Author Topic: ELCA Statistics Show Decline  (Read 32862 times)

Charles_Austin

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Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« Reply #405 on: August 28, 2008, 08:25:51 PM »
Gary Hinton writes:
Secular activism is activism dedicated to reaching some secular goal. OTHO, Christian activism is dedicated to attaining Christian goals, such as trying to fulfill our commission from Jesus Christ.

I respond:
Good. Then caring for the poor, championing government programs that do that, healing the sick, which includes lobbying for better health care for all, standing for the oppressed, speaking truth to intrusive power - as we were commanded/commissioned to do by Jesus - is Christian activism. Glad to see someone else on board with our social witness.

hillwilliam

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Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« Reply #406 on: August 28, 2008, 08:54:05 PM »
I believe that those that 'can' discipline clergy, congregations, and seminary staff who fail to do so when it is appropriate to do so should be canned. If the ELCA becomes a paper tiger (and toothless at that) that pushes secular activism that is ignored by all because it has no moral authority then the current decline will only accelerate.

At the rate the ELCA is losing membership, it won't much matter what the leadership of the synod does. It will be naught but a voice crying in the wilderness, unheard.

Quote
Secular activism is activism dedicated to reaching some secular goal. OTHO, Christian activism is dedicated to attaining Christian goals, such as trying to fulfill our commission from Jesus Christ.

So what would you call attempting to achieve Christian goals by secularising the church to the point where all that pesky religious stuff has been squeezed out of it? What would you call picking and choosing which commissions to follow and which commissions to ignore? And as long as I'm on a roll, what do you call pressuring someone else (like the other kingdom) to do what the Church is supposed to do, because that's easier and there are more resources for it? Jesus said "What, you do for the least of these, you do for me". I don't recall Him saying, "What you convince the politicians to do for large blocs of voters, you do for me."

Does the Book of Concord or Augsburg Confessions mention anything about it being a good thing to delegate the job of doing good works to the government?


You do realize that you have have just restated and made a case for my point don't you? If you try to use the authority of the Church to promote a secular morality, it will result in those who are seeking God's forgiveness of their sins to look elsewhere for that blessed assurance. It will also turn the Church into another me-to social organization. When I refer to fulfilling our commission I am talking about the Great Commission which is carried out in spite of the government not by the government. I had hoped that you would be in agreement with that activism. It is called Evangelism and promotes the general welfare by changing peoples hearts not their ideology.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2008, 08:55:44 PM by hillwilliam »

navyman

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Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« Reply #407 on: August 28, 2008, 09:00:00 PM »
Are you saying that he is not a shepherd of a flock? I don't think that "pastor" is a term that is reserved only for the ordained.


You think wrongly.


 ... and we're also left to wonder what to call Steve Sabin, since he's been defrocked as a result of proper ELCA process and policy, yet serves a congregation in one of our synods and had a role in the recent consecration of their new Bishop.

 In other words, our church is a mess ...

Brian





No Brian, There following the advice of the CWA, not to do anything until, 2009, 2012, or whenever!  I just don't understand how a person can be deflocked, yet still remain a member of the ELCA.  I'm sure there are other churches that would accept him as a pastor!

Regards!

Don

navyman

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Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« Reply #408 on: August 28, 2008, 09:05:57 PM »

They can, but there can be consequences

So, the biblical exegete says that it all depends on what "can" means, eh?

spt+

Steven:

In Brian's world biblical exegete is always open to ones own interpretation.  Where as there is only one correct way to look at it, his way or no way!

Regards!

Don

hillwilliam

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Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« Reply #409 on: August 28, 2008, 09:21:22 PM »
Then caring for the poor, championing government programs that do that, healing the sick, which includes lobbying for better health care for all, standing for the oppressed, speaking truth to intrusive power - as we were commanded/commissioned to do by Jesus - is Christian activism. Glad to see someone else on board with our social witness.

Well not exactly. I was talking about the Great Commission. Changing peoples hearts by making them disciples of Christ is the only way to permanently provide care for the poor, healing of the sick, and speaking truth to intrusive power. While I consider those to be legitimate Christian activism issues, they should make us take a good hard look at how our Synod and Churchwide budgets are configured. While the ELCA spends millions on larger bureaucracy, more lobbyist, and sexuality studies, the poor are hurting, the sick are dying, and nobody is speaking truth to the intrusive power of government that is trying to redefine the meaning of marriage.

I am glad that you are also on board with our social witness but I do not equate shifting responsibility for social problems to an already overtaxed bureaucracy with fulfilling our commission from Christ.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2008, 11:20:38 PM by hillwilliam »

Lutheran_Lay_Leader

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Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« Reply #410 on: August 28, 2008, 10:00:23 PM »
You do realize that you have have just restated and made a case for my point don't you? If you try to use the authority of the Church to promote a secular morality, it will result in those who are seeking God's forgiveness of their sins to look elsewhere for that blessed assurance. It will also turn the Church into another me-to social organization. When I refer to fulfilling our commission I am talking about the Great Commission which is carried out in spite of the government not by the government. I had hoped that you would be in agreement with that activism. It is called Evangelism and promotes the general welfare by changing peoples hearts not their ideology.

Actually, I didn't realize that. When you referred to "fulfilling our commission" you did not make it plain that you meant the Great Commission. Since you simply said "commission", I had no way of knowing that you didn't mean caring for the poor, feeding the hungry, and all of the other commissions usually identified with a lower case "c". Perhaps if you had been less subtle, I'd have fully grasped your meaning.

And how you got the idea that I was "on board with our social witness" is beyond me. The ELCA's attempts to shift responsibility to caring for people over to the government is a constant source of embarrassment to me.

hillwilliam

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Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« Reply #411 on: August 28, 2008, 11:13:04 PM »
You do realize that you have have just restated and made a case for my point don't you? If you try to use the authority of the Church to promote a secular morality, it will result in those who are seeking God's forgiveness of their sins to look elsewhere for that blessed assurance. It will also turn the Church into another me-to social organization. When I refer to fulfilling our commission I am talking about the Great Commission which is carried out in spite of the government not by the government. I had hoped that you would be in agreement with that activism. It is called Evangelism and promotes the general welfare by changing peoples hearts not their ideology.

Actually, I didn't realize that. When you referred to "fulfilling our commission" you did not make it plain that you meant the Great Commission. Since you simply said "commission", I had no way of knowing that you didn't mean caring for the poor, feeding the hungry, and all of the other commissions usually identified with a lower case "c". Perhaps if you had been less subtle, I'd have fully grasped your meaning.

And how you got the idea that I was "on board with our social witness" is beyond me. The ELCA's attempts to shift responsibility to caring for people over to the government is a constant source of embarrassment to me.

George;

I'm tempted to say "What we have here is a failure to communicate". Just for the sake of clarification, the only commission that the Church has, in my opinion, is the Great Commission. If we can work on fulfilling that commission then our natural response to a gracious God will take care of social justice and the welfare of the neighbor. That is not a commission it is a response. However, they will have to be dealt with through the efforts of both the Church and the State.

As I read Luther, the State does have a responsibility to promote social justice and care for the welfare of the people. As the Church, we do not fulfill our responsibility to seek the welfare of our neighbor by lobbying Congress or the State Assembly. We have our own responsibilities. The Church and the State have to answer to a higher power for failure to live up to God's will for the kingdom entrusted to them. Wasting our time trying to intimidate the State with the authority of the Church is an exercise in futility. If we aren't willing to reach out to our neighbor with our own time and treasure then we are not truly reaching out to our neighbor in love.

Finally, my reference to being "on board with our social witness" was directed to Charles not you. Go back and re-read my post. It is headed by a quote from him. I have to tell you that I am in agreement with the idea of the Church promoting a social witness. We are expected as followers of Christ to expose and oppose sin by speaking truth in love. What we are not expected to do as Church is promote secular activism.

I apologize if I was unclear and will try to be more plain spoken in my future posts.


Charles_Austin

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Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« Reply #412 on: August 29, 2008, 07:52:17 AM »
G. Erdner writes:
The ELCA's attempts to shift responsibility to caring for people over to the government is a constant source of embarrassment to me.

I comment:
Well, as I rather naively understand it, in our fine political system, the "government" is "us." And we delegate people - representatives of "us" - to do what we think will serve our neighbor. So in asking the "government" to help the poor, we are not "shifting" anything, but directing our people to do what we want them to do.

Lutheran_Lay_Leader

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Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« Reply #413 on: August 29, 2008, 09:25:56 AM »
G. Erdner writes:
The ELCA's attempts to shift responsibility to caring for people over to the government is a constant source of embarrassment to me.

I comment:
Well, as I rather naively understand it, in our fine political system, the "government" is "us." And we delegate people - representatives of "us" - to do what we think will serve our neighbor. So in asking the "government" to help the poor, we are not "shifting" anything, but directing our people to do what we want them to do.

The theory is that we are the government. In actual practice, the bloated and inefficient Federal bureaucracy has become a self-serving entity unto itself, operating for the sake of perpetuating its own existence. The theory might be that government programs are intended to provide the same kind of help to those who need it that traditionally had been the work of the organized church, but the actual fact is that those well-intentioned programs seldom provide the kind of help they intend to provide, and that the unintended consequences of their poor management tends to make the very problems that they seek to fix worse instead of better.

As stewards of God's resources, it behooves us to not only strive to see those resources put to their best use in helping those in need, we also are obliged to see that the resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible. Lutheran Relief does a far, far better job in being good stewards of the resources it has to provide help for those in need than any agency of any level of government in the entire United States -- Federal, State, or Local.

Besides, if you're going to operate under the premise that we the people are the government, then you should also accept that our government is limited in what it is permitted to do by the document that defines it. Just as the Augsburg Confessions defines who Lutherans are, the US Constitution defines what the Federal government can and cannot do. It outlines specific responsibilities and rights reserved for the government, and responsibilities and rights reserved for the states or for the people. Going by the written rules of the secular kingdom, providing charitable aid to individuals is the responsibility of the people acting on their own, not through any of the three branches of the Federal Government.

If we are to honor all those set in rightful authority over us, that means we are to honor the laws of this nation as they are written in the Constitution. Which means letting the government so what it's supposed to do, and for all establishments of religion to do what they are supposed to do.

It's no wonder the ECLA is in decline. One of the reasons for establishments of religion to exist is to coordinate individual acts of Christian charity with good order. Instead, we have built a publiclly perceived reputation for simply letting the government take over what should be our job.

TravisW

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Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« Reply #414 on: August 29, 2008, 09:31:38 AM »
Why doesn't the ELCA provide quality, affordable health care to its members?  All we'd have to do is have mandatory membership fees and redistribute that money so that there's coverage for the poorest of us. 

LutherMan

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Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« Reply #415 on: August 29, 2008, 09:34:57 AM »
Why doesn't the ELCA provide quality, affordable health care to its members?  All we'd have to do is have mandatory membership fees and redistribute that money so that there's coverage for the poorest of us. 

But wouldn't that cut into the carbon fees ELCA pays?

TravisW

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Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« Reply #416 on: August 29, 2008, 09:38:31 AM »
Why doesn't the ELCA provide quality, affordable health care to its members?  All we'd have to do is have mandatory membership fees and redistribute that money so that there's coverage for the poorest of us. 

But wouldn't that cut into the carbon fees ELCA pays?

Nope, we just charge the membership more.  It's just a mandatory tithe, sort of like the church tax in Norway. 

LutherMan

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Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« Reply #417 on: August 29, 2008, 10:27:46 AM »
Why doesn't the ELCA provide quality, affordable health care to its members?  All we'd have to do is have mandatory membership fees and redistribute that money so that there's coverage for the poorest of us. 

But wouldn't that cut into the carbon fees ELCA pays?

Nope, we just charge the membership more.  It's just a mandatory tithe, sort of like the church tax in Norway. 

Oh, OK, then.  Sounds like a good plan...

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« Reply #418 on: August 29, 2008, 10:38:22 AM »
It's no wonder the ECLA is in decline. One of the reasons for establishments of religion to exist is to coordinate individual acts of Christian charity with good order. Instead, we have built a publiclly perceived reputation for simply letting the government take over what should be our job.
The Lutheran Social Service System is the largest social ministry agency in the United States. It seems to me that we are doing the best job of any Christian denomination in supporting and coordinating individual acts of Christian charity with good order. Do you and does your congregation help support an LSSS agency in your area?
"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]

LutherMan

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Re: ELCA Statistics Show Decline
« Reply #419 on: August 29, 2008, 10:46:50 AM »
Do you and does your congregation help support an LSSS agency in your area?

No, because they support and resettle criminal illegal aliens here.