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Messages - John_Hannah

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1
Your Turn / Re: When was the Bible written?
« on: Yesterday at 02:18:16 PM »


And yet Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, credible voices from within the ELCA and those you have unfortunately called the "camp-out" group in the NALC are managing their way through the various swamps with a high view of Scripture, its reliability, authority and clarity of purpose, absent the inerrancy priority and verbiage.  At least that's the way it seems to me.   We'll see where it all leads; it does sound like a good topic for our Lutheran Forum publication at some point. 

Dave Benke

Not every American Lutheran (pastor or layman) shares the expressed dominant and politically correct views of the leadership of his parent body, whether LCMS or ELCA. It is like not every Republican loves Trump and not every Democrat lives Bernie. Voting patterns suggest that the majority do not. For example in NYC Democratic voters chose the retired cop for "law and order" over "defund the police."

I recall talking to a young ELCA pastor in North Dakota right before the 2009 ELCA decision. He believed that the North dakota Lutherans had resigned themselves to acceptance of the proposal but, he was sure, no congregation would be calling a homsexual pastor anytime soon.

Peace, JOHN

That was 12 years ago.  Do you know if he was right?

You can tell us?

2
Your Turn / Re: When was the Bible written?
« on: Yesterday at 02:04:07 PM »


And yet Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, credible voices from within the ELCA and those you have unfortunately called the "camp-out" group in the NALC are managing their way through the various swamps with a high view of Scripture, its reliability, authority and clarity of purpose, absent the inerrancy priority and verbiage.  At least that's the way it seems to me.   We'll see where it all leads; it does sound like a good topic for our Lutheran Forum publication at some point. 

Dave Benke

Not every American Lutheran (pastor or layman) shares the expressed dominant and politically correct views of the leadership of his parent body, whether LCMS or ELCA. It is like not every Republican loves Trump and not every Democrat loves Bernie. Voting patterns suggest that the majority do not. For example in NYC Democratic voters chose the retired cop for "law and order" over "defund the police."

I recall talking to a young ELCA pastor in North Dakota right before the 2009 ELCA decision. He believed that the North Dakota Lutherans had resigned themselves to liklihood of acceptance, he was sure, no congregation would be calling a homsexual pastor anytime soon.

Peace, JOHN

3
Your Turn / Re: When was the Bible written?
« on: Yesterday at 11:19:03 AM »
I think events play out through the years, though, that test our lenses. Look at Brian's response to the same post you just responded to. He basically agreed with the diagnosis (with some quibbling about how best to describe it). He just thinks that what we're both describing it not a sickness but a picture of health. I think the mid-20th Century, E-C leaders of the Lutheran bodies who worked toward Lutheran unity and the formation of LBW would have scoffed at the prediction that today's ELCA would be what it is. But events have proven them wrong. They inherited a church they were unable to pass down because they assumed that their assumptions and outlook, shaped by the more old world, old school church of their childhood, would shape the next generations, too. But that didn't happen.

A parallel thing happens in time with liturgy and catechism instruction. People who were formed themselves by traditional liturgy and catechism instruction embrace more popular worship forms and less formal catechism instruction and see no problem. They have the basic building blocks and they experience the change as expansion of their worship and educational life. But they forget that the reason they can experience the changes as edifying expansion is because they grew up with the liturgy and catechism. Their kids are growing up without the benefit of really, truly being formed by the liturgy and catechism. The kids are experiencing the expansion as the foundation, and it doesn't hold up very well.

In the pages of FL I've written about this several times. There is an element of the E-C movement (and the alpb) that really seems to want the second half of the 20th Century (culminating about 1987) trapped in amber. They want to proceed as though seminex really was a purifying movement that jettisoned the fundamentalists from the best of the LCMS, as though LBW is the universal Lutheran worship pattern, as though the ELCA experiment has not crashed and burned. Like Communism in some minds, the Evangelical-Catholic strain of Lutheranism has never failed, it has just never been tried properly by the right people. 

I think the NALC is basically an attempt at forestalling the same forks in the road faced by other bodies, not a new route. It is people who remember what the ELCA was supposed to be, what the LCMS could have been, and want to be that today. But the key is, they remember. It is clear to them. The old Lutheran bodies were part of their formation. That won't be true for future generations, so the NALC is going to figure out how to proceed into the future without making the choices that the LCMS and ELCA made. I don't see how they will do that. The example I use is the acceptance of the ordination of women combined with the rejection of homosexual marriage. It doesn't work in the long run because there is no authoritative boundary there that could plausibly claim to be more than man-made preference-- not Scripture, not Tradition, not Council or Pope.

C.S. Lewis followed Chesterton in noting how history is always coming to a point. There are reckonings, forks in the road, decisions. (They both, I think, expound somewhere in their writings on the nature of the word "de-cision" or cutting off of possibilities). So, for example, St. Thomas More could participate in heretic burnings. No Christian would today. We, if not excuse, at least understand how More could have done that; we would not excuse or even understand how a Christian today could. On the timelines between us and him, that issue has been decided. That possibility has been cut off. 

Most repristination efforts simply yearn for a time before a decision was made, when two things that can no longer hold together could indeed be held together, when the ramifications of any particular way of doing things hadn't fully played out and several possibilities were still on the table, so the future was full of promise. Post-War E-C Lutheranism in America, with its high liturgical church plants with striking, blocky, angular stained glass that seemed to bring the old church into the modern world eventually came to forks in the road. The LCMS of today is a way forward from there, but with the inerrancy of Scripture. The ELCA is a way forward from there, but with the authority of post-Christian sociological movements. The RC is way forward from there but with the standard things Lutherans tend to find to be deal-breakers. Orthodoxy is a way forward from there, again, with some things Lutherans find alien or objectionable. But the NALC is not a way forward from there, it is an attempt to stay there, to camp out at the fork in the road and deliberate a while longer. Perhaps that is wise. But like Gandalf leading the company through Moria and wanting time to ponder which passage forward to take, eventually the choice must be made, and the choice of tunnels is the same whether you decide now or later.

This is all "What if" speculation. It is just as valid as "What if" the St. Louis faculty had been allowed to remain, the LBW had been accepted by Missouri, etc. etc.    ;D

Peace, JOHN

4
Your Turn / Re: David W. Preus
« on: Yesterday at 09:41:58 AM »
I have often wondered how the ELCA's trajectory might have been different had Bp. Preus been chosen as its first presiding bishop rather than Herb Chilstrom. I was a delegate to the constituting convention, and I later regretted that on the final ballot, I voted for Chilstrom rather than Preus.


I have wondered the same thing about both that election and about the election of Mark Hanson over Don McCoid.  (On the penultimate ballot, Jim Nestingen finished third and thus was eliminated.  The majority of his voters supported Hanson over McCoid on the final ballot.  I suspect that most of those Nestingen-Hanson voters came to regret their decision.  But Hanson, like Nestingen, was a Minnesotan.  And McCoid, from a far-off place where many Lutherans had never heard of lutefisk, may have looked a bit too enamored of high-church practice to Norwegian Lutherans suspicious of clerical (and especially episcopal) authority.)


On the other hand, the cultural forces that ultimately overwhelmed the ELCA were strongly embedded in the church's institutions.  We'll never know whether different leadership at the top could have moderated those forces.  Taking into account the the experiences in other so-called mainstream protestant bodies, I have my doubts.


Another historical "What if...?": What if Kent Knutson hadn't died so young?

Indeed!!!

5
Your Turn / Re: When was the Bible written?
« on: Yesterday at 09:40:09 AM »

A. C. Piepkorn held to the infallible and efficacious nature of Scripture as the appropriate evangelical and catholic way to view Scripture through the lens of our Confessions.  He was a Lutheran.  I'm with him.

Dave Benke

Thanks, Dave. To be Lutheran means to agree fully with the Lutheran Confessions--nothing more, nothing less. That has been asserted by the Missouri Synod and many other American Lutheran bodies since our immigration to the U.S. Walther was adamant about that as was Krauth.

(There's no need to leave Lutheranism if one doesn't believe life insurance indicates unbelief or if one is a Democrat.)

Peace, JOHN

6
Your Turn / Re: Luther and The Apocrypha/Deutercanonical Books
« on: Yesterday at 06:40:55 AM »
What did Luther use to translate the Apocryphal books? The LXX?

Peace, JOHN

7
Your Turn / Re: Luther and The Apocrypha/Deutercanonical Books
« on: August 03, 2021, 01:15:12 PM »
I rather doubt that Roman Catholic seminaries teach what Fr. Schmitiz expounded just as I doubt that Lutheran seminaries do. (There may be exceptions, of course.) I'm sure Fr. Michael can elaborate.

As far as I'm concerned, we might just as well include the Deuterocanonical books as they offer nothing objectionable to Lutheran teaching as known from the Lutheran confessions. The different canons constitute an artificial rationale for division.

Peace, JOHN

8
Your Turn / Re: When was the Bible written?
« on: August 03, 2021, 08:57:52 AM »
I'm thinking that underlying this conversation are questions about the authority and perspicacity of Scripture.  An ancient Missouri Synod tome is entitled "Does the Bible contradict itself?" by Arndt.  One by one, the various contradictory passages are examined.  Remember the one where the same census is described in a passage written in exactly the same way in Kings and Chronicles as emanating from God (royalists) or Satan (anti-gummint)?  How do we get around that?  It goes to intent - is the census a blessed or cursed thing?  Or the difference in the number of people killed by the snakes in the desert - 30000 or 40000?  I would suppose the people who cared most are the 10000 who either died or didn't. 

The contradictions are settled in some cases by appeals to a yet-unfound original version, an auto-correct argument, based on the underlying supposition that the bible cannot have an error, so somewhere as yet undiscovered or maybe never to be discovered is a version that fixes the purported error.  This then is where inerrancy runs up against infallibility and efficaciousness.  The inerrant position is that these apparent contradictions cannot be in fact contradictions, so the original manuscript/vellum would/will settle it.  Should that be a real concern? 

If inerrancy is the be-all, then the answer is Yes.  If the efficacious/infallible perspective is primary, the answer is No.  Scripture accomplishes what it sets out to - to make us wise unto salvation in Christ Jesus, through both Testaments.  Scripture is authoritative in the dimensions of both faith and life that demonstrate the Missio Dei.

Dave Benke

Thanks, Dave. You might mention Robert Jenson's two ALPB books that deal with the issues much like you:

On the Inspiration of Scripture

by Robert W. Jenson What does it mean that the Bible is inspired? For many Lutherans, the inspiration of the Scriptures is mostly about why the Bible is rightly the source and norm for the church’s teaching. Robert W. Jenson, a life-long Lutheran and widely respected theologian and teacher, believes that this approach to the […]

Lutheran Slogans: Use and Abuse

by Robert W. Jenson No discourse that goes on for any length of time, particularly if it becomes an argument, can do without slogans– those shorthand phrases that are placeholders for a whole complex of concepts, metaphors, practices and understandings to which they point. They make it possible for a speaker or writer with just […]


Available at <alpb.org>

Peace, JOHN

9
Your Turn / Re: David W. Preus
« on: August 02, 2021, 10:35:39 AM »
I have often wondered how the ELCA's trajectory might have been different had Bp. Preus been chosen as its first presiding bishop rather than Herb Chilstrom. I was a delegate to the constituting convention, and I later regretted that on the final ballot, I voted for Chilstrom rather than Preus.


I have wondered the same thing about both that election and about the election of Mark Hanson over Don McCoid.  (On the penultimate ballot, Jim Nestingen finished third and thus was eliminated.  The majority of his voters supported Hanson over McCoid on the final ballot.  I suspect that most of those Nestingen-Hanson voters came to regret their decision.  But Hanson, like Nestingen, was a Minnesotan.  And McCoid, from a far-off place where many Lutherans had never heard of lutefisk, may have looked a bit too enamored of high-church practice to Norwegian Lutherans suspicious of clerical (and especially episcopal) authority.)


On the other hand, the cultural forces that ultimately overwhelmed the ELCA were strongly embedded in the church's institutions.  We'll never know whether different leadership at the top could have moderated those forces.  Taking into account the the experiences in other so-called mainstream protestant bodies, I have my doubts.

I share your doubts. The Missouri Synod was trending toward complete Americanization, albeit in a different direction, at the same time. Intra-Lutheran competition was an incentive at play.

Bishop McCoid was our local STS retreat leader a while back. He reviewed the many ecumenical ventures of the ELCA, many of which he was directly involved in. Several times throughout the retreat, he openly lamented the breach with Missouri along with the misguided directions of the ELCA.

Peace, JOHN

10
Your Turn / Re: Lutheran Creationists
« on: July 31, 2021, 09:31:03 AM »
It is worth asking, "Does the (now) standard LCMS "creationism" hold up as an adequate apology for our confession, "We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of that is, seen and unseen," among those who are "science literate?" Is it not quite possible to hold firmly to the creed while having doubts about "creationism?"

Peace, JOHN

12
Your Turn / Re: ALPB president
« on: July 28, 2021, 11:23:10 AM »
As Dave Benke takes on ALPB leadership responsibilities, I would call attention to Richard Johnson's book Changing World, Changeless Christ, The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, 1914-2014. The book will provide information about how the ALPB is structured to accomplish their stated mission in being a Lutheran voice in the USA.

Purchase of the book also provides the ALPB with funds to carry on the work of the men came together in 1914 to be a Lutheran voice in America.  Should there be any on the ALPB Forum Online who do not subscribe to Lutheran Forum and the Forum Letter, this is a good time to begin.   Doing so will offer insight into the purpose for which the ALPB exists and the manner in which the purpose is accomplished.

Memory tells me that the men and women who serve on the ALPB Board pay their own travel expenses.  Again, thanks to John Hannah for his years of servant leadership.

Marie Otten Meyer

Marie is correct. ALPB Board officers and members receive no compensatio nor remuneration for expenses; it's all volunteer. We manage to keep publishing (and conducting this forum) due only to subscriptions, sales, and donations. Subscribe now and donate.

Peace, JOHN

13
Your Turn / Re: ALPB president
« on: July 28, 2021, 09:24:51 AM »
I look forward to Bishop Benke's leadership of the ELCA.

If nominated, I will not run.  If elected, I will not serve.

Unless..........the offices are moved back to New York at the former LCA headquarters, The Morgan House.  https://www.themorgan.org/about/introduction.   Pretty pleasant working environment.  I think the buy-back might be a bit pricey, but there in short form is my campaign - The Gospel of Hope for the World.

Anecdotally, I was the interim CEO at Lutheran Social Service of New York in 2017, and we seized an opportunity to do the pre-opening of the Martin Luther 500 exhibit at The Morgan on an October evening for the benefit of metro area Lutherans.  An incredible venue when you think of the importance of the printing press for the Reformation and the intellectual, spiritual and moral weight of the volumes in that library for Western thought and action through history.  The board chair, I and our spouses were whisked away at the end by black car to Queens to catch the Mets wild card game at Citi Field, which unfortunately did not end well.  The driver, a young man named Edwin from back in Brooklyn, did me a favor, and somehow got us there in time for the first pitch.  Wildly fascinating exhibit, followed by a wild ride.

Dave Benke

Well, maybe the ALPB could buy the Morgan House. We could do it if every Lutheran of good faith would subscribe. Then you'd have a fitting office.

Looking forward to that wild ALPB ride. I hope it'll be ending better than that Mets game.   ;D

Peace, JOHN

PS: Thanks for that marvelous exhibit in 2017; it was great!

14
Your Turn / Re: ALPB president
« on: July 28, 2021, 06:20:58 AM »
John Hannah writes:
I look forward to Bishop Benke's leadership of the ELCA.
I comment:
You guys kicking him out?
OK, we’ll take him in, but he’s going to have to start in a two-point parish in Pennsylvania.


OOPS! My bad. I look forward to Bishop Benke's leadership of the ALPB.

Peace, JOHN

15
Your Turn / Re: ALPB president
« on: July 27, 2021, 08:42:49 PM »
Thanks Pastor Johnson for the update.   The United States has President Joe Biden
who is 78 years old.  The ALPB has President Dave Benke who is 75 years old.
This election by the ALPB Board demonstrates they wanted a leader who had wisdom
that comes from age.  They wanted  a product from the 12 year LCMS "System"
for pastors....Concordia High School, Milwaukee, Concordia Jr. College, Milwaukee,
Concordia Sr. College, Ft.Wayne and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

Congrats to Bishop Benke for his election to this position.  He lives in New York,
however, his educational background is the from the heartland of our nation.

And I am 82, four years ahead of President Biden.   ;D  I have served 16 years and two years ago asked the board to find another president so that we might have fresh leadership.

I'm afraid that being a product of the former LCMS educational system was not a factor. It is not necessary that the president be LCMS, much less from a particular strain of the synod. My predecessor was ELCA. Nor is it necessary that he be a pastor; again, my predecessor was a layman.

I look forward to Bishop Benke's leadership of the ELCA.

Peace, JOHN

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