Author Topic: Death of mainline protestantism  (Read 24960 times)

buechler

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #105 on: July 31, 2008, 12:32:24 PM »
Pastor Buechler writes
...(in) the mainline churches (those who make up the membership of NCC) one sees that there has been a major shift from biblical faithfulness especially with regards abortion, gay/lesbian sex, the estate of marriage, the naming of God, the worship of God, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ the incarnation of God, etc.
I comment:
No, there has not been a "major shift" from "biblical faithfulness," there has been a shift from what some of you declare to be faithfulness. But some of you do not have the last word for all of us.

Perhaps we should be talking not about the death of mainline protestantism but the death of authority in the church.  The Bible is ususally held, at least in Lutheran circles, to be the ultimate authority for what is taught and practiced in the church.  But what the Bible ultimately teaches is subject to interpretation and as we have seen in our discussions here that interpretation varies from person to person and from group to group with apparently no way to affirm one interpretation as better or more accurate than another other than I think this way even if you don't so I don't have to accept your interpretation.  So "revisionists" and "traditionalists" both claim to follow the Bible and arrive at opposit conclusions.  How are church people to decide which way to follow?  By what appeals to them?  By who they like?  By what the society around us has decided is the nice position on issues?  By who can say the most nice sounding things without really being pinned down to taking a stand?  Charles complains when being accused of following a shift away from biblical faithfulness that he is not faithful only to what some say constitutes biblical faithfulness.  Yet why should I follow Charles' ideas either, what proof does he offer that his is being more faithful to the Bible than those who dispute his position.

It seems that what we are left with is that there is no authority to say what the church should or should not do.  "Traditionalists" are urged to stay as a part of the church as long as they do not cause trouble or get in the way of the "Revisionsit" elite who are leading the church into the glbt agenda.  Is this how the big tent operates, all are equal but some are more equal than others and the traditional will be tolerated at best?

Dan

I agree with what you say for the most part. Authority of the church is a big issue and we find a culture that will not tolerate any authority except the unholy trinity of me,myself, and I. The problem is that the main line churches have undermined whatever authority they have had by giving into the culture here and there until they are seen as simply part of the political worldly fabric of society. That authority comes from the Word of God (the written Word found in Scripture), and there was a time when Lutherans actually agreed biblically on the issues of abortion, marriage, sex outside of wedlock, the name of God, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the one and only Savior of the world, universal salvation,etc. That has now changed dramatically and that has undermined any authority to speak on any issue really.

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #106 on: July 31, 2008, 12:35:20 PM »
Is this how the big tent operates, all are equal but some are more equal than others and the traditional will be tolerated at best?
For the most part the traditional is tolerated. (I'm sure that exception to toleration can be found.)

The question is whether or not the traditionalists will find a way to tolerate homosexuals in committed relationships. Most of those that I know, are very traditional in their theology and liturgical practices.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #107 on: July 31, 2008, 12:38:29 PM »
That authority comes from the Word of God (the written Word found in Scripture), and there was a time when Lutherans actually agreed biblically on the issues of abortion, marriage, sex outside of wedlock, the name of God, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the one and only Savior of the world, universal salvation,etc. That has now changed dramatically and that has undermined any authority to speak on any issue really.
There is a very good reason why that changed: a greater emphasis on God's grace that forgives those who have had abortions and been through divorce and had sex outside of marriage. A particular belief or even practice of these issues does not make one a Christian, but trust in God's grace given through Jesus Christ.

Given a church that puts justification by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ as a top priority or one where anti-abortion or anti-homosexuals becomes the defining position, I'll take grace every day of the week.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dan Fienen

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #108 on: July 31, 2008, 12:42:36 PM »
That authority comes from the Word of God (the written Word found in Scripture), and there was a time when Lutherans actually agreed biblically on the issues of abortion, marriage, sex outside of wedlock, the name of God, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the one and only Savior of the world, universal salvation,etc. That has now changed dramatically and that has undermined any authority to speak on any issue really.
There is a very good reason why that changed: a greater emphasis on God's grace that forgives those who have had abortions and been through divorce and had sex outside of marriage. A particular belief or even practice of these issues does not make one a Christian, but trust in God's grace given through Jesus Christ.

Given a church that puts justification by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ as a top priority or one where anti-abortion or anti-homosexuals becomes the defining position, I'll take grace every day of the week.
Is there a difference between proclaiming the God's grace and forgiveness covers those who have had abortions, been through a divorce, sex outside of marriage or been in a homesexual relationship, and proclaiming that it is good right and salutary to engage in those things?

Dan
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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #109 on: July 31, 2008, 12:45:42 PM »
Is this how the big tent operates, all are equal but some are more equal than others and the traditional will be tolerated at best?
For the most part the traditional is tolerated. (I'm sure that exception to toleration can be found.)

The question is whether or not the traditionalists will find a way to tolerate homosexuals in committed relationships. Most of those that I know, are very traditional in their theology and liturgical practices.

What does it mean to tolerate homosexuals in committed relationships?  It seems to me that what you are asking of traditionalists is that they change their beliefs to match yours on the topic.  That may be good thing - I more than suspect you think it would - but recognize that you are asking that.  At the least you are asking traditionalists to conclude it doesn't matter and that what was once considered sin be so no longer.

Dan
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Thomas Byers

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #110 on: July 31, 2008, 12:52:41 PM »
Kevin Palmer, could be some fols would be more comfortable with "Arian" than the word "catholic" in the Creeds?  tb

edoughty

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #111 on: July 31, 2008, 01:16:42 PM »
Is this how the big tent operates, all are equal but some are more equal than others and the traditional will be tolerated at best?
For the most part the traditional is tolerated. (I'm sure that exception to toleration can be found.)

The question is whether or not the traditionalists will find a way to tolerate homosexuals in committed relationships. Most of those that I know, are very traditional in their theology and liturgical practices.

What does it mean to tolerate homosexuals in committed relationships?  It seems to me that what you are asking of traditionalists is that they change their beliefs to match yours on the topic.  That may be good thing - I more than suspect you think it would - but recognize that you are asking that.  At the least you are asking traditionalists to conclude it doesn't matter and that what was once considered sin be so no longer.

Dan

I think there is some wiggle room in that word "tolerate".  Perhaps you're right and traditionalists are being asked to change their beliefs.  On the other hand, those who "tolerate" something are not necessarily asked to change their beliefs-- only their behavior. 

I am not quite convinced that we Christians are called by the scriptures to merely tolerate each other-- I believe Christ set that bar much higher in the command to love one another.  However, this side of the eschaton, sometimes toleration is a place to start -- or perhaps a midpoint.

Erik

ptmccain

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #112 on: July 31, 2008, 01:29:19 PM »
I'll take grace every day of the week.

But apparently there is little "grace" being shown toward the unborn children who are being killed in their mother's wombs.

I know it is considered by some indelicate to mention such things, but I'm still convinced that as soon as a church starts tolerating the murder of unborn children, and even paying for the procedure in its health plans, it is a fairly good sign rigor mortis has started to set in.

Father Richard John Neuhaus was interviewed recently on the subject of abortion and had, as usual, cogent remarks:

http://www.issuesetc.org/podcast/Show18072308H2S1.mp3
« Last Edit: July 31, 2008, 01:33:14 PM by ptmccain »

Charles_Austin

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #113 on: July 31, 2008, 01:57:42 PM »
But are you not obligated to reject Father Neuhaus as a responsible authority, since he abandoned the LC-MS for the ELCA, and the ELCA for the Roman church, headed by the anti-Christ?  ;)

GoCubs

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #114 on: July 31, 2008, 02:03:08 PM »
That authority comes from the Word of God (the written Word found in Scripture), and there was a time when Lutherans actually agreed biblically on the issues of abortion, marriage, sex outside of wedlock, the name of God, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the one and only Savior of the world, universal salvation,etc. That has now changed dramatically and that has undermined any authority to speak on any issue really.
There is a very good reason why that changed: a greater emphasis on God's grace that forgives those who have had abortions and been through divorce and had sex outside of marriage. A particular belief or even practice of these issues does not make one a Christian, but trust in God's grace given through Jesus Christ.

Given a church that puts justification by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ as a top priority or one where anti-abortion or anti-homosexuals becomes the defining position, I'll take grace every day of the week.

Cheap Grace? ;D

GoCubs

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #115 on: July 31, 2008, 02:08:49 PM »
I think there is some wiggle room in that word "tolerate".  Perhaps you're right and traditionalists are being asked to change their beliefs.  On the other hand, those who "tolerate" something are not necessarily asked to change their beliefs-- only their behavior. 

Erik

"[change] only their behavior..." 

Seems like I have heard traditionalists use that very same langauge before.  Hmm.   :o

TravisW

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #116 on: July 31, 2008, 02:35:01 PM »
Is this how the big tent operates, all are equal but some are more equal than others and the traditional will be tolerated at best?
For the most part the traditional is tolerated. (I'm sure that exception to toleration can be found.)

The question is whether or not the traditionalists will find a way to tolerate homosexuals in committed relationships. Most of those that I know, are very traditional in their theology and liturgical practices.

What does it mean to tolerate homosexuals in committed relationships?  It seems to me that what you are asking of traditionalists is that they change their beliefs to match yours on the topic.  That may be good thing - I more than suspect you think it would - but recognize that you are asking that.  At the least you are asking traditionalists to conclude it doesn't matter and that what was once considered sin be so no longer.

Dan

I think there is some wiggle room in that word "tolerate".  Perhaps you're right and traditionalists are being asked to change their beliefs.  On the other hand, those who "tolerate" something are not necessarily asked to change their beliefs-- only their behavior. 

I am not quite convinced that we Christians are called by the scriptures to merely tolerate each other-- I believe Christ set that bar much higher in the command to love one another.  However, this side of the eschaton, sometimes toleration is a place to start -- or perhaps a midpoint.

Erik

I believe that love and tolerance are mutually exclusive in some circumstances. 

buechler

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #117 on: July 31, 2008, 02:44:07 PM »
That authority comes from the Word of God (the written Word found in Scripture), and there was a time when Lutherans actually agreed biblically on the issues of abortion, marriage, sex outside of wedlock, the name of God, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the one and only Savior of the world, universal salvation,etc. That has now changed dramatically and that has undermined any authority to speak on any issue really.
There is a very good reason why that changed: a greater emphasis on God's grace that forgives those who have had abortions and been through divorce and had sex outside of marriage. A particular belief or even practice of these issues does not make one a Christian, but trust in God's grace given through Jesus Christ.

Given a church that puts justification by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ as a top priority or one where anti-abortion or anti-homosexuals becomes the defining position, I'll take grace every day of the week.
Is there a difference between proclaiming the God's grace and forgiveness covers those who have had abortions, been through a divorce, sex outside of marriage or been in a homesexual relationship, and proclaiming that it is good right and salutary to engage in those things?

Dan

Is there a difference? You bet. While Brian may find it a benefit to abandon the authority of Scripture so that certain behaviors are not stigmatized, I think it was true then as it is now that those who uphold the traditional views can and do uphold the Biblical proscriptions and at the same time speak of the power of repentance and forgiveness and the new life it offers. I have had a number of parishoners go wrong with regards issues of sexual morality, yet I continue to preach the Law and the Gospel and some have repented and been given the grace to turn their lives around by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I think Cheap Grace is what the main line is offering, a grace that is not really grace but liscence.

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #118 on: July 31, 2008, 04:40:30 PM »
Is there a difference between proclaiming the God's grace and forgiveness covers those who have had abortions, been through a divorce, sex outside of marriage or been in a homesexual relationship, and proclaiming that it is good right and salutary to engage in those things?
I don't know of anyone who says that abortions, divorce, sex outside of marriage, or homosexual relatinoships are "good right and salutary". Sometimes those are the best options.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #119 on: July 31, 2008, 04:46:15 PM »
I think Cheap Grace is what the main line is offering, a grace that is not really grace but liscence.
Cheap grace is the result of cheap law. Cheap law is when the proclaiming the law becomes morality rather than the sword of God that kills. Cheap law preaches against abortion; killing law also preaches against those who judge others who have had abortions or who perform abortions. Cheap law preaches against sex outside of marriages; killing law also preaches against anyone who believes that they are more saved by God or are proud because they waited until their wedding day. Cheap law makes only some people sinners. Killing law attacks all of us -- especially those who are proud of their self-righteousness. Once the law actually kills our self-serving attempts at justification, then God's grace is the power that can raise the dead to new life.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]