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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: PrTim15 on October 23, 2021, 12:56:05 PM

Title: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: PrTim15 on October 23, 2021, 12:56:05 PM
Home on quarantine and reflecting on my own mortality in light of the District Conferences word that 30% of pastors will retire in next 10 years. That includes me:)

So I wonder what the deal is? Do we have a looming pastoral crisis? Will congregations bid for services and resourced churches have pastors? Will pastoral vacancies cause congregations to compete for pastors? Do we rather than having not enough pastors have too many congregations?

There seems to be no strategy coming from LCMS Inc. IMHO writing papers and doing studies is over. And congregations and districts seem to be on their own. We can all do nothing and hope for the best. We can start talking succession planning and see what happens. I’m curious about your thoughts and observations.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 23, 2021, 01:09:55 PM
Bear in mind that even if we had stable seminary enrollment over time and it was all first career seminarians right out of college planning on forty year careers in the ministry and achieving that, it would be true to say that 25% of pastors intend to retire in the next decade. So 30% is high but not way high. Ten years is a long time, a fourth of a full pastoral career.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: PrTim15 on October 23, 2021, 01:17:29 PM
Yes, I get the math…my sense is that it will be every congregation for itself.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 23, 2021, 01:24:37 PM
Peter, is your response always “nothing to see here”?
I’ll bet that nationally close to 50 percent or more of our pastors, LCMS and ELCA will be retiring in the next few years. Now look at our seminary enrollments and the viability of about half our congregations. The pastor-supply problem is complex, as we have both too many and too few. And many of them are in the “wrong” places, unable to move because of the career of a spouse, housing, the age of their children or the location of aging parents.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: D. Engebretson on October 23, 2021, 01:45:55 PM
I think that short-term the solutions will be worked out locally as more parishes combine and pastors are increasingly called to serve more than one congregation.

Alternate route programs (esp. SMP) will probably rise in popularity, supplying pastors to churches unable to afford an M.Div candidate. 

Some churches will simply close, as the Lutheran church just a few miles of me did a couple of years ago.  Over 130 years old, this ELCA church decided it could no longer afford to remain open, and since the local Mennonites were already renting their church they ended up selling it them.

The short-term solutions will ultimately require long-term adjustments, both at the seminaries and in the entire denominational structure.   
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Tom Eckstein on October 23, 2021, 02:33:53 PM
The North Dakota District, like other midwest/rural LCMS districts, has a complicated situation.  I serve the "big" congregation in our circuit as sole pastor (with also have a full time deaconess).  But recently I began serving a small rural congregation about 30 miles from where I live.  They used to be part of a dual parish, but the other congregation closed.  There are no other congregations in our circuit that they could join with because they were either too far away or already a in a multiple parish arrangement (e.g., north of my congregation we have a 3 point parish and a 4 point parish!).  I'm am leading a 2:00PM Sunday service at this small rural congregation where many of the members who live in that small town are elderly and can't easily make the drive to Jamestown where I live.  So, I'm glad I'm able to serve them because they would not have other good options otherwise.  They were willing to have a 2:00PM Sunday service because unless I offered a 6:00AM Sunday Service for them it would need to be afternoon or evening (I have two Sunday morning Services plus a morning bible class at my congregation).

What I described above is going to be more and more the norm for ND because we already have many multiple parish arrangements and some congregations have no other option but to be served by one of the pastors from a nearby larger congregation.

But what about the next 10 years for ND?  Like Tim, I, too, will be retiring in less than 10 years - and so will many other pastors in the ND District!  On the other hand, I can imagine several of our smaller congregations in ND closing within the next 10 years.  It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and what solutions we come up with to deal with the situation.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 23, 2021, 05:45:57 PM
I think there will be some ebb and flow, but the shortage of pastors will parallel the impending shortage of congregations able to support a full time pastor. Preaching stations, services not on Sundays led by a circuit rider, busses in far rural churches taking a dozen or so people to a larger church for regular worship, retired guys preaching into their 80’s while not doing some of the other aspects of ministry, etc. will solve some problems. It looks like an impending massive clergy shortage but I don’t think it will materialize like that. The whole set of conditions will change, and there will be enough pastors to fill the new expectations regarding the need. 
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 23, 2021, 06:44:52 PM
The North Dakota District, like other midwest/rural LCMS districts, has a complicated situation.  I serve the "big" congregation in our circuit as sole pastor (with also have a full time deaconess).  But recently I began serving a small rural congregation about 30 miles from where I live.  They used to be part of a dual parish, but the other congregation closed.  There are no other congregations in our circuit that they could join with because they were either too far away or already a in a multiple parish arrangement (e.g., north of my congregation we have a 3 point parish and a 4 point parish!).  I'm am leading a 2:00PM Sunday service at this small rural congregation where many of the members who live in that small town are elderly and can't easily make the drive to Jamestown where I live.  So, I'm glad I'm able to serve them because they would not have other good options otherwise.  They were willing to have a 2:00PM Sunday service because unless I offered a 6:00AM Sunday Service for them it would need to be afternoon or evening (I have two Sunday morning Services plus a morning bible class at my congregation).

What I described above is going to be more and more the norm for ND because we already have many multiple parish arrangements and some congregations have no other option but to be served by one of the pastors from a nearby larger congregation.

But what about the next 10 years for ND?  Like Tim, I, too, will be retiring in less than 10 years - and so will many other pastors in the ND District!  On the other hand, I can imagine several of our smaller congregations in ND closing within the next 10 years.  It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and what solutions we come up with to deal with the situation.

Awhile back the Wyoming District was at over 2/3 dual or more "parishes," which means multiple preaching stations taken care of by one pastor.  And the same is happening throughout the rural lands of Protestantism.  Included in this is the closing down of a percentage of congregations as well.

A similar scenario is playing out in urban settings, with multiple sites overseen by one pastor or one staff.    The urban difference is the amount of people in the various neighborhoods, which is basically plenty, as opposed to the thinning out of the rural communities (at least that's my impression) through the decades.  Maybe you've been to some of those rural and small town confabs, Tom - what's the thought when it comes to outreach mission in the multiple site preaching stations?  My impression is that a lot of the work could be described as pastoral chaplaincy - taking care of a dwindling and aging small group or two or three of them.  Is there thought given to demographics/potential work in different ways? 

I say this just having been in touch with a pastor who came from an urban background and has really started some new kinds of ministry in a rural setting that I hadn't thought would be possible.  I'm trying to listen in more to understand the context.  But what's your understanding of how this moves forward?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 23, 2021, 07:18:01 PM
The strategy of counting on a parallel decline in congregations and clergy might be supplemented in the following way:

1. Set a goal for gathering the best ideas for recruiting church workers and sustaining congregations in the coming challenge.
2. Ask congregations and/or circuits voluntarily to pray and then brainstorm ideas to reach those goals. Welcome all ideas at this point. No filter, just thanks for participating. Let people know upfront that ideas will be reviewed.
3. Host free conferences at the Concordias to glean and discuss the ideas congregations brought forward. The discussion might occur in small group and/or large group format to begin refinement.
4. Appoint a special commission to review the ideas and reduce them to the best/most practical.
5. Publish the ideas so that any synod entity might benefit from them.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Tom Eckstein on October 23, 2021, 07:30:47 PM
The North Dakota District, like other midwest/rural LCMS districts, has a complicated situation.  I serve the "big" congregation in our circuit as sole pastor (with also have a full time deaconess).  But recently I began serving a small rural congregation about 30 miles from where I live.  They used to be part of a dual parish, but the other congregation closed.  There are no other congregations in our circuit that they could join with because they were either too far away or already a in a multiple parish arrangement (e.g., north of my congregation we have a 3 point parish and a 4 point parish!).  I'm am leading a 2:00PM Sunday service at this small rural congregation where many of the members who live in that small town are elderly and can't easily make the drive to Jamestown where I live.  So, I'm glad I'm able to serve them because they would not have other good options otherwise.  They were willing to have a 2:00PM Sunday service because unless I offered a 6:00AM Sunday Service for them it would need to be afternoon or evening (I have two Sunday morning Services plus a morning bible class at my congregation).

What I described above is going to be more and more the norm for ND because we already have many multiple parish arrangements and some congregations have no other option but to be served by one of the pastors from a nearby larger congregation.

But what about the next 10 years for ND?  Like Tim, I, too, will be retiring in less than 10 years - and so will many other pastors in the ND District!  On the other hand, I can imagine several of our smaller congregations in ND closing within the next 10 years.  It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and what solutions we come up with to deal with the situation.

Awhile back the Wyoming District was at over 2/3 dual or more "parishes," which means multiple preaching stations taken care of by one pastor.  And the same is happening throughout the rural lands of Protestantism.  Included in this is the closing down of a percentage of congregations as well.

A similar scenario is playing out in urban settings, with multiple sites overseen by one pastor or one staff.    The urban difference is the amount of people in the various neighborhoods, which is basically plenty, as opposed to the thinning out of the rural communities (at least that's my impression) through the decades.  Maybe you've been to some of those rural and small town confabs, Tom - what's the thought when it comes to outreach mission in the multiple site preaching stations?  My impression is that a lot of the work could be described as pastoral chaplaincy - taking care of a dwindling and aging small group or two or three of them.  Is there thought given to demographics/potential work in different ways? 

I say this just having been in touch with a pastor who came from an urban background and has really started some new kinds of ministry in a rural setting that I hadn't thought would be possible.  I'm trying to listen in more to understand the context.  But what's your understanding of how this moves forward?

Dave Benke

As you noted, one huge difference between very small congregations in rural versus urban settings is that urban settings have a huge population of people to whom we can witness and who could be potential members.  In contrast, many rural ND towns are dying.  The pastor I mentioned who serves a 4 point parish in our circuit lives in a town of less that 200 people - and that's the BIG town among the 4 communities he serves.  A couple of the towns where he serves congregations have less than 100 people - and those who mainly elderly people.  The young families often end up moving to the bigger communities to obtain education opportunities for their children. 

Now, this doesn't mean we do not have legitimate ministry in these very small towns.  We have to find some way to serve our elderly members who live there - and usually that means a pastor from a nearby congregation or a retired pastor.  It also may mean the District considering calling a full time circuit rider who could travel to these communities and visit our elderly people there.

As for our congregations in these small communities, one challenge to evangelism is that they already know everyone - and they know them all too well.  This familiarity, depending on the history of their relationship, might actually get in the way of witnessing sometimes.  But that doesn't mean they shouldn't try.  In some cases reconciliation ministry is needed in these small communities.   In addition, members of our small rural congregations could find ways to minister to those in their small towns who have various needs - if they are not ministering to them already.  In some cases, the people in small towns in ND are actually doing a good job looking out for one another.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: wmattsfield on October 23, 2021, 08:02:45 PM
But recently I began serving a small rural congregation about 30 miles from where I live.  They used to be part of a dual parish, but the other congregation closed.  There are no other congregations in our circuit that they could join with because they were either too far away or already a in a multiple parish arrangement (e.g., north of my congregation we have a 3 point parish and a 4 point parish!).  I'm am leading a 2:00PM Sunday service at this small rural congregation where many of the members who live in that small town are elderly and can't easily make the drive to Jamestown where I live.  So, I'm glad I'm able to serve them because they would not have other good options otherwise.  They were willing to have a 2:00PM Sunday service because unless I offered a 6:00AM Sunday Service for them it would need to be afternoon or evening (I have two Sunday morning Services plus a morning bible class at my congregation).

What I described above is going to be more and more the norm for ND because we already have many multiple parish arrangements and some congregations have no other option but to be served by one of the pastors from a nearby larger congregation.

But what about the next 10 years for ND?  Like Tim, I, too, will be retiring in less than 10 years - and so will many other pastors in the ND District!  On the other hand, I can imagine several of our smaller congregations in ND closing within the next 10 years.  It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and what solutions we come up with to deal with the situation.

This, I think, is part of what Dr. Rast was hinting at, as summarized by Pastor Loesch.

Larry Rast shared some observations of pastoral ministry  . . . Looking to the future...what do we do as a church, what will it be like?  According to his presentation, the future church: will not be a linear continuation; will not be wholly different; will fit in with the times (and fitting in is not the same as conforming); will notice that the pattern of things will be different but the 'how' cannot be discerned right now; will need to develop spiritual, personal, and relational habits. 


I think the future will involved more shared ministry situations - not necessarily dual parishes, but maybe more small rural parishes, who can no longer afford a full time pastor, paired with like-minded larger parishes, who cannot quite afford that second or third pastor.

While my congregation is keeping in the black for now, financially, it is doing so after a significant salary cut (along with permission for me to work as a part time hospice chaplain). We are beginning to discuss the necessity of some sort of shared ministry situation. And I have briefly spoken to the pastor of one of the larger congregations in Springfield, just to get them thinking about such things. If this is where the Lord leads us, I am willing to embrace the new reality.

I think, these type situations are why Peter writes
 
I think there will be some ebb and flow, but the shortage of pastors will parallel the impending shortage of congregations able to support a full time pastor. Preaching stations, services not on Sundays led by a circuit rider, busses in far rural churches taking a dozen or so people to a larger church for regular worship, retired guys preaching into their 80’s while not doing some of the other aspects of ministry, etc. will solve some problems. It looks like an impending massive clergy shortage but I don’t think it will materialize like that. The whole set of conditions will change, and there will be enough pastors to fill the new expectations regarding the need. 
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 23, 2021, 08:13:08 PM
I think the future will involved more shared ministry situations - not necessarily dual parishes, but maybe more small rural parishes, who can no longer afford a full time pastor, paired with like-minded larger parishes, who cannot quite afford that second or third pastor.

That's what Trinity, Bemidji has done. They called an associate who also serves Redeemer, Bagley that can only afford a half-time pastor.

No second congregation to form a dual parish, so this hybrid seems to work well.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Likeness on October 23, 2021, 10:13:14 PM
Another hybrid situation I have observed in large urban areas:

A pastor has half of his salary paid by a small parish and
the other half paid by a Lutheran Nursing Home to be a
part-time chaplain.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 24, 2021, 12:09:20 PM
The North Dakota District, like other midwest/rural LCMS districts, has a complicated situation.  I serve the "big" congregation in our circuit as sole pastor (with also have a full time deaconess).  But recently I began serving a small rural congregation about 30 miles from where I live.  They used to be part of a dual parish, but the other congregation closed.  There are no other congregations in our circuit that they could join with because they were either too far away or already a in a multiple parish arrangement (e.g., north of my congregation we have a 3 point parish and a 4 point parish!).  I'm am leading a 2:00PM Sunday service at this small rural congregation where many of the members who live in that small town are elderly and can't easily make the drive to Jamestown where I live.  So, I'm glad I'm able to serve them because they would not have other good options otherwise.  They were willing to have a 2:00PM Sunday service because unless I offered a 6:00AM Sunday Service for them it would need to be afternoon or evening (I have two Sunday morning Services plus a morning bible class at my congregation).

What I described above is going to be more and more the norm for ND because we already have many multiple parish arrangements and some congregations have no other option but to be served by one of the pastors from a nearby larger congregation.

But what about the next 10 years for ND?  Like Tim, I, too, will be retiring in less than 10 years - and so will many other pastors in the ND District!  On the other hand, I can imagine several of our smaller congregations in ND closing within the next 10 years.  It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and what solutions we come up with to deal with the situation.

Awhile back the Wyoming District was at over 2/3 dual or more "parishes," which means multiple preaching stations taken care of by one pastor.  And the same is happening throughout the rural lands of Protestantism.  Included in this is the closing down of a percentage of congregations as well.

A similar scenario is playing out in urban settings, with multiple sites overseen by one pastor or one staff.    The urban difference is the amount of people in the various neighborhoods, which is basically plenty, as opposed to the thinning out of the rural communities (at least that's my impression) through the decades.  Maybe you've been to some of those rural and small town confabs, Tom - what's the thought when it comes to outreach mission in the multiple site preaching stations?  My impression is that a lot of the work could be described as pastoral chaplaincy - taking care of a dwindling and aging small group or two or three of them.  Is there thought given to demographics/potential work in different ways? 

I say this just having been in touch with a pastor who came from an urban background and has really started some new kinds of ministry in a rural setting that I hadn't thought would be possible.  I'm trying to listen in more to understand the context.  But what's your understanding of how this moves forward?

Dave Benke

As you noted, one huge difference between very small congregations in rural versus urban settings is that urban settings have a huge population of people to whom we can witness and who could be potential members.  In contrast, many rural ND towns are dying.  The pastor I mentioned who serves a 4 point parish in our circuit lives in a town of less that 200 people - and that's the BIG town among the 4 communities he serves.  A couple of the towns where he serves congregations have less than 100 people - and those who mainly elderly people.  The young families often end up moving to the bigger communities to obtain education opportunities for their children. 

Now, this doesn't mean we do not have legitimate ministry in these very small towns.  We have to find some way to serve our elderly members who live there - and usually that means a pastor from a nearby congregation or a retired pastor.  It also may mean the District considering calling a full time circuit rider who could travel to these communities and visit our elderly people there.

As for our congregations in these small communities, one challenge to evangelism is that they already know everyone - and they know them all too well.  This familiarity, depending on the history of their relationship, might actually get in the way of witnessing sometimes.  But that doesn't mean they shouldn't try.  In some cases reconciliation ministry is needed in these small communities.   In addition, members of our small rural congregations could find ways to minister to those in their small towns who have various needs - if they are not ministering to them already.  In some cases, the people in small towns in ND are actually doing a good job looking out for one another.

This is a great response, Tom.  Small town/rural America, even with various and sundry problems and issues, still is where people by nature help people out - even if they don't like them much.  A challenge then is combining congregations across larger acreages, when the people from, say, Wautoma, don't really have that much to do with the people from Plainfield.  And that's not just accidental.   Anyway, it takes some wisdom and knowledge of local lore to craft a plan with legs when people are taking their legs and moving out.

On the urban side, it's transition, as all-white neighborhoods were taken over by non-white people a generation ago, and now the grandchildren are coming back to, say, Bushwick, Brooklyn and driving out the people who came in 40 years ago and paying jacked-up rents. 

I've had a long hesitancy about statistics trying to demonstrate that only 40% of rural people have a church home.  Maybe that's the case, but my childhood with rural relatives and their friends contained no one who wasn't in somebody's church.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 24, 2021, 01:10:33 PM
The North Dakota District, like other midwest/rural LCMS districts, has a complicated situation.  I serve the "big" congregation in our circuit as sole pastor (with also have a full time deaconess).  But recently I began serving a small rural congregation about 30 miles from where I live.  They used to be part of a dual parish, but the other congregation closed.  There are no other congregations in our circuit that they could join with because they were either too far away or already a in a multiple parish arrangement (e.g., north of my congregation we have a 3 point parish and a 4 point parish!).  I'm am leading a 2:00PM Sunday service at this small rural congregation where many of the members who live in that small town are elderly and can't easily make the drive to Jamestown where I live.  So, I'm glad I'm able to serve them because they would not have other good options otherwise.  They were willing to have a 2:00PM Sunday service because unless I offered a 6:00AM Sunday Service for them it would need to be afternoon or evening (I have two Sunday morning Services plus a morning bible class at my congregation).

What I described above is going to be more and more the norm for ND because we already have many multiple parish arrangements and some congregations have no other option but to be served by one of the pastors from a nearby larger congregation.

But what about the next 10 years for ND?  Like Tim, I, too, will be retiring in less than 10 years - and so will many other pastors in the ND District!  On the other hand, I can imagine several of our smaller congregations in ND closing within the next 10 years.  It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and what solutions we come up with to deal with the situation.

Awhile back the Wyoming District was at over 2/3 dual or more "parishes," which means multiple preaching stations taken care of by one pastor.  And the same is happening throughout the rural lands of Protestantism.  Included in this is the closing down of a percentage of congregations as well.

A similar scenario is playing out in urban settings, with multiple sites overseen by one pastor or one staff.    The urban difference is the amount of people in the various neighborhoods, which is basically plenty, as opposed to the thinning out of the rural communities (at least that's my impression) through the decades.  Maybe you've been to some of those rural and small town confabs, Tom - what's the thought when it comes to outreach mission in the multiple site preaching stations?  My impression is that a lot of the work could be described as pastoral chaplaincy - taking care of a dwindling and aging small group or two or three of them.  Is there thought given to demographics/potential work in different ways? 

I say this just having been in touch with a pastor who came from an urban background and has really started some new kinds of ministry in a rural setting that I hadn't thought would be possible.  I'm trying to listen in more to understand the context.  But what's your understanding of how this moves forward?

Dave Benke

As you noted, one huge difference between very small congregations in rural versus urban settings is that urban settings have a huge population of people to whom we can witness and who could be potential members.  In contrast, many rural ND towns are dying.  The pastor I mentioned who serves a 4 point parish in our circuit lives in a town of less that 200 people - and that's the BIG town among the 4 communities he serves.  A couple of the towns where he serves congregations have less than 100 people - and those who mainly elderly people.  The young families often end up moving to the bigger communities to obtain education opportunities for their children. 

Now, this doesn't mean we do not have legitimate ministry in these very small towns.  We have to find some way to serve our elderly members who live there - and usually that means a pastor from a nearby congregation or a retired pastor.  It also may mean the District considering calling a full time circuit rider who could travel to these communities and visit our elderly people there.

As for our congregations in these small communities, one challenge to evangelism is that they already know everyone - and they know them all too well.  This familiarity, depending on the history of their relationship, might actually get in the way of witnessing sometimes.  But that doesn't mean they shouldn't try.  In some cases reconciliation ministry is needed in these small communities.   In addition, members of our small rural congregations could find ways to minister to those in their small towns who have various needs - if they are not ministering to them already.  In some cases, the people in small towns in ND are actually doing a good job looking out for one another.

This is a great response, Tom.  Small town/rural America, even with various and sundry problems and issues, still is where people by nature help people out - even if they don't like them much.  A challenge then is combining congregations across larger acreages, when the people from, say, Wautoma, don't really have that much to do with the people from Plainfield.  And that's not just accidental.   Anyway, it takes some wisdom and knowledge of local lore to craft a plan with legs when people are taking their legs and moving out.

On the urban side, it's transition, as all-white neighborhoods were taken over by non-white people a generation ago, and now the grandchildren are coming back to, say, Bushwick, Brooklyn and driving out the people who came in 40 years ago and paying jacked-up rents. 

I've had a long hesitancy about statistics trying to demonstrate that only 40% of rural people have a church home.  Maybe that's the case, but my childhood with rural relatives and their friends contained no one who wasn't in somebody's church.

Dave Benke

Well, Plainfield IS Ed Gein country.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: PrTim15 on October 24, 2021, 01:43:25 PM
Seems to me that the necessity of working together may be the salvation of the LCMS.  We sure can find better ways to work together and collaborate. Hats off to Tom and ND District and Dave and his wisdom. Better to collaborate than compete.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 24, 2021, 02:59:56 PM
The North Dakota District, like other midwest/rural LCMS districts, has a complicated situation.  I serve the "big" congregation in our circuit as sole pastor (with also have a full time deaconess).  But recently I began serving a small rural congregation about 30 miles from where I live.  They used to be part of a dual parish, but the other congregation closed.  There are no other congregations in our circuit that they could join with because they were either too far away or already a in a multiple parish arrangement (e.g., north of my congregation we have a 3 point parish and a 4 point parish!).  I'm am leading a 2:00PM Sunday service at this small rural congregation where many of the members who live in that small town are elderly and can't easily make the drive to Jamestown where I live.  So, I'm glad I'm able to serve them because they would not have other good options otherwise.  They were willing to have a 2:00PM Sunday service because unless I offered a 6:00AM Sunday Service for them it would need to be afternoon or evening (I have two Sunday morning Services plus a morning bible class at my congregation).

What I described above is going to be more and more the norm for ND because we already have many multiple parish arrangements and some congregations have no other option but to be served by one of the pastors from a nearby larger congregation.

But what about the next 10 years for ND?  Like Tim, I, too, will be retiring in less than 10 years - and so will many other pastors in the ND District!  On the other hand, I can imagine several of our smaller congregations in ND closing within the next 10 years.  It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and what solutions we come up with to deal with the situation.

Awhile back the Wyoming District was at over 2/3 dual or more "parishes," which means multiple preaching stations taken care of by one pastor.  And the same is happening throughout the rural lands of Protestantism.  Included in this is the closing down of a percentage of congregations as well.

A similar scenario is playing out in urban settings, with multiple sites overseen by one pastor or one staff.    The urban difference is the amount of people in the various neighborhoods, which is basically plenty, as opposed to the thinning out of the rural communities (at least that's my impression) through the decades.  Maybe you've been to some of those rural and small town confabs, Tom - what's the thought when it comes to outreach mission in the multiple site preaching stations?  My impression is that a lot of the work could be described as pastoral chaplaincy - taking care of a dwindling and aging small group or two or three of them.  Is there thought given to demographics/potential work in different ways? 

I say this just having been in touch with a pastor who came from an urban background and has really started some new kinds of ministry in a rural setting that I hadn't thought would be possible.  I'm trying to listen in more to understand the context.  But what's your understanding of how this moves forward?

Dave Benke

As you noted, one huge difference between very small congregations in rural versus urban settings is that urban settings have a huge population of people to whom we can witness and who could be potential members.  In contrast, many rural ND towns are dying.  The pastor I mentioned who serves a 4 point parish in our circuit lives in a town of less that 200 people - and that's the BIG town among the 4 communities he serves.  A couple of the towns where he serves congregations have less than 100 people - and those who mainly elderly people.  The young families often end up moving to the bigger communities to obtain education opportunities for their children. 

Now, this doesn't mean we do not have legitimate ministry in these very small towns.  We have to find some way to serve our elderly members who live there - and usually that means a pastor from a nearby congregation or a retired pastor.  It also may mean the District considering calling a full time circuit rider who could travel to these communities and visit our elderly people there.

As for our congregations in these small communities, one challenge to evangelism is that they already know everyone - and they know them all too well.  This familiarity, depending on the history of their relationship, might actually get in the way of witnessing sometimes.  But that doesn't mean they shouldn't try.  In some cases reconciliation ministry is needed in these small communities.   In addition, members of our small rural congregations could find ways to minister to those in their small towns who have various needs - if they are not ministering to them already.  In some cases, the people in small towns in ND are actually doing a good job looking out for one another.

This is a great response, Tom.  Small town/rural America, even with various and sundry problems and issues, still is where people by nature help people out - even if they don't like them much.  A challenge then is combining congregations across larger acreages, when the people from, say, Wautoma, don't really have that much to do with the people from Plainfield.  And that's not just accidental.   Anyway, it takes some wisdom and knowledge of local lore to craft a plan with legs when people are taking their legs and moving out.

On the urban side, it's transition, as all-white neighborhoods were taken over by non-white people a generation ago, and now the grandchildren are coming back to, say, Bushwick, Brooklyn and driving out the people who came in 40 years ago and paying jacked-up rents. 

I've had a long hesitancy about statistics trying to demonstrate that only 40% of rural people have a church home.  Maybe that's the case, but my childhood with rural relatives and their friends contained no one who wasn't in somebody's church.

Dave Benke

Well, Plainfield IS Ed Gein country.

Yes, there is that.  It's almost psycho.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: PrTim15 on October 24, 2021, 03:06:08 PM
My grandmother was a nurse for years in a County Mental Hospital that was a lot like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Next. I could never figure out why each county in WI needed a mental health hospital. Thanks to Gramma for scary us away from drugs…stories are amazing and we were scared straight.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 24, 2021, 03:11:52 PM
It’s always hard to measure percentages of churched/saved/Christian. Is it official membership? Baptized? Have a place where they attend? Christianity is so global that the first job of outreach is convincing people they don’t already know what you have to say. Which plays into the disjointed witness of the Church, because usually when you try make the case that your message is news, you end up trying to convince them that what they think they heard (probably secondhand) some other preacher or church say was wrong. It ends up being a question of why they should listen to you and not some other guy when Occam’s Razor would suggest we’re all wrong.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 24, 2021, 03:26:27 PM
Seems to me that the necessity of working together may be the salvation of the LCMS.  We sure can find better ways to work together and collaborate. Hats off to Tom and ND District and Dave and his wisdom. Better to collaborate than compete.


The ELCA has created multi-point and multi-denominational parishes, e.g., Lutheran-Presbyterian; Lutheran-Episcopalian, etc. Even without that, a small town community where I had served had their Presbyterian and Methodist congregations close up. Many of their members ended up at the ELCA congregation.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 24, 2021, 03:35:53 PM
Seems to me that the necessity of working together may be the salvation of the LCMS.  We sure can find better ways to work together and collaborate. Hats off to Tom and ND District and Dave and his wisdom. Better to collaborate than compete.


The ELCA has created multi-point and multi-denominational parishes, e.g., Lutheran-Presbyterian; Lutheran-Episcopalian, etc. Even without that, a small town community where I had served had their Presbyterian and Methodist congregations close up. Many of their members ended up at the ELCA congregation.

Our next door neighbor, a 1000+ member ELCA church, shares its second pastor with the local Presbyterian church.  I think it works well for them both.  But I always wonder what a Lutheran preaches/teaches in a Presbyterian church: Lutheran doctrine or Presbyterian?
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 24, 2021, 05:18:04 PM
Pastor Bohler:
Our next door neighbor, a 1000+ member ELCA church, shares its second pastor with the local Presbyterian church.  I think it works well for them both.  But I always wonder what a Lutheran preaches/teaches in a Presbyterian church: Lutheran doctrine or Presbyterian?
Me:
And do you believe that every sermon, and every situation is either “Lutheran“ or “Presbyterian”? Is there a Lutheran Gospel? Is there a different Presbyterian Gospel?
Our ecumenical agreements speak about how although we have disagreements in certain areas of the faith, we can still be together in worship, sacrament and service.
I am preaching and presiding next Sunday at an Episcopal church. On Reformation Sunday, nonetheless! The only difference between this sermon and one I would preach in a Lutheran church is the references to the English reformation.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 24, 2021, 06:48:19 PM
Pastor Bohler:
Our next door neighbor, a 1000+ member ELCA church, shares its second pastor with the local Presbyterian church.  I think it works well for them both.  But I always wonder what a Lutheran preaches/teaches in a Presbyterian church: Lutheran doctrine or Presbyterian?
Me:
And do you believe that every sermon, and every situation is either “Lutheran“ or “Presbyterian”? Is there a Lutheran Gospel? Is there a different Presbyterian Gospel?
Our ecumenical agreements, which to you probably read like word puzzles in ancient Ugaritic, speak about how although we have disagreements in certain areas of the faith, we can still be together in worship, sacrament and service.
I am preaching and presiding next Sunday at an Episcopal church. On Reformation Sunday, nonetheless! The only difference between this sermon and one I would preach in a Lutheran church is the references to the English reformation.

So, if you were my neighboring ELCA pastor who preaches and teaches at the Presbyterian church, would you teach the kids that the Lord’s Supper is the Body and Blood or only symbolizes it?  Would you say this is what Lutherans believe and this is what Presbyterians believe?  If the second, how do you reconcile that with what you confessed to believe and teach?  Or don’ ELCA pastors make that vow anymore?  And if you believe one thing but teach another, doesn’t that make you a hypocrite or a mercenary hireling?
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 24, 2021, 07:53:13 PM
Seems to me that the necessity of working together may be the salvation of the LCMS.  We sure can find better ways to work together and collaborate. Hats off to Tom and ND District and Dave and his wisdom. Better to collaborate than compete.


The ELCA has created multi-point and multi-denominational parishes, e.g., Lutheran-Presbyterian; Lutheran-Episcopalian, etc. Even without that, a small town community where I had served had their Presbyterian and Methodist congregations close up. Many of their members ended up at the ELCA congregation.

Our next door neighbor, a 1000+ member ELCA church, shares its second pastor with the local Presbyterian church.  I think it works well for them both.  But I always wonder what a Lutheran preaches/teaches in a Presbyterian church: Lutheran doctrine or Presbyterian?


When I was serving a Presbyterian congregation along with my Lutheran congregation; it was the same sermon at both congregations. The main differences between the two denominations are about polity. They use essentially the same Words of Institution that we use. They use the same creeds. They use the same scriptures.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 24, 2021, 08:20:39 PM
Seems to me that the necessity of working together may be the salvation of the LCMS.  We sure can find better ways to work together and collaborate. Hats off to Tom and ND District and Dave and his wisdom. Better to collaborate than compete.


The ELCA has created multi-point and multi-denominational parishes, e.g., Lutheran-Presbyterian; Lutheran-Episcopalian, etc. Even without that, a small town community where I had served had their Presbyterian and Methodist congregations close up. Many of their members ended up at the ELCA congregation.

Our next door neighbor, a 1000+ member ELCA church, shares its second pastor with the local Presbyterian church.  I think it works well for them both.  But I always wonder what a Lutheran preaches/teaches in a Presbyterian church: Lutheran doctrine or Presbyterian?


When I was serving a Presbyterian congregation along with my Lutheran congregation; it was the same sermon at both congregations. The main differences between the two denominations are about polity. They use essentially the same Words of Institution that we use. They use the same creeds. They use the same scriptures.

Well, they may SAY the same words but they do not believe they mean the same thing.  Presbyterians do not believe it is the Body and Blood but only represent them.  So, which would a Lutheran preach/teach?  Maybe you can "fudge" it in a sermon or service by simply saying the same words, but what do you teach the kids or adults in Bible class?
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 24, 2021, 08:25:06 PM
Pastor Bohler:
Our next door neighbor, a 1000+ member ELCA church, shares its second pastor with the local Presbyterian church.  I think it works well for them both.  But I always wonder what a Lutheran preaches/teaches in a Presbyterian church: Lutheran doctrine or Presbyterian?
Me:
And do you believe that every sermon, and every situation is either “Lutheran“ or “Presbyterian”? Is there a Lutheran Gospel? Is there a different Presbyterian Gospel?
Our ecumenical agreements, which to you probably read like word puzzles in ancient Ugaritic, speak about how although we have disagreements in certain areas of the faith, we can still be together in worship, sacrament and service.
I am preaching and presiding next Sunday at an Episcopal church. On Reformation Sunday, nonetheless! The only difference between this sermon and one I would preach in a Lutheran church is the references to the English reformation.

So, if you were my neighboring ELCA pastor who preaches and teaches at the Presbyterian church, would you teach the kids that the Lord’s Supper is the Body and Blood or only symbolizes it?  Would you say this is what Lutherans believe and this is what Presbyterians believe?  If the second, how do you reconcile that with what you confessed to believe and teach?  Or don’ ELCA pastors make that vow anymore?  And if you believe one thing but teach another, doesn’t that make you a hypocrite or a mercenary hireling?


I would teach them what the Bible and our liturgies say: "This is my body." I have never heard a Reformed Church liturgy say, "This represents my body." They, like us, use the words of Scripture.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 24, 2021, 08:28:25 PM
Well, they may SAY the same words but they do not believe they mean the same thing.  Presbyterians do not believe it is the Body and Blood but only represent them.  So, which would a Lutheran preach/teach?  Maybe you can "fudge" it in a sermon or service by simply saying the same words, but what do you teach the kids or adults in Bible class?


Nope, "representative" language was Zwingli; and Calvin, like Luther, didn't agree with Zwingli's teaching. Presbyterians use "real presence" language like us. Of course, you could argue that "they may SAY the same words but they do not believe they mean the same thing."
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 24, 2021, 08:28:40 PM
Pastor Bohler:
So, if you were my neighboring ELCA pastor who preaches and teaches at the Presbyterian church, would you teach the kids that the Lord’s Supper is the Body and Blood or only symbolizes it?
Me:
The former, obviously.

Pastor Bohler:
Would you say this is what Lutherans believe and this is what Presbyterians believe?
Me:
I probably would not dwell on the us/them theme. I might say that we both believe that Christ is truly present in body and blood, in the word and in the assembly, although our ancestors in the faith used different word and ideas in teaching that.

Pastor Bohler:
If the second, how do you reconcile that with what you confessed to believe and teach?  Or don’ ELCA pastors make that vow anymore?  And if you believe one thing but teach another, doesn’t that make you a hypocrite or a mercenary hireling?
Me:
See above. As I frequently have said, you have no ability to grasp or understand the results of our 20+ years (that’s two decades) of dialogue. And I cannot “catch you up,” because your mind is set and your heart is hard.
FWIW, in my last full-time “regular” - not interim - call, we had a three-year cooperative relationship with a Presbyterian church, joint worship, especially in the summer and some holidays like Thanksgiving. When I retired, the Presbyterian congregation moved to weekly celebration of the sacrament, coming forward to the altar to receive. At my retirement dinner, two members of the Presbyterian church thanked me for what I taught them about the sacrament and for making their services “more reverent.”
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 24, 2021, 08:32:10 PM
Pastor Bohler:
So, if you were my neighboring ELCA pastor who preaches and teaches at the Presbyterian church, would you teach the kids that the Lord’s Supper is the Body and Blood or only symbolizes it?
Me:
The former, obviously.

Pastor Bohler:
Would you say this is what Lutherans believe and this is what Presbyterians believe?
Me:
I probably would not dwell on the us/them theme. I might say that we both believe that Christ is truly present in body and blood, in the word and in the assembly, although our ancestors in the faith used different word and ideas in teaching that.

Pastor Bohler:
If the second, how do you reconcile that with what you confessed to believe and teach?  Or don’ ELCA pastors make that vow anymore?  And if you believe one thing but teach another, doesn’t that make you a hypocrite or a mercenary hireling?
Me:
See above. As I frequently have said, you have no ability to grasp or understand the results of our 20+ years (that’s two decades) of dialogue. And I cannot “catch you up,” because your mind is set and your heart is hard.
FWIW, in my last full-time “regular” - not interim - call, we had a three-year cooperative relationship with a Presbyterian church, joint worship, especially in the summer and some holidays like Thanksgiving. When I retired, the Presbyterian congregation moved to weekly celebration of the sacrament, coming forward to the altar to receive. At my retirement dinner, two members of the Presbyterian church thanked me for what I taught them about the sacrament and for making their services “more reverent.”


Another benefit of our agreements is that when I had retired Presbyterian ministers and an UCC minister attending the congregation I was serving; they preached and presided for me when I went on vacation - and in one case, when I was in the hospital. They preached from the same scriptures. They used our liturgies. They had been worshiping with us for many, many months. They were part of our body of Christ. (They have all since moved away.)

Oh, and when I left the congregation in Wyoming, where the nearest ELCA retired clergy was 200 miles away; the local UCC minister preached and presided every week. Until they were able to Call their own pastor. For a while, the congregation I retired from had a retired UCC minister as their interim. (He died suddenly from cancer.) My home congregation in Portland, OR, has a UCC minister as their interim.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 24, 2021, 08:45:27 PM
Yeah, I know.  They say they believe Jesus is present.  But not physically or bodily.  Lutherans disagree.  This IS My Body, as Luther famously quoted at Marburg.  You in the ELCA have agreed that the difference is not worth arguing over; I get that.  But what would a Lutheran pastor be expected to teach in a Presbyterian church?  The Lutheran view that it IS the Body and Blood of Christ?  The Presbyterian view that Jesus is present but only spiritually, not bodily?  Explain both understandings and leave the hearer to decide?    Rev. Stoffregen and Rev. Austin talk about merely preaching in Presbyterian churches; perhaps there one can shrug off the differences and just say the words.  But what about in teaching (and remember, in the case I mentioned of the ELCA church next door to mine whose second pastor IS the pastor of the Presbyterian church, that pastor does all the pastoral work for that congregation)?  What about if someone asks what they receive in communion -- how does a Lutheran pastor answer that without either giving the Lutheran position or rejecting the Confessions' clear and unambiguous teaching?  And if the latter, in what way are they truly Lutheran?  If the answer does not matter, why have separate churches? 
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 24, 2021, 08:57:34 PM
Pastor Bohler:
Well, they may SAY the same words but they do not believe they mean the same thing.  Presbyterians do not believe it is the Body and Blood but only represent them.

Me:
I was privileged to sit in on the final year of the Lutheran-Reformed dialogue. Three comments which I’m sure will be useless to you.
1. The Presbyterian theologians were willing to affirm the real, bodily presence of Christ in the sacrament if we could understand that for them the “Real Presence” extended to the Lord’’s presence in the Word and in the gathered assembly.
2. We agreed that we have used and stressed different aspects of the presence.
3. We agreed that the differing histories and emphases should not keep us from communing together.
BTW, about a year earlier in the dialogue, when post-1969 LCMS theologians were taking part, I witnessed this exchange.
Presbyterian seminary professor: “yes, we believe that the Lord is present in the elements. We teach that.”
LCMS seminary professor: “I don’t believe you,” and he went on to cite a comment from Calvin.
Presbyterian seminary professor: “And do you still believe and teach every word Luther wrote?”
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 24, 2021, 09:14:10 PM
Pastor Bohler:
If the answer does not matter, why have separate churches?
Me:
Good question.
If, as you suggest, the answer does matter, who is going to hell for believing which way? How is the mission of the Church to the world helped by howling about the 16th Century divisions? Can we not rethink those divisions? How is the saving faith of our people damaged if we worship and commune together? Do we dishonor the sacrament or the Lord or the Gospel by sharing our ministries and worship?
Do you and your LCMS colleagues believe that all your members have such a “pure,” “Lutheran” understanding of the sacrament?
But talk to me after you have had 5, 10 or 20 years of open, serious theological dialogue with anybody outside your hyper-Lutheran cohort. Until then, you’re a math student who doesn’t know the multiplication tables.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 24, 2021, 09:14:38 PM
Pastor Bohler:
Well, they may SAY the same words but they do not believe they mean the same thing.  Presbyterians do not believe it is the Body and Blood but only represent them.

Me:
I was privileged to sit in on the final year of the Lutheran-Reformed dialogue. Three comments which I’m sure will be useless to you.
1. The Presbyterian theologians were willing to affirm the real, bodily presence of Christ in the sacrament if we could understand that for them the “Real Presence” extended to the Lord’’s presence in the Word and in the gathered assembly.
2. We agreed that we have used and stressed different aspects of the presence.
3. We agreed that the differing histories and emphases should not keep us from communing together.
BTW, about a year earlier in the dialogue, when post-1969 LCMS theologians were taking part, I witnessed this exchange.
Presbyterian seminary professor: “yes, we believe that the Lord is present in the elements. We teach that.”
LCMS seminary professor: “I don’t believe you,” and he went on to cite a comment from Calvin.
Presbyterian seminary professor: “And do you still believe and teach every word Luther wrote?”

Well, I will agree with you this far: those points ARE useless.  To me and to anyone who is interested in more than trying to come up with language that leaves sufficient wiggle room to say whatever you want the words to say.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 24, 2021, 09:23:19 PM
Pastor Bohler:
If the answer does not matter, why have separate churches?
Me:
Good question.
If, as you suggest, the answer does matter, who is going to hell for believing which way? How is the mission of the Church to the world helped by howling about the 16th Century divisions? Can we not rethink those divisions? How is the saving faith of our people damaged if we worship and commune together? Do we dishonor the sacrament or the Lord or the Gospel by sharing our ministries and worship?
Do you and your LCMS colleagues believe that all your members have such a “pure,” “Lutheran” understanding of the sacrament?
But talk to me after you have had 5, 10 or 20 years of open, serious theological dialogue with anybody outside your hyper-Lutheran cohort. Until then, you’re a math student who doesn’t know the multiplication tables.

To answer your questions:
1.  That is God's place, not mine.  However, it is VERY dangerous to play the devil's game of "Did He really say...?"
2.  Not howling but understanding where these differences lead if one is consistent. 
3.  How does one "rethink" mutually exclusive positions?  Either it is, or is not, the Body and Blood of Christ.  And how one answers that question affects all sorts of things (like Christology).  Perhaps rather than looking down your long nose at those benighted 16th century theologians, you would do well to actually read them.
4.  As I mentioned above, how one answers this question affects all sorts of other things.  Like Christology.  Read some 16th century Lutherans.
5.  Yes.
6.  No.
7.  I will do that after you read the Lutheran Confessions (which you pledged to follow in your ministry) and let them truly guide you. 
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 24, 2021, 09:38:35 PM
Pastor Bohler:
Well, I will agree with you this far: those points ARE useless.  To me and to anyone who is interested in more than trying to come up with language that leaves sufficient wiggle room to say whatever you want the words to say.

Me:
And with those words, you impugn the integrity, scholarships and the faith of hundreds of theologians - including some of your own - who sought to heal our divisions in order to better proclaim the gospel to the world. For heaven’s sake, Pastor Bohler, if all we wanted was “wiggle room” to say whatever we wanted, would it have taken 20 years to reach the agreements?
See my last post. When you have poked your head out of your Lutheran ghetto and taken the faith of others seriously for years maybe you would understand.
I challenge you to read the dialogue study materials and conclusions. You will find our Confessions cited.
And how dare you call me a “liar and hypocrite” when I have often said how the confessions have guided my ministry? You are way out of line.
You probably think you have a strong faith. I think your faith is fragile and weak because anything suggesting that Lutherans are not in lock-step with you makes your knees shake.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Jim Butler on October 24, 2021, 11:13:07 PM
I think it should be noted that the more conservative Reformed bodies, e.g. the Presbyterian Church in America  the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, don't think there is any more agreement between Lutherans and the Reformed on the doctrine of the sacrament than does the LCMS. I was at Gordon-Conwell when the ELCA/Reformed agreement was ratified. Not a single Reformed faculty member thought there was really any such agreement. And they made it very clear to me that no, Christ is not physically present in the Sacrament. He is in heaven, not in the elements (cf. the translation of Acts 3:21 in the 1978 NIV). One of my professors was ordained in the PCUSA (as was his wife) and they made it clear to me that they wouldn't be inviting any ELCA pastors to preach from the pulpit of the church they pastored.

During this time, I was also part of the New England ELCA/LCMS Dialogue. The ELCA members made it pretty clear that they weren't entirely comfortable with the agreement, particularly having the UCC as an ecumenical partner. Given the UCC's polity, they weren't even sure if it was possible to have an actual agreement with them.

One other thing. While the agreement between the ELCA and the Reformed strikes us in the LCMS as odd, it really is in the DNA of the ELCA. "Union churches"--made up of Reformed and Lutheran--are quite common in Pennsylvania and many of them are quite old. One of my members in Springfield would tell me about going to the church with her father every Saturday to change out the hymnals. One week they would use the Lutheran hymnal; the next the Reformed. Some of the pastors were Lutheran; others were not. It was a congregation of mixed confession--and it was not alone. To a certain extent, this agreement simply takes that to its logical conclusion.

In contrast, when the LCMS constitution says that members of the Synod are to reject unionism, it most likely refers to those arrangements. While Missouri pastors could accept a call to churches of mixed confession (and often did), it was understood that they would only preach and teach according to the Lutheran confessions and that no celebration of Sacrament would take place until the entire congregation had been catechized. Churches such as First Lutheran in Holyoke, MA and First Lutheran in Boston came into the Synod that way (one could also mention St. Paul in Fort Wayne, but that predates the Synod).
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 25, 2021, 12:28:43 AM
The PCA was not part of our ecumenical agreement with the reformed churches. They did not take part in the dialogue. Yes, There was some concern about the UCC, but the reformed partners insisted that they be a part of the discussion and so it was. It is also important to note that no one is required to have services with the reformed, although probably thousands of our churches have done so.
Ecumenically, if we wait until everyone is totally and without question “comfortable“ with things, nothing will ever happen. But if we conclude That ecumenical agreements can advance the proclamation of gospel, in mission and in service to our people  and I believe that, then things can happen.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Pastor Ken Kimball on October 25, 2021, 12:34:52 AM
I wrote a piece a number of years ago that eventually made its way into the FL, recounting my experience with the local ministerial group (of which I was president at the time--the Roman Catholic priest serving as secretary).  There was also a Methodist, 2 UCC pastors, 1 PCUSA pastor, 2 Christian Reform pastors, and 2 PCA pastors.  We had one of our monthly meetings.  Father Birch was gone.  After we had conducted our business and were engaged in "small talk" someone made a comment about "how different" Catholic services were, remarking on a Catholic wedding in which he had taken part as the pastor of the groom.  The PCUSA pastor said something about the strangeness of the Catholics believing that Holy Communion was really about receiving the actual body and blood of Christ.  When I countered that Lutherans believe the same thing about Holy Communion, all the Calvinist tongues started to wag, "You can't really mean that!"  The elderly and deeply pious Christian Reformed pastor of the town church pulled out his wallet and pulled out a picture.  "This is my family," he said, and then added, "Well actually it's just a picture of my family.  That's what you mean that you Lutherans believe about Holy Communion, isn't it?  It's just a picture of Christ, just a representation?"  The others, including the United Methodist, the PCUSA and one of the UCC pastors nodded in agreement, looking at me curiously.  I felt like an object in a museum.  "No," I said, "We go by what the Bible says.  Jesus said, 'This is My Body...This is My Blood.'  He didn't say 'This represents or this symbolizes'.  He said, 'This IS my body, this IS my blood.'" The other UCC pastor had a bemused look and said, "Actually my theological forebear is Zwingli.  I don't agree with either Calvin or Luther."  This was at a time when the theological discussions   between the ELCA and the RCA, PCUSA, and UCC that Pastor Austin refers to were taking place.  Whatever the muckety-mucks were saying at the "high level" conferences, it was not filtering down to the local level and it left me with a profound distrust for what was supposedly taking place between the leaders and representatives of the church bodies.  I'm NALC now, but I'm with Pastor Bohler and other LCMS pastors here.  When Lutherans accept Calvinist (no matter how much they say they eschew or have moved beyond Calvin or Zwingli) claims about Holy Communion, they are holding positions that are no longer Lutheran.     
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 25, 2021, 01:29:58 AM
Pastor Kimball, as you know, I have to disagree with your final sentences. In our ecumenical agreements we do not, we most pointedly and intentionally do not "accept Calvinist claims about Holy Communion." When I preached at that Presbyterian Church, I did not "become" a Presbyterian.
Our agreements say that our differences exist and that we will keep working on them, but that they should not keep us from sacramental fellowship and ministry together.
And we understand that Reformed theology can be understood as saying that Christ is present in the elements of the sacrament. Our 16th Century histories handled the topic in different ways, due to the theological disputes, territorial matters, and even the "personalities" of those in the discussions.
I have often said here that were I a 16th Century Lutheran, I would have had vile words for those awful Calvinists and probably sought capital punishment for the followers of Zwingli. But it is not the 16th Century. We are not first generation Lutherans and Presbyterians I have know do not bury themselves in Calvin's words as the chief explanation of their faith. 
Yes, the understanding and teachings "on the ground" may not be fully in tune with our agreements. Acceptance of the impact of the accords is a long process for all sides.
But it is happening among us. I think it is a good thing.
Obviously others disagree. My concern is that some in this modest forum, unlike yourself, have no first-hand knowledge of the agreements or the road we took to reach them.
I believe our witness to the Gospel, our proclamation of the grace of God, and our service to our neighbors, not to mention the nurturing of faith among our members is strengthened by the places where - for the sake of the local mission - Lutherans and Presbyterians, Lutherans and Methodists, Lutherans and Episcopalians, Lutherans and other ecumenical partners unite their mission and ministry.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 25, 2021, 01:38:41 AM
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacraments; AND Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father. How Christ is remaining in heaven AND uniquely present to us in water, bread, wine, word, and fellowship is beyond our ability to understand. We celebrate it. We proclaim it. It is not our understanding that makes Christ present; but Christ's promise and his divine power.


I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal. It is not their belief that creates the reality but the Word of promise - sometimes, in spite of our beliefs.


I will gladly receive communion in our full communion partner congregations, knowing that Christ keeps his promise to be present when we gather in his name; and to be the bread and cup of the sacrament.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 25, 2021, 07:45:38 AM
So, the ELCA and its partner churches recognize/acknowledge that there are differences in their understandings of the Lord's Supper.  But, those differences are not enough to prevent joint worship and ministry.  OK, I get that.  I disagree with it, but that doesn't matter; I am not a member of those churches.  My original question was basically: what do those clergy actually teach when they serve a congregation of a differing confession?  And now a second question comes to mind, after Rev. Austin's rehearsal of the discussions that led to that agreement: In the almost 25 years since, have further discussions been held to work through those areas of disagreement?  And if so, what progress has been made?
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Terry W Culler on October 25, 2021, 07:47:28 AM
Luther and the Reformed, represented by Bucer and Capito, came to agreement in 1536 in the Wittenberg Concord.  Luther communed with the other signatories.  There was no real problem until Calvin seems to have conceived the idea that he could, by reaching out to Zurich as well as Wittenberg, bring the Reformation together.  That is when the Lutherans rejected Calvin for having, in their view, broken the Concord.  At one point Luther, speaking of the young Calvin, said if he had been at Marburg they might have come to agreement. 

IMO, Calvin's agreement with Zurich is unfortunate because of the split it caused between our two communions.  We've now spent 400+ years defining our differences and forgetting our common positions, which are more than any of us want to admit.  I have worshipped in several PCA congregations and I heard the proclamation of the Gospel in each one of them.  I wish I could say the say for every Lutheran church I've worshipped in. 
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 25, 2021, 08:06:48 AM
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.

Lutherans do not.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: John_Hannah on October 25, 2021, 08:44:07 AM
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.

Lutherans do not.

This is probably not correct. Sasse (footnote in This Is My Body) states that although Lutheran pastors warned people not to receive at Reformed altars, they refrained from speculating what the Reformed actually received.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 25, 2021, 08:50:55 AM
Here's how I taught this topic to my catechism students last year.

https://youtu.be/T4y__PyLv84

I would post the video, use questions on Zoom to see how they understood it, and then review with them their workbook on the topic.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Richard Johnson on October 25, 2021, 08:59:13 AM
And now a second question comes to mind, after Rev. Austin's rehearsal of the discussions that led to that agreement: In the almost 25 years since, have further discussions been held to work through those areas of disagreement?  And if so, what progress has been made?

That's an excellent question. It doesn't appear to me that much has happened other than the obligatory appearances of representatives of "full communion churches" at churchwide assemblies.

And the churches  feel they can comment on each other's business. Just this month, the Reformed Church in America had its general synod and was conflicted over sexuality. Bp. Eaton wrote a pastoral letter suggesting that the RCA could learn to live together harmoniously with differing views, just as the ELCA as done. I almost spilled my coffee.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 25, 2021, 09:01:09 AM
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.

Lutherans do not.

This is probably not correct. Sasse (footnote in This Is My Body) states that although Lutheran pastors warned people not to receive at Reformed altars, they refrained from speculating what the Reformed actually received.

Peace, JOHN

Good catch, John - I'm surprised there aren't more full treatments on this question through the years.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 25, 2021, 09:11:15 AM
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.

Lutherans do not.

This is probably not correct. Sasse (footnote in This Is My Body) states that although Lutheran pastors warned people not to receive at Reformed altars, they refrained from speculating what the Reformed actually received.

Peace, JOHN

Good catch, John - I'm surprised there aren't more full treatments on this question through the years.

Dave Benke

Pieper's Christian Dogmatics, Vol III, p. 371 makes the point that while there was disagreement on the subject among Lutheran teachers, "Most of our Old Lutheran teachers hold that the Reformed 'Supper' is a rite alien to the ordinance of Christ and for that reason is not the Lord's Supper".  Perhaps that is the better option, since if it WERE the Lord's Supper, than I would suspect they would've held that the Reformed communicants would be receiving it to their harm (1 Cor. 11).
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: aletheist on October 25, 2021, 09:13:31 AM
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.
Lutherans do not.
This is probably not correct. Sasse (footnote in This Is My Body) states that although Lutheran pastors warned people not to receive at Reformed altars, they refrained from speculating what the Reformed actually received.
Rev. Kirchner is correct. Here is what we as Lutherans believe, teach, and confess regarding this question.

Quote from: FC SD VII:32
After this protestation, Doctor Luther, of blessed memory, presents, among other articles, this also: In the same manner I also speak and confess (he says) concerning the Sacrament of the Altar, that there the body and blood of Christ are in truth orally eaten and drunk in the bread and wine, even though the priests [ministers] who administer it [the Lord’s Supper], or those who receive it, should not believe or otherwise misuse it. For it does not depend upon the faith or unbelief of men, but upon God’s Word and ordinance, unless they first change God’s Word and ordinance and interpret it otherwise, as the enemies of the Sacrament do at the present day, who, of course, have nothing but bread and wine; for they also do not have the words and appointed ordinance of God, but have perverted and changed them according to their own [false] notion.

In the words of Luther as quoted in the Formula of Concord, at altars where they "change God's Word and ordinance" by interpreting it "according to their own [false] notion," they "have nothing but bread and wine." Walther reiterates this position as follows.

Quote from: Walther, Pastoral Theology
The administration of the holy Supper is not made invalid and powerless by the unworthiness, unbelief, or false intention of the administrant (see the Augsburg Confession, Article VIII). But those false teachers who, with the agreement of their congregation, publicly pervert the Words of Institution and give them a meaning according to which the body and blood of Christ are not really present in the holy Supper and are not distributed nor received--those who therefore retain the sound of the words but take away what makes them God's Word, namely the divine meaning, and so deny and suspend the essence of the holy Supper, such as the Zwinglians and Calvinists--they do not celebrate the Lord's Supper, even if they ostensibly retain the consecration. They distribute only bread and wine.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 25, 2021, 09:18:42 AM
The discussion of doctrinal disagreements will play a big role in the future of declining church bodies and where they will find clergy. I suspect conservative churches will have to put up with spotty coverage and some sort of circuit rider arrangement, keeping struct doctrinal boundaries while trying to work together with other conservative bodies on points of mutual mission. I still think the parishioner shortage is likely to be a big a problem for the LCMS as the clergy shortage. As for liberal churches, I wouldn't be surprised if they worked together (sort of like the old Synodical Conference) to take geographical areas. This town's Protestant churches will be served by this UCC pastor (or group of pastors), while that town's Protestant churches will be served by this ELCA pastor. The three and four point parishes in ND involve a lot of driving, but a county seat town could have one pastor serving four churches all within a block or two of the parsonage and donning different doctrinal nuances like differing vestments.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 25, 2021, 09:19:10 AM
And now a second question comes to mind, after Rev. Austin's rehearsal of the discussions that led to that agreement: In the almost 25 years since, have further discussions been held to work through those areas of disagreement?  And if so, what progress has been made?

That's an excellent question. It doesn't appear to me that much has happened other than the obligatory appearances of representatives of "full communion churches" at churchwide assemblies.

And the churches  feel they can comment on each other's business. Just this month, the Reformed Church in America had its general synod and was conflicted over sexuality. Bp. Eaton wrote a pastoral letter suggesting that the RCA could learn to live together harmoniously with differing views, just as the ELCA as done. I almost spilled my coffee.

I have known some of the RCA leaders in this part of the world through the years, faithfully reformed in all regards.  Here's a description of what's happening:  https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2021/10/14/reformed-church-in-america-faces-rupture-over-lgbtq-gridlock/. 

An issue with these splits in the smaller denominations is whether the structure of the organization can withstand the splintering, for one.  Secondly, what about the splintered?  Where do they land and how do they put anything beyond a local agenda together that is built to be multi-generational?  I guess this is a question for NALC and LCMC folks as well - how does strategizing take place for a future that's more than interim?  I can't believe any of the breakaway bodies somehow have only larger and more viable congregational memberships. 

The thing they won't have to worry about is receiving pastors from a seminary or pastors from the field who are misaligned with their stated values.  But the issues of holding on and holding things together for more than 5-10 years remain no matter who you are affiliated with.  So yes - we're looking for a pastor who, say, is opposed to gay ordination.  We can pay the pastor $2000 per month.  Anybody available? 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 25, 2021, 09:20:21 AM
Pastor Bohler:
In the almost 25 years since, have further discussions been held to work through those areas of disagreement?  And if so, what progress has been made?
Me:
Yes, and I do not know.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 25, 2021, 10:19:46 AM
Peter:
…one pastor serving four churches all within a block or two of the parsonage and donning different doctrinal nuances like differing vestments.

Me:
We do not trivialize “doctrinal nuances.” But which doctrines and which nuances? What is essential for the proclamation of the Gospel, for nurturing faith, for bringing comfort, for inspiring mission and service, for building community? I might start - and maybe finish - with the Creeds.
And scripture. And I might bring less  nitpicking fanaticism to the process then do some others we know.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 25, 2021, 10:30:48 AM
And now a second question comes to mind, after Rev. Austin's rehearsal of the discussions that led to that agreement: In the almost 25 years since, have further discussions been held to work through those areas of disagreement?  And if so, what progress has been made?

That's an excellent question. It doesn't appear to me that much has happened other than the obligatory appearances of representatives of "full communion churches" at churchwide assemblies.

And the churches  feel they can comment on each other's business. Just this month, the Reformed Church in America had its general synod and was conflicted over sexuality. Bp. Eaton wrote a pastoral letter suggesting that the RCA could learn to live together harmoniously with differing views, just as the ELCA as done. I almost spilled my coffee.

I have known some of the RCA leaders in this part of the world through the years, faithfully reformed in all regards.  Here's a description of what's happening:  https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2021/10/14/reformed-church-in-america-faces-rupture-over-lgbtq-gridlock/. 

An issue with these splits in the smaller denominations is whether the structure of the organization can withstand the splintering, for one.  Secondly, what about the splintered?  Where do they land and how do they put anything beyond a local agenda together that is built to be multi-generational?  I guess this is a question for NALC and LCMC folks as well - how does strategizing take place for a future that's more than interim?  I can't believe any of the breakaway bodies somehow have only larger and more viable congregational memberships. 

The thing they won't have to worry about is receiving pastors from a seminary or pastors from the field who are misaligned with their stated values.  But the issues of holding on and holding things together for more than 5-10 years remain no matter who you are affiliated with.  So yes - we're looking for a pastor who, say, is opposed to gay ordination.  We can pay the pastor $2000 per month.  Anybody available? 

Dave Benke
I think the generational aspect is key. RJN rejected the dismissal, lamentably common among Christians both lay and clergy, of the “institutional” church. Institution, he pointed out, is simply the word that describes a mission through time. Yes, institutions, like all human things, are inclined to mission-creep into mere self-perpetuation and enlargement (Yes, our school founded for the training of foreign missionaries is still going strong after 150 years! Only now it more focus on oil changes and muffler repair, with some of the proceeds going toward various outreach events!), so the institutional trappings should always be a servant and never a master. But we should see the value of preserving institutions in decline. If we lose them, we’ll soon need new ones and wish we had been able to keep the old ones up and running.

For a church to endure through time it needs doctrinal definition. That has been my criticism of the NALC from the beginning. A church defined by avoiding extremes doesn’t cease to have extremes, it simply has a narrower set of extremes and is still in large part defined by the extremes it rejects. Right now, it works pretty well. The people in the NALC are familiar with the debates and issues, and more importantly, the churchly culture that gave birth to the NALC. But two generations from now all the membership will be all new and the old raison d’etre will not seem urgent to them at all. The work to be done in making the NALC is in building a lasting institution, which means, for a church, a clear understanding of why it exists as a separate institution. That can only mean doctrinal boundaries, which require some justification. Why is this acceptable but that isn’t? And then you’ll have hardliners and “moderates” and all the same old issues.

The NALC strikes me like a temporary solution. A set of people deeply involved in American Lutheranism just needed to come up for air before they drowned in what seemed like unacceptable alternatives. But they will soon have to dive down again to the foundations after they catch their breath. There is much work to be done if there are to be third and fourth generation NALC pastors.

Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Richard Johnson on October 25, 2021, 10:31:35 AM
Pastor Bohler:
In the almost 25 years since, have further discussions been held to work through those areas of disagreement?  And if so, what progress has been made?
Me:
Yes, and I do not know.

I don't think that is correct. I've looked at the ELCA page about bilateral dialogues, and there is nothing there about continuing dialogue with, say, the Reformed (it lists AME, AMEZ, Disciples, Mennonites, also Orthodox and Roman though I think those dialogues are primarily through LWF).

Looking back at the Ecumenical report to the last CWA, it simply tells me that with the full communion partners, "coordinating committees meet regularly"--few details are given, but it appears that these committees deal with pragmatic issues such as the logistics of pastoral service in each other's congregations, etc. Nothing about continued theological dialogue. If such dialogue is continuing, nobody's talking about it.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Terry W Culler on October 25, 2021, 10:48:08 AM
As someone from a church body that formed in a split 60 years ago I understand what Peter is talking about with respect to the future of a body like the NALC or the LCMC.  In late 2009 we began to see people coming to us from ELCA congregations and I told them that, if their sole goal was to avoid have homosexual pastors, then we were not the place for them.  The AFLC has an identity and a theological position which has endured and keeps us functioning and moving forward. Even though we are a small denomination we can answer the question, "why do you exist" rather straightforwardly and we continue to raise up young people who believe in free and living congregations.  Our problem now is indeed how to replace all the retired and ought to be retired pastors, especially in the rural upper Midwest.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 25, 2021, 10:56:17 AM
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.
Lutherans do not.
This is probably not correct. Sasse (footnote in This Is My Body) states that although Lutheran pastors warned people not to receive at Reformed altars, they refrained from speculating what the Reformed actually received.
Rev. Kirchner is correct. Here is what we as Lutherans believe, teach, and confess regarding this question.

Quote from: FC SD VII:32
After this protestation, Doctor Luther, of blessed memory, presents, among other articles, this also: In the same manner I also speak and confess (he says) concerning the Sacrament of the Altar, that there the body and blood of Christ are in truth orally eaten and drunk in the bread and wine, even though the priests [ministers] who administer it [the Lord’s Supper], or those who receive it, should not believe or otherwise misuse it. For it does not depend upon the faith or unbelief of men, but upon God’s Word and ordinance, unless they first change God’s Word and ordinance and interpret it otherwise, as the enemies of the Sacrament do at the present day, who, of course, have nothing but bread and wine; for they also do not have the words and appointed ordinance of God, but have perverted and changed them according to their own [false] notion.

In the words of Luther as quoted in the Formula of Concord, at altars where they "change God's Word and ordinance" by interpreting it "according to their own [false] notion," they "have nothing but bread and wine." Walther reiterates this position as follows.

Quote from: Walther, Pastoral Theology
The administration of the holy Supper is not made invalid and powerless by the unworthiness, unbelief, or false intention of the administrant (see the Augsburg Confession, Article VIII). But those false teachers who, with the agreement of their congregation, publicly pervert the Words of Institution and give them a meaning according to which the body and blood of Christ are not really present in the holy Supper and are not distributed nor received--those who therefore retain the sound of the words but take away what makes them God's Word, namely the divine meaning, and so deny and suspend the essence of the holy Supper, such as the Zwinglians and Calvinists--they do not celebrate the Lord's Supper, even if they ostensibly retain the consecration. They distribute only bread and wine.

Don, Steven, and Jon, that is also what I recalled from my training and reading.

John, are you able to give us the page and footnote in Sasse, which would be helpful for this topic?

The original topic was about how to supply church workers for the future. I had recommended free conferences, brainstorming with the laity to draw grassroots attention to the issues and get folks working on it from top to bottom. Perhaps something like this is already done or in the works but I imagine we would benefit from broader attention to the challenges.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: John_Hannah on October 25, 2021, 11:01:38 AM

John, are you able to give us the page and footnote in Sasse, which would be helpful for this topic?



I wish I could but I had to downsize my library several years ago. I do recall that it was toward the end, probably in that last section where he discusses the import of Luther's stand at Marburg.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Michael Slusser on October 25, 2021, 11:13:42 AM
As someone from a church body that formed in a split 60 years ago I understand what Peter is talking about with respect to the future of a body like the NALC or the LCMC.  In late 2009 we began to see people coming to us from ELCA congregations and I told them that, if their sole goal was to avoid have homosexual pastors, then we were not the place for them.  The AFLC has an identity and a theological position which has endured and keeps us functioning and moving forward. Even though we are a small denomination we can answer the question, "why do you exist" rather straightforwardly and we continue to raise up young people who believe in free and living congregations.  Our problem now is indeed how to replace all the retired and ought to be retired pastors, especially in the rural upper Midwest.
I can report a comparable instance in the RCC from the 80s, when Anglican/Episcopalian priests were first allowed to become RC and be ordained as RC priests. A member of the colloquy committee (which was headed by then bishop of Springfield/Cape Girardeau, Bernard Law) told me that, to exclude merely reactive moves, each man was asked whether, if the Pope authorized ordaining women to the priesthood, they would accept that. If their sole goal was to avoid ordaining women, then we were not the place for them.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 25, 2021, 11:26:43 AM
Knowing a number of people involved in forming the NALC, I once opined that the NALC was the ELCA without partnered gay pastors. Some said that appellation was not true.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 25, 2021, 11:34:28 AM
And now a second question comes to mind, after Rev. Austin's rehearsal of the discussions that led to that agreement: In the almost 25 years since, have further discussions been held to work through those areas of disagreement?  And if so, what progress has been made?

That's an excellent question. It doesn't appear to me that much has happened other than the obligatory appearances of representatives of "full communion churches" at churchwide assemblies.

And the churches  feel they can comment on each other's business. Just this month, the Reformed Church in America had its general synod and was conflicted over sexuality. Bp. Eaton wrote a pastoral letter suggesting that the RCA could learn to live together harmoniously with differing views, just as the ELCA as done. I almost spilled my coffee.

I have known some of the RCA leaders in this part of the world through the years, faithfully reformed in all regards.  Here's a description of what's happening:  https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2021/10/14/reformed-church-in-america-faces-rupture-over-lgbtq-gridlock/. 

An issue with these splits in the smaller denominations is whether the structure of the organization can withstand the splintering, for one.  Secondly, what about the splintered?  Where do they land and how do they put anything beyond a local agenda together that is built to be multi-generational?  I guess this is a question for NALC and LCMC folks as well - how does strategizing take place for a future that's more than interim?  I can't believe any of the breakaway bodies somehow have only larger and more viable congregational memberships. 

The thing they won't have to worry about is receiving pastors from a seminary or pastors from the field who are misaligned with their stated values.  But the issues of holding on and holding things together for more than 5-10 years remain no matter who you are affiliated with.  So yes - we're looking for a pastor who, say, is opposed to gay ordination.  We can pay the pastor $2000 per month.  Anybody available? 

Dave Benke
I think the generational aspect is key. RJN rejected the dismissal, lamentably common among Christians both lay and clergy, of the “institutional” church. Institution, he pointed out, is simply the word that describes a mission through time. Yes, institutions, like all human things, are inclined to mission-creep into mere self-perpetuation and enlargement (Yes, our school founded for the training of foreign missionaries is still going strong after 150 years! Only now it more focus on oil changes and muffler repair, with some of the proceeds going toward various outreach events!), so the institutional trappings should always be a servant and never a master. But we should see the value of preserving institutions in decline. If we lose them, we’ll soon need new ones and wish we had been able to keep the old ones up and running.

For a church to endure through time it needs doctrinal definition. That has been my criticism of the NALC from the beginning. A church defined by avoiding extremes doesn’t cease to have extremes, it simply has a narrower set of extremes and is still in large part defined by the extremes it rejects. Right now, it works pretty well. The people in the NALC are familiar with the debates and issues, and more importantly, the churchly culture that gave birth to the NALC. But two generations from now all the membership will be all new and the old raison d’etre will not seem urgent to them at all. The work to be done in making the NALC is in building a lasting institution, which means, for a church, a clear understanding of why it exists as a separate institution. That can only mean doctrinal boundaries, which require some justification. Why is this acceptable but that isn’t? And then you’ll have hardliners and “moderates” and all the same old issues.

The NALC strikes me like a temporary solution. A set of people deeply involved in American Lutheranism just needed to come up for air before they drowned in what seemed like unacceptable alternatives. But they will soon have to dive down again to the foundations after they catch their breath. There is much work to be done if there are to be third and fourth generation NALC pastors.

Institutionally, then, doesn't the NALC hold doctrinally to the Book of Concord/Augsburg Confession as its confession of faith in line with Scripture (norma normata and norma normans)?  Same with LCMC, no?  I suppose these days that's seen as waffling. 

Clarification of doctrinal boundaries can get pretty petty pretty quickly. In the bad old days of the 2000s/2010s, we would toss out any number of overtures to the national convention that wanted to tighten or eliminate some already decided boundary.

If a Lutheran denomination allows for the ordination of women, for example, from the right side of the confessional aisle, there's no need for further conversation.   They're out, and not confessional and basically not Lutheran.  Since I believe both NALC and LCMC allow for the ordination of women, they're not going to be suitable partners for the LCMS, which may be headed for a wrenching dialog about whether women can read the lessons in church. 

All that being said, I think as well that LCMC - which is basically described as an interim affiliation, and NALC, could end up being interim groups.  They are, however, what I would consider "middle" options for Lutherans. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: aletheist on October 25, 2021, 11:55:03 AM
John, are you able to give us the page and footnote in Sasse, which would be helpful for this topic?
I wish I could but I had to downsize my library several years ago. I do recall that it was toward the end, probably in that last section where he discusses the import of Luther's stand at Marburg.
I do not have the book itself, and Google Books only provides brief snippets as search results, but one of them that came up for me reads as follows.

Quote from: Hermann Sasse, This Is My Body, p. 372
... Reformed Christians who in a bona fide manner celebrate the Lord's Supper according to their convictions. We would not deny that in such a case at least a spiritual communion may take place. But we cannot regard the verba testamenti as being on the same level with the formula of baptism in which the ...

It sounds like Sasse is going to say that unlike baptism, where using the standard Trinitarian formula is sufficient for validity, the Lord's Supper requires a correct interpretation of the Words of Institution--consistent with Luther's remark, quoted in the Formula of Concord and echoed by Walther, that at Reformed altars they "have nothing but bread and wine" because "they first change God’s Word and ordinance and interpret it otherwise." If anyone can provide the text right before and after this excerpt, as well as the actual footnote that Rev. Hannah paraphrased, it would be greatly appreciated.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 25, 2021, 12:17:53 PM
So the celebration depends upon 1) human words and 2) the “proper” understanding of those words? Otherwise the Real Presence Jesus doesn’t show up?
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 25, 2021, 12:20:13 PM
John, are you able to give us the page and footnote in Sasse, which would be helpful for this topic?
I wish I could but I had to downsize my library several years ago. I do recall that it was toward the end, probably in that last section where he discusses the import of Luther's stand at Marburg.
I do not have the book itself, and Google Books only provides brief snippets as search results, but one of them that came up for me reads as follows.

Quote from: Hermann Sasse, This Is My Body, p. 372
... Reformed Christians who in a bona fide manner celebrate the Lord's Supper according to their convictions. We would not deny that in such a case at least a spiritual communion may take place. But we cannot regard the verba testamenti as being on the same level with the formula of baptism in which the ...

It sounds like Sasse is going to say that unlike baptism, where using the standard Trinitarian formula is sufficient for validity, the Lord's Supper requires a correct interpretation of the Words of Institution--consistent with Luther's remark, quoted in the Formula of Concord and echoed by Walther, that at Reformed altars they "have nothing but bread and wine" because "they first change God’s Word and ordinance and interpret it otherwise." If anyone can provide the text right before and after this excerpt, as well as the actual footnote that Rev. Hannah paraphrased, it would be greatly appreciated.

In my copy of the book, page 372 is in the "Topical Index" section, after the text of the book concludes.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 25, 2021, 12:31:29 PM
So the celebration depends upon 1) human words and 2) the “proper” understanding of those words? Otherwise the Real Presence Jesus doesn’t show up?
These are seminary classroom questions. I think “intent” is another factor. Also, there is a key distinction between questions of efficaciousness and questions of authorization or licitness. To take a tragic example from the news, the gun meant to be a prop still works as a gun. It is a matter of who is supposed to be in charge of it. Pastors who don’t think any real harm might result from the Body and Blood of Christ being distributed any which way usually focus exclusively on efficaciousness and think matters of licit/illicit or authorization to be moot for all practical purposes. Pastors who see great potential harm look at both efficaciousness and authorization as important matters.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 25, 2021, 12:36:54 PM
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.

Lutherans do not.

This is probably not correct. Sasse (footnote in This Is My Body) states that although Lutheran pastors warned people not to receive at Reformed altars, they refrained from speculating what the Reformed actually received.

Peace, JOHN

Good catch, John - I'm surprised there aren't more full treatments on this question through the years.

Dave Benke

Good catch? Really?! It appears that Rev Hannah is speculating, what he states that Sasse suggests we should not do.

At any rate, given the subsequent citations and quotes, I trust you both stand corrected as to what Lutherans believe, teach, and confess regarding this issue.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: aletheist on October 25, 2021, 12:38:50 PM
In my copy of the book, page 372 is in the "Topical Index" section, after the text of the book concludes.
Looking at the table of contents for the Google Books version, the snippet that I quoted is in chapter VII, section 2b, under the subheading "Word and Sacrament."
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 25, 2021, 12:41:01 PM
So the celebration depends upon 1) human words and 2) the “proper” understanding of those words? Otherwise the Real Presence Jesus doesn’t show up?
My understanding is a bit more nuanced than that, perhaps too nuanced for your taste. When we gather for the Lord's Supper, the words of institution are not some form of magical incantation that when intoned produce the effect of the real presence of Christ in the sacramental elements. Rather, what the verba do is to serve as a reminder of the promise that Jesus made when He first gave this meal to His people, with the further command to do this, and an indication that it is that which we are intending to do. Thus, it is not necessary for the verba to be spoken in the Greek as it was originally stated, nor in the exact work order. It is not magic hocus pocus words. However, if by their confession of faith, those who preside change the meanings of the words to something other than what Jesus promised (as, for example, no longer "This is my body" but rather "This symbolizes my body") then arguable they are no longer intending to participate in what Jesus offered and offers.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 25, 2021, 12:56:30 PM
Peter writes:
These are seminary classroom questions. I think “intent” is another factor.
I comment:
Hogwash. Again, makes the sacrament and its efficacy dependent upon us.

Peter:
Also, there is a key distinction between questions of efficaciousness and questions of authorization or licitness. To take a tragic example from the news, the gun meant to be a prop still works as a gun. It is a matter of who is supposed to be in charge of it. P
Me:
Oh, Peter, your analogies. Can you find another rhetorical device? Let's run with this, though. Presbyterian church pastor recites the Words of Institution and distributes the sacrament. Hovering over him is old-style Presbyterian doctrine saying "It's a memorial, He is in heaven," so the pastor thinks he has a "cold" sacrament in his hands, unloaded with the Real Presence Jesus. But wait, the Holy Spirit is the true "armorer" of this scene and the Real Presence Jesus is there, not to kill or wound, but to give life and forgiveness.
Meanwhile down the street a Lutheran pastor presides (properly, of course), but a Presbyterian mother-in-law of a member is in the fourth pew. She's expecting a "cold" sacrament (He is in heaven, remember, not here). But the armorer, the Holy Spirit, is on the job and the sacrament is loaded. So what happens to the Presbyterian mother-in-law? Bang! the Real Presence Jesus.
Has harm been done, because the Pastor didn't warn "Look out! This is the real thing!"
Was the sacrament less "effective" down the street in the Presbyterian Church because of that "memorial, He's in Heaven" thing?
Was anybody hurt in either place? What "great potential harm" are you seeing, Peter?
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 25, 2021, 12:57:52 PM
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.

Lutherans do not.

This is probably not correct. Sasse (footnote in This Is My Body) states that although Lutheran pastors warned people not to receive at Reformed altars, they refrained from speculating what the Reformed actually received.

Peace, JOHN

Good catch, John - I'm surprised there aren't more full treatments on this question through the years.

Dave Benke

Good catch? Really?! It appears that Rev Hannah is speculating, what he states that Sasse suggests that we should not do.

At any rate, given the subsequent citations and quotes, I trust you both stand corrected as to what Lutherans believe, teach, and confess.

Seemed like a good catch, but maybe the it failed the 32" test and had to be given back to the waters.  (I'm remembering 32" as the minimum for a northern way back in the days when we threw lines in the reeds of the Flambeau Flowage  back in Wisconsin, but that has been a year or 50) 

I'm struck by the Pieper line "most of the old Lutheran", even with the Walther quote.  This must have been in those halcyon days in the 1800s, a question that came up.   And having had many a non-Lutheran pastor of Protestant vintage tell me through the years that they believed the Lutheran way on the Lord's Supper, I can understand a bit of the hesitancy.  The pastor is in his Presbyterian church, ordained and called, and comes to the conclusion that the Lutheran way is correct.  He's not leaving this heterodox mixmaster due to whatever, and continues to teach and lead his folks through a Real Presence reception.  Because of his institutional connection, is this still just a meal and not the Lord's Supper?  Walther would say No.  The pastor and congregation, which for Walther are the bedrock Reality due to his Transfer Theory, are actually Lutheran in the celebration of the meal, although undoubtedly vagabond in their double predestination malarky.

Since other Protestant groups have way more latitude in their doctrinal interpretations, there would certainly be some pastors and congregations in the Real Presence category.  Out in this part of the world, where the edges are more defined, therefore, there are most likely Presybterian and Methodist congregations that are very liturgical and Real Presence oriented, while at the other edge are more Unitarian providers of divine knowledge or knowledge-ish.

Dave Benke 
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 25, 2021, 01:01:54 PM
What "great potential harm" are you seeing, Peter?

"For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, 'This is my body, which is for6 you. Do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord bin an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. " 1 Cor 11:23-29

As the beloved Dr. Nagel stated, "Yes, it's a krima/judgment. But, a krima/judgment can become a katakrima/condemnation."
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 25, 2021, 01:06:38 PM
Seemed like a good catch, but maybe the it failed the 32" test and had to be given back to the waters.  (I'm remembering 32" as the minimum for a northern way back in the days when we threw lines in the reeds of the Flambeau Flowage  back in Wisconsin, but that has been a year or 50) 

Northerns given back to the waters?! We don't bring those slimy creatures into the boat! They wreck everything, and the slime gets on your hands. More like cut the line. Keep northerns in the waters.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 25, 2021, 01:06:48 PM
In my copy of the book, page 372 is in the "Topical Index" section, after the text of the book concludes.
Looking at the table of contents for the Google Books version, the snippet that I quoted is in chapter VII, section 2b, under the subheading "Word and Sacrament."

Footnote 28:

Peter Brunner, Grundlegung des Abendmahlsgesprachs (1954), 28-33, gives some very well-considered theses on the possibility of a renewed colloquy between Lutherans and Reformed on the basis of modern biblical and historical theology in both churches.  He rejects the superficial unionism of former times which did not realize the depth of the issues, and the seriousness of the authority of Holy Scripture.  As a Lutheran theologian in a union church (Brunner is professor at Heidelberg), he leaves open the possibility that Lutherans may admit that in a congregation which follows the Heidelberg Catechsim the body and blood of Christ may be received, because this Catechism teaches a presence of the body and blood, though in the sense of Calvin (according to question 79, 'we partake of His true body and blood through the power of the Holy Ghost as certainly as we receive the holy signs -- i.e., bread and wine -- orally').  However, Brunner, as a clear and sincere thinker, adds in a footnote (p 32) that Luther, had he known the Heidelberg Catechism, would not have agreed with Brunner's view.  The author himself admits that he could not recognize the Sacrament as valid where the Real Presence was completely denied: 'Darin hat Luther doc whole recut geschen, dass Dort wo eine Prasenz des Leibes und Blutes Jesu Christi bestridden word, die Substanz des Sakraments selbst zerstort wird'.  He also agreed with Luther in admitting that such heresy would be worse than the Roamn doctrine on transubstantion.  This means that while the sacrament of the Zwinglian cannot be recognized, it is possible to recognize that of the Calvinists.  This is the view of the Lutherans within union churches, otherwise they could not be members of such churches.  Peter Brunner himself must admit that Luther would not share his view.  The question whether a Lutheran in danger of death could receive th Sacrament from a Reformed minister was denied by Luther and all dogmaticians, as was also the case in the pastoral advice given in th books on casus conscientiae, e.g., Balduin, Tractatus de casabas conscientiae, edition of 1654, 345, where it is made clear that the Lord's Supper must not be received from a minister who is known to be a Calvinist.

-------------------------------

I do not think this footnote says what Rev. Hannah wants it to say.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 25, 2021, 01:20:05 PM
Peter writes:
These are seminary classroom questions. I think “intent” is another factor.
I comment:
Hogwash. Again, makes the sacrament and its efficacy dependent upon us.

It appears that Charles is now confessing another reformed view that Lutherans reject:  irresistible grace, a theme that Brian continually touts.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 25, 2021, 01:23:25 PM
Peter writes:
These are seminary classroom questions. I think “intent” is another factor.
I comment:
Hogwash. Again, makes the sacrament and its efficacy dependent upon us.

Peter:
Also, there is a key distinction between questions of efficaciousness and questions of authorization or licitness. To take a tragic example from the news, the gun meant to be a prop still works as a gun. It is a matter of who is supposed to be in charge of it. P
Me:
Oh, Peter, your analogies. Can you find another rhetorical device? Let's run with this, though. Presbyterian church pastor recites the Words of Institution and distributes the sacrament. Hovering over him is old-style Presbyterian doctrine saying "It's a memorial, He is in heaven," so the pastor thinks he has a "cold" sacrament in his hands, unloaded with the Real Presence Jesus. But wait, the Holy Spirit is the true "armorer" of this scene and the Real Presence Jesus is there, not to kill or wound, but to give life and forgiveness.
Meanwhile down the street a Lutheran pastor presides (properly, of course), but a Presbyterian mother-in-law of a member is in the fourth pew. She's expecting a "cold" sacrament (He is in heaven, remember, not here). But the armorer, the Holy Spirit, is on the job and the sacrament is loaded. So what happens to the Presbyterian mother-in-law? Bang! the Real Presence Jesus.
Has harm been done, because the Pastor didn't warn "Look out! This is the real thing!"
Was the sacrament less "effective" down the street in the Presbyterian Church because of that "memorial, He's in Heaven" thing?
Was anybody hurt in either place? What "great potential harm" are you seeing, Peter?
You do not like analogies? (Or is it that you only like analogies when you offer them?) This is not an analogy but a quite possible real life situation. A scene is being filmed for a movie or TV show which takes place in a church during a communion service. The actor playing the part of the pastor says the words of institution over the elements as part of the scene. Is that really communion then, since the words were pronounced?


OK, now for an analogy. The scene being acted is a wedding, a scene that has been a part of many movies and TV shows. The actors playing the bride and groom say their vows and the actor pastor pronounces them husband and wife. Are they now married?
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: John_Hannah on October 25, 2021, 01:25:35 PM
In my copy of the book, page 372 is in the "Topical Index" section, after the text of the book concludes.
Looking at the table of contents for the Google Books version, the snippet that I quoted is in chapter VII, section 2b, under the subheading "Word and Sacrament."

Footnote 28:

Peter Brunner, Grundlegung des Abendmahlsgesprachs (1954), 28-33, gives some very well-considered theses on the possibility of a renewed colloquy between Lutherans and Reformed on the basis of modern biblical and historical theology in both churches.  He rejects the superficial unionism of former times which did not realize the depth of the issues, and the seriousness of the authority of Holy Scripture.  As a Lutheran theologian in a union church (Brunner is professor at Heidelberg), he leaves open the possibility that Lutherans may admit that in a congregation which follows the Heidelberg Catechsim the body and blood of Christ may be received, because this Catechism teaches a presence of the body and blood, though in the sense of Calvin (according to question 79, 'we partake of His true body and blood through the power of the Holy Ghost as certainly as we receive the holy signs -- i.e., bread and wine -- orally').  However, Brunner, as a clear and sincere thinker, adds in a footnote (p 32) that Luther, had he known the Heidelberg Catechism, would not have agreed with Brunner's view.  The author himself admits that he could not recognize the Sacrament as valid where the Real Presence was completely denied: 'Darin hat Luther doc whole recut geschen, dass Dort wo eine Prasenz des Leibes und Blutes Jesu Christi bestridden word, die Substanz des Sakraments selbst zerstort wird'.  He also agreed with Luther in admitting that such heresy would be worse than the Roamn doctrine on transubstantion.  This means that while the sacrament of the Zwinglian cannot be recognized, it is possible to recognize that of the Calvinists.  This is the view of the Lutherans within union churches, otherwise they could not be members of such churches.  Peter Brunner himself must admit that Luther would not share his view.  The question whether a Lutheran in danger of death could receive th Sacrament from a Reformed minister was denied by Luther and all dogmaticians, as was also the case in the pastoral advice given in th books on casus conscientiae, e.g., Balduin, Tractatus de casabas conscientiae, edition of 1654, 345, where it is made clear that the Lord's Supper must not be received from a minister who is known to be a Calvinist.

-------------------------------

I do not think this footnote says what Rev. Hannah wants it to say.

That is not the footnote. Nor do I disagree with it. Sasse did not say that the Reformed were anywhere nearly correct nor that Lutherans could receive from them, even in danger of death. He was clear that we should not. What he said is that the Lutherans dogmaticians (meaning those through the 17th century) did not deign to say what God gave the Reformed in their observance of Communion.

I don't think I know enough to declare what God does in that circumstance. Others may know more about God's work in this instance than than I or Dr. Sasse.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 25, 2021, 01:25:43 PM
Peter writes:
These are seminary classroom questions. I think “intent” is another factor.
I comment:
Hogwash. Again, makes the sacrament and its efficacy dependent upon us.

It appears that Charles is now confessing another reformed view that Lutherans reject:  irresistible grace, a theme that Brian continually touts.
So Charles, a first grader in my school is learning to read, but needs a time-out in my office. My communion set is on the shelf and a hymnal is open my table. The kids starts sounding out the words and ends up reciting the words on Institution. Are the wafers and wine stored on my shelf now the Body and Blood of Christ?
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 25, 2021, 01:26:40 PM
Peter writes:
These are seminary classroom questions. I think “intent” is another factor.
I comment:
Hogwash. Again, makes the sacrament and its efficacy dependent upon us.

It appears that Charles is now confessing another reformed view that Lutherans reject:  irresistible grace, a theme that Brian continually touts.
Is it communion if nobody says anything and the elements have not been provided or consumed. Does that mean that for it to be the sacrament it is dependent on people providing and doing things? Is God in giving us His sacrament dependent on our actions?
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 25, 2021, 02:28:35 PM
Peter writes:
These are seminary classroom questions. I think “intent” is another factor.
I comment:
Hogwash. Again, makes the sacrament and its efficacy dependent upon us.

It appears that Charles is now confessing another reformed view that Lutherans reject:  irresistible grace, a theme that Brian continually touts.
Is it communion if nobody says anything and the elements have not been provided or consumed. Does that mean that for it to be the sacrament it is dependent on people providing and doing things? Is God in giving us His sacrament dependent on our actions?
This is the real question. Someone (I forget who, but it is something I read and agreed with, just so you know I'm not claiming the idea is original) made the point that many arguments about whether some word or gesture has eternal, spiritual significance are really arguments about whether any word or gesture or anything in this world at all can have eternal, spiritual significance. The entire sacramental approach of Christianity hinges on God working through means, and the ability of the finite to contain the infinite, so to speak, for real things, words, gestures, or other finite, human things to bring about eternal, spiritual results.

The idea that somehow making Communion depend on us in some way ruins the pure grace aspect of it makes Quakers of us all. As people called in God's plans and purposes, we His people do things that are really God working through us, but still depend on our actually doing them. That is part of the glory of redeemed mankind.   
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 25, 2021, 02:41:06 PM
In my copy of the book, page 372 is in the "Topical Index" section, after the text of the book concludes.
Looking at the table of contents for the Google Books version, the snippet that I quoted is in chapter VII, section 2b, under the subheading "Word and Sacrament."

Footnote 28:

Peter Brunner, Grundlegung des Abendmahlsgesprachs (1954), 28-33, gives some very well-considered theses on the possibility of a renewed colloquy between Lutherans and Reformed on the basis of modern biblical and historical theology in both churches.  He rejects the superficial unionism of former times which did not realize the depth of the issues, and the seriousness of the authority of Holy Scripture.  As a Lutheran theologian in a union church (Brunner is professor at Heidelberg), he leaves open the possibility that Lutherans may admit that in a congregation which follows the Heidelberg Catechsim the body and blood of Christ may be received, because this Catechism teaches a presence of the body and blood, though in the sense of Calvin (according to question 79, 'we partake of His true body and blood through the power of the Holy Ghost as certainly as we receive the holy signs -- i.e., bread and wine -- orally').  However, Brunner, as a clear and sincere thinker, adds in a footnote (p 32) that Luther, had he known the Heidelberg Catechism, would not have agreed with Brunner's view.  The author himself admits that he could not recognize the Sacrament as valid where the Real Presence was completely denied: 'Darin hat Luther doc whole recut geschen, dass Dort wo eine Prasenz des Leibes und Blutes Jesu Christi bestridden word, die Substanz des Sakraments selbst zerstort wird'.  He also agreed with Luther in admitting that such heresy would be worse than the Roamn doctrine on transubstantion.  This means that while the sacrament of the Zwinglian cannot be recognized, it is possible to recognize that of the Calvinists.  This is the view of the Lutherans within union churches, otherwise they could not be members of such churches.  Peter Brunner himself must admit that Luther would not share his view.  The question whether a Lutheran in danger of death could receive th Sacrament from a Reformed minister was denied by Luther and all dogmaticians, as was also the case in the pastoral advice given in th books on casus conscientiae, e.g., Balduin, Tractatus de casabas conscientiae, edition of 1654, 345, where it is made clear that the Lord's Supper must not be received from a minister who is known to be a Calvinist.

-------------------------------

I do not think this footnote says what Rev. Hannah wants it to say.

That is not the footnote. Nor do I disagree with it. Sasse did not say that the Reformed were anywhere nearly correct nor that Lutherans could receive from them, even in danger of death. He was clear that we should not. What he said is that the Lutherans dogmaticians (meaning those through the 17th century) did not deign to say what God gave the Reformed in their observance of Communion.

I don't think I know enough to declare what God does in that circumstance. Others may know more about God's work in this instance than than I or Dr. Sasse.

Peace, JOHN

Well, I would venture to say that unless/until you can provide the actual footnote, or at least where one may find it exactly, your recollection of what you think it says is not really very helpful to a discussion.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 25, 2021, 03:47:13 PM
Quote
That person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

But anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require all hearts to believe.

Luther is saying in the Catechism that faith is key to receiving the Sacrament and its benefits. Without faith, one might receive the Sacrament but under the warning of condemnation and without the promise of its benefits. With my catechism students, I use Hebrews 11:6.

https://youtu.be/haTWX2LdVYI

Cited at 4:15 or so. I go on to talk about persons who doubt or struggle with their worthiness, using a few of the Christian Questions with their answers. Keeping it simple for our people is important. Luther emphasized the words of institution and faith in those words.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 25, 2021, 04:27:00 PM
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.

Lutherans do not.


Lutherans do, too. The issue is whether Christ is present with salvation or with condemnation. We do not believe that Christ's promise: "This is my body," suddenly means, "This is my body only if you correctly believe." Or, even worse, "This is my body … just kidding if you don't really believe it." It is not our beliefs, whether orthodox or faulty that determine Christ's ability to keep his promises.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 25, 2021, 04:37:56 PM
Note to Brian:

Quote
That person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

But anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require all hearts to believe.

Luther is saying in the Catechism that faith is key to receiving the Sacrament and its benefits. Without faith, one might receive the Sacrament but under the warning of condemnation and without the promise of its benefits. With my catechism students, I use Hebrews 11:6.

https://youtu.be/haTWX2LdVYI

Cited at 4:15 or so. I go on to talk about persons who doubt or struggle with their worthiness, using a few of the Christian Questions with their answers. Keeping it simple for our people is important. Luther emphasized the words of institution and faith in those words.

Very nice presentation.

One minor point on "Without faith, one might receive the Sacrament but under the warning of condemnation..." It appears that the warning is not that strong.

"For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world." 1 Cor 11:29-32

Note that the word is krima or judgment, leading to discipline, not condemnation, so that we not be condemned, i.e., katakrima. See Romans 8:1 where what is translated as condemnation is  katakrima, not krima. As stated above,

As the beloved Dr. Nagel stated, "Yes, it's a krima/judgment. But, a krima/judgment can become a katakrima/condemnation."
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: John_Hannah on October 25, 2021, 04:41:28 PM

I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.


You cannot know that for sure. It is speculation just as the opposite is speculation.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 25, 2021, 04:47:38 PM
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.

Lutherans do not.


Lutherans do, too. The issue is whether Christ is present with salvation or with condemnation. We do not believe that Christ's promise: "This is my body," suddenly means, "This is my body only if you correctly believe." Or, even worse, "This is my body … just kidding if you don't really believe it." It is not our beliefs, whether orthodox or faulty that determine Christ's ability to keep his promises.
Separate issues. Whether one receives the body and blood for salvation or condemnation is not the same question as whether the body and blood is even there. In other words, the question is whether it is even efficacious if someone who doesn't believe in the Real Presence goes through the motions of saying the words. Then it would be an ex opere operato question, as though one were doing a Harry Potter trick. That's why the words themselves, the human understanding of them, and intent of speaking them all play into the actual meaning of them. 
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 25, 2021, 04:59:46 PM
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.

Lutherans do not.

Lutherans do, too. The issue is whether Christ is present with salvation or with condemnation. We do not believe that Christ's promise: "This is my body," suddenly means, "This is my body only if you correctly believe." Or, even worse, "This is my body … just kidding if you don't really believe it." It is not our beliefs, whether orthodox or faulty that determine Christ's ability to keep his promises.
Separate issues. Whether one receives the body and blood for salvation or condemnation is not the same question as whether the body and blood is even there. In other words, the question is whether it is even efficacious if someone who doesn't believe in the Real Presence goes through the motions of saying the words. Then it would be an ex opere operato question, as though one were doing a Harry Potter trick. That's why the words themselves, the human understanding of them, and intent of speaking them all play into the actual meaning of them.

Thanks, Peter, for keeping us on point.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 25, 2021, 05:13:02 PM
Found this. There truly is nothing new under the sun!  ;)

"For Zwingli there was room for compromise. He disagreed with Luther that Jesus is present with His true body and blood in the Lord’s Supper, believing it to be a mere memorial meal. Zwingli did not see this as church-divisive, though."

https://lutheranreformation.org/history/the-marburg-colloquy/
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Likeness on October 25, 2021, 05:18:28 PM
Concerning the title of this thread:

The LCMS Reporter November 2021 makes the following statement,

"50% of the Synod's current, active pastors are 55 years or older.
If seminary enrollment and pastor retirements continue at their
current rates, the Synod could go from 6,000 to 3,000 pastors in
the next 15 years."

This is from an article on the church worker recruitment initiative
which is now called: "Set Apart To Serve"
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 25, 2021, 05:28:21 PM
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.

Lutherans do not.

Lutherans do, too. The issue is whether Christ is present with salvation or with condemnation. We do not believe that Christ's promise: "This is my body," suddenly means, "This is my body only if you correctly believe." Or, even worse, "This is my body … just kidding if you don't really believe it." It is not our beliefs, whether orthodox or faulty that determine Christ's ability to keep his promises.
Separate issues. Whether one receives the body and blood for salvation or condemnation is not the same question as whether the body and blood is even there. In other words, the question is whether it is even efficacious if someone who doesn't believe in the Real Presence goes through the motions of saying the words. Then it would be an ex opere operato question, as though one were doing a Harry Potter trick. That's why the words themselves, the human understanding of them, and intent of speaking them all play into the actual meaning of them.

Thanks, Peter, for keeping us on point.
Then, of course, there is the opposite issue of how one can be sure a sacrament is efficacious if the pastor/priest’s beliefs are part of the equation. That is why the intent and understanding of the church become crucial for meaning. One person’s private unbelief or belief neither makes nor breaks the sacrament, but the sacrament performed within a community that understands the elements are purely symbolic and has no intent to eat and drink the Body and Blood is not even the Sacrament. All these questions go away among people who are functionally universalists and see God’s grace as equally there and equally efficacious apart from any particular words, gestures, offices, beliefs, teachings, etc.

The crazy soldiers would yell, “Kill ‘em all! Let God sort ‘em out!” The unfaithful pastor says of the sacrament, “Just do whatever. God will figure it out. But for my sake make whatever you do aesthetically pleasing, dignified, and reverent.”
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 25, 2021, 05:43:30 PM
So the celebration depends upon 1) human words and 2) the “proper” understanding of those words? Otherwise the Real Presence Jesus doesn’t show up?
My understanding is a bit more nuanced than that, perhaps too nuanced for your taste. When we gather for the Lord's Supper, the words of institution are not some form of magical incantation that when intoned produce the effect of the real presence of Christ in the sacramental elements. Rather, what the verba do is to serve as a reminder of the promise that Jesus made when He first gave this meal to His people, with the further command to do this, and an indication that it is that which we are intending to do. Thus, it is not necessary for the verba to be spoken in the Greek as it was originally stated, nor in the exact work order. It is not magic hocus pocus words. However, if by their confession of faith, those who preside change the meanings of the words to something other than what Jesus promised (as, for example, no longer "This is my body" but rather "This symbolizes my body") then arguable they are no longer intending to participate in what Jesus offered and offers.


It's more likely that Jesus spoke the words in Aramaic, the language of the people, or Hebrew, the language of Jewish worship. Greek was the language of commerce and more easily written than the others.


When Jesus instituted the Supper, was he "in, with, and under" the bread and cup; or was he sitting at the table with the disciples? When we celebrate the Supper, how is Jesus "sitting at the right side of Power,"* and "in, with, and under" the bread and cup?


*Matthew 22:44 (quoting Ps 110:1); 26:64; Mark 12:36 (quoting Ps 110:1); 14:62; 16:19; Luke 20:42 (quoting Ps 110:1); 22:69; Acts 2:33, 34 (quoting Ps 110:1); 5:31; 7:55, 56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3 (quoting Ps 110:1), 13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22.


Biblical, there are more passages affirming Christ's presence at the right side of God.


In addition, Paul is clear that the resurrected body has to be a different type of body than the one we have on earth. Paul uses a number of different contrasts in 1 Corinthians 15:


perishable || imperishable (vv. 42, 50, 52, 54) (φθορά/φθαρτός || ἀφθαρσία)
dishonor || glory (v. 43) (ἀτιμά || δόξα)
weak || power (v. 43) (ἀσθενεία || δυνάμις)
physical || spiritual (v. 44) (ψυχικόν || πνευθματικόν)
of earth/dust || of heaven (vv. 47ff.) (ἐκ γῆς χοϊκός || ἐψ ούρανοῦ)
mortal || immortality (v. 54) (θνητός || ἀθανασία)


It seems perfectly logical to talk about Jesus' resurrected body as a "spiritual body." So, what's wrong with talking about Jesus' bodily presence in the sacrament as his "resurrected, spiritual body"?
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 25, 2021, 05:45:24 PM

I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.


You cannot know that for sure. It is speculation just as the opposite is speculation.


We can know it just as certainly as we believe all of Christ's promises: This is my body. Or, if you prefer, wherever two or three gather in my name, I am there.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 25, 2021, 06:00:05 PM

I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.


You cannot know that for sure. It is speculation just as the opposite is speculation.


We can know it just as certainly as we believe all of Christ's promises: This is my body. Or, if you prefer, wherever two or three gather in my name, I am there.
Again, mere wordplay. One might respond, "So you're saying Christ isn't there when two or three gather but not in His Name? He says He's God, and God is everywhere. So what difference does it make if they're gathered in His Name or in some other name? In fact, He was there before they gathered and afterward, and with them in their solitude, so gathering itself is irrelevant, too. Nothing can possibly matter because God is in His heaven and all's right with the world."

The fact is that Christ is present in different ways according to His promises, but you ignore distinctions so as to make the words (but not the meanings) all agree.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 25, 2021, 06:16:38 PM
Note to Brian:

Quote
That person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

But anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require all hearts to believe.

Luther is saying in the Catechism that faith is key to receiving the Sacrament and its benefits. Without faith, one might receive the Sacrament but under the warning of condemnation and without the promise of its benefits. With my catechism students, I use Hebrews 11:6.

https://youtu.be/haTWX2LdVYI (https://youtu.be/haTWX2LdVYI)

Cited at 4:15 or so. I go on to talk about persons who doubt or struggle with their worthiness, using a few of the Christian Questions with their answers. Keeping it simple for our people is important. Luther emphasized the words of institution and faith in those words.

Very nice presentation.

One minor point on "Without faith, one might receive the Sacrament but under the warning of condemnation..." It appears that the warning is not that strong.

"For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world." 1 Cor 11:29-32

Note that the word is krima or judgment, leading to discipline, not condemnation, so that we not be condemned, i.e., katakrima. See Romans 8:1 where what is translated as condemnation is  katakrima, not krima. As stated above,

As the beloved Dr. Nagel stated, "Yes, it's a krima/judgment. But, a krima/judgment can become a katakrima/condemnation."


This doesn't change my point: in the sacrament Christ is present regardless of the recipient's (or the presider's) belief.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 25, 2021, 06:19:46 PM
Note to Brian:

Quote
That person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

But anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require all hearts to believe.

Luther is saying in the Catechism that faith is key to receiving the Sacrament and its benefits. Without faith, one might receive the Sacrament but under the warning of condemnation and without the promise of its benefits. With my catechism students, I use Hebrews 11:6.

https://youtu.be/haTWX2LdVYI (https://youtu.be/haTWX2LdVYI)

Cited at 4:15 or so. I go on to talk about persons who doubt or struggle with their worthiness, using a few of the Christian Questions with their answers. Keeping it simple for our people is important. Luther emphasized the words of institution and faith in those words.

Very nice presentation.

One minor point on "Without faith, one might receive the Sacrament but under the warning of condemnation..." It appears that the warning is not that strong.

"For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world." 1 Cor 11:29-32

Note that the word is krima or judgment, leading to discipline, not condemnation, so that we not be condemned, i.e., katakrima. See Romans 8:1 where what is translated as condemnation is  katakrima, not krima. As stated above,

As the beloved Dr. Nagel stated, "Yes, it's a krima/judgment. But, a krima/judgment can become a katakrima/condemnation."


This doesn't change my point: in the sacrament Christ is present regardless of the recipient's (or the presider's) belief.
But by your way of doing theology, the point is that He is present everywhere regardless of anything, so who really cares one way or the other?
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 25, 2021, 06:26:23 PM
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.

Lutherans do not.


Lutherans do, too. The issue is whether Christ is present with salvation or with condemnation. We do not believe that Christ's promise: "This is my body," suddenly means, "This is my body only if you correctly believe." Or, even worse, "This is my body … just kidding if you don't really believe it." It is not our beliefs, whether orthodox or faulty that determine Christ's ability to keep his promises.
Separate issues. Whether one receives the body and blood for salvation or condemnation is not the same question as whether the body and blood is even there. In other words, the question is whether it is even efficacious if someone who doesn't believe in the Real Presence goes through the motions of saying the words. Then it would be an ex opere operato question, as though one were doing a Harry Potter trick. That's why the words themselves, the human understanding of them, and intent of speaking them all play into the actual meaning of them.


Are you suggesting that the omniscient God is not present when people believe that God is not present?
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: George Rahn on October 25, 2021, 06:28:43 PM
Note to Brian:

Quote
That person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

But anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require all hearts to believe.

Luther is saying in the Catechism that faith is key to receiving the Sacrament and its benefits. Without faith, one might receive the Sacrament but under the warning of condemnation and without the promise of its benefits. With my catechism students, I use Hebrews 11:6.

https://youtu.be/haTWX2LdVYI (https://youtu.be/haTWX2LdVYI)

Cited at 4:15 or so. I go on to talk about persons who doubt or struggle with their worthiness, using a few of the Christian Questions with their answers. Keeping it simple for our people is important. Luther emphasized the words of institution and faith in those words.

Very nice presentation.

One minor point on "Without faith, one might receive the Sacrament but under the warning of condemnation..." It appears that the warning is not that strong.

"For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world." 1 Cor 11:29-32

Note that the word is krima or judgment, leading to discipline, not condemnation, so that we not be condemned, i.e., katakrima. See Romans 8:1 where what is translated as condemnation is  katakrima, not krima. As stated above,

As the beloved Dr. Nagel stated, "Yes, it's a krima/judgment. But, a krima/judgment can become a katakrima/condemnation."


This doesn't change my point: in the sacrament Christ is present regardless of the recipient's (or the presider's) belief.

And to not believe that Jesus’ body and blood are there for their reception is to not receive Christ himself nor his benefits.  Like In John’s Gospel chapter 3:18, unbelief is condemnation already because one does not receive Christ and his benefits.  Unbelievers do not get salvation, at that point of unbelief and non-reception of Christ’s body and blood.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 25, 2021, 06:30:21 PM
But by your way of doing theology, the point is that He is present everywhere regardless of anything, so who really cares one way or the other?


By my way of doing theology, the point is that God keeps his promises. When folks gather in Jesus' name, he is there because he said so. When the words are stated: Baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, the God present (even when the baptized are so young that they don't know what's going on). We proclaim Jesus' words, "This is my body," it happens just as certainly as when God said, "Let there be light," there was light. Or, "Your sins are forgiven," they are forgiven. It's the power and authority of God's Word that is efficacious, not the amount of faith that the folks have.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 25, 2021, 06:35:39 PM
And to not believe that Jesus’ body and blood are there for their reception is to not receive Christ himself nor his benefits.  Like In John’s Gospel chapter 3:18, unbelief is condemnation already because one does not receive Christ and his benefits.  Unbelievers do not get salvation, at that point of unbelief and non-reception of Christ’s body and blood.


So, in John 3:18, who is doing the judging (κρίνω)? The passive: "the one not believing already has been judged" is likely a divine passive, indicating that it is God who judges the unbeliever. That doesn't change my point that Christ is present in the sacrament. His promise is that "This is my body." By saying those words, God keeps his promise and is present in a special and tangible way in the sacrament.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 25, 2021, 06:37:38 PM
But by your way of doing theology, the point is that He is present everywhere regardless of anything, so who really cares one way or the other?


By my way of doing theology, the point is that God keeps his promises. When folks gather in Jesus' name, he is there because he said so. When the words are stated: Baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, the God present (even when the baptized are so young that they don't know what's going on). We proclaim Jesus' words, "This is my body," it happens just as certainly as when God said, "Let there be light," there was light. Or, "Your sins are forgiven," they are forgiven. It's the power and authority of God's Word that is efficacious, not the amount of faith that the folks have.
But in your way there is no location to it or variation in the kind of presence we're talking about. He is present in the bread and wine in the same way as He is present in the nearest pumpkin. Or are you saying pumpkins are unique in being entirely apart from God's presence? He hears our prayers because He hears everything. He is present where two or three are gathered because He is omnipresent.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 25, 2021, 06:50:24 PM
But by your way of doing theology, the point is that He is present everywhere regardless of anything, so who really cares one way or the other?


By my way of doing theology, the point is that God keeps his promises. When folks gather in Jesus' name, he is there because he said so. When the words are stated: Baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, the God present (even when the baptized are so young that they don't know what's going on). We proclaim Jesus' words, "This is my body," it happens just as certainly as when God said, "Let there be light," there was light. Or, "Your sins are forgiven," they are forgiven. It's the power and authority of God's Word that is efficacious, not the amount of faith that the folks have.
But in your way there is no location to it or variation in the kind of presence we're talking about. He is present in the bread and wine in the same way as He is present in the nearest pumpkin. Or are you saying pumpkins are unique in being entirely apart from God's presence? He hears our prayers because He hears everything. He is present where two or three are gathered because He is omnipresent.


There is a tangible and specific presence in the sacrament that is different than his presence in the Word, in community, in the world.


We claim his presence where two or three gather in his name, not because he is omnipresent; but because Jesus said so. He has given us a specific word of promise about his presence in that situation. One reason we call it Holy Communion, because it is a special communion with Christ that is different than ordinary communions we might have with the divine.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: George Rahn on October 25, 2021, 08:27:17 PM
And to not believe that Jesus’ body and blood are there for their reception is to not receive Christ himself nor his benefits.  Like In John’s Gospel chapter 3:18, unbelief is condemnation already because one does not receive Christ and his benefits.  Unbelievers do not get salvation, at that point of unbelief and non-reception of Christ’s body and blood.


So, in John 3:18, who is doing the judging (κρίνω)? The passive: "the one not believing already has been judged" is likely a divine passive, indicating that it is God who judges the unbeliever. That doesn't change my point that Christ is present in the sacrament. His promise is that "This is my body." By saying those words, God keeps his promise and is present in a special and tangible way in the sacrament.

God is passing judgment of condemnation upon one who refuses what God is giving here in the sacrament.  Jesus is God.  His word is truth and When he declares what he says in the Words of Institution of the sacrament of Holy Communion, Jesus’ words are what he says they are.  The bread is his Body, etc.  given for you.  The benefits of reception are clear.  Jesus does not speak to obfuscation here.  By not receiving the person is an unbeliever and does not discern Jesus’ body.  Instead of salvation the unbeliever is condemned at that point.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 25, 2021, 09:51:19 PM
How depressing it must be, and what a burden it must be for you who have to discern and define with such fervor where God is not present and how God is absent (at least in the "form" that counts)!
You also eagerly sign up for the policing of God's grace to make sure that everyone has subscribed on to "right doctrine" or it's "No sacrament for you!"
The Lord invites and you want to verify credentials, demand proof of id and do a quick mind-check to make sure everything is "right."
Oh, and even if someone should happen to be "right" with regard to sacrament (and "correct" Lutheran words and meaning, of course), but belongs to a Lutheran church that does something else you claim violates God's rule book, it's "bar the doors!" or "fence off the altar rail" because that "other" thing - like thinking women could be pastors - cancels out the Lutheran words and meaning on the sacrament.
Yuck.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 25, 2021, 11:10:31 PM
How depressing it must be, and what a burden it must be for you who have to discern and define with such fervor where God is not present and how God is absent (at least in the "form" that counts)!
You also eagerly sign up for the policing of God's grace to make sure that everyone has subscribed on to "right doctrine" or it's "No sacrament for you!"
The Lord invites and you want to verify credentials, demand proof of id and do a quick mind-check to make sure everything is "right."
Oh, and even if someone should happen to be "right" with regard to sacrament (and "correct" Lutheran words and meaning, of course), but belongs to a Lutheran church that does something else you claim violates God's rule book, it's "bar the doors!" or "fence off the altar rail" because that "other" thing - like thinking women could be pastors - cancels out the Lutheran words and meaning on the sacrament.
Yuck.
You seem more depressed than anyone else in the thread. I guess not caring about "right doctrine" isn't the upper it is advertised to be. 
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 26, 2021, 02:39:24 AM
And to not believe that Jesus’ body and blood are there for their reception is to not receive Christ himself nor his benefits.  Like In John’s Gospel chapter 3:18, unbelief is condemnation already because one does not receive Christ and his benefits.  Unbelievers do not get salvation, at that point of unbelief and non-reception of Christ’s body and blood.


So, in John 3:18, who is doing the judging (κρίνω)? The passive: "the one not believing already has been judged" is likely a divine passive, indicating that it is God who judges the unbeliever. That doesn't change my point that Christ is present in the sacrament. His promise is that "This is my body." By saying those words, God keeps his promise and is present in a special and tangible way in the sacrament.

God is passing judgment of condemnation upon one who refuses what God is giving here in the sacrament.  Jesus is God.  His word is truth and When he declares what he says in the Words of Institution of the sacrament of Holy Communion, Jesus’ words are what he says they are.  The bread is his Body, etc.  given for you.  The benefits of reception are clear.  Jesus does not speak to obfuscation here.  By not receiving the person is an unbeliever and does not discern Jesus’ body.  Instead of salvation the unbeliever is condemned at that point.


1 Corinthians 11:23 can be understood as God passing judgment on those who refused to share the meal with other believers. Paul's advice at the end of the paragraph was not, "Come to the proper understanding of Christ's real presence," but "wait for each other."


I think that we need to take just as seriously Paul's words about the sacrament in 1 Corinthians 10:


16 Isn’t the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Isn’t the loaf of bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Since there is one loaf of bread, we who are many are one body, because we all share the one loaf of bread. (CEB)


There is to be one loaf of bread and one cup. (There's nothing in scriptures about using individual wafers or cups.) Eating from the one loaf makes us one body; because, we, together, are sharing in Christ's body and blood. Perhaps if a community requires more than one loaf and one cup; it's become too large to be the type of body that is in communion with each other as they are in communion with Christ.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 26, 2021, 02:44:03 AM
How depressing it must be, and what a burden it must be for you who have to discern and define with such fervor where God is not present and how God is absent (at least in the "form" that counts)!
You also eagerly sign up for the policing of God's grace to make sure that everyone has subscribed on to "right doctrine" or it's "No sacrament for you!"
The Lord invites and you want to verify credentials, demand proof of id and do a quick mind-check to make sure everything is "right."
Oh, and even if someone should happen to be "right" with regard to sacrament (and "correct" Lutheran words and meaning, of course), but belongs to a Lutheran church that does something else you claim violates God's rule book, it's "bar the doors!" or "fence off the altar rail" because that "other" thing - like thinking women could be pastors - cancels out the Lutheran words and meaning on the sacrament.
Yuck.
You seem more depressed than anyone else in the thread. I guess not caring about "right doctrine" isn't the upper it is advertised to be.


“Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. And, I suppose I should add, it is traditionalism that gives tradition such a bad name.”
― Jaroslav Pelikan, The Vindication of Tradition: The 1983 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities

Pretty much the same can be said of "right doctrine." When it's just holding on to the faith of our ancestors; it's not very exciting. When it informs us about how to talk about our experiences with God today, it can't help but be a life-giving and faith affirming topic.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 26, 2021, 08:16:05 AM
How depressing it must be, and what a burden it must be for you who have to discern and define with such fervor where God is not present and how God is absent (at least in the "form" that counts)!
You also eagerly sign up for the policing of God's grace to make sure that everyone has subscribed on to "right doctrine" or it's "No sacrament for you!"
The Lord invites and you want to verify credentials, demand proof of id and do a quick mind-check to make sure everything is "right."
Oh, and even if someone should happen to be "right" with regard to sacrament (and "correct" Lutheran words and meaning, of course), but belongs to a Lutheran church that does something else you claim violates God's rule book, it's "bar the doors!" or "fence off the altar rail" because that "other" thing - like thinking women could be pastors - cancels out the Lutheran words and meaning on the sacrament.
Yuck.
You seem more depressed than anyone else in the thread. I guess not caring about "right doctrine" isn't the upper it is advertised to be.


“Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. And, I suppose I should add, it is traditionalism that gives tradition such a bad name.”
― Jaroslav Pelikan, The Vindication of Tradition: The 1983 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities

Pretty much the same can be said of "right doctrine." When it's just holding on to the faith of our ancestors; it's not very exciting. When it informs us about how to talk about our experiences with God today, it can't help but be a life-giving and faith affirming topic.
The entire confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees re hand washing consists of Jesus sharply distinguishing between right doctrine as revealed in Scripture and human traditions, and the latter must only serve but never usurp the former.

What is God doing in your life lately that doesn’t conform to right doctrine? Oh wait, never mind.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 26, 2021, 08:22:59 AM
In a nudge back to the thread topic, here's a great article on a priest "nudged" from his parish in Texas, but not retiring:  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/25/us/luis-urriza-priest-texas.html.

He's my hero.  Way to go, Father Urriza!  Let's have far less of that nasty talk about the "boomers getting out of the way," shall we? 

And by the way, don't show this post to my wife.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: John_Hannah on October 26, 2021, 08:34:38 AM
Speaking of long pastorates, can anyone beat this one?    ;D

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/25/us/luis-urriza-priest-texas.html

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Rob Morris on October 26, 2021, 09:15:26 AM
In a nudge back to the thread topic, here's a great article on a priest "nudged" from his parish in Texas, but not retiring:  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/25/us/luis-urriza-priest-texas.html.

He's my hero.  Way to go, Father Urriza!  Let's have far less of that nasty talk about the "boomers getting out of the way," shall we? 

And by the way, don't show this post to my wife.

Dave Benke

I have to be honest, I see this one as a failure by Father Urriza. The article sounds to me like exactly what happens when a church becomes a cult of personality. The quotes (even allowing for the reporters' decisions about what to include) are all about the love for the priest, but none about love for Christ, the faith, the Word, or even the greater identity of the church. If he is granting interviews at all, there shouldn't be a single sentence that doesn't point to God's work, His faithfulness, His certain care, His guidance, the unity that will continue to exist between Father Urriza and his flock because of the love of Christ, etc.

(As a personal side-note, in one of the very few situations where I agreed to an interview following Sandy Hook, I told the producer that I would be mentioning Jesus and the Christian faith in every single answer. I apologized that it wouldn't make for a great personal conversation, but I knew very little of the on-screen dialogue might be included in the piece and that was the most important part of my role. I recently saw the producer again and he joked that he still remembered that - and that when he asked broadly as we concluded: "Anything else you want to say?" I had responded, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, and Jesus." I had forgotten the whole exchange, but he hadn't. And... they barely included me in the final piece at all - one half sentence that didn't say Jesus, but still mentioned Christian faith. I only mention all this because it is worth noting if you ever end up being contacted for a story - you are not having a conversation with the reporter. At least, not when you're on the record. You are providing potential quotes. Never speak a single sentence you wouldn't be willing to see quoted by itself.)

Back to Father Urriza... did you read the comments? Even considering the source/setting, look at how many are using this story as proof of why the Catholic church is evil, must be rejected, etc. - that's on Father Urriza. That narrative is the result of him staying on 25 years beyond required retirement. Because he allowed both the situation and the story to become about him instead of about the ministry he is called to, he is damaging the church he serves.

Lastly, anyone wanna be the priest who comes to serve after him? I give it two years, tops.

This all touches on a topic I have seen discussed here before. At some point, what is best for the pastor becomes the opposite of what is best for the church. And no pastor should hesitate for a moment when that is the dilemma. Most professions have to walk away at some point - retired doctors aren't allowed to dispense medical advice in the lobby, retired generals can't just hang around HQ, and in most of corporate America, you have to hustle to make sure your key card still works long enough to clear out your office. If the Pastor really loves his people and his ministry, then preparing them for his departure isn't just part of his pre-retirement job... it has always been part of his job.

Christ must become greater, we must become less. This requires constant attention.

Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: John_Hannah on October 26, 2021, 09:37:36 AM
In a nudge back to the thread topic, here's a great article on a priest "nudged" from his parish in Texas, but not retiring:  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/25/us/luis-urriza-priest-texas.html.

He's my hero.  Way to go, Father Urriza!  Let's have far less of that nasty talk about the "boomers getting out of the way," shall we? 

And by the way, don't show this post to my wife.

Dave Benke

I have to be honest, I see this one as a failure by Father Urriza. The article sounds to me like exactly what happens when a church becomes a cult of personality. The quotes (even allowing for the reporters' decisions about what to include) are all about the love for the priest, but none about love for Christ, the faith, the Word, or even the greater identity of the church. If he is granting interviews at all, there shouldn't be a single sentence that doesn't point to God's work, His faithfulness, His certain care, His guidance, the unity that will continue to exist between Father Urriza and his flock because of the love of Christ, etc.

(As a personal side-note, in one of the very few situations where I agreed to an interview following Sandy Hook, I told the producer that I would be mentioning Jesus and the Christian faith in every single answer. I apologized that it wouldn't make for a great personal conversation, but I knew very little of the on-screen dialogue might be included in the piece and that was the most important part of my role. I recently saw the producer again and he joked that he still remembered that - and that when he asked broadly as we concluded: "Anything else you want to say?" I had responded, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, and Jesus." I had forgotten the whole exchange, but he hadn't. And... they barely included me in the final piece at all - one half sentence that didn't say Jesus, but still mentioned Christian faith. I only mention all this because it is worth noting if you ever end up being contacted for a story - you are not having a conversation with the reporter. At least, not when you're on the record. You are providing potential quotes. Never speak a single sentence you wouldn't be willing to see quoted by itself.)

Back to Father Urriza... did you read the comments? Even considering the source/setting, look at how many are using this story as proof of why the Catholic church is evil, must be rejected, etc. - that's on Father Urriza. That narrative is the result of him staying on 25 years beyond required retirement. Because he allowed both the situation and the story to become about him instead of about the ministry he is called to, he is damaging the church he serves.

Lastly, anyone wanna be the priest who comes to serve after him? I give it two years, tops.

This all touches on a topic I have seen discussed here before. At some point, what is best for the pastor becomes the opposite of what is best for the church. And no pastor should hesitate for a moment when that is the dilemma. Most professions have to walk away at some point - retired doctors aren't allowed to dispense medical advice in the lobby, retired generals can't just hang around HQ, and in most of corporate America, you have to hustle to make sure your key card still works long enough to clear out your office. If the Pastor really loves his people and his ministry, then preparing them for his departure isn't just part of his pre-retirement job... it has always been part of his job.

Christ must become greater, we must become less. This requires constant attention.

Thanks, Rob. Great story about the reporter and good advice about news interviews.

I do think that this parish is likely stronger in its allegiance to God than one might find in protestant parishes. Roman Catholic people generally do better at that. There will be "bumps" ahead for his successor but not likely disarray.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: PrTim15 on October 26, 2021, 10:31:55 AM
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival? 
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 26, 2021, 10:49:11 AM
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity. The big outlier is liberal Protestantism, which actively works against whatever united witness the rest of us might present. The young women interviewed in the article I posted on another thread who prefer to be sterilized would all reject Christianity as taught among any of those kinds of Christians, but could easily blend in to a liberal Protestant denomination.

What you're talking about requires leadership, and leadership requires decision-making, and decisions by definition involve a cutting away of some possibilities in favor of others. To me, the big decision that is hanging out there and ripening is what to do about the irreconcilable rift between liberal Protestants and all other Christians.   
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Michael Slusser on October 26, 2021, 11:02:27 AM
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity.  . . .
That's a good argument for churches continuing (or beginning again) to practice ecumenism.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 26, 2021, 11:19:04 AM
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity.  . . .
That's a good argument for churches continuing (or beginning again) to practice ecumenism.

Peace,
Michael
Continue how? Endless dialogs? That's the opposite of making a decision. The dialogs have been going on for decades and the fact is that liberal Protestantism has continued to move faster and more furiously away from the other groups, which have if anything grown closer together despite in some cases not being much of a factor in the dialogs.

You can't decide that our problems should go away. That isn't a decision. Decisions that aren't hard would be made already. Leaders consider the dialog but also know when the dialog has outlived its usefulness and the time has come to go this way and not that way. Not recognizing that time is a faiure of leadership. The decision I think needs to be made (formally or informally, by action or changed attitude and a general movement) is a genuine de-cision, a cutting away. Let liberal Protestantism go its own way, where it will end in a haze of agnostic universalism, and embrace a different vision of Christian unity that simply doesn't include them. If they repent, great, welcome back. But no welcome back without an actual coming back.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Mark Brown on October 26, 2021, 11:22:27 AM
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity. The big outlier is liberal Protestantism, which actively works against whatever united witness the rest of us might present. The young women interviewed in the article I posted on another thread who prefer to be sterilized would all reject Christianity as taught among any of those kinds of Christians, but could easily blend in to a liberal Protestant denomination.

What you're talking about requires leadership, and leadership requires decision-making, and decisions by definition involve a cutting away of some possibilities in favor of others. To me, the big decision that is hanging out there and ripening is what to do about the irreconcilable rift between liberal Protestants and all other Christians.   

Whereas the teaching of the ELCA and its ecumenical partners has long departed from the truth.

Whereas the call to repentance has long been extended to admit false teaching and return to the truth

Whereas these calls to repentance have been met with increased insistence that they are without sin in their teaching and strengthening their false teaching

Whereas St. Paul says "you must remove the evil person from among you (1 Cor 5:13)" and whereas Jesus says when they ignore the church to "let them be as a Gentile and a tax collector (Matthew 18:17)"

Resolved that the LCMS holds the ELCA and its ecumenical partners to be heretical bodies that the lampstand has been removed from.

Resolved that the LCMS would say to all who remain within this body that now is the time to flee (Matt 24:16).

Resolved that the LCMS would teach the souls committed to its care that there are false shepherds who do not enter by the door, but the sheep hear the voice (John 10).

That would be leadership and a clear cutting away.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 26, 2021, 11:26:35 AM
And so long, Peter, as you and your cohort consider progressive Christians as the enemy, the polarization will continue. So long as evangelicals let the right-fringe be their public face and keep on kicking the crap out of moderate conservatives, they will not be able to start even a modest cooperation with other Christians. So long as every political issue gets welded to the abortion question, dialogue and cooperation will be very difficult.
Can your people, pray, study scripture and work with partnered gay clergy if the issue is immigration reform or care for the elderly? Can your people pray and work with those hanging on the "new look" at our nation's racial history if the issue is voting rights or fair housing practices?
Meanwhile, the progressive Christians, or dare I say the moderate progressives, have to do the same for the far left of their ranks, the people for whom gender issues, government organization, and denunciation of their enemies become their only sermon topics. (I wrote here, last year, I think, my disgust at a zoom gathering for my seminary alma-mater where every speaker had to first of all state his approval of the "new" sexualities and every participant in the discussions was someone who made it clear he or she or they spoke from a "gay," "lesbian," "queer," etc etc. perspective.)
You and your allies, Peter, do not have to embrace Nadia Bolz-Weber and all her writings, but you do need to embrace those of us progressives who find some - not all - of her work helpful. You don't have to approve of married gay pastors, but if you're going to work with us at all, you will have to be ready to work with some of them. And if your church body puts a hyper-LCMS loyalist on the board of LIRS, I'd sit alongside that person and work to help immigrants. Would he sit beside me?
I'm willing to say, if necessary, where I think Pastor Bolz-Weber goes off the beam; but others have to be equally critical of the Falwell kid (nothing like his father, really) and the "independent" (which means un-churched and un-monitored) Christians seeking favor in high places. Yes, there are home-schoolers who are racist, own up to that.
(And as I write this, I see that Mark Brown has a resolution describing my entire church body and our ecumenical partners as heretical and unworthy of any cooperation at all. I guess I should really weep for the dismal future of Lutheranism. If it goes on this way, it will not survive our children's generation.)
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 26, 2021, 11:26:46 AM
In a nudge back to the thread topic, here's a great article on a priest "nudged" from his parish in Texas, but not retiring:  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/25/us/luis-urriza-priest-texas.html.

He's my hero.  Way to go, Father Urriza!  Let's have far less of that nasty talk about the "boomers getting out of the way," shall we? 

And by the way, don't show this post to my wife.

Dave Benke

I have to be honest, I see this one as a failure by Father Urriza. The article sounds to me like exactly what happens when a church becomes a cult of personality. The quotes (even allowing for the reporters' decisions about what to include) are all about the love for the priest, but none about love for Christ, the faith, the Word, or even the greater identity of the church. If he is granting interviews at all, there shouldn't be a single sentence that doesn't point to God's work, His faithfulness, His certain care, His guidance, the unity that will continue to exist between Father Urriza and his flock because of the love of Christ, etc.

(As a personal side-note, in one of the very few situations where I agreed to an interview following Sandy Hook, I told the producer that I would be mentioning Jesus and the Christian faith in every single answer. I apologized that it wouldn't make for a great personal conversation, but I knew very little of the on-screen dialogue might be included in the piece and that was the most important part of my role. I recently saw the producer again and he joked that he still remembered that - and that when he asked broadly as we concluded: "Anything else you want to say?" I had responded, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, and Jesus." I had forgotten the whole exchange, but he hadn't. And... they barely included me in the final piece at all - one half sentence that didn't say Jesus, but still mentioned Christian faith. I only mention all this because it is worth noting if you ever end up being contacted for a story - you are not having a conversation with the reporter. At least, not when you're on the record. You are providing potential quotes. Never speak a single sentence you wouldn't be willing to see quoted by itself.)

Back to Father Urriza... did you read the comments? Even considering the source/setting, look at how many are using this story as proof of why the Catholic church is evil, must be rejected, etc. - that's on Father Urriza. That narrative is the result of him staying on 25 years beyond required retirement. Because he allowed both the situation and the story to become about him instead of about the ministry he is called to, he is damaging the church he serves.

Lastly, anyone wanna be the priest who comes to serve after him? I give it two years, tops.

This all touches on a topic I have seen discussed here before. At some point, what is best for the pastor becomes the opposite of what is best for the church. And no pastor should hesitate for a moment when that is the dilemma. Most professions have to walk away at some point - retired doctors aren't allowed to dispense medical advice in the lobby, retired generals can't just hang around HQ, and in most of corporate America, you have to hustle to make sure your key card still works long enough to clear out your office. If the Pastor really loves his people and his ministry, then preparing them for his departure isn't just part of his pre-retirement job... it has always been part of his job.

Christ must become greater, we must become less. This requires constant attention.

Of course.  And yet.  The evangelicalist right does not consider Roman Catholics to be Christian.  They're too connected to Church and not enough to their experience of conversion at a specific day and time in their acceptance of Jesus, hence - not Christian.  They are connected to Christ through Baptism, the Eucharist, and the fellowship of believers.  Sort of Schmalkaldic in that sense.  Having dealt with a bundle of churches that have gone through a long pastorate, the issue is whether the people were connected to Jesus all along.  My own hunch is that this congregation in Texas will be fine, because of the connection to the parish where they receive the Eucharist and baptize their kids.  And, not insubstantially, because they're Texanos, which means they have a deep and profound connection to the Catholic Church (and the Virgin of Guadalupe). 

So what do we say to that?  The priest was faithful, was loved, held them together.  I think they'll go on. 

The danger in my opinion is the topic of the thread - future pastors and their formation.  In this case, a 50 year old priest should be a mature practitioner and again, I think they'll be fine.  I don't know about the rest of the Roman Catholic concerns in this area, some of which I think have to do with the paucity of ordinations.  But among Protestants, the question is whether the next person will have any game whatsoever, or will be an ideologue mandating or excusing X, Y or Z and/or being unavailable to be with people.  In other words, is the next generation up trustworthy or simply worthy?  In that regard, I think Fr. Urriza was available to God's people. 

To be fair, of course it's all about Jesus.  I think the key determinant for oldsters including me is not whether you've lost a step.  That's pretty much inevitable.  It's a host of other determinatives including whether Jesus is the center (we actually have a Caribbean beat song called "Jesus, be the Centre/the wind beneath these sails, etc.") , how the work of ministry is distributed, whether the message and the personal availability are there, whether there's a team formed or in formation.  I think of Augustine, who was this supercharged figure in church history.  Where he ended up was where he wanted to be, in his parish baptizing, teaching, preaching, welcoming to the Eucharist until the end.  A full-fledged parish operation is tough anyway, and tougher with the results of aging.  But other options, and other models inside the full-fledged option, are going to be utilized.  In my opinion, one of the "problems" in Protestantism in general and among Lutherans is that the pastors who have retired from full-fledged duty are clustered in warm spots, and not so much around in say, New England or New York.  So we're spread thinner than we would be with a retired corps who could help.  You may not know for instance that John Nunes is the vacancy pastor at St. John the Evangelist in Brooklyn.  Available and capable.  And not even 60!

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 26, 2021, 11:32:52 AM
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity.  . . .
That's a good argument for churches continuing (or beginning again) to practice ecumenism.

Peace,
Michael
Continue how? Endless dialogs? That's the opposite of making a decision. The dialogs have been going on for decades and the fact is that liberal Protestantism has continued to move faster and more furiously away from the other groups, which have if anything grown closer together despite in some cases not being much of a factor in the dialogs.

You can't decide that our problems should go away. That isn't a decision. Decisions that aren't hard would be made already. Leaders consider the dialog but also know when the dialog has outlived its usefulness and the time has come to go this way and not that way. Not recognizing that time is a faiure of leadership. The decision I think needs to be made (formally or informally, by action or changed attitude and a general movement) is a genuine de-cision, a cutting away. Let liberal Protestantism go its own way, where it will end in a haze of agnostic universalism, and embrace a different vision of Christian unity that simply doesn't include them. If they repent, great, welcome back. But no welcome back without an actual coming back.

I think a way through this impasse might be for symposia at the seminaries involving cross-Lutheran connections on some topic of theological importance - Christology (from SW's post), for instance, and then opening it up to the way the theology spins into practice from either the same perspective or the differing perspectives presented.  That would take a bit of courage for the seminaries, I guess, but don't go to the level of denominational hierarchy and structure, which seem to get lost in the ether quickly.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Michael Slusser on October 26, 2021, 11:39:02 AM
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity.  . . .
That's a good argument for churches continuing (or beginning again) to practice ecumenism.
Continue how? Endless dialogs? That's the opposite of making a decision. The dialogs have been going on for decades and the fact is that liberal Protestantism has continued to move faster and more furiously away from the other groups, which have if anything grown closer together despite in some cases not being much of a factor in the dialogs.

You can't decide that our problems should go away. That isn't a decision. Decisions that aren't hard would be made already. Leaders consider the dialog but also know when the dialog has outlived its usefulness and the time has come to go this way and not that way. Not recognizing that time is a faiure of leadership. The decision I think needs to be made (formally or informally, by action or changed attitude and a general movement) is a genuine de-cision, a cutting away. Let liberal Protestantism go its own way, where it will end in a haze of agnostic universalism, and embrace a different vision of Christian unity that simply doesn't include them. If they repent, great, welcome back. But no welcome back without an actual coming back.
You spoke of a number of elements of Christianity that could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. What would they need to do in order to fulfill that "could show"? PrTim15 described it, and you said "Count me in." I'd like to see you follow through on that. Apparently you think the churches can work together without ecumenism, without talking together, without actively encouraging each other in the Faith. It's ecumenism, or it's back to our silos.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 26, 2021, 11:43:52 AM
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity.  . . .
That's a good argument for churches continuing (or beginning again) to practice ecumenism.
Continue how? Endless dialogs? That's the opposite of making a decision. The dialogs have been going on for decades and the fact is that liberal Protestantism has continued to move faster and more furiously away from the other groups, which have if anything grown closer together despite in some cases not being much of a factor in the dialogs.

You can't decide that our problems should go away. That isn't a decision. Decisions that aren't hard would be made already. Leaders consider the dialog but also know when the dialog has outlived its usefulness and the time has come to go this way and not that way. Not recognizing that time is a faiure of leadership. The decision I think needs to be made (formally or informally, by action or changed attitude and a general movement) is a genuine de-cision, a cutting away. Let liberal Protestantism go its own way, where it will end in a haze of agnostic universalism, and embrace a different vision of Christian unity that simply doesn't include them. If they repent, great, welcome back. But no welcome back without an actual coming back.
You spoke of a number of elements of Christianity that could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. What would they need to do in order to fulfill that "could show"? PrTim15 described it, and you said "Count me in." I'd like to see you follow through on that. Apparently you think the churches can work together without ecumenism, without talking together, without actively encouraging each other in the Faith. It's ecumenism, or it's back to our silos.

Peace,
Michael

Agreed.  The Protestant alternative is, and maybe will be in a far more pervasive way, congregationalism.  As denominations show their uselessness, congregations will re-align or more likely dis-align.   Why not talk it through at a level beyond local?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 26, 2021, 12:02:11 PM
And so long, Peter, as you and your cohort consider progressive Christians as the enemy, the polarization will continue. So long as evangelicals let the right-fringe be their public face and keep on kicking the crap out of moderate conservatives, they will not be able to start even a modest cooperation with other Christians. So long as every political issue gets welded to the abortion question, dialogue and cooperation will be very difficult.
Can your people, pray, study scripture and work with partnered gay clergy if the issue is immigration reform or care for the elderly? Can your people pray and work with those hanging on the "new look" at our nation's racial history if the issue is voting rights or fair housing practices?
Meanwhile, the progressive Christians, or dare I say the moderate progressives, have to do the same for the far left of their ranks, the people for whom gender issues, government organization, and denunciation of their enemies become their only sermon topics. (I wrote here, last year, I think, my disgust at a zoom gathering for my seminary alma-mater where every speaker had to first of all state his approval of the "new" sexualities and every participant in the discussions was someone who made it clear he or she or they spoke from a "gay," "lesbian," "queer," etc etc. perspective.)
You and your allies, Peter, do not have to embrace Nadia Bolz-Weber and all her writings, but you do need to embrace those of us progressives who find some - not all - of her work helpful. You don't have to approve of married gay pastors, but if you're going to work with us at all, you will have to be ready to work with some of them. And if your church body puts a hyper-LCMS loyalist on the board of LIRS, I'd sit alongside that person and work to help immigrants. Would he sit beside me?
I'm willing to say, if necessary, where I think Pastor Bolz-Weber goes off the beam; but others have to be equally critical of the Falwell kid (nothing like his father, really) and the "independent" (which means un-churched and un-monitored) Christians seeking favor in high places. Yes, there are home-schoolers who are racist, own up to that.
(And as I write this, I see that Mark Brown has a resolution describing my entire church body and our ecumenical partners as heretical and unworthy of any cooperation at all. I guess I should really weep for the dismal future of Lutheranism. If it goes on this way, it will not survive our children's generation.)
I wasn't thinking exclusively about social issues and politics. But yes, I can work with Muslims, Mormons, Jews, Unitarians, and Liberal Protestants on areas of mutual interest.

If we're going to limit it to social/political issue, abortion is central (not the only issue that matters, but in our context the central issue) because of the sheer enormity of the evil, the fact that in our time the predominant anti-Christian view of humanity, sex, marriage, and family congealed around it, grows out of it, and absolutely depends upon it, and the fact that opposition to abortion has been a component of Christian faith and life from the beginning, meriting specific mention in the Didache. There simply is no Christian pro-choice argument to be made (even the Libertarian idea of Christians being Christian and letting pagans do pagan things falls short when it comes to taking a human life), which makes that issue different from, say, international trade deals, the death penalty, minimum wage laws, inner city policing, decisions about oil and natural gas pipelines, or any number of issues about which Christians can reasonably differ.

Even Matthew 18 includes a time for dialog and a time for decision. At some point, favoring dialog is merely postponing decision. If it matters to you that the polarization not continue, quit polarizing. The fact of the matter is that by my way the polarization reorganizes itself in new and healthier ways. You will still be you and the ELCA will still be the ELCA, but you won't represent one of the poles within the framework of future ecumenical work. 
 
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: PrTim15 on October 26, 2021, 12:03:09 PM
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity. The big outlier is liberal Protestantism, which actively works against whatever united witness the rest of us might present. The young women interviewed in the article I posted on another thread who prefer to be sterilized would all reject Christianity as taught among any of those kinds of Christians, but could easily blend in to a liberal Protestant denomination.

What you're talking about requires leadership, and leadership requires decision-making, and decisions by definition involve a cutting away of some possibilities in favor of others. To me, the big decision that is hanging out there and ripening is what to do about the irreconcilable rift between liberal Protestants and all other Christians.   


My sense the the conversation is already going on locally where like minded congregations/lay leaders and clergy are facing incredible challenges. To think we will ever move on a national level first flies in the face of all the history of the LCMS. Good things start at fringes and on ground levels of institutions. The LCMS in Convention is really not had a strong mission emphasis in the last 7 years. I think the train will leave the station and the mainline will be writing documents that are titles, “A Lutheran Response to…”

I hate the word ecumenism…it’s very churchy, I like collaboration…perhaps too much like business. 
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: PrTim15 on October 26, 2021, 12:07:19 PM
Thanks Dave…should have checked your post before I put mine up…i agree with you about local practitioners:)
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 26, 2021, 12:18:37 PM
My sense the the conversation is already going on locally where like minded congregations/lay leaders and clergy are facing incredible challenges. To think we will ever move on a national level first flies in the face of all the history of the LCMS. Good things start at fringes and on ground levels of institutions. The LCMS in Convention is really not had a strong mission emphasis in the last 7 years. I think the train will leave the station and the mainline will be writing documents that are titles, “A Lutheran Response to…”

I hate the word ecumenism…it’s very churchy, I like collaboration…perhaps too much like business.


I think this is your response, Tim.  You included it in the former response bar.  Because -  who even are you?  Do you still use a fax machine?  You're not up to date or up to speed.  Old-timer.  Get out of the ministry now and let us young guys take over. 

As to the comment itself, would a local conversation lead to you collaborating on youth ministry, say, with the Presbyterians?  Or sharing a youth minister?  Or a food pantry?  What would local conversations about differences in practice and theology look like, or would they not be deemed important?   

As to the LCMS and Mission emphases at Conventions, good luck with that changing in any substantial way.  There are online resources on Making Disciples for Life, including videos called Connect to Disciple (https://files.lcms.org/file/preview/7SZtpzaeLxISlpoo6BDukNsCQdYWRbUh?).  I think actually the better work is going to be regional in this arena - in the LCMS at the District or area level (West Coast, say).  And depending on the courage and conviction of the regional folks, that would be a good way to initiate conversation about collaboration and cooperatin without just remaining absolutely local.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 26, 2021, 12:23:40 PM
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity.  . . .
That's a good argument for churches continuing (or beginning again) to practice ecumenism.

Peace,
Michael
Continue how? Endless dialogs? That's the opposite of making a decision. The dialogs have been going on for decades and the fact is that liberal Protestantism has continued to move faster and more furiously away from the other groups, which have if anything grown closer together despite in some cases not being much of a factor in the dialogs.

You can't decide that our problems should go away. That isn't a decision. Decisions that aren't hard would be made already. Leaders consider the dialog but also know when the dialog has outlived its usefulness and the time has come to go this way and not that way. Not recognizing that time is a faiure of leadership. The decision I think needs to be made (formally or informally, by action or changed attitude and a general movement) is a genuine de-cision, a cutting away. Let liberal Protestantism go its own way, where it will end in a haze of agnostic universalism, and embrace a different vision of Christian unity that simply doesn't include them. If they repent, great, welcome back. But no welcome back without an actual coming back.

I think a way through this impasse might be for symposia at the seminaries involving cross-Lutheran connections on some topic of theological importance - Christology (from SW's post), for instance, and then opening it up to the way the theology spins into practice from either the same perspective or the differing perspectives presented.  That would take a bit of courage for the seminaries, I guess, but don't go to the level of denominational hierarchy and structure, which seem to get lost in the ether quickly.

Dave Benke
I would be all for that, with the following caveat-- we all agree to be respectful, but the underlying assumption is not that all the things presented are acceptable variations on Lutheranism/Christianity and the goal is not working together despite differences but overcoming differences by determining truth and falsehood and repenting where needed. If, in order to be invited to participate, we have to agree in advance that we will go away accepting that everything presented was not bad but just different, then there is no point. It is decision-postponing filibustering dressed up like serious dialog.

In some ways the different takes on the assumptions and purposes of this forum would foreshadow how those symposia would go. Progressives would insist, "First acknowledge that I and my positions represent an acceptable form of Christianity, then let us seek ways to understand each other and work together amicably." Assuming the progressive conclusion -- that our differences are not church-dividing-- becomes a pre-condition for starting the discussion. A more productive way is to begin with no such precondition. Tell us what you think and why and we'll consider it. We'll tell you what we think and why, and invite you to consider it. This is why some people think that very worst thing that can happen in this forum is that someone or some opinions be called un-Lutheran, heterodox, or heretical. We must first agree that we are all well within the confines of acceptable Christianity, and then we can look are the interesting tapestry of diverse opinions. But a discussion of whether or not anyone or their beliefs is actually un-Lutheran, heterodox, or heretical? That's just beyond the pale.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 26, 2021, 12:35:45 PM
My sense the the conversation is already going on locally where like minded congregations/lay leaders and clergy are facing incredible challenges. To think we will ever move on a national level first flies in the face of all the history of the LCMS. Good things start at fringes and on ground levels of institutions. The LCMS in Convention is really not had a strong mission emphasis in the last 7 years. I think the train will leave the station and the mainline will be writing documents that are titles, “A Lutheran Response to…”

I hate the word ecumenism…it’s very churchy, I like collaboration…perhaps too much like business.


I think this is your response, Tim.  You included it in the former response bar.  Because -  who even are you?  Do you still use a fax machine?  You're not up to date or up to speed.  Old-timer.  Get out of the ministry now and let us young guys take over. 

As to the comment itself, would a local conversation lead to you collaborating on youth ministry, say, with the Presbyterians?  Or sharing a youth minister?  Or a food pantry?  What would local conversations about differences in practice and theology look like, or would they not be deemed important?   

As to the LCMS and Mission emphases at Conventions, good luck with that changing in any substantial way.  There are online resources on Making Disciples for Life, including videos called Connect to Disciple (https://files.lcms.org/file/preview/7SZtpzaeLxISlpoo6BDukNsCQdYWRbUh?).  I think actually the better work is going to be regional in this arena - in the LCMS at the District or area level (West Coast, say).  And depending on the courage and conviction of the regional folks, that would be a good way to initiate conversation about collaboration and cooperatin without just remaining absolutely local.

Dave Benke
The main cultural change that has to precede any formal or organizational change is for the smaller, conservative churches of the mainline brands-- the LCMS, ACNA, Orthodox Presbyterian, et al-- to stop understanding themselves primarily in relation to their mainline counterparts and start working directly together where possible and taking the place of the mainline in relation to Rome and Orthodoxy. As long as the words partnership, dialog, cooperation, and ecumenism make us think first of the mainliners, we're still mired in the old ecumenical template that needs to change if Tim's "what if" vision is to see any kind of fruition.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: PrTim15 on October 26, 2021, 12:42:14 PM
To a greater or lesser degree these more practical conversations are occurring. Dave I never get these new fangled things and always seem to mess it up…we may look back in a couple years and see covid as an accelerator of mainline decline.  Desperation for incomes, place and resources may compel a lot of congregations and pastors to rethink isolationist understanding. There’s so much contraction going on in the mainline, perhaps people with less than congruent theology will align around a more congruent heart and desire for survival to figure it out.  We serve a Lord who has used talking donkeys:)
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 26, 2021, 12:55:05 PM
What if the greatest challenge tot he church in the last 500 years, now becomes the greatest opportunity for working together? What if Christianity becomes less divided and more unified. What if we are the front end of a great global revival?
Count me in. The RC church, the Orthodox, many Evangelicals, and various traditionalist Protestant denominations could show a united front to the world on most of the things that non-Christians see. And I think we do more than we know. As C.S. Lewis said, to the enemies of Christianity, the Church appears far more united than it seems to people on the inside Christianity.  . . .
That's a good argument for churches continuing (or beginning again) to practice ecumenism.

Peace,
Michael
Continue how? Endless dialogs? That's the opposite of making a decision. The dialogs have been going on for decades and the fact is that liberal Protestantism has continued to move faster and more furiously away from the other groups, which have if anything grown closer together despite in some cases not being much of a factor in the dialogs.

You can't decide that our problems should go away. That isn't a decision. Decisions that aren't hard would be made already. Leaders consider the dialog but also know when the dialog has outlived its usefulness and the time has come to go this way and not that way. Not recognizing that time is a faiure of leadership. The decision I think needs to be made (formally or informally, by action or changed attitude and a general movement) is a genuine de-cision, a cutting away. Let liberal Protestantism go its own way, where it will end in a haze of agnostic universalism, and embrace a different vision of Christian unity that simply doesn't include them. If they repent, great, welcome back. But no welcome back without an actual coming back.

I think a way through this impasse might be for symposia at the seminaries involving cross-Lutheran connections on some topic of theological importance - Christology (from SW's post), for instance, and then opening it up to the way the theology spins into practice from either the same perspective or the differing perspectives presented.  That would take a bit of courage for the seminaries, I guess, but don't go to the level of denominational hierarchy and structure, which seem to get lost in the ether quickly.

Dave Benke
I would be all for that, with the following caveat-- we all agree to be respectful, but the underlying assumption is not that all the things presented are acceptable variations on Lutheranism/Christianity and the goal is not working together despite differences but overcoming differences by determining truth and falsehood and repenting where needed. If, in order to be invited to participate, we have to agree in advance that we will go away accepting that everything presented was not bad but just different, then there is no point. It is decision-postponing filibustering dressed up like serious dialog.

In some ways the different takes on the assumptions and purposes of this forum would foreshadow how those symposia would go. Progressives would insist, "First acknowledge that I and my positions represent an acceptable form of Christianity, then let us seek ways to understand each other and work together amicably." Assuming the progressive conclusion -- that our differences are not church-dividing-- becomes a pre-condition for starting the discussion. A more productive way is to begin with no such precondition. Tell us what you think and why and we'll consider it. We'll tell you what we think and why, and invite you to consider it. This is why some people think that very worst thing that can happen in this forum is that someone or some opinions be called un-Lutheran, heterodox, or heretical. We must first agree that we are all well within the confines of acceptable Christianity, and then we can look are the interesting tapestry of diverse opinions. But a discussion of whether or not anyone or their beliefs is actually un-Lutheran, heterodox, or heretical? That's just beyond the pale.

I think that's basically fair.  Pot-shotting gets you nowhere.  One of the hallmarks of the Missouri Synod at various times in its history was the willingness to "cooperate in externals" with any ecumenical partners, because that area of the work specifically did NOT include altar and pulpit fellowship.  In the various cultural wars, however, there's been a kind of pullback on that, at least in my opinion, that unless we're in agreement in areas heretofore NOT involved in altar and pulpit fellowship, ie ministries of care and compassion, we can't really work with you on say a food pantry.  And there has come to be a hesitation about interacting with others around that point of view.  In our local park, we have worked together in cleanup with Mormons.  Was that wrong?  Not in the least, as the former LCMS world-view had it.   And we have given food to poor folks with Pentecostals, and along with other community folks who were openly gay.  Wrong?  Not in the least. 

Anyway, if there were a confab about cooperation in externals and what we hold in common in our faith, it could lead to something nice. 

All that said, the more ultra-confessional groups and denominations have basically one bible passage that rules all the others, and which creeps into "cooperation in externals."  It's Romans 16:17 which ends with the lovely exhortation "and avoid them."  Why would we run a multi-denominational food pantry with anyone outside our confessional box?  I should be passing by on the other side of the street even to have to listen to their Pentecostal incantations or Other-Lutheran inclusions, shouldn't I?  If we called the question on that over-interpretation, it might be an internal starting point.

Tim's points on overall survivability are cogent, as is the reference to Mr. Ed, a favorite childhood show (To a greater or lesser degree these more practical conversations are occurring. Dave I never get these new fangled things and always seem to mess it up…we may look back in a couple years and see covid as an accelerator of mainline decline.  Desperation for incomes, place and resources may compel a lot of congregations and pastors to rethink isolationist understanding. There’s so much contraction going on in the mainline, perhaps people with less than congruent theology will align around a more congruent heart and desire for survival to figure it out.  We serve a Lord who has used talking donkeys:).


Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 26, 2021, 01:14:27 PM
I guess I just don't see that attitude in too many places. We're going from running a small food pantry (inefficiently) to hosting Northwest Indiana Food Bank, a secular charity that needs a building with a parking lot like ours and some able bodies to load food into cars periodically, along with whatever donations people offer. They aren't Lutheran or even religious, nor are they a government program. She'll use whatever church has a suitable facility, and they do all the work of screening the clients, working with wholesalers to get perishables, and letting the clients know when and where to ick up the food. All we have to do is put out cones for the line of cars, direct traffic, load trunks, and do so without blocking any streets. So if the goal is to get food to people who need food, you can't do it more efficiently than that. But I guess we're cooperating in externals with atheists and pagans and anyone else who might donate food to a food pantry.

Many conservative LCMS churches work with 40 Days for Life, founded by an Evangelical with events featuring mostly Catholics and Evangelicals. Or Crisis Pregnancy Centers, same deal. We host AA, Al-anon, and Teen Al-anon in our building without any religious tests. The only time people bristle about working together is when something presents itself as a Christian thing and the togetherness aspect is the real point rather than the food distribution of help for young mothers or whatever. When people who don't think our differences are church-dividing invite us to an "isn't this neat that we're so united despite our differences" event, we generally demur.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Mark Brown on October 26, 2021, 01:24:32 PM
The biblical explanation that Paul gives in these things is not the "cooperation in externals".  That is a holding pattern hoping that with continued interaction one party comes to repentance.  But holding patterns eventually have to land the plane or run out of gas.  We are out of gas with the former mainline.

The biblical pattern is that: sure, in the secular world, I can work just fine with whatever polymorphic perversity is the flavor of the day.  If I couldn't "then you would need to go out of the world (1 Cor 5:10)."  But I am not being taken out of the world.  Me working under a secular flag with someone who supports abortion - if that work does not directly encourage or sustain an abortion regime - is fine.  But let's be real, it isn't conservatives who are regulating progressives out of the professions.  It the the successor religion that is saying Orthodox Christians can't be doctors, lawyers or employees. They don't want to work with us, unless we are useful idiots and accept their entire program as kosher.  Orthodox Christians have always been rather good at following Paul's admonition here.  Where we have completely failed is within the church. "But I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality, etc (1 Cor 5:11)."   The biblical pattern is salt among the world, but don't lose your saltiness.   And cooperating in externals at this point is basically flavorless.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 26, 2021, 01:41:08 PM
How depressing it must be, and what a burden it must be for you who have to discern and define with such fervor where God is not present and how God is absent (at least in the "form" that counts)!
You also eagerly sign up for the policing of God's grace to make sure that everyone has subscribed on to "right doctrine" or it's "No sacrament for you!"
The Lord invites and you want to verify credentials, demand proof of id and do a quick mind-check to make sure everything is "right."
Oh, and even if someone should happen to be "right" with regard to sacrament (and "correct" Lutheran words and meaning, of course), but belongs to a Lutheran church that does something else you claim violates God's rule book, it's "bar the doors!" or "fence off the altar rail" because that "other" thing - like thinking women could be pastors - cancels out the Lutheran words and meaning on the sacrament.
Yuck.
You seem more depressed than anyone else in the thread. I guess not caring about "right doctrine" isn't the upper it is advertised to be.


“Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. And, I suppose I should add, it is traditionalism that gives tradition such a bad name.”
― Jaroslav Pelikan, The Vindication of Tradition: The 1983 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities

Pretty much the same can be said of "right doctrine." When it's just holding on to the faith of our ancestors; it's not very exciting. When it informs us about how to talk about our experiences with God today, it can't help but be a life-giving and faith affirming topic.
The entire confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees re hand washing consists of Jesus sharply distinguishing between right doctrine as revealed in Scripture and human traditions, and the latter must only serve but never usurp the former.


 Those "human traditions" were the folks attempting to interpret and obey the commands from God. As such, they aren't all that different from the "traditions" that Paul handed on in 1 Corinthians 11:2 and 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6. They aren't all that different from our Confessional writings. We believe that they are correct interpretations of Scriptures. Other Christians don't agree with us. They aren't all that different from your "tradition" of closed communion. You believe that it is a correct interpretation of scriptures. Others disagree.


Who gets to determine if a human interpretation of scriptures is "right doctrine" or "human tradition"?
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 26, 2021, 01:46:44 PM
I guess I just don't see that attitude in too many places. We're going from running a small food pantry (inefficiently) to hosting Northwest Indiana Food Bank, a secular charity that needs a building with a parking lot like ours and some able bodies to load food into cars periodically, along with whatever donations people offer. They aren't Lutheran or even religious, nor are they a government program. She'll use whatever church has a suitable facility, and they do all the work of screening the clients, working with wholesalers to get perishables, and letting the clients know when and where to ick up the food. All we have to do is put out cones for the line of cars, direct traffic, load trunks, and do so without blocking any streets. So if the goal is to get food to people who need food, you can't do it more efficiently than that. But I guess we're cooperating in externals with atheists and pagans and anyone else who might donate food to a food pantry.

Many conservative LCMS churches work with 40 Days for Life, founded by an Evangelical with events featuring mostly Catholics and Evangelicals. Or Crisis Pregnancy Centers, same deal. We host AA, Al-anon, and Teen Al-anon in our building without any religious tests. The only time people bristle about working together is when something presents itself as a Christian thing and the togetherness aspect is the real point rather than the food distribution of help for young mothers or whatever. When people who don't think our differences are church-dividing invite us to an "isn't this neat that we're so united despite our differences" event, we generally demure.

This is pretty much where our folks come from in terms of working together locally.  As to Mark's comment - And cooperating in externals at this point is basically flavorless., these endeavors are in fact savory, and bring opportunity in the doing to witness Christ.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 26, 2021, 02:06:20 PM
Peter, given your views which you so frequently express, I don’t know how you can be a moderator under the auspices of the ALPB, an organization which accepts and welcomes the participation of ELCA folks as Lutherans. Because you do not. I and tmillions of my fellow members in the ELCA accept, welcome, and want to preserve our current laws concerning the availability of abortions. So do millions of Christians in our partner churches of other denominations. You declare that we are not Christians, and one of your number has a resolution declaring that you and your fellows should not even speak with us.
I don’t know why you want to be here among us, and I fear your presence will poison this place as far as other ELCA participation is concerned. Just my humble opinion.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on October 26, 2021, 02:42:27 PM
Dear Pastor Speckhard- As Pastor Austin points out between the lines the retirement program for prophets is short and painful. Prenez courage, soyez fort!

Peter (Let the light of burning bridges guide you forth) Garrison
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 26, 2021, 02:43:35 PM
Peter, given your views which you so frequently express, I don’t know how you can be a moderator under the auspices of the ALPB, an organization which accepts and welcomes the participation of ELCA folks as Lutherans. Because you do not. I and tmillions of my fellow members in the ELCA accept, welcome, and want to preserve our current laws concerning the availability of abortions. So do millions of Christians in our partner churches of other denominations. You declare that we are not Christians, and one of your number has a resolution declaring that you and your fellows should not even speak with us.
I don’t know why you want to be here among us, and I fear your presence will poison this place as far as other ELCA participation is concerned. Just my humble opinion.
So one view is that Christianity is incompatible with the pro-choice position. The contrary view is that Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position. So to accommodate both views, we should compromise and agree that Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position. Seems reasonable.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Mark Brown on October 26, 2021, 03:05:07 PM
I guess I just don't see that attitude in too many places. We're going from running a small food pantry (inefficiently) to hosting Northwest Indiana Food Bank, a secular charity that needs a building with a parking lot like ours and some able bodies to load food into cars periodically, along with whatever donations people offer. They aren't Lutheran or even religious, nor are they a government program. She'll use whatever church has a suitable facility, and they do all the work of screening the clients, working with wholesalers to get perishables, and letting the clients know when and where to ick up the food. All we have to do is put out cones for the line of cars, direct traffic, load trunks, and do so without blocking any streets. So if the goal is to get food to people who need food, you can't do it more efficiently than that. But I guess we're cooperating in externals with atheists and pagans and anyone else who might donate food to a food pantry.

Many conservative LCMS churches work with 40 Days for Life, founded by an Evangelical with events featuring mostly Catholics and Evangelicals. Or Crisis Pregnancy Centers, same deal. We host AA, Al-anon, and Teen Al-anon in our building without any religious tests. The only time people bristle about working together is when something presents itself as a Christian thing and the togetherness aspect is the real point rather than the food distribution of help for young mothers or whatever. When people who don't think our differences are church-dividing invite us to an "isn't this neat that we're so united despite our differences" event, we generally demure.

This is pretty much where our folks come from in terms of working together locally.  As to Mark's comment - And cooperating in externals at this point is basically flavorless., these endeavors are in fact savory, and bring opportunity in the doing to witness Christ.

Dave Benke

Dave, we have no problem working with Evangelicals.  We are a drop off location for the shoeboxes and have been for about 5 years.  We significantly support a crisis pregnancy center which is Evangelicals and Catholics largely.  We have in the past helped get a hospice off the ground.  We have helped with the local food bank which once upon a time was religious, but now is just a community endeavor.  Those are things that fall either in the worthwhile secular that doesn't say it is anything but civic good works, or are truly of the church without confusion.  These things are salty, and you know so because they are often hated.  Or they are just civic works.

Things you won't find us doing? There is a long laundry list of former church charities that are basically NGOs these days.  If it requires a DEI statement signing, no.  If it says it is Christian or of the church, but you'd never see an evangelical as its head or the rainbow flag proudly flies at its events or the fungible money sometimes supports "family planning" lines out of sight, or any number of other things, no.  All these things do is support confusion and cause the church to lose its saltiness.

I understand that pain of admitting failure. Decades of effort that have proved fruitless in the deep things. People that supposedly shared a confession and name are in reality on opposite sides of a chasm that is only growing.  And the investment in any joint institutions at this point has to be considered a loss. Sometimes you only escape as from a burning building.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 26, 2021, 03:39:14 PM
Peter, given your views which you so frequently express, I don’t know how you can be a moderator under the auspices of the ALPB, an organization which accepts and welcomes the participation of ELCA folks as Lutherans. Because you do not. I and tmillions of my fellow members in the ELCA accept, welcome, and want to preserve our current laws concerning the availability of abortions. So do millions of Christians in our partner churches of other denominations. You declare that we are not Christians, and one of your number has a resolution declaring that you and your fellows should not even speak with us.
I don’t know why you want to be here among us, and I fear your presence will poison this place as far as other ELCA participation is concerned. Just my humble opinion.
So one view is that Christianity is incompatible with the pro-choice position. The contrary view is that Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position. So to accommodate both views, we should compromise and agree that Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position. Seems reasonable.


Nope. Christianity is about the forgiveness of sinners by God through Jesus Christ. Pro-choice people are sinners in need of forgiveness. Pro-life people are sinners in need of forgiveness. Neither position is the way, the truth, and the life. When you make either position an essential mark of Christianity, the Gospel is destroyed.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 26, 2021, 03:58:27 PM
Peter, given your views which you so frequently express, I don’t know how you can be a moderator under the auspices of the ALPB, an organization which accepts and welcomes the participation of ELCA folks as Lutherans. Because you do not. I and tmillions of my fellow members in the ELCA accept, welcome, and want to preserve our current laws concerning the availability of abortions. So do millions of Christians in our partner churches of other denominations. You declare that we are not Christians, and one of your number has a resolution declaring that you and your fellows should not even speak with us.
I don’t know why you want to be here among us, and I fear your presence will poison this place as far as other ELCA participation is concerned. Just my humble opinion.
So one view is that Christianity is incompatible with the pro-choice position. The contrary view is that Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position. So to accommodate both views, we should compromise and agree that Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position. Seems reasonable.


Nope. Christianity is about the forgiveness of sinners by God through Jesus Christ. Pro-choice people are sinners in need of forgiveness. Pro-life people are sinners in need of forgiveness. Neither position is the way, the truth, and the life. When you make either position an essential mark of Christianity, the Gospel is destroyed.
And when you openness to either position an essential mark of Christianity, the Gospel is destroyed.

More seriously, the catechism gives us the basics of Christianity. Being a sinner in need of forgiveness is the universal human condition, not a mark of the Church. By your view, St. Paul destroyed the Gospel over and over again when he said that people who do not provide for their own households have denied the faith or that the congregation should expel the (unrepentant) sexually immoral person from among them, and Jesus did likewise when he said in Matthew 18 to treat the one who refuses to repent of his sin as being outside the Church. Everything except pure universalism denies the Gospel in your view because you think it makes God's grace somehow less than universal and over-arching.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 26, 2021, 04:09:28 PM
Peter, given your views which you so frequently express, I don’t know how you can be a moderator under the auspices of the ALPB, an organization which accepts and welcomes the participation of ELCA folks as Lutherans. Because you do not. I and tmillions of my fellow members in the ELCA accept, welcome, and want to preserve our current laws concerning the availability of abortions. So do millions of Christians in our partner churches of other denominations. You declare that we are not Christians, and one of your number has a resolution declaring that you and your fellows should not even speak with us.
I don’t know why you want to be here among us, and I fear your presence will poison this place as far as other ELCA participation is concerned. Just my humble opinion.
So one view is that Christianity is incompatible with the pro-choice position. The contrary view is that Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position. So to accommodate both views, we should compromise and agree that Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position. Seems reasonable.
Can this ALPB on line forum function with such incompatible positions as whether or not Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position on abortion with advocates from both sides being represented?


What is the function of the ALPB on line forum? We here are not a church, nor is it a function of the forum to decide or take a position on what is and what is not Christian. This is a forum for discussion where people can state and advocate for the position that they take on a topic and also argue against contrary positions. It is the nature of discussion that people will disagree, even disagree vehemently and contradict each other. Unlike debate forums, no one will declare one side the winner and the other the loser of the debate.


My understanding of the role of a moderator on this forum is that the moderators are to enforce the rules that are agreed upon when one joins the forum and which may be restated or modified from time to time. It is not the role of the moderators to rule on whether or not a position is correct or who has the superior position or argument.


It is a feature of this forum that moderators may also participate in the discussions. Thus they may state positions that they hold as participants even if those positions are contradictory to the positions taken by other participants. As participants they need not be impartial. What they may not do is to use their position as moderator to favor their position or censure the on line behavior of those in opposition more harshly or strictly than they do that of those they agree with. It is a delicate balance to maintain.


I'm not going to try to assess how well Moderator Speckhard has maintained that balance of impartial moderating with  passionate participation. I will note, that there have been a number of participants in this forum that have opined that some positions not their own are incompatible with the Christian faith, the Lutheran faith, or even common humanity. Or that one or another of those they disagree with could not possibly be living in the same world they do and since they themselves live in reality, those they oppose must be in some way delusional. Seems to me that those who would question his conduct as a moderator should show how Peter has been biased in his moderating.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Jim Butler on October 26, 2021, 04:36:52 PM
Peter, given your views which you so frequently express, I don’t know how you can be a moderator under the auspices of the ALPB, an organization which accepts and welcomes the participation of ELCA folks as Lutherans. Because you do not. I and tmillions of my fellow members in the ELCA accept, welcome, and want to preserve our current laws concerning the availability of abortions. So do millions of Christians in our partner churches of other denominations. You declare that we are not Christians, and one of your number has a resolution declaring that you and your fellows should not even speak with us.
I don’t know why you want to be here among us, and I fear your presence will poison this place as far as other ELCA participation is concerned. Just my humble opinion.

Are you really sure that "tmillions of my fellow members in the ELCA accept, welcome, and want to preserve our current laws concerning the availability of abortions"? Is there a poll somewhere that shows that? Does that poll show how active those people are in worship?

When I was in Rockford, a lot of the leadership of our local branch of Lutherans for Life was ELCA. Rockford Lutheran High had a pro-life club at the time with several ELCA youth involved.

If you don't like the way Peter moderates, then go start your own board. You can be the moderator.

BTW, how much is a "tmillion"?

Also, have you figured out the definition of the word "still" yet? You seemed to think it was something that referred to something that only happened in the past.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: DeHall1 on October 26, 2021, 04:43:21 PM
Peter, given your views which you so frequently express, I don’t know how you can be a moderator under the auspices of the ALPB, an organization which accepts and welcomes the participation of ELCA folks as Lutherans. Because you do not. I and tmillions of my fellow members in the ELCA accept, welcome, and want to preserve our current laws concerning the availability of abortions. So do millions of Christians in our partner churches of other denominations. You declare that we are not Christians, and one of your number has a resolution declaring that you and your fellows should not even speak with us.
I don’t know why you want to be here among us, and I fear your presence will poison this place as far as other ELCA participation is concerned. Just my humble opinion.
So one view is that Christianity is incompatible with the pro-choice position. The contrary view is that Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position. So to accommodate both views, we should compromise and agree that Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position. Seems reasonable.


Nope. Christianity is about the forgiveness of sinners by God through Jesus Christ. Pro-choice people are sinners in need of forgiveness. Pro-life people are sinners in need of forgiveness. Neither position is the way, the truth, and the life. When you make either position an essential mark of Christianity, the Gospel is destroyed.

Forgiveness Requires Repentance

Jesus is clear about repentance as the necessary condition of forgiveness in Luke 17:3-4.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 26, 2021, 09:04:38 PM
More seriously, the catechism gives us the basics of Christianity. Being a sinner in need of forgiveness is the universal human condition, not a mark of the Church. By your view, St. Paul destroyed the Gospel over and over again when he said that people who do not provide for their own households have denied the faith or that the congregation should expel the (unrepentant) sexually immoral person from among them, and Jesus did likewise when he said in Matthew 18 to treat the one who refuses to repent of his sin as being outside the Church. Everything except pure universalism denies the Gospel in your view because you think it makes God's grace somehow less than universal and over-arching.


The catechism gives us the basics of living a life as a Christian.


There's a difference between keeping peace and order within a community of believers and being saved by God's grace. The intent in Matthew 18 is always to restore the one into the community. Note also that the issue is not described as "a sin against God," but when a fellow Christians "sins against you." (see also Luke 17:2 about someone sinning against you seven times in one day!) The way we treat our family, neighbors, and enemies is a witness to the faith God has given us.


I find 1 Timothy 5:8 quite interesting: εἰ δέ τις τῶν ἰδίων καὶ μάλιστα οἰκείων οὐ προνοεῖ, τὴν πίστιν ἤρνηται καὶ ἔστιν ἀπίστου χείρων. The word translated "provide" (in boldface) is the word, νοέω = "to comprehend something on the basis of careful thought and consideration - to perceive, to gain insight into, to understand, to comprehend" (Lowe & Nida) + the prefix προ- = before, in terms of place (e.g., before or in front of other people) or time (e.g., earlier).


It is similar to the origins of the word "provide," which comes from the Latin: pro- = "before" + videre = "to see."


It's about seeing or knowing beforehand what people might need (and then doing something with that knowledge).


What I find quite interesting is that the root of this Greek word: νοέω; is also the root of the word usually translated "to repent," μετανοέω. The "change in thinking (and acting)" that is part of being a repentant person; includes "thinking (and acting) beforehand" for the needs of the people around us.


It's a round-about way of saying something I've said for years: the real question is not "What do you believe?," but "What difference does it make in your life that you believe?" How we treat our family members (and I would add, our neighbors and our enemies) is a witness to our faith: the grace that God has shown us in Jesus; and also a witness and an understanding that God's grace in Jesus extends also to all those other people. If that doesn't affect the way we treat others; then it's likely that we don't really believe it.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 26, 2021, 09:23:26 PM
Peter, given your views which you so frequently express, I don’t know how you can be a moderator under the auspices of the ALPB, an organization which accepts and welcomes the participation of ELCA folks as Lutherans. Because you do not. I and tmillions of my fellow members in the ELCA accept, welcome, and want to preserve our current laws concerning the availability of abortions. So do millions of Christians in our partner churches of other denominations. You declare that we are not Christians, and one of your number has a resolution declaring that you and your fellows should not even speak with us.
I don’t know why you want to be here among us, and I fear your presence will poison this place as far as other ELCA participation is concerned. Just my humble opinion.
So one view is that Christianity is incompatible with the pro-choice position. The contrary view is that Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position. So to accommodate both views, we should compromise and agree that Christianity is compatible with the pro-choice position. Seems reasonable.


Nope. Christianity is about the forgiveness of sinners by God through Jesus Christ. Pro-choice people are sinners in need of forgiveness. Pro-life people are sinners in need of forgiveness. Neither position is the way, the truth, and the life. When you make either position an essential mark of Christianity, the Gospel is destroyed.

Forgiveness Requires Repentance

Jesus is clear about repentance as the necessary condition of forgiveness in Luke 17:3-4.


First point: Luke 17 is about us forgiving a fellow Christian who has sinned. There are a number of manuscripts that add: "against you" to verse 3. This makes it match Matthew 18:15 and Luke 17:4. There's also Peter's question in Matthew 18:21 about another Christian sinning against him. Thus, the passage is not so much about declaring God's forgiveness for the sinner, but how we are to forgive a fellow believer who has sinned against us.


Second point: while Luke 17 certainly calls for repentance by the sinner; the somewhat parallel passage in Matthew 18 never calls for repentance of the sinner. When Jesus prays: "Father, forgiven them. They don't know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34); there is no indication that anyone in the crowd had repented of the evil they had done.


In actual experiences, forgiveness is about my own attitude towards others. The opposite of forgiveness is holding a grudge; thinking or planning to get even. That's not healthy. An oft repeated quote: "Keeping resentments is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die.” Forgiveness is letting go of the resentment, which is only harming the resentful person.


A lady in a Bible study illustrated this truth when she said that it was when she decided to forgive her cheating ex-husband that she got peace for herself. He never repented of his evil. (He just repeated it with subsequent wives.)


If God weren't forgiving humanity, that is: if God were to get even with us for our sins, we wouldn't survive.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 27, 2021, 11:42:53 AM
I guess I just don't see that attitude in too many places. We're going from running a small food pantry (inefficiently) to hosting Northwest Indiana Food Bank, a secular charity that needs a building with a parking lot like ours and some able bodies to load food into cars periodically, along with whatever donations people offer. They aren't Lutheran or even religious, nor are they a government program. She'll use whatever church has a suitable facility, and they do all the work of screening the clients, working with wholesalers to get perishables, and letting the clients know when and where to ick up the food. All we have to do is put out cones for the line of cars, direct traffic, load trunks, and do so without blocking any streets. So if the goal is to get food to people who need food, you can't do it more efficiently than that. But I guess we're cooperating in externals with atheists and pagans and anyone else who might donate food to a food pantry.

Many conservative LCMS churches work with 40 Days for Life, founded by an Evangelical with events featuring mostly Catholics and Evangelicals. Or Crisis Pregnancy Centers, same deal. We host AA, Al-anon, and Teen Al-anon in our building without any religious tests. The only time people bristle about working together is when something presents itself as a Christian thing and the togetherness aspect is the real point rather than the food distribution of help for young mothers or whatever. When people who don't think our differences are church-dividing invite us to an "isn't this neat that we're so united despite our differences" event, we generally demure.

This is pretty much where our folks come from in terms of working together locally.  As to Mark's comment - And cooperating in externals at this point is basically flavorless., these endeavors are in fact savory, and bring opportunity in the doing to witness Christ.

Dave Benke

Dave, we have no problem working with Evangelicals.  We are a drop off location for the shoeboxes and have been for about 5 years.  We significantly support a crisis pregnancy center which is Evangelicals and Catholics largely.  We have in the past helped get a hospice off the ground.  We have helped with the local food bank which once upon a time was religious, but now is just a community endeavor.  Those are things that fall either in the worthwhile secular that doesn't say it is anything but civic good works, or are truly of the church without confusion.  These things are salty, and you know so because they are often hated.  Or they are just civic works.

Things you won't find us doing? There is a long laundry list of former church charities that are basically NGOs these days.  If it requires a DEI statement signing, no.  If it says it is Christian or of the church, but you'd never see an evangelical as its head or the rainbow flag proudly flies at its events or the fungible money sometimes supports "family planning" lines out of sight, or any number of other things, no.  All these things do is support confusion and cause the church to lose its saltiness.

I understand that pain of admitting failure. Decades of effort that have proved fruitless in the deep things. People that supposedly shared a confession and name are in reality on opposite sides of a chasm that is only growing.  And the investment in any joint institutions at this point has to be considered a loss. Sometimes you only escape as from a burning building.

I don't know what those former church charities are doing now that you won't do with them, so it's hard to comment directly.  However, taking an example from relatively recent history, when Superstorm Sandy hit with full force, a group of people who were of no particular belief but were primarily young adults with diverse lifestyles and beliefs/non-beliefs made a big impact in the tough neighborhoods, which was where we - Atlantic District and St. Peter's Brooklyn - were going.  So we collaborated.  They were called Occupy Sandy (after Occupy Wall Street).  They got a lot of stuff, as did we, they helped whoever needed help, as did we, they shared space and broke bread with us.  Out of that came a connection to some folks who to this very day supply us with Thanksgiving meals/turkeys.  My estimation is that on the Missouri Synod values scale they were at level one to our perfect ten.  Did we bring Jesus into the conversation?  Did we pray?  Yes.  Did we make that a factor in whether people received assistance?  No.  Did the Occupy Sandy people bring Jesus into the conversation and pray?  No.  It seemed to us to be a good partnership.  Would it not have seemed to be to you?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 27, 2021, 12:03:03 PM
I guess I just don't see that attitude in too many places. We're going from running a small food pantry (inefficiently) to hosting Northwest Indiana Food Bank, a secular charity that needs a building with a parking lot like ours and some able bodies to load food into cars periodically, along with whatever donations people offer. They aren't Lutheran or even religious, nor are they a government program. She'll use whatever church has a suitable facility, and they do all the work of screening the clients, working with wholesalers to get perishables, and letting the clients know when and where to ick up the food. All we have to do is put out cones for the line of cars, direct traffic, load trunks, and do so without blocking any streets. So if the goal is to get food to people who need food, you can't do it more efficiently than that. But I guess we're cooperating in externals with atheists and pagans and anyone else who might donate food to a food pantry.

Many conservative LCMS churches work with 40 Days for Life, founded by an Evangelical with events featuring mostly Catholics and Evangelicals. Or Crisis Pregnancy Centers, same deal. We host AA, Al-anon, and Teen Al-anon in our building without any religious tests. The only time people bristle about working together is when something presents itself as a Christian thing and the togetherness aspect is the real point rather than the food distribution of help for young mothers or whatever. When people who don't think our differences are church-dividing invite us to an "isn't this neat that we're so united despite our differences" event, we generally demure.

This is pretty much where our folks come from in terms of working together locally.  As to Mark's comment - And cooperating in externals at this point is basically flavorless., these endeavors are in fact savory, and bring opportunity in the doing to witness Christ.

Dave Benke

Dave, we have no problem working with Evangelicals.  We are a drop off location for the shoeboxes and have been for about 5 years.  We significantly support a crisis pregnancy center which is Evangelicals and Catholics largely.  We have in the past helped get a hospice off the ground.  We have helped with the local food bank which once upon a time was religious, but now is just a community endeavor.  Those are things that fall either in the worthwhile secular that doesn't say it is anything but civic good works, or are truly of the church without confusion.  These things are salty, and you know so because they are often hated.  Or they are just civic works.

Things you won't find us doing? There is a long laundry list of former church charities that are basically NGOs these days.  If it requires a DEI statement signing, no.  If it says it is Christian or of the church, but you'd never see an evangelical as its head or the rainbow flag proudly flies at its events or the fungible money sometimes supports "family planning" lines out of sight, or any number of other things, no.  All these things do is support confusion and cause the church to lose its saltiness.

I understand that pain of admitting failure. Decades of effort that have proved fruitless in the deep things. People that supposedly shared a confession and name are in reality on opposite sides of a chasm that is only growing.  And the investment in any joint institutions at this point has to be considered a loss. Sometimes you only escape as from a burning building.

I don't know what those former church charities are doing now that you won't do with them, so it's hard to comment directly.  However, taking an example from relatively recent history, when Superstorm Sandy hit with full force, a group of people who were of no particular belief but were primarily young adults with diverse lifestyles and beliefs/non-beliefs made a big impact in the tough neighborhoods, which was where we - Atlantic District and St. Peter's Brooklyn - were going.  So we collaborated.  They were called Occupy Sandy (after Occupy Wall Street).  They got a lot of stuff, as did we, they helped whoever needed help, as did we, they shared space and broke bread with us.  Out of that came a connection to some folks who to this very day supply us with Thanksgiving meals/turkeys.  My estimation is that on the Missouri Synod values scale they were at level one to our perfect ten.  Did we bring Jesus into the conversation?  Did we pray?  Yes.  Did we make that a factor in whether people received assistance?  No.  Did the Occupy Sandy people bring Jesus into the conversation and pray?  No.  It seemed to us to be a good partnership.  Would it not have seemed to be to you?

Dave Benke
I'm not seeing anyone opposing working together with outside groups on human care issues like food pantries. While many LCMS churches do things on their own, that doesn't mean they refuse on principle to do things with others, assuming those things don't involve joint leadership of worship. Where are the churches that resemble the straw man you seem to be arguing against? No matter how often conservative (arch, uber, hyper, super) pastors talk about the ways they cooperate with other groups, both religious and secular, you keep implying that such churches oppose cooperation in externals for doctrinal reasons. It isn't true. What is true is that they cooperate more often with Catholics and Evangelicals or secular organizations rather than mainline Protestant groups, largely because the mainline groups so often take concrete positions on the sort of social issues under discussion that are directly at odds with our goals. 
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: PrTim15 on October 27, 2021, 12:44:07 PM
Seems like every ministry in a local area has something unique to contribute. LCMS may not have pastors, may not have money, or lots of people, but we are property rich. It makes a huge difference to have property in neighborhoods and cities that are impacted by crowding and high property values. Why not figure it out and work together? Every brings something.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 27, 2021, 01:18:00 PM
I guess I just don't see that attitude in too many places. We're going from running a small food pantry (inefficiently) to hosting Northwest Indiana Food Bank, a secular charity that needs a building with a parking lot like ours and some able bodies to load food into cars periodically, along with whatever donations people offer. They aren't Lutheran or even religious, nor are they a government program. She'll use whatever church has a suitable facility, and they do all the work of screening the clients, working with wholesalers to get perishables, and letting the clients know when and where to ick up the food. All we have to do is put out cones for the line of cars, direct traffic, load trunks, and do so without blocking any streets. So if the goal is to get food to people who need food, you can't do it more efficiently than that. But I guess we're cooperating in externals with atheists and pagans and anyone else who might donate food to a food pantry.

Many conservative LCMS churches work with 40 Days for Life, founded by an Evangelical with events featuring mostly Catholics and Evangelicals. Or Crisis Pregnancy Centers, same deal. We host AA, Al-anon, and Teen Al-anon in our building without any religious tests. The only time people bristle about working together is when something presents itself as a Christian thing and the togetherness aspect is the real point rather than the food distribution of help for young mothers or whatever. When people who don't think our differences are church-dividing invite us to an "isn't this neat that we're so united despite our differences" event, we generally demure.

This is pretty much where our folks come from in terms of working together locally.  As to Mark's comment - And cooperating in externals at this point is basically flavorless., these endeavors are in fact savory, and bring opportunity in the doing to witness Christ.

Dave Benke

Dave, we have no problem working with Evangelicals.  We are a drop off location for the shoeboxes and have been for about 5 years.  We significantly support a crisis pregnancy center which is Evangelicals and Catholics largely.  We have in the past helped get a hospice off the ground.  We have helped with the local food bank which once upon a time was religious, but now is just a community endeavor.  Those are things that fall either in the worthwhile secular that doesn't say it is anything but civic good works, or are truly of the church without confusion.  These things are salty, and you know so because they are often hated.  Or they are just civic works.

Things you won't find us doing? There is a long laundry list of former church charities that are basically NGOs these days.  If it requires a DEI statement signing, no.  If it says it is Christian or of the church, but you'd never see an evangelical as its head or the rainbow flag proudly flies at its events or the fungible money sometimes supports "family planning" lines out of sight, or any number of other things, no.  All these things do is support confusion and cause the church to lose its saltiness.

I understand that pain of admitting failure. Decades of effort that have proved fruitless in the deep things. People that supposedly shared a confession and name are in reality on opposite sides of a chasm that is only growing.  And the investment in any joint institutions at this point has to be considered a loss. Sometimes you only escape as from a burning building.

I don't know what those former church charities are doing now that you won't do with them, so it's hard to comment directly.  However, taking an example from relatively recent history, when Superstorm Sandy hit with full force, a group of people who were of no particular belief but were primarily young adults with diverse lifestyles and beliefs/non-beliefs made a big impact in the tough neighborhoods, which was where we - Atlantic District and St. Peter's Brooklyn - were going.  So we collaborated.  They were called Occupy Sandy (after Occupy Wall Street).  They got a lot of stuff, as did we, they helped whoever needed help, as did we, they shared space and broke bread with us.  Out of that came a connection to some folks who to this very day supply us with Thanksgiving meals/turkeys.  My estimation is that on the Missouri Synod values scale they were at level one to our perfect ten.  Did we bring Jesus into the conversation?  Did we pray?  Yes.  Did we make that a factor in whether people received assistance?  No.  Did the Occupy Sandy people bring Jesus into the conversation and pray?  No.  It seemed to us to be a good partnership.  Would it not have seemed to be to you?

Dave Benke
I'm not seeing anyone opposing working together with outside groups on human care issues like food pantries. While many LCMS churches do things on their own, that doesn't mean they refuse on principle to do things with others, assuming those things don't involve joint leadership of worship. Where are the churches that resemble the straw man you seem to be arguing against? No matter how often conservative (arch, uber, hyper, super) pastors talk about the ways they cooperate with other groups, both religious and secular, you keep implying that such churches oppose cooperation in externals for doctrinal reasons. It isn't true. What is true is that they cooperate more often with Catholics and Evangelicals or secular organizations rather than mainline Protestant groups, largely because the mainline groups so often take concrete positions on the sort of social issues under discussion that are directly at odds with our goals.

Sometimes I'm not sure you're reading what I'm writing or responding to, Peter.  This is what Mark wrote and what I responded to:  Things you won't find us doing? There is a long laundry list of former church charities that are basically NGOs these days.  If it requires a DEI statement signing, no.  If it says it is Christian or of the church, but you'd never see an evangelical as its head or the rainbow flag proudly flies at its events or the fungible money sometimes supports "family planning" lines out of sight, or any number of other things, no.  All these things do is support confusion and cause the church to lose its saltiness.  "Things you won't find us doing" was the lead phrase.    You're the moderator.  Read the posts before commenting.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 27, 2021, 01:29:01 PM
I guess I just don't see that attitude in too many places. We're going from running a small food pantry (inefficiently) to hosting Northwest Indiana Food Bank, a secular charity that needs a building with a parking lot like ours and some able bodies to load food into cars periodically, along with whatever donations people offer. They aren't Lutheran or even religious, nor are they a government program. She'll use whatever church has a suitable facility, and they do all the work of screening the clients, working with wholesalers to get perishables, and letting the clients know when and where to ick up the food. All we have to do is put out cones for the line of cars, direct traffic, load trunks, and do so without blocking any streets. So if the goal is to get food to people who need food, you can't do it more efficiently than that. But I guess we're cooperating in externals with atheists and pagans and anyone else who might donate food to a food pantry.

Many conservative LCMS churches work with 40 Days for Life, founded by an Evangelical with events featuring mostly Catholics and Evangelicals. Or Crisis Pregnancy Centers, same deal. We host AA, Al-anon, and Teen Al-anon in our building without any religious tests. The only time people bristle about working together is when something presents itself as a Christian thing and the togetherness aspect is the real point rather than the food distribution of help for young mothers or whatever. When people who don't think our differences are church-dividing invite us to an "isn't this neat that we're so united despite our differences" event, we generally demure.

This is pretty much where our folks come from in terms of working together locally.  As to Mark's comment - And cooperating in externals at this point is basically flavorless., these endeavors are in fact savory, and bring opportunity in the doing to witness Christ.

Dave Benke

Dave, we have no problem working with Evangelicals.  We are a drop off location for the shoeboxes and have been for about 5 years.  We significantly support a crisis pregnancy center which is Evangelicals and Catholics largely.  We have in the past helped get a hospice off the ground.  We have helped with the local food bank which once upon a time was religious, but now is just a community endeavor.  Those are things that fall either in the worthwhile secular that doesn't say it is anything but civic good works, or are truly of the church without confusion.  These things are salty, and you know so because they are often hated.  Or they are just civic works.

Things you won't find us doing? There is a long laundry list of former church charities that are basically NGOs these days.  If it requires a DEI statement signing, no.  If it says it is Christian or of the church, but you'd never see an evangelical as its head or the rainbow flag proudly flies at its events or the fungible money sometimes supports "family planning" lines out of sight, or any number of other things, no.  All these things do is support confusion and cause the church to lose its saltiness.

I understand that pain of admitting failure. Decades of effort that have proved fruitless in the deep things. People that supposedly shared a confession and name are in reality on opposite sides of a chasm that is only growing.  And the investment in any joint institutions at this point has to be considered a loss. Sometimes you only escape as from a burning building.

I don't know what those former church charities are doing now that you won't do with them, so it's hard to comment directly.  However, taking an example from relatively recent history, when Superstorm Sandy hit with full force, a group of people who were of no particular belief but were primarily young adults with diverse lifestyles and beliefs/non-beliefs made a big impact in the tough neighborhoods, which was where we - Atlantic District and St. Peter's Brooklyn - were going.  So we collaborated.  They were called Occupy Sandy (after Occupy Wall Street).  They got a lot of stuff, as did we, they helped whoever needed help, as did we, they shared space and broke bread with us.  Out of that came a connection to some folks who to this very day supply us with Thanksgiving meals/turkeys.  My estimation is that on the Missouri Synod values scale they were at level one to our perfect ten.  Did we bring Jesus into the conversation?  Did we pray?  Yes.  Did we make that a factor in whether people received assistance?  No.  Did the Occupy Sandy people bring Jesus into the conversation and pray?  No.  It seemed to us to be a good partnership.  Would it not have seemed to be to you?

Dave Benke
I'm not seeing anyone opposing working together with outside groups on human care issues like food pantries. While many LCMS churches do things on their own, that doesn't mean they refuse on principle to do things with others, assuming those things don't involve joint leadership of worship. Where are the churches that resemble the straw man you seem to be arguing against? No matter how often conservative (arch, uber, hyper, super) pastors talk about the ways they cooperate with other groups, both religious and secular, you keep implying that such churches oppose cooperation in externals for doctrinal reasons. It isn't true. What is true is that they cooperate more often with Catholics and Evangelicals or secular organizations rather than mainline Protestant groups, largely because the mainline groups so often take concrete positions on the sort of social issues under discussion that are directly at odds with our goals.

Sometimes I'm not sure you're reading what I'm writing or responding to, Peter.  This is what Mark wrote and what I responded to:  Things you won't find us doing? There is a long laundry list of former church charities that are basically NGOs these days.  If it requires a DEI statement signing, no.  If it says it is Christian or of the church, but you'd never see an evangelical as its head or the rainbow flag proudly flies at its events or the fungible money sometimes supports "family planning" lines out of sight, or any number of other things, no.  All these things do is support confusion and cause the church to lose its saltiness.  "Things you won't find us doing" was the lead phrase.    You're the moderator.  Read the posts before commenting.

Dave Benke
"However, taking an example from relatively recent history, when Superstorm Sandy hit with full force, a group of people who were of no particular belief but were primarily young adults with diverse lifestyles and beliefs/non-beliefs made a big impact in the tough neighborhoods, which was where we - Atlantic District and St. Peter's Brooklyn - were going.  So we collaborated.  They were called Occupy Sandy (after Occupy Wall Street).  They got a lot of stuff, as did we, they helped whoever needed help, as did we, they shared space and broke bread with us.  Out of that came a connection to some folks who to this very day supply us with Thanksgiving meals/turkeys.  My estimation is that on the Missouri Synod values scale they were at level one to our perfect ten.  Did we bring Jesus into the conversation?  Did we pray?  Yes.  Did we make that a factor in whether people received assistance?  No.  Did the Occupy Sandy people bring Jesus into the conversation and pray?  No.  It seemed to us to be a good partnership.  Would it not have seemed to be to you?"

That's what I was responding to (after having read it). The point I made, that cooperation is more difficult and less likely with mainline bodies than with Evangelicals and Catholics, is perfectly on point with the prior post you were responding to. Mark said he is fine with cooperation as long as the other groups aren't actively contradicting LCMS doctrine (say, with the pride paraphernia, etc.).

You're the president of the ALPB. Get a clue before accusing your own moderator of not reading your posts before responding to them.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 27, 2021, 02:28:10 PM
An example of what those narrow minded LCMS types might do. After the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting one of the groups that responded and offered help to the gay community was the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs, an LCMS  RSO.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 27, 2021, 06:17:55 PM
It has been said here before by several people. If an organization, however “charitable,” happens to be active in a “pro-choice“ or gay affirming way, LCMS should be shaking dust off its collective sandals. The LCMS has Some voices asking it to withdraw from LIRS, not over immigration policy, but just because ELCA is part of it.
And I don’t think the pooches trained as comfort dogs are catechized into the LCMS.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 27, 2021, 07:02:22 PM
And I don’t think the pooches trained as comfort dogs are catechized into the LCMS.

Oh, I think Eddie is.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=288403016621424&id=100063551831211

Eddie was there after the Las Vegas shooting, and he even let Anderson Cooper pet him. So there!  😃
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 27, 2021, 08:24:20 PM
It has been said here before by several people. If an organization, however “charitable,” happens to be active in a “pro-choice“ or gay affirming way, LCMS should be shaking dust off its collective sandals. The LCMS has Some voices asking it to withdraw from LIRS, not over immigration policy, but just because ELCA is part of it.
And I don’t think the pooches trained as comfort dogs are catechized into the LCMS.
Oh, well, if they're in any way associated with the LCMS they can't be up to any good.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 27, 2021, 09:22:00 PM
Overstatement again, Pastor Fienen, feeding your need to be a “victim.”
But if you are baptizing and catechizing and confirming dogs, I guess it’s OK to use them in any situation. But if they’re just working for you, doesn’t that give them more flexibility? They wouldn’t be violating any closed kibble policies.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 27, 2021, 09:26:13 PM
But if you are baptizing and catechizing and confirming dogs, I guess it’s OK to use them in any situation.

Overstatement again, Charles.

And whimsy fails again!

You're flailing, Charles. But that's what bullies do when confronted.

Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 27, 2021, 10:00:42 PM
My experience with the comfort dogs is limited to the LCMS.  In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Lutheran Church Charities out of Chicago was one of the first groups on site, and the dogs were with them.  And they were quite simply amazing in bringing - comfort.  To kids, to folks who had lost their homes, to people on the street, to folks at events trying to salvage their lives.  The handlers of course spoke to all those people, but when they were with the dogs, they truly found a first article source of comfort.

So there were resolutions of thanks at one of the national conventions, maybe my last one in 2013.  A mini-controversy arose because a few folks were very unhappy that the dogs and their handlers would be on stage, and not on the floor in front of the stage, that somehow the dogs would literally upstage the people.  The dogs ended up on stage, as I remember it, and there was really zero reason for concern.  It was about thanking God for the comfort of the Gospel, and for all the human care and first article comfort that the handlers of the dogs brought when they took the dogs along. 

One of our congregations on Long Island has a ministry connected to a trained comfort dog they brought for their community outreach.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 27, 2021, 10:27:13 PM
👍👍 For Dave above and for Dan below!
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 27, 2021, 10:53:59 PM
A small documentary on NBC Left Field about LCC Comfort Dogs after the Las Vegas shooting. Mentions their response to the Pulse shooting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVJMieuervo&t=119s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVJMieuervo&t=119s)
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 27, 2021, 11:01:35 PM
I have to say it's humorous to see this thread drift from training enough pastors to training comfort dogs. It's a stranger than fiction moment, to be sure. I hope everyone from right to left can see the humor here.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 28, 2021, 08:11:48 AM
I don't see it. It''s an example of cooperating in externals, a way to bring comfort to victims of disasters, and the opportunity to share the Gospel.

"The Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry is a national ministry utilizing the unique skills of dogs, specifically golden retrievers, to open opportunities to touch people with mercy and compassion."

https://resources.lcms.org/newsletters/rso-news-update-first-quarter-2017/

There's also the whole  visceral aspect of what is translated as compassion in the New Testament and its connection to Christ.

https://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/library/verses/id/3545/jesus-christs-compassion-verses.htm

I guess I'm missing the humor in bringing mercy and compassion in unique ways.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 28, 2021, 11:35:03 AM
It has been said here before by several people. If an organization, however “charitable,” happens to be active in a “pro-choice“ or gay affirming way, LCMS should be shaking dust off its collective sandals. The LCMS has Some voices asking it to withdraw from LIRS, not over immigration policy, but just because ELCA is part of it.
And I don’t think the pooches trained as comfort dogs are catechized into the LCMS.
A small documentary on NBC Left Field about LCC Comfort Dogs after the Las Vegas shooting. Mentions their response to the Pulse shooting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVJMieuervo&t=119s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVJMieuervo&t=119s)
It has been said here before by several people. If an organization, however “charitable,” happens to be active in a “pro-choice“ or gay affirming way, LCMS should be shaking dust off its collective sandals. The LCMS has Some voices asking it to withdraw from LIRS, not over immigration policy, but just because ELCA is part of it.
And I don’t think the pooches trained as comfort dogs are catechized into the LCMS.
Oh, well, if they're in any way associated with the LCMS they can't be up to any good.
Overstatement again, Pastor Fienen, feeding your need to be a “victim.”
But if you are baptizing and catechizing and confirming dogs, I guess it’s OK to use them in any situation. But if they’re just working for you, doesn’t that give them more flexibility? They wouldn’t be violating any closed kibble policies.

Charles, you snark and sneer, you mock in your disdain, you doubt that we can reach beyond our own narrowness. You complain bitterly when you think that your beloved ELCA is misrepresented or disrespected, but feel free to do so to others. After all, when you do it it is whimsy, can't we take a joke? When others disparage efforts by the ELCA, that is a serious affront to all that is decent. It needs to be discipled and banned. 


What good can pooches trained as comfort dogs do? Perhaps if they were cats to be petted? Obviously, in your universal knowledge and wisdom you perhaps overlooked that comfort dogs are not sent in alone but come leashed to handlers who also are trained. Look at the NBC Left Field clip linked above and you might see how the handlers can use the dog as a means to make connection to the suffering and bring Jesus' love and comfort to people. But of course we make sure that the people are fully on board with our marrow, nit picking theology before we would talk to them!  >:( :'(  How quick you are to judge us, how little you really know us.


Lutheran Church Charities, who support, train, and manage the comfort dogs is an LCMS affiliated agency, an LCMS RSO (Recognized Service Organization). I challenge you to listen to a description of the work of LCC Comfort Dogs after the gay bar Pulse in Orlando, Florida was targeted by a mass shooter in 2016 and still scorn their effectiveness as a Gospel outreach tool.


The Rev. William (Billy) A. Brath was at the time an LCMS pastor in Orlando, Florida. He currently serves the church as the Vice-President of Ministry Support - East Region for the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF). He was one of the presenters at the 2019 LCMS Michigan District All Pastors' Conference talking about ministry to the LGBTQ community. The following link is for his preview presentation for the breakout session that he hosted.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh3tLA6uxJo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh3tLA6uxJo)


I heartily recommend watching the whole thing but the section about the response to the Pulse shooting begins at about 15 minutes into his presentation. For those who scoff at the possibility of an LCMS affiliated ministry utilizing dogs being an effective outreach of the Jesus' love, please consider Pr. Brath's presentation.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgM_6ejcUW8&t=9s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgM_6ejcUW8&t=9s) is the link for his entire presentation. Much thoughtful material for ministry with LGBTQ from a Missouri Synod pastor.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 28, 2021, 12:42:03 PM
Pastor Fienen, I love your comfort dogs. Every pawed, sniffer-nosed one of them.
It is a great thing your people do with them.
Cats consider petting to be comfort to them as the petee, not to the petter.
But your dogs are great.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: PrTim15 on October 28, 2021, 01:13:57 PM
There’s no hope nationally…only hope locally. Seems to me we, local churches, need to find ways to work together until Jesus comes back. Looks like there’s still some serious gnat straining to do, while the souls of men are dying.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 29, 2021, 09:18:12 AM
There’s no hope nationally…only hope locally. Seems to me we, local churches, need to find ways to work together until Jesus comes back. Looks like there’s still some serious gnat straining to do, while the souls of men are dying.

NY Metro Lutherans gathered last night to give thanks for the Lutheran Counseling Center, an inter-Lutheran agency that provides Christian counseling.  John Hannah introduced the congregational honoree, Redeemer Lutheran, Bronx, which received thanks by giving the Center a check for $25000 (!).  The counselors are placed in various churches (or now virtually) throughout the region, and are LCMS or ELCA folks, by and large.  Counselee fees are supported by the Center. 

A second honoree was the Interim Commissioner of the Suffolk County Police, Chief Cameron.  He was raised as a Long Island Lutheran and maintains a staff replete with Lutherans - his commitment to community policing, to learning (and speaking) Spanish in an area known for difficult race relations, and strong Christian values were all on display.  Of note to "filling future pastoral vacancies" thread was the presence of three Missouri Synod pastors connected to the ELCA Commissioner - one his personal aide, one a former NYPD precinct inspector, and the third the chief of chaplains for Suffolk County.  One comes to the LCMS through colloquy and the other two are LCMS SMP (non-residential training) pastors.  These three are shining examples of using all the tools in the toolbox to identify and train pastors of and for the Church.  Non-residential training programs not only "fill vacancies," they bring pastoral leaders into contextual ministry opportunity where they are fully equipped to shine. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: PrTim15 on October 29, 2021, 09:39:04 AM
You breathed life into my tired soul. Thank you
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 29, 2021, 11:51:48 AM
Looks like there’s still some serious gnat straining to do, while the souls of men are dying.

??
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 30, 2021, 04:39:43 PM
My question is: Has FC XI been able to give you any comfort, PrTim15?
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 30, 2021, 05:32:13 PM
My question is: Has FC XI been able to give you any comfort, PrTim15?

not to butt in, but sub specie aeternitatis all is well for us, including PrTim15.  It's the granular current situation and the consideration of the next twenty years or so on the issue of Christian/Lutheran advancement that brings a sense of sadness.  And I think by and large Tim's advice to coordinate local action at the maximum level across various lines of demarcation makes sense.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 30, 2021, 06:54:46 PM
Dave,

You sound like Jen Psaki.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 31, 2021, 07:41:21 AM
Dave,

You sound like Jen Psaki.

And that's not a good thing?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 31, 2021, 07:45:05 AM
Dave,

You sound like Jen Psaki.

And that's not a good thing?

Dave Benke

Generally no. Obfuscation is not a good thing.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Charles Austin on October 31, 2021, 08:47:05 AM
I’m going to do a “Fienen“ here, Since Pastor Kirchner took his shot, and ponder whether similar remarks were ever made during the years when White House press secretaries for The Ex were not obfuscating but telling us lies day after day.
But we digress.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 31, 2021, 10:28:55 AM
I’m going to do a “Fienen“ here, Since Pastor Kirchner took his shot, and ponder whether similar remarks were ever made during the years when White House press secretaries for The Ex were not obfuscating but telling us lies day after day.
But we digress.
Sigh. Thanks for sharing. Heaven forfend we not talk about the Trump administration.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 31, 2021, 11:44:53 AM
I’m going to do a “Fienen“ here, Since Pastor Kirchner took his shot, and ponder whether similar remarks were ever made during the years when White House press secretaries for The Ex were not obfuscating but telling us lies day after day.
But we digress.
Sigh. Thanks for sharing. Heaven forfend we not talk about the Trump administration.

I was down in Mankato this week for the Bethany Lutheran College annual Reformation Lectures.  The hotel in which I stayed had free copies of the student newspaper from the local UM campus.  I was kind of impressed that this newspaper had national news, sports (local and national), and feature stories (like "what kind of Halloween candy are you?"). But what struck me was the rather long article (printed as news, and not opinion or feature-type story) about how evil Donald Trump was and how he perverted social media.  As if he were the first.  As if he had a greater impact than anyone else.  As if social media does not enforce, with an iron hand, its own version of "truth".  As if Trump were still president, or wielding that kind of power.  Made me wonder if Rev. Austin had enrolled at UM-Mankato.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on October 31, 2021, 12:10:50 PM
Dave,

You sound like Jen Psaki.

And that's not a good thing?

Dave Benke

Generally no. Obfuscation is not a good thing.

In what way did you find me obfuscating, Don?  FC XI on Election lets us know the boundlessness of God's reconciling grace.  Sub specie aeternitatis, we're good!  And so - we should make our moves as locally as we can, because it is the will of God that all be saved and brought to the knowledge of the truth.   What takes away the purpose of your original post?  I think the answer is nothing.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Randy Bosch on October 31, 2021, 02:05:59 PM
A reasonable place to start when considering Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies is found by considering Martin Luther's five solas of the faith (worth considering for all even on Reformation Day):
Scripture Alone
Faith Alone
Grace Alone
Christ Alone
Glory to God Alone.

Those who are considering filling Lutheran Pastoral Vacancies in the future might begin by considering how they relate to the Solas.... 
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 31, 2021, 02:51:51 PM
Dave,

You sound like Jen Psaki.

And that's not a good thing?

Dave Benke

Generally no. Obfuscation is not a good thing.

In what way did you find me obfuscating, Don?  FC XI on Election lets us know the boundlessness of God's reconciling grace.  Sub specie aeternitatis, we're good!  And so - we should make our moves as locally as we can, because it is the will of God that all be saved and brought to the knowledge of the truth.   What takes away the purpose of your original post?  I think the answer is nothing.

Dave Benke

Your posts say different things. The second is clearer, actually addressing my question rather than simply throwing around Latin philosophical terms when discussing "the souls of men are dying" and eternal election.

Seems to me we, local churches, need to find ways to work together until Jesus comes back. Looks like there’s still some serious gnat straining to do, while the souls of men are dying.

I took it as his concern about "while the souls of men are dying" that caused his sadness. that's why I asked him if FC XI brought him any comfort. You playing Spinoza gave me a sense of obfuscation.
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 31, 2021, 02:58:35 PM
I’m going to do a “Fienen“ here, Since Pastor Kirchner took his shot, and ponder whether similar remarks were ever made during the years when White House press secretaries for The Ex were not obfuscating but telling us lies day after day.
But we digress.

Actually, you did a "Stoffregen" there, fallaciously turning a particular proposition into a universal one that is irrelevant to what was being discussed. But, you got to take your TDS shot. So, there's that.  ::)
Title: Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
Post by: Dave Benke on November 01, 2021, 09:03:52 AM
A reasonable place to start when considering Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies is found by considering Martin Luther's five solas of the faith (worth considering for all even on Reformation Day):
Scripture Alone
Faith Alone
Grace Alone
Christ Alone
Glory to God Alone.

Those who are considering filling Lutheran Pastoral Vacancies in the future might begin by considering how they relate to the Solas....

Nice!  I had five Sunday Schoolers come to the front and work through the Luther Seal which centers in the cross of Christ, and then we went through and recited the first three Solas as both Sunday School and congregation.  We still are not conducting in person Sunday School, so our children's time has to be up front with the pastor or vicars, who eventually will fill a pastoral vacancy in Brooklyn.

Dave Benke