Author Topic: The thread for info on churches voting to change affiliation & all follow-up.  (Read 957604 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #2505 on: August 11, 2010, 11:49:08 AM »
This has almost nothing to do with the sexuality statement and its use of the term, but here I am wasting my time, so, cheers.

This has everything to do with understanding bound-conscience as my church is using the term.
"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]

Scott6

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #2506 on: August 11, 2010, 11:53:35 AM »
This has almost nothing to do with the sexuality statement and its use of the term, but here I am wasting my time, so, cheers.

This has everything to do with understanding bound-conscience as my church is using the term.

Tell you what.  Talk to Charles and see if he agrees that the idea of the "bound conscience" as it is used in your church is clear and is worked out sufficiently.  He's been saying the opposite (quite accurately) for a while.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #2507 on: August 11, 2010, 12:30:26 PM »
This has almost nothing to do with the sexuality statement and its use of the term, but here I am wasting my time, so, cheers.

This has everything to do with understanding bound-conscience as my church is using the term.

Tell you what.  Talk to Charles and see if he agrees that the idea of the "bound conscience" as it is used in your church is clear and is worked out sufficiently.  He's been saying the opposite (quite accurately) for a while.

Even if he disagrees with me, I still respect him and his view.
"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]

jrubyaz

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #2508 on: August 11, 2010, 12:31:39 PM »

Strawman.  ::)

Brian, you wouldnn't object to this definition, because it suits your understanding of the issue at hand...let everyone think as they please, have no standard or rule, and be of two minds.

By the way, that is heterodoxy.

Michael is correct, Wengert spoke to bound conscience, but redefined it not as bound to God's Word, as it was for Luther, but as our own conscience. After he spoke, things were even more unclear to most delegates, some who sat behind from NE Synod who, while in  in favor of the changes ,actually said "what did he  just say? "

We never got an answer from the task force chair or members of the task force. Dr. Wengert is a professional theologian, and his stance on the issue was well known. We also never got to hear from the minority dissenters on the task force.  



And the definition of "bound conscience" was not a legislative matter before the assembly, so it was indeed out of order.

This is one of the strangest things written here of late.

Well, actually Charles is right. The definition of bound conscience was not before the assembly. It was suggested to the assembly as a way to get around objections on both sides but left as a vague concept. Sort of a magic pill, if you like. The meaning is now being sought as it has occurred to some that the concept is sloppy and could, well, "fall into the wrong hands."

I took Jeff to be referring to a request made within the context of the debate over the sexuality statement itself -- that is, a debate where a document that contained the phrase and used it quite prominently was before the assembly for adoption.  Unless the content of the document is viewed as being a separate issue from debating its adoption (an odd idea), understanding what the document is claiming is certainly relevant.

The phrase "bound conscience" occurs once in the statement, and it is in quotes. An explanation of the concept, more often phrased "conscience-bound" is included in an endnote (printed below).


26 The Apostle Paul testifies to conscience as the unconditional moral responsibility of the individual before God (Romans 2:15–16). In the face of different conclusions about what constitutes responsible action, the concept of “the conscience” becomes pivotal.
     When the clear word of God’s saving action by grace through faith is at stake, Christian conscience becomes as adamant as Paul, who opposed those who insisted upon circumcision (Galatians 1:8). In the same way Luther announced at his trial for heresy, “Unless I am persuaded by the testimony of Scripture and by clear reason . . . I am conquered by the Scripture passages I have adduced and my conscience is captive to the words of God. I neither can nor desire to recant anything, when to do so against conscience would be neither safe nor wholesome” (WA 7: 838; Luther’s Works 32:112). However, when the question is about morality or church practice, the Pauline and Lutheran witness is less adamant and believes we may be called to respect the bound conscience of the neighbor. That is, if salvation is not at stake in a particular question, Christians are free to give priority to the neighbor’s well-being and will protect the conscience of the neighbor, who may well view the same question in such a way as to affect faith itself. For example, Paul was confident that Christian freedom meant the Gospel of Jesus Christ was not at stake in questions of meat sacrificed to idols or the rituals of holy days (Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8:10–14 and 10:23–30). Yet he insisted that, if a brother or sister did not understand this freedom and saw eating this meat as idolatry to a pagan god, the Christian was obligated to “walk in love” by eating just vegetables for the neighbor’s sake (Romans 14:17–20)!
     This social statement draws upon this rich understanding of the role of conscience and calls upon this church, when in disagreement concerning matters around which salvation is not at stake, including human sexuality, to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), honor the conscience, and seek the well-being of the neighbor.


What is unclear about this?

If thinking for yourself constitutes heresy, then Jesus, Paul, Luther, and Bonhoeffer were all heretics--God bless 'em, and may their tribe increase!

revklak

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #2509 on: August 11, 2010, 12:34:34 PM »

If thinking for yourself constitutes heresy, then Jesus, Paul, Luther, and Bonhoeffer were all heretics--God bless 'em, and may their tribe increase!

No, there is s distinction here --- thinking for yourself doesn’t automatically mean its heresy, but thinking your own thoughts if they are at odds with the teachings of orthodoxy IS.  

American Heritage Dictionary: heresy – 1 an opinion or doctrine at variance with established religious beliefs   2 a. A controversial or unorthodox opinion or doctrine, as in politics, philosophy, or science.  b.  adherence to such opinion.  {<GK. hairetikos, factious.}

I only cite that because recently someone pointed me to the Universalist/Unitarians and their (not surprising) endorsement of the ELCA’s teachings. (another story)  While looking at their homepage, they claim and honor even rejoice in the description of their being “heretics” because they claim the word means “choice.”  A very popular word today.  But Jesus, Luther, et al you list did NOT “think for themselves” in the way you use it, they thought and taught what they understood as ORTHODOX doctrines and truths.  Not what they “thought for themselves.”’  Then they would be factious, that is, heretical.  

There is a body of teaching handed down to us – and any variance, or faction, or choice, that contradicts it IS heresy, even if you call it “thinking for yourself.”

Dadoo

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #2510 on: August 11, 2010, 02:15:57 PM »
 ::)
Get out the mobs and buckets.

A quite appropriate typo (if typo it is).  ;D

Breaking in a new pair of bifocals . . .
« Last Edit: August 11, 2010, 02:17:52 PM by Dadoo »
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pbnorth3

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #2511 on: August 11, 2010, 02:19:16 PM »
::)
Get out the mobs and buckets.

A quite appropriate typo (if typo it is).  ;D

Breaking in a new pair of bifocals . . .

And a dysletic pair too.... ;)

James Gustafson

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #2512 on: August 11, 2010, 02:23:50 PM »
...snip...... That is, if salvation is not at stake in a particular question, Christians are free to give priority to the neighbor’s well-being and will protect the conscience of the neighbor, who may well view the same question in such a way as to affect faith itself. For example, Paul was confident that Christian freedom meant the Gospel of Jesus Christ was not at stake in questions of meat sacrificed to idols or the rituals of holy days (Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8:10–14 and 10:23–30). Yet he insisted that, if a brother or sister did not understand this freedom and saw eating this meat as idolatry to a pagan god, the Christian was obligated to “walk in love” by eating just vegetables for the neighbor’s sake (Romans 14:17–20)!
     This social statement draws upon this rich understanding of the role of conscience and calls upon this church, when in disagreement concerning matters around which salvation is not at stake,  including human sexuality, to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), honor the conscience, and seek the well-being of the neighbor.
...

If thinking for yourself constitutes heresy, then Jesus, Paul, Luther, and Bonhoeffer were all heretics--God bless 'em, and may their tribe increase!

Okay, then lets think for ourselves.  The ELCA statements says this topic is concerning matters around which salvation is not at stake, yet when we read scripture it has a much different tone on the matter when it says things like: God gave them over in the sinful desires(Rm 1), or, they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death(Rm 1), or, I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal 5), or, …sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.  For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.   For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. (Ep 5).  So, taking your advice and thinking for ourselves we can see that the statement is NOT in agreement with either the tone or the temperment of scripture and this may not be a simple disagreement.  Scripture seems to indicate that this topic could very well be a serious matter, not a triviality.


« Last Edit: August 11, 2010, 02:25:22 PM by James Gustafson »

DCharlton

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #2513 on: August 11, 2010, 02:42:37 PM »

If thinking for yourself constitutes heresy, then Jesus, Paul, Luther, and Bonhoeffer were all heretics--God bless 'em, and may their tribe increase!

No, there is s distinction here --- thinking for yourself doesn’t automatically mean its heresy, but thinking your own thoughts if they are at odds with the teachings of orthodoxy IS.  

American Heritage Dictionary: heresy – 1 an opinion or doctrine at variance with established religious beliefs   2 a. A controversial or unorthodox opinion or doctrine, as in politics, philosophy, or science.  b.  adherence to such opinion.  {<GK. hairetikos, factious.}

I only cite that because recently someone pointed me to the Universalist/Unitarians and their (not surprising) endorsement of the ELCA’s teachings. (another story)  While looking at their homepage, they claim and honor even rejoice in the description of their being “heretics” because they claim the word means “choice.”  A very popular word today.  But Jesus, Luther, et al you list did NOT “think for themselves” in the way you use it, they thought and taught what they understood as ORTHODOX doctrines and truths.  Not what they “thought for themselves.”’  Then they would be factious, that is, heretical.  

There is a body of teaching handed down to us – and any variance, or faction, or choice, that contradicts it IS heresy, even if you call it “thinking for yourself.”


"I do nothing on my own authority, but  speak just as the Father has taught me."  (John 8:28b)

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received..."  (1Corinthians 15:3)

Both Jesus and Paul deny that they are original thinkers.
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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #2514 on: August 11, 2010, 03:01:14 PM »
Brian, you wouldnn't object to this definition, because it suits your understanding of the issue at hand...let everyone think as they please, have no standard or rule, and be of two minds.

By the way, that is heterodoxy.

Michael is correct, Wengert spoke to bound conscience, but redefined it not as bound to God's Word, as it was for Luther, but as our own conscience. After he spoke, things were even more unclear to most delegates, some who sat behind from NE Synod who, while in  in favor of the changes ,actually said "what did he  just say? "

We never got an answer from the task force chair or members of the task force. Dr. Wengert is a professional theologian, and his stance on the issue was well known. We also never got to hear from the minority dissenters on the task force.  



And the definition of "bound conscience" was not a legislative matter before the assembly, so it was indeed out of order.

This is one of the strangest things written here of late.

Well, actually Charles is right. The definition of bound conscience was not before the assembly. It was suggested to the assembly as a way to get around objections on both sides but left as a vague concept. Sort of a magic pill, if you like. The meaning is now being sought as it has occurred to some that the concept is sloppy and could, well, "fall into the wrong hands."

I took Jeff to be referring to a request made within the context of the debate over the sexuality statement itself -- that is, a debate where a document that contained the phrase and used it quite prominently was before the assembly for adoption.  Unless the content of the document is viewed as being a separate issue from debating its adoption (an odd idea), understanding what the document is claiming is certainly relevant.

The phrase "bound conscience" occurs once in the statement, and it is in quotes. An explanation of the concept, more often phrased "conscience-bound" is included in an endnote (printed below).


26 The Apostle Paul testifies to conscience as the unconditional moral responsibility of the individual before God (Romans 2:15–16). In the face of different conclusions about what constitutes responsible action, the concept of “the conscience” becomes pivotal.
     When the clear word of God’s saving action by grace through faith is at stake, Christian conscience becomes as adamant as Paul, who opposed those who insisted upon circumcision (Galatians 1:8). In the same way Luther announced at his trial for heresy, “Unless I am persuaded by the testimony of Scripture and by clear reason . . . I am conquered by the Scripture passages I have adduced and my conscience is captive to the words of God. I neither can nor desire to recant anything, when to do so against conscience would be neither safe nor wholesome” (WA 7: 838; Luther’s Works 32:112). However, when the question is about morality or church practice, the Pauline and Lutheran witness is less adamant and believes we may be called to respect the bound conscience of the neighbor. That is, if salvation is not at stake in a particular question, Christians are free to give priority to the neighbor’s well-being and will protect the conscience of the neighbor, who may well view the same question in such a way as to affect faith itself. For example, Paul was confident that Christian freedom meant the Gospel of Jesus Christ was not at stake in questions of meat sacrificed to idols or the rituals of holy days (Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8:10–14 and 10:23–30). Yet he insisted that, if a brother or sister did not understand this freedom and saw eating this meat as idolatry to a pagan god, the Christian was obligated to “walk in love” by eating just vegetables for the neighbor’s sake (Romans 14:17–20)!
     This social statement draws upon this rich understanding of the role of conscience and calls upon this church, when in disagreement concerning matters around which salvation is not at stake, including human sexuality, to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), honor the conscience, and seek the well-being of the neighbor.


What is unclear about this?

If thinking for yourself constitutes heresy, then Jesus, Paul, Luther, and Bonhoeffer were all heretics--God bless 'em, and may their tribe increase!

First, Pastor Ruby used the term HETERODOXY not HERESY.  There is a distinction, John.

Second, I don't think anyone ever charged Bonhoeffer with either heresy nor heterodoxy.  If you read Bonhoeffer you find that he is reliably and solidly Orthodox and Lutheran.  So, I'm not sure why he is on your list.

Third, "Thinking for Yourself" is a mis-nomer and a dangerous thing.  As social psychologists say, nobody really ever "thinks for themselves..." but our thinking is conditioned by those around us.  Jesus, for example, says that he does not speak "for himself" but in the Father.  Paul refers to the Church as a "Body" in which every part relies upon the other part, hence one cannot "think for him/herself."  Luther called the Church of his day back into faithfulness with the Apostolic Church, not into independence or self-dependence.    Actually, to think completely "for yourself" does lead into heresy, at least frequently, because you determine your own judgments to be superior to those around you.

Some truly "free thinkers" who "thought for themselves": Jim Jones, Arius, and Montanus to name a few.

I prefer to think, whenever possible, "With the mind of the Church."

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

John_Hannah

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #2515 on: August 11, 2010, 03:32:42 PM »
Or, to do the radical thing of putting the most charitable construction on the comments of a fellow Christian: Perhaps the bishop actually believed the pension and/or housing was somehow in peril (ignorance abounds, even among the episcopate) and was doing his or her duty and caring for the welfare of the pastor talking about leaving. So it was not a "threat" at all, but honest concern.

It's hard to be all that charitable when you have heard such "concerns" raised so many times - both regarding pensions and property issues - at critical times when pastors and congregations are considering leaving.  It has all the appearances of a strategy (not just a tactic even).

If such things had only been heard a couple times in the last several years I might be so charitable.  But instead this is one of the things we put into the "FAQ" on things to consider when leaving ... it's likely that you will hear your bishop or synod official say ...

There was a time when pastors who left the LCMS lost their pensions. That happened to a colleague in Colorado. However, the rules are changed now.


Not after 5 years of service; not after 1974, at least, probably going back to the beginning of the Concordia Plans in 1965.

Peace, JOHN HANNAH
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #2516 on: August 11, 2010, 03:34:44 PM »

This has everything to do with understanding bound-conscience as my church is using the term.

Given that the Task Force had one understanding when it established the concept, that the Church Council offered a different understanding when it altered the Task Force's recommendations, that Prof. Wengert and other theologians offered yet more understandings (which all seemed more related to whether or not they already approved of clergy in same-sex relationships) prior to and during the CWA, that after the CWA adopted the term as part of its decisions the Church Council then sought a study of it, that to whom (or which of the interdependent expressions of the ELCA) the concept does and does not apply keeps becoming a more and more selective group, and that the use of the concept fits neither the Biblical nor Reformation use of similar terms which rooted the conscience in a very specific thing... well,

this thread is about churches voting to leave the ELCA.  Maybe we could return to focussing on that and return the "bound conscience" argument to one of the myriad of threads dedicated to argument.

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hillwilliam

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #2517 on: August 11, 2010, 05:30:34 PM »
Brian, you wouldnn't object to this definition, because it suits your understanding of the issue at hand...let everyone think as they please, have no standard or rule, and be of two minds.

The endnote definition makes a clear distinction between matters of salvation and "matters around which salvation is not at stake." Thus it is not giving everyone the freedom to think as they please. It is not removing one iota from the standard of salvation.

The approach of bound consciences and homosexual relationships begins with deciding if it is a matter of salvation. Our Statement and approach is that it is not a matter around which salvation is at stake. You may disagree, and then the bound conscience approach no longer applies.

Iota, is that something like one letter or one stroke of a letter?

Matthew 5:18

George Erdner

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #2518 on: August 11, 2010, 05:35:11 PM »

This has everything to do with understanding bound-conscience as my church is using the term.

Given that the Task Force had one understanding when it established the concept, that the Church Council offered a different understanding when it altered the Task Force's recommendations, that Prof. Wengert and other theologians offered yet more understandings (which all seemed more related to whether or not they already approved of clergy in same-sex relationships) prior to and during the CWA, that after the CWA adopted the term as part of its decisions the Church Council then sought a study of it, that to whom (or which of the interdependent expressions of the ELCA) the concept does and does not apply keeps becoming a more and more selective group, and that the use of the concept fits neither the Biblical nor Reformation use of similar terms which rooted the conscience in a very specific thing... well,

this thread is about churches voting to leave the ELCA.  Maybe we could return to focussing on that and return the "bound conscience" argument to one of the myriad of threads dedicated to argument.

spt+

The thread title is "The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up." (emphasis added) misunderstanding of what "bound conscience" means is one of the major issues that need to be "followed up", since that is so critical to congregations making the decision to leave or stay.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up.
« Reply #2519 on: August 11, 2010, 06:09:22 PM »
Not after 5 years of service; not after 1974, at least, probably going back to the beginning of the Concordia Plans in 1965.

I believe that he left shortly before 1974. He told me directly that leaving meant giving up his pension.
"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]