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Messages - Brian Stoffregen

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Do these verses from Genesis 2 relate to your question?


there was still no human being to farm the fertile land, (Gen 2:5d)

The LORD God took the human and settled him in the garden of Eden to farm it and to take care of it. (Gen 2:15)


Yes, that's excellent; thank you, Pr. Stoffregen (and thanks to Pr. Engelbrecht as well).

It does look like Adam had at least one vocation from the start.

Tom Pearson
The world's true oldest profession,  farming.


Did some study on the Hebrew word translated "to farm" by CEB: עָבַד `abad.
More literally, the verses above could be translated, "to work the ground," like NIV does. Other translations use, "cultivate" or "till" - English words that convey a more specific meaning of working the ground.


The same Hebrew word is used in Genesis 3:23 as part of Adam's duties after the fall. It is also used of Cain's work in Genesis 4:2, 12.


However, most often (at least in the references I've looked in the Torah,) it refers to "serving other people or God or gods)," which is also translated, "worshiping God (or gods)," e.g. Exodus 3:12.


The noun, עֶבֶד `ebed refers to "a slave," "a servant," "a subject," including "servants of God."

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Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: Yesterday at 02:18:15 PM »

Do these verses from Genesis 2 relate to your question?


there was still no human being to farm the fertile land, (Gen 2:5d)

The LORD God took the human and settled him in the garden of Eden to farm it and to take care of it. (Gen 2:15)


Yes, that's excellent; thank you, Pr. Stoffregen (and thanks to Pr. Engelbrecht as well).

It does look like Adam had at least one vocation from the start.

Tom Pearson
The world's true oldest profession,  farming.


An interesting (at least to me) sidebar in The CEB Study Bible related to this.


Dominion or Dependence?
 
Humanity is increasingly endangering its environment. How then, should we understand God’s giving humanity power over creation in Genesis 1:26-28? These verses have been interpreted by some as granting humans unlimited power and license to exploit nature for their own use.
 
“Take charge of” (Gen 1:26; KJV, NRSV: “have dominion”) translates the Hebrew word for “rule.” It’s used elsewhere for the authority of masters over servants (Lev 25:43) and kings over subjects (Ps 72:8). So it does grant humanity power and authority over the animal world. But the word doesn’t in itself define the way power is exercised, since power can be used for either caring or harsh rule. In the context of Genesis 1, humans are viewed as God’s representatives in creation (see sidebar, “In God’s image” at Gen 1), So, “taking charge” must be understood as exercising the same kind of authority God would exercise in the natural world.
 
An entirely different picture of the human place in nature is present in Genesis 2:4b-3:24. Here the first human is made out of the “topsoil” of the earth’s “fertile land” and given their command to “farm” it (Gen 2:5, 7, 15). The word translated “farm” in the CEB almost always means “serve.” It expresses the service of servants to masters (Gen 12:6), of one people to another (Exod 5:90, and of people to God (Exod 4:23). So human beings are created specifically to serve the fertile soil. Humans in this account depend on nature rather than exert dominion over it.
 
These two different images of the human as ruler and as servant point to universally acknowledged realities. Humanity has the unique power to alter the world, but we are ultimately dependent on the earth and its life for survival. (p. 8 OT)

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Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 12, 2021, 08:45:12 PM »

I would not use the term ontology for this discussion. I've never seen the word used for Lutheran doctrine of the call, vocation, or mankind created as male and female until I saw persons using it on this forum.

Can anyone cite a published Lutheran dogmatic that uses this ontology term for the above doctrines?


In Reformation and Catholicity, Gustav Aulén has a section in which he speaks of ordination as involving an ontological change in the ordinand.  There may also be similar passages in Aulén's The Faith of the Christian Church; I don't recall.  The Swedish Lutheran tradition may be more likely to express the "ontological" dimension than others, I suppose (Wingren?  Nygren?).

As I mentioned earlier, Pr. Engelbrecht, my interest in this "ontology" talk is because I'd like to see if it's possible to situate "vocation" as an integral aspect of the original act of Creation.  As a Lutheran, I think of "ontology" as trying to answer the question, "If you did an inventory of all the things that show up as a result of God's original act of Creation, what would be on the list?"  Would "vocations" be on the list?  I've previously said that I'm pretty well convinced that moral theology is intimately tied to "vocations" (and "vocational roles'), so I'd like to see if the case can be made that "vocations" qualify as an ontological category (meaning, does the Genesis account of Creation include "vocations"?)

Does that make sense?


Do these verses from Genesis 2 relate to your question?


there was still no human being to farm the fertile land, (Gen 2:5d)

The LORD God took the human and settled him in the garden of Eden to farm it and to take care of it. (Gen 2:15)

4
Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 12, 2021, 08:40:37 PM »
A question she asks, "What is it about ministry that a woman cannot do?" (Our functional view of ministry.).....

As I wrote in the discussion "If Not 'Functional," than What?"


The ALC had it its constitution.
"6.33. The status of the clergy differs from that of the laity only as to function."

I also remember professors at seminary stating that we had a functional understanding of ordination. We are set apart by the church to do certain things.

Your understanding of the pastor seems to be more about function than office.  You appear to place one above the other.  If that is the view of your church, why not just hire the most capable person and assign appropriate tasks?  Why ordain them? 

In your Service of Ordination it states:
Within the people of God and for the sake of the gospel ministry entrusted to all believers, God has instituted the office of the ministry of word and sacrament. In the service of Ordination to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament, the church entrusts this office to those who have accepted the church’s call and sends them into this ministry.

So it seems that your church emphasizes the idea of "office" primarily when referring to the position of pastor.  Office is more than just function.  Even outside the church the idea of holding a "public office" involves the taking of an oath and the entrusting of authority exercised on behalf of someone else.  As one who has been sworn into the office of chaplain of a city fire department, I was asked to promise to uphold the constitution of the US, the state constitution and all local ordinances.  That is much more than I would have been asked had I applied for a job at Walmart. The office of pastor has always required a higher level of responsibility than other offices in the church, in part, because the pastor represents not only the church but Christ Himself. 

So how do you understand "office" as it applies to the pastor?


Actually, the following are the words of the latest ordination liturgy. [Evangelical Lutheran Worship: Occasional Services for the Assembly, copyright 2009]

All baptized Christians are called to share
in Christ’s ministry of love and service in the world,
to the glory of God and for the sake of the human family and the whole creation.
According to apostolic usage you are now to be entrusted
with the office of word and sacrament in the one holy catholic church
by the laying on of hands and by prayer.


The following question is also asked:

Before almighty God, to whom you must give account,
and in the presence of this congregation, I ask:
Will you assume this office,
believing that the Church’s call is God’s call
to the ministry of Word and Sacrament?


The subsequent questions are about what the candidates will do - the functions they will perform that are expected of those in the office. It's a bit like going into a doctor's office. The office is not the important thing, but the skill of the doctor and staff to do their duties.

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Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 12, 2021, 08:31:06 PM »

Are you sure that God gave an office and not functions? What biblical verse(s) do you use to support that?

I've recently looked at the list of gifts God gives the church in Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28; Ephesians 4:11. I see these as functions.
 

You are confusing the part for the whole, Pr. Stoffregen.  Of course there are a variety of "functions" associated with the office of the ministry.  But the doctrine of the ministry in the Lutheran tradition is not reducible to those "functions."  The Lutheran doctrine of ministry is a theoretical elaboration that combines a number of theological desiderata, including (but certainly not limited to) scrutiny of a lexicon of scriptural terminology.  One can no more legitimately reduce the doctrine of ministry to ecclesial functions than one can reduce the currently fashionable doctrine of gender to biological functions.


There is a doctrine of ministry that applies to all the baptized. One should consider their vocation, whatever it is, as ministry. One garbage collector saw that as his ministry to make his community healthier and safer for all who live there. His view of his work was much more than just picking up trash.


Where it gets messier is with the ordained ministry. Just looked at the biblical passages where "ordain/ordination" are used. In the Hebrew, it's often a translation of an idiom, literally, "fill the hand" or shortened, "fill"; (Ex 28:41; 29:9, 29, 33, 35; 32:29; Lev 8:22, 33; Num 3:3. Scholars guess that this might refer to giving something to the candidate to represent the position they are about to assume. In modern day it might be like putting a gavel in the hand of the new chair of a board; or giving putting a scepter in the hand to a new monarch, or a crozier to a new bishop. The LXX continued to use the symbolism of "filling the hand."


As such, it seems to me to be a bit more like our installation service, where symbols of the pastoral office are given; rather than an ordination. The offspring of Aaron (and all Levites) are born into the priestly tribe. "Filling the hand," with some symbol is more like recognizing that this person will be taking over those duties at this time.

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Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 12, 2021, 02:25:13 PM »
A video where a woman deals with the question: "Should Women Be in Ministry?"


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUFT6FrICAU&t=3s


A question she asks, "What is it about ministry that a woman cannot do?" (Our functional view of ministry.)

Who is this "Our" in "Our functional view of ministry"?

I didn't think the ELCA had the WELS view of ministry. I thought y'all were more into Grabau's side of things. Or maybe you use "our" and "we" like Charles which really means "My" and "I".

The question she asks "What is it about ministry that a woman cannot do?" is the question of those who hold a functional view. This is why the WELS does not allow women to vote. Given their functional view of the ministry, they wouldn't have any reason to withhold ordination.

But God did not give an divinely ordained function. He gave a divinely ordained office. And God gives qualifications for that office and we do not have the right to change those qualifications.


As I wrote in the discussion "If Not 'Functional," than What?"


The ALC had it its constitution.
"6.33. The status of the clergy differs from that of the laity only as to function."

I also remember professors at seminary stating that we had a functional understanding of ordination. We are set apart by the church to do certain things.


Are you sure that God gave an office and not functions? What biblical verse(s) do you use to support that?


I've recently looked at the list of gifts God gives the church in Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28; Ephesians 4:11. I see these as functions. Below are the different terms and the number of times they occur in the four lists.


Prophets (all four lists) (προφητεία, προφήτης)
Teachers (three lists) (διδάσκαλος, διδάσκων, διδασκαλία)
Apostles (two lists) (ἀπόστολος)
Healers (two lists) (χαρίσματα ἱαμάτων)
Leaders (two lists) (προϊστάμενος, κυβέρνησις)
Miracle workers (two lists) (δυνάμις)
Tongue Speakers (two lists) (γένη γλωσσῶν)


The following were in one list.
Discerning Spirits (διακρίσεις πνευμάτων)
Encouragers (παρακλήσις)
Evangelists (εὐαγγελιστής)
Faith (πίστις)
Givers (μεταδιδούς)
Helpers (ἀντιλήμψις)
Interpreting Tongues (ἑρμηνεία γλωσσῶν)
Mercy-showers (ἐλεών)
Pastors/Shepherds (ποιμήν)
Servers (διακονία)
Word of Knowledge (λόγος γνώσεως)
Word of Wisdom (λόγος σοφίας)


In addition, John 21 has Jesus giving Peter tasks to do:
Βόσκε τὰ ἀρνία μου. "Feed my lambs."
Ποίμαινε τὰ πρόβατά μου. "Shepherd my sheep."

Βόσκε τὰ πρόβατά μου. "Feed my sheep."


These are verbs of action. He didn't tell him, enter the office of a shepherd, but the verb "to shepherd," "to take care of," "to feed."


The "office" words of "elder," "overseer," and "deacon," were all used in the OT. They weren't new positions created by the church. In addition, "elder," (πρεσβύτερος) is the only one that is something like an office. One entered it by being old, the basic meaning of the related verb πρεσβεύω; but it also takes on the meaning of "to be an ambassador." The other two positions are based on verbs. They involve doing something: deacons (διάκονος) are those who διακονέω = "to serve, to wait on, to provide for, to minister to." Bishops/overseers/supervisors (ἐπίσκοπος) are those who ἐπισκοπέω = "to look after, to oversee, to visit".

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Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 12, 2021, 01:21:14 PM »
A video where a woman deals with the question: "Should Women Be in Ministry?"


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUFT6FrICAU&t=3s


A question she asks, "What is it about ministry that a woman cannot do?" (Our functional view of ministry.)
What is it about consecrating the elements that a robot can’t do? The issue of women’s ordination has nothing to do with skills and ability and everything to do with authorization. The Scriptures do not authorize it. Doesn’t mean people are aren’t ordained aren’t capable of doing what ordained people do.


It has everything to do with skills and abilities when one has a functional view of ordination as we do.

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Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 12, 2021, 12:04:45 PM »
A video where a woman deals with the question: "Should Women Be in Ministry?"


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUFT6FrICAU&t=3s


A question she asks, "What is it about ministry that a woman cannot do?" (Our functional view of ministry.)

9
Your Turn / Re: Religious Freedom Issues, Again
« on: June 11, 2021, 07:50:14 PM »
The LCMS Stylebook p. 25:

Quote
titles — RELIGIOUS TITLES: In running text, use “the” before “Rev.” or “Rev. Dr.” “The Rev.
Dr.” should be used before a clergyman’s full name if he has received a doctorate (earned or
honorary). Use only the last name (no title) on second reference.


The ELCA Style Sheet 2019 (boldface added).


clergy titles
• In formal running text, on first reference, use “the Rev. Jane M. Doe” (note use of the person’s full name).
• In more informal text, may use “Jane Doe, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church.”
• In correspondence use “The Rev. Jane M. Doe” in the address, and “Dear Pastor Doe” in the salutation.
• “Pr.” is an acceptable abbreviation for “Pastor” in a list with names and titles.
• Lowercase “pastor” when used after the person’s name: The Rev. Jane M. Doe, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, presided at worship Sunday.
• Former ELCA bishops are referred to as simply “the Rev. Jane Doe”; they are not bishops for life.
Never use “the Rev. Dr.” unless the doctorate is an earned degree.
• Using titles other than “pastor” for clergy of other denominations may be appropriate and preferred; consult with staff of Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations and Office of the Secretary if you have a question about the title of someone of another denomination

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Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 11, 2021, 07:35:29 PM »
The pertinent statement is "when the dead rise they will be as the angels in heaven."  The secondary phrase in the sentence applies to marriage.  The substance of the sentence is that the dead will be as the angels in heaven.  Embodied and enspirited angels.
That is not what our Lord said.

Matthew 22:30 - "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven."
Mark 12:25 - "For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven."
Luke 20:34-36 - "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection."

According to Matthew and Mark, the only sense in which our Lord said that we will be "like angels in heaven" after the resurrection is that we will neither marry nor be given in marriage. According to Luke, He also said that we will be "equal to angels," rather than "lower than the angels" (Hebrews 2:9) as we are now. Again, Jesus said nothing whatsoever about our resurrected bodies in these texts.


Hmmm, if we take Luke literally, we all become sons! Sons of God and sons of the resurrection.


I also note that the other times that "marry and giving in marriage" are used in the NT, it is reference to what people were doing on Noah's day before the flood (Matt 24:38; Luke 17:27). Was that a good thing?

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Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 11, 2021, 12:28:55 PM »
What then are cherubim and seraphim?  When I grow up I want to be like them.  They seem to be in the military.  Air force.

From my notes:

Cherubim (about 75 occurrences) are primarily decorations: made from gold for the mercy seat (Exodus 25:18, 19, 20, 22; 37:7, 8, 9; Numbers 7:89; 1 Samuel 4:4; 6:2; and others); woven into fabric of the inner curtains of the tabernacle and the veils (Exodus 26:1, 31; 36:8, 35); two huge ones carved from olive wood for the inner sanctuary; many carved on the walls and doors and panels (1 Kings 6-8; 2 Chronicles 3-5); Ezekiel describes the cherubim as having four faces and four wings (10:14, 21) or two faces (41:18).

The word “seraphim” occurs 7 times. Five of those it refers to “venomous snakes” or “serpents” (Numbers 21:6, 8; Deuteronomy 8:15; Isaiah 14:29; 30:6). As “seraphim,” (Isaiah 6:2, 6, where they have six wings) they were probably originally mythological beings pictured as having serpents’ bodies—possibly the personification of lightning, since the root SRPh means “to burn”.

Even though they have wings, the pictures of cherubim and seraphim given in the OT do not resemble our modern (nor even the ancient) image of angels.

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Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 11, 2021, 12:25:49 PM »
Nobody said we wouldn’t be changed. The mortal, perishable body puts on immortality. The change cannot be entire or the pronoun “we” in “we shall be changed” would cease to refer to anything. There has to be some kind of continuity of person before and after the change.


Yes, like the continuity between a seed (that dies) and the plant that rises up. They have completely different "bodies," but the same DNA. Or we might think of the life cycle of a butterfly: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. Four completely different bodies/shapes, but all the same DNA.

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Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 11, 2021, 12:21:18 PM »
Because - and you're not either willing or able to acknowledge this - we will be αλλ εισιν ως αγγελοι οι εν τοις ουρανοις according to our Lord.  Bodies, yes, but what kinds of bodies?  Angelic.
The context of the quoted passage has nothing whatsoever to do with what our resurrected bodies will be like. Jesus simply states that after the resurrection, we will neither marry nor be given in marriage--just like angels in heaven, in that specific respect. Do angels even have physical bodies in heaven? My understanding is that this is a fundamental difference between humans and angels--we were created to have physical bodies, but they were not. Am I wrong?
Exactly. We will be like angels with respect to marriage, not with respect to being pure, bodiless spirit beings. I carefully distinguished marriage from male/female and used the only examples we have of pre-Fall and post-Resurrection humans to point out that male/female is not a distinction resulting from the Fall. It is a good aspect of Creation, redeemed, not eliminated. Jesus was not “like the angels” when He ate a fish and showed them His hands and side. And even talk of eternity being marriageless must take into account the bridegroom/bride pattern that apparently exists outside of time.

In terms of angelic bodiless-ness (not an actual word):  And yet the angel appeared to Mary.  And spoke so that the words could be heard. And later a host sang/proclaimed out loud.  And yet Isaiah 6 and the six wings and the coal and the covering of the angelic "feet."  And the flying.  Always the flying.  And the cherubim and the flaming sword guarding/preventing the way back to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.   No physical presence?  Bodi-less?  Or body plus?  Or bodiless plus, ontological shape-shifting, meaning that's how we will be "as angels" - bodily resurrected, angelic in shape-shifting actualization.  And of course Balaam's ass and the angel with the sword , Mr. Ed the All-Seeing Donkey, and the angel in physical bodi-ful person asking Balaam why he's beaten his donkey three times because Balaam couldn't see with his human eyes what Mr. Ed could see with his donkey eyes.

Speculation is rife.

Dave Benke


"Angels" are never pictured with wings in scriptures. In fact, Claus Westermann wrote a book about this: God’s Angels Need No Wings. Angels seem to have picked up wings from two sources: from other religions and from combining the idea of God’s messengers with the Cherubim and Seraphim, who are not messengers/angels.

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Your Turn / Re: Religious Freedom Issues, Again
« on: June 11, 2021, 12:14:11 PM »
Question - isn't "the" supposed to be "The"?  So "in a recent interview, The Rev. Dr. Obert Fingbauer, Intercessor General of The Bruxite Derivation of The Anarchate of Fingbauerstadt", etc.   

However, if the doctorate is honorary, would it be appropriate to place that in lower case - i.e. "The Rev. dr. Obert Fingbauer."  Snap.

Dave Benke


"The" is even more necessary if "Reverend" is spelled out. One way around this problem is to omit the titles and add the appropriate degrees following the name. I know that when I volunteered at a couple of our Churchwide Assemblies, they used no titles, e.g., Rev. Pastor, Bishop, Dr., etc., when they put names below those speaking at microphones. (At each microphone was a volunteer with a headset going to the booth so we could tell the booth the person's name (from their name tag) before they were recognized to speak. (This didn't stop speakers from introducing themselves as, "Bishop …," or "I'm just a layman," etc.)

I don't know if it's still the case, but a former editor of The Lutheran said that their policy is to use one title, Rev. or Dr., but not both.

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Your Turn / Re: Another contribution to the endless controversy
« on: June 11, 2021, 12:04:53 PM »
They are neither married nor given in marriage in the resurrection. Are they therefore neither male nor female in heaven? That would imply something odd about the resurrection of the body as well as the nature and purpose of male/female. Was Adam male before Eve was created? Certainly they were male and female before the Fall.

That's why I copied the Greek text - ως αγγελοι - anthropocentricity is what we do best.  Because it's who we are.  When we're not that any more - when we're as angels, why would we need to divvy up angelically into male and female? 

Instead of phone a friend, maybe we need to ask an angel.

Dave Benke
We wouldn’t need to, but it wouldn’t be us doing the divvying, it would be the Creator. And why wouldn’t He? Is there no value to maleness and femaleness apart from biological function? Are they meaningful categories in isolation from each other? The male/female distinction was good in Paradise and still a first article gift in this fallen world. Why would it somehow stop being good just because it was not biologically necessary in eternity? Jesus never needed the procreative biological function of maleness in His earthly life or in the resurrection. But He was still male. Why wouldn’t the same be true of women, that they are female in this life and in the resurrection apart from any need for pro creative biological function?

Jesus didn’t need feet to get around. He could disappear and appear whenever. But He still had feet. We won’t really “need” any body parts in the resurrection, but if it is a resurrection of the body, it is the resurrection of human bodies, which are by definition male or female.


Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 is very clear that the resurrected body will be different from our earthly bodies. It will be as different as a seed (that is put in the ground and dies) and the plant, e.g., wheat, that rises from death out of the ground, We have to be raised with a spiritual body if we are to live eternally because our earthly bodies, our flesh and blood, cannot inherit the eternal kingdom. They decay. They do not last forever. A change in bodies has to happen if we are going to live eternally.

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