Author Topic: Miscellaneous Questions  (Read 8514 times)

kennurse

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Re: Miscellaneous Questions
« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2008, 11:41:18 AM »
Do any of you know if surveys have been done to find out what LCMS and ELCA pastors are doing on a regular basis to evangelize unchurched people in their communities? and if they are not regularly evangelizing, what is the reason?

ptmccain

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Re: Miscellaneous Questions
« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2008, 11:48:12 AM »
Perhaps another important question to ask is:

What is everyone doing to evangelize in their various/respective vocations and stations in life?


kennurse

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Re: Miscellaneous Questions
« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2008, 11:57:15 AM »
The reason I asked is if pastors aren't evangelizing they can't expect the laity to do it and if neither pastors nor laity are evangelizing how do they expect the church to stop declining?  I went to one of those "Great Commission Convocations" the LCMS was having back in the 1980s where they had a workshop entitled "How to lead a person to Christ".  The entire session was on theology of evangelism, "don't do this, don't use "Four Spirtual Laws" don't do etc etc".  We learned nothing practical that we could walk out the door and start evangelizing.  It was all just patting ourselves on our backs for our correct theology.  Sorry I'm ranting.

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Re: Miscellaneous Questions
« Reply #33 on: November 18, 2008, 04:43:31 PM »
"Symbols", on the other hand, in 20th Century English refers to pictorial images that represent something else, such as a swoosh is a symbol for Nike, or Na is the symbol for sodium. I'll not argue that it didn't mean something very different almost five centuries ago. But that's what it means today.

I won't speak for your context, George, but in my contexts there are all sorts of words that mean more than one thing.  Then again, take "confess" outside of a Lutheran congregation in your context, and I daresay people will find your "linguistic stretch" hopelessly and meaninglessly archiac.  After all, everywhere else in this day and age, "confess" is only for actions and thoughts that we wish we hadn't been caught doing. 

Frankly, though, I don't believe I learned everything I needed to know in Kindergarten, and I'm not going to treat adults that way. 

Since this is an ALPB Forum forum, it seems to me that A. C Piepkorn's consistent usage of "Symbols" ought to be acceptable.

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Darrell Wacker

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Re: Miscellaneous Questions
« Reply #34 on: November 18, 2008, 09:03:08 PM »
Do any of you know if surveys have been done to find out what LCMS and ELCA pastors are doing on a regular basis to evangelize unchurched people in their communities? and if they are not regularly evangelizing, what is the reason?
When did it become the primary responsibility of pastors to evangelize unchurched people in the community?  While I believe ALL Christians, pastors and lay, have a responsibility in this area, this question seems to imply that it is the pastor's responsibility.  Is it not the pastor's primary responsibility to preach the Law and Gospel in truth and purity and administer the Sacraments?  This is ministry to all people in the community, unchurched and churched. 

Each of us has a responsibility to witness to the Good News of Jesus in our every day life...at work, at home, in our neighborhoods.  Faith comes from hearing the Word...from pastors and lay people.

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Re: Miscellaneous Questions
« Reply #35 on: November 18, 2008, 09:49:28 PM »
As to the others on Mogan David - YUCK.  We DO use it.  The people insist on it and talk about how much they like its flavor.  When we tried to substitute, they were having no parts of it. Syrup indeed!

I served as the Protestant Chaplain at a Veteran's Home in Massachusetts for several years. They ordered an amber wine from some monastery in California. It was strong stuff (I'm sure it could take the paint off a wall). During communion one Sunday, I communed one old vet who gagged on it and promptly cried out, "What the HELL was that?" I nearly doubled over from laughing so hard. After that, we communed by intinction.
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kennurse

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Re: Miscellaneous Questions
« Reply #36 on: November 19, 2008, 01:21:02 PM »
Do any of you know if surveys have been done to find out what LCMS and ELCA pastors are doing on a regular basis to evangelize unchurched people in their communities? and if they are not regularly evangelizing, what is the reason?
When did it become the primary responsibility of pastors to evangelize unchurched people in the community?  While I believe ALL Christians, pastors and lay, have a responsibility in this area, this question seems to imply that it is the pastor's responsibility.  Is it not the pastor's primary responsibility to preach the Law and Gospel in truth and purity and administer the Sacraments?  This is ministry to all people in the community, unchurched and churched. 

Each of us has a responsibility to witness to the Good News of Jesus in our every day life...at work, at home, in our neighborhoods.  Faith comes from hearing the Word...from pastors and lay people.
[/quote


Of course it is the responsibility of all Christians.  But another responsibility of pastors is to "equip the saints" to do ministry, including evangelization. If the pastors aren't doing it, what kind of an example is that?  The pastors are supposed to set the right example.  If there is going to a renewed passion among the people for personal evangelization, it seems to me, it has to start with the pastors setting the example or motivated lay people setting the example.

racin_jason

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Re: Miscellaneous Questions
« Reply #37 on: November 19, 2008, 01:49:31 PM »
Do any of you know if surveys have been done to find out what LCMS and ELCA pastors are doing on a regular basis to evangelize unchurched people in their communities? and if they are not regularly evangelizing, what is the reason?

There is no question that it is the responsibility of every Christian to do evangelism. But if the pastor doesn't model it, doesn't equip the saints to evangelize, then it aint gonna happen. We all can agree on that.

But I will add that most Lutheran congregations are so enculturated to a chaplaincy-style of the office, that the system resists  accomodating a mission-minded pastor. Most pastors' schedules are overbooked already. To add "Go Evangelize" to the job description means something else will have to give. If a pastor asked a congregation "What responsibility would you like me to stop doing now so that can take some time to work on evangelism", most likely the response would be silence. 

I have taken on projects of evangelism. I have gone door knocking in our neighboorhood and made other attemps to engage the unchurched. Not much really came out of those efforts, which were simply add-ons to my full schedule. But the congregation saw my effort, and some have followed suit in small ways.

It's been said here before, and I will say it again.  The best evangelism happens when lay people invite other lay people to worship. One statistic I heard was that if a person invites another person (with whom they have a positive relationship) to worship AND OFFER TO DRIVE, that 75% of the time, the invitee will respond with a "yes".

Recently at worship I noticed one pew that contained three men who made up a string of invitations.  One longtime member had invited another fellow to church a couple years ago. He joined.  On this particuliar sunday, that new guy had invited a neighboor of his to worship.  Seeing that pew occupied by a string of invitations gave me hope for the future.   

It's good that you raised the question of evangelism.  But please consider how your fellow members might do evangelism too, or figure out ways you can support your pastor so that he can devote some time for training others for the effort.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2008, 01:51:34 PM by racin_jason »
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Michael_Rothaar

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Re: Miscellaneous Questions
« Reply #38 on: November 19, 2008, 02:49:31 PM »
Arthur Carl Piepkorn, of blessed memory, used to assert confidently that classic Lutherans actually had a preference for white wine. He associated it, of course, with Confessional reasoning. The Lutherans did not want to be thought to be celebrating only the "remembrance" with red wine reminding us of blood. After living in Germany I wondered if it might have only been due to the prepondrance of white wine there. Today Germans produce only a very tiny amount of red wine.

Peace, JOHN HANNAH

The tradition's a lot older than Piepkorn (or Lutherans). Gordon Lathrop maintains (someplace that I don't want to bother looking up) that the use of white wine is the oldest recorded preference -- most of the way back to apostolic times. It may indicate a revulsion against the identification of the accidence with the substance.

The true reason, I believe, is because the early medieval church had stern altar guilds and sloppy priests.
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Kurt Weinelt

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Re: Miscellaneous Questions
« Reply #39 on: November 19, 2008, 03:10:52 PM »
[The tradition's a lot older than Piepkorn (or Lutherans). Gordon Lathrop maintains (someplace that I don't want to bother looking up) that the use of white wine is the oldest recorded preference -- most of the way back to apostolic times. It may indicate a revulsion against the identification of the accidence with the substance.

The true reason, I believe, is because the early medieval church had stern altar guilds and sloppy priests.

I've encountered a few stern medieval altar guilds in this day and time.... ;D
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Lutheran_Lay_Leader

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Re: Miscellaneous Questions
« Reply #40 on: November 20, 2008, 07:50:58 AM »
I've encountered a few stern medieval altar guilds in this day and time.... ;D

The greatest challenge I ever faced in a church was when I was appointed head of the Worship and Music committee and came up against the well entrenched church ladies. Their collective attitude was best described by one of them who refused nomination to the Board every year who said "I was born in this church, baptised in this church, and married in this church. This is my church. You've only been a member here for a few years, so you aren't going to tell us how to do things." This was a response to my suggestion that since we had a large inventory of albs that we used to use a choir robes before we replaced them with Geneva style choir robes, we should let the lay lectors have the option of wearing an alb with no stole when they read the lessons. This was common practice in many ELCA churches, and I polled all of the lectors in advance, and most of them were very enthusiastic about the idea.

But I think this also is an important consideration when it comes to any sort of evangelism. The nasty little truth that is seldom spoken aloud in too many churches is the fear that if there is any influx of new members, some of those new members might not fit in quite the way some people might want. For every member who says aloud "I wish we had more members to help cook parish suppers" there are others thinking silently to themselves "I hope no one who is a better cook than me comes a long and displaces me from my position cooking parish suppers".

There's also the issue being discussed in the thread about the European American Lutheran Association. Since moving to Atlanta, at work and when out and about, I interact with far more people who are of a different ethnic or racial background than me. The only place where I am mostly (but fortunately not exclusively) surrounded by other people of northern European ancestry is at the local Lutheran church. I don't make friends easily. When I do, it's usually with people I meet in church. I don't have any real friends outside of church, though I have many acquaintances through work whose company I enjoy at work. So, I agree that the best method of getting new people to come and participate in the ministry of a church is through direct personal invitation of friends, especially when measured by the standard of a percentage rate of people making that first visit who go on to participate in the church's life on a regular basis. But I still contend that if that's the one basket in which all of the evangelism eggs are placed, it won't reach as many people as need to be reached, and it won't reach the large numbers of people who aren't members of the ethnic demographic that already dominates the Lutheran church.


racin_jason

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Re: Miscellaneous Questions
« Reply #41 on: November 25, 2008, 10:30:35 AM »
Praise God that most every aspect of the Lutheran understanding of Christianity makes sense to me. Yet it is time to release into cyberspace one reservation I have about our faith, one I have never shared with anyone before: Luther's numbering of the Ten Commandments. He kept the Roman Catholic numbering, and I need help in understanding why.

As most here are aware of, Lutherans and Catholics have one numbering system, while other denominations and the Jewish faith have their own numbering. In the Lutheran numbering, we have #1 regarding "You shall have no other Gods before me" with subsequent elaboration on what that means, and then continuing with #2 being the name in vain commandment. Then, at the end, we have two commandments about coveting: #9 You shall not covet your neighboor's house and #10 You shall not covet your neighboor's wife, slaves, donkey, nor anything else that is your neighboors".

Why divide the covet-commandments, designating two to that issue, but collapse the "I am the Lord your God-You shall have no other Gods - You shall not make yourself an idol" into one?   
 
What is at stake is whether the commandment regarding idols is worthy of a stand-alone commandment, versus having two at the end about coveting (which seems redundant to me).

Personally, I like the Jewish numbering, which puts "I am the Lord Your God" as the first, stand-alone commandment, and then makes #2 "You shall have no other Gods before me, you shall have no idols" and then closes with #10 on coveting.  However, it is difficult to say "I am the Lord your God" is a commandment, more a statement of introduction.

I read in a biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer that during his work in the Confessing Church that he attempted to re-number the commandments, but it didn't say how he numbered them.  It was comforting to know I wasn't alone in this issue.

The bottom line:
Does anybody know if Luther wrestled with this question at all, or did he simply transfer the numbering system unquestioned?

Does anybody know how Bonhoeffer numbered the commandments during his time in the Confessing Church?

Can anybody suggest why the R.C/Lutheran numbering is preferable to other numbering systems? 

Thanks.
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Charles_Austin

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Re: Miscellaneous Questions
« Reply #42 on: November 25, 2008, 10:46:47 AM »
I suppose everyone has different concerns and priorities; and that some questions are of casual interest, if not critical: but I just can't get very concerned over how the commandments are numbered or why Luther (or anyone else) chose a particular system.

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Re: Miscellaneous Questions
« Reply #43 on: November 25, 2008, 10:58:00 AM »
I suppose everyone has different concerns and priorities; and that some questions are of casual interest, if not critical: but I just can't get very concerned over how the commandments are numbered or why Luther (or anyone else) chose a particular system.
I do think that it's significant. The Hebrew Bible refers to them, literally, as "The Ten Words" (see NRSV footnotes at Ex 34:28; Dt 4:24; 20:4). For them, it is clear that the first word from God is not a command: "I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery." The "Ten Words" begin with God's actions on behalf of his people, not with commands placed on the people.
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Richard Johnson

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Re: Miscellaneous Questions
« Reply #44 on: November 25, 2008, 02:30:03 PM »
This was an issue that was quite acute at the time of the Reformation; I'd have to go back and look up the reference to this, but in the polemics between the Lutherans and the Calvinists/Zwinglians, one side (I forget which one) slandered the other as "those who misnumber the commandments."

There are certainly some interesting theological issues, even if Charles doesn't think so; likely the Reformed separated out the "idolatry" one because of their iconoclastic sentiments. Luther followed Augustine, and the theological issue here is probably more a question of "how do we receive tradition." Doing a little web surfing on sites that try to explain this, I found one that quite seriously argued for why the "Protestant" numbering is what God intended, and why the Catholics "changed" God's intention. But actually the Roman Catholic Church has never ruled dogmatically on this, and the current Catholic Catechism allows for diversity.

I found one page--not quite sure who the author is, but it seems a fairly objective and accurate analysis of the issues involved. Check it out at http://www.cin.org/users/james/files/numberng.htm if you are interested.

Reminds me of a summer camp experience back in my Methodist days. We were doing some kind of Bible game and one question had to do with naming the 10 Commandments. Out of some 100 teenagers, the only person who could name all ten was a Roman Catholic girl who had come along with a friend--but of course from the point of view of the Methodist pastor who was judging the answers, her answer was "wrong" (but I stepped in and explained why her answer should be considred "right" and her team got the point).  :)
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