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ALPB => Letters to the Editors => Topic started by: Steven Tibbetts on August 30, 2004, 10:17:52 PM

Title: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on August 30, 2004, 10:17:52 PM
Re: Sept '04 *Omnium Gatherum*:

Okay, I think I've got "moderates," "conservatives," and "confessionalists" pretty straight.  But what does one call an ELCA, uh, "conservative" who would *not* accept women's ordination?

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Chuck on September 02, 2004, 11:56:20 AM
Uh...Lou Smith? ???
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on September 08, 2004, 09:20:35 PM
Well, Chuck, as you should know, Lou is not the only one in that party.  He's just been more public than most about joining it.

spt+
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Steven_Woyen on March 05, 2005, 06:49:02 PM
How about most members of the STS. >:(
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 06, 2005, 05:44:40 AM
Quote
How about most members of the STS. >:(


Of course no poll has been taken, but I would be very surprised if "most members of the STS" reject the ordination of women. It might be fair to say that SOME members of the STS are not convinced that the matter has been definitively settled. But there are, of course, a number of ordained women who are members of STS.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: DanTC56 on March 06, 2005, 08:06:24 AM
The matter of womens ordination HAS been settled. Female pastors are prohibited. Why? Because God's Word says so. Now if only the ELCA would accept this......<sigh>...
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: K on March 06, 2005, 06:47:00 PM
'scuse my ignorance. What's "STS"?

I echo Dan's sigh.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Gladfelteri on March 06, 2005, 06:52:58 PM
Quote
'scuse my ignorance. What's "STS"?

The Society of the Holy Trinity.  Their home page is:  http://www.societyholytrinity.org/about_the_society_of_the_holy_tr.htm
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Gladfelteri on March 06, 2005, 07:00:00 PM
Quote

Of course no poll has been taken, but I would be very surprised if "most members of the STS" reject the ordination of women. It might be fair to say that SOME members of the STS are not convinced that the matter has been definitively settled. But there are, of course, a number of ordained women who are members of STS.


In my own experience, the STS members I know who self-identify as Evangelical Catholics and understand Lutheranism as a form of "non-Roman" Catholicism would be more comfortble if there was a "moritorium" on the further ordination of women unless and until there would be a broad "consensus fidelium" across Western Catholic Christianity (including the Roman Catholic Church) that this is proper and necessary.  Lets face it -- as long as a Church ordains women, even as Deacons, "puppies will fly" before it has any chance of reunion or even intercommunion with the Roman Catholic Church.

Of course those STS members I know who are not so "Catholic-oriented" and consider themselves and Lutheranism to be solidly Protestant (the minority, in my experience) seem to have no such scruples.

This is not the result of any poll - just my own impressions coming from my own personal experience.  Others may and probably will have other impressions.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Steven_Woyen on March 06, 2005, 07:22:30 PM
Gladfelter...

I have had the same experience as well with the STS.  

It seems there is some baggage that's inherited when you subscribe to this quasi-monastic rule of the STS (like asking for a WordAlone ordination).  Many STS members that I have met have come across as liturgical moralists who relish in stating "the ELCA doesn't educate good pastors" and other broad statements.

When I first started seminary a few years ago I became aware of the STS through a friend of mine who joined upon graduation and ordination.  I went to the website and I thought to myself "Hey, I agree with this.  I like what they have to say."  Then I met some members and I quickly was turned off to the organization.  Are there issues that I don't like with the ELCA?  Yes!  Do I advocate the historic liturgy?  Yes!  

BUT!!

I don't believe in being a bulldozer when it comes to local liturgical practices and I think you must let the work of the Spirit come into the congregation if pastors feel they need to make major worship changes.  The STS pastors I have met don't take congregational history into account and simply reply matter-of-factly "Well, they're wrong (the congregation)."  My seminary friend who joined STS believed fervently that he was "ontologically changed" when he was ordained.  This kind of an attitude will not endear yourself to a congregation, especially if they were an ALC congregation!!

To sum up, I must respectfully disagree with the suggestion that "most" STS members favor (or acknowledge) women's ordination.  This hasn't been my experience with STS members and the sweeping comments made against ELCA seminaries, seminary students, female pastors, and female bishops (like in Upstate New York) doesn't support their cause and it further violates the Eighth Commandment.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 07, 2005, 06:39:39 AM
Quote
Gladfelter...

It seems there is some baggage that's inherited when you subscribe to this quasi-monastic rule of the STS (like asking for a WordAlone ordination). . .  Many STS members that I have met have come across as liturgical moralists . . .

I don't believe in being a bulldozer when it comes to local liturgical practices . . . The STS pastors I have met don't take congregational history into account and simply reply matter-of-factly "Well, they're wrong (the congregation)."  My seminary friend who joined STS believed fervently that he was "ontologically changed" when he was ordained.  This kind of an attitude will not endear yourself to a congregation, especially if they were an ALC congregation!!

To sum up, I must respectfully disagree with the suggestion that "most" STS members favor (or acknowledge) women's ordination.  This hasn't been my experience with STS members


There are so many sweeping generalizations and inaccuracies here that one hardly knows where to begin.

First of all, indicting a group because "my experience" with "many of them whom I've met" is the basest kind of stereotype. It's sort of on a par with "most of the French I have met have been . . ." and ergo "the French are . . ." Are there, within the STS, pastors who are pastorally insensitive liturgical moralists? Of course there are. Those same pastors, by the way, are also "in the ELCA" or "in the LCMS" or "in the ELCiC," but you aren't making conclusions about the whole on the basis of the few you say you have met.

When I first became acquainted with the STS, my reaction was, "Well, there are a few kind of odd ducks involved with this . . . but on balance, not much odder and not in any greater proportion than, say, my average synod or conference meeting."

As for making changes in congregational worship, the fact of the matter is that on occasion a new pastor comes to a congregation and finds some liturgical practices that are so egregious that it is appropriate simply to terminate them. When I came to my present call, the previous pastor had practiced what he called "quiet communion" one Sunday a month--that is, anybody who felt they wanted or needed to receive Holy Communion more often than the once a month it was offered could just linger after church, come up to the altar and he'd give them a little bread and wine. Sorry, but that's not a practice I'm going to respect or continue. Other liturgical matters--probably most liturgical matters--ought to thoroughly discussed and understood before changes are made, and I'm sure the large majority of STS pastors are sensitive to that.

As for STS being "quasi-monastic," that shows an ignorance both of the STS and of monasticism. What convinced me to subscribe to the STS Rule was precisely the opposite: the words of subscription include the phrase "for the sake of my ordination vows." This is not a new vow, or a "super vow," and has nothing whatsoever in common with Word Alone's demand for non-episcopal ordination. It is an expression of intention to take seriously the vows I have already made as an ELCA pastor--not "more seriously than anyone else" but "more seriously than I have heretofore done."

As for being "ontologically changed" in ordination, your sarcastic reference to this shows clearly that it is a view of ordination you don't personally hold, and that of course is an opinion that is shared by plenty within the Lutheran community. It is not the ONLY understanding among Lutherans, however, and those who have a different view than yours include plenty of people who have no connection with STS.

STS members are those who have subscribed to the Rule of the Society--period. There is diversity of opinion within the Society about virtually any other issue you might name, beyond those addressed by the Rule. There are women who are active members; one chapter dean is a woman. I think for the overwhelming majority of us who are members, the Society provides a sense of "ministerium" and "collegiality" which is simply lacking in our institutional associations.

For anyone not familiar with the Society, I suggest you look at the Rule and other materials available online at www.societyholytrinity.org.

Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Steven_Woyen on March 07, 2005, 07:31:11 AM
Richard,

Again, I must respectfully disagree.

What I meant by "ontologically changed" was a reference to a more noble estate than that of Christian.  I would suggest a reading of Luther's Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation Concerning the Reform of the Christian Estate (LW 44; WA 6).

It's true there are those who may issue broad statements regarding your organization.  But, don't assume ignorance on my part regarding your organization or what its "rule" is.

If there are those who see it as a "ministerium" as you say some do, that fine.  But what is wrong with your colleagues in your synodical conference?  What SPECIFIC issues do you object to among your fellow non-STS ELCA pastors that you need to subscribe to a "rule?"  You say that it isn't a "super-vow," but an upholding of your ordination vows made in the ELCA (or predessor bodies).  Don't you think there might be pastors who aren't STS members are upholding their ordination vows?  I plan to uphold my vows when I'm ordained, do I need to join the STS to show this?  No.  Will I seek "ministerium" among my synodical colleagues?  Sure, and I'm sure you do too, but I don't need a subscription to a rule to do this.  Does this mean I have a "Protestant" view of the clergy?  Does this mean I'm one of these "low-church" types of clergy.  Certainly not!  I don't need to practice a "self-chosen piety" (Col. 2:23) to serve in the pastoral office.

No doubt this conversation will fuel the disdain some may have for ELCA seminaries and seminarians, but I cannot subscribe nor support the Society of the Holy Trinity.  

And, I repeat, don't assume that I'm an ignorant boob about your organization and I will promise not to assume that STS is a sexist misongyistic political action group mad at the ELCA.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Gladfelteri on March 07, 2005, 08:41:03 AM
Quote
Richard,

Again, I must respectfully disagree.

What I meant by "ontologically changed" was a reference to a more noble estate than that of Christian.  I would suggest a reading of Luther's Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation Concerning the Reform of the Christian Estate (LW 44; WA 6)..

Those who do, in fact "divide the Office of the Public Ministry" into three Orders - Deacon, Priest/Presbyter, and Bishop,) think that ideally, Ordination should be in the historic Apostolic Succession, and that Ordination is for life, will insist that a person is, in fact, "ontologically changed" by their ordination.  

This opinion is widespread among Evangelical Catholic Lutherans (but is obviously rejected by "Word Alone" types and by many if not most "middle-of-the-road Lutherans.)

"Painting with a very broad brush," Lutherans who understand Lutheranism to be a variant form of Western Catholicism and self-identify as "Catholics" will very often tend to believe that a person is "ontologically changed" by Ordination.  (To be honest, that is my own opinion.)

Those who understand Lutheranism to be a form of Protestantism and self-identify as "Protestants" will just as emphatically deny that any "ontological change" occurs.  "You gots to pay your money and make your choice" here.

Please remember that this these are broad generalities.  We all know what Mark Twain (?) wrote of generalities - none of them are worth a "darn" - including this one.  But still, generalities can be useful.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Stephen Vogt on March 07, 2005, 08:42:52 AM
What do you call a member of the ELCA who does not accept women's ordiantion?   Even though I am in the LCMS, I still think of you as a "brother."     Having said that there are brothers in both the ELCA and the LCMS whom I wouldn't give the time of day to.  

We are learning that denominational labels don't mean much to the world these days, which is why we in the LCMS are always trying to make it clear to visitors at worship and those we meet that we had nothing to do with the "sex study."    It seems to be the first question we get asked.  
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 07, 2005, 08:44:39 AM
Quote
Richard,
If there are those who see it as a "ministerium" as you say some do, that fine.  But what is wrong with your colleagues in your synodical conference?  What SPECIFIC issues do you object to among your fellow non-STS ELCA pastors that you need to subscribe to a "rule?"  You say that it isn't a "super-vow," but an upholding of your ordination vows made in the ELCA (or predessor bodies).  Don't you think there might be pastors who aren't STS members are upholding their ordination vows?  I plan to uphold my vows when I'm ordained, do I need to join the STS to show this?  No.  Will I seek "ministerium" among my synodical colleagues?  Sure, and I'm sure you do too, but I don't need a subscription to a rule to do this.  Does this mean I have a "Protestant" view of the clergy?  Does this mean I'm one of these "low-church" types of clergy.  Certainly not!  I don't need to practice a "self-chosen piety" (Col. 2:23) to serve in the pastoral office.

I am in the same conference as Richard. Three of the pastors in our conference are members of STS. Most of us are not. I am not. The purposes of our monthly conference meetings is not the same as the STS retreats. You can't create the same sense of community in monthly two-hour meeting as you can on quarterly week-end retreats.

At our monthly meetings, there are no distinctions between the STS members and those who are not. There is no questioning of how well we our living out our ordination vows. I think that the assumption is that we are all doing the best we can. We all struggle with problems of shepherding groups of sinful people.

I am a member of SBL. That does not mean that I take the Bible any more seriously than the other pastors. (Although I do nearly all my NT studies in Greek.) It means that I have a particular interest in the Biblical studies that their Journal of Biblical Literature and other publications offer. (Most are not applicable to preaching or teaching lay people in the parish.)

I am a member of APT (Association of Psychological Type). This does mean that I am likely to have a greater knowledge of psychological types and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator than most other people. That's one of my interests and an area where I've had training. I probably use it more in my ministry than other ministers.

Richard has a PhD in history. I recently asked him a question about Constantine. He had a good answer. He may be a member of some historical societies that I wouldn't be interested in joining.

I've joined groups that I believe will help me in my own interests and the way I seek to fulfill my ordination vows. STS is not one of those. Others have found it to be a community that helps them individually in their personal and professional lives as ordained clergy.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: hansen on March 07, 2005, 10:18:38 AM
Quote

And, I repeat, don't assume that I'm an ignorant boob about your organization and I will promise not to assume that STS is a sexist misongyistic political action group mad at the ELCA.


And that's to give us hope of what the ELCA seminaries are turning out?
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Gladfelteri on March 07, 2005, 11:35:21 AM
Quote
What do you call a member of the ELCA who does not accept women's ordiantion?We are learning that denominational labels don't mean much to the world these days, which is why we in the LCMS are always trying to make it clear to visitors at worship and those we meet that we had nothing to do with the "sex study."    It seems to be the first question we get asked.  

I would simply call him a theologically conservative ELCA Pastor.

Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 07, 2005, 11:40:41 AM
Quote


And, I repeat, don't assume that I'm an ignorant boob about your organization and I will promise not to assume that STS is a sexist misongyistic political action group mad at the ELCA.



I didn't say you were a boob.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Gladfelteri on March 07, 2005, 12:32:25 PM
Quote
Many STS members that I have met have come across as liturgical moralists who relish in stating "the ELCA doesn't educate good pastors" and other broad statements.

I hear that statement from STS members from time to time (not often, but rather every now and then) and  this is how that statement comes through my "filter:"  "The ELCA doesn't educate Evangelical Catholic PRIESTS - - it educates Protestant Ministers . . ."  That is what I think they are really saying - - or at least mean to say . . .

Just my impression, for what it is worth . . .

Incidentally, my denomination, the ECCL (http://www.ecclnet.org) does encourage its Priests to join the STS.  Our Vicar General for the Middle Atlantic and New England is a member.  It is a good organization, in my humble opinion!


Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: DanTC56 on March 07, 2005, 01:02:58 PM
Irl, how can you recommend such a society that has a policy of admitting female pastorettes? Now before any STS members jump down my throat and say that the STS has no policy on admitting female pastors,I must counter that indeed it does. If I am correct,membership is extended to any/all pastors who are rightly called and ordained. Now Pr"Susan Creamcheese" can apply. She can be called and ordained by an ELCA congregation,and not a word will be said in objection to her admission. By the very fact that her admission was not contested,logic follows that the STS does indeed have a policy supportive of female pastors. But to get back to my original question,Irl,Why are you supportive of the STS ?
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Gladfelteri on March 07, 2005, 03:59:10 PM
We support the STS because they are the organization of the Evangelical Catholic (read "high-church") element in American Lutheranism.   We think it is wise to support the one (to my knowledge) Lutheran organization fostering the understanding that Lutheranism is a variety of Western Catholicism, and of course, to network within that group, politically . . . )

The ECCL Priests who are members of the STS do not believe in the ordination of women under any circumstances until there is a broad "consensus fidelium" across Western Catholic Christianithy - including the Roman Catholic Church that this is proper and Scriptural, and the leadership of the STS knows this.  

If the STS ever adopts a formal policy that its members must as an article of faith and a condition of membership, must state either verbally or in writing, that they support the ordination of women "across the board," the Archbishop will order the ECCL Priests who are STS members to leave the STS.  And that will be that.  But that is not the situation right now.

That said, to support the STS as American Lutheranism's only "high-church" Evangelical Catholic organization we encourage our clergy to join.  Personally, I do not belong to the STS.  I belong to the OCR (the Order of Corporate Reunion) and the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS;)  but I would join the STS as well if I had the time to do participate fully, attend the retreats, etc., but unfortunately, I do not.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Richard Johnson on March 07, 2005, 05:04:01 PM
Quote
Irl, how can you recommend such a society that has a policy of admitting female pastorettes? Now before any STS members jump down my throat and say that the STS has no policy on admitting female pastors,I must counter that indeed it does. If I am correct,membership is extended to any/all pastors who are rightly called and ordained. Now Pr"Susan Creamcheese" can apply.


I'm going to jump down your throat for an entirely different reason, Dan. As the administrator/moderator of Forum Online, I have kept a hands-off policy regarding the posts of its various members, regardless of my views on the opinions expressed. However, it seems to me you are skating on pretty thin 8th commandment ice here. The language you are using shows your utter contempt for those who are supportive of the ordination of women. You are within your rights to have any opinion you choose; within your rights to feel contempt for other people, if you can square that with your conscience. In this particular Forum, however, I would caution you to speak to issues if you will, but refrain from this kind of sarcasm. If you cannot do that, I will have no choice but to delete your posts.

Parenthetically I might add that one of the many things I appreciate about the Society is that we have the ability and the commitment to discuss issues like the ordination of women in a loving and respectful way, and, when necessary, to come to differing conclusions without resorting to anathemas.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 07, 2005, 09:28:28 PM
Quote
No doubt this conversation will fuel the disdain some may have for ELCA seminaries and seminarians, but I cannot subscribe nor support the Society of the Holy Trinity.


Steven, I notice that you used the "anger" smiley when reviving this thread.  I'm not sure what the cause of that is, but it might be helpful to note that I opened this subject in response to a particular item written in the Sept 2004 issue of *Forum Letter*.

It is certainly fine if a Lutheran pastor doesn't subscribe to the STS Rule.  Those of us who have subscribed to the Rule have done so because we believe it helps our ministry.  It provides something for me that my Conference's Professional Leaders does not (and will not), though I participate in that fully, too (unlike a significant percentage of the Conference clergy).  

The STS is not for every Lutheran pastor.  Those of us who have subscribed to the Rule know that.  

FWIW, my personal experience with Society members -- and I have attended all the General Retreats (except the founding one -- incidentally, 2 of the 20 STS founders are women) and have only missed a couple chapter retreats since subscribing 7 years ago -- is that most of the members are supportive of women's ordination.  

Not knowing where you are located or which STS pastors you've dealt with, it would be difficult for me to guage how typical your experiences with Society are.  I'll note, however, that it is the Rule to which we subscribe.  The personalities of those who have subscribed are about as varied as the personalities of Lutheran pastors in general.

Pax et bonum, Steven+
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: DanTC56 on March 08, 2005, 09:45:49 AM
Pr.Johnson :  I believe that my "contempt",as you call it--I call it irritation---is reserved more towards towards a society that does exactly what it says it does NOT do: it supports womens ordination by admitting female pastors to the society,even as it says at the same time that it has no policy towards female clergy. Very simple. I have no"contempt"for anyone sir. I disapprove of female pastors very strongly,but I don't hate them. I believe that they are misguided,as are the people that support them. I was also curious as to why Irl would support such a society that admits female pastors,especially when he has demonstrated such a deeply conservative bent at this board. I am sorry that you see a possibly evil intent behind my previous post. If it upset you,I apologize,but I disagree with your assessment of it. I will however endeavor to further refine and edit the language of my future posts. I find this board highly stimulating,and enjoy it immensely...
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Norsk on March 08, 2005, 10:32:02 AM
To perhaps nudge this thread back to the original topic (ELCA dissenters on ordination of women, not the STS), may I query whether in fact the ELCA in its various institutional forms still makes space for dissenters on this issue?  Though I was only 10 years old when the decision to ordain women was taken by my predecessor body, I distinctly recall solemn and emphatic commitments that the consciences of those opposed to women's ordination would always be respected, that no congregation would be forced to call a female as pastor, etc etc.  Are these commitments still valid, or did they die with the merger (as did, apparently in the view of ELCA leadership, all the predecessor bodies' human sexuality teachings)?

Routinely I hear anecdotal stories of congregations being told that they should expect a very long vacancy unless they are willing to call a woman.  If true (and anecdotes can often be overstated but usually have a grain of truth), isn't this a violation of those promises?  Could a book on ministry that opposed the ordination of women get published by AF?  Could an article opposed to the ordination of women get published by the Lutheran?  At a more fundamental level, one might look at the demographics of seminary student bodies, and ask whether our seminaries are doing their part to meet those old promises.

If all those old promises have now been jettisoned, if the above is an accurate representation of the current environment in the ELCA on this question, then there is an easy answer to the question at the top of this thread:  "persecuted".
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 08, 2005, 11:09:53 AM
Congregations are always free to Call whomever they wish. I don't think that they can state on their information form, "We will not consider a female pastor," but that could be the attitude of the Call Committee and/or congregation. I've heard that there are members at my congregation who spoke against calling a female pastor.

I had also heard that a previous congregation I had served, there was a member who spoke against them calling a divorced and remarried pastor.

I know that in its latter years, the ALC mandated that no congregational constitutions or bylaws could prohibit females from serving on the congregation council. Congregations were forced to revise their documents, but that didn't mean that they had to elect females to the council. I'm sure that true with the constitutions/bylaws for ELCA congregations, they cannot prohibit the calling of female clergy (or females serving on the council,) but that doesn't mean that they have to Call one. However, if a vacant congregations wants to wait until they perfect (male) pastor comes along, it will be a long wait.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on March 08, 2005, 02:01:27 PM
Quote
may I query whether in fact the ELCA in its various institutional forms still makes space for dissenters on this issue?

The first female ordained Assistant to the Bishop in my synod handled the mobility process.  She was quite open about acknowledging that there were congregations where she would not even think about sending a woman.  The second (and current) one isn't as open about it, but seemed to be following that practice -- at least in the early part of her term.  

OTOH, when a congregation in our synod is in the call process, there are not a lot of candidates available to congregations to consider.  Perhaps it is the mobility process in this synod -- the Bishop only nominates one person at a time; the name of a pastor available for call goes to only one congregation at a time -- combined with lots of low-paying parishes, but especially if a congregation is pigeon-holed as a "first call" or "second call" parish, they will be lucky to get *any* names.  If you don't call the name offered, you may wait another year to receive another name.

As for ELCA pastors who oppose the ordination of women, I know a few who believe they have paid a price for holding that view.  I think it's more likely that they don't say anything at all (especially to bishops and colleagues) and avoid confrontations on the issue.  Nevertheless, it seems acceptable for some colleagues to treat as pariahs fellow ELCA clergy who are rumored to oppose women's ordination.

Quote
Could a book on ministry that opposed the ordination of women get published by AF?  Could an article opposed to the ordination of women get published by the Lutheran?

Nah!  They only publish "progressive" heresies.

Kyrie eleison, Steven+
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Norsk on March 09, 2005, 05:29:32 AM
As opposed to what...orthodox heresies?  ;)

Seriously, though, I would question whether congregations in the ELCA really still are free to call whomever they want.  As the above post indicates, synodical bishops have become much more controlling of the call process in the past 10-20 years than had previously been the case, esp in the old ALC.  There are a number of anecdotal stories of synodical bishops refusing to sign the call documents for a pastor in good standing on the ELCA clergy roster, validly chosen by the congregation in question, simply because the pastor was not a candidate "approved" by the bishop.  (and to the extent those anecdotes are accurate, proving at least one WordAlone prediction to have been correct...)
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 09, 2005, 03:58:35 PM
Quote
There are a number of anecdotal stories of synodical bishops refusing to sign the call documents for a pastor in good standing on the ELCA clergy roster, validly chosen by the congregation in question, simply because the pastor was not a candidate "approved" by the bishop.  (and to the extent those anecdotes are accurate, proving at least one WordAlone prediction to have been correct...)

The courts have determined that synods and bishops are liable for the misbehavior of a pastor. I would think that to protect themselves, bishops need to have some assurances that any pastor they "approve" will not become a liability.

When I was looking for a Call, I discovered that there are some bishops who will only pass on a pastor's profile to congregations after personally meeting with the pastor. In another case, I had some phone interviews with a bishop before he would recommend me to a congregation.

My hunch is that if the stories are correct, it is likely because a congregation did not work through the bishop's office. They found a pastor they wanted, then told the bishop to sign the papers.

In order to "prove" if these stories are correct, we would need to have names.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Norsk on March 22, 2005, 10:06:42 AM
I suspect that your "hunch" is correct.  In fact, I'll gladly stipulate that it is correct: these congregations did not "work through their bishop's office."  SO WHAT?  At most they are guilty of rudeness toward their bishop and bishop's staff.  This isn't Rome; bishops don't assign pastors to congregations.  What justification can there be for a bishop refusing to sign call papers for a pastor who is rostered in good standing in the ELCA, called in a process which was conducted in accord with the congregation's constitution?   As much as some might want to enhance the bishop's role in this process, at the end of the day someone must have the ultimate decision on choosing a pastor: bishop or congregation. The buck must stop somewhere, and if it stops with the congregation, as we always maintain, then the bishop cannot refuse to sign off on a validly rostered, validly called pastor.


(I'm using a little shorthand here, so before someone reprises the "but the bishop is liable argument," let me clarify:  Lutheran synods/bishops have faced liability for bad apple pastors only when it has been shown that they knew of a problem with the pastor and did nothing about it.  That's why I use the phrase "validly rostered" -- if a bishop knows of a problem with a pastor, then he believes that pastor to be invalidly rostered.  he has a duty to act, sure enough, but in that case has a duty to seek a change in the pastor's roster status.)
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 22, 2005, 03:46:58 PM
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I suspect that your "hunch" is correct.  In fact, I'll gladly stipulate that it is correct: these congregations did not "work through their bishop's office."  SO WHAT?  At most they are guilty of rudeness toward their bishop and bishop's staff.

Nope. They are breaking the rules of their own constitutions. To quote from the model -- with boldface added:

*C9.01. Authority to call a pastor shall be in this congregation by at least a two-thirds majority ballot vote of members present and voting at a meeting legally called for that purpose. Before a call is issued, the officers, or a committee elected by [this congregation][the Congregation Council] to recommend the call, shall seek the advice and help of the bishop of the synod.

*C9.02. Only a member of the clergy roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or a candidate for the roster of ordained ministers who has been recommended for the congregation by the synodical bishop may be called as a pastor of this congregation.

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The buck must stop somewhere, and if it stops with the congregation, as we always maintain, then the bishop cannot refuse to sign off on a validly rostered, validly called pastor.

The articles of the constitution quoted above says that they can refuse to sign the call if they congregation hasn't lived up to their part of covenant between congregations and synods.
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(I'm using a little shorthand here, so before someone reprises the "but the bishop is liable argument," let me clarify:  Lutheran synods/bishops have faced liability for bad apple pastors only when it has been shown that they knew of a problem with the pastor and did nothing about it.  That's why I use the phrase "validly rostered" -- if a bishop knows of a problem with a pastor, then he believes that pastor to be invalidly rostered.  he has a duty to act, sure enough, but in that case has a duty to seek a change in the pastor's roster status.)

I don't think that's quite right. If the courts believe that a bishop should have known about a candidate, the synod could still be liable.

To use another example, if a congregation has hired a day care worker, who molests some children, the congregation is still liable even if they knew of no prior misconduct. I believe that to remove (or at least reduce) their liability, a congregation needs to do extensive background checks prior to hiring including directly asking the candidate, and to have periodic checks of the worker(s) during their employment, e.g., unannounced visits.

While the Personnel Information for Synod Bishops includes the questions:

Have you ever been charged with or convicted of the commission of a felony? If yes, please explain.
           
Have you ever been accused of or disciplined for sexual misconduct, child or spousal abuse, or financial improprieties?  If yes, please explain.
           
Are you personally committed to living in accord with Vision and Expectations (ELCA) for rostered persons in the ELCA?  If no, please explain.

I'm not sure that checking to proper boxes relieves bishops and synods from liability. And what if pastors check the wrong boxes? I have a friend who is a convicted felon, and had that on his record when he went to seminary and was called and ordained. If someone says that they are not personally committed to living with Vision and Expectations, what should a bishop then do?
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: G.Edward on March 22, 2005, 06:54:32 PM
When I entered the candidacy process, I was told that V&E was it.  I was asked if I accepted them and would abide by them when I entered and again at approval.  

The church, like any other organization, has the right and even the responsibility to define and uphold standards for leadership and congregational life.  In some respects, it is not all that different from a franchise or a brand-name, except that we usually refer to these elements of this church as "Lutheran Identity."

If someone declined to abide by them, they are excusing themselves from the process leading to a leadership postion.  If someone professed adherence but intended to flout them, then they are demonstrating their own lack of integrity and trustworthiness.  I wonder about people who are willing to deny and lie to get what they want whether they are in the "corporate world" or the "eclesiastical world".  I think that kind of behavior goes under the heading, "the ends justify the means," and we all know where that road leads.

If the church chooses to look the other way when a part of the organization begins to publically change the meaning or intent of the message or one of the franchises, then the brand identity looses some of its clarity and the message and mission ultimately suffer.

We don't have to think the same way, but we do have to have some basic things in common.  The only other choice is to lie to each other, and that is hardly the basis for communion of any kind.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Norsk on March 23, 2005, 06:31:00 AM
At the risk of stating the obvious, there are many many congregations out there with a constitution that does not conform to the "model,"  because the model is not mandated by the ELCA except when the congregation decides to amend their constitution.  (You don't have to amend, but if you do amend, you must bring your consititution into line with the model.)  This requirement of the ELCA may be confessionally dubious, but that is another matter.  In any event, in many of these congregations with "old" consistutions, esp from the old ALC, there is no requirement to call only a pastor recommended by the synodical bishop, and calls made solely by the conrgegation are perfectly valid under the constitution of that congregation, the synod and the ELCA.

As for liability, certainly a congregation will have liability for hiring a "bad apple" worker if it is determined by a court that the congregation "should have known" about the problems with the worker.  (This is a squishy legal rule subject to all sort of 20/20 hindsight, but it is a fact of employment law in America.)  But that's because the congregation is the one doing the hiring.  No such rule would apply to a synod that simply recommends a candidate, much less if the synod has no role in the selection process.  In the eyes of the courts, the congregation hires a pastor.  Synodical liability arises when, as in the Texas case, the synod had information that called into question the fitness of the candidate, but did not share that information with the congregation.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on March 23, 2005, 07:59:44 AM
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At the risk of stating the obvious, there are many many congregations out there with a constitution that does not conform to the "model,"  because the model is not mandated by the ELCA except when the congregation decides to amend their constitution.

As I recall, congregations were given five years after the formation of the ELCA to adopt an ELCA model constitution. I don't remember whether this was mandated, strongly recommended, or suggested. Whatever language was used, I don't believe that there was any disciplinary process for congregations who did not comply.

While I don't have the model ALC constitution and bylaws for congregations, I know that every Call I had under those rules was approved by the disctrict presidents. What I do remember from being part of a Call Committee, the names we received came from three sources: recommendations from the district office; pastors who asked the district office to submit their names; and members of the congregation could request information from the district about any ALC pastor they would like to consider. From my experience, all names had to go through the district office. If not, I think that the district president could refuse to authorize the call.

My guess is that the old rules also require calling a pastor from the ALC roster. What does it mean now that such a roster no longer exists?
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: bookpastor/Erma Wolf on April 16, 2005, 11:55:13 PM
Hi.  I'm one of those pesky female ELCA pastors.  Also a subscriber to Lutheran Forum for getting close to 30 years.  Also someone who attends STS retreats, and is prayerfully considering subscribing to the Rule.   This series has really made for some interesting reading.  I just couldn't resist making a comment or two.

 Back when I was preparing for the ordination exam and meeting with my synod's candidacy committee (LCA), I was part of a discussion in a seminary class regarding this process.  The conversation turned to certain male students who were known to believe that women should not be allowed to serve as ordained pastors.  The professor asked, "Well, what will these men do when they are asked what they think about ordaining women?"  The answer came:  "They'll lie to the committee."  I don't know if synods or seminaries still ask what candidates think about the propriety of women pastors, but I would hope that any pastor or candidate would think very carefully about serving in a church body that held a position that he believed was contrary to Scripture.  

   So what to call an ELCA pastor who doesn't agree with the ordination of women?  Well, if he was ordained in the late 1970's or later, he might be a liar.

   Otherwise, what to call a non-ordained member of the ELCA who doesn't approve of the ordination of women?  A brother or sister in Christ.

  I would like to make one small request of those who believe that women should not be allowed to serve as ordained pastors.  And that is for common courtesy when you have to deal with women who are pastors.  Refusing to acknowledge our presence by not returning a greeting, ignoring a hand extended, and in general shunning us in public does not reflect well on you.  Men who act in this way only look like they are boorish and rude.      
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 17, 2005, 06:44:21 AM
Well said. Thanks.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: djbaer on April 18, 2005, 08:21:44 AM
About those congregations that haven't updated their constitution, my understanding is that if they didn't amend their constitution, the constitution of record is now the ELCA model constitution for congregations.

We had a congregation in a neighboring community that was considering leaving the ELCA.  They were operating on an old ALC constitution.  As I remember it, by remaining in the ELCA beyond the 5 years, they agreed to the ELCA constitution even if they didn't do anything about it.

Practically, what that meant for the congregation was that the pastor and a signficiant group of members left the ELCA but that the assets (church and endowment) stayed with those who would remain in the ELCA.

Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: dfrazer on April 18, 2005, 11:03:58 AM
Old Constitutions:
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity in Lancaster is still using it's original, founding Constitution and By-laws (in English translation) that predate the ELCA, the LCA, etc.,  the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In fact our constitution can only be changed by making a filing with the local court house, because our constitution is an act of the legislature.

On the larger point, how can your affiliation with a voluntary organization change your own constitution? Doesn't each constitution have in it the means of its own amendment. If you don't amend it according to process, it remains unchanged.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: hansen on April 18, 2005, 01:22:45 PM
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Hi.  I'm one of those pesky female ELCA pastors.

What makes you a self-described "pesky" female pastor?

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Back when I was preparing for the ordination exam and meeting with my synod's candidacy committee (LCA), I was part of a discussion in a seminary class regarding this process.  The conversation turned to certain male students who were known to believe that women should not be allowed to serve as ordained pastors.  The professor asked, "Well, what will these men do when they are asked what they think about ordaining women?"  The answer came:  "They'll lie to the committee."  I don't know if synods or seminaries still ask what candidates think about the propriety of women pastors, but I would hope that any pastor or candidate would think very carefully about serving in a church body that held a position that he believed was contrary to Scripture.


I guess it all boils down to what, specifically, the prospective pastor must vow to upon ordination.  If the pastor is required to vow to "x", then he must do and/or believe "x".

Similarly, there are pastors who think that the current decision-making process of the ELCA, where the laity have a big hand in determining church teaching, is contrary scripture.  I (as a layman) share that view.

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So what to call an ELCA pastor who doesn't agree with the ordination of women?  Well, if he was ordained in the late 1970's or later, he might be a liar.


Again -- depending upon what he vowed to.

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Otherwise, what to call a non-ordained member of the ELCA who doesn't approve of the ordination of women?  A brother or sister in Christ.


I don't approve of it.  I just don't think it fits with God-given distinctions between men and women (in scripture, in nature, in psychology, etc.).  And if there's one thing the church is in need of today, it's stronger standards.  We have gobs of "compassion" and warm-fuzzy feelings to offer.  Women inherently evoke the latter.  Female warm-fuzzies are a great and wonderful gift to humanity, but not for the leadership of a church body which is finding it difficult to stand strong for much of anything, other than being "inclusive" and "non-judgmental".

Therefore, it seems the only way to accept female pastors, is to take a "gender-free" view of the pastor, much like someone working in an assembly line (we don't care who assembles the widget -- and rarely know who did -- as long as it works).  But that then supports the agenda of those who want to ordain those who are openly practicing homosexuals.  I.e., if it's little more than a function, where all that matters is whether he can go through the steps of the liturgy, then what does it matter?  You can argue that one is considered sinful (same-sex relations) while the other isn't (being female) but that misses the point.  The point is that if "sex of the officiant doesn't matter" then that plays into the hands of those who are promoting same-sex marriage and ordination.  They (such as Pr. Brian Stoffregen) use such arguments in support of their case, stating that all that matters is lifelong monogamy -- sex doesn't matter.

So, bottom line, you're female (smile).  And from there, we have two choices:  either we recognize that you're different from males, or we try to ignore that (good luck...).      And that leads to two options:  decide if the addition of that "difference" is a net gain for the church (especially at this point in American Lutheranism); or accept the consequences of further blurring male-female distinctions.

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I would like to make one small request of those who believe that women should not be allowed to serve as ordained pastors.  And that is for common courtesy when you have to deal with women who are pastors.  Refusing to acknowledge our presence by not returning a greeting, ignoring a hand extended, and in general shunning us in public does not reflect well on you.  Men who act in this way only look like they are boorish and rude.      


Hopefully this post has come across respectfully.  I don't doubt or question your sincerity, and desire to serve the church.  And I would not refuse your handshake.

DH
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 18, 2005, 05:41:24 PM
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On the larger point, how can your affiliation with a voluntary organization change your own constitution? Doesn't each constitution have in it the means of its own amendment. If you don't amend it according to process, it remains unchanged.

However, when the previous organizations no longer exist, any reference to them in a constitution becomes meaningless. How could a congregation call a pastor from the Joint Synod of Ohio and Other States now?
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: dfrazer on April 19, 2005, 08:35:02 AM
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However, when the previous organizations no longer exist, any reference to them in a constitution becomes meaningless. How could a congregation call a pastor from the Joint Synod of Ohio and Other States now?


I know this is very specific to our situation only, but in our case we only have reference to "the ministerium" or "the assembly." We interpret that to mean whatever our current structure provides. It also gives us the freedom to pick and choose if that became the case.

There is one statement that requires pastors from German Lutheran seminaries. We interpret that one as well. It comes from the mistake we made in the 1740s when we called a closet Moravian.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on April 20, 2005, 01:18:45 PM
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So what to call an ELCA pastor who doesn't agree with the ordination of women?  Well, if he was ordained in the late 1970's or later, he might be a liar.

That could be only if he was asked and and said, "It's fine by me" even while believing otherwise.  FWIW, I was in the Candidacy process from 1986 (initial inquiry in the LCA) through my ordination in 1992, matriculating at PLTS 1988-92.  Never once by anybody -- Candidacy Committee, faculty, classmates, or anyone else -- was I asked what I thought of the ordination of women.

spt+
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: bookpastor/Erma Wolf on April 26, 2005, 12:43:08 AM
    I think I struck a nerve with Brother Hansen.  "Female warm fuzzies"?  Well, now I am relieved to know what has caused the downfall of the ELCA, the theological enterprise in North America, and Western Civilization in general.  Not to mention global warming.  

   Seriously, I am all too well aware of the opinion that the ordination of women prepared the way for the entire debate on ordination of homosexuals who wish to be or who are in "committed same-gender relationships".  I don't think that the one automatically lead to the other, or that the former is cut from the same theological or Biblical cloth as the other.  But I am disturbed by the thought that the ordination of women might be used as a rationale for the current turmoil in the ELCA, nonetheless.

    Likewise, if someone truly believes that the ordination of women is a violation of Scripture, and yet seeks ordination in a denomination like the ELCA that does just that, that person may be lying, at least by omission, at least to himself.  I would be very surprised if synods, committees, etc. in the ELCA were to ask if a candidate agreed with the ordination of women.  I would think the not unreasonable assumption would be that a man would not seek ordination in a church body that also ordained women if he had theological reasons to be opposed to that practice.  

    Having said this, I do want to stress that I don't go around asking other pastors whether or not they approve of the ordination of women.  And except in a forum such as this, I don't really think about it, until something happens and I am forced to.  I should have been clearer about one thing:  an ELCA pastor who disapproves of the ordination of women is first and foremost my brother in Christ, as well as my colleague in the Office of Word and Sacrament.  

    Grace and peace to all the brethren.
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: hansen on April 26, 2005, 01:17:11 PM
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   I think I struck a nerve with Brother Hansen.


Couldn't respond to me directly?

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"Female warm fuzzies"?  Well, now I am relieved to know what has caused the downfall of the ELCA, the theological enterprise in North America, and Western Civilization in general.  Not to mention global warming.


Sounds like I'm the one who struck a nerve.

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Seriously, I am all too well aware of the opinion that the ordination of women prepared the way for the entire debate on ordination of homosexuals who wish to be or who are in "committed same-gender relationships".


That argument has been 'out there' for awhile?  I didn't know that.  The logical and psychological link between post-60s feminism, female ordination, and issues related to homosexuality came to me about 10 years ago, while simply pondering it on my own, and discussing such issues with others.  And I hadn't debated any of this in a religious forum until a few months ago.

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I don't think that the one automatically lead to the other, or that the former is cut from the same theological or Biblical cloth as the other.


I agree.  But then, I never made any point to the contrary.  Again, the issue relates more to logic, sociology, and psychology, where the distinctions between men and women are continually blurred, to the point that there is violent hostility to any consideration that there are differences between men and women (aside from their 'plumbing', or if the distinction favors women, then it's o.k. to talk about).  Just look at what happened to the Harvard dean who dared to even consider the possibility -- the possibility -- that maybe the reason far more men go into the sciences than women, is because of some inherent differences.  Thus, my opinion that if the church likewise takes a "no distinctions" view of men and women, then there is little to argue against homosexual relations.  The alternative (as I wrote before) is to accept that there are differences, and then get some idea of what those differences are, and then decide if adding those differences to the church is a net gain (key phrase:  "net gain", meaning all things considered).

And considering how unhealthy much of post-60s feminism has been (e.g., an anger at masculine men, and ironically a desire for women to be like men) it's hard to imagine that adding women to the pastorate was a net gain.

So again, you/we have one of two choices:  conclude that there are no significant differences (which leads to an acceptance of homosexual behavior, and neither women nor men having anything "special" to offer) or accept that there are significant differences, and then decide if those differences are a net gain for the church, if they are added to the leadership).

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But I am disturbed by the thought that the ordination of women might be used as a rationale for the current turmoil in the ELCA, nonetheless.


I think it's one component, but not the only one.  As I determined in discussions with Pr. Brian Stoffregen in this forum, those who are pushing the same-sex marriage/ordination agenda have a liberal-left worldview, of which a 60s "no distinctions" feminism (unless the distinction favors women...) is merely a symptom.  But I think that if conservatives accept the symptoms, then some 'reverse engineering' happens which leads to the worldview being accepted, slowly but surely.  And without even knowing it.  That's because they don't understand the underlying implications of these changes.  And that's why I'm arguing it here.

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Likewise, if someone truly believes that the ordination of women is a violation of Scripture, and yet seeks ordination in a denomination like the ELCA that does just that, that person may be lying, at least by omission, at least to himself.  I would be very surprised if synods, committees, etc. in the ELCA were to ask if a candidate agreed with the ordination of women.  I would think the not unreasonable assumption would be that a man would not seek ordination in a church body that also ordained women if he had theological reasons to be opposed to that practice.


O.k., well that changes it quite a bit.  By that rationalle, why would you excuse a pastor who was ordained pre-1970, from staying in a church body with which he had any theological objections?  Or, how about those who are seeking ordination, who are not sure what they think about it, and then later on decide that it isn't a good idea?  Or, how about those who are fully in agreement with women's ordination when they are ordained, but later change their minds?  Bottom line, should all pastors leave a church body if there is anything about it with which they disagree, theologically?

Seems to me that the obligation is on the church body to decide what the outer boundaries are of what is acceptable, and to enforce.  As for the pastor himself, he has to decide where the best place is to practice his ministry.  Not the perfect place, but rather the best place available at the time.

DH
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Padre_Dave on April 26, 2005, 04:36:48 PM
I hate to drop in at this juncture, but this thread is called LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions.  While I have no objection to the current discussion about ministry, what does this have to do with the LCMS?  Maybe the title could/should be changed, or someone who started the thread could define what distinction of the LCMS is being discussed here.  Just a thought ;)
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: hansen on April 26, 2005, 06:09:32 PM
Well, the thread was started by Pr. Tibbetts, with:

"Okay, I think I've got 'moderates,' 'conservatives,' and 'confessionalists' pretty straight.  But what does one call an ELCA, uh, 'conservative' who would *not* accept women's ordination?"

So, as amazing as it seems (given the thread title) it looks like we are still on-topic.  But maybe Pr. Tibbetts might consider changing the title to something referring to ELCA pastors who object to female ordination.  :)
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on April 27, 2005, 01:29:03 PM
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But maybe Pr. Tibbetts might consider changing the title to something referring to ELCA pastors who object to female ordination.  :)

Actually, I began this "Letters to the Editors" thread "Re: Sept '04 *Omnium Gatherum*" and "Subject" titled it as I did to refer to the specific item in that section of that issue of Forum Letter.  So, even if the Forum software permitted it, I'd not be inclined to change the subject title. ;)

I find it interesting that, 8 months later, this thread is still alive.

spt+
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 27, 2005, 06:29:01 PM
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"Okay, I think I've got 'moderates,' 'conservatives,' and 'confessionalists' pretty straight.  But what does one call an ELCA, uh, 'conservative' who would *not* accept women's ordination?"


Crypto-LCMSers?
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Gladfelteri on April 27, 2005, 11:05:27 PM
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Crypto-LCMSers?

Crypto-Catholics?
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 28, 2005, 11:00:48 AM
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Crypto-Catholics?

When the ELCA was being formed, I promoted the name: "The Catholic Church -- Martinized."
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: MSchimmel on September 22, 2007, 11:37:16 PM
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I suspect that your "hunch" is correct.  In fact, I'll gladly stipulate that it is correct: these congregations did not "work through their bishop's office."  SO WHAT?  At most they are guilty of rudeness toward their bishop and bishop's staff.
Nope. They are breaking the rules of their own constitutions. To quote from the model -- with boldface added:

*C9.01. Authority to call a pastor shall be in this congregation by at least a two-thirds majority ballot vote of members present and voting at a meeting legally called for that purpose. Before a call is issued, the officers, or a committee elected by [this congregation][the Congregation Council] to recommend the call, shall seek the advice and help of the bishop of the synod.

*C9.02. Only a member of the clergy roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or a candidate for the roster of ordained ministers who has been recommended for the congregation by the synodical bishop may be called as a pastor of this congregation....

Sorry for bringing a really old thread back from the dead - but the interpretation of this section of the constitution implied by the bold and color added misses a very different - yet plain, reasoned reading.  Let's change the bolding and colors around a bit and see what you think.

*C9.02. Only a member of the clergy roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or a candidate for the roster of ordained ministers who has been recommended for the congregation by the synodical bishop may be called as a pastor of this congregation.

There are no commas that would lead one to think that the "who has been recommended for ..." phrase modifies the "...member of the roster..." section in the way that it clearly does the "... candidate for the roster..." section. 
Title: Re: LCMS (and ELCA) Distinctions
Post by: G.Edward on March 06, 2009, 10:30:27 PM
Richard,

If there are those who see it as a "ministerium" as you say some do, that fine.  But what is wrong with your colleagues in your synodical conference?  What SPECIFIC issues do you object to among your fellow non-STS ELCA pastors that you need to subscribe to a "rule?"  You say that it isn't a "super-vow," but an upholding of your ordination vows made in the ELCA (or predessor bodies).  Don't you think there might be pastors who aren't STS members are upholding their ordination vows?  I plan to uphold my vows when I'm ordained, do I need to join the STS to show this?  No.  Will I seek "ministerium" among my synodical colleagues?  Sure, and I'm sure you do too, but I don't need a subscription to a rule to do this.  Does this mean I have a "Protestant" view of the clergy?  Does this mean I'm one of these "low-church" types of clergy.  Certainly not!  I don't need to practice a "self-chosen piety" (Col. 2:23) to serve in the pastoral office.


Steven, I can only speak for my chapter of the Society - Susquehanna (corresponding to the Upper and Lower Susquehanna Synods of the ELCA).  The pastors I know who have subscribed to the rule of the society are much more active in their conferences and at the synod level than the typical parish pastor.  Far from being a requirement, it is a voluntary association for those pastors who find it helpful in upholding and faithfully fulfilling their ordination vows.  That doesn't mean pastors outside of the society will not fulfill their ordination vows faithfully.  For me the society provides a level of collegiality and accountability beyond what I have found in the local ecumenical ministerium, my conference, and my synod.  And some days in ministry that collegiality and accountability makes all the difference in the quality of my ministry to the people I have been called to shepherd.  God bless and keep you in your discernment and development.