.


Hopefully, we have moved beyond such stereotypes because of birth or where one grew up (or race, skin color, accents, etc.). Not all humans have the same sexual desires. While Paul seems to recognize that men will "burn with passion," some are able to control it. They can remain single (and celibate) as Paul did. He also recognized that it's not a gift that all men have. The issue did not seem to be having a different sexual desire, but whether or not one had the discipline to control that desire or not.


Because we do understand individual differences in ways that the ancient people did not, our understanding of what is or isn't natural is different than theirs.

Plato's "Symposium" and much other evidence do indeed suggest that those in the 1st century and before new of people who had same-sex attraction.


I think that what he writes about is same-sex sex. The topic of the writing is the God Eros. This "love" is not so much about pleasing or caring for the other person, but self-satisfaction. Older men showing younger men the ways of the world was common in ancient Greek society. Most often in pederastic relationships. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_ancient_Greece

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: pearson on May 10, 2020, 01:42:01 PM

From my reading, there wasn't a sense of individual identity in the biblical world. One was always defined by the group(s) they were part of.

. . . . .

Because we do understand individual differences in ways that the ancient people did not, our understanding of what is or isn't natural is different than theirs.


If we want to remain faithful to the biblical witness, then why not defer to the historical understanding that informed that witness?

That's not a trick question, nor is it directly only to you, Pr. Stoffregen.  It's a question I struggle with, and it's related to two other questions.  First, if we do indeed want to remain faithful to the biblical witness, what is the biblical witness actually witnessing to?  (Yes, I know: "All Scripture witnesses to Jesus Christ."  But that only inaugurates the question, that doesn't answer it.  In witnessing to Christ, what are the specific take-aways the biblical witness is witnessing to?).  Assuming that we can answer that question, and that we do indeed want to remain faithful to the biblical witness, how does the Church re-capture that historical understanding that informs the biblical witness?  Who, or what, has the authority to manage and direct such a process of re-capturing that historical understanding?

If we want to remain faithful to the biblical witness, it just doesn't seem enough to say, "We see things differently today than they did back in the historical period when the texts of Scripture were written and canonized."  If you move away from the historical context that governed the biblical writers' understanding, don't you also move away from the biblical witness itself?

Tom Pearson     
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 10, 2020, 03:01:15 PM
Tom Pearson:
If you move away from the historical context that governed the biblical writers' understanding, don't you also move away from the biblical witness itself?
Me:
Yes. No.
You move away from the witness as it was understood in those days. The biblical witness remains, and yes we are still with it, but with the witness as it is understood in our days.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 10, 2020, 03:05:49 PM
To which I say, "#decolonize_history!"

LOL!
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 10, 2020, 05:41:14 PM

If we want to remain faithful to the biblical witness, then why not defer to the historical understanding that informed that witness?
     

Which may enable this conversation to return to the topic (though I have very appreciated Pr. Eckstein's contributions for, while they conflict with Pr. Stoffregen's word studies so much that he presumes there is is no evidence (http://alpb.org/Forum/index.php?topic=7450.msg477190#msg477190), they are very much in tune with my own readings on homosexuality from 2 decades before Crompton's Homosexuality & Civilization), another new revelation that Pr. Stoffregen is defending, addressing the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as "Mother God."

Christe eleison, Steven+
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on May 10, 2020, 05:44:40 PM
The decades of Thread-arguments here are usually about objective truth and feelings about objective truth.

Gravity exists vs. “Wish I could fly.”

Peter (What is truth? And He’s standing right in front of you!) Garrison
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 10, 2020, 07:55:06 PM
If we want to remain faithful to the biblical witness, then why not defer to the historical understanding that informed that witness?


Certainly we seek to understand the meaning of that witness by the original author to the original audience. From that meaning, we may be able to extrapolate meanings for us in our time.


A key difference in biblical interpretation centers on the "author". For those who stress the human authorship, the original intended meaning by the author and how the original audience understood the message is key. Once we think we've discovered the message in its original, historical setting, then we can see how the message might apply to folks today. We seek to understand what the head covering (or lack of it) on women meant in Corinth in the first century. We can only make guesses, because we aren't sure what Paul, nor the Corinthians, understood about this issue - or even what was meant by "head covering". What I have usually heard, is that prostitutes advertised themselves with uncovered heads trying to attract men. The present day application: Christian women should be modest in their appearance. Do not dress in seductive ways. Another understanding offered in this forum is that women should not try to look like men, nor should men try to look like women. For a long time, women were expected (if not required) to wear dresses to worship. Pants were for men, not women. Such a dress code is not in effect in most places today.


For folks who stress the divine authorship, the historical setting doesn't matter. God had these words written down for all people in all times. Thus, there are denomination who continue to require women to wear head coverings in worship.


A third approach that also centers on the human authors mostly ignores the historical settings, but looks at the literary composition. What are the roles of the characters within the gospel narratives? Why does the author tell the story the way he tells the story? E.g., why does Matthew include an earthquake as part of his resurrection narrative? With this approach, one doesn't ask, "Did it really happen?" Rather, Why did Matthew put it in his narrative? What is Matthew trying to tell us with that detail?

Quote
That's not a trick question, nor is it directly only to you, Pr. Stoffregen.  It's a question I struggle with, and it's related to two other questions.  First, if we do indeed want to remain faithful to the biblical witness, what is the biblical witness actually witnessing to?  (Yes, I know: "All Scripture witnesses to Jesus Christ."  But that only inaugurates the question, that doesn't answer it.  In witnessing to Christ, what are the specific take-aways the biblical witness is witnessing to?).  Assuming that we can answer that question, and that we do indeed want to remain faithful to the biblical witness, how does the Church re-capture that historical understanding that informs the biblical witness?  Who, or what, has the authority to manage and direct such a process of re-capturing that historical understanding?

If we want to remain faithful to the biblical witness, it just doesn't seem enough to say, "We see things differently today than they did back in the historical period when the texts of Scripture were written and canonized."  If you move away from the historical context that governed the biblical writers' understanding, don't you also move away from the biblical witness itself?


I would offer a more general answer than: "It witnesses to Jesus Christ." It witnesses to God's relationship with humanity. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the key way God relates to us, but we also see God's relationship with Adam and Eve; with Noah and his family; with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; with Moses and the people of the Exodus; the judges, kings, prophets. There are stories of God's relationships through words of promise, e.g., to Abraham. There are relationships through words of commands, e.g., through Moses. There are relationships through words of judgment, e.g., through the prophets, with a call to repentance. There is the ultimate relationship through the words and deeds of Jesus. There is a continuing relationship with us through the Word, Sacraments, and Spirit.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 10, 2020, 08:01:04 PM
The more I delve into history, the more it seems to me that the folks of the ancient be Mediterranean world knew rather a great deal about homosexual behavior. In some cities it would seem hard to miss.


No doubt about it. Even the Old Testament seems to know of same-sex behaviors (at least for men). There is also prohibitions against being female and male (temple) prostitutes (Deut. 23:17-18). Interestingly, at least to me, the Hebrew for "cult prostitute" in v. 17, קְדֵשָׁה for the female and קָדֵשׁ  for the male, is based on the same root as the word for "holy" as in "Be holy, for the LORD your God is holy" (Lev 19:2, also 20:26). It's a word of being consecrated, set apart. Sex with these prostitutes was seen as a (pagan) religious act. Deuteronomy 23:18 uses different words: זוֹנָה = "harlot, (female) prostitute, and כֶּלֶב  which literally, means "dog," but is used as a euphemism for "male prostitute."


Male cultic prostitutes (קָדֵשׁ) also show up in 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7. (Male) homosexual behaviors were present in ancient Israel - and condemned - at least for the Israelites; but it was always connected with prostitution and pagan worship. Never do we read about same-sex couples in publicly accountable, life-long, monogamous relationships.


We do read about masters and slaves, but that isn't the same type of relationship as marriage.

Brian, even thought there were same-sex cult prostitutes in the ancient near east, there is NOTHING in Leviticus chapters 18 & 20 that limit its condemnation of same-sex behavior merely to such that took place within pagan rituals - as though the Law of Moses would have affirmed two men or two women within a PALM relationship.  No later rabbinic sources allow for your view. 

Even though some Jews after the exile up through the 1st century were influenced in various degrees by Hellenism, there is NO evidence that any Jews of Jesus' day - not the Essenes, not the Pharisees, not the Sadducees - would have affirmed or even tolerated consensual, monogamous same-sex behavior.

William Loader writes:  "It is very possible that Paul knew of views which claimed some people had what we would call a homosexual orientation, though we cannot know for sure and certainly should not read our modern theories back into his world. If he did, it is more likely that, like other Jews, he would have rejected them out of hand, as does Philo after reporting Aristophanes’ bizarre aetiology [i.e., the study of causation] of human sexuality."

N. T. Wright makes the following interesting comment on this issue:  "As a classicist, I have to say that when I read Plato’s Symposium, or when I read the accounts from the early Roman empire of the practice of homosexuality, then it seems to me they knew just as much about it as we do. In particular, a point which is often missed, they knew a great deal about what people today would regard as longer-term, reasonably stable relations between two people of the same gender. This is not a modern invention, it’s already there in Plato. The idea that in Paul’s day it was always a matter of exploitation of younger men by older men or whatever . . . of course there was plenty of that then, as there is today, but it was by no means the only thing. They knew about the whole range of options there."

Regarding Paul's condemnation of male and female same-sex behavior in Romans ch. 1, Martti Nissinen writes:  "The distinction between sexual orientations is clearly an anachronism that does not help to understand Paul’s line of argumentation.  Paul does not mention tribades or kinaidoi, that is, female and male persons who were habitually involved in homoerotic relationships; but if he knew about them (and there is every reason to believe that he did), it is difficult to think that, because of their apparent ‘orientation,’ he would not have included them in Romans 1:26-27 ...  It is essential to notice that Paul speaks of homoeroticism precisely as a practice … for him, there is no individual inversion or inclination that would make this conduct less culpable … nothing would have made Paul approve homoerotic behavior.  Clearly, Paul, to whom marriage was the only acceptable venue for sexual life, could not have approved of any same-sex interaction that even resembled sex between a man and a woman.”

Also, regarding Paul's teaching in Romans ch. 1, Bernadette Brooten writes:  "Paul could have believed that tribades, kinaidoi,  and other sexually unorthodox persons were born that way and yet still condemn them as unnatural and shameful, this all the more so since he is speaking of groups of people rather than of individuals … I believe that Paul used the word ‘exchanged’ to indicate that people knew the natural sexual order of the universe and left it behind … Paul is condemning all forms of homoeroticism as the unnatural acts of people who had turned away from God.”

In addition, Louis Crompton writes the following:  "“Some interpreters, seeking to mitigate Paul’s harshness, have read the passage as condemning not homosexuals generally but only heterosexual men and women who experimented with homosexuality … But such a reading, however well-intentioned, seems strained and unhistorical.  Nowhere does Paul or any other Jewish writer of this period imply the least acceptance of same-sex relations under any circumstances.  The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian.”

So, not only is the notion that only we moderns are aware of what my be called a same-sex "orientation" wrong, because the ancients new of people who had what we would call same-sex attraction.  But even we moderns have not found the "gay gene," so to speak.  Based on recent research the pro-gay APA had to change their position on the cause of same-sex attraction as follows:  "There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles…”    But what does all this matter?  Scripture is clear that we all have a multitude of sinful desires that we didn't choose to have, and yet in the freedom of the Gospel Scripture calls us to crucify the desires of our sinful nature rather than affirm them and act on them. 

Finally, Brian, for all your talk about us modern's unique view of PALM relationships, you have yet to give me one shred of evidence of any Christian leader or teach before the past century who would have affirmed a consensual, committed, monogamous same-sex relationship.  In fact, evidence shows that such relationships likely existed throughout history, but there is NO evidence that such relationships would have been tolerated, much less affirmed, by ANY Christians since the time of the apostles until a recent liberal minority.

So, please stop pretending that Old Testament Israel would have affirmed same-sex behavior as long as they were not serving idols at the same time!
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 10, 2020, 08:02:59 PM

If we want to remain faithful to the biblical witness, then why not defer to the historical understanding that informed that witness?
     

Which may enable this conversation to return to the topic (though I have very appreciated Pr. Eckstein's contributions for, while they conflict with Pr. Stoffregen's word studies so much that he presumes there is is no evidence (http://alpb.org/Forum/index.php?topic=7450.msg477190#msg477190), they are very much in tune with my own readings on homosexuality from 2 decades before Crompton's Homosexuality & Civilization), another new revelation that Pr. Stoffregen is defending, addressing the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as "Mother God."


I believe that our God is big enough to hear and respond to a prayer addressed to Mother God; or even "Hey you, up there." Jesus was God coming down to our level, and into our lives. Should a woman find it impossible to think about our loving God with the word "Father," I think that our God understands that. Should a boy find the love of his mother better reflects what he understands God's love to be like, so he is more comfortable using, "Mother," our God understands that. Should someone be so angry at God that the use all kinds of swear words in attacking God, our God can take that, too.


Many years ago when the movie, The Last Temptation of Christ came out, I read an essay that included this paragraph:

I had an old seminary professor who began and ended his apologetics lecture with one sentence: “You defend God like you defend a lion – you get out of his way.” God, it seems, has never had much trouble with his enemies – it’s his friends who give him fits.... The theologian Karl Rahner put it this way: “The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable.” Perhaps the best defense of God would be to just keep our mouths shut and live like He told us to. The gospel would then have such power and attraction that we wouldn’t have to worry about defending it.
            “The Last Temptation of Christians” by Bill McNabb
            Wittenburg Door, issue 103

So, I'm wondering why you think God would be offended by being called "Mother"?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 10, 2020, 08:13:05 PM

Tom, I agree with you regarding how the hellenists viewed nature. The only thing I would add is that Paul was influenced more by Jewish thought than he was by Hellenism. In Greek thought the universe was eternal whereas from a Jewish point of view God was the creator of all things and therefore nature was considered in light of how God had ordered things. Surely Paul, in Romans chapter one, was using "nature" in light of this Jewish view of God being the creator.


Thanks for this, Pr. Eckstein.  I think somewhere in the dim past we've also discussed this matter on the Forum as well.

While there's still a modest amount of controversy about it, it seems pretty well agreed that Judaism was thoroughly Hellenized by the 1st century CE.  There were perhaps as many as 15 times more Jews in the diaspora than were residing in Palestine by that time, and Palestine had been under Greek and Roman influence for more than three centuries by the time of Jesus; so when it came to religious practices, there wasn't a lot of discernable religious difference between Palestinian Jews and diaspora Jews.  The city of Tarsus (if that is where St. Paul originally was from) was a Greek city, with a minority Jewish population in the 1st century CE.  Archeologists have discovered two large gymnasia there (there was also one in Jerusalem), where men would undergo their physical training naked; and there is some evidence that Jews participated in this training (contrary to traditional Hebraic law).  There were also flourishing Stoic, Epicurean and Academic (Skeptic) schools in Tarsus.  It certainly doesn't appear that the Jewish community was insulated from any of this by the time of St. Paul, in Tarsus or elsewhere in the Empire.  Contemporary scholarship seems to be finding it harder and harder to locate Jewish communities that held strongly to the full set of "Old Testament Hebraic" religious practices and attitudes in the Hellenized Empire during this period.  Certainly the Jews, in Palestine and elsewhere, did not abandon wholesale their Hebraic heritage, the Mosaic law or synagogue rituals.  But even the Pharisees (considered the "liberals" of their day by Jews) had adapted their Jewish practices to Hellenistic models.  (See Anthony Saldarini's Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees in Palestinian Society and Shaye Cohen's From the Maccabees to the Mishna for a discussion of this issue).

So I don't think it's safe to assume that St. Paul was operating out of an Old Testament, or traditional Hebraic, mindset when he wrote the letter to the Romans.  It seems safer to assume that St. Paul, like most of his fellow Jews, was deeply saturated with Greek thought and practice at that time.

As to the nature/creation issue, no doubt St. Paul (and Jews in general, I assume) believed that the world had been created in time by a wise God (so did Plato, for that matter).  So did a large part of the Hellenistic world; not all the philosophical schools and religious cults held to the notion of an eternal cosmos.  It wasn't until around a millennium and a half later that "nature" begins to shed its connection with "creation," and stand alone to be admired by an emerging scientific community.

Blessings on your ministry, Pr. Eckstein.  I appreciate your contributions to this conversation.

Tom Pearson

Tom, I'd like a clarification from you.  Even though I agree with you that Jews after the exile and up through the 1st century were influenced by Hellenism in various ways, are you suggesting that the Jews of Jesus' day would have affirmed or even tolerated what Brian calls PALM same-sex relationships?  Unless I've missed something in my research, I have not found any evidence of any Jewish group around the time of the 1st century that would have affirmed or even tolerated a PALM same-sex relationship.  If you have any evidence of Jewish groups who would have affirmed such sexual behavior, please fill me in.  Thanks!
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Matt Hummel on May 10, 2020, 08:46:43 PM
The decades of Thread-arguments here are usually about objective truth and feelings about objective truth.

Gravity exists vs. “Wish I could fly"

Peter (What is truth? And He’s standing right in front of you!) Garrison
Preach on   Quid est veritas? Est vir qui adest!
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 10, 2020, 08:57:54 PM
1)

Well, as a seminary professor stated: "You should be able to argue both sides of an issue with conviction." He also said that we should know our opponents' arguments better than they know them.
Friends who were in competitive debate said that's absolutely true. They didn't know whether they would have to argue pro or con in competition. They had to be prepared - and convincingly argue - whatever side they were assigned.



2)

For folks who stress the divine authorship, the historical setting doesn't matter. God had these words written down for all people in all times. Thus, there are denomination who continue to require women to wear head coverings in worship.


Clearly you are unprepared to engage in this discussion.   >:(
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: pearson on May 10, 2020, 09:12:15 PM

You move away from the witness as it was understood in those days. The biblical witness remains, and yes we are still with it, but with the witness as it is understood in our days.


If I'm reading this correctly (and I may not be), then I have a problem.  It seems, Pr. Austin, that you are suggesting the biblical witness is some sort of ahistorical, disembodied, Platonic idealized abstraction, a biblical witness that lies outside of all historical manifestations, a witness that makes a different appearance in different historical periods, and yet "the biblical witness remains the same," as you put it.  I don't see how that can possibly work.  Doesn't it seem to you that if we are genuinely to experience and to know the biblical witness, it will have make itself available to us in our own historical context, in this life, in this world?  How can we experience and know something in our own historical context if that thing actually lurks somewhere beyond all historical contexts?

Again, if I'm reading you correctly, this is what I hear in your proposal:  the biblical witness wears a mask in each historical period it appears; it is the Gospel in disguise.  But the mask, which is what we experience and know, is only the mask, and not the biblical witness itself.  So if Christians speak of being faithful to the biblical witness, what are we supposed to be talking about?

If the biblical witness really is an ahistorical, Platonic phenomenon, then for me that wreaks havoc with any doctrine of Incarnation, any sacramental theology, anything that affirms the concrete and historical embodiment of the Christian faith.  That's why I have a problem.  If I'm reading you correctly.

Tom Pearson     
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: pearson on May 10, 2020, 09:38:52 PM

Tom, I'd like a clarification from you.  Even though I agree with you that Jews after the exile and up through the 1st century were influenced by Hellenism in various ways, are you suggesting that the Jews of Jesus' day would have affirmed or even tolerated what Brian calls PALM same-sex relationships?  Unless I've missed something in my research, I have not found any evidence of any Jewish group around the time of the 1st century that would have affirmed or even tolerated a PALM same-sex relationship.  If you have any evidence of Jewish groups who would have affirmed such sexual behavior, please fill me in.  Thanks!


Thanks for asking for clarification, Pr. Eckstein.  No, I'm only indicating that I've been convinced by those who have studied Palestinian Judiasm in the 2nd century BCE-1st century CE and concluded that Greek thought and cultural practice, along with Roman poltiical, economic and jurisprudential structures, progressively saturated Judaism to point where it becomes difficult to tell where Greek influence leaves off and Jewish tradition begins.  In short, the Jews assimilated to Hellenistic culture.  I don't know enough about Jewish attitudes, in Palestine and elsewhere, specifically with regard to sexuality to affirm anything other than what I indicated earlier: that what would be considered "natural" in that time period meant being "natural" for a particular species, and not for discrete individuals.  Therefore, it seems more probable to me than not that Jews of that time period would have considered homosexuality, whatever its manifestation, as being "unnatural."  Remember, in many Hellenistic contexts, φύσις ("nature") and νόμος ("law," "convention") were terms often opposed to each other; so, I think it's likely that a lot of the Hellenes, and possibly a lot of Jews, thought that homosexual behavior was a conventional practice, and not a natural one.

Does that make any sense?

Tom Pearson
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: pearson on May 10, 2020, 09:56:21 PM
Let me add one more thing, Pr. Eckstein (since I'm not sure I fully answered your question).  The trickier issue is this: did Judaism in the Hellenistic period treat practices considered "unnatural" as also being immoral, or forbidden by God?  In other words, was "forbidden by God" directly tied to being "unnatural"?  My best guess (but it's just a guess) is that the traditional practices of Judiasm would have inclined Hellenistic Jews to treat homosexuality as something forbidden by God; as something "unnatural" yet conventionally acceptable in other communities, but not in theirs.  But again, I'm not well acquainted with Hellenistic Jewish attitudes specifically regarding sexuality, so take all this with the proverbial grain of salt.

Tom Pearson

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 10, 2020, 10:21:01 PM
If we want to remain faithful to the biblical witness, then why not defer to the historical understanding that informed that witness?


Certainly we seek to understand the meaning of that witness by the original author to the original audience. From that meaning, we may be able to extrapolate meanings for us in our time.


A key difference in biblical interpretation centers on the "author". For those who stress the human authorship, the original intended meaning by the author and how the original audience understood the message is key. Once we think we've discovered the message in its original, historical setting, then we can see how the message might apply to folks today. We seek to understand what the head covering (or lack of it) on women meant in Corinth in the first century. We can only make guesses, because we aren't sure what Paul, nor the Corinthians, understood about this issue - or even what was meant by "head covering". What I have usually heard, is that prostitutes advertised themselves with uncovered heads trying to attract men. The present day application: Christian women should be modest in their appearance. Do not dress in seductive ways. Another understanding offered in this forum is that women should not try to look like men, nor should men try to look like women. For a long time, women were expected (if not required) to wear dresses to worship. Pants were for men, not women. Such a dress code is not in effect in most places today.


For folks who stress the divine authorship, the historical setting doesn't matter. God had these words written down for all people in all times. Thus, there are denomination who continue to require women to wear head coverings in worship.


A third approach that also centers on the human authors mostly ignores the historical settings, but looks at the literary composition. What are the roles of the characters within the gospel narratives? Why does the author tell the story the way he tells the story? E.g., why does Matthew include an earthquake as part of his resurrection narrative? With this approach, one doesn't ask, "Did it really happen?" Rather, Why did Matthew put it in his narrative? What is Matthew trying to tell us with that detail?

Quote
That's not a trick question, nor is it directly only to you, Pr. Stoffregen.  It's a question I struggle with, and it's related to two other questions.  First, if we do indeed want to remain faithful to the biblical witness, what is the biblical witness actually witnessing to?  (Yes, I know: "All Scripture witnesses to Jesus Christ."  But that only inaugurates the question, that doesn't answer it.  In witnessing to Christ, what are the specific take-aways the biblical witness is witnessing to?).  Assuming that we can answer that question, and that we do indeed want to remain faithful to the biblical witness, how does the Church re-capture that historical understanding that informs the biblical witness?  Who, or what, has the authority to manage and direct such a process of re-capturing that historical understanding?

If we want to remain faithful to the biblical witness, it just doesn't seem enough to say, "We see things differently today than they did back in the historical period when the texts of Scripture were written and canonized."  If you move away from the historical context that governed the biblical writers' understanding, don't you also move away from the biblical witness itself?


I would offer a more general answer than: "It witnesses to Jesus Christ." It witnesses to God's relationship with humanity. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the key way God relates to us, but we also see God's relationship with Adam and Eve; with Noah and his family; with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; with Moses and the people of the Exodus; the judges, kings, prophets. There are stories of God's relationships through words of promise, e.g., to Abraham. There are relationships through words of commands, e.g., through Moses. There are relationships through words of judgment, e.g., through the prophets, with a call to repentance. There is the ultimate relationship through the words and deeds of Jesus. There is a continuing relationship with us through the Word, Sacraments, and Spirit.

There has not been much overt mention that Jesus is a living Person.  Certainly that says a lot about the biblical witness and its interpretive value today.  It’s not that Jesus at one time said “I am the way...”.  But Jesus SAYS “I am the he way...”
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 11, 2020, 02:44:59 AM
There has not been much overt mention that Jesus is a living Person.  Certainly that says a lot about the biblical witness and its interpretive value today.  It’s not that Jesus at one time said “I am the way...”.  But Jesus SAYS “I am the he way...”


Jesus said it at a particular time in history. John recorded it at a particular time in history. We read it in our time. We still need to ask, "What does this mean?" To answer that, I think we need to first ask, "What did this mean?" This means looking at the words in the original languages. Understanding how the first hearers might have understood it. Understanding how John is using those words within his narrative. When folks argue that only those who have the proper faith in Jesus will be saved, they are stating that proper faith in Jesus is the way. That's different than saying Jesus is the way. Both Charles and I have argued that should Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and others without the proper faith be in heaven, it's because of Jesus.

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 11, 2020, 02:22:33 PM
The decades of Thread-arguments here are usually about objective truth and feelings about objective truth.

Gravity exists vs. “Wish I could fly.”


Gravity exists and I have flown in many airplanes and jets. Science often figures out ways for us to do what by nature we can't do. Ironically, by studying the animals who, by nature, can fly, learning more about the laws of nature, and making use of them so that we are able to create something that enables us to fly.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 11, 2020, 04:43:45 PM
There has not been much overt mention that Jesus is a living Person.  Certainly that says a lot about the biblical witness and its interpretive value today.  It’s not that Jesus at one time said “I am the way...”.  But Jesus SAYS “I am the he way...”


Jesus said it at a particular time in history. John recorded it at a particular time in history. We read it in our time. We still need to ask, "What does this mean?" To answer that, I think we need to first ask, "What did this mean?" This means looking at the words in the original languages. Understanding how the first hearers might have understood it. Understanding how John is using those words within his narrative. When folks argue that only those who have the proper faith in Jesus will be saved, they are stating that proper faith in Jesus is the way. That's different than saying Jesus is the way. Both Charles and I have argued that should Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and others without the proper faith be in heaven, it's because of Jesus.


So apparently you don't believe that Jesus is in our history today since he HAD said it at a particular time in history back then giving me the impression by what you said that Jesus no longer speaks that word today.  This is Easter.  It is a denial of the resurrection if Jesus the whole Jesus person and words, remain a part of past history.  No.  Jesus IS alive and living post-resurrection...Jesus SAYS today right now to you, to me and to the Church; heck, Jesus says it to everybody as a missional statement :  "I am the way the truth and the life."
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 11, 2020, 04:52:59 PM
Who is Mother God?  A prayer sanctioned by a Christian church body but doesn't even name the name of Jesus Christ.  What is that all about?   
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 11, 2020, 06:54:14 PM
[
For folks who stress the divine authorship, the historical setting doesn't matter. God had these words written down for all people in all times. Thus, there are denomination who continue to require women to wear head coverings in worship.


Don't you love a logical fallacy? "For folks..." Who are these folks? "There are denomination (sic).." Who are these "denomination"?

I stress divine authorship, but the historical setting most definitely does matter. Am I then part of "for folks"?

I find that most "folks who stress divine authorship" are very interested in "the historical setting." It is only when we understand "the historical setting" that we can understand how to interpret Scripture and apply to the contemporary setting.



Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 11, 2020, 07:12:37 PM
There has not been much overt mention that Jesus is a living Person.  Certainly that says a lot about the biblical witness and its interpretive value today.  It’s not that Jesus at one time said “I am the way...”.  But Jesus SAYS “I am the he way...”


Jesus said it at a particular time in history. John recorded it at a particular time in history. We read it in our time. We still need to ask, "What does this mean?" To answer that, I think we need to first ask, "What did this mean?" This means looking at the words in the original languages. Understanding how the first hearers might have understood it. Understanding how John is using those words within his narrative. When folks argue that only those who have the proper faith in Jesus will be saved, they are stating that proper faith in Jesus is the way. That's different than saying Jesus is the way. Both Charles and I have argued that should Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and others without the proper faith be in heaven, it's because of Jesus.


So apparently you don't believe that Jesus is in our history today since he HAD said it at a particular time in history back then giving me the impression by what you said that Jesus no longer speaks that word today.  This is Easter.  It is a denial of the resurrection if Jesus the whole Jesus person and words, remain a part of past history.  No.  Jesus IS alive and living post-resurrection...Jesus SAYS today right now to you, to me and to the Church; heck, Jesus says it to everybody as a missional statement :  "I am the way the truth and the life."


There are always different levels in interpretations.
1. When the original events happened.
2. When the account of the event was written down.
3. When we are reading/hearing about the events.




1. We believe that Jesus lived, spoke, and acted at a particular time and place in history. Roughly around AD 30.


2. We have the Gospels: four written records of what Jesus said and did, written some 30-60 after Jesus' death and resurrection.


3. We read and hear those words (as translated in many versions) today.


Reading/hearing those words today (in English,) is different than a Jew or a Gentile hearing those words (in Greek) in the 1st and 2nd centuries. What they understood by those words could be different than when Jesus actually spoke them (in Aramaic?) and acted.


To use an analogy: the movie Wag the Dog.
This movie, about hiding a presidential sex scandal with a made-up war, came out during Clinton's presidency and a month before the Lewinski scandal. That made many people think that the movie was created in opposition to Clinton and his sexual escapades.


However, the book that it was loosely based on, American Hero, was written during Bush's presidency. It had nothing to do with Clinton! The emphasis was on the creation of war to help with a re-election campaign; specifically: the Desert Storm Campaign.


Today, we might interpret the movie as a way that the media, even "fake news," can influence the thinking of the nation.


There are different contexts and thus different interpretations made that might not all be the same. To say that Jesus spoke these words in AD 30 (and seek to discover what they meant then,) doesn't change the fact that we also hear Jesus speaking those words to us today (and we seek to apply them to our lives in the 21st century).
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 11, 2020, 07:19:53 PM
[
For folks who stress the divine authorship, the historical setting doesn't matter. God had these words written down for all people in all times. Thus, there are denomination who continue to require women to wear head coverings in worship.


Don't you love a logical fallacy? "For folks..." Who are these folks? "There are denomination (sic).." Who are these "denomination"?


For one, the Spanish-speaking denomination that used to meet in our church buildings. The women all wore dresses and had head coverings.

Quote
I stress divine authorship, but the historical setting most definitely does matter. Am I then part of "for folks"?


How much do you stress divine authorship? Do you say that God wrote it; or that God inspired human authors to write down the words? When I use "divine authorship," it's the idea that God wrote down these words. Human agents had no thoughts about what was written. It comes up when someone claims about the Bible, "God doesn't make mistakes." Or, "God was aware of our 21st century issues when he wrote the Bible."

Quote
I find that most "folks who stress divine authorship" are very interested in "the historical setting." It is only when we understand "the historical setting" that we can understand how to interpret Scripture and apply to the contemporary setting.


But God is beyond history. The historical setting would seem only to matter if it somehow affected the human writers of God's Word. While you may say that you stress divine authorship, you're acting like it was written by humans. Perhaps, rather than "divine authorship" (at least as I'm using the phrase,) you mean, "divine inspiration". God inspired the human writers to write what they wrote.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 11, 2020, 07:34:31 PM
There has not been much overt mention that Jesus is a living Person.  Certainly that says a lot about the biblical witness and its interpretive value today.  It’s not that Jesus at one time said “I am the way...”.  But Jesus SAYS “I am the he way...”


Jesus said it at a particular time in history. John recorded it at a particular time in history. We read it in our time. We still need to ask, "What does this mean?" To answer that, I think we need to first ask, "What did this mean?" This means looking at the words in the original languages. Understanding how the first hearers might have understood it. Understanding how John is using those words within his narrative. When folks argue that only those who have the proper faith in Jesus will be saved, they are stating that proper faith in Jesus is the way. That's different than saying Jesus is the way. Both Charles and I have argued that should Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and others without the proper faith be in heaven, it's because of Jesus.


So apparently you don't believe that Jesus is in our history today since he HAD said it at a particular time in history back then giving me the impression by what you said that Jesus no longer speaks that word today.  This is Easter.  It is a denial of the resurrection if Jesus the whole Jesus person and words, remain a part of past history.  No.  Jesus IS alive and living post-resurrection...Jesus SAYS today right now to you, to me and to the Church; heck, Jesus says it to everybody as a missional statement :  "I am the way the truth and the life."


There are always different levels in interpretations.
1. When the original events happened.
2. When the account of the event was written down.
3. When we are reading/hearing about the events.




1. We believe that Jesus lived, spoke, and acted at a particular time and place in history. Roughly around AD 30.


2. We have the Gospels: four written records of what Jesus said and did, written some 30-60 after Jesus' death and resurrection.


3. We read and hear those words (as translated in many versions) today.


Reading/hearing those words today (in English,) is different than a Jew or a Gentile hearing those words (in Greek) in the 1st and 2nd centuries. What they understood by those words could be different than when Jesus actually spoke them (in Aramaic?) and acted.


To use an analogy: the movie Wag the Dog.
This movie, about hiding a presidential sex scandal with a made-up war, came out during Clinton's presidency and a month before the Lewinski scandal. That made many people think that the movie was created in opposition to Clinton and his sexual escapades.


However, the book that it was loosely based on, American Hero, was written during Bush's presidency. It had nothing to do with Clinton! The emphasis was on the creation of war to help with a re-election campaign; specifically: the Desert Storm Campaign.


Today, we might interpret the movie as a way that the media, even "fake news," can influence the thinking of the nation.


There are different contexts and thus different interpretations made that might not all be the same. To say that Jesus spoke these words in AD 30 (and seek to discover what they meant then,) doesn't change the fact that we also hear Jesus speaking those words to us today (and we seek to apply them to our lives in the 21st century).

Jesus has been raised from the dead.  Death no longer has dominion over Him.  He is a living breathing Person, Lord and Savior.  Even His Ascension says this clearly.  He has not left us but fills all in all now.  That is why the Church says "Jesus is Lord."  He is for you not then but now as He was then:  "He is, He was and He is to come at the end of the ages."
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2020, 02:51:28 AM
Jesus has been raised from the dead.  Death no longer has dominion over Him.  He is a living breathing Person, Lord and Savior.  Even His Ascension says this clearly.  He has not left us but fills all in all now.  That is why the Church says "Jesus is Lord."  He is for you not then but now as He was then:  "He is, He was and He is to come at the end of the ages."


Jesus' ascension says that he is no longer here. The church has also prayed, "Marana tha:" "Our Lord, come" (1 Cor 16:22) from the beginning and throughout the centuries in its liturgies. That's a prayer of absence of Jesus, not presence.


The presence of Jesus now, is not like it was during the incarnation. The presence of Jesus now is not like it will be when he comes again. There are at least these three distinct types of presence of Jesus on earth. As the human Jesus; as the risen, ascended Jesus (which Luke and John consider the presence of the Spirit, not Jesus); and the future time when Jesus returns in the same way we saw him leave.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RDPreus on May 12, 2020, 10:01:06 AM
"The presence of Jesus now, is not like it was during the incarnation."  Is he not incarnate now?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 12, 2020, 10:38:29 AM
"The presence of Jesus now, is not like it was during the incarnation."  Is he not incarnate now?

Oh Rolf, now you'll really get our resident Nestorian going!
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 12, 2020, 02:28:13 PM
"The presence of Jesus now, is not like it was during the incarnation."  Is he not incarnate now?

Oh Rolf, now you'll really get our resident Nestorian going!

Yes.  This is imo a good critique which goes to the heart of the matter.  The issues brought forth about Christ by Pr. Stoffregen conflict with the Formula of Concord in both articles on Christology and the sacrament of Holy Communion.  The Jesus who is alive is the same incarnated one back in the day.  His resurrection from the dead does not disturb his incarnation.  Christ never sheds His incarnation. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2020, 02:36:21 PM
"The presence of Jesus now, is not like it was during the incarnation."  Is he not incarnate now?

Oh Rolf, now you'll really get our resident Nestorian going!

Yes.  This is imo a good critique which goes to the heart of the matter.  The issues brought forth about Christ by Pr. Stoffregen conflict with the Formula of Concord in both articles on Christology and the sacrament of Holy Communion.  The Jesus who is alive is the same incarnated one back in the day.  His resurrection from the dead does not disturb his incarnation.  Christ never sheds His incarnation.


The issue is not the person of Christ; but how Christ is present with us. Christ's presence with us now is not what is was when he was physically and bodily present with his disciples between his birth and ascension. Christ's presence with us now is not what it will be when he returns. Same Christ, different presence.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 12, 2020, 02:51:52 PM
"The presence of Jesus now, is not like it was during the incarnation."  Is he not incarnate now?

Oh Rolf, now you'll really get our resident Nestorian going!

Yes.  This is imo a good critique which goes to the heart of the matter.  The issues brought forth about Christ by Pr. Stoffregen conflict with the Formula of Concord in both articles on Christology and the sacrament of Holy Communion.  The Jesus who is alive is the same incarnated one back in the day.  His resurrection from the dead does not disturb his incarnation.  Christ never sheds His incarnation.


The issue is not the person of Christ; but how Christ is present with us. Christ's presence with us now is not what is was when he was physically and bodily present with his disciples between his birth and ascension. Christ's presence with us now is not what it will be when he returns. Same Christ, different presence.

But the Person of Christ is inextricably combined with His presence.  You can't have one without the other.  That is what Person is.  And Jesus' unique Person is directly bound with His unique Presence.  Same Jesus as always and same Presence as always:  "...the One who is, who was and is to come at the end of the ages."  from Revelation.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 12, 2020, 03:20:34 PM

When I use "divine authorship," it's the idea that God wrote down these words. Human agents had no thoughts about what was written. It comes up when someone claims about the Bible, "God doesn't make mistakes." Or, "God was aware of our 21st century issues when he wrote the Bible."


"'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

"'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'"

Or, when you think it suits your argument, so few.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: mariemeyer on May 12, 2020, 03:50:12 PM
"The presence of Jesus now, is not like it was during the incarnation."  Is he not incarnate now?
 
Pastor Preus:

How would you define the presence of Jesus the Christ now?

Where is the Incarnate Jesus the Christ present now?

Marie Meyer
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 12, 2020, 04:21:24 PM
"The presence of Jesus now, is not like it was during the incarnation."  Is he not incarnate now?
 
Pastor Preus:

How would you define the presence of Jesus the Christ now?

Where is the Incarnate Jesus the Christ present now?

Marie Meyer
In an Ascension Day sermon a few years back, I made the point that Jesus didn’t just keep flying upward to higher and higher altitudes until He was so small you couldn’t see Him. He rose up, but then the cloud came and hid Him from their eyes. He is at the right hand of God, meaning that God isn’t anywhere without Christ. Christ is only “for us” sacramentally in certain places, but He is true God and true Man wherever God is. So the short answer would be everywhere, the more applicable answer would be in the Word and Sacraments.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Weedon on May 12, 2020, 04:50:55 PM
Dr. Nagel: “A God who is everywhere is as useless as a God who is nowhere. What we need is a God who is somewhere.”
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 12, 2020, 05:35:21 PM
"The presence of Jesus now, is not like it was during the incarnation."  Is he not incarnate now?
 
Pastor Preus:

How would you define the presence of Jesus the Christ now?

Where is the Incarnate Jesus the Christ present now?

Marie Meyer

Where the Gospel is preached and sacraments are administered according to that Gospel
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RDPreus on May 12, 2020, 05:45:27 PM
Mrs. Meyer, I agree with all three of the answers above.  I don't know that I would define his presence.  I would describe it.  Clearly, he is omnipresent.  But, as Rev. Weedon points out, everywhere may as well be nowhere.  We locate God by locating Christ in whom all the fulness of the godhead dwells.  We locate Christ where his gospel is purely proclaimed and where his sacraments are rightly administered.  But this is not just in idle theological question.  He is present and he is ~for us~ in his gospel and sacraments.  He is present graciously to rescue us from all evil.  If you want a longer answer, you can go to this page on my website and scroll about half way down the page to Ascension.  http://christforus.org/Sermons/lectionary.html
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2020, 06:35:10 PM
"The presence of Jesus now, is not like it was during the incarnation."  Is he not incarnate now?

Oh Rolf, now you'll really get our resident Nestorian going!

Yes.  This is imo a good critique which goes to the heart of the matter.  The issues brought forth about Christ by Pr. Stoffregen conflict with the Formula of Concord in both articles on Christology and the sacrament of Holy Communion.  The Jesus who is alive is the same incarnated one back in the day.  His resurrection from the dead does not disturb his incarnation.  Christ never sheds His incarnation.


The issue is not the person of Christ; but how Christ is present with us. Christ's presence with us now is not what is was when he was physically and bodily present with his disciples between his birth and ascension. Christ's presence with us now is not what it will be when he returns. Same Christ, different presence.

But the Person of Christ is inextricably combined with His presence.  You can't have one without the other.  That is what Person is.  And Jesus' unique Person is directly bound with His unique Presence.  Same Jesus as always and same Presence as always:  "...the One who is, who was and is to come at the end of the ages."  from Revelation.


There are different forms of presence. My mom had all her sons, and grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren present with her on Mother's Day. Nearly all came to her through a Zoom meeting. (Although one grandchild was on the road and tried to call in, but never made a good connection.) He was present in an audio way that was different than those who were present with audio and video. My wife and I were at her home. We had taken a meal to her. We were present in a different way than those who were only present on her computer screen. (Although I also zoomed in from the next room from my laptop.)


Perhaps you think that the presence of a voice on a phone, or the presence of people on Zoom, is the same as the presence of a person in the room. I don't think so. Same people, but different kinds of presence. Would we say that a worship service through Zoom offers the same kind of corporate presence as meeting in person? I don't think so. You can't shake hands or have a real hug in a virtual meeting like you can in person.

I don't consider the presence of Jesus in the manger or on the boat with the disciples where his skin could be touched, his voice could be heard, his sweat could be smelled, his smile could be seen, and the fish he baked on the beach could be tasted to be quite the same as the bright light Saul saw on the Damascus Road; or the presence we have when we hear the Word and taste and smell the sacrament. The possibility of a real hug isn't there.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2020, 06:36:47 PM

When I use "divine authorship," it's the idea that God wrote down these words. Human agents had no thoughts about what was written. It comes up when someone claims about the Bible, "God doesn't make mistakes." Or, "God was aware of our 21st century issues when he wrote the Bible."


"'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

"'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'"

Or, when you think it suits your argument, so few.


When you don't agree with the definitions that I say I'm using, you could offer your definitions rather than make comments that do nothing to help the discussion.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2020, 06:40:11 PM
Dr. Nagel: “A God who is everywhere is as useless as a God who is nowhere. What we need is a God who is somewhere.”


An analogy I've used:
"Where is there a bathroom?"
"Bathrooms are everywhere!"


That may be true, but it doesn't help.


"Where is God?"
"God is everywhere?" It doesn't help.


While I certainly agree with the "somewhere" of Word and Sacrament, I also note that we often call church buildings, "God's House." It is the place where would should experience God's presence in Word and Sacrament.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 12, 2020, 07:30:50 PM
When you don't agree with the definitions that I say I'm using...

It might require you to be consistent in your definitions, rather than choosing whatever definition fits your argument.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 12, 2020, 07:38:39 PM
"The presence of Jesus now, is not like it was during the incarnation."  Is he not incarnate now?

Oh Rolf, now you'll really get our resident Nestorian going!

Yes.  This is imo a good critique which goes to the heart of the matter.  The issues brought forth about Christ by Pr. Stoffregen conflict with the Formula of Concord in both articles on Christology and the sacrament of Holy Communion.  The Jesus who is alive is the same incarnated one back in the day.  His resurrection from the dead does not disturb his incarnation.  Christ never sheds His incarnation.


The issue is not the person of Christ; but how Christ is present with us. Christ's presence with us now is not what is was when he was physically and bodily present with his disciples between his birth and ascension. Christ's presence with us now is not what it will be when he returns. Same Christ, different presence.

But the Person of Christ is inextricably combined with His presence.  You can't have one without the other.  That is what Person is.  And Jesus' unique Person is directly bound with His unique Presence.  Same Jesus as always and same Presence as always:  "...the One who is, who was and is to come at the end of the ages."  from Revelation.


There are different forms of presence. My mom had all her sons, and grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren present with her on Mother's Day. Nearly all came to her through a Zoom meeting. (Although one grandchild was on the road and tried to call in, but never made a good connection.) He was present in an audio way that was different than those who were present with audio and video. My wife and I were at her home. We had taken a meal to her. We were present in a different way than those who were only present on her computer screen. (Although I also zoomed in from the next room from my laptop.)


Perhaps you think that the presence of a voice on a phone, or the presence of people on Zoom, is the same as the presence of a person in the room. I don't think so. Same people, but different kinds of presence. Would we say that a worship service through Zoom offers the same kind of corporate presence as meeting in person? I don't think so. You can't shake hands or have a real hug in a virtual meeting like you can in person.

I don't consider the presence of Jesus in the manger or on the boat with the disciples where his skin could be touched, his voice could be heard, his sweat could be smelled, his smile could be seen, and the fish he baked on the beach could be tasted to be quite the same as the bright light Saul saw on the Damascus Road; or the presence we have when we hear the Word and taste and smell the sacrament. The possibility of a real hug isn't there.

Aww.  What's a real hug, anyway?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 12, 2020, 07:40:22 PM
Dr. Nagel: “A God who is everywhere is as useless as a God who is nowhere. What we need is a God who is somewhere.”


An analogy I've used:
"Where is there a bathroom?"
"Bathrooms are everywhere!"


That may be true, but it doesn't help.


"Where is God?"
"God is everywhere?" It doesn't help.


While I certainly agree with the "somewhere" of Word and Sacrament, I also note that we often call church buildings, "God's House." It is the place where would should experience God's presence in Word and Sacrament.

What would help?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2020, 07:42:16 PM
When you don't agree with the definitions that I say I'm using...

It might require you to be consistent in your definitions, rather than choosing whatever definition fits your argument.


I think I'm consistent. It's when it appears someone else is using the word or phrase differently than I intended that I then post the definition that I'm using. I think it's a standard usage; but apparently others don't.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2020, 07:44:44 PM
Dr. Nagel: “A God who is everywhere is as useless as a God who is nowhere. What we need is a God who is somewhere.”


An analogy I've used:
"Where is there a bathroom?"
"Bathrooms are everywhere!"


That may be true, but it doesn't help.


"Where is God?"
"God is everywhere?" It doesn't help.


While I certainly agree with the "somewhere" of Word and Sacrament, I also note that we often call church buildings, "God's House." It is the place where would should experience God's presence in Word and Sacrament.

What would help?


Pointing them to the "Restroom" sign for that need.


For those searching for God, I point to the church. Specifically, to worship services. I've defined "worship" as the time and place where God promises to come to us in Word and Sacrament.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2020, 07:45:51 PM
Aww.  What's a real hug, anyway?


If you have to ask, you probably need one. :)
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 12, 2020, 07:59:08 PM
Dr. Nagel: “A God who is everywhere is as useless as a God who is nowhere. What we need is a God who is somewhere.”


An analogy I've used:
"Where is there a bathroom?"
"Bathrooms are everywhere!"


That may be true, but it doesn't help.


"Where is God?"
"God is everywhere?" It doesn't help.


While I certainly agree with the "somewhere" of Word and Sacrament, I also note that we often call church buildings, "God's House." It is the place where would should experience God's presence in Word and Sacrament.

What would help?


Pointing them to the "Restroom" sign for that need.


For those searching for God, I point to the church. Specifically, to worship services. I've defined "worship" as the time and place where God promises to come to us in Word and Sacrament.

I don't not agree (ie. I agree) with what you posted.  But it does not go far enough.  When Christendom talks about Jesus, we are talking about a unique Person not simply a person in general.  We can't impose our categorical thinking about who Jesus is based simply and exclusively on our comparisons with people or individuals in general.  Certainly Jesus lived, suffered and died like other folks.  But this is also a unique Person not like you or me or anyone else for that matter.  But like you and me each of us was given by God our own unique life and vocation not duplicated by anyone else either.  When God raised Jesus from the dead this was part of Jesus' one and only "vocation".  Jesus who knew no sin was made sin for us ala 2 Cor.5.  He was (and is) the friend of sinners.  Part of God giving the unique and one-off mission of Jesus so that God could (as He did and will) save us.  No other person duplicates this. Jesus is personally present, the one who is incarnated and never sheds that incarnation.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 12, 2020, 08:01:53 PM
Aww.  What's a real hug, anyway?


If you have to ask, you probably need one. :)

I should have added  ;) to my post above.  lol
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 12, 2020, 08:03:41 PM
Dr. Nagel: “A God who is everywhere is as useless as a God who is nowhere. What we need is a God who is somewhere.”


An analogy I've used:
"Where is there a bathroom?"
"Bathrooms are everywhere!"


That may be true, but it doesn't help.


"Where is God?"
"God is everywhere?" It doesn't help.


While I certainly agree with the "somewhere" of Word and Sacrament, I also note that we often call church buildings, "God's House." It is the place where would should experience God's presence in Word and Sacrament.

What would help?


Pointing them to the "Restroom" sign for that need.


For those searching for God, I point to the church. Specifically, to worship services. I've defined "worship" as the time and place where God promises to come to us in Word and Sacrament.

I don't not agree (ie. I agree) with what you posted.  But it does not go far enough.  When Christendom talks about Jesus, we are talking about a unique Person not simply a person in general.  We can't impose our categorical thinking about who Jesus is based simply and exclusively on our comparisons with people or individuals in general.  Certainly Jesus lived, suffered and died like other folks.  But this is also a unique Person not like you or me or anyone else for that matter.  But like you and me each of us was given by God our own unique life and vocation not duplicated by anyone else either.  When God raised Jesus from the dead this was part of Jesus' one and only "vocation".  Jesus who knew no sin was made sin for us ala 2 Cor.5.  He was (and is) the friend of sinners.  Part of God giving the unique and one-off mission of Jesus so that God could (as He did and will) save us.  No other person duplicates this. Jesus is personally present, the one who is incarnated and never sheds that incarnation.


I agree with you. I argued years ago that when the WWJD was popular that we are not Jesus. What Jesus did, we can't do. We know what Jesus did - he suffered and died and rose to save the entire world. We can't do that. Neither or suffering nor our deaths will do what Jesus did. We shouldn't think that we can do that. A better question, I think, is to ask, "What would Jesus have me do?"
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 12, 2020, 08:29:29 PM
When you don't agree with the definitions that I say I'm using...

It might require you to be consistent in your definitions, rather than choosing whatever definition fits your argument.

I think I'm consistent. It's when it appears someone else is using the word or phrase differently than I intended that I then post the definition that I'm using. I think it's a standard usage; but apparently others don't.

I'm sure you do.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: mariemeyer on May 13, 2020, 10:47:33 AM
Mrs. Meyer, I agree with all three of the answers above.  I don't know that I would define his presence.  I would describe it.  Clearly, he is omnipresent.  But, as Rev. Weedon points out, everywhere may as well be nowhere.  We locate God by locating Christ in whom all the fulness of the godhead dwells.  We locate Christ where his gospel is purely proclaimed and where his sacraments are rightly administered.  But this is not just in idle theological question.  He is present and he is ~for us~ in his gospel and sacraments.  He is present graciously to rescue us from all evil.  If you want a longer answer, you can go to this page on my website and scroll about half way down the page to Ascension.  http://christforus.org/Sermons/lectionary.html

I agree - to say that Christ is everywhere is meaningless.

Yes, Christ is present for us in the Word and the Sacraments.

The question is whether Christ is a living true presence in us when we hear His Word?   Is Christ a true living presence when we hear the Word and feed on it in heart and mind... when we digest it so that it becomes that which direct our heart and mind, spirit and will?

What is the meaning meaning of the Christmas hymn you and I sang as children and continue to sing, "Ah dearest Jesus, Holy Child  Make Thee a bed soft undefiled    Within my heart that it may be... A quiet chamber kept for Thee."  Are we both praying that the same Christ makes His true Living presence in our heart?

Is there any truth to the baptismal hymns where the baptized child/adult is grafted into the vine there to receive a new inner life from the vine?

When you and I receive the Bread and the Wine is the Body and Blood of Christ is it not the same Christ that becomes a part of my being just as it of yours?

Final question:  Does anything about the Living Christ present in Word and Sacrament present in me differ from that which you have received and continue to receive?   Any less authoritative or power?


marie meyer

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 13, 2020, 11:36:11 AM
Mrs. Meyer, I agree with all three of the answers above.  I don't know that I would define his presence.  I would describe it.  Clearly, he is omnipresent.  But, as Rev. Weedon points out, everywhere may as well be nowhere.  We locate God by locating Christ in whom all the fulness of the godhead dwells.  We locate Christ where his gospel is purely proclaimed and where his sacraments are rightly administered.  But this is not just in idle theological question.  He is present and he is ~for us~ in his gospel and sacraments.  He is present graciously to rescue us from all evil.  If you want a longer answer, you can go to this page on my website and scroll about half way down the page to Ascension.  http://christforus.org/Sermons/lectionary.html


....Final question:  Does anything about the Living Christ present in Word and Sacrament present in me differ from that which you have received and continue to receive?   Any less authoritative or power?


marie meyer

How many times does that question have to be answered for you to be satisfied?  Because it HAS been answered here, more times than I care to recall.  And the answer, every time, has been that Christ is present in you and me and all believers in the very same way, with the same authority and power. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RDPreus on May 13, 2020, 11:37:10 AM
The question is whether Christ is a living true presence in us when we hear His Word?    I would not call Christ a presence.  He is living and truly present when we hear his word.

Is Christ a true living presence when we hear the Word and feed on it in heart and mind... when we digest it so that it becomes that which direct our heart and mind, spirit and will?  Again, I would not call Christ a presence.  I'm not sure what this means.
 
What is the meaning of the Christmas hymn you and I sang as children and continue to sing, "Ah dearest Jesus, Holy Child  Make Thee a bed soft undefiled    Within my heart that it may be... A quiet chamber kept for Thee."  We are asking Jesus to come to us in love and to capture our affections so that we will love him purely.

Are we both praying that the same Christ makes His true Living presence in our heart?  Yes.

Is there any truth to the baptismal hymns where the baptized child/adult is grafted into the vine there to receive a new inner life from the vine?  Yes.

When you and I receive the Bread and the Wine is the Body and Blood of Christ is it not the same Christ that becomes a part of my being just as it of yours?  I don't know what "a part of my being" means.

Does anything about the Living Christ present in Word and Sacrament present in me differ from that which you have received and continue to receive?   Any less authoritative or power?  No.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 13, 2020, 03:43:27 PM
Did I miss something?  What is the connection between praying to "Mother God" and ordaining women?  I would assume that most traditional Lutherans in the ELCA don't believe there is a connection.  We affirm the ordination of women, but reject prayer to "Mother God". 

Is there a suggestion from either the LCMS or from ELCA revisionists that the two necessarily go together?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: MaddogLutheran on May 13, 2020, 04:14:04 PM
Did I miss something?  What is the connection between praying to "Mother God" and ordaining women?  I would assume that most traditional Lutherans in the ELCA don't believe there is a connection.  We affirm the ordination of women, but reject prayer to "Mother God". 

Is there a suggestion from either the LCMS or from ELCA revisionists that the two necessarily go together?

Yes.  As well as the next logical step, embracing same-sex relationships--they inevitably lead one to another.  Because when you see everything through the lens of "pure doctrine", there is only black and white.   :-\
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 13, 2020, 04:23:03 PM
Alternatively, if the question is approached from the perspective of proper appreciation for and treatment of women, refusing to ordain women and using only masculine referents for God are both signs of misogyny and the evil of patriarchy at work. The holy crusade against the ancient evil foe of patriarchy will not be complete until the last vestiges are crushed and eradicated and that includes masculine referents for God. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 13, 2020, 04:42:51 PM
Alternatively, if the question is approached from the perspective of proper appreciation for and treatment of women, refusing to ordain women and using only masculine referents for God are both signs of misogyny and the evil of patriarchy at work. The holy crusade against the ancient evil foe of patriarchy will not be complete until the last vestiges are crushed and eradicated and that includes masculine referents for God.

That certainly is the argument of ELCA revisionists.  Many, at least, believe that revising God language is key to assuring equality for women in the church.  For them, it is the linchpin, and unless we radically alter the way we refer to God, patriarchy will inevitably reclaim the church the way weeds reclaim a untended garden.  This belief was in place as early as 1988.  It did not yet represent the majority, but at least 1/3 of the student body and faculty of my seminary believed it then.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RDPreus on May 13, 2020, 05:51:04 PM
Did I miss something?  What is the connection between praying to "Mother God" and ordaining women?  I would assume that most traditional Lutherans in the ELCA don't believe there is a connection.  We affirm the ordination of women, but reject prayer to "Mother God". 

Is there a suggestion from either the LCMS or from ELCA revisionists that the two necessarily go together?

Not necessarily, but it is likely.  Those who oppose ordaining women do not pray to "Mother God" and those who pray to "Mother God" favor the ordination of women.  That some affirm the ordination of women but reject prayer to "Mother God" I don't deny.  But does the term "traditional Lutherans" aptly describe those who favor ordaining women?  If so, what do you call us who oppose ordaining women?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 13, 2020, 07:15:08 PM
Did I miss something?  What is the connection between praying to "Mother God" and ordaining women?  I would assume that most traditional Lutherans in the ELCA don't believe there is a connection.  We affirm the ordination of women, but reject prayer to "Mother God". 

Is there a suggestion from either the LCMS or from ELCA revisionists that the two necessarily go together?

Not necessarily, but it is likely.  Those who oppose ordaining women do not pray to "Mother God" and those who pray to "Mother God" favor the ordination of women.  That some affirm the ordination of women but reject prayer to "Mother God" I don't deny.  But does the term "traditional Lutherans" aptly describe those who favor ordaining women?  If so, what do you call us who oppose ordaining women?

I would call them traditional Lutheran, confessional Lutherans, orthodox Lutherans, and even swell Lutherans.  My use of "traditional Lutheran" was intended only to identify one of two groups in the ELCA.  Your question about whether it is apt to describe those who favor the ordination of women as "traditional Lutherans" is a fair one.  So is your suggestion that the ordination of women will likely, although not necessarily, lead to praying to "Mother God". 

I think that most revisionists in the ELCA would agree that those opposing use of "Mother God" are inconsistent.  As they argued in the case of the ordination of sexually active homosexuals, so they argue when it comes to God language.  If the traditional Biblical interpretation about the ordination of women can be changed, so can everything else, the naming of God included.  They would say that ELCA people who oppose "Mother God" are not traditional Lutherans at all, but inconsistent revisionists.  Maybe this is one of those broken clock  moments, when ELCA revisionists agree with the LCMS. 

Its not unlikely that in my lifetime I will have to choose between a church that uses traditional God language, and a church that ordains women.  The middle ground is rapidly disappearing. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Tom Eckstein on May 13, 2020, 07:59:27 PM
Did I miss something?  What is the connection between praying to "Mother God" and ordaining women?  I would assume that most traditional Lutherans in the ELCA don't believe there is a connection.  We affirm the ordination of women, but reject prayer to "Mother God". 

Is there a suggestion from either the LCMS or from ELCA revisionists that the two necessarily go together?

Not necessarily, but it is likely.  Those who oppose ordaining women do not pray to "Mother God" and those who pray to "Mother God" favor the ordination of women.  That some affirm the ordination of women but reject prayer to "Mother God" I don't deny.  But does the term "traditional Lutherans" aptly describe those who favor ordaining women?  If so, what do you call us who oppose ordaining women?

I would call them traditional Lutheran, confessional Lutherans, orthodox Lutherans, and even swell Lutherans.  My use of "traditional Lutheran" was intended only to identify one of two groups in the ELCA.  Your question about whether it is apt to describe those who favor the ordination of women as "traditional Lutherans" is a fair one.  So is your suggestion that the ordination of women will likely, although not necessarily, lead to praying to "Mother God". 

I think that most revisionists in the ELCA would agree that those opposing use of "Mother God" are inconsistent.  As they argued in the case of the ordination of sexually active homosexuals, so they argue when it comes to God language.  If the traditional Biblical interpretation about the ordination of women can be changed, so can everything else, the naming of God included.  They would say that ELCA people who oppose "Mother God" are not traditional Lutherans at all, but inconsistent revisionists.  Maybe this is one of those broken clock  moments, when ELCA revisionists agree with the LCMS. 

Its not unlikely that in my lifetime I will have to choose between a church that uses traditional God language, and a church that ordains women.  The middle ground is rapidly disappearing.

I know some will strenuously disagree with me, but IMO such groups as the NALC and the LCMC have simply moved the train back on the same theological track that is moving in the same direction.  In other words, because of their willingness to ordain women in conflict with Scripture and the confession/practice of the Church catholic, it will only be a matter of time before they say:  "Maybe God is doing a new thing!"  I hope not.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: GalRevRedux on May 13, 2020, 09:13:30 PM
Threads like this make me feel that I dwell in a theological “Groundhog Day” of despair.

Donna
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 13, 2020, 09:25:55 PM
Threads like this make me feel that I dwell in a theological “Groundhog Day” of despair.

Donna

Donna,

I'm not hoping that I have to choose between women's ordination and traditional God language.  I only fear that I will have to.  I fear that my only two choices will be between the an orthodox LCMS without women's ordination or a neo-pagan ELCA with women's ordination.  Will NALC or LCMC succeed in keeping a middle option open?  I hope so.

David
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: mariemeyer on May 14, 2020, 09:29:33 AM
Threads like this make me feel that I dwell in a theological “Groundhog Day” of despair.

Donna

Me too!

Marie
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 14, 2020, 10:18:27 AM
I’m with you, Marie and Donna.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 14, 2020, 11:21:40 AM
Threads like this make me feel that I dwell in a theological “Groundhog Day” of despair.

Donna

Me too!

Marie

Just curious.  Do you know who brought the subject of women's ordination in the LCMS into a discussion of God language in the ELCA? Somehow, it seems that any thread about the ELCA devolves into a discussion of some conflict in the LCMS.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Charles Austin on May 14, 2020, 12:18:38 PM
Pastor Charlton, almost every thread quickly nears the topics of women pastors, abortion, the latest evilness of the ELCA, and/or the good/bad structures of the LCMS.
Because any discussion of women pastors automatically means a quick leap to even greater horrors; abortion is (well..we know what it is); it's fun (and O, so easy) to find evil in the ELCA; and LCMS structure is a good way to avoid talking about certain other things.
Just my not-so-humble opinion.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 14, 2020, 12:22:29 PM
Pastor Charlton, almost every thread quickly nears the topics of women pastors, abortion, the latest evilness of the ELCA, and/or the good/bad structures of the LCMS.
Because any discussion of women pastors automatically means a quick leap to even greater horrors; abortion is (well..we know what it is); it's fun (and O, so easy) to find evil in the ELCA; and LCMS structure is a good way to avoid talking about certain other things.
Just my not-so-humble opinion.
None of the other active threads are doing that. This one happens to be entitlted "The ELCA prays to 'Mother God'" so the tangents you describe don't seem quite so off topic.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 14, 2020, 12:49:21 PM
Pastor Charlton, almost every thread quickly nears the topics of women pastors, abortion, the latest evilness of the ELCA, and/or the good/bad structures of the LCMS.
Because any discussion of women pastors automatically means a quick leap to even greater horrors; abortion is (well..we know what it is); it's fun (and O, so easy) to find evil in the ELCA; and LCMS structure is a good way to avoid talking about certain other things.
Just my not-so-humble opinion.
None of the other active threads are doing that. This one happens to be entitlted "The ELCA prays to 'Mother God'" so the tangents you describe don't seem quite so off topic.


The topic of using "Mother" for God almost immediately goes to the use of scriptures for our practices, e.g., "God is never addressed as 'Mother' in the Bible." That immediately moves to ways of interpreting and applying scriptures, and women's ordination is one key illustration of different ways of interpreting scriptures.


It's quite similar to the argument that NALC folks use that they didn't form the new denomination over homosexual relationships, but over the authority of scriptures. So, argue some, the use of "Mother" is really about the authority of scriptures - and that opens the can of worms of every difference in our denominations.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 14, 2020, 12:59:50 PM
Pastor Charlton, almost every thread quickly nears the topics of women pastors, abortion, the latest evilness of the ELCA, and/or the good/bad structures of the LCMS.
Because any discussion of women pastors automatically means a quick leap to even greater horrors; abortion is (well..we know what it is); it's fun (and O, so easy) to find evil in the ELCA; and LCMS structure is a good way to avoid talking about certain other things.
Just my not-so-humble opinion.
None of the other active threads are doing that. This one happens to be entitlted "The ELCA prays to 'Mother God'" so the tangents you describe don't seem quite so off topic.

The topic of using "Mother" for God almost immediately goes to the use of scriptures for our practices, e.g., "God is never addressed as 'Mother' in the Bible." That immediately moves to ways of interpreting and applying scriptures, and women's ordination is one key illustration of different ways of interpreting scriptures.

It's quite similar to the argument that NALC folks use that they didn't form the new denomination over homosexual relationships, but over the authority of scriptures. So, argue some, the use of "Mother" is really about the authority of scriptures - and that opens the can of worms of every difference in our denominations.

True, but I often feel that God language and women's ordination are tied together in a manipulative way.  So, in my denomination, the trope is that if you don't want to call God "Mother" you are a patriarch who opposes equality for women in the society and the church.  In other branches of Lutheranism, the two are tied together in such a way that anyone who supports the ordination of women is suspected of also supporting gay marriage, and neo-paganism.  Making the connection between "Mother God" and women's ordination becomes a way of shutting people up. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 14, 2020, 01:11:30 PM
I just downloaded the latest ELCA Style Guide (revised May 2019). It begins with:

The primary style manual for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is the current edition of the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook. The primary dictionary is the current edition of Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. When alternate spellings are available in the dictionary, the first reference is used. Don’t assume that an entry in this word list implies a difference with Merriam-Webster’s or the AP Stylebook.

NOTES:
• Use only one space between sentences and after a colon (except in biblical citations where there is no space following the colon).
• In general, italic type is discouraged. It is used in this guide, as it is in AP Stylebook, for emphasis and clarity.
• An entry marked “preferred” indicates the style that should be used if possible. If an alternative is needed, justification for the choice should be provided to the editorial specialist.
• Resources of a highly academic nature that include footnotes should be edited per Chicago Manual of Style (chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html).
• Since texts prepared for liturgical use often quote or paraphrase Bible passages, texts in Evangelical Lutheran Worship resources employ a more economical use of added style characteristics such as capitalization, so these texts are consonant with the style of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Quotations from Evangelical Lutheran Worship resources will reproduce the style of those resources. For consistency, newly develop or adapted texts for liturgical use normally follow Evangelical Lutheran Worship style.


Searching for "mother" there is only this posting:


Mother’s Day
Note capitalization and apostrophe treatment.

Postings that include "father" are:

Abba
Aramaic for “father”; do not italicize

apostolic/Apostolic
Lowercase “apostolic church,” “apostolic council,” “apostolic greetings,” “apostolic succession”; but “the Apostolic Fathers.”

eternal Father
Note capitalization treatment.

Father
Capitalize when it refers to the first person of the Trinity.

Father’s Day
Capitalize and use apostrophe appropriately.

holy Father
Capitalize “holy” only when referring to the title of the pope in the Roman Catholic Church.

Three in One
Trinity; refers to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

"Masculine" and "feminine" do not occur in the document.

At least in this guide, there is nothing that requires non-masculine terms for God; nor does it advise about using "Mother" for God, like it does "Father." The traditional language, "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" is used for the Trinity.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 14, 2020, 01:15:59 PM
Pastor Charlton, almost every thread quickly nears the topics of women pastors, abortion, the latest evilness of the ELCA, and/or the good/bad structures of the LCMS.
Because any discussion of women pastors automatically means a quick leap to even greater horrors; abortion is (well..we know what it is); it's fun (and O, so easy) to find evil in the ELCA; and LCMS structure is a good way to avoid talking about certain other things.
Just my not-so-humble opinion.
None of the other active threads are doing that. This one happens to be entitlted "The ELCA prays to 'Mother God'" so the tangents you describe don't seem quite so off topic.

The topic of using "Mother" for God almost immediately goes to the use of scriptures for our practices, e.g., "God is never addressed as 'Mother' in the Bible." That immediately moves to ways of interpreting and applying scriptures, and women's ordination is one key illustration of different ways of interpreting scriptures.

It's quite similar to the argument that NALC folks use that they didn't form the new denomination over homosexual relationships, but over the authority of scriptures. So, argue some, the use of "Mother" is really about the authority of scriptures - and that opens the can of worms of every difference in our denominations.

True, but I often feel that God language and women's ordination are tied together in a manipulative way.  So, in my denomination, the trope is that if you don't want to call God "Mother" you are a patriarch who opposes equality for women in the society and the church.  In other branches of Lutheranism, the two are tied together in such a way that anyone who supports the ordination of women is suspected of also supporting gay marriage, and neo-paganism.  Making the connection between "Mother God" and women's ordination becomes a way of shutting people up.


Both Charles and I have said that we don't use "Mother" as a title for God; and we support equality for women.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 14, 2020, 01:24:56 PM
Both Charles and I have said that we don't use "Mother" as a title for God; and we support equality for women.

Right, but that has nothing to do with what I'm talking about.  I'm talking about how people tie issues like ordination for "partnered" homosexuals, or "Mother God", to women's ordination in order to shut people down.  In the ELCA it is used to shut more conservative people down.  I gather that in the LCMS, it is used to shut a different group of people down.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 14, 2020, 01:34:47 PM
Threads like this make me feel that I dwell in a theological “Groundhog Day” of despair.

Donna

Me too!

Marie

Just curious.  Do you know who brought the subject of women's ordination in the LCMS into a discussion of God language in the ELCA? Somehow, it seems that any thread about the ELCA devolves into a discussion of some conflict in the LCMS.

It depends on how you look at it. In post #332, Marie Meyer, the same person who now feels like she's in "Groundhog Day" asks the question, "Final question:  Does anything about the Living Christ present in Word and Sacrament present in me differ from that which you have received and continue to receive?   Any less authoritative or power?"

In post #335, in response to her question, you then ask, "Did I miss something?  What is the connection between praying to "Mother God" and ordaining women?"

If I read this correctly, it then seems as though you thought Mrs. Meyer was going to take us into a conversation in that direction, but whether or not that was what she was thinking is unknown. I found her question to be very vague. So, in answer to your question, she may have brought up the question implicitly, but you did so explicitly.

Chuck Austen might like to note that: it was an ELCA pastor who made the explicit connection. Maybe he wants to talk with you about finding "evil in the ELCA." Personally, I didn't need to "find evil"; it was right there in the ELCA's social media.

As to the "slippery slope" argument of women's ordination and the connection to "Mother God"...I'll be honest, I think it depends on some of your presuppositions. There is the Evangelical feminist argument that Paul's words in Timothy should be considered temporary: women should not teach for the present time, because they were not educated, but once they were taught, they could assume the pastoral office. I didn't buy that argument, but I enjoyed discussing it. That, in contrast to a blog post I read by an ELCA woman pastor a few years ago, in which she argued that Paul did not write Timothy, it was written by some anonymous misogynist and should be disregarded because it was obviously written to uphold the patriarchy.

I would argue that the Evangelical Feminists, who are seriously trying to deal with the text and are very concerned with what Scripture actually says would not filter into the "Mother God" language. I would argue that the second would go for that language. Or at least, as has been shown in this discussion by various participants, not have any real reason to object to it other than "I don't like it and don't use it."
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 14, 2020, 01:52:57 PM
I would argue that the Evangelical Feminists, who are seriously trying to deal with the text and are very concerned with what Scripture actually says would not filter into the "Mother God" language. I would argue that the second would go for that language. Or at least, as has been shown in this discussion by various participants, not have any real reason to object to it other than "I don't like it and don't use it."

Thanks for your reply. 

I would make the same distinction, but add that in my experience some who you might call "evangelical catholic feminists" fall into the same category as Evangelical Feminists.  They are committed to proper exegesis of Scripture, to what the Church has taught in every time and place as expressed in the Ecumenical Creeds, and to the Lutheran Confessions, as well as to the liturgy.  Many of them I know from STS.  Others I have known as classmates or colleagues.

Sadly, its not uncommon to see all women pastors/theologians lumped into the same category.  In the same way, its not uncommon to see all who are conservative or traditional lumped into the same category.  Not every woman pastor is a neo-pagan.  Not every evangelical/creedal/confessional pastor is a misogynist. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 14, 2020, 05:18:39 PM
Both Charles and I have said that we don't use "Mother" as a title for God; and we support equality for women.

Right, but that has nothing to do with what I'm talking about.  I'm talking about how people tie issues like ordination for "partnered" homosexuals, or "Mother God", to women's ordination in order to shut people down.  In the ELCA it is used to shut more conservative people down.  I gather that in the LCMS, it is used to shut a different group of people down.

I was using ourselves as examples of ELCA folks who don't.

If you want to be part of more conservative discussions by some ELCA folks, check out Lutheran Core. They have both a website and facebook page. http://lutherancore.website/ (http://lutherancore.website/)

While NALC grew out of Lutheran Core, there are still ELCA folks who are active in the group and discussions.


Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: NCLutheran2 on May 14, 2020, 05:27:00 PM
True, but I often feel that God language and women's ordination are tied together in a manipulative way.  So, in my denomination, the trope is that if you don't want to call God "Mother" you are a patriarch who opposes equality for women in the society and the church.  In other branches of Lutheranism, the two are tied together in such a way that anyone who supports the ordination of women is suspected of also supporting gay marriage, and neo-paganism.  Making the connection between "Mother God" and women's ordination becomes a way of shutting people up.

Our contemporary culture is unable to comprehend anything other than binary thinking. 0 or 1. All decisions are either yes or no. There can be no middle ground. You are either in the group or out of it. If you agree with one thing a group says, you agree with everything that group says, because you must automatically support everything that you're group supports and automatically opposed to anything to which your group is opposed since any other position between total acceptance or opposition is too complex for this system of thought. The choices don't have to be thoughtful, logical, or coherent - just binary.

I have often felt that we in the ELCA get it coming from both ways, because on the conservative side of our tradition, we have an inflexible Book of Concord, whose text can't be added to or changed, which leads to the school thought that every theological argument ever was settled in 1580 and any other ideas are heretical, and on the liberal side, we have an institution that essentially functions as a churchly wing of the Democratic Party whose sole mission is compliance with their position on any concomitant issue. That doesn't leave much room for thoughtful debate on anything beyond what's for dinner.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: RDPreus on May 14, 2020, 07:01:39 PM
There appears to be a continuum from right to left with patriarchy on the right and feminism on the left.  When it comes to women's ordination, however, it is not purely right versus left.  Those who derive the public ministry from the priesthood of all believers tend toward ordaining women even if they are socially quite conservative and still retain certain patriarchal beliefs.  Those who see the ministry as coming from the apostolate are less likely to favor ordaining women even when they may hold to more liberal social views.  Of course, there are exceptions.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 14, 2020, 07:07:55 PM
Pastor Charlton, almost every thread quickly nears the topics of women pastors, abortion, the latest evilness of the ELCA, and/or the good/bad structures of the LCMS.


You forgot Trump, The New York Times, and various people in this forum on left or right who are continual irritants.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 14, 2020, 07:28:00 PM
True, but I often feel that God language and women's ordination are tied together in a manipulative way.  So, in my denomination, the trope is that if you don't want to call God "Mother" you are a patriarch who opposes equality for women in the society and the church.  In other branches of Lutheranism, the two are tied together in such a way that anyone who supports the ordination of women is suspected of also supporting gay marriage, and neo-paganism.  Making the connection between "Mother God" and women's ordination becomes a way of shutting people up.

Our contemporary culture is unable to comprehend anything other than binary thinking. 0 or 1. All decisions are either yes or no. There can be no middle ground. You are either in the group or out of it. If you agree with one thing a group says, you agree with everything that group says, because you must automatically support everything that you're group supports and automatically opposed to anything to which your group is opposed since any other position between total acceptance or opposition is too complex for this system of thought. The choices don't have to be thoughtful, logical, or coherent - just binary.

I have often felt that we in the ELCA get it coming from both ways, because on the conservative side of our tradition, we have an inflexible Book of Concord, whose text can't be added to or changed, which leads to the school thought that every theological argument ever was settled in 1580 and any other ideas are heretical, and on the liberal side, we have an institution that essentially functions as a churchly wing of the Democratic Party whose sole mission is compliance with their position on any concomitant issue. That doesn't leave much room for thoughtful debate on anything beyond what's for dinner.

There are some who understand the documents in the Book of Concord as another form of a type of para-scripture, it’s authoritative basis with that of scripture.  The BOC assists in ascribing interpretive value to scripture, aids to confess the Gospel in its truth (see Galatians 1).   Most of the problem in the ELCA occurs because all of its public opinion-making (opinio legis) confines itself to events which happen under the law (read:  “...for with the law comes the knowledge of sin.)   If both points could be clarified within the teaching element in that church expression,  their ways and means could change for the better.  But because the ELCA continues to be a big tent operation it will continue as a circus of sorts.And I’m not talking about the well-meaning folk who recognize the problem and choose to operate within the ELCA (for it continues word and sacrament ministry) and work/teach for change.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 14, 2020, 07:58:32 PM
There appears to be a continuum from right to left with patriarchy on the right and feminism on the left.  When it comes to women's ordination, however, it is not purely right versus left.  Those who derive the public ministry from the priesthood of all believers tend toward ordaining women even if they are socially quite conservative and still retain certain patriarchal beliefs.  Those who see the ministry as coming from the apostolate are less likely to favor ordaining women even when they may hold to more liberal social views.  Of course, there are exceptions.

That's a helpful insight. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 14, 2020, 08:15:30 PM
True, but I often feel that God language and women's ordination are tied together in a manipulative way.  So, in my denomination, the trope is that if you don't want to call God "Mother" you are a patriarch who opposes equality for women in the society and the church.  In other branches of Lutheranism, the two are tied together in such a way that anyone who supports the ordination of women is suspected of also supporting gay marriage, and neo-paganism.  Making the connection between "Mother God" and women's ordination becomes a way of shutting people up.

Our contemporary culture is unable to comprehend anything other than binary thinking. 0 or 1. All decisions are either yes or no. There can be no middle ground. You are either in the group or out of it. If you agree with one thing a group says, you agree with everything that group says, because you must automatically support everything that you're group supports and automatically opposed to anything to which your group is opposed since any other position between total acceptance or opposition is too complex for this system of thought. The choices don't have to be thoughtful, logical, or coherent - just binary.

I have often felt that we in the ELCA get it coming from both ways, because on the conservative side of our tradition, we have an inflexible Book of Concord, whose text can't be added to or changed, which leads to the school thought that every theological argument ever was settled in 1580 and any other ideas are heretical, and on the liberal side, we have an institution that essentially functions as a churchly wing of the Democratic Party whose sole mission is compliance with their position on any concomitant issue. That doesn't leave much room for thoughtful debate on anything beyond what's for dinner.


I have never been accused of binary thinking. Rather, others get frustrated at my, "It could be this …, or it could be that." I quoted my seminary professor before: "You should be able to argue both sides of an issue with conviction." And a church member: "I feel strong both ways."


In fact, as I've quoted elsewhere, the first definition of "liberal" is "willing to respect or accept behavior or opinions different from one's own; open to new ideas."


So, I don't have any idea where you get your "binary thinking" characteristic of contemporary culture.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 14, 2020, 08:24:21 PM
There appears to be a continuum from right to left with patriarchy on the right and feminism on the left.  When it comes to women's ordination, however, it is not purely right versus left.  Those who derive the public ministry from the priesthood of all believers tend toward ordaining women even if they are socially quite conservative and still retain certain patriarchal beliefs.  Those who see the ministry as coming from the apostolate are less likely to favor ordaining women even when they may hold to more liberal social views.  Of course, there are exceptions.


Interesting chart of women's ordination: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_women%27s_ordination_in_the_United_States


The first in 1815 was in a Free Will Baptist Church. (I doubt they would be considered "liberal".)
There were some early female clergy in the Unitarians and Universalists. (Certainly on the "liberal" side.)
Also one in 1961 in the Wesleyan Methodist Connection (later the Wesleyan Church). (Not so "liberal".)


As I read through the list and the denominations that ordained them, it doesn't seem to be a liberal vs. conservative issue. Perhaps, you you stated, it's more about how the denomination views the ordained ministry. It was clearly stated at my ALC seminary that we had a "functional" view of ordination. We are "set apart" to do certain things. (Since women are able to do those things, they could also be ordained.)
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Richard Johnson on May 14, 2020, 08:37:40 PM
Back in the 1970s, when I was a United Methodist and the Episcopalians were debating ordaining women, I completely flummoxed my Episcopal friend by saying that I was perfectly happy that we Methodists ordained women, but I really didn't think that the Episcopalians ought to do so. But that's really what I was thinking at the time; it all has to do with how a community understands the nature of the ministry.

(I don't hold the same view today. At least most of the time.)
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 14, 2020, 09:33:18 PM
Both Charles and I have said that we don't use "Mother" as a title for God; and we support equality for women.

Right, but that has nothing to do with what I'm talking about.  I'm talking about how people tie issues like ordination for "partnered" homosexuals, or "Mother God", to women's ordination in order to shut people down.  In the ELCA it is used to shut more conservative people down.  I gather that in the LCMS, it is used to shut a different group of people down.

I was using ourselves as examples of ELCA folks who don't.

If you want to be part of more conservative discussions by some ELCA folks, check out Lutheran Core. They have both a website and facebook page. http://lutherancore.website/ (http://lutherancore.website/)

While NALC grew out of Lutheran Core, there are still ELCA folks who are active in the group and discussions.

As a member of the Board of Lutheran CORE I thank you for recommending our website.  I think our newsletter is pretty good too. ;)
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on May 14, 2020, 11:55:09 PM

I have never been accused of binary thinking.

I suppose that technically, that's true; no one has said, "Brian, you are guilty of binary thinking." 

But on this forum you pretty regularly ask questions in theological discussions which presume 2 things to be mutually exclusive, "Which is it, X or 3?" to which my answer is frequently (or would be be if I posted it), "Yes." 

Here's but one example the search function located:

I don't believe that the pastor (whether or male or female) consecrates the elements. God does that. Does God work through the words spoken by a woman? The LCMS must believe that God does because they allow women to teach young children the faith.

Your logic eludes me -- and any other thinking person, especially those who don't recognize the ordination of women.  That God works through the words spoken by a woman is not controversial in the least.  Unless, I suppose, you want to assert that the prayers of a woman have no effect whatsoever.  But then you have to deal with the prayers and other words of women in the canonical scriptures.  Such as the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, who is most highly venerated in churches that do not ordain women.

I'll try to make it more simple for you: do you consecrate (make holy) the elements of communion or does God do that?

Please try again, because I am still not seeing how you get from point A to point D, unless you are asserting A and D are the same point. 

As for your question, which I'm also not sure how you think is relevant:

do you consecrate (make holy) the elements of communion or does God do that?

Yes.

At least since September 13, 1992.  Never before then.

Pax, Steven+

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: James J Eivan on May 15, 2020, 12:21:01 AM
It was clearly stated at my ALC seminary that we had a "functional" view of ordination. We are "set apart" to do certain things. (Since women are able to do those things, they could also be ordained.)
Few if any would doubt that 'women are able to do those things'.  Where the difference lies is in the "functional" view of Holy Scripture.


It is clear from the your 40,000+ posts that your view of Holy Scriptures functions far differently than many if not most forum participants.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2020, 02:36:11 AM

I have never been accused of binary thinking.

I suppose that technically, that's true; no one has said, "Brian, you are guilty of binary thinking." 

But on this forum you pretty regularly ask questions in theological discussions which presume 2 things to be mutually exclusive, "Which is it, X or 3?" to which my answer is frequently (or would be be if I posted it), "Yes." 

Here's but one example the search function located:

I don't believe that the pastor (whether or male or female) consecrates the elements. God does that. Does God work through the words spoken by a woman? The LCMS must believe that God does because they allow women to teach young children the faith.

Your logic eludes me -- and any other thinking person, especially those who don't recognize the ordination of women.  That God works through the words spoken by a woman is not controversial in the least.  Unless, I suppose, you want to assert that the prayers of a woman have no effect whatsoever.  But then you have to deal with the prayers and other words of women in the canonical scriptures.  Such as the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, who is most highly venerated in churches that do not ordain women.

I'll try to make it more simple for you: do you consecrate (make holy) the elements of communion or does God do that?

Please try again, because I am still not seeing how you get from point A to point D, unless you are asserting A and D are the same point. 

As for your question, which I'm also not sure how you think is relevant:

do you consecrate (make holy) the elements of communion or does God do that?

Yes.

At least since September 13, 1992.  Never before then.

Pax, Steven+


Yup, a non-binary issue does not fit well into binary thinking. Either X or Y becomes both X and Y. As Presiding Bishop Hanson used to say, "We are the church of the 'And'."
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 15, 2020, 08:29:02 AM
It was clearly stated at my ALC seminary that we had a "functional" view of ordination. We are "set apart" to do certain things. (Since women are able to do those things, they could also be ordained.)

Wow. Try to follow the [il]logic of that argument.  :o
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 15, 2020, 11:51:36 AM
Yup, a non-binary issue does not fit well into binary thinking. Either X or Y becomes both X and Y. As Presiding Bishop Hanson used to say, "We are the church of the 'And'."

When a decision has to be made, however, binary thinking is required.  By definition, when I decide I am cutting something in two.  That was the fallacy of our 2009 decision.  The notion that we could decide and yet not exclude was illogical.  Whenever one decide, some things are excluded.  The decision to use "Mother God" excludes even as it includes.  Sure, one can continue to use traditional language for God, as long as one accepts the premise that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are merely metaphors (a la' McFague), and not the revealed name of God.  However, if one believes that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the revealed name of God (a la' Jenson), then the decision to use "Mother God" excludes that understanding. 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: mariemeyer on May 15, 2020, 12:17:19 PM
There appears to be a continuum from right to left with patriarchy on the right and feminism on the left.  When it comes to women's ordination, however, it is not purely right versus left.  Those who derive the public ministry from the priesthood of all believers tend toward ordaining women even if they are socially quite conservative and still retain certain patriarchal beliefs.  Those who see the ministry as coming from the apostolate are less likely to favor ordaining women even when they may hold to more liberal social views.  Of course, there are exceptions.

This thread began with prayers to "Mother God" by some members of the ELCA.  It spun off in several directions, including the ordination of woman.

As I observe, the ELCA decision to pray to "Mother God" originates in the misguided ideology that women are somehow secondary in Biblical writings. These persons, women and men, come from the perspective that a patriarchal understanding of the relationship of man and woman in the Church is read into the Bible by some Lutheran theologians.  Rather than establishing a sound biblical response to how some Lutheran Lutheran theologians misuse Scripture to promote a patriarchal relationship between man and woman in the home and church, they ignore the significance of God as our Father and Creator and pray to "Mother God."

From the perspective of an LCMS woman, I maintain LCMS has to come to terms with whether or not Scripture does indeed reveal that God's will for man and woman in the home and church is patriarchal.  The stumbling block is that the LCMS defense of a male pastorate is based on the claim that God's design for the relationship is patriarchal.

Thus the question,  "Does the Biblical naming of God as our Father, establish God's Law that adult women are the subordinate members of the One Holy Body of Christ?"

Marie Meyer   



 

who promises to abide in me…if and when I remain open to letting God be God in my life.     
Writing to the Galatians, St. Paul confesses, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2: 20).” The men who were my LCMS teachers taught me to read this text as God’s truth for woman and man. Thus, I, like Paul have been crucified with Christ. I live trusting that Christ, the Living Word, so joins Himself to me in Baptism and the Lord’s supper that my being as a woman here and now on earth is rooted and grounded in His Life.  Luther writes, “For we cannot spiritually conceive that Christ is so nearly joined and united unto us, as the light or whiteness are unto the wall.  Christ therefore, saith St. Paul, thus joined and united unto me and abiding in me, liveth this life in me which now I live, yea Christ himself is this life which I live.” This is biblical living at its best.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 15, 2020, 12:35:00 PM
There appears to be a continuum from right to left with patriarchy on the right and feminism on the left.  When it comes to women's ordination, however, it is not purely right versus left.  Those who derive the public ministry from the priesthood of all believers tend toward ordaining women even if they are socially quite conservative and still retain certain patriarchal beliefs.  Those who see the ministry as coming from the apostolate are less likely to favor ordaining women even when they may hold to more liberal social views.  Of course, there are exceptions.

This thread began with prayers to "Mother God" by some members of the ELCA.  It spun off in several directions, including the ordination of woman.

As I observe, the ELCA decision to pray to "Mother God" originates in the misguided ideology that women are somehow secondary in Biblical writings. These persons, women and men, come from the perspective that a patriarchal understanding of the relationship of man and woman in the Church is read into the Bible by some Lutheran theologians.  Rather than establishing a sound biblical response to how some Lutheran Lutheran theologians misuse Scripture to promote a patriarchal relationship between man and woman in the home and church, they ignore the significance of God as our Father and Creator and pray to "Mother God."

From the perspective of an LCMS woman, I maintain LCMS has to come to terms with whether or not Scripture does indeed reveal that God's will for man and woman in the home and church is patriarchal.  The stumbling block is that the LCMS defense of a male pastorate is based on the claim that God's design for the relationship is patriarchal.

Thus the question,  "Does the Biblical naming of God as our Father, establish God's Law that adult women are the subordinate members of the One Holy Body of Christ?"

Marie Meyer   



 

who promises to abide in me…if and when I remain open to letting God be God in my life.     
Writing to the Galatians, St. Paul confesses, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2: 20).” The men who were my LCMS teachers taught me to read this text as God’s truth for woman and man. Thus, I, like Paul have been crucified with Christ. I live trusting that Christ, the Living Word, so joins Himself to me in Baptism and the Lord’s supper that my being as a woman here and now on earth is rooted and grounded in His Life.  Luther writes, “For we cannot spiritually conceive that Christ is so nearly joined and united unto us, as the light or whiteness are unto the wall.  Christ therefore, saith St. Paul, thus joined and united unto me and abiding in me, liveth this life in me which now I live, yea Christ himself is this life which I live.” This is biblical living at its best.

Marie, I see your points and you make some good ones.


One problem that I have with this entire discussion is with the definition of terms. "Patriarchy" and "Feminism" have become such loaded terms, usually as epithets for people disagreed with, that as terms descriptive of particular positions they have become almost useless. They have also become useful terms for simply dismissing positions and people disagreed with. To call a position or person patriarchal or feminist is to dismiss them and their ideas as unworthy of consideration, to be banned from polite society. This does not foster good discussion.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2020, 12:38:41 PM
It was clearly stated at my ALC seminary that we had a "functional" view of ordination. We are "set apart" to do certain things. (Since women are able to do those things, they could also be ordained.)

Wow. Try to follow the [il]logic of that argument.  :o


What do you have troubles following?


Those who can learn a trade, pass the tests, preform the tasks can be called to be plumbers, nurses, doctors, auto mechanics, fire fighters, etc., regardless of gender. There was also discussions at seminary if those answering those other callings should be "ordained" to their vocations like clergy.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 15, 2020, 01:20:06 PM
It was clearly stated at my ALC seminary that we had a "functional" view of ordination. We are "set apart" to do certain things. (Since women are able to do those things, they could also be ordained.)

Wow. Try to follow the [il]logic of that argument.  :o


What do you have troubles following?


Those who can learn a trade, pass the tests, preform the tasks can be called to be plumbers, nurses, doctors, auto mechanics, fire fighters, etc., regardless of gender. There was also discussions at seminary if those answering those other callings should be "ordained" to their vocations like clergy.

Part of the problem with this discussion is that we are not operating with the same meaning for "ordination." And that goes back to a difference in how we regard the Office of the Holy Ministry, or Pastoral Office.


It seems to me that you are here suggesting what could be termed a "functional" view of the Pastor. That is, being a pastor involves one in performing a number of tasks to carry out the duties assigned to the pastor so that for someone to be ordained as a pastor, they have demonstrated in a prescribed way that they are competent to carry out those tasks and duties and so the certifying body ordains them into that vocation. Another term could be licenses them. In ecclesiastic circles we tend to use ordain rather than license but they amount to about the same.


Under this view, it would make sense to use the term ordain instead of license for those vocation like plumber or nurse whose practitioners need to meet certain criteria and proficiency in order to practice that vocation. Under this view, it would also make sense to ordain women into the pastoral office if they can demonstrate competency to carry out the functions of the office.


But that is not exactly the same view of the Pastoral Office that we in the LCMS have taken. In our understanding, the Pastoral Office is not only a collection of tasks and duties to be carried out but a specific position into which one is placed by one who has authority to place people in that position. Now, one who is to placed into that office should have demonstrated competency to carry out the tasks and duties associated with the office, but being able to do the job is not enough. One must be delegated or sent out and authorized to fulfill that office by the One whose office it is to delegate.


Here I draw my own understanding not only from what I have been taught in the LCMS and CTCR documents about the Pastoral Office, but a book, Apostolate and Ministry, by Karl Heinrich Rengstorf, transaltion by Paul D. Pahl, CPH 1969, regrettably long out of print, and the article in Kittle about apostello also by Rengstof.


An analogy. In order to practice law a person must pass the bar and be licensed to practice. But even if a person has done all that and is licensed in my state to practice law, that person is not my attorney and does not represent me in legal matters unless I have engaged that person to do so and authorized them to represent me. Someone may be perfectly capable of carrying out all the tasks of a lawyer, be excellent at it, but unless I have authorized them to represent me, they are not my lawyer.


My understanding of the Pastoral Office is that a crucial element of being a Pastor is that God has called that person into the Office, authorized them to represent Him, and delegated to Him to carry out certain tasks in His name. Called it the Apostolic view of the pastorate based on the Greek apostello. From what we read in the New Testament, God has not called women into this office, no matter how competent they may otherwise be. By the by, we also understand that God has delegated that calling into the office to the Church within the boundaries that He established.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: jebutler on May 15, 2020, 01:24:53 PM
It was clearly stated at my ALC seminary that we had a "functional" view of ordination. We are "set apart" to do certain things. (Since women are able to do those things, they could also be ordained.)
Few if any would doubt that 'women are able to do those things'.  Where the difference lies is in the "functional" view of Holy Scripture.

Since when did the ALC adopt the WELS view of the ministry? Did the ALC go as far as Hoefling? (Wilhelm Loehe must have been rolling in his grave to know that a seminary he founded taught a functional view of the ministry.)

How do bishops fit in with a functional view of the ministry? The two seem to be at odds.

How does fellowship with the Episcopal Church in the USA fit in with a functional view of the ministry? Even better, how did it fit in with merging with the LCA?
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: readselerttoo on May 15, 2020, 01:30:03 PM
It was clearly stated at my ALC seminary that we had a "functional" view of ordination. We are "set apart" to do certain things. (Since women are able to do those things, they could also be ordained.)
Few if any would doubt that 'women are able to do those things'.  Where the difference lies is in the "functional" view of Holy Scripture.


It is clear from the your 40,000+ posts that your view of Holy Scriptures functions far differently than many if not most forum participants.

There needs or perhaps, ought a to be a reclamation of a forum thread from the past which discusses the scope and limits to Holy Scripture.  I’m sure there would be various views on this.  Unless we take the history of the biblical canon as well as the statements in our Formula of Concord which helps to form a definition, we won’t get far with the discussion let alone agreement on what comprises Holy Scripture.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2020, 03:00:44 PM
Yup, a non-binary issue does not fit well into binary thinking. Either X or Y becomes both X and Y. As Presiding Bishop Hanson used to say, "We are the church of the 'And'."

When a decision has to be made, however, binary thinking is required.  By definition, when I decide I am cutting something in two.  That was the fallacy of our 2009 decision.  The notion that we could decide and yet not exclude was illogical.  Whenever one decide, some things are excluded.  The decision to use "Mother God" excludes even as it includes.  Sure, one can continue to use traditional language for God, as long as one accepts the premise that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are merely metaphors (a la' McFague), and not the revealed name of God.  However, if one believes that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the revealed name of God (a la' Jenson), then the decision to use "Mother God" excludes that understanding.


In 2009 we made a Statement. The four different positions were a statement about convictions of people within the ELCA. I agree with the statement, those are different positions of members of my congregation. Similarly, the infamous first draft of 1993 listed three positions held by ELCA members. When we studied the draft, those three positions were present among the dozen or so folks in the class. What we didn't say was that one was right and the others were wrong. Neither do we say which political party is right and which are wrong.


Why do you insist that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the name of God? The usual pattern in Greek is to use the accusative case for the actual name, not the genitive. For example, Matthew 1:21: τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν = the name of him Jesus; or Luke 1:5 τὸ ὄνομα αὐτῆς Ἐλισάβετ = the name of her Elizabeth; or Luke 1:59 τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ζαχαρίαν = the name of his father Zechariah.


In these examples, ὄνομα is followed by a genitive case (which is not the name) and then the name in the accusative case.


Matthew 28:19 uses the genitive: τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος. No where else in Matthew are the actual names in the genitive case. In fact, Matthew 10;41 has ὄνομα προφήτου (=name of a prophet) and ὄνομα δικαίου (=name of a righteous one). We do not assume that "prophet" nor "righteous one" are the actual names.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2020, 03:04:19 PM
My understanding of the Pastoral Office is that a crucial element of being a Pastor is that God has called that person into the Office, authorized them to represent Him, and delegated to Him to carry out certain tasks in His name. Called it the Apostolic view of the pastorate based on the Greek apostello. From what we read in the New Testament, God has not called women into this office, no matter how competent they may otherwise be. By the by, we also understand that God has delegated that calling into the office to the Church within the boundaries that He established.


We saw the same sort of calling to be a plumber or nurse or auto mechanic. They are called "vocations" - a calling. Thus, why shouldn't the church set apart the baptized for those callings as we do those called to the Holy Ministry. There was not the sense that we clergy are called by God and the laity are not.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 15, 2020, 03:06:06 PM

Thus the question,  "Does the Biblical naming of God as our Father, establish God's Law that adult women are the subordinate members of the One Holy Body of Christ?"

Marie Meyer   

No, not in any way I can see, unless you mean "ordinate" in the way St. Paul speaks of the relevance of Adam having been formed first. I can't think of any way my sister or adult daughter is a subordinate member of the Body of Christ to my brother or adult son.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: mariemeyer on May 15, 2020, 03:10:13 PM
Pr. Daniel Fienen writes...

One problem that I have with this entire discussion is with the definition of terms. "Patriarchy" and "Feminism" have become such loaded terms, usually as epithets for people disagreed with, that as terms descriptive of particular positions they have become almost useless. They have also become useful terms for simply dismissing positions and people disagreed with. To call a position or person patriarchal or feminist is to dismiss them and their ideas as unworthy of consideration, to be banned from polite society. This does not foster good discussion.

My thoughts...

My use of "patriarchy" reflects how and where it is used in LCMS literature, including writings approved by doctrinal review for publication by CPH. Often patriarchy is associated with the order of creation structure of Father, Son, man, woman. 

Although my name has been associated with feminism in places like KFUO broadcasts, Christian News and the CTCR meetings where I was an invited consultant, my husband, our children and people in the congregations he served for forty years think that's humorous. That's not the Marie Meyer we know. 

I am persuaded that the theological matrix for true knowledge the identity, purpose and relationship of man and woman in the home, church and society begins with true knowledge of God as revealed in Christ....  not in the order of creation as taught in the LCMS.  The theological matrix is knowledge of God's work in and through women is not the LCMS order of creation structrue.

Authoritative knowledge of the nature of God present with and working as God in the life of man and woman is given to the many men and woman who ARE the ONE HOLY Body of Christ, not primarily to the men of the Church.   It is in what Scripture refers to as knowing and being known to God, that is to say the knowledge is an intimate knowledge as in the relationship of husband and wife. 

IOW, women who ARE the church have something to teach men about what it means for men of the Church to be the Bride, not the Bridegroom, the Body not the Head, to be the sons of God the Father just as their sisters are daughters of God the Father.

Might God the Holy Spirit be so present n the heart and mind, spirit and will of women that they be called  God's handmaidens in teaching men the critical distinction between God the Father and human fathers, between God the Creators and men the creatures, between the Incarnate Son of God become the Son of Man from God and a woman and men who are humans born of a human man and a human woman, between the men of the church who can be procreative husbands to their wife and who human baptized husbands like baptized human wives are the are as the  One Holy Bride of Christ. 

Baptized human man and woman remain male and female sinners after baptism, now, however, they are also, "saints," holy children of God because the living resurrected Christ promises to remain present with them as long as they, in faith, cling to God's promise to be God in , with and for them.

Your sister in Christ.       

 
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: DCharlton on May 15, 2020, 03:40:23 PM
Yup, a non-binary issue does not fit well into binary thinking. Either X or Y becomes both X and Y. As Presiding Bishop Hanson used to say, "We are the church of the 'And'."

When a decision has to be made, however, binary thinking is required.  By definition, when I decide I am cutting something in two.  That was the fallacy of our 2009 decision.  The notion that we could decide and yet not exclude was illogical.  Whenever one decide, some things are excluded.  The decision to use "Mother God" excludes even as it includes.  Sure, one can continue to use traditional language for God, as long as one accepts the premise that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are merely metaphors (a la' McFague), and not the revealed name of God.  However, if one believes that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the revealed name of God (a la' Jenson), then the decision to use "Mother God" excludes that understanding.

In 2009 we made a Statement. The four different positions were a statement about convictions of people within the ELCA. I agree with the statement, those are different positions of members of my congregation. Similarly, the infamous first draft of 1993 listed three positions held by ELCA members. When we studied the draft, those three positions were present among the dozen or so folks in the class. What we didn't say was that one was right and the others were wrong. Neither do we say which political party is right and which are wrong.

That's not true.  The 2009 decisions were simply that, a decision.  The simple fact that it required a yes/no vote shows that it was a decision.  In fact it was a decision in two senses:

Sense 1:  People where asked to decide whether four different views of human sexuality could be compatible, or not.  Implicit in that was a decision about whether the proposal was faithful to Scripture, Creed and Confessions or not.  The decision included the "yes" and excluded the "no".  The ELCA decided, for instance, that you were right and I was wrong.  In the end it was a binary choice.

Sense 2: The leaders of the ELCA knew all along that HSGT could not be implemented.  There was no way that four different viewpoints could be incorporated into ELCA policy simultaneously.  So, they made sure that the implementing resolutions enshrined Position 4 as the default position. 

Neither logically (Sense 1) or practically (Sense 2) were the 2009 decisions anything but binary.

Quote
Why do you insist that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the name of God?
 

a.  Because I believe it to be true.  Why else would I insist upon it?

b.  Because I believe that the alternative that you offer below is false.  Why else would I reject it?

Logically, if what you assert below is true, then what I assert above is false.  You have not escaped binary thinking.00

Quote
The usual pattern in Greek is to use the accusative case for the actual name, not the genitive. For example, Matthew 1:21: τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν = the name of him Jesus; or Luke 1:5 τὸ ὄνομα αὐτῆς Ἐλισάβετ = the name of her Elizabeth; or Luke 1:59 τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ζαχαρίαν = the name of his father Zechariah.

In these examples, ὄνομα is followed by a genitive case (which is not the name) and then the name in the accusative case.

Matthew 28:19 uses the genitive: τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος. No where else in Matthew are the actual names in the genitive case. In fact, Matthew 10;41 has ὄνομα προφήτου (=name of a prophet) and ὄνομα δικαίου (=name of a righteous one). We do not assume that "prophet" nor "righteous one" are the actual names.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 15, 2020, 03:44:18 PM
My understanding of the Pastoral Office is that a crucial element of being a Pastor is that God has called that person into the Office, authorized them to represent Him, and delegated to Him to carry out certain tasks in His name. Called it the Apostolic view of the pastorate based on the Greek apostello. From what we read in the New Testament, God has not called women into this office, no matter how competent they may otherwise be. By the by, we also understand that God has delegated that calling into the office to the Church within the boundaries that He established.


We saw the same sort of calling to be a plumber or nurse or auto mechanic. They are called "vocations" - a calling. Thus, why shouldn't the church set apart the baptized for those callings as we do those called to the Holy Ministry. There was not the sense that we clergy are called by God and the laity are not.

Yes, I understand the concept of Christian vocation, and yes I consider that God does call people into vocations, secular vocations as well as ecclesial. However, my understanding of the Pastoral Office is that it involves something different than simply being called into a vocation that requires certain skill sets and knowledge bases in order to acceptable perform the functions associated with that vocation. It involves the authority granted to the holder of that office to represent and transact business for the One who established that office.


Let me be clear. I believe that the Pastoral Office was established by God and that those whom He has called to that Office are not only performing a collection of tasks associated with the Office but are granted the authority to represent God and transact business for Him. Thus when I forgive sins (not just assure people that God forgives sins, but I forgive sins) "I, by virtue of my office, as a called and ordained servant of the word, announce the grace of God unto all of you, and in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins." There I am not just performing a task, as plumber would approach a leaky faucet and drawing on his knowledge diagnose and fix the leak, I am acting with the authority that God gave me in my call, not in my competency to do stuff.


And yes, this means that I believe that the Pastoral Office in its essence was present in the church from its beginning as Jesus intended it to be, rather than developed over the first few centuries of the church as Christians developed organization and polity. I don't care how skilled a person is or how learned, they may be able to many great things in God's service in the church, but unless they are called, they should not be considered pastors. We in the LCMS have been convinced that God does not call women into the Pastoral Office, no matter how competently they may speak. minister, or administer. The lawyer down the street may be the smartest, wisest, most learned, and most skilled attorney in the state, but unless I have authorized her to represent me in legal matters, she is not my lawyer and cannot actually represent me. Pastors are there not just to do pastoral things in general, they are there to represent Christ and cannot do so unless authorized by Him.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 15, 2020, 03:50:08 PM

Marie writes: I am persuaded that the theological matrix for true knowledge the identity, purpose and relationship of man and woman in the home, church and society begins with true knowledge of God as revealed in Christ....  not in the order of creation as taught in the LCMS.  The theological matrix is knowledge of God's work in and through women is not the LCMS order of creation structrue.

I comment: I don't think the LCMS replaces the matrix of understanding our individual and corporate identities by knowing God in Christ with a different matrix of the order of creation. The order of creation as taught overtly in Scripture is simply an aspect of knowing God as He reveals Himself and not as we imagine Him. In other words, the LCMS teaches clearly that the theological matrix of our self-understanding is in true knowledge of God
Incarnate. The orders of creation do not replace or contradict that.

Marie writes: Authoritative knowledge of the nature of God present with and working as God in the life of man and woman is given to the many men and woman who ARE the ONE HOLY Body of Christ, not primarily to the men of the Church.   It is in what Scripture refers to as knowing and being known to God, that is to say the knowledge is an intimate knowledge as in the relationship of husband and wife. 

I respond: Authoritative knowledge isn't at issue. Apart from some claim of direct, extra-Scriptural revelation from God, we all operate with the same body of knowledge available to us. Nobody says men have access to some knowledge that women lack. Some people know and study more doctrine, some less, but the knowledge itself does to take on or lose authority based on who is knowing it. At issue is authoritative offices, not authoritative knowledge. The famed lawyer might know ten times as much law as the judge, but their offices, not their knowledge, determine who speaks authoritatively.   

Marie writes: IOW, women who ARE the church have something to teach men about what it means for men of the Church to be the Bride, not the Bridegroom, the Body not the Head, to be the sons of God the Father just as their sisters are daughters of God the Father.

I respond: How would the critical distinction between God the Father and human fathers be something you are in a position to teach me by virtue of being female? We both have access to the same body of information. God hasn't revealed anything to women generally that He hasn't also revealed to men generally. Frankly, I think we already agree on that critical Creator/creation distinction anyway. I already know Christ is the Head of the Church and I am not. To the degree my marriage depicts the union of Christ and Church, I depict Christ and my wife depicts the Church. The distinction between the role of husband and wife is a microcosm of the critical distinction between Christ and Church. Husband and wife are distinct offices, not the same office as occupied by a man or a woman.   

Marie writes: Might God the Holy Spirit be so present n the heart and mind, spirit and will of women that they be called  God's handmaidens in teaching men the critical distinction between God the Father and human fathers, between God the Creators and men the creatures, between the Incarnate Son of God become the Son of Man from God and a woman and men who are humans born of a human man and a human woman, between the men of the church who can be procreative husbands to their wife and who human baptized husbands like baptized human wives are the are as the  One Holy Bride of Christ. 

I respond: See above, but again, why would teaching that critical distinction be something God's handmaidens/daughters could do better than His manservants/sons? And why deal in "might and maybe" terms? You seem to go back and forth about whether there is any critical distinction between male and female. Here, you seem to be arguing not only for the permissibility of women teaching men authoritatively, but the necessity of it. Which, of course, only works if there is some distinction at work between God's sons and daughters which you reject elsewhere.

Marie writes: Baptized human man and woman remain male and female sinners after baptism, now, however, they are also, "saints," holy children of God because the living resurrected Christ promises to remain present with them as long as they, in faith, cling to God's promise to be God in , with and for them.

I respond. Agreed.

[/quote]
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 15, 2020, 04:01:14 PM
Pr. Daniel Fienen writes...

One problem that I have with this entire discussion is with the definition of terms. "Patriarchy" and "Feminism" have become such loaded terms, usually as epithets for people disagreed with, that as terms descriptive of particular positions they have become almost useless. They have also become useful terms for simply dismissing positions and people disagreed with. To call a position or person patriarchal or feminist is to dismiss them and their ideas as unworthy of consideration, to be banned from polite society. This does not foster good discussion.

My thoughts...

My use of "patriarchy" reflects how and where it is used in LCMS literature, including writings approved by doctrinal review for publication by CPH. Often patriarchy is associated with the order of creation structure of Father, Son, man, woman. 

Although my name has been associated with feminism in places like KFUO broadcasts, Christian News and the CTCR meetings where I was an invited consultant, my husband, our children and people in the congregations he served for forty years think that's humorous. That's not the Marie Meyer we know. 

I am persuaded that the theological matrix for true knowledge the identity, purpose and relationship of man and woman in the home, church and society begins with true knowledge of God as revealed in Christ....  not in the order of creation as taught in the LCMS.  The theological matrix is knowledge of God's work in and through women is not the LCMS order of creation structrue.

Authoritative knowledge of the nature of God present with and working as God in the life of man and woman is given to the many men and woman who ARE the ONE HOLY Body of Christ, not primarily to the men of the Church.   It is in what Scripture refers to as knowing and being known to God, that is to say the knowledge is an intimate knowledge as in the relationship of husband and wife. 

IOW, women who ARE the church have something to teach men about what it means for men of the Church to be the Bride, not the Bridegroom, the Body not the Head, to be the sons of God the Father just as their sisters are daughters of God the Father.

Might God the Holy Spirit be so present n the heart and mind, spirit and will of women that they be called  God's handmaidens in teaching men the critical distinction between God the Father and human fathers, between God the Creators and men the creatures, between the Incarnate Son of God become the Son of Man from God and a woman and men who are humans born of a human man and a human woman, between the men of the church who can be procreative husbands to their wife and who human baptized husbands like baptized human wives are the are as the  One Holy Bride of Christ. 

Baptized human man and woman remain male and female sinners after baptism, now, however, they are also, "saints," holy children of God because the living resurrected Christ promises to remain present with them as long as they, in faith, cling to God's promise to be God in , with and for them.

Your sister in Christ.       

I am not trying to dispute what you say. I have no doubt that LCMS thinkers have at times gotten things wrong and may have at times misapplied Scripture. Those are dangers inherent in fallible mortals thinking and writing about Scripture and making church policies on the basis of their understanding of Scripture.
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: mariemeyer on May 15, 2020, 05:11:04 PM


Marie writes: IOW, women who ARE the church have something to teach men about what it means for men of the Church to be the Bride, not the Bridegroom, the Body not the Head, to be the sons of God the Father just as their sisters are daughters of God the Father.

Peter responded: How would the critical distinction between God the Father and human fathers be something you are in a position to teach me by virtue of being female? We both have access to the same body of information. God hasn't revealed anything to women generally that He hasn't also revealed to men generally. Frankly, I think we already agree on that critical Creator/creation distinction anyway. I already know Christ is the Head of the Church and I am not. To the degree my marriage depicts the union of Christ and Church, I depict Christ and my wife depicts the Church. The distinction between the role of husband and wife is a microcosm of the critical distinction between Christ and Church. Husband and wife are distinct offices, not the same office as occupied by a man or a woman.   

I'll give this a try.

Growing up, I knew very clearly that I was a daughter, not a son.  IOW, I was not male like my father and my brothers.  At the same time I, like my brothers, was a child, not a parent.   We siblings experienced our father in much the same way. He related to us as our father and we were his children. Two of my father's younger brothers commented to me, "You are just like your father."  Was I male like him? No, but I was very much under the influence of my dad. One uncle commented that if he wanted to know how his brother thought or believed, he saw and heard his brother in me, my dad's daughter.  What I can teach you and other men is that while there is a similarity between God the Father and human fathers, but there is  greater dissimilarity...the critical distinction between God the Creator and men the creatures.  Thus, the danger of thinking or (mis)using Scripture to conclude that being a human male creature qualifies one to represent God, the Creator.

There is the same dis-similarity between God the Father and the sons of God as there is between God the Father and the daughters of God. We, Man, male and female, are God's creation, God, is our Creator.  According to Scripture, God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit were actively present at the Creation of Man, male and female.   Together, They, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, were present as God the Creator, not God as pro-creator. 

Your counterpart and coworker on earth in accomplishing God's purpose on earth is woman.  By her dis-similarity with God, she has something to teach you about God's relationship to you and you to God. It's the same relationship God promises to woman and man. We, you and I, now live from and trusting the One True God's promise to be God present as God in our life.

How this applies to Christ and who you and I are as the Church, the Bride and Body of Christ is for another day.

Your sister in Christ, your co-worker in accomplishing God's will for mankind and your fellow member of the Body of Christ,

Marie 

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2020, 06:16:32 PM
That's not true.  The 2009 decisions were simply that, a decision.  The simple fact that it required a yes/no vote shows that it was a decision.  In fact it was a decision in two senses:


Yes, a decision was made by a 2/3 majority vote.

Quote
Sense 1:  People where asked to decide whether four different views of human sexuality could be compatible, or not.  Implicit in that was a decision about whether the proposal was faithful to Scripture, Creed and Confessions or not.  The decision included the "yes" and excluded the "no".  The ELCA decided, for instance, that you were right and I was wrong.  In the end it was a binary choice.


No. People agreed that there are four different views among the membership of the ELCA; and that there hadn't been enough consensus on biblical interpretation to decide on one over the others.

Quote
Sense 2: The leaders of the ELCA knew all along that HSGT could not be implemented.  There was no way that four different viewpoints could be incorporated into ELCA policy simultaneously.  So, they made sure that the implementing resolutions enshrined Position 4 as the default position. 


The Statement wasn't about implementing a view. It was about recognizing that there are different views with the hope that those differences wouldn't divide us.


Yes, what the ELCA implemented was one of the views; but it didn't change the statement that there are four different views among ELCA membership.

Quote
Neither logically (Sense 1) or practically (Sense 2) were the 2009 decisions anything but binary.


That's not how I see it.

Quote
Quote
Why do you insist that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the name of God?
 

a.  Because I believe it to be true.  Why else would I insist upon it?


It's true based on what?

Quote
b.  Because I believe that the alternative that you offer below is false.  Why else would I reject it?


Please tell me what is the alternative name that I offered? I also never said that your statement was false. I asked for evidence for it. What makes you think it's true?


It is possible for people to say different things - and they both be true. (See attachment).


In fact, I've done an exercise with congregation councils. I hold up a sheet of paper with in the middle of the page.
I ask, "What do you see?"
"A dot in the middle of the page."
"OK. Now, in the next three minutes, write down three more right answers."


After the three minutes, I get them into small groups of three or four, to come up with seven right answers in two minutes.


Finally, the whole group shares to come up with ten or more right answers to "What do you see?"


Two points:
1. There can be more than one right answer.
2. A group is more creative than an individual.


My reading in systems theory and my training in type theory both go against binary thinking. Life is more on in continuous scale where some things are more appropriate than others - and the appropriateness can change with different circumstances. Some things are preferred over others; but it doesn't mean that the less preferred are wrong.

Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 15, 2020, 06:16:56 PM


Marie writes: IOW, women who ARE the church have something to teach men about what it means for men of the Church to be the Bride, not the Bridegroom, the Body not the Head, to be the sons of God the Father just as their sisters are daughters of God the Father.

Peter responded: How would the critical distinction between God the Father and human fathers be something you are in a position to teach me by virtue of being female? We both have access to the same body of information. God hasn't revealed anything to women generally that He hasn't also revealed to men generally. Frankly, I think we already agree on that critical Creator/creation distinction anyway. I already know Christ is the Head of the Church and I am not. To the degree my marriage depicts the union of Christ and Church, I depict Christ and my wife depicts the Church. The distinction between the role of husband and wife is a microcosm of the critical distinction between Christ and Church. Husband and wife are distinct offices, not the same office as occupied by a man or a woman.   

I'll give this a try.

Growing up, I knew very clearly that I was a daughter, not a son.  IOW, I was not male like my father and my brothers.  At the same time I, like my brothers, was a child, not a parent.   We siblings experienced our father in much the same way. He related to us as our father and we were his children. Two of my father's younger brothers commented to me, "You are just like your father."  Was I male like him? No, but I was very much under the influence of my dad. One uncle commented that if he wanted to know how his brother thought or believed, he saw and heard his brother in me, my dad's daughter.  What I can teach you and other men is that while there is a similarity between God the Father and human fathers, but there is  greater dissimilarity...the critical distinction between God the Creator and men the creatures.  Thus, the danger of thinking or (mis)using Scripture to conclude that being a human male creature qualifies one to represent God, the Creator.

There is the same dis-similarity between God the Father and the sons of God as there is between God the Father and the daughters of God. We, Man, male and female, are God's creation, God, is our Creator.  According to Scripture, God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit were actively present at the Creation of Man, male and female.   Together, They, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, were present as God the Creator, not God as pro-creator. 

Your counterpart and coworker on earth in accomplishing God's purpose on earth is woman.  By her dis-similarity with God, she has something to teach you about God's relationship to you and you to God. It's the same relationship God promises to woman and man. We, you and I, now live from and trusting the One True God's promise to be God present as God in our life.

How this applies to Christ and who you and I are as the Church, the Bride and Body of Christ is for another day.

Your sister in Christ, your co-worker in accomplishing God's will for mankind and your fellow member of the Body of Christ,

Marie
I don't think your example applies to anything I've been talking about. But it misses the point entirely that husband and wife are distinct offices. God "as revealed in Christ" is a more specific thing than God generically. The Church is the bride of Christ, not the Bridegroom of Christ. We agree on that. But the words have no meaning unless the relationship between human brides and bridegrooms somehow correlates to what we're saying is the relationship between Christ and the Church. For there to be such a correlation, the human bridegroom must somehow depict Christ within the relationship in a way that the bride does not depict Christ to him but rather depicts the Church. It is a matter of office, not ability, personality, or any other semblance. If human brides and bridegrooms are equally Christ and Church to each other, than it is a meaningless distinction to say that Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church is the Bride.   
Title: Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 15, 2020, 07:00:28 PM
My understanding of the Pastoral Office is that a crucial element of being a Pastor is that God has called that person into the Office, authorized them to represent Him, and delegated to Him to carry out certain tasks in His name. Called it the Apostolic view of the pastorate based on the Greek apostello. From what we read in the New Testament, God has not called women into this office, no matter how competent they may otherwise be. By the by, we also understand that God has delegated that calling into the office to the Church within the boundaries that He established.


We saw the same sort of calling to be a plumber or nurse or auto mechanic. They are called "vocations" - a calling. Thus, why shouldn't the church set apart the baptized for those callings as we do those called to the Holy Ministry. There was not the sense that we clergy are called by God and the laity are not.

Yes, I understand the concept of Christian vocation, and yes I consider that God does call people into vocations, secular vocations as well as ecclesial. However, my understanding of the Pastoral Office is that it involves something different than simply being called into a vocation that requires certain skill sets and knowledge bases in order to acceptable perform the functions associated with that vocation. It involves the authority granted to the holder of that office to represent and transact business for the One who established that office.


Let me be clear. I believe that the Pastoral Office was established by God and that those whom He has called to that Office are not only performing a collection of tasks associated with the Office but are granted the authority to represent God and transact business for Him. Thus when I forgive sins (not just assure people that God forgives sins, but I forgive sins) "I, by virtue of my office, as a called and ordained servant of the word, announce the grace of God unto all of you, and in the stead and by the co