ALPB Forum Online

ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 30, 2021, 12:37:04 PM

Title: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 30, 2021, 12:37:04 PM
On a different thread there was a discussion forming about ELCA and LCMS differences. Here is a list Charles provided:

LCMS has no women's ordination
-Closed communion
-no ordaining of partnered homosexuals
-young earth creationism
-heresy hunting

Here is a list Peter provided regarding concerns with the ELCA:

Support for abortion
-following culture rather than Scripture
-approving and celebrating adulterous and sinful relationships

Perhaps folks from other Lutheran denominations would like to voice their concerns about one or more groups. I recommend everyone stay calm and voice their concerns constructively. It should be a helpful learning experience.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: D. Engebretson on October 30, 2021, 01:31:29 PM
According to the LCMS's official online site, these are the main differences between the LCMS and ELCA:
https://www.lcms.org/about/beliefs/faqs/denominations#elca-differences (https://www.lcms.org/about/beliefs/faqs/denominations#elca-differences)
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 30, 2021, 02:10:19 PM
According to the LCMS's official online site, these are the main differences between the LCMS and ELCA:
https://www.lcms.org/about/beliefs/faqs/denominations#elca-differences (https://www.lcms.org/about/beliefs/faqs/denominations#elca-differences)
That was 1998, one decade after the formation of the ELCA. In the time since, the two bodies have done nothing but drift further and further apart. The LCMS has not changed except perhaps for some organizational changes. What we taught then is what we still teach. That isn’t even sort of true about the ELCA.

For most of the 19th and 20th Centuries it was not wholly unreasonable to hope for and work toward genuine Lutheran unity in America. The alpb has always tried to facilitate that despite much controversy. But the state of things now is far more fundamental. There is no particular reason apart from nomenclature for the LCMS and ELCA to seek unity with each other in particular, beyond the normal striving for unity common to all Christian churches. There is a time for discussion and a time for decisions. Endlessly calling for further dialog is simply a refusal to recognize a time for decision.

 Before the 09CWA I wrote in FL about reading the new sexuality document and feeling like a stranger in a strange land wading through the foreign assumptions, categories of thought, and language that seemed far more inspired by academia than anything Biblical or ecclesial. The last dozen years have accelerated things. At the time, I was friends with Clint Schneckloth of the ELCA, and he contacted me with appreciation for the article and agreed with some of my criticisms. He was clearly in favor of the changes in general, but thought it the wrong document at the wrong time. Twelve years later, my views haven’t changed a whit. His, I’m going to presume, have. If the same document were up for a vote again, I would have the same concerns now as I had then. He would consider even thinking about revisiting the issue with an open mind to be a reactionary betrayal of the church’s commitment to progressive values. What was an issue whose time might not have come just yet in 09 is now old and taken for granted. On to other issues. Notably, the ELCA just added the B and T to LGBTQ as taken for granted without needing more discussion and votes. They aren’t going to turn around. They aren’t going to backtrack. The only point of discussion is hoping that we’ll try to catch up.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 30, 2021, 02:12:07 PM
According to the LCMS's official online site, these are the main differences between the LCMS and ELCA:
https://www.lcms.org/about/beliefs/faqs/denominations#elca-differences (https://www.lcms.org/about/beliefs/faqs/denominations#elca-differences)

Thank you, Don. That is helpful. Perhaps the ELCA has a similar summary.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 30, 2021, 03:03:01 PM
I just read a remarkable quote from Luther, which is salient here.

Quote
One becomes a theologian by living, by dying, and in fact, by being damned. (Translated by Mattox from WA 51:113.28--9.)

Perhaps we are sharpening one another as we clash.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 30, 2021, 03:33:17 PM
A big concern I have is a mode of argumentation or discussion that can’t distinguish between the personal/pastoral application and the doctrinal truth.

A great movie that features the workings of a Lutheran Church is Lars and the Real Girl. In it, a psychologically disturbed man has a make believe girlfriend, and his family and church family play along with his delusions because they care about him. It is funny and heartwarming. But when you’re talking about doctrine or secular law you can’t go by such personal/relational decision-making. Much as the town might go along with it, it would be flagrant injustice for the make believe girlfriend to vote, collect insurance or unemployment benefits, or do anything that required the citizenry to act as though she is real. They might do so because they live Lars, but that is their choice. The church can’t declare she is real, and the government can’t make her real or treat her as real. Officially teaching that a make believe thing is reality is false and dangerous. Playing along in any given instance may or may not be be the kind thing to do. So when we’re discussing a Biblical teaching or secular law, it is mere obfuscation to bring in personal stories in order to imply that claiming x is true is an act of hatred against a very nice person. This is one of the subtle tricks that (deliberately, by design) makes rapprochement between the differing church bodies impossible. We will be looking at Bible verses and church history. They will be looking at Mayor Pete and Chasten.

This happened to me the very first day of the Pastor-Theologian program I began in 2004. Before the participants had even all been introduced, while we were in line for drinks before the opening dinner, everyone was talking about gay marriage. This was years before most churches had formally accepted it, but these were progressives, and it became clear to me a)that the man in front of me in line was head and founder of the entire program, and b) every single person there approved gay marriage. When someone in line rhetorically asked how anyone could oppose it, I responded that I didn’t think it was Biblical or right. The head of the program turned around and said, “I married my son to his his husband last summer. Are you saying they’re not married?” It was not an argument for gay marriage, it was a “how dare you” response to an assertion. That has been the progressive m.o. all along. Make it personal. Make it not about truth and falsehood but about hatred and inclusiveness. It is an entirely bogus way to have a legitimate debate, but the personal is guaranteed to win out. They’ll make a pariah out of anyone who disagrees by calling that person a hatemonger or homophobe, then complain that the person they’ve cast out is being exclusive rather than inclusive.

If we were having a legitimate debate about sexuality issues, the progressive side would accuse me of homophobia or hatred. There are people who would come to my defense and tell my accuser to apologize for the false slander or be excused from the discussion. But only a handful of them are in this forum. Others might privately back me up but would be too mealy-mouthed in public to actually call out the accuser in any meaningful way.

And the thing is, there are such things as deal-breakers and lines in the sand. Endless discussion doesn’t change that. For many in the ELCA, even having the discussion would be a deal-breaker. They’d take it as putting their humanity and love up to a vote. Some point is the breaking point, beyond which discussion become pointless, then comic, then obscene, then just sad.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Charles Austin on October 30, 2021, 04:15:55 PM
Peter:
The only point of discussion is hoping that we’ll try to catch up.
Me:
So you feel you are behind? Well, I guess that’s something.
We have been Lutherans together even though we disagree on ordination for women.
Why can’t we be Lutheran’s together, even if we disagree about gay marriage?
LCMS pastors in the modest forum that said they can sit alongside our women pastors and treat them respectfully.
So are you unable to sit alongside a married gay pastor and treat them respectfully,  Recognizing in some way their marriage and ministry?
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: D. Engebretson on October 30, 2021, 04:26:18 PM
A couple of areas that are challenging in attempting a discussion on differences....

As was noted, discussions on some of the more 'hot button' topics, such as ones that involve sexuality, end up being interpreted in a very personal way. Are you calling me a what?  Are you implying that I am....? etc. 'To each his own,' we are accustomed to saying in many situations where we feel we have little at stake. Walk away. Let the person be.  It's their life and its a free country. And so forth.  But as was also noted, sometimes there are "deal-breakers and lines in the sand."  Areas that are more absolute, that are not given to compromise. Especially when they impinge on what the Bible does or does not say.  Do we simply remain mute? Because to say that we believe some behavior or teaching is wrong and contrary to the scriptures is quickly taken in a personal way as an indictment against the person that may hold these contrary views/beliefs.  We live in a culture that holds affirmation and approval as high ideals and expectations. We also believe that certain behaviors are now in the realm of non-negotiable social expectations and anyone holding a contrary position is hateful and full of fear, disrespectful and demeaning.  For example, to insinuate that homosexuality is contrary to God's will is to automatically become a "homophobe," one who is assumed to have a dislike of anyone with such a predisposition.  But that is not always the case.  And as the word also insinuates, there is a built "fear" of such people.  But again, that is a wrong assumption.  But as long as we label and characterize those who disagree with us with certain personal assumption, discussion is likely not going to be productive. 
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dave Likeness on October 30, 2021, 04:28:00 PM
In Holy Scriptures,  God instituted Marriage as a lifelong union
between one man and one woman.  It is a sham to recognize
a homosexual partnership by calling it a marriage.  Call it a civil
union, but do not mock God by calling it a marriage.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 30, 2021, 04:51:10 PM
Peter:
The only point of discussion is hoping that we’ll try to catch up.
Me:
So you feel you are behind? Well, I guess that’s something.
We have been Lutherans together even though we disagree on ordination for women.
Why can’t we be Lutheran’s together, even if we disagree about gay marriage?
LCMS pastors in the modest forum that said they can sit alongside our women pastors and treat them respectfully.
So are you unable to sit alongside a married gay pastor and treat them respectfully,  Recognizing in some way their marriage and ministry?
Peter will have to respond to your challenge for himself. But as one who has said that I can treat women pastors respectfully, I can accept your challenge.


I would commit myself to being able to sit alongside a married gay pastor and treat them respectfully, as I would a woman pastor, or a pastor who is a committed Arian, or Muslim. in the case of Arians or Muslims, I reserve the right to consider them clergy in the community but not Christian. A married gay pastor who is not a member of the LCMS is not subject to the same discipline or rules that I work under and have some responsibility to see enforced. One who is LCMS would be doing so under false pretenses and should be disciplined as such.


Your question of whether I would "Recognizing in some way their marriage and ministry gives me pause." I recognize that such a person is in a relationship that has been given legal recognition by the secular government. As such their partnership is entitled to the privileges and responsibility accorded that relationship by the state. I would not try to interfere with those privileges or responsibility. Nor would I feel it my responsibility to go out of my way to be unpleasant to them or be disrespectful. I would not say that their relationship, while legal, is necessarily in accord with God's will or God pleasing. It is finally their business, between those partners, the government, and God. Finally, God will judge, not me.


As with women clergy, the ministry of married gay pastors so long as they are not proposing to be ordained or serve as pastors within the LCMS, is the business of the church with which they are associated. In the community I can respect women pastors and married gay pastors as having be credentialled as pastors by their church and work with them as I would any other credentialled pastor in the community. Many of them because of their doctrine and practice I would personally not recommend as LCMS pastors either. And no, no reason I should go out of my way to be unpleasant. Respect as you would be respected.


None of this means that I feel it necessary or indicated that I approve of their having been placed into ministry, I do not. But their ministry is in no ways connected to my approval. Their being approved by their church and placed into the pastoral ministry has nothing to do with me.


As for us being behind and needing to catch up, do we really need to have a discussion about idioms and how with idioms things are not always to be taken literally?


We do not feel that we are in any significant way falling behind you so that we need to catch up, but you have said that we are. You have frequently expressed your hope, your wish, your expectation that eventually we will change as a church body to adopt the understandings and practices that you have now. In your mind you see us a behind the times and need to catch up. In our minds we are no more behind and needing to catch up than the last lemming in line and having second and third thoughts is behind the leader already plunging over the cliff and needing to catch up. Much better to simply not go there!
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 30, 2021, 05:05:04 PM
Or let's look at this from another perspective. Obviously, a married gay pastor would most likely disapprove of my church's and my objection to same sex marriage, including his. Can he or she or xe sit beside me and treat me respectfully and recognize in some my ministry?
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 30, 2021, 05:18:45 PM
Peter:
The only point of discussion is hoping that we’ll try to catch up.
Me:
So you feel you are behind? Well, I guess that’s something.
We have been Lutherans together even though we disagree on ordination for women.
Why can’t we be Lutheran’s together, even if we disagree about gay marriage?
LCMS pastors in the modest forum that said they can sit alongside our women pastors and treat them respectfully.
So are you unable to sit alongside a married gay pastor and treat them respectfully,  Recognizing in some way their marriage and ministry?
If course I can. And have. But here is the problem, again the subtle but deliberate problem. I sit with them respectfully, have good discussion, even enjoy a few laughs. Not often, but when it happens, so be it. But I in no way recognize their marriage. If respectful discussion requires recognition of their marriage, respectful discussion will have to be sacrificed. And you clearly think having a discussion implies just that. That’s one of the reasons you’re so keen on such discussions; you think you advance your argument just by having the discussion. Two men never have been, aren’t, and never will be “one flesh” in the manner of a marriage as God designed humanity. It is impossible even at a theoretical level and not worth discussing anymore. That doesn’t mean I hate those who try it, have a phobia about them, or must think they’re jerks who aren’t worth talking to or don’t merit courtesy as people. And the fact that you even think it is “progress” or a point worth making is pure insult, as though you just aren’t sure conservatives have what it takes to be civil. You get tired of saying the same things over and over and not being believed (because you are mistaken). I get tired of the colossal arrogance and ignorance with which you argue and which you seem unable to shake.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: RDPreus on October 30, 2021, 05:21:03 PM
The issue of homosexuality and same sex "marriage" is settled by the Holy Scriptures.  The Scriptures condemn homosexuality -- both desires and deeds -- very clearly.  God's word also forbids women to serve as pastors.  Whether I or anyone else is a homophobe or a sexist has nothing to do with what the Bible says.  Nor is it relevant to what the Bible says how nice we are to women pastors or same sex couples who think they are married.  My criticism of the ELCA is that it abandons the clear teaching of the Bible when the rules of the popular culture require it.  Just as the old ELC embraced synergism because divine monergism in conversion was disallowed by the religious culture of their day, so today the ELCA embraces women's ordination and the GLBTQ agenda in obedience to the demands of the religious culture of our day.  It's an old story.  The church, seeking to relate to the world, adopts the world's standards, sanctifies them with Christian-sounding language, and claims that the world's standards are Christian.  Remember the sixties?  Remember how the world sets the agenda?  No.  It doesn't.  God does.

Should we show respect to those with whom we disagree?  Of course we should!  I have visited with men in prison who committed heinous crimes.  I showed them respect.  We should show everyone respect.  But what divides the LCMS from the ELCA is not a matter of who respects whom and how much.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dave Benke on October 30, 2021, 05:46:32 PM
Do we have NALC folks here?  The old domino theory was that once you ordain women, the LGBTQ agenda automatically follows.  The dominos fall.  It seems to me both NALC and LCMC are examples of the issue of women's ordination being treated separately and quite differently from LGBTQ.  How is that working and what were the theological rationales involved?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Charles Austin on October 30, 2021, 06:12:42 PM
Pastor Preus:
…so today the ELCA embraces women's ordination and the GLBTQ agenda in obedience to the demands of the religious culture of our day.

Me:
Can you possibly, just possibly abandon the canard that what we do in the ELCA is “in obedience to the demands of the culture”?
Go ahead. Say we misuse scripture. Say we misunderstand scripture, but stop saying we do what we do in response to some cultural demands.

To Pastor Fienen:
Nice job. Rest assured that I fully understand how you can be “respectful“ to women or partnered gay pastors without getting anything icky on your hands or your virtue. For that is how I read your long comment, that is, protecting you rather than being respectful of “them.”

To Peter:
Yes, I do accuse you of homophobia, or some kind of over-extended passionate response to gay marriage. But it Doesn’t matter, because you say you aren’t and I’m willing to let it go at that.

To Bishop Benke:
Yes, and Baptists in many areas, though not universally, have had women pastors for many decades. I have not heard that that ickyness ever led to the greater atrocity of gay pastors.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 30, 2021, 06:28:49 PM
The Scriptures have been the same for thousands of years, and Christians have studied them obsessively that whole time, and nowhere in any cultural context did they ever conclude that the Scriptural idea of sexual immorality did not apply to same sex behavior. A post-Christian culture arises that completely rejects the teachings put in place by Christendom re: abortion and sodomy, and suddenly churches change their teachings. But it was coincidence. They changed it by further study of the Scriptures that showed Christendom had always been wrong and the pagans who allowed and celebrated same-sex behavior and regularly eliminated unwanted babies were right. Why is that so hard to believe?
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 30, 2021, 06:48:59 PM
The young people I have confirmed in recent years will not stay in a church that does not engage modern life, recognize that their gay and lesbian and transgendered friends have faith and want to exercise it. They will have little to do with a church that requires a "creationist" or quasi-fundamentalist view of the origins of life, and they are sexually active and living together prior to marriage.
So what are we to do with these people whom we have brought up, confirmed and who still have the desire to exercise their faith, perhaps not precisely in the ways we taught them?
And those who may seek and find a faith in young adult hood will not have years of Sunday School or worship or Christmas/Easter festivities shaping their understanding of Church.
I'm sorry, Roger Martim, for what you are experiencing.
Some of the most energetic, exciting, hopeful and Gospel-oriented young pastor/priests I know are gay men and women taking "tradition" and the Gospel seriously, but adapting to new understandings and ways of being Christian.
And we will not get the disaffected back into the church if we do not take their own self-understandings seriously. If we say they cannot be gay and married or partnered, then...

Charles, Charles .  🙄
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: D. Engebretson on October 30, 2021, 06:52:29 PM
When it comes to the church and homosexuality, women's ordination, etc., it seems almost a classic "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Did the church simply decide to study the issue and then adopt a new practice, or did the culture prompt the study and the church responded? For some the church simply studied the issue and came to the conclusion that the Bible was not opposed to these things.  But was this study prompted by social pressure as certain practices became more and more open and accepted as mainstream in the culture?  It's hard to think that the need to study the issue and change the stance of the church came about in a vacuum.  I believe that some church bodies, like the ELCA, may, indeed believe that their study of the scriptures supports these things. But I also believe that such study came about only after the prevailing culture itself became more accepting of the issues in question and made it necessary to address it and eventually adopt it.  Each change appears to be at least prompted by a cultural shift. 
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 30, 2021, 06:52:58 PM
A missing element in the discussion may be this: Different ideas about the work of the Holy Spirit.

Among conservative Lutherans, the emphasis is on the work of the Spirit in and through God's Word. Other Lutherans, however, will maintain some work of the Spirit unrestricted by God's Word. That opens up the possibility that the Spirit is leading in new ways. This is precisely how some Baptists and Pentecostals arrived at women's ordination. Sort of, "If the Spirit is blessing and moving in that direction, so should we." They then tend to reconcile the changes with potentially restrictive passages in new ways.

As I read statements from Charles/ELCA, I'm seeing something similar with respect to ordaining homosexuals. There is belief that the Spirit is moving the church in this new direction. I'll let Charles decide whether I've stated this with his understanding.

I would invite someone from NALC to comment on how this is or isn't working in their church body, which sees the ELCA as going too far.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 30, 2021, 06:59:42 PM
A missing element in the discussion may be this: Different ideas about the work of the Holy Spirit.

Among conservative Lutherans, the emphasis is on the work of the Spirit in and through God's Word. Other Lutherans, however, will maintain some work of the Spirit unrestricted by God's Word. That opens up the possibility that the Spirit is leading in new ways. This is precisely how some Baptists and Pentecostals arrived at women's ordination. Sort of, "If the Spirit is blessing and moving in that direction, so should we." They then tend to reconcile the changes with potentially restrictive passages in new ways.

As I read statements from Charles/ELCA, I'm seeing something similar with respect to ordaining homosexuals. There is belief that the Spirit is moving the church in this new direction. I'll let Charles decide whether I've stated this with his understanding.

I would invite someone from NALC to comment on how this is or isn't working in their church body, which sees the ELCA as going too far.
The working of the Spirit apart from the Word is problematic enough. To actually contradict the Word with the immediate working, well, that spirit doesn’t deserve a capital S.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Paul O Malley on October 30, 2021, 07:22:00 PM
A missing element in the discussion may be this: Different ideas about the work of the Holy Spirit.

Among conservative Lutherans, the emphasis is on the work of the Spirit in and through God's Word. Other Lutherans, however, will maintain some work of the Spirit unrestricted by God's Word. That opens up the possibility that the Spirit is leading in new ways. This is precisely how some Baptists and Pentecostals arrived at women's ordination. Sort of, "If the Spirit is blessing and moving in that direction, so should we." They then tend to reconcile the changes with potentially restrictive passages in new ways.

As I read statements from Charles/ELCA, I'm seeing something similar with respect to ordaining homosexuals. There is belief that the Spirit is moving the church in this new direction. I'll let Charles decide whether I've stated this with his understanding.

I would invite someone from NALC to comment on how this is or isn't working in their church body, which sees the ELCA as going too far.

I've neither seen nor heard evidence of any "domino theory", or as I would call it, continuum/slippery slope fallacy operating in the NALC that would lead us from Women's Ordination in the directions taken by the ELCA. From what I observed living in Chicago during the 1980's, what has occurred in the ELCA came about as part of a step-wise agenda on the part of elements that entrenched themselves in that body's bureaucracy during its formation.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 30, 2021, 07:33:52 PM
Peter, I think they would reach for passages like the following and argue they are acting in keeping with Scripture (and the Spirit):

Isaiah 42:9; 43:19; 48:6; Acts 10--11.

A conservative Lutheran would say that the work of the Spirit will not contradict the teaching of Scripture. He would point to Sola Scriptura as a hallmark of Reformation theology.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 30, 2021, 07:41:50 PM
Do we have NALC folks here?  The old domino theory was that once you ordain women, the LGBTQ agenda automatically follows.  The dominos fall.  It seems to me both NALC and LCMC are examples of the issue of women's ordination being treated separately and quite differently from LGBTQ.  How is that working and what were the theological rationales involved?

Dave Benke

How long have these church bodies been in existence?  LCMC about 20 years?  NALC about 10?  And how long did it take the ALC/LCA/ELCA to move from ordaining women to ordaining practicing homosexuals?  Like 40 years?  Maybe before you dismiss the old domino theory, you should give it some time to make sure.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Terry W Culler on October 30, 2021, 08:18:52 PM
The problem with the ELCA IMO is not homosexuality or female pastors, etc.  It is the hermeneutic they use as they study Scripture.  Once you decide that the Bible only contains God's Word but is not wholly God's Word, anything goes.  I've spoken with a number of people who graduated from ELCA seminaries who tell me they consider themselves lucky to have gotten through with their faith in tact.  If you stray from  inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God, no one can predict where you will end up.  I believe it was Pieper who coined the term "felicitous inconsistency".  I thank God for the brothers and sisters whose viewpoints have been shaped by liberal teachers but remain in the true faith handed down once for all.  It has to be the work of the Holy Spirit.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 30, 2021, 09:10:09 PM
The problem with the ELCA IMO is not homosexuality or female pastors, etc.  It is the hermeneutic they use as they study Scripture.  Once you decide that the Bible only contains God's Word but is not wholly God's Word, anything goes.  I've spoken with a number of people who graduated from ELCA seminaries who tell me they consider themselves lucky to have gotten through with their faith in tact.  If you stray from  inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God, no one can predict where you will end up.  I believe it was Pieper who coined the term "felicitous inconsistency".  I thank God for the brothers and sisters whose viewpoints have been shaped by liberal teachers but remain in the true faith handed down once for all.  It has to be the work of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, indeed.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Pastor Ken Kimball on October 30, 2021, 09:45:11 PM
Do we have NALC folks here?  The old domino theory was that once you ordain women, the LGBTQ agenda automatically follows.  The dominos fall.  It seems to me both NALC and LCMC are examples of the issue of women's ordination being treated separately and quite differently from LGBTQ.  How is that working and what were the theological rationales involved?

Dave Benke

How long have these church bodies been in existence?  LCMC about 20 years?  NALC about 10?  And how long did it take the ALC/LCA/ELCA to move from ordaining women to ordaining practicing homosexuals?  Like 40 years?  Maybe before you dismiss the old domino theory, you should give it some time to make sure.
As someone who had a part in forming the NALC along with many others, I would just note that many of us had been part of the ALC or LCA.  The jump from women's ordination to acceptance of ordaining sexually active homosexuals and promoting same-sex marriage is one we spent most of our years in the ELCA opposing.  When we lost that fight, we chose not to go over the cliff with the ELCA and formed a new Lutheran body.  Some, perhaps most of us, in the NALC supported or at least accepted WO, drawing a distinction between Scripture's complete and pervasive rejection of same-sex sexual actions and relationships (not a single positive word or portrayal) and the ambiguities surrounding women's ministry in Scripture (Miriam, Deborah, Mary Magdalene in John 20, Junia in Romans 16, Priscilla teaching/correcting Apollos, Philippians 4 reference to two fellow workers in the Gospel, both women albeit they were in conflict, etc. on the one hand and 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy on the other hand).  Russ S had piece on that in the FL back in his days as editor.  Of course Russ, having started out in the NALC has since gone to Rome.  There have been a few other NALC pastors who have colloquized into LCMS, partly because of their disagreement with WO.  I have a good NALC pastor friend who thinks WO is a categorical mistake and while not forward about that, isn't afraid to say what he thinks.  I and others (including some women pastors) would say that we think an argument can be made for WO in which it is permissible in certain times and places but not required.  We would be those who were always bothered that the ALC and LCA seemed to have made their decisions on the basis of appeals to equality and justice rather than a broad and deep and compelling study of Scripture, church history, and the Confessions.  We noted that the similar cultural appeal to equality and justice was used by those promoting the LG agenda with explicit denigration and rejection of the Biblical witness.   I was at the 2009 CWA where one voting member's reference to the witness of Ethiopian and Sudanese Lutherans who were gathered in prayer and quiet protest to the impending decision around the precincts of CWA ("shouldn't we consider the Biblical concerns of our African brothers and sisters before we take this step?") was dismissed by a voting member in favor of the Social Statement and accompanying action pieces (a white male from the Southeastern Iowa synod) as "We know Africa is a dark place."  I will say that I fully agree with Pastor Speckhard on what he wrote a few posts back about how respect can be shown others so long as we're not required to abandon our own convictions, derived, as we understand them from the clear and plain sense of Scripture.  To Pastor Culler's words regarding the difference in "hermeneutic" and Pastor Engelbrecht's words that the given Word of the Scripture is critical to discerning whether the Holy Spirit is indeed leading us or whether we are simply listening to a variety of untrustworthy "spirits" including the "spirit of the age."   And given its Saturday night and I have a full schedule of parish commitments the next few days (and jury duty starting Wed) I'm making no promises about getting involved in a rehashing of WO or LGBTQ or CRT or defending myself against the charge of ELCA bashing or explaining why I and my two congregations considered and decided against LCMS as an alternative to the ELCA and chose instead to put our time and energy into being involved in forming and continuing our ministry in the NALC. 
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dave Benke on October 30, 2021, 10:05:18 PM
Do we have NALC folks here?  The old domino theory was that once you ordain women, the LGBTQ agenda automatically follows.  The dominos fall.  It seems to me both NALC and LCMC are examples of the issue of women's ordination being treated separately and quite differently from LGBTQ.  How is that working and what were the theological rationales involved?

Dave Benke

How long have these church bodies been in existence?  LCMC about 20 years?  NALC about 10?  And how long did it take the ALC/LCA/ELCA to move from ordaining women to ordaining practicing homosexuals?  Like 40 years?  Maybe before you dismiss the old domino theory, you should give it some time to make sure.
As someone who had a part in forming the NALC along with many others, I would just note that many of us had been part of the ALC or LCA.  The jump from women's ordination to acceptance of ordaining sexually active homosexuals and promoting same-sex marriage is one we spent most of our years in the ELCA opposing.  When we lost that fight, we chose not to go over the cliff with the ELCA and formed a new Lutheran body.  Some, perhaps most of us, in the NALC supported or at least accepted WO, drawing a distinction between Scripture's complete and pervasive rejection of same-sex sexual actions and relationships (not a single positive word or portrayal) and the ambiguities surrounding women's ministry in Scripture (Miriam, Deborah, Mary Magdalene in John 20, Junia in Romans 16, Priscilla teaching/correcting Apollos, Philippians 4 reference to two fellow workers in the Gospel, both women albeit they were in conflict, etc. on the one hand and 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy on the other hand).  Russ S had piece on that in the FL back in his days as editor.  Of course Russ, having started out in the NALC has since gone to Rome.  There have been a few other NALC pastors who have colloquized into LCMS, partly because of their disagreement with WO.  I have a good NALC pastor friend who thinks WO is a categorical mistake and while not forward about that, isn't afraid to say what he thinks.  I and others (including some women pastors) would say that we think an argument can be made for WO in which it is permissible in certain times and places but not required.  We would be those who were always bothered that the ALC and LCA seemed to have made their decisions on the basis of appeals to equality and justice rather than a broad and deep and compelling study of Scripture, church history, and the Confessions.  We noted that the similar cultural appeal to equality and justice was used by those promoting the LG agenda with explicit denigration and rejection of the Biblical witness.   I was at the 2009 CWA where one voting member's reference to the witness of Ethiopian and Sudanese Lutherans who were gathered in prayer and quiet protest to the impending decision around the precincts of CWA ("shouldn't we consider the Biblical concerns of our African brothers and sisters before we take this step?") was dismissed by a voting member in favor of the Social Statement and accompanying action pieces (a white male from the Southeastern Iowa synod) as "We know Africa is a dark place."  I will say that I fully agree with Pastor Speckhard on what he wrote a few posts back about how respect can be shown others so long as we're not required to abandon our own convictions, derived, as we understand them from the clear and plain sense of Scripture.  To Pastor Culler's words regarding the difference in "hermeneutic" and Pastor Engelbrecht's words that the given Word of the Scripture is critical to discerning whether the Holy Spirit is indeed leading us or whether we are simply listening to a variety of untrustworthy "spirits" including the "spirit of the age."   And given its Saturday night and I have a full schedule of parish commitments the next few days (and jury duty starting Wed) I'm making no promises about getting involved in a rehashing of WO or LGBTQ or CRT or defending myself against the charge of ELCA bashing or explaining why I and my two congregations considered and decided against LCMS as an alternative to the ELCA and chose instead to put our time and energy into being involved in forming and continuing our ministry in the NALC.

Thanks so much, Ken.  Yours is an important post not only for the facts of the matter as you see them, but for the inclusion of of multiple perspectives in our dialogue and overall discussion here.

Dave  Benke
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2021, 01:41:09 AM
In Holy Scriptures,  God instituted Marriage as a lifelong union
between one man and one woman.  It is a sham to recognize
a homosexual partnership by calling it a marriage.  Call it a civil
union, but do not mock God by calling it a marriage.


The use of "marriage" in the Old Testament is a decision of the translators. The Hebrew does not use a separate word for "marriage." In line with this, there are Greek words in the NT for "marriage," and they are not used in the LXX. The Hebrew words basically imply that a father gives [נתן] ownership of his daughter to a man who takes [לקח] her. The OT occasionally uses the word ba'al [בַּעַל] for the "husband". Ba'al is a word that is also translated, "owner," "lord," "master," "owner of property." It is frequently used in the name of pagan gods.

This is the biblical understanding of marriage: a man takes possession of a woman with her father's permission. Oh, if you do not require the bride's family to pay the groom's family a "bride-price," you aren't following the biblical rules for marriage.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2021, 01:48:38 AM
The Scriptures have been the same for thousands of years, and Christians have studied them obsessively that whole time, and nowhere in any cultural context did they ever conclude that the Scriptural idea of sexual immorality did not apply to same sex behavior. A post-Christian culture arises that completely rejects the teachings put in place by Christendom re: abortion and sodomy, and suddenly churches change their teachings. But it was coincidence. They changed it by further study of the Scriptures that showed Christendom had always been wrong and the pagans who allowed and celebrated same-sex behavior and regularly eliminated unwanted babies were right. Why is that so hard to believe?


Well, if you look at how Luther and Jerome translated Paul's new Greek word in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy, you'll see that traditionally, they understood it as men abusing boys.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2021, 01:57:11 AM
When it comes to the church and homosexuality, women's ordination, etc., it seems almost a classic "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Did the church simply decide to study the issue and then adopt a new practice, or did the culture prompt the study and the church responded? For some the church simply studied the issue and came to the conclusion that the Bible was not opposed to these things.  But was this study prompted by social pressure as certain practices became more and more open and accepted as mainstream in the culture?  It's hard to think that the need to study the issue and change the stance of the church came about in a vacuum.  I believe that some church bodies, like the ELCA, may, indeed believe that their study of the scriptures supports these things. But I also believe that such study came about only after the prevailing culture itself became more accepting of the issues in question and made it necessary to address it and eventually adopt it.  Each change appears to be at least prompted by a cultural shift.


If we go back a generation or two, we didn't allow divorced men to be pastors. We bought a travel trailer from a man who was defrocked by the LCMS when got divorced. A member in an ELCA congregation I had served, opposed them calling a candidate because he had been divorced and remarried. Such views and removal of clergy because of a divorce seldom happens today. When it does, it's usually a case of adultery by the pastor rather than the divorce itself. Did our church bodies change their position because of cultural pressure; or did we find better ways of applying God's grace to sinners? Or, as one speaker theorized, so many pastors had children who had been divorced that they had to find away to make them acceptable to the church.


(I think that the Bible (and certainly Jesus,) is much clearer about divorced people getting married: it is always committing adultery; than it is about the marriage of same-sex couples that is not mentioned at all.)
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2021, 02:08:02 AM
Peter, I think they would reach for passages like the following and argue they are acting in keeping with Scripture (and the Spirit):

Isaiah 42:9; 43:19; 48:6; Acts 10--11.

A conservative Lutheran would say that the work of the Spirit will not contradict the teaching of Scripture. He would point to Sola Scriptura as a hallmark of Reformation theology.


Did God declare many foods unclean in Scriptures? Did God later declare all foods clean in Scriptures?
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2021, 02:31:24 AM
A missing element in the discussion may be this: Different ideas about the work of the Holy Spirit.

Among conservative Lutherans, the emphasis is on the work of the Spirit in and through God's Word. Other Lutherans, however, will maintain some work of the Spirit unrestricted by God's Word. That opens up the possibility that the Spirit is leading in new ways. This is precisely how some Baptists and Pentecostals arrived at women's ordination. Sort of, "If the Spirit is blessing and moving in that direction, so should we." They then tend to reconcile the changes with potentially restrictive passages in new ways.

As I read statements from Charles/ELCA, I'm seeing something similar with respect to ordaining homosexuals. There is belief that the Spirit is moving the church in this new direction. I'll let Charles decide whether I've stated this with his understanding.

I would invite someone from NALC to comment on how this is or isn't working in their church body, which sees the ELCA as going too far.


One speaker I heard took a still different approach. According to him, it was/is an issue of applying our core doctrine of justification by God's grace to a new situation - life-long same-sex partnerships. What does it mean for us to proclaiming salvation by grace when talking about (or to) a homosexual who has found a life-partner in someone of the same sex?


Another thought from reading Peter's first post.


If our doctrine is true, it's truth should be seen in the lives of real people. A question I have on my biblical study sheet (after I've done all the Greek exegetical stuff and come to an interpretation of the text): "How has the biblical truth been re-enacted in my life or in the life of someone I know?" If a doctrinal truth is not being enacted in the lives of real people, it's just a theory, or, at worst, a lie. Another way I've phrased this (borrowed from a book by an Episcopal laywoman: "The real question is not: "What do you believe?", but "What difference does it make in your life that you believe?" The real issue is not our doctrines, but how they make a difference in people's lives. At least in my opinion, if the doctrines make people more judgmental, more hateful, more sectarian, rather than more loving and Christlike, and supportive of the "least of these," then maybe they need to be re-evaluated.









Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 31, 2021, 06:12:21 AM
When it comes to the church and homosexuality, women's ordination, etc., it seems almost a classic "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Did the church simply decide to study the issue and then adopt a new practice, or did the culture prompt the study and the church responded? For some the church simply studied the issue and came to the conclusion that the Bible was not opposed to these things.  But was this study prompted by social pressure as certain practices became more and more open and accepted as mainstream in the culture?  It's hard to think that the need to study the issue and change the stance of the church came about in a vacuum.  I believe that some church bodies, like the ELCA, may, indeed believe that their study of the scriptures supports these things. But I also believe that such study came about only after the prevailing culture itself became more accepting of the issues in question and made it necessary to address it and eventually adopt it.  Each change appears to be at least prompted by a cultural shift.


If we go back a generation or two, we didn't allow divorced men to be pastors. We bought a travel trailer from a man who was defrocked by the LCMS when got divorced. A member in an ELCA congregation I had served, opposed them calling a candidate because he had been divorced and remarried. Such views and removal of clergy because of a divorce seldom happens today. When it does, it's usually a case of adultery by the pastor rather than the divorce itself. Did our church bodies change their position because of cultural pressure; or did we find better ways of applying God's grace to sinners? Or, as one speaker theorized, so many pastors had children who had been divorced that they had to find away to make them acceptable to the church.


(I think that the Bible (and certainly Jesus,) is much clearer about divorced people getting married: it is always committing adultery; than it is about the marriage of same-sex couples that is not mentioned at all.)

The prohibition on wrongfully divorced men serving as pastors still applies in the LCMS.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 31, 2021, 06:18:21 AM
Peter, I think they would reach for passages like the following and argue they are acting in keeping with Scripture (and the Spirit):

Isaiah 42:9; 43:19; 48:6; Acts 10--11.

A conservative Lutheran would say that the work of the Spirit will not contradict the teaching of Scripture. He would point to Sola Scriptura as a hallmark of Reformation theology.


Did God declare many foods unclean in Scriptures? Did God later declare all foods clean in Scriptures?

The Mosaic covenant, which includes the food restrictions, was always temporary. It was intended to form Israel as a nation. It was set aside when Christ came and offered the perfect redeeming sacrifice. (We've plowed this ground before. No sense repeating.)

In contrast, the New Testament affirms the moral law. So there is really no point of comparison between God doing something temporarily and doing something completely new.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 31, 2021, 08:28:23 AM
Furthermore, “in Scripture” shows that this is an entirely different topic. If nowhere in Scripture did God ever say anything about the OT strictures being fulfilled and therefore no longer applicable, we wouldn’t base our practice on immediate revelation on the assumption that our corporate intuition and judgment was the work of the Holy Spirit overturning what God had revealed.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2021, 11:04:36 AM
When it comes to the church and homosexuality, women's ordination, etc., it seems almost a classic "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Did the church simply decide to study the issue and then adopt a new practice, or did the culture prompt the study and the church responded? For some the church simply studied the issue and came to the conclusion that the Bible was not opposed to these things.  But was this study prompted by social pressure as certain practices became more and more open and accepted as mainstream in the culture?  It's hard to think that the need to study the issue and change the stance of the church came about in a vacuum.  I believe that some church bodies, like the ELCA, may, indeed believe that their study of the scriptures supports these things. But I also believe that such study came about only after the prevailing culture itself became more accepting of the issues in question and made it necessary to address it and eventually adopt it.  Each change appears to be at least prompted by a cultural shift.


If we go back a generation or two, we didn't allow divorced men to be pastors. We bought a travel trailer from a man who was defrocked by the LCMS when got divorced. A member in an ELCA congregation I had served, opposed them calling a candidate because he had been divorced and remarried. Such views and removal of clergy because of a divorce seldom happens today. When it does, it's usually a case of adultery by the pastor rather than the divorce itself. Did our church bodies change their position because of cultural pressure; or did we find better ways of applying God's grace to sinners? Or, as one speaker theorized, so many pastors had children who had been divorced that they had to find away to make them acceptable to the church.


(I think that the Bible (and certainly Jesus,) is much clearer about divorced people getting married: it is always committing adultery; than it is about the marriage of same-sex couples that is not mentioned at all.)

The prohibition on wrongfully divorced men serving as pastors still applies in the LCMS.


What's a wrongful divorce? Or, from another angle, what's a rightful divorce (if there is one)?
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Steven W Bohler on October 31, 2021, 11:38:24 AM
When it comes to the church and homosexuality, women's ordination, etc., it seems almost a classic "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Did the church simply decide to study the issue and then adopt a new practice, or did the culture prompt the study and the church responded? For some the church simply studied the issue and came to the conclusion that the Bible was not opposed to these things.  But was this study prompted by social pressure as certain practices became more and more open and accepted as mainstream in the culture?  It's hard to think that the need to study the issue and change the stance of the church came about in a vacuum.  I believe that some church bodies, like the ELCA, may, indeed believe that their study of the scriptures supports these things. But I also believe that such study came about only after the prevailing culture itself became more accepting of the issues in question and made it necessary to address it and eventually adopt it.  Each change appears to be at least prompted by a cultural shift.


If we go back a generation or two, we didn't allow divorced men to be pastors. We bought a travel trailer from a man who was defrocked by the LCMS when got divorced. A member in an ELCA congregation I had served, opposed them calling a candidate because he had been divorced and remarried. Such views and removal of clergy because of a divorce seldom happens today. When it does, it's usually a case of adultery by the pastor rather than the divorce itself. Did our church bodies change their position because of cultural pressure; or did we find better ways of applying God's grace to sinners? Or, as one speaker theorized, so many pastors had children who had been divorced that they had to find away to make them acceptable to the church.


(I think that the Bible (and certainly Jesus,) is much clearer about divorced people getting married: it is always committing adultery; than it is about the marriage of same-sex couples that is not mentioned at all.)

The prohibition on wrongfully divorced men serving as pastors still applies in the LCMS.


What's a wrongful divorce? Or, from another angle, what's a rightful divorce (if there is one)?

I am sure he means Scriptural.  For adultery or desertion.  But, I am also sure, you already knew that and were just trying to divert things.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2021, 12:52:32 PM
Peter, I think they would reach for passages like the following and argue they are acting in keeping with Scripture (and the Spirit):

Isaiah 42:9; 43:19; 48:6; Acts 10--11.

A conservative Lutheran would say that the work of the Spirit will not contradict the teaching of Scripture. He would point to Sola Scriptura as a hallmark of Reformation theology.


Did God declare many foods unclean in Scriptures? Did God later declare all foods clean in Scriptures?

The Mosaic covenant, which includes the food restrictions, was always temporary. It was intended to form Israel as a nation. It was set aside when Christ came and offered the perfect redeeming sacrifice. (We've plowed this ground before. No sense repeating.)


What evidence do you have that the Mosaic covenant was temporary? As I read Jeremiah 31, the new covenant did not set aside the old covenant. What was new was that it would be written on people's hearts rather than on the tablets of stone.


Quote
In contrast, the New Testament affirms the moral law. So there is really no point of comparison between God doing something temporarily and doing something completely new.


I went searching for the word "moral" in the New Testament. It occurs once in the ESV (1 Cor 15:33). The Greek word is ἦθος, and Paul is quoting from a play by Menander who died 292 BC. That's the only instance of that word in the NT. It occurs in the LXX only in Sirach and 4 Maccabees. (It is not translated "morals" in those books.) It is related to ἐθίζω and ἔθος and related words which refer to "habits" or "customs," which is how they are usually translated.


So, I'm wondering what you mean by the "moral law." (I've commented before that "moral law" as distinct from other Torah commands is not something that I find that the Bible makes.)
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Terry W Culler on October 31, 2021, 12:53:45 PM
The AFLC does not allow divorced pastors on our clergy roster.  There are a few on other Lutheran rosters serving AFLC churches.  The "husband of one wife" text has been understood in various ways in different Christian traditions.  While I don't believe any divorce is solely the fault of one person, I personally have advocated looking at circumstances in a more nuanced way when determining whether or not to allow a divorced person on our roster.  So far I am well in the minority.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2021, 12:58:24 PM
When it comes to the church and homosexuality, women's ordination, etc., it seems almost a classic "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Did the church simply decide to study the issue and then adopt a new practice, or did the culture prompt the study and the church responded? For some the church simply studied the issue and came to the conclusion that the Bible was not opposed to these things.  But was this study prompted by social pressure as certain practices became more and more open and accepted as mainstream in the culture?  It's hard to think that the need to study the issue and change the stance of the church came about in a vacuum.  I believe that some church bodies, like the ELCA, may, indeed believe that their study of the scriptures supports these things. But I also believe that such study came about only after the prevailing culture itself became more accepting of the issues in question and made it necessary to address it and eventually adopt it.  Each change appears to be at least prompted by a cultural shift.


If we go back a generation or two, we didn't allow divorced men to be pastors. We bought a travel trailer from a man who was defrocked by the LCMS when got divorced. A member in an ELCA congregation I had served, opposed them calling a candidate because he had been divorced and remarried. Such views and removal of clergy because of a divorce seldom happens today. When it does, it's usually a case of adultery by the pastor rather than the divorce itself. Did our church bodies change their position because of cultural pressure; or did we find better ways of applying God's grace to sinners? Or, as one speaker theorized, so many pastors had children who had been divorced that they had to find away to make them acceptable to the church.


(I think that the Bible (and certainly Jesus,) is much clearer about divorced people getting married: it is always committing adultery; than it is about the marriage of same-sex couples that is not mentioned at all.)

The prohibition on wrongfully divorced men serving as pastors still applies in the LCMS.


What's a wrongful divorce? Or, from another angle, what's a rightful divorce (if there is one)?

I am sure he means Scriptural.  For adultery or desertion.  But, I am also sure, you already knew that and were just trying to divert things.


I mentioned adultery in my post as a reason clergy nowadays may be defrocked; not just for getting a divorce.


So, in the LCMS, if a pastor's wife is unfaithful and asks for and gets a divorce, does that remove the divorced pastor from the clergy roster? Or, one you didn't mention, if the wife decides she's an unbeliever and asks for an gets a divorce, also a legal divorce according to Paul, does that remove the divorced pastor from the roster.


From what I'm hearing, a divorce simply because of "irreconcilable difference," without any extra-marital sexual relationships, would cause a pastor to be removed because of a "wrongful divorce."
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2021, 01:01:20 PM
The AFLC does not allow divorced pastors on our clergy roster.  There are a few on other Lutheran rosters serving AFLC churches.  The "husband of one wife" text has been understood in various ways in different Christian traditions.  While I don't believe any divorce is solely the fault of one person, I personally have advocated looking at circumstances in a more nuanced way when determining whether or not to allow a divorced person on our roster.  So far I am well in the minority.


As I read Jesus' words (as well as Paul's,) divorces are not the issue. It's getting married again after the divorce that becomes "committing adultery." We believe that God's grace covers even the sins of broken marriages and remarriages.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 31, 2021, 01:19:18 PM
The AFLC does not allow divorced pastors on our clergy roster.  There are a few on other Lutheran rosters serving AFLC churches.  The "husband of one wife" text has been understood in various ways in different Christian traditions.  While I don't believe any divorce is solely the fault of one person, I personally have advocated looking at circumstances in a more nuanced way when determining whether or not to allow a divorced person on our roster.  So far I am well in the minority.


As I read Jesus' words (as well as Paul's,) divorces are not the issue. It's getting married again after the divorce that becomes "committing adultery." We believe that God's grace covers even the sins of broken marriages and remarriages.
God’s grace and forgiveness is not at issue on questions of suitability for the pastoral office. It isn’t even necessarily a matter of fault, either. Part of the office is modeling the Christian life. That doesn’t mean being sinless, but it does mean that people in general would do well to emulate you. A divorce can hinder that aspect of the office, just as a bankruptcy, wild children, and a host of other things that may or may not be the pastor’s fault. A lot of things that aren’t your fault might make it problematic for you to be a pastor.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2021, 03:37:16 PM
The AFLC does not allow divorced pastors on our clergy roster.  There are a few on other Lutheran rosters serving AFLC churches.  The "husband of one wife" text has been understood in various ways in different Christian traditions.  While I don't believe any divorce is solely the fault of one person, I personally have advocated looking at circumstances in a more nuanced way when determining whether or not to allow a divorced person on our roster.  So far I am well in the minority.


As I read Jesus' words (as well as Paul's,) divorces are not the issue. It's getting married again after the divorce that becomes "committing adultery." We believe that God's grace covers even the sins of broken marriages and remarriages.
God’s grace and forgiveness is not at issue on questions of suitability for the pastoral office. It isn’t even necessarily a matter of fault, either. Part of the office is modeling the Christian life. That doesn’t mean being sinless, but it does mean that people in general would do well to emulate you. A divorce can hinder that aspect of the office, just as a bankruptcy, wild children, and a host of other things that may or may not be the pastor’s fault. A lot of things that aren’t your fault might make it problematic for you to be a pastor.


It doesn't happen often, but I agree with you. There are situations that can make one unsuitable for the pastoral office. Three of my seminary classmates were not certified for ordination after their four years of seminary. The ELCA tries harder to weed out the unsuitable candidates during the first years rather than at the end.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2021, 03:45:50 PM
A number of years ago the LCMS had a one-page sheet that compared the LCMS with the ALC. (I haven't been able to find the copy I had.) In general, I summarized it as saying that the ALC and now the ELCA has a broader perspective on all the topics they discussed. We have a wider range of folks whom we will ordain: women, homosexuals with partners. (Will the LCMS ordain homosexuals who refrain sexual relationships?) We have a broader range of critical tools for biblical interpretation. We take a broader understanding of the Confessions and ecumenical relationships. We have a broader acceptance of members of lodges. We have a more inclusive invitation to the Sacrament of the altar: all the baptized.


I suspect that the variances of beliefs among LCMS members is much narrower than the variances of beliefs among ELCA members.


When I've explained this to folks, I use the gesture of my two hands being fairly close together to indicate a narrow distance apart within the LCMS on nearly every topic; and then spread them further apart for the wider range that's in the ELCA.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on October 31, 2021, 03:48:31 PM
A group I know less about is LCMC. How are the different from the other Lutheran denominations?
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2021, 04:10:27 PM
A group I know less about is LCMC. How are the different from the other Lutheran denominations?


You can check them out at their website: https://www.lcmc.net/ (https://www.lcmc.net/)


They don't consider themselves a denomination. They began as a network of congregations connected over shared interests. A key one at the beginning was their opposition to Called to Common Mission. The ELCA's full communion agreement with The Episcopal Church. They believe that the requirement of bishops officiating at ordinations was contrary to our confessions. Their opposition to that agreement was their rallying point.

In that sense, they were a bit like Lutherans Concerned/North America or Reconciled in Christ congregations. Congregations that were bound together by a common interest.


As I saw their development, they "morphed" (my term) into a more denominational-like structure as more congregations in the network became more dissatisfied with the ELCA. Congregations are pretty much autonomous. There is no hierarchy - no bishops/presidents. Congregations are accountable to one another.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: DCharlton on October 31, 2021, 06:27:03 PM
Differences Between ELCA, NALC, LCMC, etc... and LCMS in 2021:

ELCA
- considers "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" to be an optional metaphor
- considers the Gospel to be synonymous with Social Justice
- considers sex outside of marriage to be acceptable for ordained ministers
- believes that Christ is one among many saviors

LCMS, NALC, LCMC, etc...
- consider "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" to be the revealed name of God
- distinguish between the Gospel and the good works that follow faith in the Gospel
- consider marriage to be the only appropriate place for sex
- believe that Christ is the only savior
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: peter_speckhard on October 31, 2021, 06:44:35 PM
Differences Between ELCA, NALC, LCMC, etc... and LCMS in 2021:

ELCA
- considers "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" to be an optional metaphor
- considers the Gospel to be synonymous with Social Justice
- considers sex outside of marriage to be acceptable for ordained ministers
- believes that Christ is one among many saviors

LCMS, NALC, LCMC, etc...
- consider "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" to be the revealed name of God
- distinguish between the Gospel and the good works that follow faith in the Gospel
- consider marriage to be the only appropriate place for sex
- believe that Christ is the only savior
Forget ordained ministers— sex outside of marriage is not acceptable for Christians just because they’re not ordained.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: DCharlton on October 31, 2021, 07:12:53 PM
Differences Between ELCA, NALC, LCMC, etc... and LCMS in 2021:

ELCA
- considers "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" to be an optional metaphor
- considers the Gospel to be synonymous with Social Justice
- considers sex outside of marriage to be acceptable for ordained ministers
- believes that Christ is one among many saviors

LCMS, NALC, LCMC, etc...
- consider "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" to be the revealed name of God
- distinguish between the Gospel and the good works that follow faith in the Gospel
- consider marriage to be the only appropriate place for sex
- believe that Christ is the only savior
Forget ordained ministers— sex outside of marriage is not acceptable for Christians just because they’re not ordained.

Right.  In my characterization of the LCMS, NALC, LCMC and others, I did not qualify it by including the term "ordained minister". 
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 31, 2021, 07:21:42 PM
Differences Between ELCA, NALC, LCMC, etc... and LCMS in 2021:

ELCA
- considers "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" to be an optional metaphor
- considers the Gospel to be synonymous with Social Justice
- considers sex outside of marriage to be acceptable for ordained ministers
- believes that Christ is one among many saviors


Please show us where the ELCA has stated any of these things.


We have not changed our Confession of Faith, which I quote from below:


2.01. This church confesses the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
2.02. This church confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.
      a. Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate, through whom everything was made and through whose life, death, and resurrection God fashions a new creation.
      b. The proclamation of God’s message to us as both Law and Gospel is the Word of God, revealing judgment and mercy through word and deed, beginning with the Word in crea­tion, continuing in the history of Israel, and centering in all its fullness in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
      c. The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God. In­spired by God’s Spirit speaking through their authors, they record and announce God’s revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them God’s Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world.

I also quote from Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust:


Because this church urges couples to seek the highest social and legal support for their relationships, it does not favor cohabitation arrangements outside of marriage. It has a special concern when such arrangements are entered into as an end in themselves. It does, however, acknowledge the social forces at work that encourage such practices. This church also recognizes the pastoral and familial issues that accompany these contemporary social patterns.

Officially, we encourage marriage as the best relationship for sexual relationships.

You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

Granted, there are clergy within the ELCA who may hold positions that match your statements; but they are not the teachings nor confession of the ELCA.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: DCharlton on October 31, 2021, 08:49:54 PM
You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

Granted, there are clergy within the ELCA who may hold positions that match your statements; but they are not the teachings nor confession of the ELCA.

Oh, I base what I write on plenty of facts.  I base it on what the ELCA's leaders do and say, on the ELCA's most recent hymnal and worship materials, on Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline 2021, and on the actions of the Churchwide Assembly.  In fact, you regularly espouse and defend the very things that you are currently denying.   
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Charles Austin on October 31, 2021, 09:38:28 PM
And yet you lead an ELCA congregation.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on October 31, 2021, 10:02:21 PM
And yet you lead an ELCA congregation.

If so, thank  God!
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: DCharlton on October 31, 2021, 10:38:09 PM
And yet you lead an ELCA congregation.

Well, of course.  Just as there are people in the LCMS who favor women's ordination, open-communion, or believe in theistic evolution, there are people in the ELCA who hold old fashioned notions about God's name, the distinction between Law and Gospel, marriage, or salvation. 
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Jeff-MN on October 31, 2021, 11:48:48 PM
This summary of the difference between the two major Lutheran church bodies in America is from Jaroslav Pelikan: "the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod became Baptist, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America became Methodist".
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 01, 2021, 02:58:40 AM
You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

Granted, there are clergy within the ELCA who may hold positions that match your statements; but they are not the teachings nor confession of the ELCA.

Oh, I base what I write on plenty of facts.  I base it on what the ELCA's leaders do and say, on the ELCA's most recent hymnal and worship materials, on Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline 2021, and on the actions of the Churchwide Assembly.  In fact, you regularly espouse and defend the very things that you are currently denying.


Please reference what you object to in those documents. Also, are there sufficient options in the worship materials so that you can use what the ELCA has prepared? That is, do they use language that you find acceptable? Do they create space for you to worship in the way you prefer?


While some liturgical options don't begin with "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," but rather use different images, usually directly from scriptures, to talk about the Triune God; the traditional language is not abandoned. It always remains an option. (It is also the only approved option for baptisms, where scriptures says we need to use "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." There is nothing that says we have to use it as an invocation.


Yes, I defend the ELCA. I do not find that they have officially adopted any of the positions that you say that they have adopted. The clergy who may have such beliefs are like the LCMS clergy who favor women's ordination, open communion, etc., that are at odds with the official teachings of their church body.


I defend the ELCA because we are a church body that has created room for you and me and Charles and Dick, and many other Lutherans who have different opinions about many different things; but we are united in the one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Charles Austin on November 01, 2021, 05:20:31 AM
Pastor Charlton says  his ELCA:
- considers "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" to be an optional metaphor
- considers the Gospel to be synonymous with Social Justice
- considers sex outside of marriage to be acceptable for ordained ministers
- believes that Christ is one among many saviors

I comment:
-No. Our ELCA says God is “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”. And however we refer to God, that Holy Trinity is the God to whom we refer, no one else.
-Care for our neighbor, individually and collectively, and for justice for our neighbors  is a clear, un-disputed biblical mandate. It must exist with the proclamation of the Gospel. Only the weirdest “faith-is-me-and-my-God” heretic would argue with that.
-No. Full sexual intimacy belongs within a committed, public, life-long relationship.
-Show us where, in our statements of faith, our liturgical publications, our hymnals, the words of our key leaders, we say Christ is “one among many saviors”. If I thought the ELCA taught that, I would resign from it immediately. (There may be other saviors out there, but Jesus is the only one revealed to us as Christians and the only one we follow. We call everyone to Jesus, not to anyone else.)
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 01, 2021, 07:13:55 AM
This summary of the difference between the two major Lutheran church bodies in America is from Jaroslav Pelikan: "the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod became Baptist, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America became Methodist".

A lot of truth in that.

And Pelikan became Orthodox.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on November 01, 2021, 07:58:49 AM
This summary of the difference between the two major Lutheran church bodies in America is from Jaroslav Pelikan: "the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod became Baptist, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America became Methodist".

A lot of truth in that.

And Pelikan became Orthodox.

I don't think his statement about the LCMS makes sense at all. I'm familiar with the Baptist tradition and the points of departure are many more than the points of full agreement. More than likely Pelikan intended to imply that the LCMS was becoming fundamentalist. But that also doesn't work since sociologists use fundamentalist to describe conservatism in a wide variety of religions and not just Christianity. Pelikan was uncomfortable with the conservative trend in the LCMS. With greater candor, he might have said the latter.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dave Benke on November 01, 2021, 08:58:06 AM
This summary of the difference between the two major Lutheran church bodies in America is from Jaroslav Pelikan: "the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod became Baptist, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America became Methodist".

A lot of truth in that.

And Pelikan became Orthodox.

I don't think his statement about the LCMS makes sense at all. I'm familiar with the Baptist tradition and the points of departure are many more than the points of full agreement. More than likely Pelikan intended to imply that the LCMS was becoming fundamentalist. But that also doesn't work since sociologists use fundamentalist to describe conservatism in a wide variety of religions and not just Christianity. Pelikan was uncomfortable with the conservative trend in the LCMS. With greater candor, he might have said the latter.

That statement was written back a pretty long while, Ed.  I think it may have to do somewhat with worship style issues, as the larger congregations became more Word and song oriented, and the proclamation more "how-to" with moralizing and basis in law. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: John_Hannah on November 01, 2021, 09:03:33 AM
This summary of the difference between the two major Lutheran church bodies in America is from Jaroslav Pelikan: "the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod became Baptist, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America became Methodist".

A lot of truth in that.

And Pelikan became Orthodox.

I don't think his statement about the LCMS makes sense at all. I'm familiar with the Baptist tradition and the points of departure are many more than the points of full agreement. More than likely Pelikan intended to imply that the LCMS was becoming fundamentalist. But that also doesn't work since sociologists use fundamentalist to describe conservatism in a wide variety of religions and not just Christianity. Pelikan was uncomfortable with the conservative trend in the LCMS. With greater candor, he might have said the latter.

EDWARD,

You may be correct technically. However, as the more rigorrist Missourians sought in the 1960's to distinguish us from the ALC (then being considered for full communion with Missouri) and the LCA, Baptist like shibboleths and slogans dominated the debate. Inerrancy of historical and scientific items as well as closed communion are two examples. That party won the day. Once more our Missouri polity is more like Baptist than any other classic type in America.    ;D

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on November 01, 2021, 09:28:40 AM
David and John, I see your point but it's at best a tongue-in-cheek comparison. Contemporary services have never dominated in the LCMS; Baptists would not recognize our blended services as there own since they are still too liturgical. Most LCMS churches still have use of the western liturgy. Inerrancy was firmly a Lutheran orthodoxy teaching entirely independent of the Baptist tradition. I can see culturally why Pelikan said what he did at the time but it's not an accurate thing to say but at best a rhetorical thing to say.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 01, 2021, 09:36:54 AM
So what did the Lutherans do who became neither Baptist, nor Methodist, nor Catholic, nor Orthodox?
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 01, 2021, 09:50:55 AM
David and John, I see your point but it's at best a tongue-in-cheek comparison. Contemporary services have never dominated in the LCMS; Baptists would not recognize our blended services as there own since they are still too liturgical. Most LCMS churches still have use of the western liturgy. Inerrancy was firmly a Lutheran orthodoxy teaching entirely independent of the Baptist tradition. I can see culturally why Pelikan said what he did at the time but it's not an accurate thing to say but at best a rhetorical thing to say.

Well of course it is tongue-in-cheek! The ELCA didn't become "Methodist" in any technical sense; he was referring, I suspect, in both cases, to the loosening of liturgical norms; and in the case of the ELCA, to the increasing social activism.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: John_Hannah on November 01, 2021, 10:34:52 AM
David and John, I see your point but it's at best a tongue-in-cheek comparison. Contemporary services have never dominated in the LCMS; Baptists would not recognize our blended services as there own since they are still too liturgical. Most LCMS churches still have use of the western liturgy. Inerrancy was firmly a Lutheran orthodoxy teaching entirely independent of the Baptist tradition. I can see culturally why Pelikan said what he did at the time but it's not an accurate thing to say but at best a rhetorical thing to say.

Well of course it is tongue-in-cheek! The ELCA didn't become "Methodist" in any technical sense; he was referring, I suspect, in both cases, to the loosening of liturgical norms; and in the case of the ELCA, to the increasing social activism.

I had heard this legend about Pelikan many years ago. As I heard it, his father was said to have told his son, "after the . . . . you know what to do. Namely go Orthodox. They were Slovak Americans. In any event I began hearing the story before the kerfuffle of SEMINEX, etc.
 
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dave Benke on November 01, 2021, 11:03:48 AM
David and John, I see your point but it's at best a tongue-in-cheek comparison. Contemporary services have never dominated in the LCMS; Baptists would not recognize our blended services as there own since they are still too liturgical. Most LCMS churches still have use of the western liturgy. Inerrancy was firmly a Lutheran orthodoxy teaching entirely independent of the Baptist tradition. I can see culturally why Pelikan said what he did at the time but it's not an accurate thing to say but at best a rhetorical thing to say.

We have another thread speaking about the halving of small church attendance toward tiny across the Protestant spectrum with an emphasis on small town/rural.  The LCMS and old ALC are majority small town/rural groupings among Lutherans.  Most likely the WELS/ELS and LCMC fall into that category as well.  Those were SBH page X and TLH page 5/15 congregations.  The larger suburban congregations morphed at some point along the timeline toward - my opinion - more blended formats including something semi-traditional and then more Word/song contemporary. 

So you're right that the majority of congregations have stuck with a liturgical framework and the hymns from whichever book they're using.  However, the kicker is that the majority, and that majority is growing greater, of the people in worship on any given Sunday are in those blended/contemporary congregations.  Does that feel somehow then more Baptist to worshipers?  I don't know; but to someone committed to liturgical worship, the answer might be Yes.

As an aside, something we have done locally through the pandemic has caused me to reflect on our sacramental piety.  Prior the congregant came forward, could receive a blessing only, or a blessing with the Meal.  So it was less Meal optional than blessing optional.  Most received the Meal and returned to their seats.  Now, the folks come forward in family groups to receive the pre-packaged Eucharist and all receive a blessing along with the Meal, with only several adults who aren't catechized just taking a blessing.  So it's no longer blessing optional.  The response to the personal blessing/prayer has been overwhelming, positive, and created a more prayerful culture in the congregation.  Personally, somehow that feels more "Protestant" to me in the altar call way of thinking. And yet it's not, and in fact strengthens the reception of the Eucharist.  I can see this remaining after a return to some kind of normalcy, not a pro tem thing.  Of course, we have more time for all of this with three times the amount of services and less people at each one.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 01, 2021, 11:09:16 AM

To Pastor Fienen:
Nice job. Rest assured that I fully understand how you can be “respectful“ to women or partnered gay pastors without getting anything icky on your hands or your virtue. For that is how I read your long comment, that is, protecting you rather than being respectful of “them.”



Been trying to figure out what is so upsetting to you about my response to the question about being able to sit next to and respect the ministries and marriages of women and partnered gay pastors. No, it is not a matter of them being "icky" nor do I think them to have "cooties" that by dealing with them are a danger of rubbing off on me. You show your disrespect for me and your lack of understanding of me and the positions that I espouse by suggesting that my objection is a matter of considering them to be icky and a danger of their ickiness rubbing off on me.


After careful and prayerful Bible study, consideration of what the church has taught through the ages, and consultation with my peers, I have concluded that women's ordination to the pastoral ministry, same sex sexual relations, and thus the ordination of partnered gay or lesbian persons to the pastoral ministry is not in accord with God's will. I have also concluded that God's intent for marriage is that it be between a male and a female, although I recognize that people through the ages have distorted that intent in various ways. I know that you and many others after careful and prayerful Bible study and consideration have concluded otherwise.


We disagree. It really doesn't have anything to do with ickiness, although I suppose if it makes you feel more comfortable and confident of your conclusions to denigrate my beliefs by assuming that they are not the result of carful and prayer study but an internal, irrational, revulsion, I can understand your insistence that I must not have really thought this through or listened to the Holy Spirit. How could I rationally disagree with you and your colleagues? There is cognitive dissonance here. So some of my colleagues insist that you arrived at your position not by listening to the Bible but by listening to the culture that insists on the positions you hold. (Which is itself a misjudgment of your position and how you arrived at it.) And you insist that I must  have arrived at my position out of fear, or an irrational revulsion at these people's ickiness. Neither estimation is respectful of the other side.


We live in a pluralistic society. That means that not only are we not racially, ethnically, or culturally homogenous, but that we hold disparate beliefs. There are many different religions being practiced in the United States, and of course the nones, and even within faith traditions there are varieties of beliefs, some mutually incompatible. What that means, among other things, is that we must find ways to coexist cooperatively with people with whom we disagree and consider to be simply wrong about some of the things that they believe, say, and do.


There are a number of ways that people have tried to do this. The way that I strive to coexist I described in my post that you dismissed as not "getting anything icky on {my} hands or {my} virtue." So you "read {my} long comment, that is, protecting {me} rather than being respectful of 'them.' " Thus you dismiss my position as irrational and not worthy of serious consideration, a mere defense mechanism. Although you do not say this explicitly, it sounds to me that lurking in you response is the assumption that to be truly respectful of women pastors and partnered gay pastors I must come to agree that their positions are correct and my position is wrong.


This perhaps helps explain why you and so many of your colleagues find this ALPB Forum an uncongenial space. To be truly respected and welcomed here, you would need to be acknowledged as correct and those who have opposed you to be wrong. Sure it may take time for them to recognize the error of their ways and they can be tolerated while they come around, so long as they don't make too much noise or bother, but in the end if they truly respect you, they will agree with you.


One of the foundational principles of the American experiment is the protection of the rights of minorities. And yes, I know that America has sometimes (often) done a dismal job of living up to that principle. I respect the right of people to conclude that women pastors, same sex marriage, and partnered gay pastors are in accord with God's will and to organize their churches to include these beliefs. They may be fellow Lutherans. And in our pluralistic society we need to be able to work together and coexist in those areas where we can without either of us compromising our beliefs. I also claim the right to gather with people who believe as I do in these matters and organize our churches accordingly. And I claim the same respect for me and my beliefs that I am called upon to extend to others who believe differently. I will extend civility and mutual professional courtesy to those who have been called within their religious bodies and in accordance to their beliefs to positions similar to mine.


What I will not do, Charles, is to operate under the assumption that you are right and I am wrong and that inevitably, eventually, I will come to understand that.


Sorry about the long answer, but you made what I consider a major misunderstanding of my position as well as denigration of my beliefs. To just engage in a "do not" "do too" exchange just didn't seem to cut it.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: DCharlton on November 01, 2021, 11:17:31 AM
Pastor Charlton says  his ELCA:
- considers "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" to be an optional metaphor
- considers the Gospel to be synonymous with Social Justice
- considers sex outside of marriage to be acceptable for ordained ministers
- believes that Christ is one among many saviors

I comment:
-No. Our ELCA says God is “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”. And however we refer to God, that Holy Trinity is the God to whom we refer, no one else.
-Care for our neighbor, individually and collectively, and for justice for our neighbors  is a clear, un-disputed biblical mandate. It must exist with the proclamation of the Gospel. Only the weirdest “faith-is-me-and-my-God” heretic would argue with that.
-No. Full sexual intimacy belongs within a committed, public, life-long relationship.
-Show us where, in our statements of faith, our liturgical publications, our hymnals, the words of our key leaders, we say Christ is “one among many saviors”. If I thought the ELCA taught that, I would resign from it immediately. (There may be other saviors out there, but Jesus is the only one revealed to us as Christians and the only one we follow. We call everyone to Jesus, not to anyone else.)

You are describing an ELCA that once existed.  Time has passed you by. 
- The notion that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a metaphor, but not God's name, has prevailed.  (See the installation of Bishop Rohrer.)
- The distinction between Law and Gospel, which would recognize the importance of preaching justice as Law, while still distinguishing it from the Gospel, strictly speaking, has been lost.  (See just about any pronouncement on justice that comes from the ELCA.)
- Being in a committed, public, life-long relationship is no longer the standard.  (See the installation of Nadia Bolz-Weber as public theologian.)
- It is no longer clear where the ELCA stands in regard to religious pluralism, and the necessity of Christ for salvation.  (See CWA 2019)

This is how the ELCA works.  First, the proponents of change establish facts on the ground, then they may or may not bother to change our governing documents to reflect those changes.  An appeal to what is in the ELCA constitution doesn't change facts on the ground. 

Whatever the ELCA constitution may say, students at ELCA seminaries have been taught that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a replaceable metaphor for over 30 years.  The idea that social justice is the true Gospel, and that the distinction between Law and Gospel is the opiate of the masses, has likewise been taught for over 30 years.  ELCA bishops ordained people in same-sex relationship long before it was permitted.  And universalism has been alive and well in the ELCA from the beginning.  (And I'm not talking about Christocentric universalism.)

Yes, it is true that prominent theologians and professors, including Robert Jenson and Carl Braaten, resisted these trends.  Walter Bouman, at my seminary, did the same.  (Bouman may have supported ordaining pastors in committed, lifelong, same-sex relationships.)  They lost the battle. 

Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: DCharlton on November 01, 2021, 11:24:48 AM
PS - My only doubt is in regard to universalism.  I am certain that the vast majority of ELCA pastors are universalists.  Whether they are Christocentric universalists, believing that all will be save propter Christum, or simply universalists, believing that all religions save, is unclear to me.  My guess is that the younger generation of ELCA pastors have been taught that even Christocentric universalism is a form of colonialism, bordering on white-supremacy.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dave Benke on November 01, 2021, 12:34:16 PM
PS - My only doubt is in regard to universalism.  I am certain that the vast majority of ELCA pastors are universalists.  Whether they are Christocentric universalists, believing that all will be save propter Christum, or simply universalists, believing that all religions save, is unclear to me.  My guess is that the younger generation of ELCA pastors have been taught that even Christocentric universalism is a form of colonialism, bordering on white-supremacy.

Is this the way it's taught at the various seminaries, and are there course offering curriculae that are able to be looked at, or are the younger/new pastors bringing that with them to their training? 

Secondly, from your other post, is there a remnant left of any size nationwide or regionally which is sort of undercover but desirous of support?  Maybe longer term clergy and congregations that didn't leave for the NALC?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 01, 2021, 12:47:42 PM
Pastor Preus:
…so today the ELCA embraces women's ordination and the GLBTQ agenda in obedience to the demands of the religious culture of our day.

Me:
Can you possibly, just possibly abandon the canard that what we do in the ELCA is “in obedience to the demands of the culture”?
Go ahead. Say we misuse scripture. Say we misunderstand scripture, but stop saying we do what we do in response to some cultural demands.

To Pastor Fienen:
Nice job. Rest assured that I fully understand how you can be “respectful“ to women or partnered gay pastors without getting anything icky on your hands or your virtue. For that is how I read your long comment, that is, protecting you rather than being respectful of “them.”

Or more succinctly, I find Charles' post as disrespectful and offensive as he finds posts that suggest that "the ELCA embraces women's ordination and the GLBTQ agenda in obedience to the demands of the religious culture of our day."
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 01, 2021, 01:03:06 PM
So you're right that the majority of congregations have stuck with a liturgical framework and the hymns from whichever book they're using.  However, the kicker is that the majority, and that majority is growing greater, of the people in worship on any given Sunday are in those blended/contemporary congregations.  Does that feel somehow then more Baptist to worshipers?  I don't know; but to someone committed to liturgical worship, the answer might be Yes.


I see two (or three) types of contemporary music in churches. Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) is one type. It's often heard on Christian radio stations. Maranatha Music is a key publisher. Perhaps before them was Singspiration. It is somewhat designed for performance groups. A second type I have called "contemporary liturgical music." It mostly comes out of Roman Catholic publishers. Today: Gregorian Institute in America (GIA) and Oregon Catholic Press (OCP) are primary publishers. In prior decades there was also North American Liturgical Resource (NALR) and Friends of the English Liturgy (FEL). Marty Haugen is a key representative of this type of composer. They write for liturgical worship and congregational singing. Perhaps included in this group might also be Taize music. It's created for congregational singing within a worship setting, although not necessarily the traditional Western liturgies.


A possible third group might be the newer music that Augsburg and Concordia publish which often sounds a lot like the traditional music. It's often written to be accompanied by an organ.


In a magazine article I wrote years ago, I stated that for the common person in the pew, the primary difference between contemporary worship and traditional worship is the instrumentation. Traditional worship uses an organ. Contemporary worship uses other instruments; usually, piano, guitars, sometimes drums, flute, etc. Blended worship uses organ sometimes and other instruments other times.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 01, 2021, 01:08:09 PM
One problem that I have long had with doing Contemporary Worship is with gathering the musical resources. To do it well, one needs several musicians for the various instruments, a guitar or two, flute, drums, etc. These must already be in the congregation and willing to volunteer or hired. The congregations that I've served simply have not had the resources.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 01, 2021, 01:54:40 PM
One problem that I have long had with doing Contemporary Worship is with gathering the musical resources. To do it well, one needs several musicians for the various instruments, a guitar or two, flute, drums, etc. These must already be in the congregation and willing to volunteer or hired. The congregations that I've served simply have not had the resources.


I think that part of the reason the (pipe) organ became a key instrument for worship was because it is a type of "one-man band." Different pipes were created to mimic the sounds of instruments in the orchestra.


Another reason was that if the pumper pumped hard enough on the billows, it was an instrument that could fill up a large space with sound.


Perhaps contrary to all expectations, Nadia BW grew her congregation without any musicians. They sang a cappella.


It happened one Sunday on internship that the organist for our early service couldn't come. I offered to read my parts and the congregation could read theirs (this was from the SBH,) but a member thought we should sing it. I said that I would sing mine and he could lead the congregation in singing theirs. He did. People commented on how different it seemed to be doing it that way. (I remember one saying, "That was interesting. We should do it again … but not more than once a year.) (It may be that back in 1974-5 when I was on internship, the folks in the pews may have been more musically minded and more accustomed to singing than folks today.)
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 01, 2021, 02:31:25 PM
One problem that I have long had with doing Contemporary Worship is with gathering the musical resources. To do it well, one needs several musicians for the various instruments, a guitar or two, flute, drums, etc. These must already be in the congregation and willing to volunteer or hired. The congregations that I've served simply have not had the resources.


I think that part of the reason the (pipe) organ became a key instrument for worship was because it is a type of "one-man band." Different pipes were created to mimic the sounds of instruments in the orchestra.


Another reason was that if the pumper pumped hard enough on the billows, it was an instrument that could fill up a large space with sound.


Perhaps contrary to all expectations, Nadia BW grew her congregation without any musicians. They sang a cappella.


It happened one Sunday on internship that the organist for our early service couldn't come. I offered to read my parts and the congregation could read theirs (this was from the SBH,) but a member thought we should sing it. I said that I would sing mine and he could lead the congregation in singing theirs. He did. People commented on how different it seemed to be doing it that way. (I remember one saying, "That was interesting. We should do it again … but not more than once a year.) (It may be that back in 1974-5 when I was on internship, the folks in the pews may have been more musically minded and more accustomed to singing than folks today.)
Singing a cappella works if the music is already familiar to the congregation or they can read music and have had enough training to sing a cappella. That training is, I fear, greatly lacking in most people, especially younger ones. My impression is that public education has not had as much an emphasis on music for everybody as previously.


Much of contemporary worship music is not so familiar to the average congregation that they would already know most of the music, and the few times that I've worshiped with contemporary worship, only the words and not the music was supplied to the congregation. (One reason that I usually find contemporary worship unsatisfying as worship. I have a hard time participating and find treating it as a concert to be observed lacking as worship.)
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 01, 2021, 04:04:50 PM
Singing a cappella works if the music is already familiar to the congregation or they can read music and have had enough training to sing a cappella. That training is, I fear, greatly lacking in most people, especially younger ones. My impression is that public education has not had as much an emphasis on music for everybody as previously.

I don't know what they sang in Nadia's congregation. She was intentional about trying to reach folks were not the normal church people. Some songs, like those from Taizé are fairly easy to learn because of the repetition.

Quote
Much of contemporary worship music is not so familiar to the average congregation that they would already know most of the music, and the few times that I've worshiped with contemporary worship, only the words and not the music was supplied to the congregation. (One reason that I usually find contemporary worship unsatisfying as worship. I have a hard time participating and find treating it as a concert to be observed lacking as worship.)


I completely agree with you on this. While early on I only printed words in bulletins, in the late 1990s, I bought a program that allowed me to include at least the melody lines with the words in the bulletins. (With some songs I would reprint all four parts, e.g., Children of the Heavenly Father.)


Another pastor and I walked out of a synod worship service because it was essentially a performance by the musicians. They were singing songs we didn't know. They only projected words. We both read music and the music readers are likely to be the better singers to help the congregation sing their song.


As a musician (besides being a pastor,) one of the issues we face is how to help the congregation worship rather than being a performance. Related to that: how to accompany the congregation's song in such a way that doesn't draw undo attention to one's self. That can happen if there are too many mistakes or if there are too many embellishments.


One key of accompanying that I have read and learned by experience, is that the accompanist should not sing. S/he needs to be able to hear how well the congregation is singing and adjust the accompaniment accordingly. If they seem to know the tune well, e.g., Amazing Grace, there can be greater embellishments. If it's a new song and they aren't getting the melody too well, give greater emphasis on the melody - sometimes playing it in octaves without filling in the other notes to the chords. At times, good accompaniment can mean dropping out for a verse. This was especially true at synod events when folks were singing a well-known hymn and most seemed to know the four-part harmony, e.g., Beautiful Savior.


For anyone working with a musical ensemble, I recommend Marty Haugen's book: Instrumentation and the Liturgical Ensemble. I understand that this was his master's thesis. He has rewritten and updated the version I have. Here's a link:
https://www.giamusic.com/store/resource/the-liturgical-ensemble-second-edition-print-g9522


As a basic rule, the more instruments, the less each one should play.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on November 01, 2021, 06:44:44 PM
Dave wrote:

Quote
However, the kicker is that the majority, and that majority is growing greater, of the people in worship on any given Sunday are in those blended/contemporary congregations.  Does that feel somehow then more Baptist to worshipers?  I don't know; but to someone committed to liturgical worship, the answer might be Yes.

Is it documented that more Lutherans are attending blended/contemporary services than traditional services? Is there a study that shows this? I've not seen one. Someone please enlighten me.

Things Lutherans do that Baptists typically don't:
Public confession and absolution
Lectionary readings
Communion at the altar
Altar at the center
Baptize infants
Aaronic Benediction
Creeds
Responsive readings and prayers, etc.

Things Baptists do that Lutherans typically don't:
Altar calls
Persistently preacher picked Bible texts
Long Bible study styled sermons that dominate the service
Pulpit at the center
Adult Baptisms only
Testimonials

Unless I'm missing something, Baptists are still pretty sure we're Roman Catholic (or too close to it!).
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dave Benke on November 01, 2021, 07:15:08 PM
Dave wrote:

Quote
However, the kicker is that the majority, and that majority is growing greater, of the people in worship on any given Sunday are in those blended/contemporary congregations.  Does that feel somehow then more Baptist to worshipers?  I don't know; but to someone committed to liturgical worship, the answer might be Yes.

Is it documented that more Lutherans are attending blended/contemporary services than traditional services? Is there a study that shows this? I've not seen one. Someone please enlighten me.

Things Lutherans do that Baptists typically don't:
Public confession and absolution
Lectionary readings
Communion at the altar
Altar at the center
Baptize infants
Aaronic Benediction
Creeds
Responsive readings and prayers, etc.

Things Baptists do that Lutherans typically don't:
Altar calls
Persistently preacher picked Bible texts
Long Bible study styled sermons that dominate the service
Pulpit at the center
Adult Baptisms only
Testimonials

Unless I'm missing something, Baptists are still pretty sure we're Roman Catholic (or too close to it!).

The Missouri Synod stat I have from Pre-COVID is that 50-55% of the worshippers we’re from 15% of the congregations.  In other words the large(r) ones.  I would guess at this point
A) lots less people in worship, sadly
B) greater percentage in the larger ones than before

As to the rest, the biggest difference is in the Sacraments, and that remains.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dave Likeness on November 01, 2021, 07:27:58 PM
Mega Non-Denominational Order of Worship:

15 minutes....Praise Team leads congregation in singing
5 minutes......Offering/Prayers
40 minutes....Sermon

There is no Confession of Sins or Absolution,  no Apostles
Creed or Lord's Prayer, no O.T. lesson, Epistle lesson or
Gospel lesson, no Holy Communion, no Invocation or
Benediction

Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: RayToy on November 04, 2021, 09:19:19 AM
Pastor Charlton says  his ELCA:
- considers "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" to be an optional metaphor
- considers the Gospel to be synonymous with Social Justice
- considers sex outside of marriage to be acceptable for ordained ministers
- believes that Christ is one among many saviors

I comment:
-No. Our ELCA says God is “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”. And however we refer to God, that Holy Trinity is the God to whom we refer, no one else.
-Care for our neighbor, individually and collectively, and for justice for our neighbors  is a clear, un-disputed biblical mandate. It must exist with the proclamation of the Gospel. Only the weirdest “faith-is-me-and-my-God” heretic would argue with that.
-No. Full sexual intimacy belongs within a committed, public, life-long relationship.
-Show us where, in our statements of faith, our liturgical publications, our hymnals, the words of our key leaders, we say Christ is “one among many saviors”. If I thought the ELCA taught that, I would resign from it immediately. (There may be other saviors out there, but Jesus is the only one revealed to us as Christians and the only one we follow. We call everyone to Jesus, not to anyone else.)

You are describing an ELCA that once existed.  Time has passed you by. 
- The notion that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a metaphor, but not God's name, has prevailed.  (See the installation of Bishop Rohrer.)
- The distinction between Law and Gospel, which would recognize the importance of preaching justice as Law, while still distinguishing it from the Gospel, strictly speaking, has been lost.  (See just about any pronouncement on justice that comes from the ELCA.)
- Being in a committed, public, life-long relationship is no longer the standard.  (See the installation of Nadia Bolz-Weber as public theologian.)
- It is no longer clear where the ELCA stands in regard to religious pluralism, and the necessity of Christ for salvation.  (See CWA 2019)

This is how the ELCA works.  First, the proponents of change establish facts on the ground, then they may or may not bother to change our governing documents to reflect those changes.  An appeal to what is in the ELCA constitution doesn't change facts on the ground. 

Whatever the ELCA constitution may say, students at ELCA seminaries have been taught that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a replaceable metaphor for over 30 years.  The idea that social justice is the true Gospel, and that the distinction between Law and Gospel is the opiate of the masses, has likewise been taught for over 30 years.  ELCA bishops ordained people in same-sex relationship long before it was permitted.  And universalism has been alive and well in the ELCA from the beginning.  (And I'm not talking about Christocentric universalism.)

Yes, it is true that prominent theologians and professors, including Robert Jenson and Carl Braaten, resisted these trends.  Walter Bouman, at my seminary, did the same.  (Bouman may have supported ordaining pastors in committed, lifelong, same-sex relationships.)  They lost the battle.

    The center of gravity in the ELCA has definitely shifted.  Back when the Gay/Lesbian ordination question was being debated, there were four basic groups in existence.

Group 1-Opposed the question, and were willing to leave if the question went in favor.
Group 2-Opposed the question, but were willing to stay if the question went in favor.
Group 3-Supported the question, but were willing to stay if the question lost.
Group 4-Supported the question, and were willing to leave if the question lost.

    Of course, the question was approved by one vote, and the status quo changed.  When a motion to rescind the decision was ruled out of order, the groups were still in existence, but they became redefined with the new situation.

Group 1-Essentially left.
Group 2-Supports traditional sexuality mores, but recognizes that the advocacy train has left the station. This group for the most part stays silent on these kind of issues as long as the assumption of silence equates to ambiguity.
Group 3-Supports the expansion of sexual minorities into the pastoral ministry, but is willing to work with people in group 2.
Group 4-Supports the expansion of sexual minorities into the pastoral ministry, and wants group 2 to leave.
Group 5-Came into existence with "Naked and Unashamed." They believe that the entire notion of marriage and monogamy is intrinsically evil and morally bankrupt. NBW is a signatory.

     Many members of groups 2 and 3 (who were able to work with each other) are now retiring or otherwise leaving.  Many of the younger pastors coming up are in groups 4 and 5.  It will be interesting to see what happens.


Ray


Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 04, 2021, 10:42:46 AM
Pastor Charlton says  his ELCA:
- considers "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" to be an optional metaphor
- considers the Gospel to be synonymous with Social Justice
- considers sex outside of marriage to be acceptable for ordained ministers
- believes that Christ is one among many saviors

I comment:
-No. Our ELCA says God is “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”. And however we refer to God, that Holy Trinity is the God to whom we refer, no one else.
-Care for our neighbor, individually and collectively, and for justice for our neighbors  is a clear, un-disputed biblical mandate. It must exist with the proclamation of the Gospel. Only the weirdest “faith-is-me-and-my-God” heretic would argue with that.
-No. Full sexual intimacy belongs within a committed, public, life-long relationship.
-Show us where, in our statements of faith, our liturgical publications, our hymnals, the words of our key leaders, we say Christ is “one among many saviors”. If I thought the ELCA taught that, I would resign from it immediately. (There may be other saviors out there, but Jesus is the only one revealed to us as Christians and the only one we follow. We call everyone to Jesus, not to anyone else.)

You are describing an ELCA that once existed.  Time has passed you by. 
- The notion that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a metaphor, but not God's name, has prevailed.  (See the installation of Bishop Rohrer.)
- The distinction between Law and Gospel, which would recognize the importance of preaching justice as Law, while still distinguishing it from the Gospel, strictly speaking, has been lost.  (See just about any pronouncement on justice that comes from the ELCA.)
- Being in a committed, public, life-long relationship is no longer the standard.  (See the installation of Nadia Bolz-Weber as public theologian.)
- It is no longer clear where the ELCA stands in regard to religious pluralism, and the necessity of Christ for salvation.  (See CWA 2019)

This is how the ELCA works.  First, the proponents of change establish facts on the ground, then they may or may not bother to change our governing documents to reflect those changes.  An appeal to what is in the ELCA constitution doesn't change facts on the ground. 

Whatever the ELCA constitution may say, students at ELCA seminaries have been taught that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a replaceable metaphor for over 30 years.  The idea that social justice is the true Gospel, and that the distinction between Law and Gospel is the opiate of the masses, has likewise been taught for over 30 years.  ELCA bishops ordained people in same-sex relationship long before it was permitted.  And universalism has been alive and well in the ELCA from the beginning.  (And I'm not talking about Christocentric universalism.)

Yes, it is true that prominent theologians and professors, including Robert Jenson and Carl Braaten, resisted these trends.  Walter Bouman, at my seminary, did the same.  (Bouman may have supported ordaining pastors in committed, lifelong, same-sex relationships.)  They lost the battle.

    The center of gravity in the ELCA has definitely shifted.  Back when the Gay/Lesbian ordination question was being debated, there were four basic groups in existence.

Group 1-Opposed the question, and were willing to leave if the question went in favor.
Group 2-Opposed the question, but were willing to stay if the question went in favor.
Group 3-Supported the question, but were willing to stay if the question lost.
Group 4-Supported the question, and were willing to leave if the question lost.

    Of course, the question was approved by one vote, and the status quo changed.  When a motion to rescind the decision was ruled out of order, the groups were still in existence, but they became redefined with the new situation.

Group 1-Essentially left.
Group 2-Supports traditional sexuality mores, but recognizes that the advocacy train has left the station. This group for the most part stays silent on these kind of issues as long as the assumption of silence equates to ambiguity.
Group 3-Supports the expansion of sexual minorities into the pastoral ministry, but is willing to work with people in group 2.
Group 4-Supports the expansion of sexual minorities into the pastoral ministry, and wants group 2 to leave.
Group 5-Came into existence with "Naked and Unashamed." They believe that the entire notion of marriage and monogamy is intrinsically evil and morally bankrupt. NBW is a signatory.

     Many members of groups 2 and 3 (who were able to work with each other) are now retiring or otherwise leaving.  Many of the younger pastors coming up are in groups 4 and 5.  It will be interesting to see what happens.


Ray
Reminds me of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus' eponymous Neuhaus Law: Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.



Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: David Garner on November 04, 2021, 10:58:42 AM
You are describing an ELCA that once existed.  Time has passed you by. 
- The notion that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a metaphor, but not God's name, has prevailed.  (See the installation of Bishop Rohrer.)
- The distinction between Law and Gospel, which would recognize the importance of preaching justice as Law, while still distinguishing it from the Gospel, strictly speaking, has been lost.  (See just about any pronouncement on justice that comes from the ELCA.)
- Being in a committed, public, life-long relationship is no longer the standard.  (See the installation of Nadia Bolz-Weber as public theologian.)
- It is no longer clear where the ELCA stands in regard to religious pluralism, and the necessity of Christ for salvation.  (See CWA 2019)

This is how the ELCA works.  First, the proponents of change establish facts on the ground, then they may or may not bother to change our governing documents to reflect those changes.  An appeal to what is in the ELCA constitution doesn't change facts on the ground. 

Whatever the ELCA constitution may say, students at ELCA seminaries have been taught that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a replaceable metaphor for over 30 years.  The idea that social justice is the true Gospel, and that the distinction between Law and Gospel is the opiate of the masses, has likewise been taught for over 30 years.  ELCA bishops ordained people in same-sex relationship long before it was permitted.  And universalism has been alive and well in the ELCA from the beginning.  (And I'm not talking about Christocentric universalism.)

Yes, it is true that prominent theologians and professors, including Robert Jenson and Carl Braaten, resisted these trends.  Walter Bouman, at my seminary, did the same.  (Bouman may have supported ordaining pastors in committed, lifelong, same-sex relationships.)  They lost the battle.

I find this fascinating, mostly because it explains Pastor Austin's constant harping about what "Catholics in the pews" are doing over and against what their church teaches, as if that is somehow defining.

One Catholic goes to commune at an ELCA parish and all of a sudden closed communion isn't supposed to be a thing anymore.  Same with contraception, abortion, etc. 

The utter lack of any authority is the common denominator.  The Church is rendered a pure democracy where the mob rules.  One reason I came to embrace the Episcopacy.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dave Benke on November 04, 2021, 11:04:05 AM
One reason I came to embrace the Episcopacy.  Be careful, David - you might be perceived as an Episcopalian.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: David Garner on November 04, 2021, 11:07:05 AM
One reason I came to embrace the Episcopacy.  Be careful, David - you might be perceived as an Episcopalian.

Dave Benke

I'm trying to avoid the temptation to respond with humor, mostly because it would be uncharitable and acerbic toward our Anglican and former Anglican friends here, and I'm not sure it would further the discussion.

That's my issue, not yours -- please don't take that as a critique of your post (which I did find humorous).
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 04, 2021, 11:27:55 AM
You are describing an ELCA that once existed.  Time has passed you by. 
- The notion that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a metaphor, but not God's name, has prevailed.  (See the installation of Bishop Rohrer.)
- The distinction between Law and Gospel, which would recognize the importance of preaching justice as Law, while still distinguishing it from the Gospel, strictly speaking, has been lost.  (See just about any pronouncement on justice that comes from the ELCA.)
- Being in a committed, public, life-long relationship is no longer the standard.  (See the installation of Nadia Bolz-Weber as public theologian.)
- It is no longer clear where the ELCA stands in regard to religious pluralism, and the necessity of Christ for salvation.  (See CWA 2019)

This is how the ELCA works.  First, the proponents of change establish facts on the ground, then they may or may not bother to change our governing documents to reflect those changes.  An appeal to what is in the ELCA constitution doesn't change facts on the ground. 

Whatever the ELCA constitution may say, students at ELCA seminaries have been taught that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a replaceable metaphor for over 30 years.  The idea that social justice is the true Gospel, and that the distinction between Law and Gospel is the opiate of the masses, has likewise been taught for over 30 years.  ELCA bishops ordained people in same-sex relationship long before it was permitted.  And universalism has been alive and well in the ELCA from the beginning.  (And I'm not talking about Christocentric universalism.)

Yes, it is true that prominent theologians and professors, including Robert Jenson and Carl Braaten, resisted these trends.  Walter Bouman, at my seminary, did the same.  (Bouman may have supported ordaining pastors in committed, lifelong, same-sex relationships.)  They lost the battle.

I find this fascinating, mostly because it explains Pastor Austin's constant harping about what "Catholics in the pews" are doing over and against what their church teaches, as if that is somehow defining.

One Catholic goes to commune at an ELCA parish and all of a sudden closed communion isn't supposed to be a thing anymore.  Same with contraception, abortion, etc. 

The utter lack of any authority is the common denominator.  The Church is rendered a pure democracy where the mob rules.  One reason I came to embrace the Episcopacy.
If I were to indulge in cynical bitterness, I could point out that for a certain poster, to find out what some churches, such as the RCC or the LCMS, actually believe and teach one should look at what those in the pews do and say, or what some of the pastors in the denomination do and say, not what the official teachings or those in positions of authority do.


But, on the other hand, when describing what the ELCA believes and teaches, we are directed by that poster's colleague to what the official statements of that church say, not what those in the pews or the rank and file pastors do and say.


Similarly, those within the ELCA who dissent are frowned upon as disloyal, but within the LCMS, dissenters are praised for flouting LCMS positions that our humble correspondent disagrees with.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Rob Morris on November 04, 2021, 11:34:04 AM
Pastor Charlton says  his ELCA:
- considers "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" to be an optional metaphor
- considers the Gospel to be synonymous with Social Justice
- considers sex outside of marriage to be acceptable for ordained ministers
- believes that Christ is one among many saviors

I comment:
-No. Our ELCA says God is “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”. And however we refer to God, that Holy Trinity is the God to whom we refer, no one else.
-Care for our neighbor, individually and collectively, and for justice for our neighbors  is a clear, un-disputed biblical mandate. It must exist with the proclamation of the Gospel. Only the weirdest “faith-is-me-and-my-God” heretic would argue with that.
-No. Full sexual intimacy belongs within a committed, public, life-long relationship.
-Show us where, in our statements of faith, our liturgical publications, our hymnals, the words of our key leaders, we say Christ is “one among many saviors”. If I thought the ELCA taught that, I would resign from it immediately. (There may be other saviors out there, but Jesus is the only one revealed to us as Christians and the only one we follow. We call everyone to Jesus, not to anyone else.)

You are describing an ELCA that once existed.  Time has passed you by. 
- The notion that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a metaphor, but not God's name, has prevailed.  (See the installation of Bishop Rohrer.)
- The distinction between Law and Gospel, which would recognize the importance of preaching justice as Law, while still distinguishing it from the Gospel, strictly speaking, has been lost.  (See just about any pronouncement on justice that comes from the ELCA.)
- Being in a committed, public, life-long relationship is no longer the standard.  (See the installation of Nadia Bolz-Weber as public theologian.)
- It is no longer clear where the ELCA stands in regard to religious pluralism, and the necessity of Christ for salvation.  (See CWA 2019)

This is how the ELCA works.  First, the proponents of change establish facts on the ground, then they may or may not bother to change our governing documents to reflect those changes.  An appeal to what is in the ELCA constitution doesn't change facts on the ground. 

Whatever the ELCA constitution may say, students at ELCA seminaries have been taught that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a replaceable metaphor for over 30 years.  The idea that social justice is the true Gospel, and that the distinction between Law and Gospel is the opiate of the masses, has likewise been taught for over 30 years.  ELCA bishops ordained people in same-sex relationship long before it was permitted.  And universalism has been alive and well in the ELCA from the beginning.  (And I'm not talking about Christocentric universalism.)

Yes, it is true that prominent theologians and professors, including Robert Jenson and Carl Braaten, resisted these trends.  Walter Bouman, at my seminary, did the same.  (Bouman may have supported ordaining pastors in committed, lifelong, same-sex relationships.)  They lost the battle.

    The center of gravity in the ELCA has definitely shifted.  Back when the Gay/Lesbian ordination question was being debated, there were four basic groups in existence.

Group 1-Opposed the question, and were willing to leave if the question went in favor.
Group 2-Opposed the question, but were willing to stay if the question went in favor.
Group 3-Supported the question, but were willing to stay if the question lost.
Group 4-Supported the question, and were willing to leave if the question lost.

    Of course, the question was approved by one vote, and the status quo changed.  When a motion to rescind the decision was ruled out of order, the groups were still in existence, but they became redefined with the new situation.

Group 1-Essentially left.
Group 2-Supports traditional sexuality mores, but recognizes that the advocacy train has left the station. This group for the most part stays silent on these kind of issues as long as the assumption of silence equates to ambiguity.
Group 3-Supports the expansion of sexual minorities into the pastoral ministry, but is willing to work with people in group 2.
Group 4-Supports the expansion of sexual minorities into the pastoral ministry, and wants group 2 to leave.
Group 5-Came into existence with "Naked and Unashamed." They believe that the entire notion of marriage and monogamy is intrinsically evil and morally bankrupt. NBW is a signatory.

     Many members of groups 2 and 3 (who were able to work with each other) are now retiring or otherwise leaving.  Many of the younger pastors coming up are in groups 4 and 5.  It will be interesting to see what happens.


Ray

From where I sit, with a substantial number of transfers coming to my congregation from ELCA congregations whose new pastors are pretty deep into Groups 4 and 5, this summary is quite apt.

What it doesn't point out, is that these Groupings apply to pastors and laypeople alike. And when a congregation goes from a Group 2 Pastor to a Group 4/5 Pastor at the insistence of the Bishop, many congregants become Group 1.

My advice to LCMS pastors - have Elders and leaders who are clear on the ELCA/LCMS differences and are ready to dialogue with those leaving ELCA congregations. Within 10 years, I don't think the ELCA will be likely to have almost any Group 2 Pastors and I am willing to bet Group 3 will be pretty marginalized.

Also... the authority of the bishop is why three local ELCA congregations were pushed firmly from Group 2/3 into Group 4/5. The Episcopal authority thing cuts two ways: A bishop can be a change agent just as much as a bishop can prevent change. Much harder for a DP to do either in a congregational polity.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Charles Austin on November 04, 2021, 11:58:47 AM
I just wonder how you LCMS guys feel about the ELCA refugees you take in and whether you worry about their future impact. These are people who have seen women pastors at work for the last 50 years. These are people who have heard "moderate" or (OMG! No!) "liberal" sermons, and sent their kids to church camps where who know what they might have encountered there. These are people from churches welcoming Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists and others to their communion rails.
No doubt they agree with the LCMS on certain issues concerning sexuality, but I wonder if that is the only point of easy and broad agreement.
So here they are, in your pews, teaching in your Sunday Schools, maybe being elders. Can you be sure you have purged all the ELCA heterodoxies and worse from them?
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Dave Benke on November 04, 2021, 12:15:01 PM
The inter-Lutheran pilgrimage works both ways.  Charles' point is reasonably taken when it comes to female pastors.  We have received a number of ELCA refugees as congregations have been closed.  They're all non-white, mostly Caribbean, and have had good experiences with their female pastors.  They are appreciative of the active roles in leadership women play in our church, and that seems to be satisfactory.  But they are not opposed to the ordination of women.  Where does that lead down the line?  I don't think it leads anywhere, frankly.  I do think if women were absent from worship roles, or were not allowed to hold congregational leadership posts, they might find another church home. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Charles Austin on November 04, 2021, 12:24:00 PM
Good points, Dave. And I have said here before how I found the former Missourians in the congregation I served to be fine church members, with a good sense of church, ministry, worship, and public service. They also liked Bible study.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: D. Engebretson on November 04, 2021, 12:37:16 PM
I just wonder how you LCMS guys feel about the ELCA refugees you take in and whether you worry about their future impact. These are people who have seen women pastors at work for the last 50 years. These are people who have heard "moderate" or (OMG! No!) "liberal" sermons, and sent their kids to church camps where who know what they might have encountered there. These are people from churches welcoming Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists and others to their communion rails.
No doubt they agree with the LCMS on certain issues concerning sexuality, but I wonder if that is the only point of easy and broad agreement.
So here they are, in your pews, teaching in your Sunday Schools, maybe being elders. Can you be sure you have purged all the ELCA heterodoxies and worse from them?

I have received a number of former ELCA folks over the last number of years, some "refuges" (as in post 2009), and some simply folks who moved to the area looking for a Lutheran church nearby.  I also follow up to explain the differences so they are fully aware.  To date I can't say that I've really had any issues with ELCA-related practices that are different than the LCMS in terms of these newer members.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 04, 2021, 12:46:50 PM
You are describing an ELCA that once existed.  Time has passed you by. 
- The notion that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a metaphor, but not God's name, has prevailed.  (See the installation of Bishop Rohrer.)


Jesus commanded us TO BAPTIZE in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He never said that we HAD to use it as an invocation, or in a benediction, or in prayers. What I have seen in the ELCA is an increased use of many other biblical images for the Triune God, rather than the language of one verse.


Even with Jesus' command, "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," was not the formula for baptisms in the book of Acts. While the Didache in 7:1, 3 talks about baptizing "in the name of the Father and of the Son and the of the Holy Spirit," some think that this was a later addition after the Trinity was defined in AD 362. Didache 9:5 says: "But let no one eat or drink of your thanksgiving except those who have been baptized int he name of the Lord, for the Lord has said, 'Do not give that which is holy to the dogs.'"

The use of that "name" for God occurs once in the Bible. It was not used by the earliest church even for baptisms. It may be that you are making a much bigger issue out of this than the Bible does.



Quote
- The distinction between Law and Gospel, which would recognize the importance of preaching justice as Law, while still distinguishing it from the Gospel, strictly speaking, has been lost.  (See just about any pronouncement on justice that comes from the ELCA.)


A pronouncement on justice is Law. So, what's your problem? The Gospel is to be preached in our sermons, not necessary in our news releases.


Quote
- Being in a committed, public, life-long relationship is no longer the standard.  (See the installation of Nadia Bolz-Weber as public theologian.)


I would argue that marriage is still the standard. However, many, many folks fail to remain married. Divorces happen.  (At one point, I realized that every council member at a congregation I served, except me, had been divorced. Most had remarried. It happens among our clergy. Matt and Nadia got divorced. That's not unusual.


What is a bit different is that folks are entering committed, public, life-long, monogamous relationships without the state license. Some will consider themselves "married," even if the state doesn't recognize it as such. Many folks, even us who have never divorced, recognize that the license from the state is no guarantee that the commitment will last a life-time. I've noted often before, that "marriages" in biblical times had no state licenses. I don't believe that they even had the sharing of vows. There was a wedding feast with lots of drinking that made public the marriage relationship.


Quote
- It is no longer clear where the ELCA stands in regard to religious pluralism, and the necessity of Christ for salvation.  (See CWA 2019)


I'm not sure what happened in CWA 2019. I don't believe we have ever changed our confession of faith about the necessity of Christ for salvation. I've argued that one's knowledge of Christ as necessary for salvation may not be necessary. That is, folks may be saved by Christ without knowing that Christ has saved them.

Quote
This is how the ELCA works.  First, the proponents of change establish facts on the ground, then they may or may not bother to change our governing documents to reflect those changes.  An appeal to what is in the ELCA constitution doesn't change facts on the ground. 


In a world centered on grace, there is the risk that anything may happen.

Quote
Whatever the ELCA constitution may say, students at ELCA seminaries have been taught that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a replaceable metaphor for over 30 years.  The idea that social justice is the true Gospel, and that the distinction between Law and Gospel is the opiate of the masses, has likewise been taught for over 30 years.  ELCA bishops ordained people in same-sex relationship long before it was permitted.  And universalism has been alive and well in the ELCA from the beginning.  (And I'm not talking about Christocentric universalism.)


I don't know of any candidate who was in a same-sex relationship before they were ordained. I've known a number of them who were single when ordained and some time later entered into a same-sex relationship. I've heard many stories of candidates not being ordained because either they were in a same-sex relationship; or they wouldn't promise that they would never enter into such a relationship.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: DCharlton on November 04, 2021, 02:07:03 PM
You are describing an ELCA that once existed.  Time has passed you by. 
- The notion that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a metaphor, but not God's name, has prevailed.  (See the installation of Bishop Rohrer.)

Jesus commanded us TO BAPTIZE in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He never said that we HAD to use it as an invocation, or in a benediction, or in prayers. What I have seen in the ELCA is an increased use of many other biblical images for the Triune God, rather than the language of one verse.

Even with Jesus' command, "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," was not the formula for baptisms in the book of Acts. While the Didache in 7:1, 3 talks about baptizing "in the name of the Father and of the Son and the of the Holy Spirit," some think that this was a later addition after the Trinity was defined in AD 362. Didache 9:5 says: "But let no one eat or drink of your thanksgiving except those who have been baptized int he name of the Lord, for the Lord has said, 'Do not give that which is holy to the dogs.'"

The use of that "name" for God occurs once in the Bible. It was not used by the earliest church even for baptisms. It may be that you are making a much bigger issue out of this than the Bible does.

Thank you for agreeing with my statement.  You express the current position of the ELCA very well, i.e. that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one biblical metaphor among many others, and that it is not the proper name of God.  Other trinitarian metaphors are equally valid ways of invoking God, according to the ELCA.  The one exception is the Rite of Holy Baptism itself. 
If what you say is correct, and I believe it is, then it is true to say that the ELCA differs from all other Lutheran bodies in the Estados Unidos.   

Quote
Quote
- The distinction between Law and Gospel, which would recognize the importance of preaching justice as Law, while still distinguishing it from the Gospel, strictly speaking, has been lost.  (See just about any pronouncement on justice that comes from the ELCA.)

A pronouncement on justice is Law. So, what's your problem? The Gospel is to be preached in our sermons, not necessary in our news releases.

The ELCA no longer distinguishes between Law and Gospel.  It conflates the preaching of Law in its civil use with the preaching of the Gospel.  Neither does it understand the distinction between the civil and theological use of the Law.  In other words, it regularly forgets to preach the Gospel to those who have been crushed by the Law it regularly preaches.

Quote
Quote
- Being in a committed, public, life-long relationship is no longer the standard.  (See the installation of Nadia Bolz-Weber as public theologian.)

I would argue that marriage is still the standard. However, many, many folks fail to remain married. Divorces happen.  (At one point, I realized that every council member at a congregation I served, except me, had been divorced. Most had remarried. It happens among our clergy. Matt and Nadia got divorced. That's not unusual.

What is a bit different is that folks are entering committed, public, life-long, monogamous relationships without the state license. Some will consider themselves "married," even if the state doesn't recognize it as such. Many folks, even us who have never divorced, recognize that the license from the state is no guarantee that the commitment will last a life-time. I've noted often before, that "marriages" in biblical times had no state licenses. I don't believe that they even had the sharing of vows. There was a wedding feast with lots of drinking that made public the marriage relationship.

You are being dishonest.   The problem with Nadia Bolz-Weber is not that she is divorced.  The problem is that she is openly engaging in sex outside of marriage.  Her synod never disciplined her for this, which was in clear violation of Definitions and Guidelines for discipline at the time.  After Definitions and Guidelines for Disciplined was adopted in 2021, her synod installed her as a pastor with much publicity and fanfare, and with the permission of the Conference of Bishops.  It is quite logical to conclude from this that her synod, the conference of bishops, and the ELCA no longer consider sex outside of marriage to be a disqualification.

Quote
Quote
- It is no longer clear where the ELCA stands in regard to religious pluralism, and the necessity of Christ for salvation.  (See CWA 2019)

I'm not sure what happened in CWA 2019. I don't believe we have ever changed our confession of faith about the necessity of Christ for salvation. I've argued that one's knowledge of Christ as necessary for salvation may not be necessary. That is, folks may be saved by Christ without knowing that Christ has saved them.

The resolution adopted at CWA 2019 was vague.  When a delegate asked the assembly to clarify its position, it refused to do so.  Since that resolution sets policy, it raises the question about what future ELCA policy will be.  Any bishop, for instance, can interpret it mean pluralistic universalism and act accordingly.  A candidacy committee can interpret it the same way and so refuse to endorse anyone who believes, as you do, in Christocentric universalism.  It may already be happening.

Quote
Quote
This is how the ELCA works.  First, the proponents of change establish facts on the ground, then they may or may not bother to change our governing documents to reflect those changes.  An appeal to what is in the ELCA constitution doesn't change facts on the ground. 

In a world centered on grace, there is the risk that anything may happen.

It not only can happen.  It has happened and it is happening. 

Quote
Quote
Whatever the ELCA constitution may say, students at ELCA seminaries have been taught that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a replaceable metaphor for over 30 years.  The idea that social justice is the true Gospel, and that the distinction between Law and Gospel is the opiate of the masses, has likewise been taught for over 30 years.  ELCA bishops ordained people in same-sex relationship long before it was permitted.  And universalism has been alive and well in the ELCA from the beginning.  (And I'm not talking about Christocentric universalism.)

I don't know of any candidate who was in a same-sex relationship before they were ordained. I've known a number of them who were single when ordained and some time later entered into a same-sex relationship. I've heard many stories of candidates not being ordained because either they were in a same-sex relationship; or they wouldn't promise that they would never enter into such a relationship.

Prior to 2009, certainly.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on November 04, 2021, 02:12:24 PM
I've argued that one's knowledge of Christ as necessary for salvation may not be necessary. That is, folks may be saved by Christ without knowing that Christ has saved them.

Less than a week after the Reformation pericope. <sigh>   :o
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Rob Morris on November 04, 2021, 02:30:29 PM
I just wonder how you LCMS guys feel about the ELCA refugees you take in and whether you worry about their future impact. These are people who have seen women pastors at work for the last 50 years. These are people who have heard "moderate" or (OMG! No!) "liberal" sermons, and sent their kids to church camps where who know what they might have encountered there. These are people from churches welcoming Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists and others to their communion rails.
No doubt they agree with the LCMS on certain issues concerning sexuality, but I wonder if that is the only point of easy and broad agreement.
So here they are, in your pews, teaching in your Sunday Schools, maybe being elders. Can you be sure you have purged all the ELCA heterodoxies and worse from them?

I meet with each and every new member, no matter the reason for their arriving in my pews. I intentionally go over every point of difference between their previous congregation and my own if they are coming from an ELCA background or anything that isn’t LCMS. Just because certain things have been accepted practice within the ELCA for decades does not mean that decades-long ELCA numbers have been in favor of them. Just my observation.

As a sidenote: during these meetings, I also note any practices within my own congregation that may differ from the practices at other LCMS congregations. People can disagree on certain points and to certain degrees, but I want new members to be very clear on the positions and practices of the church that they are joining. I have had people decide not to join following such conversations, even though the conversations themselves have always been cordial.

(I also have to share, to my unspeakable amusement: by dictating this to my phone, I have learned that  apparently Siri thinks “LCM ass” is a thing.)
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 04, 2021, 06:31:34 PM
I've argued that one's knowledge of Christ as necessary for salvation may not be necessary. That is, folks may be saved by Christ without knowing that Christ has saved them.

Less than a week after the Reformation pericope. <sigh>   :o


Yup, the emphasis is on God's grace, not our knowledge of it.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: DCharlton on November 04, 2021, 07:07:16 PM
I've argued that one's knowledge of Christ as necessary for salvation may not be necessary. That is, folks may be saved by Christ without knowing that Christ has saved them.

Less than a week after the Reformation pericope. <sigh>   :o

Yup, the emphasis is on God's grace, not our knowledge of it.

What does that do to the Lutheran theology of Preaching and the Sacraments?  For instance, the new book by Philip Cary on Luther's theology is The Meaning of Protest Theology: Luther, Augustine, and the Gospel That Gives Us CHRIST.  He emphasizes that for Luther the key thing in Confession and Absolution, Preaching, Baptism and the Lord's Supper is the promise.  The Gospel is a promise that gives us Christ.  Through faith in the external Word that comes in Absolution, Preaching, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, we are brought into union with Christ in the Happy Exchange.  As Luther says in The Freedom of a Christian, faith is the marriage ring that unites us to Christ. 

Certainly, God's grace comes first.  Christ has already died and been raised, and nothing we do adds anything to that.  However, Luther taught that the benefits of Christ come through the Word in its oral and sacramental form when that Word.  It is hard for me to see how Luther would recognize a salvation that comes to us apart from the Gospel promise.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 04, 2021, 07:09:22 PM
The resolution adopted at CWA 2019 was vague.  When a delegate asked the assembly to clarify its position, it refused to do so.  Since that resolution sets policy, it raises the question about what future ELCA policy will be.  Any bishop, for instance, can interpret it mean pluralistic universalism and act accordingly.  A candidacy committee can interpret it the same way and so refuse to endorse anyone who believes, as you do, in Christocentric universalism.  It may already be happening.


Which resolution? I now have the 2019 minutes. I still have no idea what you are referring to.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 04, 2021, 07:14:59 PM
I've argued that one's knowledge of Christ as necessary for salvation may not be necessary. That is, folks may be saved by Christ without knowing that Christ has saved them.

Less than a week after the Reformation pericope. <sigh>   :o

Yup, the emphasis is on God's grace, not our knowledge of it.

What does that do to the Lutheran theology of Preaching and the Sacraments?  For instance, the new book by Philip Cary on Luther's theology is The Meaning of Protest Theology: Luther, Augustine, and the Gospel That Gives Us CHRIST.  He emphasizes that for Luther the key thing in Confession and Absolution, Preaching, Baptism and the Lord's Supper is the promise.  The Gospel is a promise that gives us Christ.  Through faith in the external Word that comes in Absolution, Preaching, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, we are brought into union with Christ in the Happy Exchange.  As Luther says in The Freedom of a Christian, faith is the marriage ring that unites us to Christ. 

Certainly, God's grace comes first.  Christ has already died and been raised, and nothing we do adds anything to that.  However, Luther taught that the benefits of Christ come through the Word in its oral and sacramental form when that Word.  It is hard for me to see how Luther would recognize a salvation that comes to us apart from the Gospel promise.


Luther certainly recognized salvation coming apart from an infant knowing and understanding the Gospel promise. The church community knows and understands that promise as applying to the infant who is baptized. So, it's not a salvation separated from the promise; but it is known and believed by the community rather than the individual infant.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: DCharlton on November 04, 2021, 07:28:55 PM
I've argued that one's knowledge of Christ as necessary for salvation may not be necessary. That is, folks may be saved by Christ without knowing that Christ has saved them.

Less than a week after the Reformation pericope. <sigh>   :o

Yup, the emphasis is on God's grace, not our knowledge of it.

What does that do to the Lutheran theology of Preaching and the Sacraments?  For instance, the new book by Philip Cary on Luther's theology is The Meaning of Protest Theology: Luther, Augustine, and the Gospel That Gives Us CHRIST.  He emphasizes that for Luther the key thing in Confession and Absolution, Preaching, Baptism and the Lord's Supper is the promise.  The Gospel is a promise that gives us Christ.  Through faith in the external Word that comes in Absolution, Preaching, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, we are brought into union with Christ in the Happy Exchange.  As Luther says in The Freedom of a Christian, faith is the marriage ring that unites us to Christ. 

Certainly, God's grace comes first.  Christ has already died and been raised, and nothing we do adds anything to that.  However, Luther taught that the benefits of Christ come through the Word in its oral and sacramental form when that Word.  It is hard for me to see how Luther would recognize a salvation that comes to us apart from the Gospel promise.

Luther certainly recognized salvation coming apart from an infant knowing and understanding the Gospel promise. The church community knows and understands that promise as applying to the infant who is baptized. So, it's not a salvation separated from the promise; but it is known and believed by the community rather than the individual infant.

Fair enough.  However, salvation is not given apart from the Gospel promise, because Baptism is the Gospel promise made to the one baptized.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: DCharlton on November 04, 2021, 07:41:46 PM
The resolution adopted at CWA 2019 was vague.  When a delegate asked the assembly to clarify its position, it refused to do so.  Since that resolution sets policy, it raises the question about what future ELCA policy will be.  Any bishop, for instance, can interpret it mean pluralistic universalism and act accordingly.  A candidacy committee can interpret it the same way and so refuse to endorse anyone who believes, as you do, in Christocentric universalism.  It may already be happening.

Which resolution? I now have the 2019 minutes. I still have no idea what you are referring to.

Sorry.  I should have said "declaration".  See Plenary Session Seven: Declaration of Inter-Religious Commitment. 

I don't think this declaration denies the centrality of Christ in salvation.  It doesn't clearly address the issue.  On the other hand, it raises questions that the assembly chose not to answer.  It is open for interpretation. 
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on November 04, 2021, 10:38:02 PM
I've argued that one's knowledge of Christ as necessary for salvation may not be necessary. That is, folks may be saved by Christ without knowing that Christ has saved them.

Less than a week after the Reformation pericope. <sigh>   :o

Yup, the emphasis is on God's grace, not our knowledge of it.

What does that do to the Lutheran theology of Preaching and the Sacraments?  For instance, the new book by Philip Cary on Luther's theology is The Meaning of Protest Theology: Luther, Augustine, and the Gospel That Gives Us CHRIST.  He emphasizes that for Luther the key thing in Confession and Absolution, Preaching, Baptism and the Lord's Supper is the promise.  The Gospel is a promise that gives us Christ.  Through faith in the external Word that comes in Absolution, Preaching, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, we are brought into union with Christ in the Happy Exchange.  As Luther says in The Freedom of a Christian, faith is the marriage ring that unites us to Christ. 

Certainly, God's grace comes first.  Christ has already died and been raised, and nothing we do adds anything to that.  However, Luther taught that the benefits of Christ come through the Word in its oral and sacramental form when that Word.  It is hard for me to see how Luther would recognize a salvation that comes to us apart from the Gospel promise.

Luther certainly recognized salvation coming apart from an infant knowing and understanding the Gospel promise. The church community knows and understands that promise as applying to the infant who is baptized. So, it's not a salvation separated from the promise; but it is known and believed by the community rather than the individual infant.

Fair enough.  However, salvation is not given apart from the Gospel promise, because Baptism is the Gospel promise made to the one baptized.

Brian and David, this isn't quite right historically. When describing infant Baptism, Luther writes about infant faith.

Here is how I explain this to my people: an infant knows and trusts its parents/caregivers. For example, if you hand a child to a stranger, it will often cry and only feel comfort when returned to someone it knows. In Baptism, the Lord makes Himself known to our children. He gives them His Holy Spirit. Our calling as Christian parents is to raise them in that nurture and care so they might always know and trust their Lord and Savior.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 05, 2021, 12:59:50 AM
I've argued that one's knowledge of Christ as necessary for salvation may not be necessary. That is, folks may be saved by Christ without knowing that Christ has saved them.

Less than a week after the Reformation pericope. <sigh>   :o

Yup, the emphasis is on God's grace, not our knowledge of it.

What does that do to the Lutheran theology of Preaching and the Sacraments?  For instance, the new book by Philip Cary on Luther's theology is The Meaning of Protest Theology: Luther, Augustine, and the Gospel That Gives Us CHRIST.  He emphasizes that for Luther the key thing in Confession and Absolution, Preaching, Baptism and the Lord's Supper is the promise.  The Gospel is a promise that gives us Christ.  Through faith in the external Word that comes in Absolution, Preaching, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, we are brought into union with Christ in the Happy Exchange.  As Luther says in The Freedom of a Christian, faith is the marriage ring that unites us to Christ. 

Certainly, God's grace comes first.  Christ has already died and been raised, and nothing we do adds anything to that.  However, Luther taught that the benefits of Christ come through the Word in its oral and sacramental form when that Word.  It is hard for me to see how Luther would recognize a salvation that comes to us apart from the Gospel promise.

Luther certainly recognized salvation coming apart from an infant knowing and understanding the Gospel promise. The church community knows and understands that promise as applying to the infant who is baptized. So, it's not a salvation separated from the promise; but it is known and believed by the community rather than the individual infant.

Fair enough.  However, salvation is not given apart from the Gospel promise, because Baptism is the Gospel promise made to the one baptized.


Yes, so the one baptized can grow up learning that s/he assured that the Gospel promise was given to her/him. Christ's death on the cross was a Gospel promise for all humanity. Actually, long, long before that, God gave a Gospel promise to all humanity after the flood. There was a Gospel promise given to Abraham that all families would be blessed through him. We have the promise that at some point, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Most of the world doesn't know that truth yet. Their lack of knowledge doesn't mean it won't happen to them.


Similarly, we confess that God has created me and all people. Many people do not know nor believe that they were created by God. Their lack of knowledge doesn't change the fact that God created them. God's promises happen regardless of human knowledge about those promises.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 05, 2021, 01:07:45 AM
Brian and David, this isn't quite right historically. When describing infant Baptism, Luther writes about infant faith.

Here is how I explain this to my people: an infant knows and trusts its parents/caregivers. For example, if you hand a child to a stranger, it will often cry and only feel comfort when returned to someone it knows. In Baptism, the Lord makes Himself known to our children. He gives them His Holy Spirit. Our calling as Christian parents is to raise them in that nurture and care so they might always know and trust their Lord and Savior.

Where are those words found? I don't find them in our confessional writings. However, I read these words from Luther in the Large Catechism on Infant Baptism:

Further, we say, we do not put the main emphasis on whether the person baptized believes or not, for in the latter case baptism does not become invalid. Everything depends upon the Word and commandment of God. This is a rather subtle point, perhaps, but it is based upon what I have said, that baptism is simply water and God’s Word in and with each other; that is, when the Word accompanies the water, baptism is valid, even though faith is lacking. For my faith does not make baptism; rather, it receives baptism. Baptism does not become invalid if it is not properly received or used, as I have said, for it is not bound to our faith but to the Word.

The faith of the one baptized is not what makes the water a sacrament, but simply, and only, the Word and commandment of God.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: DCharlton on November 05, 2021, 01:17:01 PM
Brian and David, this isn't quite right historically. When describing infant Baptism, Luther writes about infant faith.

Here is how I explain this to my people: an infant knows and trusts its parents/caregivers. For example, if you hand a child to a stranger, it will often cry and only feel comfort when returned to someone it knows. In Baptism, the Lord makes Himself known to our children. He gives them His Holy Spirit. Our calling as Christian parents is to raise them in that nurture and care so they might always know and trust their Lord and Savior.

Sorry, I didn't intend to deny that.  I simply wanted to focus on the other aspect, which is the promise that is delivered through external means, i.e. Word and Sacrament.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: DCharlton on November 05, 2021, 01:21:06 PM
I've argued that one's knowledge of Christ as necessary for salvation may not be necessary. That is, folks may be saved by Christ without knowing that Christ has saved them.

Less than a week after the Reformation pericope. <sigh>   :o

Yup, the emphasis is on God's grace, not our knowledge of it.

What does that do to the Lutheran theology of Preaching and the Sacraments?  For instance, the new book by Philip Cary on Luther's theology is The Meaning of Protest Theology: Luther, Augustine, and the Gospel That Gives Us CHRIST.  He emphasizes that for Luther the key thing in Confession and Absolution, Preaching, Baptism and the Lord's Supper is the promise.  The Gospel is a promise that gives us Christ.  Through faith in the external Word that comes in Absolution, Preaching, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, we are brought into union with Christ in the Happy Exchange.  As Luther says in The Freedom of a Christian, faith is the marriage ring that unites us to Christ. 

Certainly, God's grace comes first.  Christ has already died and been raised, and nothing we do adds anything to that.  However, Luther taught that the benefits of Christ come through the Word in its oral and sacramental form when that Word.  It is hard for me to see how Luther would recognize a salvation that comes to us apart from the Gospel promise.

Luther certainly recognized salvation coming apart from an infant knowing and understanding the Gospel promise. The church community knows and understands that promise as applying to the infant who is baptized. So, it's not a salvation separated from the promise; but it is known and believed by the community rather than the individual infant.

Fair enough.  However, salvation is not given apart from the Gospel promise, because Baptism is the Gospel promise made to the one baptized.


Yes, so the one baptized can grow up learning that s/he assured that the Gospel promise was given to her/him. Christ's death on the cross was a Gospel promise for all humanity. Actually, long, long before that, God gave a Gospel promise to all humanity after the flood. There was a Gospel promise given to Abraham that all families would be blessed through him. We have the promise that at some point, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Most of the world doesn't know that truth yet. Their lack of knowledge doesn't mean it won't happen to them.

Similarly, we confess that God has created me and all people. Many people do not know nor believe that they were created by God. Their lack of knowledge doesn't change the fact that God created them. God's promises happen regardless of human knowledge about those promises.

I think you are getting closer to the answer, here.  A Lutheran answer would have to include the external Word of promise.  I agree that our hope for the salvation of all people is grounded in God's promise.  The worst thing to do, however, if one really has hope in the promise of salvation in Christ for all people, is to fail to proclaim it to all people.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on November 05, 2021, 01:53:50 PM
I've argued that one's knowledge of Christ as necessary for salvation may not be necessary. That is, folks may be saved by Christ without knowing that Christ has saved them.

Less than a week after the Reformation pericope. <sigh>   :o

Yup, the emphasis is on God's grace, not our knowledge of it.

Actually, the emphasis was on salvation through faith.

The gifts in baptism are given and received through faith. Faith receives the gifts. This is true with infants who have faith and who believe.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 05, 2021, 03:18:40 PM
I've argued that one's knowledge of Christ as necessary for salvation may not be necessary. That is, folks may be saved by Christ without knowing that Christ has saved them.

Less than a week after the Reformation pericope. <sigh>   :o

Yup, the emphasis is on God's grace, not our knowledge of it.

Actually, the emphasis was on salvation through faith.

The gifts in baptism are given and received through faith. Faith receives the gifts. This is true with infants who have faith and who believe.


My statement was about "knowledge," not faith. Certainly infants have faith; or, perhaps, better stated, trust. In an odd way, they don't have the power to refuse to trust the care and love that parents/guardians give them. They didn't have the power to refuse to be born.
Title: Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on November 05, 2021, 03:47:09 PM
I've argued that one's knowledge of Christ as necessary for salvation may not be necessary. That is, folks may be saved by Christ without knowing that Christ has saved them.

Less than a week after the Reformation pericope. <sigh>   :o

Yup, the emphasis is on God's grace, not our knowledge of it.

Actually, the emphasis was on salvation through faith.

The gifts in baptism are given and received through faith. Faith receives the gifts. This is true with infants who have faith and who believe.

My statement was about "knowledge," not faith. Certainly infants have faith; or, perhaps, better stated, trust. In an odd way, they don't have the power to refuse to trust the care and love that parents/guardians give them. They didn't have the power to refuse to be born.

No, your statement was a dodge on the emphasis of Reformation Day, thereby promoting your universalism and irresistible grace beliefs.