Author Topic: Response to Eicher  (Read 1197 times)

Richard Johnson

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Response to Eicher
« on: August 22, 2006, 06:24:55 PM »
Frank Senn responds to Ben Eicher, who was responding to his original article in Forum Letter.  See the original article under "Selected Reprints," and the Eicher response under "Online Articles."

Dear Mr. Eicher,
Thank you for your long response.  I make there points in return.
First, as Senior of the Society of the Holy Trinity I have a responsiblity to rally the troops that have been demoralized by these conversions and also let critics of our Society in Lutheran Churches know that STS is not about providing holding patterns for those flying to Rome or elsewhere.
Second, if a pastor no longer holds with core Lutheran doctrines, then he or she should not be preaching or teaching in a Lutheran Church. There are some who ought to leave.
But, third, my main point is that dissatisfaction with the unconfessional directions of one's church body (e.g. ELCA) is not a reason for a pastor to abandon his or her flock; it's all the more reason to stay.  Luther would have stayed in the Roman Church if he had not been kicked out, and he never thought that the Roman Church lacked he gospel and the sacraments.  He would have stayed in spite of all the theological and pastoral problems in the Roman Church of his day.  That should be the model for Lutheran pastors as well---as it is of those Roman priests who disagree with the leadership of their dioceses but would never think of not being Roman priests.
None of this disparages the personal journeys of some people that lead them elsewhere.  But I think there are different standards of accountability for pastors and lay people.  It's all well and good for a pastor to "wake up some morning" (by the way, that's Leonard Klein's phrase) and discover that he's really a Roman Catholic and go through all the difficulties of changing one's community of faith.  But what about the lay people left behind?  I've had to deal with a couple of those congregations.
With best regards,
Frank C. Senn, STS
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS