Author Topic: When to refrain from distributing the sacrament or When to ask others to refrain  (Read 9751 times)

MRoot

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I have asked this before in an abortion discussion and has been met with silence.  I know something of the Roman Catholic answer.  What is our Lutheran (albeit divided as we always are) answer (or answers) to the question-- what is the salvic state of those people who are aborted?  And what does our view of such salvation or condemnation or lack of knowledge/certainty have to day to our postion on abortion in the first place?  (Universalists need not respond, please)   Harvey Mozolak
John Gerhard has no formal authority, but he is certainly a significant figure of the Lutheran tradition.  I would think what he says would apply: "We neither can, nor ought we rashly to condemn those infants that die either in their mother's womb, or suddenly for any cause before receiving Baptism ; we should rather conclude that the prayers of pious parents, or, if the parents in this matter are neglectful, the prayers of the Church, poured out before God for these infants, are mercifullly heard, and that they are received into favor and life by God." (From the Loci, quoted in Schmid, Doctrinal Theology of the Evan-Luth Church, p. 554 of the version I have - Schmid is downloadable in its entirety from books.google.com - a goldmine)
Gerhard, however, is speaking of the infants of Christians, even if neglectful Christians. 
« Last Edit: November 19, 2008, 08:45:36 AM by MRoot »

Weedon

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Harvey,

I appreciated very much Krauth's take on the question (sort of - he was simply dealing with unbaptized infants, of which the slaughtered unborn are surely a subcategory):

In infant baptism is the gracious pledge that God means to save little children; that they have a distinct place in His plan of mercy, and that He has a distinct mode of placing them in that place.  When, then, in the mysterious providence of this Lover of these precious little ones, they are cut off from the reception of His grace by its ordinary channel, our Church still cherishes the most blessed assurance, wrought by the very existence of infant Baptism, that in some other way God's wisdom and tenderness  will reach and redeem them.  Our confidence in the uncovenanted mercy of God is strong in proportion to the tenacity with which we cling to Baptism as the ordinary mean most necessary on our part, if we may possibly have it, or have it given. (Conservative Reformation, p. 438)

Dave Benke

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Dear Commander Gard,

I liked typing that.

Dave Benke

Brian Stoffregen

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Ah, Brian.  The problem is that life is being protected visibly less than liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The information is probably available, but I haven't time to research it now, but I would guess that there are more folks who lose their liberty, e.g., prison, jail, house arrest, etc., than lose their lives.

It is not likely that there are accurate statistics, but I would think that the number of people who are not happy and not pursuing happiness in appropriate ways is even greater. E.g., those pursuing "happiness" through drug, alcohol, and sex abuse.


Quote
Then again, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (as understood by the Founding Fathers) have been pretty much tromped on, too.

I think that from the beginning, we believed and practiced the idea that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can and should be taken away for different reasons, e.g., capital punishment, taking of lives in a war, incarceration, drug abuse, etc.

"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]

swbohler

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Wow, Rev. Stoffregen! Even for you this post is something: equating prison for convicted criminals (loss of liberty) with abortion (loss of life)!  Amazing.  Truly amazing.

ptmccain

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Oh, come now, Steve. Are you *really* surprised?

I just gave it one of these  ::)


Harvey_Mozolak

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Thank you responders MRoot and Weedon, but allow me some follow up questions for you or others... while I liked your quotations and they seem to be the kinds of things Lutherans (and I) say regarding infants who die before baptism intended by Christian parents who have say planned a baptism and have an accident where the child dies or crib death or some quick disease...  and yet we do not give such hope to those who despise Baptism or who may be unbelievers, atheists, of an non-Christian religion and the like.   Many of the aborted children may indeed not be the children of even nominal Christians.  Is there no hope for those who had no chance of baptism or conscious belief because they never were born?

And let me add that the same mercy that we fall back on to say the kind of things that were said in your two good quotations are really cut out the same fabric that Roman theology had used in positing an Infant Limbo or even a purgatorial state, if you remove any attendant good works necessity on the part of the living to effect those in purgation.  Neither of the quotations quote any scripture.  What separates one speculation (or hope) from the other?

Does the fear that many/most the aborted will not be saved drive some of the undue frenzy among some?  Or does frenzy need no real justification.  For that matter on the other side, is some of the complacency to do anything much about preventing abortions a product of believing that if life is in the end involved in that which was aborted, then the who that was aborted is cared for by God anyway in his mercy and the only thing cut off was time in this veil of post-birth tears?

Harvey Mozolak
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frluther1517

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Above all, let us not wallow in the "possibilities" of what effect a pro-abortion president might have on this nation.  Let us go out and be the church.

Agreed!

And, greetings from a fellow Iowan.   

Another Iowan???  Do we hold the majority of people on the forum? 

Greetings from a cold Iowa as well!

PrSabin

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Iowa Lutherans are an export commodity too

Jay

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Pr. Austin has mentioned being from Iowa, so he is another export.

I'm a CyHawk (ISU class of '92; U of I Law School class of '95).  I didn't meet Pr. Sabin when I was in Ames because I didn't go to church much as an undergrad, but was steered back to Lutheranism by Pr. Aanonson in Iowa City - I think he is a member of STS so you might know him.     

MRoot

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Harvey (we met, I think, when you were down here at Southern a few years ago),
Let me respond in a series of posts: 1) on the salvation of non-baptized children of infants; 2) salvation of infants of non-Christians; 3) and the relevance of all this to abortion.
Gerhard has a chapter on the salvation of the non-baptized children of Christians, including those who die in the womb, in his “Comprehensive Explanation of Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. “ He thinks what he says is biblical and not speculation, in contrast with what the speculation he thinks is found in the Catholic teaching about limbo. 
1) He understands the necessity of baptism in John 3:5 to imply only that baptism must not be rejected; it does not imply that if baptism is absent through no fault of one’s own, one is lost.
2) He cites the “suffer the little children to come unto me” passage (Mk 10:14).
3) He argues that while we are bound to God’s chosen external means, God can work apart from such means (the thief on the cross is saved without baptism; Paul is converted by a voice from heaven, not by human preaching).
4) The bulk of his biblical argument, however, comes from the OT and an analogy with circumcision.  Gen 17:7 states that God is our God and the God of our seed.  The seed are included in salvation and the seed would include the child who dies in the mother’s womb, prior to the possibility of baptism.  He notes that circumcision was on the eighth day, but there is no sense that a child who died prior to the eighth day is lost.  When circumcision was impossible, in the wilderness (Jos 5.5) or under the Greek persecution (I Macc. 1:51-64), there is no sense that the uncircumcised were lost.  Some of the Holy Innocents had to be less that eight days old, yet they are not thought to be lost.  He adds: “Much rather they are blessed little souls, quite secure little ones, little diamonds of the martyrs.”  He sees the corporate sense of God’s blessing on Israel to be also applicable to the church.  I find this quite interesting, since I have always thought of the circumcision analogy as a more distinctively Reformed emphasis in the understanding of baptism.
(Whoops, must go to dinner - it may be tomorrow before I can continue, for whatever it is worth)

Michael Root

ptmccain

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Nice to have Gerhard cited on a Lutheran discussion forum, and not in a disparaging, dismissive manner.

Harvey_Mozolak

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Michael Root, yes we did meet that week (that was an enjoyble time with Pres. F. Reisz, attending classes, doing some of my intended wrting and meeting students...) if you want to write more, I will listen to more, thanks.  Harvey Mozolak
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http://lineandletterlettuce.blogspot.com

Weedon

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Re: When to refrain from distributing the sacrament or When to ask others to ref
« Reply #103 on: November 19, 2008, 09:31:26 PM »
Harvey,

Krauth notes:  "On the question of whether the infants of the heathen nations are lost, most of our theologians prefer to suspend their judgment."  p. 433  I take it that is a "we don't know."

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: When to refrain from distributing the sacrament or When to ask others to ref
« Reply #104 on: November 19, 2008, 10:06:57 PM »
Ah, Brian.  The problem is that life is being protected visibly less than liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The information is probably available, but I haven't time to research it now, but I would guess that there are more folks who lose their liberty, e.g., prison, jail, house arrest, etc., than lose their lives.

 ::)

Quote
I think that from the beginning, we believed and practiced the idea that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can and should be taken away for different reasons, e.g., capital punishment, taking of lives in a war, incarceration, drug abuse, etc.

And once again, the following from Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comes to mind:

Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.

The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."

"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.


Kyrie eleison, Steven+
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