Author Topic: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal  (Read 21193 times)

DCharlton

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #60 on: March 06, 2009, 12:53:30 PM »
Getting back to things more substantive, my positive reaction to what Dr. Braaten wrote was personal as well as theological.  My appreciation of the two issues has grown over the last 15 years.  The "separation of Law and Gospel" and the neglect of the Third Use of the Law were among my personal blind spots.  I have suffered the consequences of these blind spots and have tried to learn from my mistakes. 

As I've mentioned before, I'm and ELCA pastor, not a product of the LCMS.  So don't think these ideas were "pounded" into my head in seminary.  For me it is the rediscovery of a part of Lutheran theology that had been overlooked.

David Charlton
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anonymous

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #61 on: March 06, 2009, 12:59:02 PM »
Right. I finished in '92. When did you? I had Braaten, but other than him, few did much more with Lutheran distinctives than as he referred to "Lutheran ornaments". Even Braaten will tell you that he himself is a hybrid. He leans ecumenical. But he, like I do, thinks if you are going to be a Lutheran Church, you should be Lutheran, not Liberal Protestant. Hence we have a whole lot of clergy and teachers who need a continuing ed program in Lutheran distinctives.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #62 on: March 06, 2009, 01:11:08 PM »
Eric writes:
You quit telling people how to spell and we can save quite a few posts per day.
I comment:
I do not tell people how to spell. I tell them when they have misspelled. It is the rules of the language that tell us how to spell.

Richard Johnson

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #63 on: March 06, 2009, 01:35:45 PM »
Let's just study what you wrote. You say you do not want to silence people but demand I make the words disappear. let's all think about that for a moment.

Let's not. Let's leave behind the need to niggle and carp and expostulate on every post that [you name your favorite antagonist] offers. Let's just be quiet for a season.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #64 on: March 06, 2009, 04:07:21 PM »
I wonder if thiat would be a mistake.  In essence, we would be deriving Law from the Gospel.  That's one of the problems with Antinomianism.  When the Law is denied, or limited two only a preparatory role, then we begin to look to the Gospel for our rules.  
Furthermore, I think that assuming that status confessionis must be framed as a matter of Gospel concedes the issue in advance.  Afterall, the argument from revisionists is that since the Gospel welcomes all people, no further distinctions can be made.  "Since I am justified by God's grace, how can you call me a sinner," it will be said.  I think some in the LCMS call this Gospel reductionism.                        David Charlton

Pastor Charlton --

I'm not as well versed in status confessionis as I wish I were, and I could be wrong, but I believe there are some cautions which are important to consider if we start invoking status confessionis in matters of Law. 

1)  Do we want every matter of law that comes before the ELCA churchwide (I'm thinking here of global warming, fair trade coffee, Palestinian walls, etc.) to become a matter of status confessionis?  It seems to me it's wise to say that only matters pertaining to the Gospel should be dividing.  Of course everything properly viewed can be a matter of the Gospel, but let's at least agree that it is on Gospel grounds (and I mean forgiveness of sins) that we will part, if we part.

2)  The most famous case where status conf. was invoked is, of course, Bonhoeffer's opposition to the German church in the '30s.  This opposition was started before the Nazis were engaged in outright murder.  If status conf. had been invoked on the basis of Law, the opposition could have pointed out (this was done anyway) that Bonhoeffer was violating the 4th commandment by refusing to obey those authorities placed over him (the government) by God.  By arguing the matter as a matter of the Gospel (Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, and the mentally deficient were being deprived of opportunity to hear the Gospel) Bonhoeffer moved the argument away from obedience to law to the essence of the Christian faith:  the proclamation of the Gospel. 

3)  Article 7 of the Augustana states that the Church is where the Gospel is proclaimed and the sacraments administered according to the Gospel.  The Church is a creation of the Gospel, and while it is called to proclaim both law and gospel, it is not there if the Gospel is not proclaimed.  Given the tendency of fallen man to want to focus on the Law, it is best to keep visible churches focused on the Gospel as their reason of existence. 

More grist for the mill,
Lou

DCharlton

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #65 on: March 06, 2009, 05:19:11 PM »
Right. I finished in '92. When did you? I had Braaten, but other than him, few did much more with Lutheran distinctives than as he referred to "Lutheran ornaments". Even Braaten will tell you that he himself is a hybrid. He leans ecumenical. But he, like I do, thinks if you are going to be a Lutheran Church, you should be Lutheran, not Liberal Protestant. Hence we have a whole lot of clergy and teachers who need a continuing ed program in Lutheran distinctives.

I finished in '92 as well.  I graduated from Trinity.  Now I have to make it clear that I'm not prepared to blame my teachers there for my blind spots.  Although I don't remember those discussions, that doesn't mean that, we didn't have them.  Walt Bouman certainly took the Lutheran confessions seriously.  I believe he was influenced heavily by Elert when was a young man in the LCMS, so I think his position would be closer to that of someone like Ed Schroeder.  That's just my guess, however.

David Charlton 
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DCharlton

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #66 on: March 06, 2009, 05:24:47 PM »
I wonder if thiat would be a mistake.  In essence, we would be deriving Law from the Gospel.  That's one of the problems with Antinomianism.  When the Law is denied, or limited two only a preparatory role, then we begin to look to the Gospel for our rules.  
Furthermore, I think that assuming that status confessionis must be framed as a matter of Gospel concedes the issue in advance.  Afterall, the argument from revisionists is that since the Gospel welcomes all people, no further distinctions can be made.  "Since I am justified by God's grace, how can you call me a sinner," it will be said.  I think some in the LCMS call this Gospel reductionism.                        David Charlton

Pastor Charlton --

I'm not as well versed in status confessionis as I wish I were, and I could be wrong, but I believe there are some cautions which are important to consider if we start invoking status confessionis in matters of Law. 

1)  Do we want every matter of law that comes before the ELCA churchwide (I'm thinking here of global warming, fair trade coffee, Palestinian walls, etc.) to become a matter of status confessionis?  It seems to me it's wise to say that only matters pertaining to the Gospel should be dividing.  Of course everything properly viewed can be a matter of the Gospel, but let's at least agree that it is on Gospel grounds (and I mean forgiveness of sins) that we will part, if we part.

2)  The most famous case where status conf. was invoked is, of course, Bonhoeffer's opposition to the German church in the '30s.  This opposition was started before the Nazis were engaged in outright murder.  If status conf. had been invoked on the basis of Law, the opposition could have pointed out (this was done anyway) that Bonhoeffer was violating the 4th commandment by refusing to obey those authorities placed over him (the government) by God.  By arguing the matter as a matter of the Gospel (Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, and the mentally deficient were being deprived of opportunity to hear the Gospel) Bonhoeffer moved the argument away from obedience to law to the essence of the Christian faith:  the proclamation of the Gospel. 

3)  Article 7 of the Augustana states that the Church is where the Gospel is proclaimed and the sacraments administered according to the Gospel.  The Church is a creation of the Gospel, and while it is called to proclaim both law and gospel, it is not there if the Gospel is not proclaimed.  Given the tendency of fallen man to want to focus on the Law, it is best to keep visible churches focused on the Gospel as their reason of existence. 

More grist for the mill,
Lou

Does that mean that you think we should not invoke statis confessionis over the issue of homosexuality?  Or do you think it can be done on the basis of the Gospel?  If so, how? 

I can think of one way that case might be made, but I'd like to hear your take.

David Charlton
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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #67 on: March 06, 2009, 05:44:48 PM »
Right. I finished in '92. When did you? I had Braaten, but other than him, few did much more with Lutheran distinctives than as he referred to "Lutheran ornaments". Even Braaten will tell you that he himself is a hybrid. He leans ecumenical. But he, like I do, thinks if you are going to be a Lutheran Church, you should be Lutheran, not Liberal Protestant. Hence we have a whole lot of clergy and teachers who need a continuing ed program in Lutheran distinctives.

I finished in '92 as well.  I graduated from Trinity.  Now I have to make it clear that I'm not prepared to blame my teachers there for my blind spots.  Although I don't remember those discussions, that doesn't mean that, we didn't have them.  Walt Bouman certainly took the Lutheran confessions seriously.  I believe he was influenced heavily by Elert when was a young man in the LCMS, so I think his position would be closer to that of someone like Ed Schroeder.  That's just my guess, however.

David Charlton 

Bouman was like Ed Schroeder. Did you read Pless' article?
http://www.logia.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=77&catid=39:web-forum&Itemid=18

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #68 on: March 06, 2009, 06:03:51 PM »
Not sure what topic to insert this. This is interesting. If you have Luther's Works, go to LW 3, Gen. 17 (this Sunday's first lesson). The Hebrew is not going to come through so I tried to address that by including Stong's number and definition:

"The meaning of תַּם is “perfect and blameless,” that which is completely perfect, unspoiled, without defects, and uncorrupted. But here this word appears in the plural. “Be you perfect ones”; that is, let your life be blameless and uncorrupted, and walk before men without offense. The use of the plural is not without purpose; for the head of a family and everyone who holds some administrative position owes it not only to himself to commit no offense but also to those who are in his charge.
Thus Paul (1Tim. 3:2) wants a bishop to be [perfect and blameless ones] תָּמִים. Not only should his own life be blameless, but by strict discipline he should restrain his people from becoming guilty of anything unworthy of them. But those who do not want to be corrected should be expelled either from the home or from the church rather than be an offense to others. In this manner every ruler should be [perfect and blameless ones]  תָּמִים, not [perfect and blameless singular]  תַּם, not only in one commandment; he should be [perfect and blameless ones]  תָּמִים in all the commandments. So much for the exhortation to lead a blameless life. LW, 3:98

[8549 tamiym {taw-meem'} Meaning:  1) complete, whole, entire, sound 1a) complete, whole, entire 1b) whole, sound, healthful 1c) complete, entire (of time) 1d) sound, wholesome, unimpaired, innocent, having integrity 1e) what is complete or entirely in accord with truth and fact (neuter adj/subst)]

Looks like Hebrew did come through! (or am I the only one seeing the correct Hebrew fonts?) Anyway, imagine the implications. All those folk who think that the commandments aren't Christian! That Luther thought the gospel means we do not need to follow the law.

What are the implications on us! We are responsible to correct all under our care, family, congregation, ministerium.

« Last Edit: March 06, 2009, 06:37:59 PM by Skywalker »

Charles_Austin

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #69 on: March 06, 2009, 09:23:46 PM »
The issue of status confessionis, needs to be approached carefully and accurately. Normally, the term is used at a time when something of the essence of the Gospel itself is compromised. When the white South African churches would not admit blacks or work with the black churches, it was deemed that the essence of the Gospel was corrupted. (In southern Africa, this was about more than "integration," it was about clearly stated attitudes and beliefs about black Africans.)
I'm sure someone is examining whether the term may be properly employed in the dispute over sexuality. I will be interested in reading the rationale, if one is discovered.

DCharlton

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #70 on: March 06, 2009, 10:03:51 PM »
Right. I finished in '92. When did you? I had Braaten, but other than him, few did much more with Lutheran distinctives than as he referred to "Lutheran ornaments". Even Braaten will tell you that he himself is a hybrid. He leans ecumenical. But he, like I do, thinks if you are going to be a Lutheran Church, you should be Lutheran, not Liberal Protestant. Hence we have a whole lot of clergy and teachers who need a continuing ed program in Lutheran distinctives.

I finished in '92 as well.  I graduated from Trinity.  Now I have to make it clear that I'm not prepared to blame my teachers there for my blind spots.  Although I don't remember those discussions, that doesn't mean that, we didn't have them.  Walt Bouman certainly took the Lutheran confessions seriously.  I believe he was influenced heavily by Elert when was a young man in the LCMS, so I think his position would be closer to that of someone like Ed Schroeder.  That's just my guess, however.

David Charlton 

Bouman was like Ed Schroeder. Did you read Pless' article?
http://www.logia.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=77&catid=39:web-forum&Itemid=18


Yes.  I almost made reference to it, but wasn't sure just how close to Schroeder's position Bouman was.  I also know there was famous argument between Bouman and David Yeago at a Call to Faithfulness Conference on this issue, but I never seen a transcript of it, so I don't know what was said.

David Charlton
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DCharlton

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #71 on: March 06, 2009, 10:10:35 PM »
The issue of status confessionis, needs to be approached carefully and accurately. Normally, the term is used at a time when something of the essence of the Gospel itself is compromised. When the white South African churches would not admit blacks or work with the black churches, it was deemed that the essence of the Gospel was corrupted. (In southern Africa, this was about more than "integration," it was about clearly stated attitudes and beliefs about black Africans.)
I'm sure someone is examining whether the term may be properly employed in the dispute over sexuality. I will be interested in reading the rationale, if one is discovered.

So in at least on instance, you consider Braaten's critique to be incorrect, in that he states that the dispute with the Lutheran church in South Africa was over the Law.  Whereas, you believe that it was about the Gospel, not the Law.  Is that a correct?

David Charlton
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Charles_Austin

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #72 on: March 07, 2009, 02:46:03 AM »
David Charleton writes:
So in at least on instance, you consider Braaten's critique to be incorrect, in that he states that the dispute with the Lutheran church in South Africa was over the Law.  Whereas, you believe that it was about the Gospel, not the Law.  Is that a correct?
I respond:
It doesn't matter what I think about Dr. Braaten's critique. When the Lutheran World Federation used this particular argument to suspend from its membership the two denominations in southern Africa, that is how that organization interpreted the situation.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2009, 03:13:59 AM by Charles_Austin »

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #73 on: March 07, 2009, 11:43:23 AM »
The issue of status confessionis, needs to be approached carefully and accurately. Normally, the term is used at a time when something of the essence of the Gospel itself is compromised. When the white South African churches would not admit blacks or work with the black churches, it was deemed that the essence of the Gospel was corrupted. (In southern Africa, this was about more than "integration," it was about clearly stated attitudes and beliefs about black Africans.)
I'm sure someone is examining whether the term may be properly employed in the dispute over sexuality. I will be interested in reading the rationale, if one is discovered.
So in at least on instance, you consider Braaten's critique to be incorrect, in that he states that the dispute with the Lutheran church in South Africa was over the Law.  Whereas, you believe that it was about the Gospel, not the Law.  Is that a correct?                  David Charlton

As I stated upstream (or elsewhere), Jim Childs would say that Dr. Braaten's analysis on apartheid is flawed.  Jim made it very clear to us on the Task Force that the LWF action against apartheid was based on the idea that black folks were being deprived of hearing the Gospel.  I think this is an important distinction consistent with Lutheran teaching, that issues that are finally church dividing should be seen as issues of the Gospel and not matters of the Law.  As I posted upstream, the Law finally accuses itself in various ways, as is happening here.  The Law in sexual matters, given for the sake of young children, is banging up against the Law that we must be kind to all.

The GLBT issue can and should be framed as an issue of the Gospel, in my opinion, because it is finally about the nature of the Church's proclamation.  Do we proclaim "Your sins are forgiven for Jesus' sake" or do we proclaim "All are welcome in Jesus' name"?    If we bless what should be forgiven, we are denying the Gospel to whoever is receiving this false blessing.  That is no compassion at all, to encourage a person in their fallenness and deny them the comfort of the forgiveness of sins.  This last statement applies to a host of people, not just GLBT folks.  It is reminiscent of the first chapter of the Hammer of God when pastor Savonius first contacts dying Johannes, the only words of comfort he can offer to this afflicted sinner on the edge of death is "You weren't really that bad... your life was really fairly good..." and the like.  And poor dying Johannes lays there afflicted because he knows he's a sinner -- until peasant Katrina shows up and says "Yes, Johannes, you are indeed a sinner.  But don't you know that Jesus is a greater Savior than you are a sinner?"  And poor old Johannes hears the Gospel, accepts the sacrament and dies in peace.  Katrina showed more compassion by a country mile than Savonius did.  Fortunately, Savonius learned that.  Can the ELCA?

Lou

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #74 on: March 07, 2009, 12:55:44 PM »
When all else fails, see what the text actually says. 
The actions of the LWF  in 1975, declaring apartheid a matter of ‘confessional integrity,’ and in 1984, suspending to the two Southern African German churches, do not, I believe, bear out Jim Childs reading.  In both cases (unfortunately, I cannot find copies on the web to link to), the statements take a double line.  On the one hand, churches cannot be segregated in their internal life, especially at the altar.  On the other hand, the system of apartheid is so ‘perverted and oppressive’ that a church must reject it.  Both an ecclesial and an ethical reasoning is given. 
The 1975 statement concludes: “Political and social systems may become so perverted and oppressive that it is consistent with the confession to reject them and to work for changes.  We especially appeal to our white member churches in Southern Africa to recognize that the situation in Southern Africa constitutes a status confessionis.  This means that, on the basis of faith and in order to manifest the unity of the church, churches would publicly and unequivocally reject the existing apartheid system.”
The 1984 actions calls on the churches “to publicly and unequivocally reject the system of apartheid (separate development) and to end the division of the church on racial grounds.”  Because the churches had not done this, their LWF membership was suspended.  (The suspension was lifted in the early 1990s.)
These texts are not perfectly clear (‘consistent with’ is awfully weak in the 1975 statement), but I don’t think one can avoid the conclusion that they imply that an ethical difference (i.e., a difference over law) is a grounds for something like breaking fellowship. 
Michael Root