ALPB Forum Online

ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Dan Fienen on October 26, 2021, 04:15:57 PM

Title: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 26, 2021, 04:15:57 PM
Questions are raised periodically about the moderation of this Forum, whether the moderators (actually one in particular) should be a moderator because of his passionate support for certain positions, and whether certain sides of the Lutheran landscape have been made to feel unwelcome here.


I suggest that this could be discussed under certain questions.


Should the ALPB Forum Online be a safe space for controversial questions about which Lutherans have varying diametrically opposed opinions?


What would it mean for it to be safe space? What would it take to make it a safe space?


Can the moderators also be participants in the discussion?
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 26, 2021, 04:17:12 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: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on October 26, 2021, 04:38:45 PM
I think this thread gives Pastor Austin's objections more seriousness than they deserve.

Everyone here knows if anyone poisons this forum, it's Pastor Austin.  Including Pastor Austin.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: RDPreus on October 26, 2021, 04:54:10 PM
Based on what I have seen, I think the moderators do a good job here.  I very much appreciate Peter Speckhard's posts, not just because I agree with them, which I usually do, but because he writes well.  I also enjoy Charles Austin's posts, even though I often disagree with him.  On the matter of what is Christian and unchristian, I think we should distinguish between a position and a person.  Concerning abortion, I would not hesitate to say that the "pro-choice" position is unchristian.  This does not mean that I would judge that a person who advocates it cannot be a Christian.  I remember Francis Pieper's "felicitous inconsistency" where a person holds to an unchristian teaching but does not follow it to its logical conclusion.  Christians often hold to unchristian opinions.  It is no minor matter when one does.  But to say that someone holds to a position that cannot be tolerated in the church is not to judge him to be outside of the church.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 26, 2021, 05:21:55 PM
I would think an online forum would almost by definition be a safe space. What is even the theoretical danger?
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on October 26, 2021, 05:38:32 PM
Pastor Preus:
I also enjoy Charles Austin's posts, even though I often disagree with him.
Me:
And there are times, I suspect, when we do not disagree.

Pastor Preus:
On the matter of what is Christian and unchristian, I think we should distinguish between a position and a person.  Concerning abortion, I would not hesitate to say that the "pro-choice" position is unchristian. This does not mean that I would judge that a person who advocates it cannot be a Christian.
Me:
Exactly, and thank you. But that is not the predominate vibe that hums through this forum. We as individuals and a denomination are denounced as un-Lutheran and worse. Brian and I both know people who have left the forum because of what is said about them and about our denomination. See the recent “resolution” posted by one participant who extends his condemnation to our ecumenical partners. The language concerning abortion is the worst, but language about our approach to scripture or sexuality is almost as bad, especially from certain LCMS posters, and from some who have left Lutheranism.
This is supposed to be an inter-Lutheran forum.  And one moderator dismisses more than half of American Lutheranism as unfit to be in this forum.
And Peter, “danger” is more than physical.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 26, 2021, 07:11:08 PM
This is supposed to be an inter-Lutheran forum.  And one moderator dismisses more than half of American Lutheranism as unfit to be in this forum.

To quote you, Charles:

"This is another one of your silly overstated responses."
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 26, 2021, 07:19:39 PM
I don’t recall ever saying anyone was unfit for this forum, at least not for doctrinal reasons.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 26, 2021, 08:00:12 PM
I don’t recall ever saying anyone was unfit for this forum, at least not for doctrinal reasons.

Let's see... What would be the litmus test?

Peter has never stated that Brian is unfit for this forum for doctrinal reasons.

There you have it! Peter has never said that anyone was unfit for this forum for doctrinal reasons.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 26, 2021, 10:14:27 PM
The Forum Romanum was a marketplace that became known for the free sharing of ideas, which seems to be the purpose of the Lutheran Forum---at the discretion of those who sponsor it. Those who post here do so as guests.

The moderators seem to do a fine job and they must be pleasing those who put them in place. Otherwise, they would be removed, I should think.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on October 26, 2021, 10:29:22 PM
Anyone who would like a heavily moderated forum would be more than welcome to participate in http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/ (http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/)

The rules are very clearly set forth and swiftly enforced...including "vacations" and posting under moderation (meaning that the moderator has to approve the content before the post actually appears)
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 27, 2021, 02:48:26 AM
Based on what I have seen, I think the moderators do a good job here.  I very much appreciate Peter Speckhard's posts, not just because I agree with them, which I usually do, but because he writes well.  I also enjoy Charles Austin's posts, even though I often disagree with him.  On the matter of what is Christian and unchristian, I think we should distinguish between a position and a person.  Concerning abortion, I would not hesitate to say that the "pro-choice" position is unchristian. This does not mean that I would judge that a person who advocates it cannot be a Christian.  I remember Francis Pieper's "felicitous inconsistency" where a person holds to an unchristian teaching but does not follow it to its logical conclusion.  Christians often hold to unchristian opinions.  It is no minor matter when one does.  But to say that someone holds to a position that cannot be tolerated in the church is not to judge him to be outside of the church.


Concerning the boldfaced sentence. For many of us, the "pro-choice" position is giving women the choice not to have an abortion, rather than turning that choice over to the government or insurance companies - which is taking away her choice.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 27, 2021, 02:54:24 AM
Anyone who would like a heavily moderated forum would be more than welcome to participate in http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/ (http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/)

The rules are very clearly set forth and swiftly enforced...including "vacations" and posting under moderation (meaning that the moderator has to approve the content before the post actually appears)


On the other hand, a conservative ELCA female clergy who is vocally Republican, (yes, we have those,) started a group on Facebook called: ELCA Clergy - Uncensored. She did that after she was removed from another ELCA Clergy group for being too conservative for the administrator. She has made it clear that she will not censor any posts nor any posters. 
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on October 27, 2021, 05:14:03 AM
The forum needs more diversity.
It needs more understanding and less “but you are just wrong!” Or un-Lutheran or un-Biblical, etc. etc.
It needs a broader spectrum of voices from the LCMS (although it is abundantly clear why moderate or liberal LCMS people do not feel safe here).
It needs more conservative voices from within the ELCA rather than from those who have left us.
It needs more female voices.
And we need some way to recognize and accept that the LCMS is broader than the loudest voices here, including Peter (and that the LCMS  includes many like Matt Becker, now no longer LCMS) and that there is more to the ELCA than Brian and this humble correspondent (although I still believe we represent the mainstream of our church body.)
ALPB’s noble inter-Lutheran history and mission should take top billing and gain support, not “resolutions” declaring the ELCA heretical, or repeated “O! How terrible!, He’s doing it again!” posts passing judgment on individuals.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on October 27, 2021, 06:52:22 AM
Anyone who would like a heavily moderated forum would be more than welcome to participate in http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/ (http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/)

The rules are very clearly set forth and swiftly enforced...including "vacations" and posting under moderation (meaning that the moderator has to approve the content before the post actually appears)


On the other hand, a conservative ELCA female clergy who is vocally Republican, (yes, we have those,) started a group on Facebook called: ELCA Clergy - Uncensored. She did that after she was removed from another ELCA Clergy group for being too conservative for the administrator. She has made it clear that she will not censor any posts nor any posters.

Yeah, but again, Pastor Austin has run off more female ELCA clergy from this forum than any other single person.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on October 27, 2021, 06:53:14 AM
It’s sort of like this. I agree that abusing women is bad. I’m just not going to be lectured about it by Bill Cosby.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Richard Johnson on October 27, 2021, 06:54:03 AM
Anyone who would like a heavily moderated forum would be more than welcome to participate in http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/ (http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/)

The rules are very clearly set forth and swiftly enforced...including "vacations" and posting under moderation (meaning that the moderator has to approve the content before the post actually appears)


On the other hand, a conservative ELCA female clergy who is vocally Republican, (yes, we have those,) started a group on Facebook called: ELCA Clergy - Uncensored. She did that after she was removed from another ELCA Clergy group for being too conservative for the administrator. She has made it clear that she will not censor any posts nor any posters.

Yeah, but again, Pastor Austin has run off more female ELCA clergy from this forum than any other single person.

Fascinating statistic. Source?
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on October 27, 2021, 06:56:41 AM
Anyone who would like a heavily moderated forum would be more than welcome to participate in http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/ (http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/)

The rules are very clearly set forth and swiftly enforced...including "vacations" and posting under moderation (meaning that the moderator has to approve the content before the post actually appears)


On the other hand, a conservative ELCA female clergy who is vocally Republican, (yes, we have those,) started a group on Facebook called: ELCA Clergy - Uncensored. She did that after she was removed from another ELCA Clergy group for being too conservative for the administrator. She has made it clear that she will not censor any posts nor any posters.

Yeah, but again, Pastor Austin has run off more female ELCA clergy from this forum than any other single person.

Fascinating statistic. Source?

My recollection.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: John_Hannah on October 27, 2021, 08:50:57 AM
It seems clear to me that the dominant character of this forum is Republican, Missouri Synod, and conservative culturally. As post Trump-Republican it means only anti-Democrat (the political party). As Missouri Synod, it means only sub-confessional or extra-confessional ideology (e.g., six day, tightly closed communion, prohibition of any and all ecumenism).

The dominant participants seldom attempt to convince but only denounce. Instead of discussion, there is only disgust. Instead of tolerance for alternate ideas, there is only rejection of personalities. The unfortunate Missouri habit to "blanket condemn" all persons affiliated with competitive church bodies is assumed to be proper and accurate. (E.g., "every single member of the ELCA is taken to believe in abortion, non-theistic evolution, etc.)

I guess that as long as the present members are happy, we will not expand participation. We represent only a minority of Americans, a minority of Christians, and a minority of Lutherans. But we are grateful for the opportunity to "knock" Pastors Austin. Stoffregen and other "heretics" that pop up occasionally.

That's the way it looks to me.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 27, 2021, 09:30:26 AM
So an LCMS pastor says what it means to be LCMS is to be either sub-Confessionsl or extra-Confessional. Does that qualify as the same sort of thing as calling some teaching or church body un-Lutheran? Should I feel unsafe that Pr. Hannah is here denouncing his own and my church body? Or should I maybe get over it and engage with his opinion if I think the topic important?

On the active threads right now we’ve had a lot of participation from Pr. Tim, who was the “moderate” candidate running against Harrison in the last LCMS election, Dave Benke, and John Hannah. That’s a pretty fair representation of the side of the LCMS to which Dave would not need to apply any prefixes like arch-, uber-, hyper-, super-, etc. which is the signal by which he identifies the other, lamentable, and much larger side of the synod. We’ve had Brian and Charles representing those who are happy with the direction of the ELCA as well people like Pr. Shelley who represents a smaller synod, several LCMS pastors who would indeed merit some sort of prefix from Dave, some ELCA Lutherans or ex-ELCA Lutherans unhappy with the direction of the ELCA who have joined the NALC or gone over to Rome, two now Orthodox laymen, one former LCMS, one former ELCA, and a smattering of others. Everyone is welcome. Nobody has been told not to participate. Nobody’s views have been censored. If you want more diversity, go invite someone to post here. Frankly, complaints about the lack of diversity in this forum strike me as mere whining because it is easily the most diverse forum of its kind in the known universe.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on October 27, 2021, 09:34:38 AM
It seems clear to me that the dominant character of this forum is Republican, Missouri Synod, and conservative culturally. As post Trump-Republican it means only anti-Democrat (the political party). As Missouri Synod, it means only sub-confessional or extra-confessional ideology (e.g., six day, tightly closed communion, prohibition of any and all ecumenism).

The dominant participants seldom attempt to convince but only denounce. Instead of discussion, there is only disgust. Instead of tolerance for alternate ideas, there is only rejection of personalities. The unfortunate Missouri habit to "blanket condemn" all persons affiliated with competitive church bodies is assumed to be proper and accurate. (E.g., "every single member of the ELCA is taken to believe in abortion, non-theistic evolution, etc.)

I guess that as long as the present members are happy, we will not expand participation. We represent only a minority of Americans, a minority of Christians, and a minority of Lutherans. But we are grateful for the opportunity to "knock" Pastors Austin. Stoffregen and other "heretics" that pop up occasionally.

That's the way it looks to me.

Peace, JOHN

I'd wager my views would not be welcome should I go to an LCMS Church and present them, and I've presented them here, where they are generally not agreed with, but seem to be well received.

I wonder what the difference is?
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 27, 2021, 09:41:42 AM
The forum needs more diversity.
It needs more understanding and less “but you are just wrong!” Or un-Lutheran or un-Biblical, etc. etc.
It needs a broader spectrum of voices from the LCMS (although it is abundantly clear why moderate or liberal LCMS people do not feel safe here).
It needs more conservative voices from within the ELCA rather than from those who have left us.
It needs more female voices.
And we need some way to recognize and accept that the LCMS is broader than the loudest voices here, including Peter (and that the LCMS  includes many like Matt Becker, now no longer LCMS) and that there is more to the ELCA than Brian and this humble correspondent (although I still believe we represent the mainstream of our church body.)
ALPB’s noble inter-Lutheran history and mission should take top billing and gain support, not “resolutions” declaring the ELCA heretical, or repeated “O! How terrible!, He’s doing it again!” posts passing judgment on individuals.


It seems clear to me that the dominant character of this forum is Republican, Missouri Synod, and conservative culturally. As post Trump-Republican it means only anti-Democrat (the political party). As Missouri Synod, it means only sub-confessional or extra-confessional ideology (e.g., six day, tightly closed communion, prohibition of any and all ecumenism).

The dominant participants seldom attempt to convince but only denounce. Instead of discussion, there is only disgust. Instead of tolerance for alternate ideas, there is only rejection of personalities. The unfortunate Missouri habit to "blanket condemn" all persons affiliated with competitive church bodies is assumed to be proper and accurate. (E.g., "every single member of the ELCA is taken to believe in abortion, non-theistic evolution, etc.)

I guess that as long as the present members are happy, we will not expand participation. We represent only a minority of Americans, a minority of Christians, and a minority of Lutherans. But we are grateful for the opportunity to "knock" Pastors Austin. Stoffregen and other "heretics" that pop up occasionally.

That's the way it looks to me.

Peace, JOHN


So, what should we do about it? Participation here is voluntary, we cannot draft participants to achieve a broader spectrum of opinions. Should we establish a quota system whereby participants are categorized as to the segment of the political/theological/denominational spectrum that they inhabit and then lock out some members of over represented segments so that we have roughly equal members from each segment actively participating?


The dominant participants seldom attempt to convince but only denounce. Instead of discussion, there is only disgust. Instead of tolerance for alternate ideas, there is only rejection of personalities. The unfortunate Missouri habit to "blanket condemn" all persons affiliated with competitive church bodies is assumed to be proper and accurate. (E.g., "every single member of the ELCA is taken to believe in abortion, non-theistic evolution, etc.)


Should we specify and enforce a tighter code of conduct and delete/ban those who denounce rather than convince or express disgust rather than discuss? What does it mean to have tolerance for alternate ideas? Does that mean accepting every idea expressed as right and proper without dissent?


I do agree that there has been much bad behavior by some of the participants and much, but not all, of that has been from conservatives. But not all. One participant regularly compares those who have a concern for correct doctrine as being like the Pharisees who opposed Jesus, and another regularly suggests that such concern is based not on faith but on fear, that opposition to certain behaviors derives not from a careful study of Scripture but gut revulsion and again fear. Questioning the sincerity of the faith of posters, questioning their openness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, questioning their intelligence has not come from only one side. If we are to impose a stricter code of on line content, it must apply to all sides. Claims of "well they did it first" doesn't really justify bad behavior.


Many of the worst offenders over the years have either dropped out or were banned. What would an adequate code of conduct that could be enforced look like?


I started this thread with the question of whether this forum is a safe space. The complaint seems to be that it is not a safe space for those on the more liberal side of things and that because of that they are under represented here? What would make it a safe space for them? Does it need to be a space where their perspective is automatically accepted and agreed with?  Does it need to be a space where their interpretation of the world, Scripture, the Confessions, God's will is simply assumed to be correct without question? Or does it need to be a place where we are more civil and respectful of each other?


I'm all for being civil and respectful of each other. And believe it or not (certain individuals I suspect will not believe it) I am trying to moderate my own on line behavior to be more civil and respectful of others even if it to respectfully disagree vehemently. I also respectfully suggest that others who disagree with me would be as civil and respectful of me and people whom I agree with as they expect to be treated. Respect and civility needs to go both ways.


But there's the rub. We (and I include people in general, all of us) rarely see ourselves and the nature of our actions as clearly as we see that of others. Its the old mote and beam thing that Jesus commented on. It also means that if we are to enter discussion, we need to be willing to take disagreement, dissent, even denunciation as readily as we dish it out. If we are only to discuss with people who will primarily agree with us with only minor quibbles, then perhaps this is not the forum for you.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Richard Johnson on October 27, 2021, 09:42:52 AM
Anyone who would like a heavily moderated forum would be more than welcome to participate in http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/ (http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/)

The rules are very clearly set forth and swiftly enforced...including "vacations" and posting under moderation (meaning that the moderator has to approve the content before the post actually appears)


On the other hand, a conservative ELCA female clergy who is vocally Republican, (yes, we have those,) started a group on Facebook called: ELCA Clergy - Uncensored. She did that after she was removed from another ELCA Clergy group for being too conservative for the administrator. She has made it clear that she will not censor any posts nor any posters.

Yeah, but again, Pastor Austin has run off more female ELCA clergy from this forum than any other single person.

Fascinating statistic. Source?

My recollection.

How would you even know how many female ELCA clergy have been "run off" by anyone? You are simply making a totally unfounded personal attack. I would remove it but I'm leaving it as an example of what we're trying (not very successfully) to eliminate.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: D. Engebretson on October 27, 2021, 09:44:02 AM
Funny how growing up, going through a synodical college and seminary you consider yourself mainstream in your synod only to discover later you are now supposedly on the fringe.  I have served for several years as a circuit visitor/counselor, and now as district secretary.  I appear to get along with my fellow clergy and leadership in my district, even those who may at times differ significantly from me, especially in terms of worship.  But given my liturgical bent and my penchant for holding to things like close(d) communion, and the doctrine of a seven-day creation, etc. as upheld by the Synod, I guess I'm now in more of the outer edges of my church body.  I would have never dreamed in my earlier years that I would become so extreme.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: John_Hannah on October 27, 2021, 09:49:39 AM
It seems clear to me that the dominant character of this forum is Republican, Missouri Synod, and conservative culturally. As post Trump-Republican it means only anti-Democrat (the political party). As Missouri Synod, it means only sub-confessional or extra-confessional ideology (e.g., six day, tightly closed communion, prohibition of any and all ecumenism).

The dominant participants seldom attempt to convince but only denounce. Instead of discussion, there is only disgust. Instead of tolerance for alternate ideas, there is only rejection of personalities. The unfortunate Missouri habit to "blanket condemn" all persons affiliated with competitive church bodies is assumed to be proper and accurate. (E.g., "every single member of the ELCA is taken to believe in abortion, non-theistic evolution, etc.)

I guess that as long as the present members are happy, we will not expand participation. We represent only a minority of Americans, a minority of Christians, and a minority of Lutherans. But we are grateful for the opportunity to "knock" Pastors Austin. Stoffregen and other "heretics" that pop up occasionally.

That's the way it looks to me.

Peace, JOHN

I'd wager my views would not be welcome should I go to an LCMS Church and present them, and I've presented them here, where they are generally not agreed with, but seem to be well received.

I wonder what the difference is?

You are quite right. Your views on church, ministry and sacrament would not be welcome. (I hasten to add that I generally agree with you as an LCMS outlier.)

What is welcome are your views on culture and politics. Sadly, the cultural and political seem to have replaced the theological here.

But that's where we're at.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on October 27, 2021, 09:51:31 AM
Anyone who would like a heavily moderated forum would be more than welcome to participate in http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/ (http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/)

The rules are very clearly set forth and swiftly enforced...including "vacations" and posting under moderation (meaning that the moderator has to approve the content before the post actually appears)


On the other hand, a conservative ELCA female clergy who is vocally Republican, (yes, we have those,) started a group on Facebook called: ELCA Clergy - Uncensored. She did that after she was removed from another ELCA Clergy group for being too conservative for the administrator. She has made it clear that she will not censor any posts nor any posters.

Yeah, but again, Pastor Austin has run off more female ELCA clergy from this forum than any other single person.

Fascinating statistic. Source?

My recollection.

How would you even know how many female ELCA clergy have been "run off" by anyone? You are simply making a totally unfounded personal attack. I would remove it but I'm leaving it as an example of what we're trying (not very successfully) to eliminate.

I recall at least one saying she doesn't post here any longer because of him.  That's one more than I'm aware of saying the same of anyone else.

As for unfounded personal attacks, well, if I'm the best example of that you can think of, then feel free to use me as such.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on October 27, 2021, 09:52:25 AM
It seems clear to me that the dominant character of this forum is Republican, Missouri Synod, and conservative culturally. As post Trump-Republican it means only anti-Democrat (the political party). As Missouri Synod, it means only sub-confessional or extra-confessional ideology (e.g., six day, tightly closed communion, prohibition of any and all ecumenism).

The dominant participants seldom attempt to convince but only denounce. Instead of discussion, there is only disgust. Instead of tolerance for alternate ideas, there is only rejection of personalities. The unfortunate Missouri habit to "blanket condemn" all persons affiliated with competitive church bodies is assumed to be proper and accurate. (E.g., "every single member of the ELCA is taken to believe in abortion, non-theistic evolution, etc.)

I guess that as long as the present members are happy, we will not expand participation. We represent only a minority of Americans, a minority of Christians, and a minority of Lutherans. But we are grateful for the opportunity to "knock" Pastors Austin. Stoffregen and other "heretics" that pop up occasionally.

That's the way it looks to me.

Peace, JOHN

I'd wager my views would not be welcome should I go to an LCMS Church and present them, and I've presented them here, where they are generally not agreed with, but seem to be well received.

I wonder what the difference is?

You are quite right. Your views on church, ministry and sacrament would not be welcome. (I hasten to add that I generally agree with you as an LCMS outlier.)

What is welcome are your views on culture and politics. Sadly, the cultural and political seem to have replaced the theological here.

But that's where we're at.

How does the conversation generally get steered into the cultural and political?
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 27, 2021, 09:54:17 AM
The only one who has successfully “run off” anyone on this forum, meaning setting out deliberately to get a particular participant to quit posting and succeeded has been Charles, who has done it multiple times. I have every PM, reported post, and alpb related email I’ve ever gotten going back probably fifteen years. There is no mystery or secret about who dominates, antagonizes, whines, attacks, and derides with the greatest consistency and rhetorical volume. It is Charles, hands down. Yet despite being banned a couple of times, he is back and tolerated. If we can tolerate his continued participation here, we can tolerate anyone’s. The forum is as diverse as we have the power to make it.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: John_Hannah on October 27, 2021, 10:32:09 AM
Funny how growing up, going through a synodical college and seminary you consider yourself mainstream in your synod only to discover later you are now supposedly on the fringe.  I have served for several years as a circuit visitor/counselor, and now as district secretary.  I appear to get along with my fellow clergy and leadership in my district, even those who may at times differ significantly from me, especially in terms of worship.  But given my liturgical bent and my penchant for holding to things like close(d) communion, and the doctrine of a seven-day creation, etc. as upheld by the Synod, I guess I'm now in more of the outer edges of my church body.  I would have never dreamed in my earlier years that I would become so extreme.

Actually you are in the mainstream of the Missouri Synod. The problem is that Missouri identity has fastened onto issues like closed communion and six/seven day. We should recognize that they are not "confessional" and doctrines confessed in the Lutheran Symbols. We may uphold them but it is questionable whether we may expel those who don't. Constitutionally we are held strictly to the Book of Concord and free to hold views not addressed there.

More importantly, Don, in my opinion you stand out as a participant who always offers thoughtful, respectful, and documented views. You are the best example of what I think would make a great forum if we all followed what you so carefully write. Furthermore you always relate your theology to your pastoral experience; another good characteristic.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: John_Hannah on October 27, 2021, 10:35:47 AM
It seems clear to me that the dominant character of this forum is Republican, Missouri Synod, and conservative culturally. As post Trump-Republican it means only anti-Democrat (the political party). As Missouri Synod, it means only sub-confessional or extra-confessional ideology (e.g., six day, tightly closed communion, prohibition of any and all ecumenism).

The dominant participants seldom attempt to convince but only denounce. Instead of discussion, there is only disgust. Instead of tolerance for alternate ideas, there is only rejection of personalities. The unfortunate Missouri habit to "blanket condemn" all persons affiliated with competitive church bodies is assumed to be proper and accurate. (E.g., "every single member of the ELCA is taken to believe in abortion, non-theistic evolution, etc.)

I guess that as long as the present members are happy, we will not expand participation. We represent only a minority of Americans, a minority of Christians, and a minority of Lutherans. But we are grateful for the opportunity to "knock" Pastors Austin. Stoffregen and other "heretics" that pop up occasionally.

That's the way it looks to me.

Peace, JOHN

I'd wager my views would not be welcome should I go to an LCMS Church and present them, and I've presented them here, where they are generally not agreed with, but seem to be well received.

I wonder what the difference is?

You are quite right. Your views on church, ministry and sacrament would not be welcome. (I hasten to add that I generally agree with you as an LCMS outlier.)

What is welcome are your views on culture and politics. Sadly, the cultural and political seem to have replaced the theological here.

But that's where we're at.

How does the conversation generally get steered into the cultural and political?

I don't know. I recognize some threads do not. However, check out "Coronavirus" with 355 pages and hardly ever a theological thought.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: John_Hannah on October 27, 2021, 10:38:09 AM
So an LCMS pastor says what it means to be LCMS is to be either sub-Confessionsl or extra-Confessional. Does that qualify as the same sort of thing as calling some teaching or church body un-Lutheran? Should I feel unsafe that Pr. Hannah is here denouncing his own and my church body? Or should I maybe get over it and engage with his opinion if I think the topic important?

On the active threads right now we’ve had a lot of participation from Pr. Tim, who was the “moderate” candidate running against Harrison in the last LCMS election, Dave Benke, and John Hannah. That’s a pretty fair representation of the side of the LCMS to which Dave would not need to apply any prefixes like arch-, uber-, hyper-, super-, etc. which is the signal by which he identifies the other, lamentable, and much larger side of the synod. We’ve had Brian and Charles representing those who are happy with the direction of the ELCA as well people like Pr. Shelley who represents a smaller synod, several LCMS pastors who would indeed merit some sort of prefix from Dave, some ELCA Lutherans or ex-ELCA Lutherans unhappy with the direction of the ELCA who have joined the NALC or gone over to Rome, two now Orthodox laymen, one former LCMS, one former ELCA, and a smattering of others. Everyone is welcome. Nobody has been told not to participate. Nobody’s views have been censored. If you want more diversity, go invite someone to post here. Frankly, complaints about the lack of diversity in this forum strike me as mere whining because it is easily the most diverse forum of its kind in the known universe.

See my reply #28.   :)
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on October 27, 2021, 10:38:20 AM
I don't know. I recognize some threads do not. However, check out "Coronavirus" with 355 pages and hardly ever a theological thought.

An excellent example, that one.  If you go to the first page, you get a bunch of folks talking about their church's practice, whether they are shut down, etc.  The first political post is this one.

https://alpb.org/Forum/index.php?topic=7391.msg472251#msg472251

Pretty easy math if you ask me.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on October 27, 2021, 10:38:59 AM
The next political post is right under that one.  You might guess it was by someone else.  But you'd be wrong.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on October 27, 2021, 10:43:20 AM
Mr. Garner:
Yeah, but again, Pastor Austin has run off more female ELCA clergy from this forum than any other single person.
Me:
I will dispute that, but let it go.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 27, 2021, 10:47:11 AM
Mr. Garner:
Yeah, but again, Pastor Austin has run off more female ELCA clergy from this forum than any other single person.
Me:
I will dispute that, but let it go.

No, you did not let it go.  You disputed it. 
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Richard Johnson on October 27, 2021, 10:58:04 AM

I recall at least one saying she doesn't post here any longer because of him.  That's one more than I'm aware of saying the same of anyone else.


So you "recall" "at least one," and that's "more than you're aware of saying the same of anyone else." Well, you're not the moderator, and so you don't hear from others who have left. I can tell you that a lot more than one ELCA clergy women have left because of the perceived hostility from various posters who are not Charles.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 27, 2021, 11:05:03 AM
While I firmly disagree with the Biblical propriety of WO, I have been disamyed at the uncivil and bile filled ways that some of the people who have posted here (some of whom have themselves departed or were removed from these precincts) have treated women and especially ordained women. Disagreement with their ordination is no excuse for disrespect uncouth behavior.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on October 27, 2021, 11:06:23 AM

I recall at least one saying she doesn't post here any longer because of him.  That's one more than I'm aware of saying the same of anyone else.


So you "recall" "at least one," and that's "more than you're aware of saying the same of anyone else." Well, you're not the moderator, and so you don't hear from others who have left. I can tell you that a lot more than one ELCA clergy women have left because of the perceived hostility from various posters who are not Charles.

Fair enough.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on October 27, 2021, 11:20:11 AM
I do not understand how we could ever discuss “theology“ without having the cultural and, yes, political angle to it.
We could hash out again the arguments of the second or third century, or the 15th or 16th century, would that help anybody today?
Do we ever talk enough about the proclamation of the gospel today, how we reach people today?
“Love your neighbor.“ A nice gospel imperative, but how can you talk about that without talking about immigration, housing, racism, economic inequality? Not to mention the problems faced by women trying to survive and exercise their vocations and skills  in a male-dominated culture.
Closed communion? A dead issue. The people we are  trying to reach and the majority of our members don’t care about it.
The kind of “confessionalism“ that finds an answer to every question in the 16th century documents? That’s just silly.
Scripture locked in quasi-fundamentalist boxes? That’s not even Lutheran.
Now I love the 16th century. Beloved Spouse claims I know more about the 16th century than I do about what happened last week.
But we don’t live there, and we need people in this discussion who understand that, we need people in this discussion will even refute our favorite ideas from the 16th century.
Blessings to those go to Rome or Constantinople, and I’m glad they have found their place in the Church catholic.
But this should be predominantly an inter-Lutheran forum.
But a future lies in accepting change, because there will always be change and there has always has been change.
Otherwise, we are just trying to extract nuggets from the mine after the canary has died.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dave Likeness on October 27, 2021, 11:52:48 AM
Journalist Austin:  "Women trying to survive.....in a male-dominated culture"

In FIRST THINGS issue of November 2021, it is mentioned that women comprise
59.5% of college students and men 40.5%.  Females now earn 60% of the
undergraduate degrees in college and the majority of master's degrees & Ph.D's

I see this as a trend which concerns professional careers. For example:

In the academic world, women are asserting themselves which then translates
into the real world....More female doctors, more female lawyers, more female
dentists, more female engineers, etc.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 27, 2021, 11:54:42 AM
I do not understand how we could ever discuss “theology“ without having the cultural and, yes, political angle to it.
We could hash out again the arguments of the second or third century, or the 15th or 16th century, would that help anybody today?
Do we ever talk enough about the proclamation of the gospel today, how we reach people today?
“Love your neighbor.“ A nice gospel imperative, but how can you talk about that without talking about immigration, housing, racism, economic inequality? Not to mention the problems faced by women trying to survive and exercise their vocations and skills  in a male-dominated culture.
Closed communion? A dead issue. The people we are  trying to reach and the majority of our members don’t care about it.
The kind of “confessionalism“ that finds an answer to every question in the 16th century documents? That’s just silly.
Scripture locked in quasi-fundamentalist boxes? That’s not even Lutheran.
Now I love the 16th century. Beloved Spouse claims I know more about the 16th century than I do about what happened last week.
But we don’t live there, and we need people in this discussion who understand that, we need people in this discussion will even refute our favorite ideas from the 16th century.
Blessings to those go to Rome or Constantinople, and I’m glad they have found their place in the Church catholic.
But this should be predominantly an inter-Lutheran forum.
But a future lies in accepting change, because there will always be change and there has always has been change.
Otherwise, we are just trying to extract nuggets from the mine after the canary has died.
Ah, an inter-Lutheran forum that accepts that Lutheran doctrine is old news, nobody cares about the issues that many "confessional" Lutherans spend time on, and that many positions held by Lutherans outside the ELCA are quasi-fundamentalist and not Lutheran, and focuses instead on the plight of women in a male-dominated world, immigration, housing, racism, and inequality. That would make the forum almost as diverse as the ELCA-DNC nexus.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on October 27, 2021, 11:55:28 AM
Thread drift. The issue is What happens when women get out into the workforce.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on October 27, 2021, 11:59:15 AM
So expound your RNC/Trumpist/evangelical lines, Peter, if you ever find a foothold in America, 2021.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on October 27, 2021, 12:10:59 PM
It seems clear to me that the dominant character of this forum is Republican, Missouri Synod, and conservative culturally. As post Trump-Republican it means only anti-Democrat (the political party). As Missouri Synod, it means only sub-confessional or extra-confessional ideology (e.g., six day, tightly closed communion, prohibition of any and all ecumenism).

The dominant participants seldom attempt to convince but only denounce. Instead of discussion, there is only disgust. Instead of tolerance for alternate ideas, there is only rejection of personalities. The unfortunate Missouri habit to "blanket condemn" all persons affiliated with competitive church bodies is assumed to be proper and accurate. (E.g., "every single member of the ELCA is taken to believe in abortion, non-theistic evolution, etc.)

I guess that as long as the present members are happy, we will not expand participation. We represent only a minority of Americans, a minority of Christians, and a minority of Lutherans. But we are grateful for the opportunity to "knock" Pastors Austin. Stoffregen and other "heretics" that pop up occasionally.

That's the way it looks to me.

Peace, JOHN

I'd wager my views would not be welcome should I go to an LCMS Church and present them, and I've presented them here, where they are generally not agreed with, but seem to be well received.

I wonder what the difference is?

You are quite right. Your views on church, ministry and sacrament would not be welcome. (I hasten to add that I generally agree with you as an LCMS outlier.)

What is welcome are your views on culture and politics. Sadly, the cultural and political seem to have replaced the theological here.

But that's where we're at.

How does the conversation generally get steered into the cultural and political?

I don't know. I recognize some threads do not. However, check out "Coronavirus" with 355 pages and hardly ever a theological thought.

So expound your RNC/Trumpist/evangelical lines, Peter, if you ever find a foothold in America, 2021.

Res ipsa loquitur.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 27, 2021, 12:12:58 PM
So expound your RNC/Trumpist/evangelical lines, Peter, if you ever find a foothold in America, 2021.
Charming as usual. If my name were Mary and I decided that your response was too obnoxious for me and I left, would that count as you having driven me off the forum? Or would that mean that Mary needed a thicker skin? Or would you not say things like to a Mary in the first place out of respect for her being a woman?

I get that this forum isn't for everyone. No forum is. But efforts to widen its scope, given it already has the widest scope of any forum of its kind in the world, would almost inevitably end up narrowing its scope.   
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 27, 2021, 12:24:32 PM
I have heard from lesbian clergy in our church who have peeked into this forum and stated: "I would never post anything there." Their reluctance doesn't come from anything Charles has posted.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: George Rahn on October 27, 2021, 12:34:55 PM
I have heard from lesbian clergy in our church who have peeked into this forum and stated: "I would never post anything there." Their reluctance doesn't come from anything Charles has posted.

They won't post because they are too focused on their politics and sociological views.  Like some of us we rely on our tradtions rather than the word of God.  "So if the Son sets you free..."
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Mark Brown on October 27, 2021, 12:38:02 PM
It seems clear to me that the dominant character of this forum is Republican, Missouri Synod, and conservative culturally. As post Trump-Republican it means only anti-Democrat (the political party). As Missouri Synod, it means only sub-confessional or extra-confessional ideology (e.g., six day, tightly closed communion, prohibition of any and all ecumenism).

The dominant participants seldom attempt to convince but only denounce. Instead of discussion, there is only disgust. Instead of tolerance for alternate ideas, there is only rejection of personalities. The unfortunate Missouri habit to "blanket condemn" all persons affiliated with competitive church bodies is assumed to be proper and accurate. (E.g., "every single member of the ELCA is taken to believe in abortion, non-theistic evolution, etc.)

I guess that as long as the present members are happy, we will not expand participation. We represent only a minority of Americans, a minority of Christians, and a minority of Lutherans. But we are grateful for the opportunity to "knock" Pastors Austin. Stoffregen and other "heretics" that pop up occasionally.

That's the way it looks to me.

Peace, JOHN

I'd wager my views would not be welcome should I go to an LCMS Church and present them, and I've presented them here, where they are generally not agreed with, but seem to be well received.

I wonder what the difference is?

You are quite right. Your views on church, ministry and sacrament would not be welcome. (I hasten to add that I generally agree with you as an LCMS outlier.)

What is welcome are your views on culture and politics. Sadly, the cultural and political seem to have replaced the theological here.

But that's where we're at.

Look, actual theology makes distinctions that are supposedly binding.  The Formula of Concord stated what was the argument, it stated positive conclusions, and it stated negative conclusions.  The argument, stated well by Peter, is "what do we do about the former mainline?" This is a serious question because those bodies have individually made decisions at the denomination/church level that have placed them far outside of historical normative Christian teaching and outside of present worldwide normative church teaching. And they present themselves as if nothing is out of order.  They do this while still claiming the name of brother and confessional identity. 

This is a very practical argument because in the USA you have people who move constantly.  So you get practical problems like an ELCA member wants to "transfer membership" to an LCMS congregation, what do you do? Likewise sadly you have LCMS members who move who might request a transfer to an ELCA congregation.  Now members who are paying attention might not do that, but pastors still have a responsibility to sheep that don't hear quite as clearly.  None of that casts judgment upon individuals within institutions.  I'm sure there are Christians, fine pastors and even fine congregations within the ELCA and the broader mainline.  But that doesn't change the fact that the formal teaching of that church is contrary to scripture and confessions. And it does not change the fact that the call to repentance at that level has been ignored.  And it doesn't change the fact that their formative institutions are merely hardening these positions as good and true.  Transferring someone into such a body is transferring them into a known wolf den. Accepting somebody in transfer doesn't question a baptism - although there are documented ELCA places where that might be appropriate - but it does question as the agenda reception asks "Do you hold all the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures to be the inspired Word of God and the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, drawn and confessed in the small catechism, to be faithful and true?"  Do they hold the sixth commandment as the church in all times and places has taught?  Or have they been formed by the contemporary ELCA and so do not?

Another series of questions that broadens out the circle to include other bodies is women's ordination.  There is an intuitive theological distinction between churches that practice women's ordination and those that erase the 6th commandment.  Why would clear and formal separation from the later be appropriate and necessary, while one might bear with the former practice?  Which is to ask why would the LCMS, LCMC and NALC be able to see each other as Lutheran, but the ELCA as an institution has placed itself outside?

A church that wants to do theology would provide both positive and negative conclusions to those problems.  And they would provide them clearly.  Charles is so annoyed at my little pretend motion that he won't address me by name and does what he always does and claims it says all the people aren't Christian instead of simply the institution. I'm sure you John think that I'm just being hyper-political or uber-fundy or some other epithet to signal "I'm not so gauche".  But I'd say to you that this is real theology that has impact on people's lives and very possibly eternal fates.  And refusing to engage by the mere dodge of thinking that asking such things is in bad taste is the political act.  And we have played politics with this for at least 30 years.  There comes a time to be in earnest.  Clear anathemas on formal teaching should be spelled out.  Would that change what most American Christians do?  I doubt it.  They are largely libertines who will not broach binding doctrine.  But at least then I would have done my job as a watchman and warned them.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 27, 2021, 12:49:51 PM
I have heard from lesbian clergy in our church who have peeked into this forum and stated: "I would never post anything there." Their reluctance doesn't come from anything Charles has posted.
What do they fear would happen if they did post something here? Where do they find a forum with more diversity of participation? Or do they just not bother with online forums at all? If we set out to attract them into participating here, what would we have to do? And if we did that, who would either leave or not come here because we did that?

Look back at the dustup about EE's article on mobbing. Some of our most valued participants left because they would not participate in a forum that posted such things. But if we took it down, other people would leave because their views were censored and the forum was captive to a "certain element" of the LCMS. Some issues are non-negotiable, and different people have differing tolerance levels and different issues that are non-negotiable.

I don't have a problem with people who don't want to participate here. No forum is for everybody. I don't blame someone for saying they think posting here would not be a good thing to do. So be it. I do have a problem with people who blame the nature of the forum for those people's decisions.

The fact is, all this complaining about the diversity of the forum is like complaining that Aaron Rodgers isn't a good enough quarterback. He isn't perfect, but unless you have a better quarterback in mind to replace him with, maybe change your complaints about his interceptions to something more resembling appropriate gratitude for how good he is. This is without question the best forum for Lutheran-related discussion among the full spectrum of Lutherans in the country. It is not an echo-chamber. It features genuine disagreement and conflict. It covers any and every topic Lutherans might care about. It features the most diversity of opinion and Lutheran church body affiliation bar none. If your lesbian clery friends don't like it, well, a lot of people don't like it. That can be said about any forum. They're welcome to join and participate. 
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on October 27, 2021, 01:06:22 PM
Regarding “Mary,” i’m not sure Peter has a good grasp on what would or would not offend a woman either real or fictional, but that’s another matter.
I often ask myself why I bother to keep participating here. And I still want to be a voice for the ELCA. I want to correct some of the silly things that are said about us and try to witness as to what we really are. And I like to raise some topics that never seem to get mentioned here, such as mission and outreach. Furthermore I like some of the postings I read here, even some from LCMS posters.
Finally, it amuses me that some people think I am “trouble“ here. I stay in to keep annoying them, and consider it  “good trouble.“
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: D. Engebretson on October 27, 2021, 01:08:39 PM
I'm curious if anyone knows about an online Lutheran forum similar to this one. Especially one that is more diverse in the way some believe this one should be. 
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on October 27, 2021, 01:16:11 PM
I stay in to keep annoying them, and consider it  “good trouble.“

That's called "trolling" in the real world.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Norman Teigen on October 27, 2021, 01:47:15 PM
These are the words of Satan, not the words of Christ.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on October 27, 2021, 01:53:01 PM
Bully. Rat. Heretic. False teacher. Liar. Hypocrite.
I have acquired all these monicker here. Plus eaten enough snark to expand my waistline.
No matter. It’s the way things are here.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Michael Slusser on October 27, 2021, 02:09:36 PM
I have noticed over the years that there are lots more "guests" than "users," that is, that more read in this Forum than choose to register and post in it (at the moment, by a factor of 7:1). They seem to be willing to pan what comes down our sluice in the hopes that something of interest to them will turn up. If they find "users" slanging each other, they apparently are willing to bear with it, though I expect that it wears on them. Should the ALPB Forum bear a warning about the use of "trigger words"? I think our guests are well aware of them.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 27, 2021, 02:13:43 PM
Poor Pr. Austin, he is so beset and put upon, and treated so badly when all he wants to is correct those of us lost in errors maze or stuck benighted in the sixteenth century, and have some fun by being annoying. I hereby nominate him as martyr of the year here on ALPB, he suffers so much at the hands of us fundy sub-Lutherans.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Norman Teigen on October 27, 2021, 02:15:20 PM
In response to  the recent words of Satan in this Forum,  I offer this  from Bach's Cantata  No. 80: 

Der Furst diesel Welt,
Wie saur er such stilt,
Tut er runs. Koch night,
Das macho, er its gericht'?
Ein Wortlein kann ihn fallen.

The Prince of this world,
however grimly he presents himself,
can do nothing against us,
since he is already condemned,
a little word can fell him.

Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Richard Johnson on October 27, 2021, 02:22:55 PM
I stay in to keep annoying them, and consider it  “good trouble.“

That's called "trolling" in the real world.

I think you mean "virtual world." An online forum is not the "real world."  ::)
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on October 27, 2021, 02:27:15 PM
I stay in to keep annoying them, and consider it  “good trouble.“

That's called "trolling" in the real world.

I think you mean "virtual world." An online forum is not the "real world."  ::)

Do you find it odd that Pastor Austin admits he comes here to annoy people, and you thought the best course of action to remedy that was to nitpick my word choice?

I do.  But I'm not a moderator here, and you are, so while we're discussing why people do or do not come to this forum, let me suggest only one of us has any real authority to do something about it.  My only choice is to limit my time here, something I've done in the past and frankly am considering doing again right now.  And in case you want to document why, you, a moderator, following me around in this thread taking shots at me while you are defending a troll is pretty high on the list.

(insert juvenile rolling eyes emoji or some other dismissive horse squeeze here)
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 27, 2021, 03:03:57 PM
I participate on ALPB because it allows me to hear from others with different, sometimes very different, points of view. I learn from the dialogue.

At times it seems like members of the forum see themselves competing to rule the forum. There's a difference between makes one's point well and attempting to shout others down or get them so angry that they turn to the worst rhetoric or vocabulary and get thrown out.

I try not to participate in the tit-for-tat exchanges that make the forum sometimes painful and offensive to read. Secular political discussion seems especially prone to bringing out the talons and teeth, so I generally stay away from those topics.

I am a firm LCMS conservative but with politeness I find that I can communicate positively with the more liberal participants. I would encourage all members of the forum to practice simple politeness. It will make a better forum, which may grow more interesting to those currently not participating.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: John_Hannah on October 27, 2021, 03:21:12 PM
I participate on ALPB because it allows me to hear from others with different, sometimes very different, points of view. I learn from the dialogue.

At times it seems like members of the forum see themselves competing to rule the forum. There's a difference between makes one's point well and attempting to shout others down or get them so angry that they turn to the worst rhetoric or vocabulary and get thrown out.

I try not to participate in the tit-for-tat exchanges that make the forum sometimes painful and offensive to read. Secular political discussion seems especially prone to bringing out the talons and teeth, so I generally stay away from those topics.

I am a firm LCMS conservative but with politeness I find that I can communicate positively with the more liberal participants. I would encourage all members of the forum to practice simple politeness. It will make a better forum, which may grow more interesting to those currently not participating.

Amen. Thanks, Edward.   ;D
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peterm on October 27, 2021, 03:24:19 PM
I participate on ALPB because it allows me to hear from others with different, sometimes very different, points of view. I learn from the dialogue.

At times it seems like members of the forum see themselves competing to rule the forum. There's a difference between makes one's point well and attempting to shout others down or get them so angry that they turn to the worst rhetoric or vocabulary and get thrown out.

I try not to participate in the tit-for-tat exchanges that make the forum sometimes painful and offensive to read. Secular political discussion seems especially prone to bringing out the talons and teeth, so I generally stay away from those topics.

I am a firm LCMS conservative but with politeness I find that I can communicate positively with the more liberal participants. I would encourage all members of the forum to practice simple politeness. It will make a better forum, which may grow more interesting to those currently not participating.

I resonate with this from the other side of the fence.  I have been posting here for a long time, and found much that is insightful and engaging.  That said, I have also pointed out to the moderators a time or two that there is a definite tone here when it comes to discussing the church body of which I am a part.  I try to be respectful of other church bodies represented here, and would hope others do the same.  If you expect me not to paint the LCMS with the broad brush of your fringes, I would like to be able to expect the same in regards to the ELCA.  All too often this does not happen, and when Charles or Brian or others point it out we are brushed off.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on October 27, 2021, 03:32:42 PM
And whimsy fails again! My casual comment about being amused at how some people are annoyed and that maybe I throw  in a sentence or two to annoy them is being taken much too seriously.much too seriously.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: John_Hannah on October 27, 2021, 03:42:43 PM
I participate on ALPB because it allows me to hear from others with different, sometimes very different, points of view. I learn from the dialogue.

At times it seems like members of the forum see themselves competing to rule the forum. There's a difference between makes one's point well and attempting to shout others down or get them so angry that they turn to the worst rhetoric or vocabulary and get thrown out.

I try not to participate in the tit-for-tat exchanges that make the forum sometimes painful and offensive to read. Secular political discussion seems especially prone to bringing out the talons and teeth, so I generally stay away from those topics.

I am a firm LCMS conservative but with politeness I find that I can communicate positively with the more liberal participants. I would encourage all members of the forum to practice simple politeness. It will make a better forum, which may grow more interesting to those currently not participating.

I resonate with this from the other side of the fence.  I have been posting here for a long time, and found much that is insightful and engaging.  That said, I have also pointed out to the moderators a time or two that there is a definite tone here when it comes to discussing the church body of which I am a part.  I try to be respectful of other church bodies represented here, and would hope others do the same.  If you expect me not to paint the LCMS with the broad brush of your fringes, I would like to be able to expect the same in regards to the ELCA.  All too often this does not happen, and when Charles or Brian or others point it out we are brushed off.

Thank you, Peter.

This is especially relevant:

" If you expect me not to paint the LCMS with the broad brush of your fringes, I would like to be able to expect the same in regards to the ELCA.  All too often this does not happen, and when Charles or Brian or others point it out we are brushed off."

Peace, JOHN   ;D
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 27, 2021, 04:07:55 PM
And whimsy fails again! My casual comment about being amused at how some people are annoyed and that maybe I throw  in a sentence or two to annoy them is being taken much too seriously.much too seriously.

Speaking of taking things much too seriously...

These are the words of Satan...

In response to  the recent words of Satan in this Forum...

Really? I rightly call Charles an arrogant bully. One time, I sent Charles a private message, truthfully telling him he was being an a-----e. The long-time New Jerseyite was so offended that he went whining to Dick over the private message, and I was suspended for 30 days. You might prefer the term tattletale or snitch baby. In legal slang, it's rat.

A while ago I called our governor Comrade Walz for some of his socialist-like decisions. You told me I was damned and, of course, Dick deleted my whole chain because "you called your governor a rude name." I smelled a rat.

Get a grip, Mr. Teigen.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: RPG on October 27, 2021, 04:11:27 PM
I participate on ALPB because it allows me to hear from others with different, sometimes very different, points of view. I learn from the dialogue.

At times it seems like members of the forum see themselves competing to rule the forum. There's a difference between makes one's point well and attempting to shout others down or get them so angry that they turn to the worst rhetoric or vocabulary and get thrown out.

I try not to participate in the tit-for-tat exchanges that make the forum sometimes painful and offensive to read. Secular political discussion seems especially prone to bringing out the talons and teeth, so I generally stay away from those topics.

I am a firm LCMS conservative but with politeness I find that I can communicate positively with the more liberal participants. I would encourage all members of the forum to practice simple politeness. It will make a better forum, which may grow more interesting to those currently not participating.

I resonate with this from the other side of the fence.  I have been posting here for a long time, and found much that is insightful and engaging.  That said, I have also pointed out to the moderators a time or two that there is a definite tone here when it comes to discussing the church body of which I am a part.  I try to be respectful of other church bodies represented here, and would hope others do the same.  If you expect me not to paint the LCMS with the broad brush of your fringes, I would like to be able to expect the same in regards to the ELCA.  All too often this does not happen, and when Charles or Brian or others point it out we are brushed off.

Thank you, Peter.

This is especially relevant:

" If you expect me not to paint the LCMS with the broad brush of your fringes, I would like to be able to expect the same in regards to the ELCA.  All too often this does not happen, and when Charles or Brian or others point it out we are brushed off."

Peace, JOHN   ;D
The issue, though, is that our "fringe" is not so fring-y anymore, by a long shot. Unfair characterizations should be called out and argued, sure. Hence the "forum." But at the same time, we ought not be too quick to cry foul or claim mistreatment when someone calls a thing what it is (NB: I'm certainly not saying that this is what you're doing at all, Pr. Morlock, but it happens pretty regularly around here). The truth hurts.

My thoughts:

It's a forum. When it's good, it's very good. Those who have been here a while (pretty much all of us) know what the issue is, and that it won't go away, team loyalty being what it is. Makes me sad, for I miss the old days; but what can you do?

So argue your point. Don't make it personal. Take the "L" when you've earned it. Don't be a troll. And don't feed trolls. It's hard, but ignore. Don't fuel the pathology--and it is a pathology.

RPG+
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dave Benke on October 27, 2021, 04:16:05 PM
I often wonder if and how this forum online is a safe place for Brian.  He is a prodigious poster, and responses and reactions are many as well.  So I rise with a toast to Brian.

I knew Brian before his 43000 posts on the alpb forum online.  Yes, he existed before his existence here.  I knew him having never met him because of his weekly Gospel Notes, sent upon request to assist with the lessons for the day (RCL) for each Sunday and some holidays.  And pretty much invariably those Gospel notes bring insights that have been useful in preparing for proclamation.  I don't know how many people receive his Gospel Notes in our group or on his overall list; I recommend them highly.  Here's the latest one (without his permission) on All Saints -https://mailchi.mp/9d90fc6e3e2b/gospel-notes-john-1132-44?e=b18fae7cb7.   Check out the story of the rabbi, which can be made to preach without much trouble. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 27, 2021, 04:59:42 PM
I have heard from lesbian clergy in our church who have peeked into this forum and stated: "I would never post anything there." Their reluctance doesn't come from anything Charles has posted.
What do they fear would happen if they did post something here? Where do they find a forum with more diversity of participation? Or do they just not bother with online forums at all? If we set out to attract them into participating here, what would we have to do? And if we did that, who would either leave or not come here because we did that?


 Their comment: They've seen the kind of personal abuse that has come my way (and towards Charles) and they don't want to subject themselves to that verbal abuse.


The ELCA groups on Facebook are much more liberal in their outlook.

Quote
I don't have a problem with people who don't want to participate here. No forum is for everybody. I don't blame someone for saying they think posting here would not be a good thing to do. So be it. I do have a problem with people who blame the nature of the forum for those people's decisions.


I suspect that you have only heard from people leaving because of Charles because they share many of your beliefs. Similarly, I've heard from people leaving or refusing to post because they share many of my beliefs. Neither is an accurate representation of the non-posters or leavers.

Quote
The fact is, all this complaining about the diversity of the forum is like complaining that Aaron Rodgers isn't a good enough quarterback. He isn't perfect, but unless you have a better quarterback in mind to replace him with, maybe change your complaints about his interceptions to something more resembling appropriate gratitude for how good he is. This is without question the best forum for Lutheran-related discussion among the full spectrum of Lutherans in the country. It is not an echo-chamber. It features genuine disagreement and conflict. It covers any and every topic Lutherans might care about. It features the most diversity of opinion and Lutheran church body affiliation bar none. If your lesbian clergy friends don't like it, well, a lot of people don't like it. That can be said about any forum. They're welcome to join and participate.


Ah, but there can be civil disagreements and disagreements that view the opponents as enemies or unChristian. I've had numerous discussions and personal chats about our differences with the conservative, Republican, ELCA female clergy - and they do not turn into attacks on each other, like happens here.


An observation I shared with another poster (an active LCMS member) who agreed with me: during the time that Charles was banned, it seemed as if the LCMS folks were less kind to each other. It seems that they need to argue with someone - and since Charles wasn't here as their target, they turned on each other.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 27, 2021, 05:21:34 PM
I often ask myself why I bother to keep participating here... I stay in to keep annoying them...

Because you're an arrogant bully? And, like most bullies, you're a wuss when you perceive someone is being mean to you, then becoming a rat.


I remember Russ Saltzman, a former editor for ALPB, saying that he was the conservative conscience in the ALC/ELCA. He's a friend. His parents were members of a congregation I served. I joined ALPB to be a liberal conscience for this group. Without the differing viewpoint, a group can become a mutual admiration society. They support each other's prejudices and biases without anyone to challenge them.


I enjoy the challenges. Many times I've gone to Scriptures (in the original languages and my Lexicons) in response to posts made here.

Another comment from Type Theory: based on five different MBTI studies of clergy, 70% of clergy (in those studies) have a Feeling preference. I've attached a chart of the typical behaviors of Feelers and Thinkers. In terms of a safe space. Feelers tend to become personally involved in making decisions. Critiques of the decision become personal. In contrast, Thinkers tend to be detached from their decision-making. Critiques of the decision do not become personal. (Sometimes even when a critique is meant to be personal, Thinkers can shrug it off because they are detached - often seeing to be cold towards others.)

Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 27, 2021, 05:30:32 PM
I often wonder if and how this forum online is a safe place for Brian.  He is a prodigious poster, and responses and reactions are many as well.  So I rise with a toast to Brian.

I knew Brian before his 43000 posts on the alpb forum online.  Yes, he existed before his existence here.  I knew him having never met him because of his weekly Gospel Notes, sent upon request to assist with the lessons for the day (RCL) for each Sunday and some holidays.  And pretty much invariably those Gospel notes bring insights that have been useful in preparing for proclamation.  I don't know how many people receive his Gospel Notes in our group or on his overall list; I recommend them highly.  Here's the latest one (without his permission) on All Saints -https://mailchi.mp/9d90fc6e3e2b/gospel-notes-john-1132-44?e=b18fae7cb7.   Check out the story of the rabbi, which can be made to preach without much trouble. 

Dave Benke


Thank you, Dave. (You have my permission to post my notes.)
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dave Benke on October 27, 2021, 09:23:41 PM
I often wonder if and how this forum online is a safe place for Brian.  He is a prodigious poster, and responses and reactions are many as well.  So I rise with a toast to Brian.

I knew Brian before his 43000 posts on the alpb forum online.  Yes, he existed before his existence here.  I knew him having never met him because of his weekly Gospel Notes, sent upon request to assist with the lessons for the day (RCL) for each Sunday and some holidays.  And pretty much invariably those Gospel notes bring insights that have been useful in preparing for proclamation.  I don't know how many people receive his Gospel Notes in our group or on his overall list; I recommend them highly.  Here's the latest one (without his permission) on All Saints -https://mailchi.mp/9d90fc6e3e2b/gospel-notes-john-1132-44?e=b18fae7cb7.   Check out the story of the rabbi, which can be made to preach without much trouble. 

Dave Benke


Thank you, Dave. (You have my permission to post my notes.)

You're welcome. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on October 28, 2021, 09:56:45 AM
I would encourage all members of the forum to practice simple politeness.

This is an acquired skill that many on social media in general have failed to master.  Imagine how much we could learn from each other if egos were put in check.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peterm on October 28, 2021, 10:41:50 AM
I participate on ALPB because it allows me to hear from others with different, sometimes very different, points of view. I learn from the dialogue.

At times it seems like members of the forum see themselves competing to rule the forum. There's a difference between makes one's point well and attempting to shout others down or get them so angry that they turn to the worst rhetoric or vocabulary and get thrown out.

I try not to participate in the tit-for-tat exchanges that make the forum sometimes painful and offensive to read. Secular political discussion seems especially prone to bringing out the talons and teeth, so I generally stay away from those topics.

I am a firm LCMS conservative but with politeness I find that I can communicate positively with the more liberal participants. I would encourage all members of the forum to practice simple politeness. It will make a better forum, which may grow more interesting to those currently not participating.

I resonate with this from the other side of the fence.  I have been posting here for a long time, and found much that is insightful and engaging.  That said, I have also pointed out to the moderators a time or two that there is a definite tone here when it comes to discussing the church body of which I am a part.  I try to be respectful of other church bodies represented here, and would hope others do the same.  If you expect me not to paint the LCMS with the broad brush of your fringes, I would like to be able to expect the same in regards to the ELCA.  All too often this does not happen, and when Charles or Brian or others point it out we are brushed off.

Thank you, Peter.

This is especially relevant:

" If you expect me not to paint the LCMS with the broad brush of your fringes, I would like to be able to expect the same in regards to the ELCA.  All too often this does not happen, and when Charles or Brian or others point it out we are brushed off."

Peace, JOHN   ;D
The issue, though, is that our "fringe" is not so fring-y anymore, by a long shot. Unfair characterizations should be called out and argued, sure. Hence the "forum." But at the same time, we ought not be too quick to cry foul or claim mistreatment when someone calls a thing what it is (NB: I'm certainly not saying that this is what you're doing at all, Pr. Morlock, but it happens pretty regularly around here). The truth hurts.

My thoughts:

It's a forum. When it's good, it's very good. Those who have been here a while (pretty much all of us) know what the issue is, and that it won't go away, team loyalty being what it is. Makes me sad, for I miss the old days; but what can you do?

So argue your point. Don't make it personal. Take the "L" when you've earned it. Don't be a troll. And don't feed trolls. It's hard, but ignore. Don't fuel the pathology--and it is a pathology.

RPG+

Fair, except that my larger point was that all too often when my church body is discussed broad labels like Heterodox etc. are tossed around.  When discussing things like those LCMS churches that have difficulty with women lectors, those of us not of your group are repeatedly cautioned not to judge the whole of the LCMS by those, nor do I judge the whole LCMS by the actions of the young local LCMS pastor who regularly sends letters to my members telling them they are bound for hell,, but every time NBW opens her mouth there is gleeful pouncing and rehashing again of all  the many ways that the ELCA has fallen into its own ditch and we are all tarred with that same brush.  I'm all for vigorous theological debate and discussion.  I would prefer that we leave condemnations and broad generalities out of the discussion.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dave Benke on October 28, 2021, 11:06:42 AM
I'm all for vigorous theological debate and discussion.  I would prefer that we leave condemnations and broad generalities out of the discussion.

Second the emotion with an emoticon 8)

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: RDPreus on October 28, 2021, 11:14:11 AM
I participate on ALPB because it allows me to hear from others with different, sometimes very different, points of view. I learn from the dialogue.

At times it seems like members of the forum see themselves competing to rule the forum. There's a difference between makes one's point well and attempting to shout others down or get them so angry that they turn to the worst rhetoric or vocabulary and get thrown out.

I try not to participate in the tit-for-tat exchanges that make the forum sometimes painful and offensive to read. Secular political discussion seems especially prone to bringing out the talons and teeth, so I generally stay away from those topics.

I am a firm LCMS conservative but with politeness I find that I can communicate positively with the more liberal participants. I would encourage all members of the forum to practice simple politeness. It will make a better forum, which may grow more interesting to those currently not participating.

I resonate with this from the other side of the fence.  I have been posting here for a long time, and found much that is insightful and engaging.  That said, I have also pointed out to the moderators a time or two that there is a definite tone here when it comes to discussing the church body of which I am a part.  I try to be respectful of other church bodies represented here, and would hope others do the same.  If you expect me not to paint the LCMS with the broad brush of your fringes, I would like to be able to expect the same in regards to the ELCA.  All too often this does not happen, and when Charles or Brian or others point it out we are brushed off.

Thank you, Peter.

This is especially relevant:

" If you expect me not to paint the LCMS with the broad brush of your fringes, I would like to be able to expect the same in regards to the ELCA.  All too often this does not happen, and when Charles or Brian or others point it out we are brushed off."

Peace, JOHN   ;D
The issue, though, is that our "fringe" is not so fring-y anymore, by a long shot. Unfair characterizations should be called out and argued, sure. Hence the "forum." But at the same time, we ought not be too quick to cry foul or claim mistreatment when someone calls a thing what it is (NB: I'm certainly not saying that this is what you're doing at all, Pr. Morlock, but it happens pretty regularly around here). The truth hurts.

My thoughts:

It's a forum. When it's good, it's very good. Those who have been here a while (pretty much all of us) know what the issue is, and that it won't go away, team loyalty being what it is. Makes me sad, for I miss the old days; but what can you do?

So argue your point. Don't make it personal. Take the "L" when you've earned it. Don't be a troll. And don't feed trolls. It's hard, but ignore. Don't fuel the pathology--and it is a pathology.

RPG+

Fair, except that my larger point was that all too often when my church body is discussed broad labels like Heterodox etc. are tossed around.  When discussing things like those LCMS churches that have difficulty with women lectors, those of us not of your group are repeatedly cautioned not to judge the whole of the LCMS by those, nor do I judge the whole LCMS by the actions of the young local LCMS pastor who regularly sends letters to my members telling them they are bound for hell,, but every time NBW opens her mouth there is gleeful pouncing and rehashing again of all  the many ways that the ELCA has fallen into its own ditch and we are all tarred with that same brush.  I'm all for vigorous theological debate and discussion.  I would prefer that we leave condemnations and broad generalities out of the discussion.

Do you think it is fair to compare us who oppose women lectors on biblical grounds to those who send letters to your parishioners telling them they are bound for hell?
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Jim Butler on October 28, 2021, 11:21:23 AM

Fair, except that my larger point was that all too often when my church body is discussed broad labels like Heterodox etc. are tossed around.

Heterodox simply means that we believe the other is not teaching correctly. The ELCA considers the LCMS to be heterodox--we don't ordain women, we do not join in various ecumenical agreements, etc.--and the LCMS considers to the ELCA to be the same.

When discussing things like those LCMS churches that have difficulty with women lectors, those of us not of your group are repeatedly cautioned not to judge the whole of the LCMS by those, nor do I judge the whole LCMS by the actions of the young local LCMS pastor who regularly sends letters to my members telling them they are bound for hell,, but every time NBW opens her mouth there is gleeful pouncing and rehashing again of all  the many ways that the ELCA has fallen into its own ditch and we are all tarred with that same brush.  I'm all for vigorous theological debate and discussion.  I would prefer that we leave condemnations and broad generalities out of the discussion.

There is a difference between NBW and the LCMS folks you mentioned. NBW has been a featured speaker at many ELCA convocations across the country, including the ELCA's most recent youth gathering, and she has been called by the Rocky Mountain Synod as a public teacher. There is every indication that the ELCA, as an institution, strongly agrees with and approves of what she teaches. Unfortunately, that makes it very easy to tar pastors like you with the same brush, especially since it looks to me as if her wing is the ascendant one in the ELCA.

In contrast, while I know many pastors who speak against women lectors, the LCMS is officially neutral. And many of those I've spoken to about women lectors are against lay lectors in general.

As for the the young pastor in your area, I believe that the LCMS, as an institution, would tell him that he is wrong. In fact, the next time he sends one of those letters to members of your congregation, I would send  a copy of his letter to his District President asking him if he thinks letters like that are acceptable and if he would speak to the pastor in question. I seriously doubt that even the most conservative LCMS DP would find such things acceptable. I certainly don't (apparently Rolf Preus doesn't either!) and I believe he needs to be dealt with.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on October 28, 2021, 11:55:26 AM

Fair, except that my larger point was that all too often when my church body is discussed broad labels like Heterodox etc. are tossed around.

Heterodox simply means that we believe the other is not teaching correctly. The ELCA considers the LCMS to be heterodox--we don't ordain women, we do not join in various ecumenical agreements, etc.--and the LCMS considers to the ELCA to be the same.

When discussing things like those LCMS churches that have difficulty with women lectors, those of us not of your group are repeatedly cautioned not to judge the whole of the LCMS by those, nor do I judge the whole LCMS by the actions of the young local LCMS pastor who regularly sends letters to my members telling them they are bound for hell,, but every time NBW opens her mouth there is gleeful pouncing and rehashing again of all  the many ways that the ELCA has fallen into its own ditch and we are all tarred with that same brush.  I'm all for vigorous theological debate and discussion.  I would prefer that we leave condemnations and broad generalities out of the discussion.

There is a difference between NBW and the LCMS folks you mentioned. NBW has been a featured speaker at many ELCA convocations across the country, including the ELCA's most recent youth gathering, and she has been called by the Rocky Mountain Synod as a public teacher. There is every indication that the ELCA, as an institution, strongly agrees with and approves of what she teaches. Unfortunately, that makes it very easy to tar pastors like you with the same brush, especially since it looks to me as if her wing is the ascendant one in the ELCA.

In contrast, while I know many pastors who speak against women lectors, the LCMS is officially neutral. And many of those I've spoken to about women lectors are against lay lectors in general.

As for the the young pastor in your area, I believe that the LCMS, as an institution, would tell him that he is wrong. In fact, the next time he sends one of those letters to members of your congregation, I would send  a copy of his letter to his District President asking him if he thinks letters like that are acceptable and if he would speak to the pastor in question. I seriously doubt that even the most conservative LCMS DP would find such things acceptable. I certainly don't (apparently Rolf Preus doesn't either!) and I believe he needs to be dealt with.

I would like to add to this, not to pile on Pastor Morlock, but to expand the conversation a touch.  There is another difference.  When you posted what you posted above, 2 LCMS Pastors immediately denounced the behavior.

But when someone posts something about Nadia Bolz Weber, others get defensive.  Were they to simply say "yeah, she should not be put in such a prominent position given her past," I don't think you'd perceive the amount of pushback because there wouldn't be any.  It's the defense of her that prompts people to say more than perhaps they might otherwise say.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 28, 2021, 12:07:54 PM

Fair, except that my larger point was that all too often when my church body is discussed broad labels like Heterodox etc. are tossed around.

Heterodox simply means that we believe the other is not teaching correctly. The ELCA considers the LCMS to be heterodox--we don't ordain women, we do not join in various ecumenical agreements, etc.--and the LCMS considers to the ELCA to be the same.


I don't recall that the ELCA in an assembly has declared the LCMS to be heterodox. I believe the LCMS has done that concerning the ELCA. I see women's ordination and ecumenicism as adiaphora; they are not issues of salvation. We can disagree and remain friends, like I am with some Roman Catholics - and we certainly have some disagreements about many different issues. They have worshiped with me in my congregation; and I've worshiped with them in theirs.


Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on October 28, 2021, 12:39:03 PM
Advocating that we be "polite" is nice, but we have varying definitions of what that means. I think "out east" we are a bit more comfortable with forceful words, loud words, even sort-of angry words than some folks in the midwest. Just yesterday, I was having a face-to-face contretemps with a medical supply company, disorganized and slow to deliver, and the woman said, "You don't have to shout."
   I responded, "I'm from New Jersey, that's how we talk, and it's nowhere near shouting."
   In this modest forum, I have tried not to declare someone "un-Lutheran" or "un-Christian" or "un-Biblical," though my language may at times have indicated I find other aspects of their belief and personality to be gravely flawed.
   In covering New Jersey state and local politics, and having covered some DC politicos, I found that - until now - they could rant, rail, and rave about another member of the body during the debate, then go out to dinner together. It wasn't personal. (That may have changed in today's settings.)
   But in church disputes, it is often "personal" or "eternal" or so earth-and-heaven shaking that rancor and nastiness abides.
I mentioned years ago how - when I worked for the Lutheran Council in the USA - Jack Preus came to a 1971 annual meeting and tried to get me and my boss, the great Erik Modean, fired because we had covered the growing troubles in the LCMS. Jack had been on a "world tour" and because the LWF ran our stories, everyone he met asked him about the controversy, which was a story for us because it was causing the LCMS to break fellowship with the ALC.
   His efforts to get us canned failed.
   That night, Erik and I were in a booth near the bar of the Grammercy Park Hotel, when Jack and Milt Carpenter and another LCMS rep came in. They sat at the bar, and in a few minutes Jack left the bar and came to our table. Instantly - while I was preparing to run for cover - Jack and Erik began reminiscing and laughing about some of the "old days" (Erik had been around since the late 1950s) and some of the folks they both knew, including ALPB notable Ade Meyer.) That went on for about an hour and when the last round of drinks came, Jack had our tab put on his bill.
Having grown up in a political family, he knew that opponents in policy need not be deadly enemies. A lot of church folks don't know that.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 28, 2021, 01:07:01 PM
   In covering New Jersey state and local politics, and having covered some DC politicos, I found that - until now - they could rant, rail, and rave about another member of the body during the debate, then go out to dinner together. It wasn't personal. (That may have changed in today's settings.)
Now instead of going out to dinner together, progressives are likely to try to get their followers to form a mob and drive those they oppose from the venue to demonstrate that they are welcome no where, or intrude upon their pursuit of bodily functions in what used to be private space.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 28, 2021, 01:12:13 PM
Charles writes:
Advocating that we be "polite" is nice, but we have varying definitions of what that means. I think "out east" we are a bit more comfortable with forceful words, loud words, even sort-of angry words than some folks in the midwest.

My point:
Even though I introduced one of the most contentious topics in recent years and had people on the forum accusing me of a wide variety of sins and illnesses, I was able to stand my ground and answer politely. Under those circumstances, I did not get thrown off the forum. In fact, I've never been thrown off the forum. That, I suppose, is the power of politeness and sincerity. I advocate for it because I know it works.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Jim Butler on October 28, 2021, 01:33:14 PM

Fair, except that my larger point was that all too often when my church body is discussed broad labels like Heterodox etc. are tossed around.

Heterodox simply means that we believe the other is not teaching correctly. The ELCA considers the LCMS to be heterodox--we don't ordain women, we do not join in various ecumenical agreements, etc.--and the LCMS considers to the ELCA to be the same.


I don't recall that the ELCA in an assembly has declared the LCMS to be heterodox. I believe the LCMS has done that concerning the ELCA. I see women's ordination and ecumenicism as adiaphora; they are not issues of salvation. We can disagree and remain friends, like I am with some Roman Catholics - and we certainly have some disagreements about many different issues. They have worshiped with me in my congregation; and I've worshiped with them in theirs.

On the one hand, it can be said that the Synod merely acknowledged formally what most of us believed to be true. The resolution pointed to specific decisions of the ELCA as a church body, e.g. fellowship with the Reformed. The resolution also noted that many faithful Lutherans remained in the ELCA.

While I personally agree that the ELCA is not orthodox (as I understand Lutheran orthodoxy) I also felt it was unnecessary and not helpful for us to say so. Why say that of the ELCA and not any other Lutheran body in America and/or the world? We are not in altar and pulpit fellowship with the ELCA, that should say everything we need to say about our feelings towards its orthodoxy as a church body.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dave Benke on October 28, 2021, 02:09:31 PM

Fair, except that my larger point was that all too often when my church body is discussed broad labels like Heterodox etc. are tossed around.

Heterodox simply means that we believe the other is not teaching correctly. The ELCA considers the LCMS to be heterodox--we don't ordain women, we do not join in various ecumenical agreements, etc.--and the LCMS considers to the ELCA to be the same.

When discussing things like those LCMS churches that have difficulty with women lectors, those of us not of your group are repeatedly cautioned not to judge the whole of the LCMS by those, nor do I judge the whole LCMS by the actions of the young local LCMS pastor who regularly sends letters to my members telling them they are bound for hell,, but every time NBW opens her mouth there is gleeful pouncing and rehashing again of all  the many ways that the ELCA has fallen into its own ditch and we are all tarred with that same brush.  I'm all for vigorous theological debate and discussion.  I would prefer that we leave condemnations and broad generalities out of the discussion.

There is a difference between NBW and the LCMS folks you mentioned. NBW has been a featured speaker at many ELCA convocations across the country, including the ELCA's most recent youth gathering, and she has been called by the Rocky Mountain Synod as a public teacher. There is every indication that the ELCA, as an institution, strongly agrees with and approves of what she teaches. Unfortunately, that makes it very easy to tar pastors like you with the same brush, especially since it looks to me as if her wing is the ascendant one in the ELCA.

In contrast, while I know many pastors who speak against women lectors, the LCMS is officially neutral. And many of those I've spoken to about women lectors are against lay lectors in general.

As for the the young pastor in your area, I believe that the LCMS, as an institution, would tell him that he is wrong. In fact, the next time he sends one of those letters to members of your congregation, I would send  a copy of his letter to his District President asking him if he thinks letters like that are acceptable and if he would speak to the pastor in question. I seriously doubt that even the most conservative LCMS DP would find such things acceptable. I certainly don't (apparently Rolf Preus doesn't either!) and I believe he needs to be dealt with.

I would like to add to this, not to pile on Pastor Morlock, but to expand the conversation a touch.  There is another difference.  When you posted what you posted above, 2 LCMS Pastors immediately denounced the behavior.

But when someone posts something about Nadia Bolz Weber, others get defensive.  Were they to simply say "yeah, she should not be put in such a prominent position given her past," I don't think you'd perceive the amount of pushback because there wouldn't be any.  It's the defense of her that prompts people to say more than perhaps they might otherwise say.

On this point, my thinking is that the comments are less about NBW than about the supervision/supervisors in the ELCA.  NALC and particularly LCMC folks who are either no longer with the ELCA or are in protest have a major bone to pick with the ELCA about supervision/bishops from my conversations at least.  The denomination is "big tent" mainline Protestant, in one version.  Or the local leadership doesn't want to take a firm position in an area of concern received from the less progressive congregations.  They're paralyzed, and don't have the theologically structured resolutions or bylaws that encourage more active supervision.  Either way, it's more about how a person such as NBW is dealt with, or not dealt with, that underlies.  So the defensiveness is about being in a denomination that is apparently not equipped for doctrinal supervision. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 28, 2021, 02:49:31 PM
Advocating that we be "polite" is nice, but we have varying definitions of what that means. I think "out east" we are a bit more comfortable with forceful words, loud words, even sort-of angry words than some folks in the midwest. Just yesterday, I was having a face-to-face contretemps with a medical supply company, disorganized and slow to deliver, and the woman said, "You don't have to shout."
   I responded, "I'm from New Jersey, that's how we talk, and it's nowhere near shouting."
   In this modest forum, I have tried not to declare someone "un-Lutheran" or "un-Christian" or "un-Biblical," though my language may at times have indicated I find other aspects of their belief and personality to be gravely flawed.
   In covering New Jersey state and local politics, and having covered some DC politicos, I found that - until now - they could rant, rail, and rave about another member of the body during the debate, then go out to dinner together. It wasn't personal. (That may have changed in today's settings.)
   But in church disputes, it is often "personal" or "eternal" or so earth-and-heaven shaking that rancor and nastiness abides.
I mentioned years ago how - when I worked for the Lutheran Council in the USA - Jack Preus came to a 1971 annual meeting and tried to get me and my boss, the great Erik Modean, fired because we had covered the growing troubles in the LCMS. Jack had been on a "world tour" and because the LWF ran our stories, everyone he met asked him about the controversy, which was a story for us because it was causing the LCMS to break fellowship with the ALC.
   His efforts to get us canned failed.
   That night, Erik and I were in a booth near the bar of the Grammercy Park Hotel, when Jack and Milt Carpenter and another LCMS rep came in. They sat at the bar, and in a few minutes Jack left the bar and came to our table. Instantly - while I was preparing to run for cover - Jack and Erik began reminiscing and laughing about some of the "old days" (Erik had been around since the late 1950s) and some of the folks they both knew, including ALPB notable Ade Meyer.) That went on for about an hour and when the last round of drinks came, Jack had our tab put on his bill.
Having grown up in a political family, he knew that opponents in policy need not be deadly enemies. A lot of church folks don't know that.


Completely unrelated to church stuff, our son, living and working at a company in Seattle, has had to deal with a company in New Jersey. One of his co-workers (Korean-American,) wondered why those folks in New Jersey are so mad at them. Our son told him that they are not mad, that's just the way they talk. (He had had dealings with New Jersey at a previous job; and some of his co-workers were from there.)
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 28, 2021, 02:58:35 PM

Fair, except that my larger point was that all too often when my church body is discussed broad labels like Heterodox etc. are tossed around.

Heterodox simply means that we believe the other is not teaching correctly. The ELCA considers the LCMS to be heterodox--we don't ordain women, we do not join in various ecumenical agreements, etc.--and the LCMS considers to the ELCA to be the same.


I don't recall that the ELCA in an assembly has declared the LCMS to be heterodox. I believe the LCMS has done that concerning the ELCA. I see women's ordination and ecumenicism as adiaphora; they are not issues of salvation. We can disagree and remain friends, like I am with some Roman Catholics - and we certainly have some disagreements about many different issues. They have worshiped with me in my congregation; and I've worshiped with them in theirs.

On the one hand, it can be said that the Synod merely acknowledged formally what most of us believed to be true. The resolution pointed to specific decisions of the ELCA as a church body, e.g. fellowship with the Reformed. The resolution also noted that many faithful Lutherans remained in the ELCA.

While I personally agree that the ELCA is not orthodox (as I understand Lutheran orthodoxy) I also felt it was unnecessary and not helpful for us to say so. Why say that of the ELCA and not any other Lutheran body in America and/or the world? We are not in altar and pulpit fellowship with the ELCA, that should say everything we need to say about our feelings towards its orthodoxy as a church body.


I readily admit and state publicly that the ELCA is the most liberal Lutheran denomination in America. I don't then say that all the others are less Lutheran or deficient in their faith. Frequently, someone will then ask, "What does that mean?" I'll state that we ordain women; most others Lutherans don't. While its likely all the others ordain homosexuals (perhaps unknowingly,) we recently have allowed homosexual clergy to be in same-sex relationships. Others do not allow that. We take a more critical view of Scriptures (and our confessions) than others allow.


I also don't require folks to agree with our positions and practices. I've had Wisconsin Synod folks join my congregation. (Even after they expressed their dislike for the ELCA congregation where they used to live.) We don't require individual members to agree with our Social Statements. We don't require them to agree with our practices. I had members state that they don't think women should be ordained some 40 years after we'd been ordaining them.


I've been mulling around the idea that what might set Christians apart from other folks is not how well we love our friends; but how well we treat our enemies - the people who disagree with us.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Richard Johnson on October 28, 2021, 03:01:57 PM


Heterodox simply means that we believe the other is not teaching correctly. The ELCA considers the LCMS to be heterodox--we don't ordain women, we do not join in various ecumenical agreements, etc.--and the LCMS considers to the ELCA to be the same.

I don't think "heterodox" is in the ELCA lexicon.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 28, 2021, 03:04:39 PM
On this point, my thinking is that the comments are less about NBW than about the supervision/supervisors in the ELCA.  NALC and particularly LCMC folks who are either no longer with the ELCA or are in protest have a major bone to pick with the ELCA about supervision/bishops from my conversations at least.  The denomination is "big tent" mainline Protestant, in one version.  Or the local leadership doesn't want to take a firm position in an area of concern received from the less progressive congregations.  They're paralyzed, and don't have the theologically structured resolutions or bylaws that encourage more active supervision.  Either way, it's more about how a person such as NBW is dealt with, or not dealt with, that underlies.  So the defensiveness is about being in a denomination that is apparently not equipped for doctrinal supervision. 


I had a bishop complain to me about how little power he actually had over semi-competent clergy.


I think in the same way, the LCMS had very little power over Herman Otten, who was also quite a public figure. (Although, probably not invited to speak at official LCMS functions.)


It was even more confusing when non-rostered folks were leading ELCA congregations. Bishops did not have disciplinary authority over non-rostered folks; although they had some authority over the congregations. However, I doubt that removing them from the ELCA would be seen as much of a disciplinary act. When it happened to the two congregations in San Francisco, they kept doing their ministries as they had been doing. They kept participating in conference and even synod activities as they had been doing before being "disciplined."
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 28, 2021, 03:42:01 PM
It is obvious that the LCMS and the ELCA disagree about a great number of things, from doctrines, polity, approaches to Scripture and the Confessions, to ecumenism. What is not always considered is that we also often disagree about the relative importance of these matters. What one group may a matter of small importance, certainly not church dividing, the other may consider of great importance. One effect of this sometimes hidden disagreement is that it is discussion sometimes becomes difficult because they do not understand each others attitude about the discussion. Because one group considers something to be important that the other do not, the first group may be considered to be simply stubborn, arrogant, majoring in the minors, etc. And contrariwise, the first group may consider the second to lack earnestness about the faith. Both may have a point.


As in personal relationships, it is important for us to recognize and seek to understand what each other values and why. We may not agree on that valuation, but recognizing it saves much misunderstanding.




Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 28, 2021, 03:49:08 PM
A couple of things that I learned in mediation training also apply here. People tend to overemphasize the importance of things that are important to them and underemphasize the importance of things that are important to others. They also tend to underestimate their own ability to cope, to change, and to accept less than they want without serious harm. And to also then over estimate what others can and should do along those lines. It's human nature not really a function of conservatives or liberals. The same applies to groups.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 28, 2021, 03:49:29 PM
It is obvious that the LCMS and the ELCA disagree about a great number of things, from doctrines, polity, approaches to Scripture and the Confessions, to ecumenism. What is not always considered is that we also often disagree about the relative importance of these matters. What one group may a matter of small importance, certainly not church dividing, the other may consider of great importance. One effect of this sometimes hidden disagreement is that it is discussion sometimes becomes difficult because they do not understand each others attitude about the discussion. Because one group considers something to be important that the other do not, the first group may be considered to be simply stubborn, arrogant, majoring in the minors, etc. And contrariwise, the first group may consider the second to lack earnestness about the faith. Both may have a point.

As in personal relationships, it is important for us to recognize and seek to understand what each other values and why. We may not agree on that valuation, but recognizing it saves much misunderstanding.

Agreed, Dan. As to the Christian idea that it's important how well we deal with those with whom we disagree, a good start would be intellectual honesty rather than sophistry.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 28, 2021, 05:40:17 PM
A couple of things that I learned in mediation training also apply here. People tend to overemphasize the importance of things that are important to them and underemphasize the importance of things that are important to others. They also tend to underestimate their own ability to cope, to change, and to accept less than they want without serious harm. And to also then over estimate what others can and should do along those lines. It's human nature not really a function of conservatives or liberals. The same applies to groups.


Perhaps an illustration of this in a non-religious setting: are the family members in the emergency room who believe that their loved one's issues are the most important ones in the universe (or at least the hospital,) without considering that there could be other people with even more severe injuries who are in greater need of the staff's attention.


Included under the word "important" may also be the word "personal."


It's one thing to talk about closed communion (whether the LCMS's version or even the ELCA's policy of the sacrament being only for the baptized, which some disagree with,) and another level when a family member or friend is denied the sacrament because of those doctrines.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: RDPreus on October 28, 2021, 06:04:06 PM
Advocating that we be "polite" is nice, but we have varying definitions of what that means. I think "out east" we are a bit more comfortable with forceful words, loud words, even sort-of angry words than some folks in the midwest. Just yesterday, I was having a face-to-face contretemps with a medical supply company, disorganized and slow to deliver, and the woman said, "You don't have to shout."
   I responded, "I'm from New Jersey, that's how we talk, and it's nowhere near shouting."
   In this modest forum, I have tried not to declare someone "un-Lutheran" or "un-Christian" or "un-Biblical," though my language may at times have indicated I find other aspects of their belief and personality to be gravely flawed.
   In covering New Jersey state and local politics, and having covered some DC politicos, I found that - until now - they could rant, rail, and rave about another member of the body during the debate, then go out to dinner together. It wasn't personal. (That may have changed in today's settings.)
   But in church disputes, it is often "personal" or "eternal" or so earth-and-heaven shaking that rancor and nastiness abides.
I mentioned years ago how - when I worked for the Lutheran Council in the USA - Jack Preus came to a 1971 annual meeting and tried to get me and my boss, the great Erik Modean, fired because we had covered the growing troubles in the LCMS. Jack had been on a "world tour" and because the LWF ran our stories, everyone he met asked him about the controversy, which was a story for us because it was causing the LCMS to break fellowship with the ALC.
   His efforts to get us canned failed.
   That night, Erik and I were in a booth near the bar of the Grammercy Park Hotel, when Jack and Milt Carpenter and another LCMS rep came in. They sat at the bar, and in a few minutes Jack left the bar and came to our table. Instantly - while I was preparing to run for cover - Jack and Erik began reminiscing and laughing about some of the "old days" (Erik had been around since the late 1950s) and some of the folks they both knew, including ALPB notable Ade Meyer.) That went on for about an hour and when the last round of drinks came, Jack had our tab put on his bill.
Having grown up in a political family, he knew that opponents in policy need not be deadly enemies. A lot of church folks don't know that.

Having experienced the passive aggressive approach of Minnesota Nice as well as the in your face bluntness of New Jersey (I usually attribute it to New York, but then all those eastern states look the same to me), I will take the latter over the former.  Polite is great!  But clarity and honesty is better.  In Minnesota, "that's interesting" means "you're an idiot!  You don't know what you're talking about."  :)   
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 28, 2021, 07:19:29 PM
Advocating that we be "polite" is nice, but we have varying definitions of what that means. I think "out east" we are a bit more comfortable with forceful words, loud words, even sort-of angry words than some folks in the midwest. Just yesterday, I was having a face-to-face contretemps with a medical supply company, disorganized and slow to deliver, and the woman said, "You don't have to shout."
   I responded, "I'm from New Jersey, that's how we talk, and it's nowhere near shouting."
   In this modest forum, I have tried not to declare someone "un-Lutheran" or "un-Christian" or "un-Biblical," though my language may at times have indicated I find other aspects of their belief and personality to be gravely flawed.
   In covering New Jersey state and local politics, and having covered some DC politicos, I found that - until now - they could rant, rail, and rave about another member of the body during the debate, then go out to dinner together. It wasn't personal. (That may have changed in today's settings.)
   But in church disputes, it is often "personal" or "eternal" or so earth-and-heaven shaking that rancor and nastiness abides.
I mentioned years ago how - when I worked for the Lutheran Council in the USA - Jack Preus came to a 1971 annual meeting and tried to get me and my boss, the great Erik Modean, fired because we had covered the growing troubles in the LCMS. Jack had been on a "world tour" and because the LWF ran our stories, everyone he met asked him about the controversy, which was a story for us because it was causing the LCMS to break fellowship with the ALC.
   His efforts to get us canned failed.
   That night, Erik and I were in a booth near the bar of the Grammercy Park Hotel, when Jack and Milt Carpenter and another LCMS rep came in. They sat at the bar, and in a few minutes Jack left the bar and came to our table. Instantly - while I was preparing to run for cover - Jack and Erik began reminiscing and laughing about some of the "old days" (Erik had been around since the late 1950s) and some of the folks they both knew, including ALPB notable Ade Meyer.) That went on for about an hour and when the last round of drinks came, Jack had our tab put on his bill.
Having grown up in a political family, he knew that opponents in policy need not be deadly enemies. A lot of church folks don't know that.

Having experienced the passive aggressive approach of Minnesota Nice as well as the in your face bluntness of New Jersey (I usually attribute it to New York, but then all those eastern states look the same to me), I will take the latter over the former.  Polite is great!  But clarity and honesty is better.  In Minnesota, "that's interesting" means "you're an idiot!  You don't know what you're talking about."  :)

But Rolf, so long as you can translate, it's better being dissed sweetly than with New Jersey F-bombs! 😉

"Minnesota Nice: A complex term. It’s a spirit of genuine goodwill, i.e., having jumper cables in the trunk so you’ll always be able to help. But it’s also an emotional reserve that, while unfailingly polite, keeps folks at a distance. Some equate this with passive-aggressiveness, which just goes to show you can’t please everyone, right?"

https://static.startribune.com/guide/items/true_mn_glossary.html
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 28, 2021, 08:21:02 PM
Advocating that we be "polite" is nice, but we have varying definitions of what that means. I think "out east" we are a bit more comfortable with forceful words, loud words, even sort-of angry words than some folks in the midwest. Just yesterday, I was having a face-to-face contretemps with a medical supply company, disorganized and slow to deliver, and the woman said, "You don't have to shout."
   I responded, "I'm from New Jersey, that's how we talk, and it's nowhere near shouting."
   In this modest forum, I have tried not to declare someone "un-Lutheran" or "un-Christian" or "un-Biblical," though my language may at times have indicated I find other aspects of their belief and personality to be gravely flawed.
   In covering New Jersey state and local politics, and having covered some DC politicos, I found that - until now - they could rant, rail, and rave about another member of the body during the debate, then go out to dinner together. It wasn't personal. (That may have changed in today's settings.)
   But in church disputes, it is often "personal" or "eternal" or so earth-and-heaven shaking that rancor and nastiness abides.
I mentioned years ago how - when I worked for the Lutheran Council in the USA - Jack Preus came to a 1971 annual meeting and tried to get me and my boss, the great Erik Modean, fired because we had covered the growing troubles in the LCMS. Jack had been on a "world tour" and because the LWF ran our stories, everyone he met asked him about the controversy, which was a story for us because it was causing the LCMS to break fellowship with the ALC.
   His efforts to get us canned failed.
   That night, Erik and I were in a booth near the bar of the Grammercy Park Hotel, when Jack and Milt Carpenter and another LCMS rep came in. They sat at the bar, and in a few minutes Jack left the bar and came to our table. Instantly - while I was preparing to run for cover - Jack and Erik began reminiscing and laughing about some of the "old days" (Erik had been around since the late 1950s) and some of the folks they both knew, including ALPB notable Ade Meyer.) That went on for about an hour and when the last round of drinks came, Jack had our tab put on his bill.
Having grown up in a political family, he knew that opponents in policy need not be deadly enemies. A lot of church folks don't know that.

Having experienced the passive aggressive approach of Minnesota Nice as well as the in your face bluntness of New Jersey (I usually attribute it to New York, but then all those eastern states look the same to me), I will take the latter over the former.  Polite is great!  But clarity and honesty is better.  In Minnesota, "that's interesting" means "you're an idiot!  You don't know what you're talking about."  :)

That’s interesting.  :)
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 28, 2021, 08:49:22 PM
Curious, we are being told that for a certain participant who hails from New Jersey or New York a certain bluntness, brusqueness, even harshness of expression is to be expected even welcomed as his natural mode of expression. Meanwhile, from this same participant we've received bitter complaints that other posters have driven away others of his comrades by being too harsh in their posting.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 28, 2021, 09:17:09 PM
He's from Iowa!

New Jerseyite is a persona. But it works, I guess.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on October 28, 2021, 10:03:58 PM
Twenty two years in Iowa, 18 of those years as a callow youth. Fifty one years in New York/New Jersey, as an adult and a lot of those years in a rough and tumble profession. It’s good that the years in Europe and big doses of international work and travel gave this humble correspondent some sophistication and polish.  ;)
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on October 29, 2021, 09:44:58 AM
Polite is great!  But clarity and honesty is better.  In Minnesota, "that's interesting" means "you're an idiot!  You don't know what you're talking about."  :)

In the South we just say "bless your heart......"
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: James S. Rustad on October 29, 2021, 11:19:36 AM
Twenty two years in Iowa, 18 of those years as a callow youth. Fifty one years in New York/New Jersey, as an adult and a lot of those years in a rough and tumble profession. It’s good that the years in Europe and big doses of international work and travel gave this humble correspondent some sophistication and polish.  ;)

That's interesting.  Bless your heart.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 30, 2021, 02:20:01 PM
Peter:
The (f?)act that it hurts your feelings that anyone would think or say that about you is your problem.

Me:
Lord, have mercy! Do you think my "feelings" are hurt or, if so, that it matters? No. No. And No. That's not where we are here.
What matters is how you regard those of us in the ELCA and the import you place on our differences. You accuse us of working against the Church. Your accusations go far beyond the label of heterodoxy or even heresy. Your assessment is that we have abandoned the faith, and done so - in your opinion - for profane reasons.
How nice that you have "good friends" who are ELCA, although any of us might even say that about atheists or worse. And we're not talking about friendship, we are talking about relations within the Body of Christ.
Your church body has not even denounced us as fervently as you do (although I think many in it, like you, want to).
And within the framework of ALPB, we are supposed to be fostering understanding and cooperation, and perhaps even fellowship somewhere down the line. Your words and attitudes do not fit those efforts one bit. As much as I dislike and (in my heart of hearts sometimes mock) some things within the LCMS, I consider you a valid Lutheran denomination and a full partner in the Church, the Body of Christ. You cannot do that for us.
So I'm sad, not hurt, but sad that your views get strewn around within ALPB circles. Others in your LCMS arenas over the years started their own communications networks to hammer us. I don't like seeing you use ALPB to do so.
Brain has compared some of us to the Pharisees who opposed and agitated against Jesus. You have stated that you think that we refuse to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, that our positions are based not on Scripture or on faith but on our own fears, preferences, and cultural orientation. You demand as the basis for discussion that your positions be treated as equally valid Lutheran positions as anyone else's. To say that the ELCA is wrong in some of what they have done or said is to undermine inter Lutheran relations and violate the purpose of ALPB, which seems to be to provide a forum for you to enlighten the rest of us. At least that seems to be what you consider your mission among us.


Harsh, even over the top rhetoric has been a part of life here on the Forum for as long as I have been here, and it has not all come from the knuckle draggers from the LCMS. We used to be compared to donkeys until you decided that was slander against the noble creature donkeys. 
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 30, 2021, 04:34:21 PM
"I fear that the Church has lost its prophetic voice," Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin tweeted Friday. "Where are the John the Baptists who will confront the Herods of our day?"

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-slammed-catholic-priests-meeting-pope-francis-communion
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on October 30, 2021, 06:53:08 PM
So the US Catholic bishops are going to take on the pope and object to the words of the pope. Good luck with that. It’s going to be fun to watch.
Guess who requires them to submit their resignations at a certain age and guess who appoints their successors.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 30, 2021, 06:57:47 PM
So, again you miss the point, Charles 🙄
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on October 30, 2021, 08:15:51 PM
So enlighten me.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2021, 02:47:30 AM
"I fear that the Church has lost its prophetic voice," Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin tweeted Friday. "Where are the John the Baptists who will confront the Herods of our day?"

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-slammed-catholic-priests-meeting-pope-francis-communion (https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-slammed-catholic-priests-meeting-pope-francis-communion)


Hmmm, was John the Baptist a Christian or Jewish prophet? I am certain that his baptism was not a Christian baptism.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 31, 2021, 07:43:08 AM
"I fear that the Church has lost its prophetic voice," Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin tweeted Friday. "Where are the John the Baptists who will confront the Herods of our day?"

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-slammed-catholic-priests-meeting-pope-francis-communion (https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-slammed-catholic-priests-meeting-pope-francis-communion)

Hmmm, was John the Baptist a Christian or Jewish prophet? I am certain that his baptism was not a Christian baptism.

And I am certain that you miss the point because the word repentance is not part of your antinomian vocabulary.

BTW, in addressing your diversion, this is an example of what Lutherans teach about John's baptism:

"Through John the Baptist’s preaching, God changed the hearts of people. Sinners were led to confess their sins and acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah, the Lamb of God (John 1:29). The Baptism John performed sealed God’s forgiveness to people. The Baptism John performed provided the vehicle through which the Holy Spirit could produce and strengthen faith, and also repentance in people’s hearts. The Holy Spirit changes hearts through the gospel in word and sacrament. John’s Baptism was essentially the same as Christian Baptism."

https://wels.net/faq/john-the-baptists-baptism/
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on November 01, 2021, 09:39:16 AM
Do Jews consider St. John to be a prophet?
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 01, 2021, 01:27:50 PM
And I am certain that you miss the point because the word repentance is not part of your antinomian vocabulary.


And I accuse you of bearing false witness against me again.


When I wrote my "notes" on Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30; I included comments about the verses the lectionary skipped over.

WOES TO THREE JEWISH CITIES (11:20-24) [Not part of the lesson, but should be]

In this section, whole towns are upbraided by Jesus for not repenting. Jesus doesn’t just threaten judgment, he declares it. These harshest of Jesus’ words are directed towards those who don’t repent.

In Matthew, Jesus doesn’t criticize anyone for not worshiping or praising God or him. The one time he is critical of those who don’t believe, it is also connected with repentance (21:32). A deed that is required by Jesus is repentance (here corporately, but elsewhere also individually). I don’t believe that one can be a Christian without repentance. It also appears that “deeds of power” are not meant to produce awe or wonder among the people, but repentance.

Why don’t these towns repent? Daniel Patte (The Gospel According to Matthew: A Structural Commentary on Matthew’s Faith) observes that the only difference between the two groups of cities is that the repentant towns are Gentile cities and the unrepentant are Israelite cities. Then concludes that they are unwilling to relate to Jesus’ message and deeds and thus repent because they are Israelite!

Why is that a problem? The criticism of Capernaum illustrates the problem. They assume their privileged relationship with God will guarantee their “exaltation to heaven”. It is their perception of their special relationship with God which leads to the rejection of Jesus and their need to repent, and thus their condemnation. For Israelites (or Americans, or even Christians) who assume a privileged position with God, that assumption could be their downfall as it can lead to the conclusion, “We don’t need to repent” or “We have nothing to repent of.” Such people are condemned by their words.

Hare also makes the point that the unresponsive towns are condemned corporately. “The communities are composed primarily of unresponsive individuals, each of whom must render account at the judgment. Individuals, however, are shaped in part by communities. Each town or village develops its own ethos. Some nurture faith in God, while others discourage it. … Community leaders must remember that they can help shape an ethos that takes human values more seriously than dollars and thus encourages openness to what God is doing in our midst.” [p. 126]

What would happen if we used the Fourth of July weekend to pronounce woes on America for its arrogance or assumed privileged position with God, and call it to repent? That it will be more tolerable for the most sinful of cities/countries than for us? Should that be proclaimed? Could it threaten our position as pastor in some of our congregations? Should such fears determine what we preach?

How do we counter the idea that because we are Americans (or Lutherans or Christians), we are entitled to God’s blessings? Should we even suggest that we need to repent of our white privilege? I believe that we have to, or we become like Capernaum.

I struggle with such issues every Fourth of July weekend – and even more so after attending a continuing ed event centered on mission and American civil religion. A speaker, Roger Fjeld, pointed out that the Fourth of July is the first [and perhaps most sacred] of our civil holy days. I also found it interesting that civil religion keeps a belief in God, e.g., “in God we trust,” “one nation under God;” but it doesn’t want Jesus. How many people are aware that “God Bless America” was not written by a Christian? Irving Berlin was Jewish! He is not writing about the Triune God. In looking at the “patriotic” hymns in our hymnal, it’s almost impossible to find Jesus in most of them!

Why no Jesus? First of all, Jesus is divisive. He says that he didn’t come to bring peace, but divisions. Our text is about people rejecting Jesus. Our many denominations are an indication of a divided church – not one that’s united. We want a United States. Jesus creates a division between believers and unbelievers.

Secondly, we also don’t want a vulnerable God who is born, suffers, and dies. We want a God of success. Jesus and John are executed for their beliefs, words, and deeds. As Robert Capon writes: Our kind of Messiah …  wouldn’t do a stupid thing like rising from the dead. He would do a smart thing like never dying.” [Hunting the Divine Fox, p. 91]. He also argues that Superman is really the paradigm of an American Messiah, not Jesus.

Thirdly, Fjeld also mentioned that civil religion removes the need for repentance – the central proclamation of Jesus (and John, and the disciples in the commission at the end of Luke). We believe that we are right and good – the best nation on earth – beliefs that don’t lead to repentance. That is, admitting that we are wrong and bad. We haven’t lived up to God’s expectations of us. We don’t have the power to change ourselves or make ourselves better. Remember how unwilling some former presidents were to admit their faults. When do we ever hear a politician admit that they were wrong. They hire people to create positive spins on just about everything.

I recently noted that some hymnals, including Evangelical Lutheran Worship, have omitted stanza 2 of America. It includes the request: “God mend thine every flaw.” We should be willing to admit that there are flaws in America. We need divine help. We need repentance; or we could be like Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.

One could play it safe, like the lectionary creators and just skip over these verses. However, removing Jesus from religion is removing what is essential from Christianity – as the next section of our text indicates.

I have frequently written, taught, and preached about repentance. You are wrong in what you wrote.



Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 01, 2021, 01:46:52 PM
Do Jews consider St. John to be a prophet?


No … maybe.


On one hand, the answer is, "no," because according to Rashi there were 48 prophets and 7 prophetesses of Judaism. There was a belief that the Shechinah of God departed Israel with Malachi.


On the other hand, the answer is, "maybe." The Talmud gives other examples of prophets in Israel and cites a tradition that the number of prophets was double the number of Israelites who left Egypt (600,000 males). The 55 prophets (48+7) are recorded because they made prophecies that have eternal relevance for future generations and not just for their own generation, or own ecstatic encounter with God.


There were certainly some Jews at the time of John who considered him a prophet (Mt 11:9; 14:5; 21:26; Mk 11:32; Lu 1:76; 7:26; 20:6). Although in another report, John declares that he is not a prophet (Jn 1:21).
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: George Rahn on November 01, 2021, 02:09:20 PM
Whether Jews consider John the Baptist to be a prophet, Jewish prophet, or not a prophet at all is beside the point, imo.  The New Testament indicates that Jesus considered John's call to repentance and Jesus' call to repentance to be different in the respect that Jesus' call, even though similarities to John's call to repent (turn away from) abound, the the turning toward what is ahead is different.  John's call similar to the call to repentance of the OT prophets and Jesus call to repent being similar, Jesus proclaims belief in the Gospel as the object toward which to turn.  The OT prophets refer back onto the person to find an object for restitution, eg. OT sacrificial system or even useless charges to change one's behavior alone.  John's and OT prophets do not have that unique message of what Jesus' repentance finally entails in that it is finally in Jesus’' own body that retitution takes place.. There is something new in evangelical repentance that the Old does not have contained in its content. 

But even Jesus in Matthew's Gospel considers John's mission of his brand of repentance valid within its own realm and partners with John to make this statement:  “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.”  The issue of us (John together with Jesus) illustrates what Luther talked about in his writing on the two righteousnesses (I can't remember off the top of my head the exact name of the treatise.) 

On the one hand God must honor his commitment to put to death all those who disobey God per his promise to visit death on those who eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, ie. all of us since Adam and Eve.  This is God's rightness, God administering his ultimate right to condemn to death sinners under his law.  Jesus, on the other hand, through his own death and resurrection for others becomes the other righteousness of God in the Gospel.  So death for the sinner is just according to God's administration of his law in that all people have disobeyed God's command not to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.  God is a just God in that sense.  In the forgiveness of sins in Christ (alone), He is made the sin of the sinner and dies the death in our place, setting us free in Him.  This is the rightness of God under the Gospel and it is God’s last word offered.

We heard about some of this yesterday in the Romans 3 reading.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: George Rahn on November 01, 2021, 02:35:04 PM
Also in addition to what I wrote above, this Romans passage contains the key and the "aha" moment where Luther discovered what was missing or hidden under the theological climate within the church of his day.  The biblical interpretive key was reset both in Luther and Melanchthon to coincide to what was the fons et origo of the New Testament proclamation.  In this case and witnessed elsewhere in the Lutheran Confessions was the full way the Christian faith would come to terms with the right preaching so that the possibility of an orthodox faith could be reached.  That is why it is extremely important that preachers and pastors get the teaching right (sic).  The possibility for right faith can only come about if the teaching from scripture is right.  I think it is in the Formula of Concord which uses the image of a plumb-line to capture a picture of how the standard of measurement in Christian teaching ought to be viewed.  Correct and accurate Christian teaching can result in authentic and sufficient confession of the faith of the church.  The scriptures are the ONLY rule and norm out of which authentic and sufficient Christian confession can happen.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 01, 2021, 03:43:40 PM
Whether Jews consider John the Baptist to be a prophet, Jewish prophet, or not a prophet at all is beside the point, imo.  The New Testament indicates that Jesus considered John's call to repentance and Jesus' call to repentance to be different in the respect that Jesus' call, even though similarities to John's call to repent (turn away from) abound, the the turning toward what is ahead is different.  John's call similar to the call to repentance of the OT prophets and Jesus call to repent being similar, Jesus proclaims belief in the Gospel as the object toward which to turn.  The OT prophets refer back onto the person to find an object for restitution, eg. OT sacrificial system or even useless charges to change one's behavior alone.  John's and OT prophets do not have that unique message of what Jesus' repentance finally entails in that it is finally inJesus'  own body that retitution takes place.. There is something new in evangelical repentance that the Old does not have contained in its content. 

But even Jesus in Matthew's Gospel considers John's mission of his brand of repentance valid within its own realm and partners with John to make this statement:  “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.”  The issue of us illustrates what Luther talked about in his writing on the two righteousnesses (I can't remember off the top of my head the exact name of the treatise.) 

On the one hand God must honor his commitment to put to death all those who disobey God per his promise to visit death on those who eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, ie. all of us since Adam and Eve.  This is God's rightness, being right and justice under his law.  Jesus on the other hand through his own death and resurrection for others becomes the other righteousness of God in the Gospel.  So death for the sinner is just according to God's administration of his law in that all people have disobeyed God's command not to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.  God is a just God in that sense.  In the forgiveness of sins in Christ (alone), He is made the sin of the sinner and dies the death in our place, setting us free in Him.  This is the rightness of God under the Gospel.

We heard about some of this yesterday in the Romans 3 reading.


First of all, μετανοέω; ματάνοια do not necessarily mean "turn away from." I think that Lowe & Nida give a concise definition: to change one’s way of life as the result of a complete change of thought and attitude with regard to sin and righteousness – to repent, to change one’s ways, repentance. Though in English a focal component of repent is the sorrow or contrition that a person experiences because of sin, the emphasis in μετανοέω and μετάνοια seems to be more specifically the total change, both in thought and behavior, with respect to how one should both think and act. Whether the focus is upon attitude or behavior varies somewhat in different contexts.

To change one's thinking about Jesus should mean a turning towards him.

Secondly, Paul seldom uses these words. The verb, μετανοέω, only at 2 Corinthians 12:21. The noun, ματάνοια, at Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:9, 10. (Also 2 Timothy 2:25 by later or pseudo-Paul.) So, in most of Paul's letters, he doesn't mention repentance at all!

I also found it surprising that the noun doesn't occur in any prophetic books of the LXX; but once in Proverbs, once in Sirach, and three times in Wisdom. While the verb is used 13 times in the prophets, all but one are in reference to God changing his mind!
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: George Rahn on November 01, 2021, 06:03:49 PM
Whether Jews consider John the Baptist to be a prophet, Jewish prophet, or not a prophet at all is beside the point, imo.  The New Testament indicates that Jesus considered John's call to repentance and Jesus' call to repentance to be different in the respect that Jesus' call, even though similarities to John's call to repent (turn away from) abound, the the turning toward what is ahead is different.  John's call similar to the call to repentance of the OT prophets and Jesus call to repent being similar, Jesus proclaims belief in the Gospel as the object toward which to turn.  The OT prophets refer back onto the person to find an object for restitution, eg. OT sacrificial system or even useless charges to change one's behavior alone.  John's and OT prophets do not have that unique message of what Jesus' repentance finally entails in that it is finally inJesus'  own body that retitution takes place.. There is something new in evangelical repentance that the Old does not have contained in its content. 

But even Jesus in Matthew's Gospel considers John's mission of his brand of repentance valid within its own realm and partners with John to make this statement:  “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.”  The issue of us illustrates what Luther talked about in his writing on the two righteousnesses (I can't remember off the top of my head the exact name of the treatise.) 

On the one hand God must honor his commitment to put to death all those who disobey God per his promise to visit death on those who eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, ie. all of us since Adam and Eve.  This is God's rightness, being right and justice under his law.  Jesus on the other hand through his own death and resurrection for others becomes the other righteousness of God in the Gospel.  So death for the sinner is just according to God's administration of his law in that all people have disobeyed God's command not to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.  God is a just God in that sense.  In the forgiveness of sins in Christ (alone), He is made the sin of the sinner and dies the death in our place, setting us free in Him.  This is the rightness of God under the Gospel.

We heard about some of this yesterday in the Romans 3 reading.


First of all, μετανοέω; ματάνοια do not necessarily mean "turn away from." I think that Lowe & Nida give a concise definition: to change one’s way of life as the result of a complete change of thought and attitude with regard to sin and righteousness – to repent, to change one’s ways, repentance. Though in English a focal component of repent is the sorrow or contrition that a person experiences because of sin, the emphasis in μετανοέω and μετάνοια seems to be more specifically the total change, both in thought and behavior, with respect to how one should both think and act. Whether the focus is upon attitude or behavior varies somewhat in different contexts.

To change one's thinking about Jesus should mean a turning towards him.

Secondly, Paul seldom uses these words. The verb, μετανοέω, only at 2 Corinthians 12:21. The noun, ματάνοια, at Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:9, 10. (Also 2 Timothy 2:25 by later or pseudo-Paul.) So, in most of Paul's letters, he doesn't mention repentance at all!

I also found it surprising that the noun doesn't occur in any prophetic books of the LXX; but once in Proverbs, once in Sirach, and three times in Wisdom. While the verb is used 13 times in the prophets, all but one are in reference to God changing his mind!

My intent (and perhaps I wasn’t as successful at getting it clear) was to capture both the sense of turning away and then turning toward as being contained in the act of repentance.  Turning from something means also turning toward something different as well.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dave Benke on November 01, 2021, 06:05:05 PM
Whether Jews consider John the Baptist to be a prophet, Jewish prophet, or not a prophet at all is beside the point, imo.  The New Testament indicates that Jesus considered John's call to repentance and Jesus' call to repentance to be different in the respect that Jesus' call, even though similarities to John's call to repent (turn away from) abound, the the turning toward what is ahead is different.  John's call similar to the call to repentance of the OT prophets and Jesus call to repent being similar, Jesus proclaims belief in the Gospel as the object toward which to turn.  The OT prophets refer back onto the person to find an object for restitution, eg. OT sacrificial system or even useless charges to change one's behavior alone.  John's and OT prophets do not have that unique message of what Jesus' repentance finally entails in that it is finally inJesus'  own body that retitution takes place.. There is something new in evangelical repentance that the Old does not have contained in its content. 

But even Jesus in Matthew's Gospel considers John's mission of his brand of repentance valid within its own realm and partners with John to make this statement:  “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.”  The issue of us illustrates what Luther talked about in his writing on the two righteousnesses (I can't remember off the top of my head the exact name of the treatise.) 

On the one hand God must honor his commitment to put to death all those who disobey God per his promise to visit death on those who eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, ie. all of us since Adam and Eve.  This is God's rightness, being right and justice under his law.  Jesus on the other hand through his own death and resurrection for others becomes the other righteousness of God in the Gospel.  So death for the sinner is just according to God's administration of his law in that all people have disobeyed God's command not to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.  God is a just God in that sense.  In the forgiveness of sins in Christ (alone), He is made the sin of the sinner and dies the death in our place, setting us free in Him.  This is the rightness of God under the Gospel.

We heard about some of this yesterday in the Romans 3 reading.


First of all, μετανοέω; ματάνοια do not necessarily mean "turn away from." I think that Lowe & Nida give a concise definition: to change one’s way of life as the result of a complete change of thought and attitude with regard to sin and righteousness – to repent, to change one’s ways, repentance. Though in English a focal component of repent is the sorrow or contrition that a person experiences because of sin, the emphasis in μετανοέω and μετάνοια seems to be more specifically the total change, both in thought and behavior, with respect to how one should both think and act. Whether the focus is upon attitude or behavior varies somewhat in different contexts.

To change one's thinking about Jesus should mean a turning towards him.

Secondly, Paul seldom uses these words. The verb, μετανοέω, only at 2 Corinthians 12:21. The noun, ματάνοια, at Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:9, 10. (Also 2 Timothy 2:25 by later or pseudo-Paul.) So, in most of Paul's letters, he doesn't mention repentance at all!

I also found it surprising that the noun doesn't occur in any prophetic books of the LXX; but once in Proverbs, once in Sirach, and three times in Wisdom. While the verb is used 13 times in the prophets, all but one are in reference to God changing his mind!

This is very helpful data, Brian. 

The turning toward or change is of course Spirit-led and directed - and as you point out that is a turning toward for Lutherans - the Holy Spirit has "called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with gifts, sanctified and kept me...."

But isn't every day a reclamation of the Spirit's promise and power in realizing that in the flesh we still fail to do the good and do instead the evil, so that we end up crying "Lord, have mercy?."  And the Lord does indeed show mercy.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: George Rahn on November 01, 2021, 06:19:32 PM
Yikes.  I’m a terrible editor of my own writing.  I had to go back just now to redact what I wrote earlier in the day.  My meaning of what I was trying to convey has become more precise now.  And hopefully clearer to you and for you, as well.  Ach!
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Michael Slusser on November 01, 2021, 08:37:11 PM
Yikes.  I’m a terrible editor of my own writing.  I had to go back just now to redact what I wrote earlier in the day.  My meaning of what I was trying to convey has become more precise now.  And hopefully clearer to you and for you, as well.  Ach!
. . . as Werner Elert might have exclaimed!  ;D

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on November 02, 2021, 08:14:55 AM
And I am certain that you miss the point because the word repentance is not part of your antinomian vocabulary.

And I accuse you of bearing false witness against me again.

What would happen if we used the Fourth of July weekend to pronounce woes on America for its arrogance...Should we even suggest that we need to repent of our white privilege? I believe that we have to, or we become like Capernaum.

I struggle with such issues every Fourth of July weekend...

 Oh, I stand by my observation. You know what the word means. Yes, you can do a word study on  μετανοέω/repentance. But, it's not part of your vocabulary, just as in the popular "''Can't' is not part of my vocabulary," the person certainly knows what the word means. The. person rejects its use. You do similar. You've given us examples where culture and the church changes it's view on various sins, no longer deeming them sinful but, rather, simply "find[ing] better ways of applying God's grace to sinners." So, repentance for that former sin no longer is unnecessary. And what the hay! Even if it is still deemed a sin, forget repentance. God's grace covers that sin too. Got that done!

Oh, right. You know how to use repentance when criticizing America for its white privilege! How popularly woke of you, Brian. You can stand next to Rep Bush who implies that Sen Manchin's opposition to portions of Build Back Better, of course, is racist. After all, he is a white male, considered by some to have been "born evil" simply because he's white.**   ::)

**No, spare me the original sin reference.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: George Rahn on November 02, 2021, 10:00:19 AM
Yikes.  I’m a terrible editor of my own writing.  I had to go back just now to redact what I wrote earlier in the day.  My meaning of what I was trying to convey has become more precise now.  And hopefully clearer to you and for you, as well.  Ach!
. . . as Werner Elert might have exclaimed!  ;D

Peace,
Michael

😊
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on November 02, 2021, 11:07:14 AM
I also found it surprising that the noun doesn't occur in any prophetic books of the LXX; but once in Proverbs, once in Sirach, and three times in Wisdom. While the verb is used 13 times in the prophets, all but one are in reference to God changing his mind!

I think this is an interesting point, but I'm curious where you would go with it.  It seems to me if we posit God as One Who changes His mind, how can we be sure He won't change His mind about Jesus atoning for the sin of the world?  I would suggest that where the word is used in the Septuagint to denote God's "metanoia," it has a different context and meaning than when it is said of Christians living in the world.  And while I haven't done a word study, I'd further suggest that the nature of God versus the nature of man ought to make this clear.  But I'm curious what you would say.

As a brief aside, though the word "metanoia" is translated in many translations as "repentance," in the Orthodox Church we would say the two terms are related but not synonymous.  In a literal sense, "metanoia" means something like "after-thought" or "after perception," and refers to a distinction between it and a former thought.  And even there, "thought" is more akin to "heart," as the Greek word "nous" is part of the etymology of "metanoia," and the "nous" is not merely the conscious mind and its thoughts, but in fact the window to the soul.  So essentially, "metanoia" is the state where the Christian now has his heart set in a place other than where it was before.  There is no indication in the word itself that this place is more or less sinful, or even involves sin at all.  Repentance, by contrast, is that same state, only moved by a conscious desire to avoid sin and approach God.  So perhaps part of the problem is treating "metanoia" as if it meant the same as "repentance," when in actuality it does not.  God can certainly change course, have an "after thought" or "after perception," but this is from an anthropomorphic standpoint -- it is what we perceive.  It does not indicate God has changed.  It indicates we perceive Him to have changed.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dave Benke on November 02, 2021, 11:14:12 AM
I also found it surprising that the noun doesn't occur in any prophetic books of the LXX; but once in Proverbs, once in Sirach, and three times in Wisdom. While the verb is used 13 times in the prophets, all but one are in reference to God changing his mind!

I think this is an interesting point, but I'm curious where you would go with it.  It seems to me if we posit God as One Who changes His mind, how can we be sure He won't change His mind about Jesus atoning for the sin of the world?  I would suggest that where the word is used in the Septuagint to denote God's "metanoia," it has a different context and meaning than when it is said of Christians living in the world.  And while I haven't done a word study, I'd further suggest that the nature of God versus the nature of man ought to make this clear.  But I'm curious what you would say.

As a brief aside, though the word "metanoia" is translated in many translations as "repentance," in the Orthodox Church we would say the two terms are related but not synonymous.  In a literal sense, "metanoia" means something like "after-thought" or "after perception," and refers to a distinction between it and a former thought.  And even there, "thought" is more akin to "heart," as the Greek word "nous" is part of the etymology of "metanoia," and the "nous" is not merely the conscious mind and its thoughts, but in fact the window to the soul.  So essentially, "metanoia" is the state where the Christian now has his heart set in a place other than where it was before.  There is no indication in the word itself that this place is more or less sinful, or even involves sin at all.  Repentance, by contrast, is that same state, only moved by a conscious desire to avoid sin and approach God.  So perhaps part of the problem is treating "metanoia" as if it meant the same as "repentance," when in actuality it does not.  God can certainly change course, have an "after thought" or "after perception," but this is from an anthropomorphic standpoint -- it is what we perceive.  It does not indicate God has changed.  It indicates we perceive Him to have changed.

The one I remember from the OT is the destruction of Nineveh, where God "repents" of the intention to destroy and saves the city, which bothers Jonah to no end, and then the famous line "they don't know their right hand from their left."  Which has scatological meaning.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: RevG on November 02, 2021, 12:10:02 PM
I also found it surprising that the noun doesn't occur in any prophetic books of the LXX; but once in Proverbs, once in Sirach, and three times in Wisdom. While the verb is used 13 times in the prophets, all but one are in reference to God changing his mind!

I think this is an interesting point, but I'm curious where you would go with it.  It seems to me if we posit God as One Who changes His mind, how can we be sure He won't change His mind about Jesus atoning for the sin of the world?  I would suggest that where the word is used in the Septuagint to denote God's "metanoia," it has a different context and meaning than when it is said of Christians living in the world.  And while I haven't done a word study, I'd further suggest that the nature of God versus the nature of man ought to make this clear.  But I'm curious what you would say.

As a brief aside, though the word "metanoia" is translated in many translations as "repentance," in the Orthodox Church we would say the two terms are related but not synonymous.  In a literal sense, "metanoia" means something like "after-thought" or "after perception," and refers to a distinction between it and a former thought.  And even there, "thought" is more akin to "heart," as the Greek word "nous" is part of the etymology of "metanoia," and the "nous" is not merely the conscious mind and its thoughts, but in fact the window to the soul.  So essentially, "metanoia" is the state where the Christian now has his heart set in a place other than where it was before.  There is no indication in the word itself that this place is more or less sinful, or even involves sin at all.  Repentance, by contrast, is that same state, only moved by a conscious desire to avoid sin and approach God.  So perhaps part of the problem is treating "metanoia" as if it meant the same as "repentance," when in actuality it does not.  God can certainly change course, have an "after thought" or "after perception," but this is from an anthropomorphic standpoint -- it is what we perceive.  It does not indicate God has changed.  It indicates we perceive Him to have changed.

I’ll never forget when doing a deep dive into the story of Jonah in one class, one of my seminary profs saying emphatically, “God is not a systematician!” That has always stayed with me.

With these kinds of distinctions concerning God: omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, unchanging etc., I am afraid we end up foregoing the relational or, dare I say, anthropomorphic aspects of God. It is to lean too heavily on objectivism, void of people (nod to Lonergan). Ironically, it’s where all the tough but predictable questions come from, too. “If God is all knowing, why does he let bad things happen?” or “Why did God let Adam and Eve eat of the fruit if he knew it was going to happen?” In many ways, these are questions that these writings were not intended to answer. There were different goals and agendas in mind. Theology turns into a hugely abstract endeavor that fails to get to the heart of the matter: God and his people.

In some ways, it is why the work of NT Wright is such a breath of fresh air. He emphasizes that God’s righteousness should be understood in terms of his faithfulness to his promises. God is righteous in that he does what he promises he is going to do. In the story of Jonah, he never resolves to destroy the people of Nineveh. Instead, he first sends them a prophet. He’s inclined to do so but allows for change, which changes his mind towards them. Thus, they live.

Sorry if I am being tangential.

Peace,
Scott
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: David Garner on November 02, 2021, 12:23:20 PM
I also found it surprising that the noun doesn't occur in any prophetic books of the LXX; but once in Proverbs, once in Sirach, and three times in Wisdom. While the verb is used 13 times in the prophets, all but one are in reference to God changing his mind!

I think this is an interesting point, but I'm curious where you would go with it.  It seems to me if we posit God as One Who changes His mind, how can we be sure He won't change His mind about Jesus atoning for the sin of the world?  I would suggest that where the word is used in the Septuagint to denote God's "metanoia," it has a different context and meaning than when it is said of Christians living in the world.  And while I haven't done a word study, I'd further suggest that the nature of God versus the nature of man ought to make this clear.  But I'm curious what you would say.

As a brief aside, though the word "metanoia" is translated in many translations as "repentance," in the Orthodox Church we would say the two terms are related but not synonymous.  In a literal sense, "metanoia" means something like "after-thought" or "after perception," and refers to a distinction between it and a former thought.  And even there, "thought" is more akin to "heart," as the Greek word "nous" is part of the etymology of "metanoia," and the "nous" is not merely the conscious mind and its thoughts, but in fact the window to the soul.  So essentially, "metanoia" is the state where the Christian now has his heart set in a place other than where it was before.  There is no indication in the word itself that this place is more or less sinful, or even involves sin at all.  Repentance, by contrast, is that same state, only moved by a conscious desire to avoid sin and approach God.  So perhaps part of the problem is treating "metanoia" as if it meant the same as "repentance," when in actuality it does not.  God can certainly change course, have an "after thought" or "after perception," but this is from an anthropomorphic standpoint -- it is what we perceive.  It does not indicate God has changed.  It indicates we perceive Him to have changed.

I’ll never forget when doing a deep dive into the story of Jonah in one class, one of my seminary profs saying emphatically, “God is not a systematician!” That has always stayed with me.

With these kinds of distinctions concerning God: omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, unchanging etc., I am afraid we end up foregoing the relational or, dare I say, anthropomorphic aspects of God. It is to lean too heavily on objectivism, void of people (nod to Lonergan). Ironically, it’s where all the tough but predictable questions come from, too. “If God is all knowing, why does he let bad things happen?” or “Why did God let Adam and Eve eat of the fruit if he knew it was going to happen?” In many ways, these are questions that these writings were not intended to answer. There were different goals and agendas in mind. Theology turns into a hugely abstract endeavor that fails to get to the heart of the matter: God and his people.

In some ways, it is why the work of NT Wright is such a breath of fresh air. He emphasizes that God’s righteousness should be understood in terms of his faithfulness to his promises. God is righteous in that he does what he promises he is going to do. In the story of Jonah, he never resolves to destroy the people of Nineveh. Instead, he first sends them a prophet. He’s inclined to do so but allows for change, which changes his mind towards them. Thus, they live.

Sorry if I am being tangential.

Peace,
Scott

I don't think it's tangential at all.  In fact, I think it is squarely on point.  Thank you for posting this.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 02, 2021, 01:09:30 PM
And I am certain that you miss the point because the word repentance is not part of your antinomian vocabulary.

And I accuse you of bearing false witness against me again.

What would happen if we used the Fourth of July weekend to pronounce woes on America for its arrogance...Should we even suggest that we need to repent of our white privilege? I believe that we have to, or we become like Capernaum.

I struggle with such issues every Fourth of July weekend...

 Oh, I stand by my observation. You know what the word means. Yes, you can do a word study on  μετανοέω/repentance. But, it's not part of your vocabulary, just as in the popular "''Can't' is not part of my vocabulary," the person certainly knows what the word means. The. person rejects its use. You do similar. You've given us examples where culture and the church changes it's view on various sins, no longer deeming them sinful but, rather, simply "find[ing] better ways of applying God's grace to sinners." So, repentance for that former sin no longer is unnecessary. And what the hay! Even if it is still deemed a sin, forget repentance. God's grace covers that sin too. Got that done!

Oh, right. You know how to use repentance when criticizing America for its white privilege! How popularly woke of you, Brian. You can stand next to Rep Bush who implies that Sen Manchin's opposition to portions of Build Back Better, of course, is racist. After all, he is a white male, considered by some to have been "born evil" simply because he's white.**   ::)

**No, spare me the original sin reference.


God's grace is only necessary where there is sin. Please give illustrations where I have rejected the use of repentance for sin? Where have I rejected sin? What I tend not to do is create a list of acts that are sin and a list of acts that are not sin. Such lists do not exists because we are sinners and all that we do, both the good and the bad, will be tainted with sin - and in need of repentance and forgiveness.


In regards to "can't" is not part of the vocabulary; I have frequently in my "notes" and sermons and teaching quoted a seminary professor who defines repentance as "an I can't" experience. When repentance is something like, "I can do better" or "I can try harder," the law hasn't yet killed our attempts to save ourselves. When we confess, "I can't do any better" or "I can't do it myself," we indicate that our minds have been changed and we recognize that we cannot save ourselves. We are dead to our selves. We're left with only trusting divine grace for salvation.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 02, 2021, 01:36:54 PM
I also found it surprising that the noun doesn't occur in any prophetic books of the LXX; but once in Proverbs, once in Sirach, and three times in Wisdom. While the verb is used 13 times in the prophets, all but one are in reference to God changing his mind!

I think this is an interesting point, but I'm curious where you would go with it.  It seems to me if we posit God as One Who changes His mind, how can we be sure He won't change His mind about Jesus atoning for the sin of the world?  I would suggest that where the word is used in the Septuagint to denote God's "metanoia," it has a different context and meaning than when it is said of Christians living in the world.  And while I haven't done a word study, I'd further suggest that the nature of God versus the nature of man ought to make this clear.  But I'm curious what you would say.

As a brief aside, though the word "metanoia" is translated in many translations as "repentance," in the Orthodox Church we would say the two terms are related but not synonymous.  In a literal sense, "metanoia" means something like "after-thought" or "after perception," and refers to a distinction between it and a former thought.  And even there, "thought" is more akin to "heart," as the Greek word "nous" is part of the etymology of "metanoia," and the "nous" is not merely the conscious mind and its thoughts, but in fact the window to the soul.  So essentially, "metanoia" is the state where the Christian now has his heart set in a place other than where it was before.  There is no indication in the word itself that this place is more or less sinful, or even involves sin at all.  Repentance, by contrast, is that same state, only moved by a conscious desire to avoid sin and approach God.  So perhaps part of the problem is treating "metanoia" as if it meant the same as "repentance," when in actuality it does not.  God can certainly change course, have an "after thought" or "after perception," but this is from an anthropomorphic standpoint -- it is what we perceive.  It does not indicate God has changed.  It indicates we perceive Him to have changed.


True, the prefix, μετα-, and refer to "after," like in "after thought," but it can also indicate that something "changes," i.e., "a change in thinking (with corresponding change in behavior)."


Especially, when used in terms of God, the change does not have to be from something sinful to something righteous. God's changes occur because there has been a change in the situation, e.g., the people repented, or the people stopped doing the evil that brought down God's judgment. Because the situation has changed, the right thing for God to do also changed.


Another approach to such texts is that we can only try and describe what we know about God through human words and thoughts. We might say that it seems to us like God changes his mind, so that's the language we use to describe what happened.


μετανοέω in the LXX is almost always used for נָחַם ni. the one possible exception is Isaiah 46:8 where it might be used for שׁוּב. There is some uncertainty because the LXX version is somewhat different from the MT, so we can't be sure if it was the same Hebrew version that was translated.


Along with what you wrote above, the meaning of נָחַם[size=78%] [/size]ni. is not so much about "feeling sorry" for something done, but carries meanings of: "feeling sorry for the other person, be moved to pity, have compassion" for others. It can also carry the sense: "to be comforted." Both of these can also imply that there was a "change in thinking/feeling" regarding other people (or self).


שׁוּב is the Hebrew word that implies "turning back." It is used both for "turning away" from God, and "turning towards" God. It is used of God "returning" to show favor or "turning away" from judgment. This word occurs often in the OT. I've only looked at it in Jonah. It is used literally of the men rowing hard to bring the ship back to land. It is used in connection with the people turning back from their evil ways (3:8, 9, 10). In vv. 9 & 10 (also 4:2), נָחַם also occurs to talk about God changing his mind about the destruction that had been planned.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 02, 2021, 01:44:33 PM
I also found it surprising that the noun doesn't occur in any prophetic books of the LXX; but once in Proverbs, once in Sirach, and three times in Wisdom. While the verb is used 13 times in the prophets, all but one are in reference to God changing his mind!

I think this is an interesting point, but I'm curious where you would go with it.  It seems to me if we posit God as One Who changes His mind, how can we be sure He won't change His mind about Jesus atoning for the sin of the world?  I would suggest that where the word is used in the Septuagint to denote God's "metanoia," it has a different context and meaning than when it is said of Christians living in the world.  And while I haven't done a word study, I'd further suggest that the nature of God versus the nature of man ought to make this clear.  But I'm curious what you would say.

As a brief aside, though the word "metanoia" is translated in many translations as "repentance," in the Orthodox Church we would say the two terms are related but not synonymous.  In a literal sense, "metanoia" means something like "after-thought" or "after perception," and refers to a distinction between it and a former thought.  And even there, "thought" is more akin to "heart," as the Greek word "nous" is part of the etymology of "metanoia," and the "nous" is not merely the conscious mind and its thoughts, but in fact the window to the soul.  So essentially, "metanoia" is the state where the Christian now has his heart set in a place other than where it was before.  There is no indication in the word itself that this place is more or less sinful, or even involves sin at all.  Repentance, by contrast, is that same state, only moved by a conscious desire to avoid sin and approach God.  So perhaps part of the problem is treating "metanoia" as if it meant the same as "repentance," when in actuality it does not.  God can certainly change course, have an "after thought" or "after perception," but this is from an anthropomorphic standpoint -- it is what we perceive.  It does not indicate God has changed.  It indicates we perceive Him to have changed.


True, the prefix, μετα-, and refer to "after," like in "after thought," but it can also indicate that something "changes," i.e., "a change in thinking (with corresponding change in behavior)."


Especially, when used in terms of God, the change does not have to be from something sinful to something righteous. God's changes occur because there has been a change in the situation, e.g., the people repented, or the people stopped doing the evil that brought down God's judgment. Because the situation has changed, the right thing for God to do also changed.


Another approach to such texts is that we can only try and describe what we know about God through human words and thoughts. We might say that it seems to us like God changes his mind, so that's the language we use to describe what happened.


μετανοέω in the LXX is almost always used for נָחַם ni. the one possible exception is Isaiah 46:8 where it might be used for שׁוּב. There is some uncertainty because the LXX version is somewhat different from the MT, so we can't be sure if it was the same Hebrew version that was translated.


Along with what you wrote above, the meaning of נָחַםni. is not so much about "feeling sorry" for something done, but carries meanings of: "feeling sorry for the other person, be moved to pity, have compassion" for others. It can also carry the sense: "to be comforted." Both of these can also imply that there was a "change in thinking/feeling" regarding other people (or self).


שׁוּב is the Hebrew word that implies "turning back." It is used both for "turning away" from God, and "turning towards" God. It is used of God "returning" to show favor or "turning away" from judgment. This word occurs often in the OT. I've only looked at it in Jonah. It is used literally of the men rowing hard to bring the ship back to land. It is used in connection with the people turning back from their evil ways (3:8, 9, 10). In vv. 9 & 10 (also 4:2), נָחַם also occurs to talk about God changing his mind about the destruction that had been planned.
Not all changes are created equal. I agree with much of what you post here, especially the paragraphs that I've highlighted in red. Those paragraphs point out that when God is said to have changed His mind it can be seen not as a change In God but in people about whom His reaction is changed, cf. Cambridge Change. We also need to keep in mind the anthropomorphic nature of our God language. It is all more complicated that we sometimes recognize.



Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 02, 2021, 01:57:48 PM
I’ll never forget when doing a deep dive into the story of Jonah in one class, one of my seminary profs saying emphatically, “God is not a systematician!” That has always stayed with me.

With these kinds of distinctions concerning God: omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, unchanging etc., I am afraid we end up foregoing the relational or, dare I say, anthropomorphic aspects of God. It is to lean too heavily on objectivism, void of people (nod to Lonergan). Ironically, it’s where all the tough but predictable questions come from, too. “If God is all knowing, why does he let bad things happen?” or “Why did God let Adam and Eve eat of the fruit if he knew it was going to happen?” In many ways, these are questions that these writings were not intended to answer. There were different goals and agendas in mind. Theology turns into a hugely abstract endeavor that fails to get to the heart of the matter: God and his people.

In some ways, it is why the work of NT Wright is such a breath of fresh air. He emphasizes that God’s righteousness should be understood in terms of his faithfulness to his promises. God is righteous in that he does what he promises he is going to do. In the story of Jonah, he never resolves to destroy the people of Nineveh. Instead, he first sends them a prophet. He’s inclined to do so but allows for change, which changes his mind towards them. Thus, they live.

Sorry if I am being tangential.


I note also that Jonah never told the people to repent! One of the differences between Jonah and other prophetic books is that the other prophets have long oracles against the people or nations. Jonah's speech in Nineveh is only five words in Hebrew: "Yet forty days Ninevah overthrown." (3:4b).
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Keith Falk on November 06, 2021, 12:05:21 PM
I remember sitting at the computer in my apartment during my first year at seminary, reading the ALPB Online Forum.


This past August, I celebrated my 15th anniversary of ordination.


I read and skimmed through this entire thread this morning after not having been active in months and months.


Nothing has changed since being a junior (first year) at Trinity Lutheran Seminary.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dave Benke on December 01, 2021, 10:27:36 AM
Retired ELCA Pastor: We are not a very inter-Lutheran forum. Posters with more than 1,500 posts: ELCA-6, with 3 of those inactive/rare and 1 moderator; LCMS-25, with 4 inactive/rare and 1 moderator. Non-Lutherans, 3; maybe 4 from other Lutheran bodies. 3 formerly frequent posters have gone quiet.

I've copied Charles' tag line.  There are NALC participants, I guess they're under "other Lutheran bodies."  One of the stated purposes of the ALPB around the overarching theme of "evangelical and catholic, liturgical and missional" is to be an ecumenical resource.  That includes inter-Lutheran.  What's not included is those who read, lurk and inwardly digest, or do so for the most part, posting once in a great while.  So there's more to it than just the frequent posters.  But it's an interesting comment in terms of say invitation.  Would you, Charles, invite other ELCA folks to be part of the active dialog?  For LCMS posters in particular and I guess others as well, a la Dan Fienen's thread, is this a "safe space?" 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Jim Butler on December 01, 2021, 10:43:45 AM
Retired ELCA Pastor: We are not a very inter-Lutheran forum. Posters with more than 1,500 posts: ELCA-6, with 3 of those inactive/rare and 1 moderator; LCMS-25, with 4 inactive/rare and 1 moderator. Non-Lutherans, 3; maybe 4 from other Lutheran bodies. 3 formerly frequent posters have gone quiet.

I've copied Charles' tag line.  There are NALC participants, I guess they're under "other Lutheran bodies."  One of the stated purposes of the ALPB around the overarching theme of "evangelical and catholic, liturgical and missional" is to be an ecumenical resource.  That includes inter-Lutheran.  What's not included is those who read, lurk and inwardly digest, or do so for the most part, posting once in a great while.  So there's more to it than just the frequent posters.  But it's an interesting comment in terms of say invitation.  Would you, Charles, invite other ELCA folks to be part of the active dialog?  For LCMS posters in particular and I guess others as well, a la Dan Fienen's thread, is this a "safe space?" 

Dave Benke

I have several friends who lurk and read. They've sometimes written to me about a comment I've made. I've asked them why they don't write. Mostly they don't have time or they see others making the same points they would.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 01, 2021, 02:10:21 PM
I have invited other ELCA  folk to this forum. One response has been, “no time.” Another response has been “there is no point in talking to the LCMS, and that’s mostly who is on the ALPB forum.”
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2021, 02:23:13 PM
I have invited other ELCA  folk to this forum. One response has been, “no time.” Another response has been “there is no point in talking to the LCMS, and that’s mostly who is on the ALPB forum.”
And many in the LCMS think there is no point in talking to the ELCA. But a forum's purpose goes beyond people trying to convince each other of things. One might share a liturgy or sermon, give historical analysis of something pertaining to Lutheranism, describe a recent conference somewhere for the sake of those who couldn't be there, etc. But I think your observation is really about tolerance. The LCMS people here can tolerate a forum in which they get flat out contradicted and none of their presuppositions are accepted by some of the other forum members. That's because those opinions are based in doctrines and principles. But many on the ELCA side cannot tolerate a forum that takes seriously the LCMS position. That's because it is personal for them. Even participating with people do deny gay marriage or women's ordination or systemic racism or whatever is considered a betrayal, a validating of bigotry. Unless, of course, they view it as their mission to correct and berate all the bigots about everything, which causes the discussions to go downhill quickly.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Jim Butler on December 01, 2021, 02:37:00 PM
I have invited other ELCA  folk to this forum. One response has been, “no time.” Another response has been “there is no point in talking to the LCMS, and that’s mostly who is on the ALPB forum.”

I remember talking with Bob Isaksen when he was the ELCA's New England Bishop about the ALPB. This was after the installation of the pastor at the local ELCA church in Springfield (which was right across the river from me). This board didn't even board exist in those days. Most of the inter-Lutheran discussion I had was on LTHRN-L where I met several ELCA folks that I still consider my friends. Anyway, he dismissed the entire Bureau (ELCA members included) as a bunch of "fundamentalists."

So, maybe other ELCA members don't want to be seen hanging around fundies like you and Brian.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dave Benke on December 01, 2021, 02:55:58 PM
"Safe" is different across the denominations, no?  In the ELCA, if a pastor opined here that Rittenhouse was a just verdict as opposed to Bp. Eaton's letter, would they be disciplined?  Could they be disciplined?  I think the answer is no on both counts.  What opinion can or could a pastor be brought up on charges for in the ELCA?  Maybe none. 
At the same time, could that post be saved and used down the line to keep the pastor off a call list by a bishop or two?  I don't know, but that I think could happen.   People used to send me stuff all the time, not from alpb forum, but "proof" of bad behavior.  So is ALPB forum a safe space in the ELCA?  Generally, yes.  ??

In the Missouri Synod, I think in many regards it's less safe.  For example, if an LCMS person said they were pro-abortion, would/could that person, if rostered, be brought up on disciplinary charges?  Without a doubt.  It's viewed as part of our doctrine via Synodical Convention Resolution.  Who would do that?  It could be done anonymously or with name attached.  Secondly, if a lay person in the LCMS on this forum made a pro-abortion statement, their pastor could be given the post and told to deal with that individual.  If someone wanted to push the envelope, if it turned out the person did not change her/his mind and were not brought under some kind of discipline, then the congregation could be placed under discipline or removed from the roster.

Using those examples, which are actually unlikely, for LCMS posters, this ends up being less safe space. 

NALC I believe is designed with less overhead, less bylaws and resolutions, so the third way would be that if someone posted and it was against the basic tenets of NALC, conversation would ensue, and that would probably be the end of it.  But maybe I'm wrong. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: D. Engebretson on December 01, 2021, 04:38:20 PM
I'm curious.  If this forum did attract more active ELCA participants, what do the ELCA people envision that it would look like?
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2021, 04:39:40 PM
Forum Letter published at least article advocating the pro- choice position written by a rostered LCMS theologian. I wrote a strong rebuttal, but I don’t think his or my safety was involved. Ten years ago I wrote an article about a trip to Israel and how the change in context made me and all LCMS positions seem very normal and the ELCA seem very fringe; it was just a matter of using history the globe rather than modern America as the background. Later I wrote one in how I handled the communion service that all the tours do when I was in charge of a bus that included people of many denominations. I wrote how I explained that we would be honoring people’s practices and therefore have separate services, though no offense was intended. No offense was taken by the people on the tour, but the objections to the article came from LCMS people who thought I should have presided over a service and communed people who, the article made clear, did not accept the Real Presence or sacramental theology generally.

When we talk about a safe forum, I think most of us are thinking of unsafe as meeting derision, not getting put up on charges. And getting put up on charges would not make me feel unsafe. If it happened, I would clarify what I said or defend it. Or, if the one making charges convinced me I was wrong, I would retract it. I would feel safe throughout the process.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dave Benke on December 01, 2021, 05:09:32 PM
Here's the specific Handbook item from the LCMS side of the aisle:

1.8 Dissent
1.8.1 While retaining the right of brotherly dissent, members of the Synod are
expected as part of the life together within the fellowship of the Synod to
honor and uphold the resolutions of the Synod.
1.8.2 Dissent from the doctrinal position of the Synod as expressed in its
resolutions and doctrinal statements is to be expressed first within the
fellowship of peers (that is, with those who are competent to evaluate the
issue critically) and then brought to the attention of the Commission on
Theology and Church Relations before finding expression as an overture to
the Synod in convention calling for revision or rescission. The discussion
among the fellowship of peers is to be conducted privately and
confidentially among those who are competent rather than in a public
forum
. While the conscience of the dissenter shall be respected, the
consciences of others, as well as the collective will of the Synod, shall also
be respected.
1.8.3 This right of brotherly dissent does not allow a member of the Synod
publicly to teach or practice contrary to the established doctrinal position
of the Synod.
Any such public teaching shall place in jeopardy membership
in the Synod.


Starting with "uphold the resolutions of the Synod," that's a broad category.  I think (this is not an official posture) that the modifier of "resolutions of the Synod" is "established doctrinal position of the Synod."  That makes more sense in terms of what dissent involves.  But I suppose that's a matter of interpretation.   The other bolded portion remands people to custody for expressing opinions not lined up with the resolutions of Synod on a "public forum."  That's us.  So maybe a better way to state it in the thread topic is that this forum cannot be safe space for opinions outside the parameters of resolutions of Synod because this is not the space you should even bother uttering those opinions - dummy.  Read your handbook.  Memorize your convention resolutions.  Get a grip on it.

As to "feeling safe" in the synodical process, I've been on skatey-eight panels of people caught in there, and one thing they didn't feel was safe.  But that's not everybody, just skatey-eight people. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2021, 05:33:34 PM
Here's the specific Handbook item from the LCMS side of the aisle:

1.8 Dissent
1.8.1 While retaining the right of brotherly dissent, members of the Synod are
expected as part of the life together within the fellowship of the Synod to
honor and uphold the resolutions of the Synod.
1.8.2 Dissent from the doctrinal position of the Synod as expressed in its
resolutions and doctrinal statements is to be expressed first within the
fellowship of peers (that is, with those who are competent to evaluate the
issue critically) and then brought to the attention of the Commission on
Theology and Church Relations before finding expression as an overture to
the Synod in convention calling for revision or rescission. The discussion
among the fellowship of peers is to be conducted privately and
confidentially among those who are competent rather than in a public
forum
. While the conscience of the dissenter shall be respected, the
consciences of others, as well as the collective will of the Synod, shall also
be respected.
1.8.3 This right of brotherly dissent does not allow a member of the Synod
publicly to teach or practice contrary to the established doctrinal position
of the Synod.
Any such public teaching shall place in jeopardy membership
in the Synod.


Starting with "uphold the resolutions of the Synod," that's a broad category.  I think (this is not an official posture) that the modifier of "resolutions of the Synod" is "established doctrinal position of the Synod."  That makes more sense in terms of what dissent involves.  But I suppose that's a matter of interpretation.   The other bolded portion remands people to custody for expressing opinions not lined up with the resolutions of Synod on a "public forum."  That's us.  So maybe a better way to state it in the thread topic is that this forum cannot be safe space for opinions outside the parameters of resolutions of Synod because this is not the space you should even bother uttering those opinions - dummy.  Read your handbook.  Memorize your convention resolutions.  Get a grip on it.

As to "feeling safe" in the synodical process, I've been on skatey-eight panels of people caught in there, and one thing they didn't feel was safe.  But that's not everybody, just skatey-eight people. 

Dave Benke
I guess the issue is safe from what and safe to do what? If the objection is that people who publicly represent the LCMS should feel free to publicly contradict the LCMS without any possible repercussions, then I would say that makes no sense. You don't even get that from hourly rate employers. If you work at Pepsi, you're not supposed to be out there on Twitter saying how much better Coke is than Pepsi. That doesn't mean Twitter is unsafe for you. 
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: DCharlton on December 01, 2021, 05:36:46 PM
"Safe" is different across the denominations, no?  In the ELCA, if a pastor opined here that Rittenhouse was a just verdict as opposed to Bp. Eaton's letter, would they be disciplined?  Could they be disciplined?  I think the answer is no on both counts.  What opinion can or could a pastor be brought up on charges for in the ELCA?  Maybe none. 
At the same time, could that post be saved and used down the line to keep the pastor off a call list by a bishop or two?  I don't know, but that I think could happen.   People used to send me stuff all the time, not from alpb forum, but "proof" of bad behavior.  So is ALPB forum a safe space in the ELCA?  Generally, yes.??

Generally speaking, the Lutheran Left has total control of the ELCA.  Very few people of confessional Lutheran or evangelical catholic bent are ever given a platform in ELCA publications, assemblies, conferences and the like.  Dissenters can generally be ignored, because they have no influence over the direction of the church. 

There are two exceptions to this.  1) Any pastor who can be credibly accused of encouraging a congregation to leave the ELCA can be disciplined.  2) Seminarians and candidates for ordination are under severe scrutiny.  Any hints of conservatism or traditional thought may result in hostility up to and including being dropped from the candidacy process. 

In other words, as long as people with conservative or traditional views can be shut out from positions of power, pastors are afraid of speaking out, and all future pastors have been vetted for the taint of traditional views, there is no reason to go after individuals.  It's the "leapfrog" strategy of WWII applied to the church.  No reason to invade an island when you can simply cut it off from all support and allow to whither on the vine.  The last generation of pre-2009 pastors will be reaching retirement age very soon.  In the next generation, the churches that have held onto more traditional theological, liturgical, social and political views will have a choice.  Either a fully formed left-wing social activist, or no pastor at all.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 01, 2021, 06:04:10 PM
Pastor Charlton:
Either a fully formed left-wing social activist, or no pastor at all.

Me:
When you hear of right wing social activist being threatened or put under discipline, let me know, I’ll be on their side for their right to speak up.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 01, 2021, 06:07:43 PM
Peter:
If the objection is that people who publicly represent the LCMS should feel free to publicly contradict the LCMS without any possible repercussions, then I would say that makes no sense.

Me:
Certainly it depends upon what issue, does it not?
Certainly one could contradict certain proclamations from convention or your CTCR.
If not, your ship is tighter than I thought, and I already think it’s pretty tight.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2021, 06:08:19 PM
Pastor Charlton:
Either a fully formed left-wing social activist, or no pastor at all.

Me:
When you hear of right wing social activist being threatened or put under discipline, let me know, I’ll be on their side for their right to speak up.
I think the point is that you won't hear of them because they'll have been weeded out of the system. And of course Pr. Carlton is not advocating for right wing activism among pastors. He's advocating for pastors not being left wing activists.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2021, 06:12:34 PM
Peter:
If the objection is that people who publicly represent the LCMS should feel free to publicly contradict the LCMS without any possible repercussions, then I would say that makes no sense.

Me:
Certainly it depends upon what issue, does it not?
Certainly one could contradict certain proclamations from convention or your CTCR.
If not, your ship is tighter than I thought, and I already think it’s pretty tight.
I wrote a fairly scathing review of a CTCR document in FL and nothing happened to me. My beef was that it recommended donating to various environmental groups that advocate for population control as a means of saving the environment. So I made a case against that aspect of the document, and did so publicly, despite the fact that the principle author was a seminary professor for whom I have a lot of respect. Alpb members had some good discussion of it in this forum.

 
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 01, 2021, 06:23:32 PM
As pastors, we are to engage our various communities, and that includes the political world.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dave Benke on December 01, 2021, 06:45:27 PM
Peter:
If the objection is that people who publicly represent the LCMS should feel free to publicly contradict the LCMS without any possible repercussions, then I would say that makes no sense.

Me:
Certainly it depends upon what issue, does it not?
Certainly one could contradict certain proclamations from convention or your CTCR.
If not, your ship is tighter than I thought, and I already think it’s pretty tight.
I wrote a fairly scathing review of a CTCR document in FL and nothing happened to me. My beef was that it recommended donating to various environmental groups that advocate for population control as a means of saving the environment. So I made a case against that aspect of the document, and did so publicly, despite the fact that the principle author was a seminary professor for whom I have a lot of respect. Alpb members had some good discussion of it in this forum.

 
Pastor Charlton:
Either a fully formed left-wing social activist, or no pastor at all.

Me:
When you hear of right wing social activist being threatened or put under discipline, let me know, I’ll be on their side for their right to speak up.
I think the point is that you won't hear of them because they'll have been weeded out of the system. And of course Pr. Carlton is not advocating for right wing activism among pastors. He's advocating for pastors not being left wing activists.

The prime example of more conservative people being weeded out of the ELCA in recent years is the NALC, and the second one is the LCMC.  Lots of that was self-weeding in that the individuals and congregations determined to leave - they weren't expelled.  Instead they were propelled.

What's striking in the two systems is the degree to which the one patrols the conversational borders and the other does not.           

NALC/LCMC or TAALC people if they were on the board in greater numbers would have way less border patrol and yet have basic doctrinal synchronicity within.  The more strife-riven the LCMS has been through the years, the more attention has been paid to rules of dissent and rubrics for filing charges in the handbook.  That's the course of time.  The new kids on the block may barely even have bylaws yet. 

Dave Benke   
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 01, 2021, 06:51:02 PM
I'm curious.  If this forum did attract more active ELCA participants, what do the ELCA people envision that it would look like?


I think it would look more like some of the ELCA pages on Facebook. There tends to greater agreement among most members; and some chastisement (or banishment) for those who are not in agreement. One female ELCA pastor after she was censored on a site (note: most of these sites are not official ELCA sites nor administered by an ELCA official,) started her own "uncensored" site with a promise that no one would be removed or censored. She is a conservative ELCAer, a Trumper, who was a poli-sci major and had worked for the Republican party, and part of Lutheran Core.


What I find different on her site is that we have had disagreements, and there remains respect for one another. We don't attack each other, but disagree with positions. I would call her a friend, even though I have never met her. The same is true with some other conservatives who post there. We've had jolly good conversations and jokes, as well as expressed some disagreements.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 01, 2021, 06:55:25 PM
NALC I believe is designed with less overhead, less bylaws and resolutions, so the third way would be that if someone posted and it was against the basic tenets of NALC, conversation would ensue, and that would probably be the end of it.  But maybe I'm wrong. 


You might be thinking of LCMC. The lack of hierarchy in their structure is what led to the formation of the NALC after our 2009 vote rather than those folks joining LCMC. As I understand it, clergy discipline if it is warranted, is done by the congregation. So, if members saw their pastor posting something online they disagreed with, they would probably invoke Matthew 18 and the disciplinary process.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 01, 2021, 07:08:07 PM
"Safe" is different across the denominations, no?  In the ELCA, if a pastor opined here that Rittenhouse was a just verdict as opposed to Bp. Eaton's letter, would they be disciplined?  Could they be disciplined?  I think the answer is no on both counts.  What opinion can or could a pastor be brought up on charges for in the ELCA?  Maybe none. 
At the same time, could that post be saved and used down the line to keep the pastor off a call list by a bishop or two?  I don't know, but that I think could happen.   People used to send me stuff all the time, not from alpb forum, but "proof" of bad behavior.  So is ALPB forum a safe space in the ELCA?  Generally, yes.??

Generally speaking, the Lutheran Left has total control of the ELCA.  Very few people of confessional Lutheran or evangelical catholic bent are ever given a platform in ELCA publications, assemblies, conferences and the like.  Dissenters can generally be ignored, because they have no influence over the direction of the church. 

There are two exceptions to this.  1) Any pastor who can be credibly accused of encouraging a congregation to leave the ELCA can be disciplined.  2) Seminarians and candidates for ordination are under severe scrutiny.  Any hints of conservatism or traditional thought may result in hostility up to and including being dropped from the candidacy process. 

In other words, as long as people with conservative or traditional views can be shut out from positions of power, pastors are afraid of speaking out, and all future pastors have been vetted for the taint of traditional views, there is no reason to go after individuals.  It's the "leapfrog" strategy of WWII applied to the church.  No reason to invade an island when you can simply cut it off from all support and allow to whither on the vine.  The last generation of pre-2009 pastors will be reaching retirement age very soon.  In the next generation, the churches that have held onto more traditional theological, liturgical, social and political views will have a choice.  Either a fully formed left-wing social activist, or no pastor at all.


Apparently you haven't met any ELCA clergy who are part of Lutheran Core (Coalition for Renewal). There are some.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 01, 2021, 07:13:43 PM
I think the point is that you won't hear of them because they'll have been weeded out of the system. And of course Pr. Carlton is not advocating for right wing activism among pastors. He's advocating for pastors not being left wing activists.


As pastors, we shouldn't be any wing activists. We are called to proclaim the gospel to all sinners. We are to teach biblical truths, not political agendas. Can you teach what Leviticus says about immigrants living in the land? They are often connected with widows and orphans.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 01, 2021, 07:19:10 PM
I think the point is that you won't hear of them because they'll have been weeded out of the system. And of course Pr. Carlton is not advocating for right wing activism among pastors. He's advocating for pastors not being left wing activists.


If they were weeded out, it was a self-weeding process. When a group opposed our decision to require synod bishops to officiate at ordinations as part of our agreement with the Episcopal Church, we provided a way for them to be except from that requirement. Many left any way. When we recognized the conservative views regarding homosexual relationships in our official document, and asked folks to respect the other views, many conservatives left, because they were unwilling to respect convictions different than their own. (Granted, there are anecdotes of liberals disrespecting the conservatives, too; but, as a church body, we discouraged that.) I agree with Charles that I will stand with conservatives in our church for their right to stay and express their opinions and be respected.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 01, 2021, 07:23:36 PM
If the objection is that people who publicly represent the LCMS should feel free to publicly contradict the LCMS without any possible repercussions, then I would say that makes no sense. You don't even get that from hourly rate employers. If you work at Pepsi, you're not supposed to be out there on Twitter saying how much better Coke is than Pepsi. That doesn't mean Twitter is unsafe for you.

On the other hand, I and a few of the other ELCA participants here have felt free ti contradict the ELCA. No real concern about repercussions other than eye-rolling and perhaps public shaming. Certainly no discipline.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 01, 2021, 07:33:33 PM
The prime example of more conservative people being weeded out of the ELCA in recent years is the NALC, and the second one is the LCMC.  Lots of that was self-weeding in that the individuals and congregations determined to leave - they weren't expelled.  Instead they were propelled.

What's striking in the two systems is the degree to which the one patrols the conversational borders and the other does not.           

NALC/LCMC or TAALC people if they were on the board in greater numbers would have way less border patrol and yet have basic doctrinal synchronicity within.  The more strife-riven the LCMS has been through the years, the more attention has been paid to rules of dissent and rubrics for filing charges in the handbook.  That's the course of time.  The new kids on the block may barely even have bylaws yet. 


TAALC was formed just before the ELCA came into being. Their major objection was the removal of "infallible and inerrant" in our statement about the Bible. I believe that every congregation and pastor who left had been ALC. A congregation I served split over that issue.


LCMC grew out of WordAlone in opposition to our agreement with the Episcopal Church and the requirement that synod bishops officiate at ordinations. It began as a loose network of congregations and "morphed" (my term) into a denomination. (I think their website continues to say that they are not a denomination.)


NALC grew out of Lutheran Core, which had said when it was formed that they were not looking to form a denomination, but after the 2009 vote, they did. NALC is separate from Lutheran Core, which still has ELCA folks as part of it. Their confession of faith is exactly the same as the ELCA with this addition:


2.08 The NALC honors and accepts The Common Confession (2005), attached in an appendix hereto, as a summary of teachings otherwise affirmed in the Lutheran Confessions.


APPENDIX: The Common Confession (2005)

1. The Lord Jesus Christ
We are people who believe and confess our faith in the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We trust and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.

2. The Gospel of Salvation
We believe and confess that all human beings are sinners, and that sinners are redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God alone justifies human beings by faith in Christ—a faith that God creates through the message of the Gospel. As ambassadors for Christ, God uses us to speak His Word and build His kingdom.

3. The Authority of Scripture
We believe and confess that the Bible is God's revealed Word to us, spoken in Law and Gospel. The Bible is the final authority for us in all matters of our faith and life.

4. A Common Confession of Faith
We accept and uphold that the Lutheran Confessions reliably guide us as faithful interpretations of Scripture, and that we share a unity and fellowship in faith with others among whom the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached and the Sacraments are administered in accordance with the Gospel.

5. The Priesthood of All Believers
We believe and confess that the Holy Spirit makes all who believe in Jesus Christ to be priests for service to others in Jesus' name, and that God desires to make use of the spiritual gifts he has given through the priesthood of all believers.

6. Marriage and Family
We believe and confess that the marriage of male and female is an institution created and blessed by God. From marriage, God forms families to serve as the building blocks of all human civilization and community. We teach and practice that sexual activity belongs exclusively within the Biblical boundaries of a faithful marriage between one man and one woman.

7. The Mission and Ministry of the Congregation
We believe and confess that the Church is the assembly of believers called and gathered by God around Word and Sacrament, and that the mission and ministry of the Church is carried out within the context of individual congregations, which are able to work together locally and globally
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: DCharlton on December 01, 2021, 08:25:27 PM
Pastor Charlton:
Either a fully formed left-wing social activist, or no pastor at all.

Me:
When you hear of right wing social activist being threatened or put under discipline, let me know, I’ll be on their side for their right to speak up.

I'll never defend a right-wing social activist. They have no place in the ministry.  That's where you and I differ.

However, I will defend seminarians who believes Biblical marriage is between and man and a woman, who opposes revisionist God language, distinguishes Law and Gospel, or believes that Christ is the only mediator between God and human beings.  I happen to have spoken to seminarians who have been blackballed for holding those beliefs. 
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: DCharlton on December 01, 2021, 08:29:17 PM
"Safe" is different across the denominations, no?  In the ELCA, if a pastor opined here that Rittenhouse was a just verdict as opposed to Bp. Eaton's letter, would they be disciplined?  Could they be disciplined?  I think the answer is no on both counts.  What opinion can or could a pastor be brought up on charges for in the ELCA?  Maybe none. 
At the same time, could that post be saved and used down the line to keep the pastor off a call list by a bishop or two?  I don't know, but that I think could happen.   People used to send me stuff all the time, not from alpb forum, but "proof" of bad behavior.  So is ALPB forum a safe space in the ELCA?  Generally, yes.??

Generally speaking, the Lutheran Left has total control of the ELCA.  Very few people of confessional Lutheran or evangelical catholic bent are ever given a platform in ELCA publications, assemblies, conferences and the like.  Dissenters can generally be ignored, because they have no influence over the direction of the church. 

There are two exceptions to this.  1) Any pastor who can be credibly accused of encouraging a congregation to leave the ELCA can be disciplined.  2) Seminarians and candidates for ordination are under severe scrutiny.  Any hints of conservatism or traditional thought may result in hostility up to and including being dropped from the candidacy process. 

In other words, as long as people with conservative or traditional views can be shut out from positions of power, pastors are afraid of speaking out, and all future pastors have been vetted for the taint of traditional views, there is no reason to go after individuals.  It's the "leapfrog" strategy of WWII applied to the church.  No reason to invade an island when you can simply cut it off from all support and allow to whither on the vine.  The last generation of pre-2009 pastors will be reaching retirement age very soon.  In the next generation, the churches that have held onto more traditional theological, liturgical, social and political views will have a choice.  Either a fully formed left-wing social activist, or no pastor at all.

Apparently you haven't met any ELCA clergy who are part of Lutheran Core (Coalition for Renewal). There are some.

You silly person.  I am on the Board of Lutheran CORE.  I know that there are some traditional pastors left.  I also know that I am about the youngest.  Within 15 years, the remaining traditional pastors will have retired.  Those replacing them will have been indoctrinated into a completely different model of ministry: social activism. 
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 01, 2021, 08:33:12 PM
Pastor Charlton:
Either a fully formed left-wing social activist, or no pastor at all.

Me:
When you hear of right wing social activist being threatened or put under discipline, let me know, I’ll be on their side for their right to speak up.

I'll never defend a right-wing social activist. They have no place in the ministry.  That's where you and I differ.

However, I will defend seminarians who believes Biblical marriage is between and man and a woman, who opposes revisionist God language, distinguishes Law and Gospel, or believes that Christ is the only mediator between God and human beings.  I happen to have spoken to seminarians who have been blackballed for holding those beliefs.

David, if it's not too sensitive a question, may I ask what being blackballed entails? For example, are the students withheld from a call to service?
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: DCharlton on December 01, 2021, 08:37:24 PM
The prime example of more conservative people being weeded out of the ELCA in recent years is the NALC, and the second one is the LCMC.  Lots of that was self-weeding in that the individuals and congregations determined to leave - they weren't expelled.  Instead they were propelled. 

That still remains true in the case of congregations and pastors.  Where it is not true is in regard to seminarians and candidates for ordination.  People who have the kind of theology that was once mainstream in the ELCA are now weeded out.  A person who had the kind of theology characterized by Carl Bratten or Robert Jenson would no longer be welcome at our seminaries.  You're as likely to have a proponent of women's ordination and open Communion graduate from Ft. Wayne as you would a traditional ELCA student graduate from one of our seminaries.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dave Benke on December 01, 2021, 09:09:22 PM
If the objection is that people who publicly represent the LCMS should feel free to publicly contradict the LCMS without any possible repercussions, then I would say that makes no sense. You don't even get that from hourly rate employers. If you work at Pepsi, you're not supposed to be out there on Twitter saying how much better Coke is than Pepsi. That doesn't mean Twitter is unsafe for you.

On the other hand, I and a few of the other ELCA participants here have felt free ti contradict the ELCA. No real concern about repercussions other than eye-rolling and perhaps public shaming. Certainly no discipline.

That's what I see.  I'm not sure there's a route to discipline. 

In the LCMS the road is very clearly marked.   The encouragement is strongly for any issue to use the Dispute Resolution Process, and there are tons of people trained in the practice of dealing with conflict Confessionally, whether it's the color of the rugs or whether the individual cups may never be used.  The leader of that effort is/was a layperson from Montana/Wyoming. 

That, along with the Koinonia Project, are supposed to be "safe spaces" for working through differences.  The other processes, the ones leading to expulsion, because they're so clearly marked, are the way we in our little corner of the world often choose to ease on down the road.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 01, 2021, 09:58:19 PM
However, I will defend seminarians who believes Biblical marriage is between and man and a woman,

Biblical marriages, actually, "the taking of a woman," also involve the approval of the parents, the payment of a bride-price to her father, a party with lots of wine, and then sleeping together.

Biblically, the man could divorce the woman, but the woman couldn't divorce the man.

Biblically, the man could marry more than one woman.

Make sure that you aren't reading into the Bible our modern understanding of marriage rather than reading out of scriptures what the Bible actually says about marriage, oops, "taking a woman."

Quote
who opposes revisionist God language,

I agree that there have been revisions that go beyond the biblical images of our God. However, what I see printed in our liturgies are biblical images that might not have been used before. We maintain the understanding of the Trinity. We state that only Father, Son, and Holy Spirit language is to be used for baptisms - the only place scripture says to use it; even though Acts only baptized in the name of Jesus.

Quote
distinguishes Law and Gospel,

I agree. We need to properly distinguish Law and Gospel. God's Word comes to us as both Law, with its two (or maybe three) uses; and Gospel. Preaching the civil use of the Law can still be preaching God's Word. However, such preaching does not bring God's salvation without preaching the Gospel.

Quote
or believes that Christ is the only mediator between God and human beings.

No question about Christ being the only mediator between God and human beings. The question I bring up is whether or not the human beings have to know and agree with the idea that Christ is the only mediate before Christ can actually mediate for them. I maintain that since God's ways are beyond our ways, Christ can be the mediator without humans knowing it.

Quote
I happen to have spoken to seminarians who have been blackballed for holding those beliefs.

There were seminarians back in my day who refused to read Bultmann as well as some other assigned books because they believed that the authors were heretical. They weren't surprised when they weren't approved for advancement. It wasn't just their beliefs that was the problem, but their refusal to do the assignments. (Matriculation was done by the seminary faculty back in those days.) Although it was at another seminary, I talked with some students about a man i knew who had gone there. He graduated and was ordained, but his classmates said that he was the only student who went through four years of seminary and didn't learn a damn thing. His mind was already made up and he wasn't going to let those professors teach him anything. (He didn't last long in a parish.)


Along that line, Henri Nouwen writes about training for ministry in Reaching Out. He calls it "a docta ignorantia, a learned ignorance."

This is very difficult to accept for people whose whole attitude is toward mastering and controlling the world. We all want to be educated so that we can be in control of the situation and make things work according to our own need. But education to ministry is an education not to master God but to be mastered by God. [p. 74]

He then relates the following story (which I have to admit was also part of my seminary education):

I remember the educational story of a thirty-year-old Methodist minister from South Africa. When this man felt called to the ministry and was accepted by the church, he was sent as an assistant pastor to work in a parish without any formal theological training. But he was so convinced of his insights and experience, and his enthusiasm and fervor were so great that he had no problem in giving long sermons and strong lectures. But then, after two years, he was called back and sent to the seminary for theological education. Reflecting on his time in the seminary, he said, "During those years I read the works of many theologians, philosophers and novelists. Whereas before everything seemed so clear-cut and self-evident to me, I now lost my certainties, developed many questions and became much less certain of myself and my truth." In a sense, his years of formation were more years of unlearning than of learning and when he returned to the ministry he had less to say but much more to listen to. [p. 74]

Was it holding those beliefs or being unwilling to learn? Unwilling to listen to other views? Unwilling to adequately support those beliefs while respecting others who held different beliefs?
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 01, 2021, 10:04:32 PM
You silly person.  I am on the Board of Lutheran CORE.  I know that there are some traditional pastors left.  I also know that I am about the youngest.  Within 15 years, the remaining traditional pastors will have retired.  Those replacing them will have been indoctrinated into a completely different model of ministry: social activism.


The lady I have had many discussions with is much younger than I am. Recently married. Two young children.


When I would go into the Lutheran Core displays or rooms at Synod Assemblies, they weren't all elderly folks.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 01, 2021, 11:12:03 PM
However, I will defend seminarians who believes Biblical marriage is between and man and a woman,

Biblical marriages, actually, "the taking of a woman," also involve the approval of the parents, the payment of a bride-price to her father, a party with lots of wine, and then sleeping together.

Biblically, the man could divorce the woman, but the woman couldn't divorce the man.

Biblically, the man could marry more than one woman.

Make sure that you aren't reading into the Bible our modern understanding of marriage rather than reading out of scriptures what the Bible actually says about marriage, oops, "taking a woman."

Quote
who opposes revisionist God language,

I agree that there have been revisions that go beyond the biblical images of our God. However, what I see printed in our liturgies are biblical images that might not have been used before. We maintain the understanding of the Trinity. We state that only Father, Son, and Holy Spirit language is to be used for baptisms - the only place scripture says to use it; even though Acts only baptized in the name of Jesus.

Quote
distinguishes Law and Gospel,

I agree. We need to properly distinguish Law and Gospel. God's Word comes to us as both Law, with its two (or maybe three) uses; and Gospel. Preaching the civil use of the Law can still be preaching God's Word. However, such preaching does not bring God's salvation without preaching the Gospel.

Quote
or believes that Christ is the only mediator between God and human beings.

No question about Christ being the only mediator between God and human beings. The question I bring up is whether or not the human beings have to know and agree with the idea that Christ is the only mediate before Christ can actually mediate for them. I maintain that since God's ways are beyond our ways, Christ can be the mediator without humans knowing it.

Quote
I happen to have spoken to seminarians who have been blackballed for holding those beliefs.

There were seminarians back in my day who refused to read Bultmann as well as some other assigned books because they believed that the authors were heretical. They weren't surprised when they weren't approved for advancement. It wasn't just their beliefs that was the problem, but their refusal to do the assignments. (Matriculation was done by the seminary faculty back in those days.) Although it was at another seminary, I talked with some students about a man i knew who had gone there. He graduated and was ordained, but his classmates said that he was the only student who went through four years of seminary and didn't learn a damn thing. His mind was already made up and he wasn't going to let those professors teach him anything. (He didn't last long in a parish.)


Along that line, Henri Nouwen writes about training for ministry in Reaching Out. He calls it "a docta ignorantia, a learned ignorance."

This is very difficult to accept for people whose whole attitude is toward mastering and controlling the world. We all want to be educated so that we can be in control of the situation and make things work according to our own need. But education to ministry is an education not to master God but to be mastered by God. [p. 74]

He then relates the following story (which I have to admit was also part of my seminary education):

I remember the educational story of a thirty-year-old Methodist minister from South Africa. When this man felt called to the ministry and was accepted by the church, he was sent as an assistant pastor to work in a parish without any formal theological training. But he was so convinced of his insights and experience, and his enthusiasm and fervor were so great that he had no problem in giving long sermons and strong lectures. But then, after two years, he was called back and sent to the seminary for theological education. Reflecting on his time in the seminary, he said, "During those years I read the works of many theologians, philosophers and novelists. Whereas before everything seemed so clear-cut and self-evident to me, I now lost my certainties, developed many questions and became much less certain of myself and my truth." In a sense, his years of formation were more years of unlearning than of learning and when he returned to the ministry he had less to say but much more to listen to. [p. 74]

Was it holding those beliefs or being unwilling to learn? Unwilling to listen to other views? Unwilling to adequately support those beliefs while respecting others who held different beliefs?
Are you implying that students who would upon the teachings about marriage that have been held by the church for going on two millennia are Biblically illiterate? That conservative students would be those unwilling to learn or do a@ignments? (By the by, in my LCMS theological education I did learn about JEDP and the various critical methods of Biblical study.) Our LCMS theological positions are not maintain by ignorance.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 02, 2021, 12:17:49 AM
Yes, I think this forum needs more ELCA participating members.
But I also think it needs more LCMS participation. However, it needs the participation of those clergy and others who practice a more open communion than is declared to be your policy. We know such people exist.
There are also LCMS clergy willing to discuss ordination for women, perhaps not favoring it themselves,  but willing to have the discussion.
There are also LcMS clergy with views on the church and state and other matters that are in sharp conflict with those expressed by the most active LCMSers currently in this forum.
However, I believe they would be reluctant to take open and honest part in some discussion here because of those all too willing to cause trouble for or bring charges against those they believe to be straying from LCMS orthodoxy.
Yet these people - moderates? Liberals even? - represent a significant segment, who knows how large, of the LCMS constituency.
Would they feel safe here?
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Michael Slusser on December 02, 2021, 12:23:01 AM
Yes, I think this forum needs more ELCA participating members.
But I also think it needs more LCMS participation. However, it needs the participation of those clergy and others who practice a more open communion than is declared to be your policy. We know such people exist.
There are also LCMS clergy willing to discuss ordination for women, perhaps not favoring it themselves,  but willing to have the discussion.
There are also LcMS clergy with views on the church and state and other matters that are in sharp conflict with those expressed by the most active LCMSers currently in this forum.
However, I believe they would be reluctant to take open and honest part in some discussion here because of those all to willing to cause trouble for or bring charges against those they believe to be straying  from LCMS orthodoxy.
Yet these people - moderates? Liberals even? - represent a significant segment, who knows how large, of the LCMS constituency.
Would they feel safe here?
Perhaps not if they had to use their real names . . . .

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 02, 2021, 12:51:10 AM
Again, safe from what? If you already know what you want them to say, why do you want them here to say it? I don’t know of anyone in the LCMS who has been put up charges for what they post here. I do know of one person who left because Charles threatened to report him to his employer about all the time he spent in this forum while on the clock. People who might feel “unsafe” are regularly told by Charles that remaining anonymous is cowardly and if they can’t handle the rough and tumble of defending their words they shouldn’t post.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 02, 2021, 04:02:48 AM
You can't make it about me, Peter. I can't do anything to get any LCMSer in trouble, and if you don't recognize my pondering - O, so many years ago - about your Synod's second highest-paid employee as snarky/bitter rhetoric and not a threat, then you really can't grasp the give-and-take of this kind of discussion.
   (BTW scuttlebutt was that your Purple Palace itself might have kiboshed that poster, but never mind.)
   Among ELCA participants here have been posters who regularly and fervently, sometimes ferociously, denounced our bishops, mocked our social statements, fire-bombed our news releases, and otherwise expressed their more than mild discontent with language stronger than that appropriate for Victorian teatime.
  I am convinced that there is a significant segment of the LCMS (people who are probably in local discussions and/or cooperation with ELCA congregations) whose views and practices are not represented here. I think they ought to be here. But I understand why they are not.
   Recall some of the discussions about the "mobbing" article. Some of your people left over that. Maybe you have your own brand of "cancel culture." But don't lay it on me.
   P.S. Some years ago, before I left the Facebook "discussion" realm (time-consuming, unfocussed, hard to navigate), a large handful of ELCAers regularly branded this humble correspondent with the "out-of-touch-conservative" iron.  :)
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 02, 2021, 04:15:35 AM
Fr. Slusser,
Perhaps not if they had to use their real names . . . .
I comment:
Another problem indeed. Suppose LCMS Pastor Cory Cosgrove-Hebblethwaite of Trinity Lutheran Church, Springfield, Anystate, were here talking about his congregation's open communion policy, women communion assistants (vested even!), participation in his town's Inter-religious Thanksgiving Service, and support of a Black Lives Matter chapter, urging the rest of you to consider similar things. How long do you think it would be before Pastor Cosgrove-Hebblethwaite (his wife is from the Connecticut Cosgroves) became a target for some of your self-appointed purifiers?
I'm at a loss to figure out how we could expand the participation here.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dave Benke on December 02, 2021, 08:41:13 AM
The prime example of more conservative people being weeded out of the ELCA in recent years is the NALC, and the second one is the LCMC.  Lots of that was self-weeding in that the individuals and congregations determined to leave - they weren't expelled.  Instead they were propelled. 

That still remains true in the case of congregations and pastors.  Where it is not true is in regard to seminarians and candidates for ordination.  People who have the kind of theology that was once mainstream in the ELCA are now weeded out.  A person who had the kind of theology characterized by Carl Bratten or Robert Jenson would no longer be welcome at our seminaries.  You're as likely to have a proponent of women's ordination and open Communion graduate from Ft. Wayne as you would a traditional ELCA student graduate from one of our seminaries.

Training/formation control is the holy grail when it comes to denominational futures across the board.  The beauty of Lutheran formation across the denominations for a long, long time was the priority of the Gospel, the Means of Grace and the order of service, proclamation, forgiveness, and life in community.  I don't think that stopped at the Missouri Synod border or the Wisconsin Synod border or the ALC or LCA borders.  The dynamic nature of Lutheran theology was a given, and it was explored vigorously from a variety of starting points to a roughly common set of endpoints. 

Just thinking about a gathering of all the various seminary faculties to discuss education as formation inside the theological disciplines brings a laugh out loud moment, doesn't it?  "Iron sharpens iron" would have a different meaning, because the smoke rising wouldn't be a peace pipe, but a series of explosions and battle cries.

So how the NALC/LCMC, say, do formation and training is of interest.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: D. Engebretson on December 02, 2021, 09:06:44 AM
Fr. Slusser,
Perhaps not if they had to use their real names . . . .
I comment:
Another problem indeed. Suppose LCMS Pastor Cory Cosgrove-Hebblethwaite of Trinity Lutheran Church, Springfield, Anystate, were here talking about his congregation's open communion policy, women communion assistants (vested even!), participation in his town's Inter-religious Thanksgiving Service, and support of a Black Lives Matter chapter, urging the rest of you to consider similar things. How long do you think it would be before Pastor Cosgrove-Hebblethwaite (his wife is from the Connecticut Cosgroves) became a target for some of your self-appointed purifiers?
I'm at a loss to figure out how we could expand the participation here.

I have always used my given name since joining the forum and support the idea of that practice.  But in doing that I also recognize that all of my comments are public and viewable by anyone - members of my parish, my fellow pastors, district and synodical officials.  Because of that I am careful in how I post. For one thing, as a district official representing the synod my voice is more than just what I may feel on a personal level on a given day. If I felt I was in serious descent with my church body over what it taught and practiced (which I am not), I don't think this is the place to work that out. I would be in conversation with my district president on a one-to-one basis.  And if the day came when I felt I could no longer support and uphold what my church body taught and practiced, I would leave and find a church body that I could support. 

The Forum, on the other hand, does give me an opportunity to interact virtually with others from church bodies different than my own, and in doing so, attempt to better understand their views and practices.  I am not here to have a platform to attack or question my church body.  We have places and means in the LCMS for that to occur, but a public forum is not one of them.

My .02 cents...
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 02, 2021, 09:46:38 AM
Fr. Slusser,
Perhaps not if they had to use their real names . . . .
I comment:
Another problem indeed. Suppose LCMS Pastor Cory Cosgrove-Hebblethwaite of Trinity Lutheran Church, Springfield, Anystate, were here talking about his congregation's open communion policy, women communion assistants (vested even!), participation in his town's Inter-religious Thanksgiving Service, and support of a Black Lives Matter chapter, urging the rest of you to consider similar things. How long do you think it would be before Pastor Cosgrove-Hebblethwaite (his wife is from the Connecticut Cosgroves) became a target for some of your self-appointed purifiers?
I'm at a loss to figure out how we could expand the participation here.
I don't think anything would happen to Pr. Cosgrove-Hebblethwaite. If anyone claimed his communion policy goes against synod, he'd simply reaffirm that he practices close communion in accord with synodical resolutions, but those resolutions include pastoral discretion, which he uses in a very generous way, being the Gospel-centered guy that he is. My own congregation growing up had vested women assisting with communion-- still does as far as I know-- and though many people disagree with the practice and it isn't something I would make a point of replicating, I don't think it runs afoul of any synodical resolution. The Inter-Religious Thanksgiving Service would be something I doubt even Pr. Cosgrove-Hebblethwaite would bother with anymore as such things have become caricatures of themselves. They're a holdover from the mainline heyday. But if he did participate, he would say that it was a secular event or that his part was separated off from the other clergy parts, or some such. You really have to formally, officially, and repeatedly teach that the synod is wrong for the synod to decide you no longer represent it.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 02, 2021, 09:52:59 AM
I’m not only talking about your official, theoretical procedures. I’m talking about the kind of hassle that might arise from folks who imagine themselves to the bearing the inquisitorial rod.
Or an overzealous district president.
CMA
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: DCharlton on December 02, 2021, 09:57:20 AM
You silly person.  I am on the Board of Lutheran CORE.  I know that there are some traditional pastors left.  I also know that I am about the youngest.  Within 15 years, the remaining traditional pastors will have retired.  Those replacing them will have been indoctrinated into a completely different model of ministry: social activism.


The lady I have had many discussions with is much younger than I am. Recently married. Two young children.


When I would go into the Lutheran Core displays or rooms at Synod Assemblies, they weren't all elderly folks.

When was the last time you saw a CORE display at a synod assembly? 
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 02, 2021, 10:11:26 AM
Over the years, I have followed a number of disciplinary cases in the LCA and ELCA. Most cases are handled very very quietly. Most people hardly know they  even happened. And most do not reach the “juridical” level. The offense, as it were, is not in dispute and the problem is how to handle the removal of the pastor. I know of one ELCA case where the bishop showed up at the parsonage on Saturday afternoon and had a conversation with the pastor. Then the bishop appeared at church Sunday morning and said “as of now Pastor X is no longer your pastor. I have appointed a vice pastor to care for things until you can be ready to enter the call process.” A letter was sent to the congregation explaining, without too many details, the reason for the action.
In another case, and I have seen the correspondence on this one because I was writing a history of the congregation, The bishop, Who had been contacted by members of the congregation and investigated the situation, told the pastor that he had to stop doing certain things, namely importing various elements of the Charismatic Movement into the life of the congregation. At first the pastor, who had some support from members of the congregation, resisted. The bishop stood firm, a few members who supported the charismatic activities left the congregation.
The pastor, then reconsidering his career, agreed to resign from the congregation and the bishop said he would give him another call provided that he cannot do the same thing in the next call. He stayed in his next call for 18 years, and was relatively successful, before a peaceful retirement.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: John_Hannah on December 02, 2021, 10:18:09 AM
"Is this a safe place?" may not be the best way to frame the question before us. Better might be, "Has the ALPB lost its former independence as a Lutheran voice?"

After World War II, the ALPB advocated for a number of independent views, initially in contrast to prevailing LCMS assumptions but later also questioning ELCA predecessors. Notable here was Richard John Neuhaus who challenged Missouri's biblicism (SEMINEX), isolation the ("44"), Protestant assumptions on liturgy, indifference to  racial justice, ELCA apparent captivity to social justice. RJN was the foremost critic but he was not alone. Overbearing leadership from both bodies was often targeted.

ALPB Commitment to the Lutheran Confessions was never in doubt through that tumult. We advocated serious engagement with Roman Catholicism as well as Lutheran unity. We championed the Lutheran Book of Worship and its array of related liturgical renewal. We criticized highhanded maneuvers. The recent "Mobbing" issue was a vestige of that theme. Likewise there is the regular lament that orthodox ELCA pastors are sidelined; it is probable that LCMS pastors are likewise sidelined if not "pc" by Missouri conventional thought. (Think WO, "closed" communion, or six day.)

The ALPB lost in all those contests which is why there is no "safe place" for those of us on those "losing sides." Not here. Not anywhere. Who will break the cycle of bondage?
Could this modest Forum become the instrument for a breakthrough of renewed independence and confessional seriousness?   

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 02, 2021, 10:22:07 AM
Fr. Slusser,
Perhaps not if they had to use their real names . . . .
I comment:
Another problem indeed. Suppose LCMS Pastor Cory Cosgrove-Hebblethwaite of Trinity Lutheran Church, Springfield, Anystate, were here talking about his congregation's open communion policy, women communion assistants (vested even!), participation in his town's Inter-religious Thanksgiving Service, and support of a Black Lives Matter chapter, urging the rest of you to consider similar things. How long do you think it would be before Pastor Cosgrove-Hebblethwaite (his wife is from the Connecticut Cosgroves) became a target for some of your self-appointed purifiers?
I'm at a loss to figure out how we could expand the participation here.

I have always used my given name since joining the forum and support the idea of that practice.  But in doing that I also recognize that all of my comments are public and viewable by anyone - members of my parish, my fellow pastors, district and synodical officials.  Because of that I am careful in how I post. For one thing, as a district official representing the synod my voice is more than just what I may feel on a personal level on a given day. If I felt I was in serious descent with my church body over what it taught and practiced (which I am not), I don't think this is the place to work that out. I would be in conversation with my district president on a one-to-one basis.  And if the day came when I felt I could no longer support and uphold what my church body taught and practiced, I would leave and find a church body that I could support. 

The Forum, on the other hand, does give me an opportunity to interact virtually with others from church bodies different than my own, and in doing so, attempt to better understand their views and practices.  I am not here to have a platform to attack or question my church body.  We have places and means in the LCMS for that to occur, but a public forum is not one of them.

My .02 cents...

This is a good post. Thank you.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dave Benke on December 02, 2021, 11:38:09 AM
"Is this a safe place?" may not be the best way to frame the question before us. Better might be, "Has the ALPB lost its former independence as a Lutheran voice?"

After World War II, the ALPB advocated for a number of independent views, initially in contrast to prevailing LCMS assumptions but later also questioning ELCA predecessors. Notable here was Richard John Neuhaus who challenged Missouri's biblicism (SEMINEX), isolation the ("44"), Protestant assumptions on liturgy, indifference to  racial justice, ELCA apparent captivity to social justice. RJN was the foremost critic but he was not alone. Overbearing leadership from both bodies was often targeted.

ALPB Commitment to the Lutheran Confessions was never in doubt through that tumult. We advocated serious engagement with Roman Catholicism as well as Lutheran unity. We championed the Lutheran Book of Worship and its array of related liturgical renewal. We criticized highhanded maneuvers. The recent "Mobbing" issue was a vestige of that theme. Likewise there is the regular lament that orthodox ELCA pastors are sidelined; it is probable that LCMS pastors are likewise sidelined if not "pc" by Missouri conventional thought. (Think WO, "closed" communion, or six day.)

The ALPB lost in all those contests which is why there is no "safe place" for those of us on those "losing sides." Not here. Not anywhere. Who will break the cycle of bondage?
Could this modest Forum become the instrument for a breakthrough of renewed independence and confessional seriousness?   

Peace, JOHN

Thank you, ALPB President Emeritus! 

On the ELCA side, the product of our independent confessional seriousness has some significant upsides.  And we at ALPB should address how to best express confessional seriousness through our editors.  That's a robust set of involvements and commitments in publishing.  (I don't consider the online forum to be "publishing," because it doesn't follow the procedures of publishing.)

The somewhat sticky part is going in that robust direction at the same time a differently robust evangelical and catholic set of determinations in publishing are made with regard to the Missouri Synod. 

Taking women's service as Church as a topic, on this online forum we have succeeded in pretty much eliminating women from active participation.   That's not the case in our publications. The robust approach across denominations would be to include women in the dialog about women's service in our publications from both an ordained and commissioned/non-ordained perspective.  For some the confessional approach states that women may not vote in the church assembly (WELS/ELS) or that women may not hold church office, or that women may not read a lesson in a church service.  At the same time there are women who are ordained and have been in ordained service for decades, and consider themselves to be confessional Lutherans through and through.

Anyway, it's a nice challenge at an opportune time!

Dave Benke 
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Matt Hummel on December 02, 2021, 11:42:59 AM
Yes, I think this forum needs more ELCA participating members.
But I also think it needs more LCMS participation. However, it needs the participation of those clergy and others who practice a more open communion than is declared to be your policy. We know such people exist.
There are also LCMS clergy willing to discuss ordination for women, perhaps not favoring it themselves,  but willing to have the discussion.
There are also LcMS clergy with views on the church and state and other matters that are in sharp conflict with those expressed by the most active LCMSers currently in this forum.
However, I believe they would be reluctant to take open and honest part in some discussion here because of those all too willing to cause trouble for or bring charges against those they believe to be straying from LCMS orthodoxy.
Yet these people - moderates? Liberals even? - represent a significant segment, who knows how large, of the LCMS constituency.
Would they feel safe here?

Yes, yes, the mean, bad LCMS. Because in the ELCA it was/is totz safe for Pr. Anderson-Klupp to state openly

his/her belief that abortion is actually the taking of a human life and it is about time the ELCA as an entity did something.

his/her belief that same sex attraction is not part of God's beautiful design for life and that marriage actually is a life long covenant of fidelity between one man and one woman

his/her belief that XX and XY have meaning and that modern gnosticism is still gnosticism

Well do I recall your yammering at me saying that if I didn't like it, I should leave, and then getting angry at me for leaving.

When you make the ELCA a "safe place," then you can complain about the meanie LCMSers. My experience is not one of hostility, and heck, I'm a papist who thinks vaccines are a good idea! So yeah, get the sequoia out of your ocular orbit. Then speak of specks.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 02, 2021, 11:46:06 AM
Pastor Hannah writes:
After World War II, the ALPB advocated for a number of independent views, initially in contrast to prevailing LCMS assumptions but later also questioning ELCA predecessors. Notable here was Richard John Neuhaus who challenged Missouri's biblicism (SEMINEX), isolation the ("44"), Protestant assumptions on liturgy, indifference to racial justice, ELCA apparent captivity to social justice. RJN was the foremost critic but he was not alone. Overbearing leadership from both bodies was often targeted.
I comment:
Yes. Though RJN was an evolving voice, first leading us into greater engagement with the world as one of the early and prominent anti-Vietnam war activists and civil rights crusader, then aligning with the neo-cons as a critique of some of the things he formerly espoused. He remained a prominent voice because of the visibility he obtained through William S. Buckley and some others.
   But the "loyal opposition" critique of our denominations was a hallmark of ALPB publications.

Pastor Hannah:
ALPB Commitment to the Lutheran Confessions was never in doubt through that tumult. We advocated serious engagement with Roman Catholicism as well as Lutheran unity.
Me:
Yes. But growing voices, mostly in the LCMS and some in the LCA/ALC, found our kind of ecumenism anti-confessional, especially as our agreements fostered altar fellowship and, in the case of the Episcopalians, the special ministry of bishops.

Pastor Hannah:
We championed the Lutheran Book of Worship and its array of related liturgical renewal.
Me:
Then, at the last moment, the LCMS pulled out of the LBW project.

Pastor Hannah:
We criticized highhanded maneuvers. The recent "Mobbing" issue was a vestige of that theme. Likewise there is the regular lament that orthodox ELCA pastors are sidelined; it is probable that LCMS pastors are likewise sidelined if not "pc" by Missouri conventional thought. (Think WO, "closed" communion, or six day.)
Me:
Yes again. There was the time when some of us who considered ourselves "confessional" and "orthodox" were dismissed in some high LCA/ALC circles.

Pastor Hannah:
The ALPB lost in all those contests which is why there is no "safe place" for those of us on those "losing sides." Not here. Not anywhere. Who will break the cycle of bondage?
Could this modest Forum become the instrument for a breakthrough of renewed independence and confessional seriousness?
Me:
Yes. No. Maybe. I would hope so. 
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 02, 2021, 11:50:17 AM
Are you implying that students who would upon the teachings about marriage that have been held by the church for going on two millennia are Biblically illiterate? That conservative students would be those unwilling to learn or do a@ignments? (By the by, in my LCMS theological education I did learn about JEDP and the various critical methods of Biblical study.) Our LCMS theological positions are not maintain by ignorance.


I am saying, and have said, that our present understanding of marriage does not come from the Bible. I don't know about you, but I did not ask my father-in-law for permission to marry his daughter. I did not pay him a bride-price to transfer his daughter to my hand. These were essential parts of "marriage" according to the Bible. There's nothing wrong with our understanding of marriage: a public and legal commitment to each other, registered in the state that is meant to last a life-time; but to say that this comes from the Bible is not correct.


Did you refuse to read assigned books because you thought you knew more than your professors?


I would hope that you learned both what was good about JEDP as well and the biblical evidence in support of that theory; as other theories about how the Torah came to be and the evidence for them. I think that many of these issues make us like a judge or jury in a courtroom. Each side presents their arguments and we have to decide which argument best fits the facts as we have them.


I note that these source theories didn't start with the theory and then look for evidence of them; but began with the study of scriptures and based on what they read, e.g., the names used for God, made a conclusion about sources. (The same applies to the two or four source theory for the synoptics. The theory comes out of a study of scriptures.)


I also add, that while the primacy of Mark and the existence of Q was taught in our seminaries, at least one ELCA pastor (who used to post here,) maintained the primacy of Matthew with Mark writing an abbreviated version as his (and other's) conclusion about the connection between those two gospels. He was not blackballed because he had a different understanding. He also disagreed with the ELCA's growing acceptance on homosexual relationships. He was ordained; and recently received and accepted a new Call. (He's no longer on the ELCA clergy roster for reasons unrelated to these positions.)
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 02, 2021, 11:52:29 AM
Fr. Hummel, believe me, I am not angry at you for leaving. I'd send you a Rosary that a Vatican friend (a former classmate at Aquinas Institute) gave me, but it has some family-historical value for me.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 02, 2021, 12:03:03 PM
You silly person.  I am on the Board of Lutheran CORE.  I know that there are some traditional pastors left.  I also know that I am about the youngest.  Within 15 years, the remaining traditional pastors will have retired.  Those replacing them will have been indoctrinated into a completely different model of ministry: social activism.


The lady I have had many discussions with is much younger than I am. Recently married. Two young children.


When I would go into the Lutheran Core displays or rooms at Synod Assemblies, they weren't all elderly folks.

When was the last time you saw a CORE display at a synod assembly?


It's not likely that they would have had a display. Generally, only ELCA or synod sponsored agencies get display space. Especially in recent years, our synod assemblies have been at a congregation where there hasn't been a large room available for displays by anyone.


Churchwide Assemblies only had displays of ELCA ministries. This surprised an Episcopal priest who attended one and we shared a hotel room. At their events, there are all kinds of venders selling their wares. At the last Churchwide Assembly I attended, CORE had a room where they had presentations and opportunities to visit with folks.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dave Benke on December 02, 2021, 12:29:12 PM
You silly person.  I am on the Board of Lutheran CORE.  I know that there are some traditional pastors left.  I also know that I am about the youngest.  Within 15 years, the remaining traditional pastors will have retired.  Those replacing them will have been indoctrinated into a completely different model of ministry: social activism.


The lady I have had many discussions with is much younger than I am. Recently married. Two young children.


When I would go into the Lutheran Core displays or rooms at Synod Assemblies, they weren't all elderly folks.

When was the last time you saw a CORE display at a synod assembly?


It's not likely that they would have had a display. Generally, only ELCA or synod sponsored agencies get display space. Especially in recent years, our synod assemblies have been at a congregation where there hasn't been a large room available for displays by anyone.


Churchwide Assemblies only had displays of ELCA ministries. This surprised an Episcopal priest who attended one and we shared a hotel room. At their events, there are all kinds of venders selling their wares. At the last Churchwide Assembly I attended, CORE had a room where they had presentations and opportunities to visit with folks.

This is the same policy in the Missouri Synod at the national level.  I think (going back in time) that wasn't the way we did things in the Atlantic District, and had Patrick Baker as a speaker one time because great discounts on clergy garb were given.   A national event where there's lots of opportunity for vendor confab is the national Best Practices Conference in Phoenix in February.  Lots of the big/mega churches are there, but also many younger practitioners looking to network. 1000 plus people there, independently organized.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: DCharlton on December 02, 2021, 01:05:39 PM
You said:

When I would go into the Lutheran Core displays or rooms at Synod Assemblies, they weren't all elderly folks.

I said:
Quote
When was the last time you saw a CORE display at a synod assembly?

You evade the simple question by saying:
Quote
It's not likely that they would have had a display. Generally, only ELCA or synod sponsored agencies get display space. Especially in recent years, our synod assemblies have been at a congregation where there hasn't been a large room available for displays by anyone.

Churchwide Assemblies only had displays of ELCA ministries. This surprised an Episcopal priest who attended one and we shared a hotel room. At their events, there are all kinds of venders selling their wares. At the last Churchwide Assembly I attended, CORE had a room where they had presentations and opportunities to visit with folks.

From this I conclude that you have no idea when the last time was that you went "into Core displays or rooms at Synod Assemblies."  I you do know, give a plain answer.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 02, 2021, 01:18:41 PM
Who will determine for the alpb whether an article submitted for publication is sufficiently confessional for the alpb brand? What criteria will they use?
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: DCharlton on December 02, 2021, 01:44:36 PM
Not only are conservative students in a precarious position in ELCA seminaries, so are those who are politically liberal but theologically orthodox.  Even students who are "inclusive orthodox" (i.e those who are orthodox on all issues except for same-sex marriage) have to keep their heads down.  The best advice is not to speak up during class.  However, as one person tells me, you never know what is going to trigger someone.  Stating one's opposition to same-sex marriage is definitely out.  Questioning whether trans-women are really women would certainly be out of line, as would criticizing some of the ELCA's celebrities, or being critical of the ELCA itself.  However, other orthodox statements regarding Law and Gospel, the atonement, universal salvation, or a host of other things might also cause trouble.

In some cases, the result is individual hostility and harassment.  In other cases, it could result in group mobbing.  Such incautious talk can also get one flagged by one's candidacy committee.  In one case, I have heard about a candidacy committee requiring a person to take Bible courses again because they had the "wrong hermeneutic".  Apparently, arriving at the "wrong conclusion" on LGBTQIA+ issues is evidence of the "wrong hermeneutic".  Getting flagged can also result in outright expulsion from the candidacy project.  I've been told that as long as the committee didn't make a procedural mistake, there is no appeal.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 02, 2021, 01:52:38 PM
I have clergy friends in mainline churches who have opined that in their circles to be Trinitarian in one's theology is to be considered conservative. Setting aside patriarchy and pronouns and feminine imagery for God, just the whole idea of one God in three Persons comes across as old fashioned theology from back when such questions mattered. 
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 02, 2021, 02:17:45 PM
Who will determine for the alpb whether an article submitted for publication is sufficiently confessional for the alpb brand? What criteria will they use?

I would assume that the lead/chief editor would decide under the guidance of whoever he reports to (e.g., board or representative).
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 02, 2021, 03:09:27 PM
Who will determine for the alpb whether an article submitted for publication is sufficiently confessional for the alpb brand? What criteria will they use?

I would assume that the lead/chief editor would decide under the guidance of whoever he reports to (e.g., board or representative).
Everyone who calls themselves Lutheran claims that their view is in keeping with the Confessions. Disembodied Lutheranism, mere abstract confessionalism, isn't a thing. It has to be embodied, and the embodiment of a confession is called a church, not a publicity bureau. In reality all the alpb can aspire to be is a certain flavor. We season the churches with a particular set of emphases. But there are no doctrinal criteria apart from what the various Lutheran bodies use.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Matt Hummel on December 02, 2021, 04:45:17 PM
Fr. Hummel, believe me, I am not angry at you for leaving. I'd send you a Rosary that a Vatican friend (a former classmate at Aquinas Institute) gave me, but it has some family-historical value for me.

Ever the name dropper. Charles- don’t you get it? You are the unsafe one here. Who else has threatened to doxx people on this forum for committing Austinian thoughtcrimes?

And several months ago a dear friend who is still in the ELCA extended to me an invitation to one of the ELCA FB groups for clergy. I wa on for about 72 hours. There is a dangerous place. It was abundantly clear that the requisite auto da fe would be carried out by anyone not keeping to the tenets of the one true faith. So anyone holding to the points I listed in my op would be torn to shreds by the bacchantes inhabiting that “safe space.”
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 02, 2021, 04:51:21 PM
Who will determine for the alpb whether an article submitted for publication is sufficiently confessional for the alpb brand? What criteria will they use?

I would assume that the lead/chief editor would decide under the guidance of whoever he reports to (e.g., board or representative).
Everyone who calls themselves Lutheran claims that their view is in keeping with the Confessions. Disembodied Lutheranism, mere abstract confessionalism, isn't a thing. It has to be embodied, and the embodiment of a confession is called a church, not a publicity bureau. In reality all the alpb can aspire to be is a certain flavor. We season the churches with a particular set of emphases. But there are no doctrinal criteria apart from what the various Lutheran bodies use.

Peter, are you calling for a sponsoring congregation or denomination for the ALPB?
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 02, 2021, 04:56:08 PM
Who will determine for the alpb whether an article submitted for publication is sufficiently confessional for the alpb brand? What criteria will they use?

I would assume that the lead/chief editor would decide under the guidance of whoever he reports to (e.g., board or representative).
Everyone who calls themselves Lutheran claims that their view is in keeping with the Confessions. Disembodied Lutheranism, mere abstract confessionalism, isn't a thing. It has to be embodied, and the embodiment of a confession is called a church, not a publicity bureau. In reality all the alpb can aspire to be is a certain flavor. We season the churches with a particular set of emphases. But there are no doctrinal criteria apart from what the various Lutheran bodies use.

Peter, are you calling for a sponsoring congregation or denomination for the ALPB?
No, I simply think we need to be realistic. We can season and flavor the churches, but we aren’t a church and the idea that what we offer is confessional seriousness confuses that point. We offer appreciation for liturgy, the centrality of communion, expressed hope for reunion with Rome and the unity of Christians, a higher-brow aesthetic when it comes to church art and music, and things of that nature.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 02, 2021, 05:16:33 PM
Father Hummel, I’m not surprised that you find an ELCA Facebook group unsafe.
There are a few Roman Catholic confraternities where, should I turn up at one of their convivialities, I would probably not want to eat or drink anything.
On the other hand, I have pleasantly dined with priests in the trenches of parish life, and with bishops and Cardinals.
Tales to tell, and some not to tell, have I.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 02, 2021, 11:00:28 PM
However, I will defend seminarians who believes Biblical marriage is between and man and a woman,

Biblical marriages, actually, "the taking of a woman," also involve the approval of the parents, the payment of a bride-price to her father, a party with lots of wine, and then sleeping together.

Biblically, the man could divorce the woman, but the woman couldn't divorce the man.

Biblically, the man could marry more than one woman.

Make sure that you aren't reading into the Bible our modern understanding of marriage rather than reading out of scriptures what the Bible actually says about marriage, oops, "taking a woman."

Quote
who opposes revisionist God language,

I agree that there have been revisions that go beyond the biblical images of our God. However, what I see printed in our liturgies are biblical images that might not have been used before. We maintain the understanding of the Trinity. We state that only Father, Son, and Holy Spirit language is to be used for baptisms - the only place scripture says to use it; even though Acts only baptized in the name of Jesus.

Quote
distinguishes Law and Gospel,

I agree. We need to properly distinguish Law and Gospel. God's Word comes to us as both Law, with its two (or maybe three) uses; and Gospel. Preaching the civil use of the Law can still be preaching God's Word. However, such preaching does not bring God's salvation without preaching the Gospel.

Quote
or believes that Christ is the only mediator between God and human beings.

No question about Christ being the only mediator between God and human beings. The question I bring up is whether or not the human beings have to know and agree with the idea that Christ is the only mediate before Christ can actually mediate for them. I maintain that since God's ways are beyond our ways, Christ can be the mediator without humans knowing it.

Quote
I happen to have spoken to seminarians who have been blackballed for holding those beliefs.

There were seminarians back in my day who refused to read Bultmann as well as some other assigned books because they believed that the authors were heretical. They weren't surprised when they weren't approved for advancement. It wasn't just their beliefs that was the problem, but their refusal to do the assignments. (Matriculation was done by the seminary faculty back in those days.) Although it was at another seminary, I talked with some students about a man i knew who had gone there. He graduated and was ordained, but his classmates said that he was the only student who went through four years of seminary and didn't learn a damn thing. His mind was already made up and he wasn't going to let those professors teach him anything. (He didn't last long in a parish.)


Along that line, Henri Nouwen writes about training for ministry in Reaching Out. He calls it "a docta ignorantia, a learned ignorance."

This is very difficult to accept for people whose whole attitude is toward mastering and controlling the world. We all want to be educated so that we can be in control of the situation and make things work according to our own need. But education to ministry is an education not to master God but to be mastered by God. [p. 74]

He then relates the following story (which I have to admit was also part of my seminary education):

I remember the educational story of a thirty-year-old Methodist minister from South Africa. When this man felt called to the ministry and was accepted by the church, he was sent as an assistant pastor to work in a parish without any formal theological training. But he was so convinced of his insights and experience, and his enthusiasm and fervor were so great that he had no problem in giving long sermons and strong lectures. But then, after two years, he was called back and sent to the seminary for theological education. Reflecting on his time in the seminary, he said, "During those years I read the works of many theologians, philosophers and novelists. Whereas before everything seemed so clear-cut and self-evident to me, I now lost my certainties, developed many questions and became much less certain of myself and my truth." In a sense, his years of formation were more years of unlearning than of learning and when he returned to the ministry he had less to say but much more to listen to. [p. 74]

Was it holding those beliefs or being unwilling to learn? Unwilling to listen to other views? Unwilling to adequately support those beliefs while respecting others who held different beliefs?
You never seem to consider that not all of the behaviors, customs, or laws reported in the Bible were necessarily in accordance with God's will or original plans for humanity. Jesus told us, for example, that the divorce laws were there not because God wanted divorce as a feature of marriage  but because of the hardness of their hearts.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2021, 01:02:25 AM
Fr. Hummel, believe me, I am not angry at you for leaving. I'd send you a Rosary that a Vatican friend (a former classmate at Aquinas Institute) gave me, but it has some family-historical value for me.

Ever the name dropper. Charles- don’t you get it? You are the unsafe one here. Who else has threatened to doxx people on this forum for committing Austinian thoughtcrimes?

And several months ago a dear friend who is still in the ELCA extended to me an invitation to one of the ELCA FB groups for clergy. I wa on for about 72 hours. There is a dangerous place. It was abundantly clear that the requisite auto da fe would be carried out by anyone not keeping to the tenets of the one true faith. So anyone holding to the points I listed in my op would be torn to shreds by the bacchantes inhabiting that “safe space.”


The ELCA Facebook pages are not run by the ELCA. A few are administered by more liberal clergy and have attacked more conservative folks. I have defended the conservatives right to express themselves so much that I was accused of being part of Lutheran CORE.

Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2021, 01:11:54 AM
You never seem to consider that not all of the behaviors, customs, or laws reported in the Bible were necessarily in accordance with God's will or original plans for humanity. Jesus told us, for example, that the divorce laws were there not because God wanted divorce as a feature of marriage  but because of the hardness of their hearts.


If we were able to follow God’s will we wouldn’t need any of the Torah. The proper godly behaviors would be written on our hearts and flow out of our lives like fruit on a healthy tree. Because we all are inflicted with hard hearts God had to enact sacrifices for forgiveness, rules for proper and not excessive retribution, and eventually the sacrifice of Jesus.


Regardless if the laws are or are not God’s will or God’s original plan for us, they have been given to as as God’s Word. They are to be our authority for faith and life.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 03, 2021, 08:14:51 AM
If we were able to follow God’s will we wouldn’t need any of the Torah. The proper godly behaviors would be written on our hearts...

Again, Lutheran is m 101 which obviously is not Stoffregenesque theology: We neither need nor follow Torah. The law IS written on our hearts.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: DCharlton on December 03, 2021, 11:15:34 AM
And several months ago a dear friend who is still in the ELCA extended to me an invitation to one of the ELCA FB groups for clergy. I wa on for about 72 hours. There is a dangerous place. It was abundantly clear that the requisite auto da fe would be carried out by anyone not keeping to the tenets of the one true faith. So anyone holding to the points I listed in my op would be torn to shreds by the bacchantes inhabiting that “safe space.” 

Which is pretty much what it is like to be at any gathering of ELCA clergy. 
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2021, 11:24:16 AM
If we were able to follow God’s will we wouldn’t need any of the Torah. The proper godly behaviors would be written on our hearts...

Again, Lutheran is m 101 which obviously is not Stoffregenesque theology: We neither need nor follow Torah. The law IS written on our hearts.

So why do we have all of our Confessions? Why did Luther explain the Ten Commandments? We seem to still require written documents because whatever is written on our hearts isn't enough.

Without the Torah and its teachings, Jesus' death/sacrifice would mean nothing.


Do you consider the Torah to be God's Word? Is the Bible (both testaments) the authority for our faith and life?


We don't NEED to follow the Torah, and neither did the Jews. Obedience never brought salvation. We should want to follow God's instructions (a better translation of torah than "law"), just like children should want to obey their parents.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 03, 2021, 11:34:34 AM
If we were able to follow God’s will we wouldn’t need any of the Torah. The proper godly behaviors would be written on our hearts...

Again, Lutheran is m 101 which obviously is not Stoffregenesque theology: We neither need nor follow Torah. The law IS written on our hearts.
I think this is misleading. The catechism includes Ex. 20:5-6 as what God says about these commandments. Clearly what we are teaching confirmands when using Luther's catechism is God's Law as written in Exodus, fulfilled in Christ, and also written on our hearts. As Christians we don't need the Torah to be saved but it is one of the means the Holy Spirit uses to convict us of sin and lead us to repentance.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: George Rahn on December 03, 2021, 11:41:38 AM
If we were able to follow God’s will we wouldn’t need any of the Torah. The proper godly behaviors would be written on our hearts...

Again, Lutheran is m 101 which obviously is not Stoffregenesque theology: We neither need nor follow Torah. The law IS written on our hearts.

So why do we have all of our Confessions? Why did Luther explain the Ten Commandments? We seem to still require written documents because whatever is written on our hearts isn't enough.

Without the Torah and its teachings, Jesus' death/sacrifice would mean nothing.


Do you consider the Torah to be God's Word? Is the Bible (both testaments) the authority for our faith and life?


We don't NEED to follow the Torah, and neither did the Jews. Obedience never brought salvation. We should want to follow God's instructions (a better translation of torah than "law"), just like children should want to obey their parents.

There were Lutheran attempts to “catch” the substantive basis of the unique New Testament gospel located in Jesus Christ.  Wasn’t P. Melanchthon’s 1521 Loci an attempt to encapsulate that basis prior to the collection of documents in the Book of Concord?  The purpose was not to codify but to clarify what was being sourced in the New Testament.  These attempts leading to a body of teaching (corpus doctrinae) were to encapsulate what was necessary and sufficient for the public preaching of the living voice (viva vox evangelii). 

Also, M. Luther in both the small catechism (for the laity) as well in the large catechism (for educated clergy) placed the 10 commandments at the head of the catechism so people would ponder their own sinner-life in order to come to a state of repentance.  Primarily meant as a diagnostic tool, Luther’s meaning to the 10 commandments were analogous to how Jesus re-interpreted the commandments in Matthew 5.  They were to drive the sinner-in-truth to forgiveness in Christ’s death for others and so should lead the reader to part 2 of the catechism, ie. The Apostles Creed and Luther’s meaning to each article there.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 03, 2021, 11:52:11 AM
I don’t think it’s misleading at all. It’s pure Lutheran teaching.

Perhaps, however, I should be more succinct. We don’t derive the law from either Torah or Exodus or Deut. It’s the law written on our hearts which we certainly can express in various writings.

It's a common misunderstanding even among the most-educated. I recall a spring seminar my 4th year at Sem StL. Voelz and Lessing, among others, were having an on-stage discussion. At one point, Reed Lessing said something about the OT ceremonial law no longer applying to us, implying that the OT moral law does. Voelz responded, "I don't think any of the OT law applies to us!" Lessing was silent. Later, at afternoon refreshments, I saw Gibbs and said, "Dr. Gibbs! Luther's Works, vol 35!" He immediately understood and said, "Absolutely! "How Christians Should Regard Moses. Jim was absolutely right!" Later, I saw Voelz and said "Nice expression, Dr. Voelz, of "How Christians Should Regard Moses." "It's gotta be that way," he replied.

It's a common misunderstanding. In 4th year Biblical Theology with Gibbs, someone mentioned something similar, about only the OT moral law and not the ceremonial law applying to us. Gibbs said, "Guys! We don't get the Ten Commandments from the OT. We get it from the law written on our hearts." He then implied something along the lines of, as 4th year students, about to be ordained, we should know that.

Not long ago, I cited and gave a link to Luther's sermon. It's online in several places. Perhaps if Brian read it he would have an answer to his questions which, after all, are just questions, not statements, that he already knows the answers, though they may not be Lutheran ones.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 03, 2021, 12:10:59 PM
I don’t think it’s misleading at all. It’s pure Lutheran teaching.

Perhaps, however, I should be more succinct. We don’t derive the law from either Torah or Exodus or Deut. It’s the law written on our hearts which we certainly can express in various writings.


Our hearts are still sinful. We can't trust them to be a reliable resource. Eve and Adam had sinless hearts, but that didn't stop them from disobeying God.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 03, 2021, 12:26:52 PM
So, which is it? The written in the heart?

Jeremiah 31:33 (ESV)
33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.


Romans 2:15 (ESV)
15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.


Or the revealed Law of God written down for our learning and reference?


Need it be either/or, can it not be both/and? Normal humans have a basic innate understanding of right and wrong, to which Paul points in Romans. That innate knowledge, however, has been blurred by sin and corrupted by self-justification and rationalizing what we want rather than what we ought. Thus, we need the written record given by God to remind and clarify what we should just know.



 
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 03, 2021, 07:06:46 PM
And several months ago a dear friend who is still in the ELCA extended to me an invitation to one of the ELCA FB groups for clergy. I wa on for about 72 hours. There is a dangerous place. It was abundantly clear that the requisite auto da fe would be carried out by anyone not keeping to the tenets of the one true faith. So anyone holding to the points I listed in my op would be torn to shreds by the bacchantes inhabiting that “safe space.” 

Which is pretty much what it is like to be at any gathering of ELCA clergy.

My experience is similar.
Title: Re: Is the ALPB Forum Online a safe space?
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on December 03, 2021, 08:46:31 PM
And several months ago a dear friend who is still in the ELCA extended to me an invitation to one of the ELCA FB groups for clergy. I wa on for about 72 hours. There is a dangerous place. It was abundantly clear that the requisite auto da fe would be carried out by anyone not keeping to the tenets of the one true faith. So anyone holding to the points I listed in my op would be torn to shreds by the bacchantes inhabiting that “safe space.” 

Which is pretty much what it is like to be at any gathering of ELCA clergy.

My experience is similar.

Would turning down the rhetoric help? For example, staying away from titles like "bacchantes" or describing their actions as "auto da de"? Perhaps you did not use such expressions in the Facebook group. But do you see how such expressions might arouse angry responses?

I didn't know these struggles were still happening in the ELCA. I guess I thought that with so many people moved on to LCMC, NALC, and beyond, that would defuse things but it sounds like the intensity from ten years ago is still there or lately aroused. Lord, guard and guide the hearts of the faithful.