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1
Your Turn / Re: New CPH Large Catechism
« Last post by Tom Eckstein on Today at 05:28:34 PM »

There is a lot here I agree with, and I think a lot of people in the LCMS agree with. I think the LCMS, at the congregational level and national level, has been forthright and effective on issues like abortion and gay marriage. Transgenderism and critical race theory are comparatively new phenomena and people tend to talk past one another. It takes time just to get on the same page of what exactly we're talking about and hash things out from there. A shoot-from-the-hip attack on things ends up a) being easily treated as debunked a short time later, b) becomes fodder for opponents to claim we live up to their stereotypes of us, and c) never coming across as pastoral. You have to be careful not to say anything that is going to make a short term impact but be a long term liability. But given how quickly and drastically things are changing, I can understand how people would lose patience with an overly-careful, inoffensive approach and demand a more forthright, bold, and radical alternative to the culture, and I can understand how that might come more likely from a younger crowd.

As I read your post, though, what strikes me is that it sounds like you're describing widespread frustration with a strategy. CPH and the LCMS are not playing aggressively enough and are getting beat. It is like fans watching their team losing because the coach's game plan is too predictable and doesn't work. But it is one thing to be frustrated and say your team's play calling is terrible, it is quite another to speculate that the coach is secretly throwing the game because he has been paid off by the other team.

Had various confessional bloggers reviewed this LC volume and declared is disappointingly tame and bland, a missed opportunity to address some issues head on, too conciliatory to the culture, and not what is needed for the future of the synod given our cultural context, that would be one thing. Some would agree, others wouldn't, the reviews might start some good conversations, and maybe somebody's self-published "what the CPH volume should have said" book would be in the works. But that isn't what happened. The book was declared an example of wokeism. Perfectly orthodox authors were accused of denying the Scriptures and Confessions. It was yanked from distribution as though it were not just disappointingly bland but poisonous and heterodox. The editors and authors weren't just making bad coaching decisions for our team, they were declared to be on the other team. That is where I call b.s. and dismiss the ruckus as a tantrum and worse than a tantrum. It was/is friendly fire.

I just saw a seminarian who appears to be a good man and orthodox called "a son of the devil" with appended quote from John 8.  I will agree with you that there is friendly fire going on, and it is distasteful.

My post is not so much a disagreement about strategy though, although I can see how it appears that way.  Frankly, I don't think most of the synod would agree that according to the tenth commandment (not the ninth, as I said mistakenly), a wife is a possession of her husband.  That is the plain reading of the commandment and of Luther's explanation, putting one's wife in a list with "wife, workers, and animals."  (I don't have the German in front of me, but I doubt he is using the word "employee", but something closer to "slave.")  I don't think most of the synod, "confessional" or not, would be able to agree with Walther that "the emancipation of women" was a bad thing, not without a whole lot of explanations and contextualizations to pull the stinger out.  The problem is that quietly many of us, most of us, have internalized the values of the enlightenment, or whatever you want to call it. 

Walther calls it "humanism" in the essay he wrote about slavery during the civil war.  He gave another series of lectures on Communism and Socialism that I should have, but have not read.  Walther was not avoiding his version of "wokeism" when he saw it being absorbed by the German immigrants in St. Louis.  He was directly confronting it, attacking it at the roots, by saying slavery as such is actually not forbidden by God's Word, because God's Word does not promise us we are going to have temporal, bodily liberty in this world.  Women are under the rule of their husbands as part of their curse in the fall.  Slavery exists as a punishment for sin.  This is the way he argued in the middle of the civil war where the consequences of doing so were as serious as they would be for us to speak in this way, or at least nearly so.

It's not merely a problem of strategy.  I agree with you that this is not what I'm going to lead with when talking to people who know nothing, or next to nothing, about Christianity.  But the reality is to speak this way is going to cause problems with Christians who have been Christians their entire lives. 

The problem isn't just strategic, it's that to a large degree we in the LCMS accept the premises of the enlightenment.  It was unequivocally evil that white Christians owned slaves and that women didn't have property rights.  If we agree with that, then we are also forced to concede a whole lot of other things.  And it leads inexorably to agreement that "discrimination" against homosexuals is just another species of all the other discrimination Christians used to do that we now agree is wrong.

It's like the creation/evolution issue.  If you preach to a cultured despiser of religion that they are sinners and Christ died to save them, they say, "Your bible says that, but it also says God created the world in 6 days, which we now know to be false."  Preaching the Gospel faithfully necessitates that you chop down that oak.  No, cosmologists are not a higher authority than God's Word.  We are not going to allow you to hide behind the authority of scientists from Christ's call to repent, because God has set a date on which He will judge the world through this Jesus.

That's the problem we are having with feminism etc., except that here, most Lutherans are unwilling to fully believe that when God lists a man's wife along with his ox and his servants, He is not just accommodating the social realities of the times, but telling the truth about His ordering of the relationship between a man and his wife.  This undercuts our preaching.  Christ died for our sins becomes a comforting message we are allowed to preach in our dwindling congregations.  When it comes up against the spirit of the age, we are not able to confront it and call it lies, and what it actually is--from the devil. If we do we may end up smeared in the press, with our churches visited by vandals and terrorists, and large numbers of our parishioners may leave. 

Actually if we preach the Bible faithfully, we are calling for a radical transformation of our entire society, implicitly.  But the problem is that many of us are embarrassed of what the Scripture teaches about women, slavery, and downstream homosexuality and transgenderism.  Or we don't accept it.  The hope is that by avoiding these issues we will still be allowed to preach the forgiveness of sins and administer the sacraments.  But we are neutering ourselves.  And in the long run they are not going to allow us to do that either.  Soon we will not be permitted to openly confront homosexual/transgender ideology without legal penalties.  Even Harrison has basically said that in print.  So whether through unconsciously absorbing the enlightenment, or as a strategy to avoid confrontation with the devil's strongholds, the cost of our not speaking clearly on these "social-political" issues has been to paint us into an ever more narrow corner.
I don't agree with your take on slavery or the 10th Commandment. As for slavery, if nothing else, treating it as a punishment for sin that Christians must accept as a reality of the fall does not apply to any concrete case. To go back to Matthew Cochran's complaint about Rom. 13 and 5th Commandment, if someone came to enslave you or your children, would you have the Christian freedom and responsibility to defend yourself and your family from that fate with violent force? Why? I think it makes much more sense to acknowledge that God does not explicitly forbid slavery in Scripture except in so far as loving your neighbor as yourself is incompatible with claiming ownership of your neighbor.

As for the 10th Commandment, I think you read way too much into the ordering of the words as you do, and misuse the general category of ownership. You're left calling for a society in which a man owns those who work for him. People who are manservants or maidservants just need to get used to the fact that as a punishment for the fall into sin, their boss owns them. To take a new job is the equivalent of having an illicit affair, to desert your owner and give into the coveting of another employer, who should have urged you to stay and do your duty to your owner.

It is a commandment against coveting, not a positive commandment for the particular arrangement of things coveted that it lists. Everyone understands that the phrase "ox or donkey" is not necessarily literal or exclusive to those kinds of animals, but is an example that stands in for any neighbor's means of support and possessions generally whether or not he owns an ox or a donkey. And I take it for granted that everyone understands that "my wife" is possession in the sense of "that which corresponds or pertains to me" not in the sense of literal ownership. We learn from St. Paul that the wife also belongs to her husband, but the husband also belongs to his wife. They go together. They belong to each other.

We are not to covet our neighbor's house (more than a literal building, but his whole station and place in the world) nor are to covet any of the individual components of that make up that place, which includes family, employment, possessions, etc. To use the catechism to argue for the ownership of wives by their husbands is force the words to carry way more weight than they're capable of. If nothing else, to make so much of the sexes of the people involved would mean it is okay to covet your neighbor's husband. Unless, of course, "your neighbor" can only refer to men.   

Peter, I agree with your concerns about Hess' view of the 10th commandment and a wife being viewed as "property."  I don't think that's the point of the 10th commandment, that is, that wives are "owned" by a husband.  The point is that we should not covet what God has given to another - and God has given husbands and wives to each other in marriage.

As for Hess' understanding of 1st Tim. 2:12 teaching that women should not have ANY KIND of authority over men in ANY KIND of situation, I think he is in error.  Paul is speaking of the spiritual/Christological authority of the pastoral office within the Divine Service and not of ANY KIND of authority - especially within the left-hand kingdom.  In other words, Paul is not addressing the situation of a female CEO in a secular company having authority over her male employees nor is Paul forbidding a woman from being president of the United States.  Hess is confusing two different kinds of authority, IMO.
2
Your Turn / Re: New CPH Large Catechism
« Last post by peter_speckhard on Today at 05:03:35 PM »

There is a lot here I agree with, and I think a lot of people in the LCMS agree with. I think the LCMS, at the congregational level and national level, has been forthright and effective on issues like abortion and gay marriage. Transgenderism and critical race theory are comparatively new phenomena and people tend to talk past one another. It takes time just to get on the same page of what exactly we're talking about and hash things out from there. A shoot-from-the-hip attack on things ends up a) being easily treated as debunked a short time later, b) becomes fodder for opponents to claim we live up to their stereotypes of us, and c) never coming across as pastoral. You have to be careful not to say anything that is going to make a short term impact but be a long term liability. But given how quickly and drastically things are changing, I can understand how people would lose patience with an overly-careful, inoffensive approach and demand a more forthright, bold, and radical alternative to the culture, and I can understand how that might come more likely from a younger crowd.

As I read your post, though, what strikes me is that it sounds like you're describing widespread frustration with a strategy. CPH and the LCMS are not playing aggressively enough and are getting beat. It is like fans watching their team losing because the coach's game plan is too predictable and doesn't work. But it is one thing to be frustrated and say your team's play calling is terrible, it is quite another to speculate that the coach is secretly throwing the game because he has been paid off by the other team.

Had various confessional bloggers reviewed this LC volume and declared is disappointingly tame and bland, a missed opportunity to address some issues head on, too conciliatory to the culture, and not what is needed for the future of the synod given our cultural context, that would be one thing. Some would agree, others wouldn't, the reviews might start some good conversations, and maybe somebody's self-published "what the CPH volume should have said" book would be in the works. But that isn't what happened. The book was declared an example of wokeism. Perfectly orthodox authors were accused of denying the Scriptures and Confessions. It was yanked from distribution as though it were not just disappointingly bland but poisonous and heterodox. The editors and authors weren't just making bad coaching decisions for our team, they were declared to be on the other team. That is where I call b.s. and dismiss the ruckus as a tantrum and worse than a tantrum. It was/is friendly fire.

I just saw a seminarian who appears to be a good man and orthodox called "a son of the devil" with appended quote from John 8.  I will agree with you that there is friendly fire going on, and it is distasteful.

My post is not so much a disagreement about strategy though, although I can see how it appears that way.  Frankly, I don't think most of the synod would agree that according to the tenth commandment (not the ninth, as I said mistakenly), a wife is a possession of her husband.  That is the plain reading of the commandment and of Luther's explanation, putting one's wife in a list with "wife, workers, and animals."  (I don't have the German in front of me, but I doubt he is using the word "employee", but something closer to "slave.")  I don't think most of the synod, "confessional" or not, would be able to agree with Walther that "the emancipation of women" was a bad thing, not without a whole lot of explanations and contextualizations to pull the stinger out.  The problem is that quietly many of us, most of us, have internalized the values of the enlightenment, or whatever you want to call it. 

Walther calls it "humanism" in the essay he wrote about slavery during the civil war.  He gave another series of lectures on Communism and Socialism that I should have, but have not read.  Walther was not avoiding his version of "wokeism" when he saw it being absorbed by the German immigrants in St. Louis.  He was directly confronting it, attacking it at the roots, by saying slavery as such is actually not forbidden by God's Word, because God's Word does not promise us we are going to have temporal, bodily liberty in this world.  Women are under the rule of their husbands as part of their curse in the fall.  Slavery exists as a punishment for sin.  This is the way he argued in the middle of the civil war where the consequences of doing so were as serious as they would be for us to speak in this way, or at least nearly so.

It's not merely a problem of strategy.  I agree with you that this is not what I'm going to lead with when talking to people who know nothing, or next to nothing, about Christianity.  But the reality is to speak this way is going to cause problems with Christians who have been Christians their entire lives. 

The problem isn't just strategic, it's that to a large degree we in the LCMS accept the premises of the enlightenment.  It was unequivocally evil that white Christians owned slaves and that women didn't have property rights.  If we agree with that, then we are also forced to concede a whole lot of other things.  And it leads inexorably to agreement that "discrimination" against homosexuals is just another species of all the other discrimination Christians used to do that we now agree is wrong.

It's like the creation/evolution issue.  If you preach to a cultured despiser of religion that they are sinners and Christ died to save them, they say, "Your bible says that, but it also says God created the world in 6 days, which we now know to be false."  Preaching the Gospel faithfully necessitates that you chop down that oak.  No, cosmologists are not a higher authority than God's Word.  We are not going to allow you to hide behind the authority of scientists from Christ's call to repent, because God has set a date on which He will judge the world through this Jesus.

That's the problem we are having with feminism etc., except that here, most Lutherans are unwilling to fully believe that when God lists a man's wife along with his ox and his servants, He is not just accommodating the social realities of the times, but telling the truth about His ordering of the relationship between a man and his wife.  This undercuts our preaching.  Christ died for our sins becomes a comforting message we are allowed to preach in our dwindling congregations.  When it comes up against the spirit of the age, we are not able to confront it and call it lies, and what it actually is--from the devil. If we do we may end up smeared in the press, with our churches visited by vandals and terrorists, and large numbers of our parishioners may leave. 

Actually if we preach the Bible faithfully, we are calling for a radical transformation of our entire society, implicitly.  But the problem is that many of us are embarrassed of what the Scripture teaches about women, slavery, and downstream homosexuality and transgenderism.  Or we don't accept it.  The hope is that by avoiding these issues we will still be allowed to preach the forgiveness of sins and administer the sacraments.  But we are neutering ourselves.  And in the long run they are not going to allow us to do that either.  Soon we will not be permitted to openly confront homosexual/transgender ideology without legal penalties.  Even Harrison has basically said that in print.  So whether through unconsciously absorbing the enlightenment, or as a strategy to avoid confrontation with the devil's strongholds, the cost of our not speaking clearly on these "social-political" issues has been to paint us into an ever more narrow corner.
I don't agree with your take on slavery or the 10th Commandment. As for slavery, if nothing else, treating it as a punishment for sin that Christians must accept as a reality of the fall does not apply to any concrete case. To go back to Matthew Cochran's complaint about Rom. 13 and 5th Commandment, if someone came to enslave you or your children, would you have the Christian freedom and responsibility to defend yourself and your family from that fate with violent force? Why? I think it makes much more sense to acknowledge that God does not explicitly forbid slavery in Scripture except in so far as loving your neighbor as yourself is incompatible with claiming ownership of your neighbor.

As for the 10th Commandment, I think you read way too much into the ordering of the words as you do, and misuse the general category of ownership. You're left calling for a society in which a man owns those who work for him. People who are manservants or maidservants just need to get used to the fact that as a punishment for the fall into sin, their boss owns them. To take a new job is the equivalent of having an illicit affair, to desert your owner and give into the coveting of another employer, who should have urged you to stay and do your duty to your owner.

It is a commandment against coveting, not a positive commandment for the particular arrangement of things coveted that it lists. Everyone understands that the phrase "ox or donkey" is not necessarily literal or exclusive to those kinds of animals, but is an example that stands in for any neighbor's means of support and possessions generally whether or not he owns an ox or a donkey. And I take it for granted that everyone understands that "my wife" is possession in the sense of "that which corresponds or pertains to me" not in the sense of literal ownership. We learn from St. Paul that the wife also belongs to her husband, but the husband also belongs to his wife. They go together. They belong to each other.

We are not to covet our neighbor's house (more than a literal building, but his whole station and place in the world) nor are to covet any of the individual components of that make up that place, which includes family, employment, possessions, etc. To use the catechism to argue for the ownership of wives by their husbands is force the words to carry way more weight than they're capable of. If nothing else, to make so much of the sexes of the people involved would mean it is okay to covet your neighbor's husband. Unless, of course, "your neighbor" can only refer to men.     

 
3
Your Turn / Re: New CPH Large Catechism
« Last post by Hess on Today at 02:58:42 PM »
I reappeared on this forum primarily because I saw that you were discussing the furor over this catechism, and I saw Peter asking for clarification on why people thought it needed to be withdrawn.  I've had fun discussing this, but I probably need to submerge now for another decade.
4
Your Turn / Re: New CPH Large Catechism
« Last post by Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on Today at 02:57:04 PM »
"Dr. Engelbrecht says, "We don't need to focus on national political issues but the people in front of us."  I agree, and this is what I've tried to do.  But there are two problems--our own people are grievously distressed by the national issues, and they feel like no one is speaking for them.  The second problem is, maybe you don't need to talk to your own people about these issues because they already have the right understanding, or pretty close.  But then you will only be speaking to the people inside your church.  Most people under forty are not on the right and they have no connection to the church.  One of their big obstacles to becoming a Christian is the ideological edifice that stands against it that I've just described.  Maybe sometimes you can woo them into the church and then hope to tear that edifice down bit by bit.  Probably we need to start hacking at the edifice, like Boniface, before they will be able to hear the Gospel.  Most younger people have never heard anything that contradicts the feminism, gay ideology, and race theory that they have been inculcated with."

Yes, these issues touch my people's lives, too. I'm very aware. But instead of starting with or focusing on these issues, I tend to put them to one side and talk about Jesus and the blessings of walking with the Lord. In other words,  I want them to see what they're missing rather preach about how bad the culture is.  (When I do, I refer to it as "the world," like St. John. "The world says X but the Lord says T.")

Now in catechism and when it comes up in the biblical text, I will need to be more specific. On feminism I say, "God made men and women different and that is a blessing,  not a curse." On the sexuality issues I say "People are confused about who God made them to be. He shows what He intended in His Word. Let's look there for our answers." I don't even talk about CRT because it's not coming up.  The races here are marrying one another (or living together before marriage). I try to keep my preaching very text specific and return to the text when distracting, pop issues come up. People listen to me not because I'm right on all their issues but because I'm teaching the Word and loving their disfunctional families. ("They're not married? Let's encourage that positive change in their lives rather than issue an ultimatum. Let's hear their story with patience.") I think the Holy Spirit will change them as they see the blessings of the way of the Lord.
5
Your Turn / Re: New CPH Large Catechism
« Last post by Hess on Today at 02:51:13 PM »

There is a lot here I agree with, and I think a lot of people in the LCMS agree with. I think the LCMS, at the congregational level and national level, has been forthright and effective on issues like abortion and gay marriage. Transgenderism and critical race theory are comparatively new phenomena and people tend to talk past one another. It takes time just to get on the same page of what exactly we're talking about and hash things out from there. A shoot-from-the-hip attack on things ends up a) being easily treated as debunked a short time later, b) becomes fodder for opponents to claim we live up to their stereotypes of us, and c) never coming across as pastoral. You have to be careful not to say anything that is going to make a short term impact but be a long term liability. But given how quickly and drastically things are changing, I can understand how people would lose patience with an overly-careful, inoffensive approach and demand a more forthright, bold, and radical alternative to the culture, and I can understand how that might come more likely from a younger crowd.

As I read your post, though, what strikes me is that it sounds like you're describing widespread frustration with a strategy. CPH and the LCMS are not playing aggressively enough and are getting beat. It is like fans watching their team losing because the coach's game plan is too predictable and doesn't work. But it is one thing to be frustrated and say your team's play calling is terrible, it is quite another to speculate that the coach is secretly throwing the game because he has been paid off by the other team.

Had various confessional bloggers reviewed this LC volume and declared is disappointingly tame and bland, a missed opportunity to address some issues head on, too conciliatory to the culture, and not what is needed for the future of the synod given our cultural context, that would be one thing. Some would agree, others wouldn't, the reviews might start some good conversations, and maybe somebody's self-published "what the CPH volume should have said" book would be in the works. But that isn't what happened. The book was declared an example of wokeism. Perfectly orthodox authors were accused of denying the Scriptures and Confessions. It was yanked from distribution as though it were not just disappointingly bland but poisonous and heterodox. The editors and authors weren't just making bad coaching decisions for our team, they were declared to be on the other team. That is where I call b.s. and dismiss the ruckus as a tantrum and worse than a tantrum. It was/is friendly fire.

I just saw a seminarian who appears to be a good man and orthodox called "a son of the devil" with appended quote from John 8.  I will agree with you that there is friendly fire going on, and it is distasteful.

My post is not so much a disagreement about strategy though, although I can see how it appears that way.  Frankly, I don't think most of the synod would agree that according to the tenth commandment (not the ninth, as I said mistakenly), a wife is a possession of her husband.  That is the plain reading of the commandment and of Luther's explanation, putting one's wife in a list with "wife, workers, and animals."  (I don't have the German in front of me, but I doubt he is using the word "employee", but something closer to "slave.")  I don't think most of the synod, "confessional" or not, would be able to agree with Walther that "the emancipation of women" was a bad thing, not without a whole lot of explanations and contextualizations to pull the stinger out.  The problem is that quietly many of us, most of us, have internalized the values of the enlightenment, or whatever you want to call it. 

Walther calls it "humanism" in the essay he wrote about slavery during the civil war.  He gave another series of lectures on Communism and Socialism that I should have, but have not read.  Walther was not avoiding his version of "wokeism" when he saw it being absorbed by the German immigrants in St. Louis.  He was directly confronting it, attacking it at the roots, by saying slavery as such is actually not forbidden by God's Word, because God's Word does not promise us we are going to have temporal, bodily liberty in this world.  Women are under the rule of their husbands as part of their curse in the fall.  Slavery exists as a punishment for sin.  This is the way he argued in the middle of the civil war where the consequences of doing so were as serious as they would be for us to speak in this way, or at least nearly so.

It's not merely a problem of strategy.  I agree with you that this is not what I'm going to lead with when talking to people who know nothing, or next to nothing, about Christianity.  But the reality is to speak this way is going to cause problems with Christians who have been Christians their entire lives. 

The problem isn't just strategic, it's that to a large degree we in the LCMS accept the premises of the enlightenment.  It was unequivocally evil that white Christians owned slaves and that women didn't have property rights.  If we agree with that, then we are also forced to concede a whole lot of other things.  And it leads inexorably to agreement that "discrimination" against homosexuals is just another species of all the other discrimination Christians used to do that we now agree is wrong.

It's like the creation/evolution issue.  If you preach to a cultured despiser of religion that they are sinners and Christ died to save them, they say, "Your bible says that, but it also says God created the world in 6 days, which we now know to be false."  Preaching the Gospel faithfully necessitates that you chop down that oak.  No, cosmologists are not a higher authority than God's Word.  We are not going to allow you to hide behind the authority of scientists from Christ's call to repent, because God has set a date on which He will judge the world through this Jesus.

That's the problem we are having with feminism etc., except that here, most Lutherans are unwilling to fully believe that when God lists a man's wife along with his ox and his servants, He is not just accommodating the social realities of the times, but telling the truth about His ordering of the relationship between a man and his wife.  This undercuts our preaching.  Christ died for our sins becomes a comforting message we are allowed to preach in our dwindling congregations.  When it comes up against the spirit of the age, we are not able to confront it and call it lies, and what it actually is--from the devil. If we do we may end up smeared in the press, with our churches visited by vandals and terrorists, and large numbers of our parishioners may leave. 

Actually if we preach the Bible faithfully, we are calling for a radical transformation of our entire society, implicitly.  But the problem is that many of us are embarrassed of what the Scripture teaches about women, slavery, and downstream homosexuality and transgenderism.  Or we don't accept it.  The hope is that by avoiding these issues we will still be allowed to preach the forgiveness of sins and administer the sacraments.  But we are neutering ourselves.  And in the long run they are not going to allow us to do that either.  Soon we will not be permitted to openly confront homosexual/transgender ideology without legal penalties.  Even Harrison has basically said that in print.  So whether through unconsciously absorbing the enlightenment, or as a strategy to avoid confrontation with the devil's strongholds, the cost of our not speaking clearly on these "social-political" issues has been to paint us into an ever more narrow corner.
6
Your Turn / Re: Creation and the Webb space telescope
« Last post by peter_speckhard on Today at 02:21:44 PM »
TBH- this dialogue illustrates to me a weakness in Lutheran Theology.

Part of my journey into the Catholic Church was Lutheranism’s issues in dealing with science and nature. Specifically the hand tying that is the Two Uses of the Law. What the Webb telescope or  any other number of discoveries of that nature do is show what I can only call a graciousness in His Law. The fact that everything seems to be balanced so an intelligent carbon based life form would discover the beauty of the Cosmos and seek to find the Logos behind, above, and beneath it.

Faith and reason are not enemies. https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_14091998_fides-et-ratio.html

I think it is medieval Catholic thought that especially wanted some reigns on curiosity being good for its own sake. There is a moral element to it. It can easily simply be the pride of man wanting to be indomitable and unrestrained. It can a good label put on discontent, boredom, and the willingness to destroy things to find out about them. Curiosity justified for no practical end leads easily and almost inevitably to abuse. We experiment on humans to find out what happens when x. In That Hideous Strength, the god of discovery always demanded that moral taboos be broken in order to find things out. So I'm with you in the sense that exploring creation is an awesome and glorious thing as long we remember it is creation we are exploring, and the Creator of it has limits on what can and can't be done in the quest to find things out.

A test would be what we would be willing to forgo knowing? It seems to me much modern research is the equivalent of mad scientists experimenting. How many labs in the country right now have fertilized human eggs in them that are destined to be destroyed but are needed to find out about this or that genetic question? How many body parts does Planned Parenthood sell off, and for what purpose do people want them? Sometimes is a with a specific, practical end in mind and sometimes it is just to find things out that might become building blocks for future practical uses. I saw one article about growing a pig that was part pig, part human DNA, something that could later result in replacement human organ farms. Is that good? Was there a shortage of pig-people that needed to be addressed? Is our goal to overcome mortality via science? Scientific advance and exploration are/can be great things, but they can also be demonic and they are not justified in their own right merely because they provide information.
7
Your Turn / Re: New CPH Large Catechism
« Last post by peter_speckhard on Today at 02:04:10 PM »

I think you're right about transgenderism. I wrote a Forum Letter article a few years ago about exactly your point, that even a classroom full of normal kids suffers tremendously from transgenderism being taken as valid. The effort to be evangelical by playing along with the one is a huge disservice to many people and a big pastoral mistake. But I don't think anyone in the LCMS necessarily disagrees with that point, though when confronted by a flesh-and-blood person who thinks they're transgender, pastors have differing approaches about how exactly to go about that. And the whole 1 and 99 thing is something all pastors have to take seriously. Affirming transgenderism officially, though, is not on the table in the LCMS, at least to my knowledge.

As for feminism, the effort to dig it up by the roots presumes to know where its roots are, where it began, and how to root it out. Digging up the weeds is a dangerous business. You'll replace one radicalism for another that is just as problematic. Social movements are almost never purely evil. I always say that not all criticism of Stalin is a secret yearning for the Czar. Not all criticism of feminism is a secret pining for the 50's. But feminism, while being a bad solution, attempted to solve a real problem, just like the Soviet revolution addressed genuine problems with life in Imperial Russia. Radical anti-feminism doesn't seem to acknowledge that. It is all just, "Be submissive. Problem solved." But the the problem isn't solved.

You said upstream:  They are willing to say women should not be pastors, but not say, "I do not allow a woman to have authority over a man" means what Walther thought it meant, which is that a woman should not have authority over a man at all, ever. What does that look like in real life? My grown son works at Walgreen's. What if his manager is a woman? Should he quit? If she tells him to do something, must he enter a state of confession against the situation and refuse to do it as a matter of principle? Or (and this is what I suspect) when you say that a woman should not have authority over a man at all, ever, do you mean there are caveats and exceptions? And what will you do when someone then rages against you that you use the phrase, "Not at all, ever," when you really mean, "Rarely, but sometimes,"?

We don't inherit a clean slate. Every evil thing we see in our garden has roots that go way, way back. Such things are not uprootable in their entirety. They are manageable most of the time. Chesterton said in What Is Wrong With the World that the first thing that was wrong was that nobody was asking what would be right. It was the same idea; we have to have the right to start over with a clean slate. We have to put the whole system on trial, not just keep tinkering. I think that is what you're saying. And I think there is some validity to it. But attacking this LC publication is counter-productive. It doesn't root anything out. It doesn't help anything at all. It is a tantrum.

I agree that it is not a tantrum in a vacuum with no discernible cause, that there are points worth considering, that not every essay is perfect and unimprovable, and so forth. But I disagree with you when you say that the people raging are not engaged in friendly fire. They are. They accuse Biermann of overtly denying the Scriptures and Confessions. That is b.s., yet we're supposed to take it seriously because, well, reasons. And it is harmful. It is disheartening. It aids and abets our enemies. Harrison never should have halted distribution. He should have celebrated its release and called for theological discussion of the topics addressed at future district gatherings. No author minds talking about their work and even getting helpful input. But every author minds being booed off the stage by their friends. This book could have been a rousing success and had even better future editions honed by thoughtful discussion. Instead, it is a source of contention and heartache before most people even have a chance to read it.       
1.  Feminism in a certain sense is not uprootable, because it's part of the fall.  But feminism as an ideology is combated by not ceding the intellectual ground that women or men are basically equal.  This becomes clear when you are teaching the ninth commandment.  The kids are still too young then to get really offended that women are numbered among a man's possessions, along with house, slaves, ox and donkey.  Then Luther reinforces the point by saying, "We should fear and love God so that we do not entice or force away our neighbor's wife, workers, or animals."  That whole commandment would be wildly offensive to any feminist and also to the vast majority of our congregations--if it wasn't glossed and passed over without addressing what it really says and implies.  We are forced to pretend that God didn't really mean to give His seal of approval on the patriarchy in this way.  Then we are, in a Synod that proclaims the inerrancy of the Bible, tacitly agreeing that the Bible as it stands written, contains moral errors, or at least failed to correct the moral errors of the time.  This is why we are constantly retreating before feminism, CRT, etc.  The only solution to the ideas they present is not to agree, "Yes, actually women are not the possessions of men, but you're going too far with it."  When Walther talks about the feminism in his day, he refers to it as "the emancipation of women."  He is against emancipating women.  Strangely, Walther agrees with Marx and later feminists that "marriage is slavery," or at least it can be seen that way by unbelievers who only understand power and not love.  If one were to speak this way to feminism in the Missouri Synod, he would be attacked by confessional pastors.  There are a small number who would agree with what I have just written, privately, but not speak this way in their congregations--as I don't--because the people in the pews would be, as you said, offended and you would pull up tares with the wheat.  But I'm saying that it appears obvious to me that this is the cause of our problems with feminism, CRT, and all the other stuff--we actually don't teach what the Bible says on these matters, either because we don't believe what it says ourselves, or because we are afraid of the consequences of doing it.
2.  That said if your son has to work under a woman in Wal Mart he should listen to his boss.  I was being hyperbolic; I think Paul's words apply to a woman exercising any authority over a man in church, home, or state.  I'm not saying a woman couldn't own a business in which she told men what to do.  And if someone on Twitter finds that a weak concession, I'd be glad to hear why.
3. You can't uproot sin from the world, but you can "demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and... take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5).  The spirit of the age, by attacking male and female, and using the gay stuff, and the race stuff, is screening an attack on Christianity.  By avoiding that fight we disarm ourselves when we preach the Gospel.  We are pushed into a narrow corner, and whenever people want to reject what we have to say, they say, "Yeah, but you're sexists, white supremacists, and transphobes, therefore what you have to say is invalid."  We should be on the offense against these arguments and pretensions that set themselves against the knowledge of God.
4.  I have said that everything I've heard from Biermann has been excellent.  Professor Pless was my professor and I loved him.  But I can say that the thoughts I outlined above would not be supported by the CTSFW faculty, that I'm aware of.  That was my experience.  I think Prof. Marquart might have agreed with some of them.  You will certainly find thoughts like these in Pieper's Dogmatics, which they made us read.  I am not speaking in judgment of them.  I don't consider myself their equal.  But I think they thought, just as I have thought most of my ministry, that we could avoid a confrontation with the zeitgeist in this way.  I didn't become a pastor because I wanted to preach homosexuality is sinful, but in my first congregation I had to preach it because many of the congregation members weren't sure.  I also didn't become a pastor because I wanted to preach against feminism or critical race theory.  But for the same reason, I think we need to be as forthright in attacking the roots of these anti-Christian ideologies as we are in attacking the gay stuff.

Dr. Engelbrecht says, "We don't need to focus on national political issues but the people in front of us."  I agree, and this is what I've tried to do.  But there are two problems--our own people are grievously distressed by the national issues, and they feel like no one is speaking for them.  The second problem is, maybe you don't need to talk to your own people about these issues because they already have the right understanding, or pretty close.  But then you will only be speaking to the people inside your church.  Most people under forty are not on the right and they have no connection to the church.  One of their big obstacles to becoming a Christian is the ideological edifice that stands against it that I've just described.  Maybe sometimes you can woo them into the church and then hope to tear that edifice down bit by bit.  Probably we need to start hacking at the edifice, like Boniface, before they will be able to hear the Gospel.  Most younger people have never heard anything that contradicts the feminism, gay ideology, and race theory that they have been inculcated with.
There is a lot here I agree with, and I think a lot of people in the LCMS agree with. I think the LCMS, at the congregational level and national level, has been forthright and effective on issues like abortion and gay marriage. Transgenderism and critical race theory are comparatively new phenomena and people tend to talk past one another. It takes time just to get on the same page of what exactly we're talking about and hash things out from there. A shoot-from-the-hip attack on things ends up a) being easily treated as debunked a short time later, b) becomes fodder for opponents to claim we live up to their stereotypes of us, and c) never coming across as pastoral. You have to be careful not to say anything that is going to make a short term impact but be a long term liability. But given how quickly and drastically things are changing, I can understand how people would lose patience with an overly-careful, inoffensive approach and demand a more forthright, bold, and radical alternative to the culture, and I can understand how that might come more likely from a younger crowd.

As I read your post, though, what strikes me is that it sounds like you're describing widespread frustration with a strategy. CPH and the LCMS are not playing aggressively enough and are getting beat. It is like fans watching their team losing because the coach's game plan is too predictable and doesn't work. But it is one thing to be frustrated and say your team's play calling is terrible, it is quite another to speculate that the coach is secretly throwing the game because he has been paid off by the other team.

Had various confessional bloggers reviewed this LC volume and declared is disappointingly tame and bland, a missed opportunity to address some issues head on, too conciliatory to the culture, and not what is needed for the future of the synod given our cultural context, that would be one thing. Some would agree, others wouldn't, the reviews might start some good conversations, and maybe somebody's self-published "what the CPH volume should have said" book would be in the works. But that isn't what happened. The book was declared an example of wokeism. Perfectly orthodox authors were accused of denying the Scriptures and Confessions. It was yanked from distribution as though it were not just disappointingly bland but poisonous and heterodox. The editors and authors weren't just making bad coaching decisions for our team, they were declared to be on the other team. That is where I call b.s. and dismiss the ruckus as a tantrum and worse than a tantrum. It was/is friendly fire.
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Your Turn / Re: Creation and the Webb space telescope
« Last post by Dan Fienen on Today at 01:49:12 PM »
Pastor Preus, Your obsession with rejecting anything from someone you don’t like has clouded your judgment. the column is not about what George Will believes or doesn’t believe. The column is about what the Webb telescope is showing us. Any thoughts on that? (I don’t think the telescope has any religious beliefs.)

Someone regularly complains about people who cyberpsychoanalyze people and assume that they know what they are thinking and what they are like. Can anyone remember who often complains about that?
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Your Turn / Re: Creation and the Webb space telescope
« Last post by Tom Eckstein on Today at 01:21:56 PM »
Whatever you may think about the scientific accuracy of the Big Bang theory, there are many atheists who do not like its implications because it strongly suggests that the Universe - that is, space/time/matter - had a BEGINNING which means it was not always there which means it needed a CAUSE and that cause would need to be something OUTSIDE of space/time/matter - and such a "cause" sounds too much like GOD to many atheists!

The Kalam Cosmological argument (whatever BEGINS TO EXIST must have a cause) nullifies the "Who made God?" argument because God, by denfinition, is outside of space/time/matter and, therefore, God did not "begin to exist."

Now, an atheist could assert (by faith!) that space/time/matter did not begin to exist (which is what people assumed for many years), but the current scientific evidence is against that! 

But even if one asserts that space/time/matter did not begin to exist just as Christians assert that God did not begin to exist, then one has to decide what takes more faith to believe:  1) that mindless space/time/matter existed from eternity and is accidentally the cause of the current universe with all its mysterious natural laws and biological complexity  OR  2) that an eternal, personal Creator God intentionally designed this current complex universe.   I think option #2 is far more rational and probable than option #1.
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Your Turn / Re: New CPH Large Catechism
« Last post by Hess on Today at 01:15:21 PM »
… They are willing to say women should not be pastors, but not say, "I do not allow a woman to have authority over a man" means what Walther thought it meant, which is that a woman should not have authority over a man at all, ever.

The use of "authority" to translate ??? ??? ?? makes it sound like it's the same "authority" as in the word, ??? ??? ?/? ??? ??? ?? that Jesus has and which he gave to the apostles. They have quite different nuances. ??? ??? ?? carries a sense of "to dominate" or "to assume independent authority over."


Oops, the Greek doesn't appear: authente? and exousia/exousiaz? are the words. The first only occurs in 1 Tim 2:12 in the Bible.
Yes, they are different words, and authentein has had a lot of ink spilled over what it means since it only appears once.  1 Tim. 2 and 1 Cor. 14 are used in the LCMS now to prohibit women from the pastoral office, but they used to be used to show why women weren't allowed to vote in congregational assemblies.  Walther and others took it for granted that they prohibited women from exercising authority over men in general, and the prohibition of women from the pastoral office was downstream from that.  Interestingly Prof. Biermann has a lecture on the internet, which I watched most of, where he criticizes attempts to limit those two passages to the pastoral office.  I liked this because for years it has seemed to me that the old Missouri arguments against women being in the ministry, resting on the order of creation, made more sense than taking two verses and appearing to say: "Arbitrarily God has forbidden women to exercise pastoral authority, though they may exercise just about any other kind of authority over men."
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