Author Topic: Death of mainline protestantism  (Read 25356 times)

Scott5

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #75 on: July 29, 2008, 08:29:48 AM »
How long did it take to sort out the two natures of Christ? Longer than 15 years, I think.

This is a very interesting comparison.  The implication would be that the theological import of this decision -- on EITHER side -- is equivalent to a dogma that is at the heart of the Christian faith.  This comparison validates the concern of those who see the question re: homosexual behavior as embodying a whole host of hermeneutical, soteriological, and christological issues such that different faiths are being expressed depending upon how one responds to the question. 

"Big tents" don't work on this understanding.  And I think that the comparison may be quite apt, Charles.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #76 on: July 29, 2008, 08:50:15 AM »
Scott writes:
The implication would be that the theological import of this decision -- on EITHER side -- is equivalent to a dogma that is at the heart of the Christian faith.

I respond:
No, the implication is that the church can take a long time to make a decision .... about anything. And that the discussion continues - with some dissents - even after the decision is made. We haven't sorted out all the wreckage from the 16th Century yet, have we?

Scott5

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #77 on: July 29, 2008, 09:28:24 AM »
Scott writes:
The implication would be that the theological import of this decision -- on EITHER side -- is equivalent to a dogma that is at the heart of the Christian faith.

I respond:
No, the implication is that the church can take a long time to make a decision .... about anything. And that the discussion continues - with some dissents - even after the decision is made. We haven't sorted out all the wreckage from the 16th Century yet, have we?

You have your implication, I have mine.  Mine is better.  So nyaah.  ;D

Team Hesse

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #78 on: July 29, 2008, 09:46:53 AM »
We haven't sorted out all the wreckage from the 16th Century yet, have we?

Interesting thought, that somehow the 16th century was perhaps worse than any other century...   a quick examination of the history leads me to believe the 16th was one of the more benign, when one looks at things before and after.  Plagues, death, disease, destruction, war were far worse in centuries before and since.

Lou
a 16th century man

Charles_Austin

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #79 on: July 29, 2008, 09:52:25 AM »
Well, Lou, while the theological triumps of the Reformation era were grand indeed, we of that heritage also have to take some responsibility for the wars, civil unrest, national factionalism and other disruptions to life that occurred because of the Reformation and have plagued us since.
Does one ever ponder how things might have been had our Blessed Dr. Martin been of a slightly different temperament, especially in his mid- and late-years? Supposing the focus on reforming thought had shifted to Erasmus?
And before the pouncing begins, I say I treasure the heritage of those years and our Dr. Luther. But it wasn't all good, the results.

Brian Hughes

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #80 on: July 29, 2008, 10:11:37 AM »

Interesting thought, that somehow the 16th century was perhaps worse than any other century...   a quick examination of the history leads me to believe the 16th was one of the more benign, when one looks at things before and after.  Plagues, death, disease, destruction, war were far worse in centuries before and since.

Lou
a 16th century man

 Well ... I have a sense the 30 years war was particularly hard on Europeans.

    If it could be argued the Reformation set the stage for what would come, Tilly and his mercenaries for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johan_Tzerclaes,_Count_of_Tilly,  makes you wonder what stage is being set in our generation with the impending death of mainline protestantism doesn't it?

Brian



Team Hesse

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #81 on: July 29, 2008, 10:38:58 AM »
Well ... I have a sense the 30 years war was particularly hard on Europeans.

Yes indeed -- but the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) was during the 17th century, not the 16th.
Given the diminished ravage from the plague in the 16th, and the relatively benign wars like Smalcald that occurred in the 16th, it seems to me the 16th wasn't all that bad.  'Course there was that whole bit with the Turks in the Balkans, but the Balkans have always been a mess. 

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    If it could be argued the Reformation set the stage for what would come, Tilly and his mercenaries for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johan_Tzerclaes,_Count_of_Tilly,  makes you wonder what stage is being set in our generation with the impending death of mainline protestantism doesn't it?

It is indeed a scary thought.  If something as benign as Luther attempting to re-center the church on the forgiveness of sins can be seen as a forerunner of such things as Tilly, the Thirty Years' War, and even the holocaust, as some so posit; and given the fact that the 20th century was by all measures the bloodiest century in human history; and given the fact that once again religious fanaticism has become the starting point for human conflict (Islamism) -- one can only shudder at what may be coming.
Or, maybe it's just time for The Rapture  ::)

Lou

Layman Randy

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #82 on: July 29, 2008, 10:41:25 AM »
We haven't sorted out all the wreckage from the 16th Century yet, have we?
Valuable point.  And a few years further back, after The Fall, God sorted out the wreckage through Jesus Christ, yet we're still tussling about what the Fall was, who caused it, did it really happen, and how it was the fault of the other guys!  So, I am not sanguine about sorting out 16th Century wreckage any time soon - and the Original Sin problem still plagues us if we do not follow God's plan.

Team Hesse

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #83 on: July 29, 2008, 11:11:57 AM »
Well, Lou, while the theological triumps of the Reformation era were grand indeed, we of that heritage also have to take some responsibility for the wars, civil unrest, national factionalism and other disruptions to life that occurred because of the Reformation and have plagued us since.

But would the alternative have really been better?
Eternal optimist that I am, (??), I happen to believe the world is better off because of Luther than without him.  As for all those things being 'caused' by the Reformation, I think that's debatable because all those things were happening before the Reformation also.
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Does one ever ponder how things might have been had our Blessed Dr. Martin been of a slightly different temperament, especially in his mid- and late-years? Supposing the focus on reforming thought had shifted to Erasmus?

If Erasmus had been the focus, we'd all be free-willers, worried about whether we've made a good decision for Jesus, and how well we can fulfill the law. 
Oh -- maybe Erasmus did win...
in which case, all of the above negatives should really be blamed on Erasmus and not Luther.

Quote
And before the pouncing begins, I say I treasure the heritage of those years and our Dr. Luther. But it wasn't all good, the results.

When has anything been all good in human history?  Ain't gonna happen.

Lou


pastorg1@aol.com

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #84 on: July 29, 2008, 12:00:56 PM »
Might as well commence at the commencement:

Why did God permit Adam to sin?

Well, according to Saint Augustine, (God's Punishment and Help Divine, Part II. X. 27,) a divine warning of the Fall and Hell would have bummed out the paradisical high Adam and Eve were enjoying. Then, Paradise would not have been Paradise.

"If they had known their future fall and eternal suffering, they would not have been happy, those two who, experiencing such fear, would have been led to unhappiness."

« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 01:14:43 PM by pastorg1@aol.com »
Pete Garrison

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #85 on: July 29, 2008, 12:38:04 PM »
"As for Luther, I think he was mainly sour and unhappy, especially in his later years, because he was a mean drunk."

Are you serious?  What evidence do you have that Luther was a "drunk", let alone a "mean" one?

pastorg1@aol.com

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #86 on: July 29, 2008, 01:22:49 PM »
Sorry for the thread drift...

I've sent you a personal note...

Peter
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racin_jason

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #87 on: July 29, 2008, 01:52:04 PM »
Hopefully the personal note made the distinction between between being a "drunk" and "mean drunk". A person can only imbibe once a year and still be a mean drunk. Calling a person a "drunk" indicates they get sauced regularly.

I don't think Luther was known to drink substantially more than the average German of his time, though we do know that he suffered from many ailments later in life and that perhaps those ailments contributed to occasional crankiness in his writings.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 01:57:00 PM by racin_jason »
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Marshall_Hahn

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #88 on: July 29, 2008, 04:26:09 PM »
Catching up on my online reading, I came across this gem from Pastor Austin.  I take him at his word that none of these are given with any particular person in mind, but are general principles to follow - to which I would whole-hearedly agree.
Paul Knudson writes:
How do we keep from being just one more splinter group?

I comment:
I make bold to offer some suggestions.
Do not think of yourself as a "splinter group."
If you believe yourself to be contending for the "faith once delivered to the saints" that can be no splinter group no matter how isolated you might feel.
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Do not use armageddon language about the situation.
Even if it IS armageddon, we have Jesus' promise that the "gates of hell" cannot prevail against His church - so surely our squabbles will not cause the Church of Christ to falter - no matter what happens to our own ecclesial communion.
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Do not consign those with opinions different from yours to anything lower than the first circle of Hell. Better yet, don't condemn them at all, keep thinking of them as fellow believers and workers in the Kingdom.
There is not need to consider those who disagree with you as evil - but just mistaken.  As I recall, the first circle of hell in Dante's inferno was reserved for the righteous pagans - for that was as far as human virtue and knowledge could reach.  And Dante had a great affection for those he encountered therein - including his guide, Virgil.
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Do not believe that everything depends upon "winning" in parliamentary procedures.
The victory that really matters has already been won on the cross.  Parliamentary votes are important - but not ultimately so.
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Do not believe that everyone in authority is against you (even though some in authority might be).
The only one in authority who really matters has already declared Himself to be "for you" - even when you are wrong.
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Have some prayers, or coffee, or conversation with people from one of those "other" groups.
What better way to give faithful witness to the truth as you understand it!

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Paul Knudson writes:
I guess I hope in the mean time we can still work together to try to be voices for re-centering the ELCA.
I comment:
Me, too, although I don't know what the "center" is. The point is, we should all be working together for, not the ELCA (although that is one of our vehicles), the kingdom of God as imperfectly expressed through our congregations, synods, dioceses, presbyteries, classes and denominations.
Sometimes more imperfectly than others.  Conceivably with such imperfections that it may lead one to conclude that the only faithful response is to separate from a particular congregation, synod, diocese, presbytery, class, or denomination.  It is conceiving of such a possibility that is the subject of this thread.  And it is helpful to keep these suggestions from Pastor Austin in mind while considering this possiblity.

Marshall Hahn

buechler

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #89 on: July 29, 2008, 04:50:49 PM »
The article does not say why it was "good" having Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc. in distinctive denominations.

True, but it does say that it was certainly better for them and for the country when they actually stood on distinctives instead of brushed them aside for some feel good theology. Notice that Bottum's article actually treats LCMS and WELS slightly but more favorably than the NCC crowd.

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler