Author Topic: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal  (Read 22714 times)

anonymous

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #45 on: March 06, 2009, 11:36:12 AM »
I'll take up Paul's invitation with posting a section from carl's paper that I consider to be pure gold, the section on "the Bound-Conscience". The reason Benne and he go to twon on it is that it is so ridiculous, so petently false and easy to see through. The fact that this made it through theri muster shows they can't passs muster themselves, and anyone who thinks this is good work needs to have their head (theolgy too) examined (I know, "Eric, why don't you tell us what you really think."). I'll follow that up with the loci to which David was just speaking.

The Task Force is correct in observing numerous times that there is no consensus in the ELCA on the rostering of homosexual persons in same-gender relationships. The Task Force postulates that the difference between the traditionalists and revisionists is a matter of conscience. The statement asserts that there are “differing and conscience-bound understandings about the place of such relationships within the Christian community.” (“Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust,” lines 607 ff). This is a specious non-theological appeal to conscience. Of course, when facing a critical moral decision, it goes without saying that persons should follow their conscience. What else should they do? But that does not mean that one’s subjective conscience is right. I have my conscience, you have yours. So what? The question is, what is right in the sight of God? Has God not said anything about sex, marriage, and family, so that we are left in the dark to follow our own subjective feelings? For the church private personal conscience does not have the last word. It needs to be instructed and illuminated by the Word and Spirit of God. Luther said he was bound by his conscience; it was bound by the Word of God. It is the church’s responsibility to enlighten conscience, to teach the Word of God. This social statement fails to be a teaching document of the church. It professes not to know the difference between right and wrong on crucial matters of human sexuality. If reflects the cultural Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age. The church has spent a million dollars to be informed by this Task Force that there is no consensus in the church on human sexuality. Since there is no consensus in the church, why not keep the status quo? Why not follow the sage advice, when in doubt, stick with the tradition?

DCharlton

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #46 on: March 06, 2009, 11:39:19 AM »
Is there any interest in discussing Braaten's section of his critique where he focuses on the proposal's conclusion that our varying views should not be dividing because it has nothing to do with the Gospel but with Kingdom on the Left?  I found it interesting that he showed the inconsistency of the proposal.  He reminded us of the major battle we fought back in the eighties over apartheid and the pension programs's investments in companies doing business in South Africa.  Braaten raised the issue of the Lutheran World Federation raising that issue to the level of Status Confessiones.  He then went on to speak of other issues where some defended segregation as simply a matter of the Kingdom on the Left and thus not dividing.  It seems to me that he raises here a significant challenge to the thinking in the proposal.

I was thinking about this also in relationship to Ken Kimball's point that if the policy proposals pass that he and others would work for their synod standing in opposition at the level of status confessiones.  I remember as an inner city pastor and moderately liberal back in those days willing to go to the mat so to speak on the apartheid issue.  Now that the issue is essentially reversed the current liberal position in the ELCA wants to minimize the differences.

Do you think Braaten is raising a significant issue, and why might you think as you do?

The use of status confessionis is a significant issue and was discussed at a Task Force meeting, actually.  When it came up, and in particular in reference to the LWF action against apartheid, Jim Childs pointed out that status confessionis was taken by the LWF on apartheid not because of racism per se, but because black folks were being denied the Gospel.  Notice the distinction here (at least according to Jim):  status confessionis can only be claimed when the Gospel is at stake, not as a matter of law.  Whether Braaten would agree with that or not, I don't know.  I happen to believe that the Task Force recommendations can and should be a matter of status confessionis, because the ELCA, if she adopts the TF recommendations, will in fact be denying the forgiveness of sin to GLBT people by teaching people that GLBT practices are not sinful.  Of course, I also believe the ELCA is far advanced down this road anyway because she teaches that the orientation is not sinful, only the behaviors that flow from it, which in my view is a denial of article 2 of the Augustana.  The law has consigned all to sin, according to Romans.

When Pastor Kimball and his friends do move to status confessionis, if need be, I think care should be taken to ensure that it is framed as a matter of the Gospel and not simply the law.

Lou

Lou,

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
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anonymous

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #47 on: March 06, 2009, 11:41:25 AM »
"But there is an even more serious misinterpretation of the law that bears upon the unity of the church. The statement makes a number of questionable assertions, such as: “We believe that the way we order our lives in matters of sexuality, although important for us as people of faith, is not central to the Gospel itself.” (“Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust,” line 300) Here is another: “Thus, we realize that this church’s deliberations related to human sexuality do not threaten the center of our faith.” (line 326) And another: “The task force recognizes the deep love that all hold for this church and the shared commitment to remaining together in spite of differences on these matters.” (“Report and ecommendation,” line 225) And another: “In this regard the task force believes that, as this is a matter of God’s civil realm, ‘God’s left hand,’ this church is free to live with a diversity of opinions in this matter.” (“Report and Recommendation,” line 465) What the task force is asserting in these statements is that matters having to do with the laws and commandments of God, and not with the core principles of the gospel, cannot be church-dividing and are not basic to church unity. Matters that fall under the rubric of the “left hand of God,” namely, the will and rule of God in the orders of creation (political, economic, and social structures, including marriage, family, and sexuality), are not central to the gospel as such and therefore cannot be foundational for church unity. The Task Force is mistaken. The church is founded upon the Word of God, which includes what it believes about God’s activity in both creation and redemption, both law and gospel, both the kingdom on the left and on the right. The church is not founded on only one half of the Word of God. Consider this: the Lutheran World Federation raised the task of resisting apartheid in South Africa to a matter of status confessionis. This meant that opposing apartheid becomes a necessary implication of the church’s confession of faith. The white Lutheran congregations protested that the racial struggles in South Africa had nothing to do with the gospel, but only with the kingdom of God on the left hand. Ergo, the struggle for racial justice, whatever side one takes on the issue, cannot constitute a status confessionis for church fellowship. If the LWF was right in its declaration, it shows that the gospel cannot be separated from the law, the kingdom on the right from the kingdom on the left. Lutheran Churches in the United States faced the same issue in the struggle for civil rights when the system of racial segregation meant that Blacks and Whites were not welcome to celebrate Holy Communion together. The Lutheran Churches in Germany under Hitler were confronted by the same problem. The theologians supporting National Socialism declared that its anti-Semitic policies regarding the Jews have nothing to do with the gospel, therefore they have no bearing on church unity and fellowship. The Lutherans in Chile under General Pinochet faced the same kind of issue. The Task Force is unrealistic to believe that the majority of members in the ELCA will so easily separate the law and the gospel, the left hand and the right hand kingdoms of God. Separating the law and the gospel, the two integral forms of the Word of God, is as pernicious in church life as confusing or equating them[/b]." [my emphasis added]

Pernicious!

Charles_Austin

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #48 on: March 06, 2009, 11:42:54 AM »
Eric writes:
The reason Benne and he go to twon on it is that it is so ridiculous, so petently false and easy to see through. The fact that this made it through theri muster shows they can't passs muster themselves, and anyone who thinks this is good work needs to have their head (theolgy too) examined (I know, "Eric, why don't you tell us what you really think.")

I comment:
But it is more useful to the discussion if you would stick to telling us what you think of the document, not putting down the people who produced it. It might also help if one were not so instantly dismissive of someone who might (I know it's a stretch, an unfathomable impossibility in your mind), but someone who might find the document and proposals agreeable or useful. Why should they engage in dialogue with you if you have decreed that they do not "pass muster," or need their heads examined?

DCharlton

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #49 on: March 06, 2009, 11:48:59 AM »
Eric writes:
The reason Benne and he go to twon on it is that it is so ridiculous, so petently false and easy to see through. The fact that this made it through theri muster shows they can't passs muster themselves, and anyone who thinks this is good work needs to have their head (theolgy too) examined (I know, "Eric, why don't you tell us what you really think.")

I comment:
But it is more useful to the discussion if you would stick to telling us what you think of the document, not putting down the people who produced it. It might also help if one were not so instantly dismissive of someone who might (I know it's a stretch, an unfathomable impossibility in your mind), but someone who might find the document and proposals agreeable or useful. Why should they engage in dialogue with you if you have decreed that they do not "pass muster," or need their heads examined?


We'd be glad to hear from you Charles.  Why do you find the proposals agreeable or useful?

David Charlton
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Charles_Austin

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #50 on: March 06, 2009, 11:50:45 AM »
DAvid Charlton writes:
Why do you find the proposals agreeable or useful?

I respond:
I have not said that I find the proposals "agreeable or useful".

anonymous

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #51 on: March 06, 2009, 11:51:35 AM »
Ditto. Curious how someone could like Braaten's critique and that for which he whomps on.

anonymous

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #52 on: March 06, 2009, 11:56:07 AM »
DAvid Charlton writes:
Why do you find the proposals agreeable or useful?

I respond:
I have not said that I find the proposals "agreeable or useful".

What is Astin trying to do except silence people then? (Can't wait for this reply: "I have never tried to silence anyone in my life. I have consistently tried to get peopel to express their dissatisfaction with the ELCA at the proper place, as an elected member of the Assembly).

Charles_Austin

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #53 on: March 06, 2009, 12:02:33 PM »
Eric writes:
Curious how someone could like Braaten's critique and that for which he whomps on.
I respond:
Is there a word or phrase missing in that sentence fragement?

Eric writes:
What is Astin trying to do except silence people then?
I respond:
Explain to me (and the gathered non-multitude) how anything I have said will "silence" people. You make the claim. Substantiate it. I think it's one of the dumber comments I've encountered here. Matter of fact, it would appear that my small, insignificant comments seem to propel people towards even greater wordiness on certain subjects. Perhaps I should apologize for that unintended consequence.

DCharlton

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #54 on: March 06, 2009, 12:11:23 PM »
I love your ironic humor Charles.   :D
David Charlton  

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anonymous

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #55 on: March 06, 2009, 12:17:47 PM »
I love your ironic humor Charles.   :D

 :) :) :)

Charles_Austin

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #56 on: March 06, 2009, 12:30:51 PM »
This time, Eric, I was not trying to be ironic. (You have a hard time with contextual criticism, and sometimes miss this.)
You say I'm trying to "silence" people, a serious charge. Substantiate it or withdraw it.

DCharlton

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #57 on: March 06, 2009, 12:38:16 PM »
My point, Charles, was that you were being ironic without even trying. 

David Charlton  

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anonymous

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #58 on: March 06, 2009, 12:38:34 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.

I may have a hard time with "context" (is that like reading people's minds?) but not too much trouble recognizing hypocrisy. Tell you what, I will quit telling you what to do and you quit telling me. You quit telling people how to spell and we can save quite a few posts per day.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2009, 12:42:29 PM by Skywalker »

anonymous

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Re: Carl Braaten's Critique of Sexuality Proposal
« Reply #59 on: March 06, 2009, 12:44:00 PM »
My point, Charles, was that you were being ironic without even trying. 



Charles thought I was the one who threw the ironic word. He mixes other people up with me a lot.