Author Topic: NALC constitution  (Read 9042 times)

Rev. Spaceman

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NALC constitution
« on: July 23, 2010, 04:55:18 PM »
The provisional constitution for the NALC has been released for review.  Comments...

http://www.lutherancore.org/pdf/NALC-draft-provisional-constitution.pdf

Nothing too surprising, in my opinion.  I see the prohibition of belonging to the Masons is included.  I like the idea of General Secretary.
Rev. Thomas E. Jacobson, Ph.D

Revbert

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Re: NALC constitution
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2010, 09:26:34 PM »
Ah, excuse me, but that provision, 4.05, is NOT a prohibition on Freemasonry any more than it is a prohibition on fraternities or sororities. It is also an identical provision to one in Section 7 of the ELCA constitution.

I have studied and written a great deal on the topic of Freemasonry (my master's thesis was on colonial Freemasonry as a social institution).  I have studied many of its rituals in great detail.

To say that Freemasonry offers salvation is to completely mis-describe the fraternity and its teachings.

The real problem with this provision in both constitutions is that there is no real definition of the situations in which it would be applied (although Freemasonry is the prime target when invoked), and that most of the folks who would demand its application don't have a clue as to what they are talking about in regard to the teachings of Freemasonry.

Do some Freemasons act like the fraternity is more important than their house of worship? Yes. Then again, many Christians act like golf and sleeping is more important than their house of worship, too. Neither is correct.

Charles_Austin

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Re: NALC constitution
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2010, 10:08:58 PM »
Then surely you know, Pastor Hebbeler, that those words about groups that claim to possess "that which the Lord has given solely to His Church" are indeed intended to refer to Freemasonry. They might refer to some other groups as well, but Freemasonry was the main reference. That provision was included in the LCA constitution at the insistence of the former Augustana Synod.
Freemasonry offers a theology of salvation along with a definite view of who God is and how God relates to humanity. Plus, as a "secret society" it practices a kind of exclusivism that ought to be abhorrent to Christians.
Agreed that many members of the various orders of Freemasonry do not take its theology seriously, but one must subscribe to it and make solemn vows to protect and defend it in order to join and participate.
This humble correspondent was a member of the Order of DeMolay, the Masonic organization for teenage boys, and held several offices in my chapter. I was offered the Chevalier degree and had a sponsor who was to take me into the Blue Lodge of adult Masonry, but refused it and resigned from the order because I had concluded that the LC-MS was correct about Freemasonry. (How about that, folks?) Its theology and practice are such that Lutherans should not take part.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2010, 10:25:38 PM by Charles_Austin »

peter_speckhard

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Re: NALC constitution
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2010, 10:20:15 PM »
Then surely you know, Pastor Hebbeler, that those words about groups that claim to possess "that which the Lord has given solely to His Church" are indeed intended to refer to Freemasonry. It might refer to some other groups as well, but Freemasonry was the main reference. That provision was included in the LCA constitution at the insistence of the former Augustana Synod.
Freemasonry offers a theology of salvation along with a definite view of who God is and how God relates to humanity. Plus, as a "secret society" it practices a kind of exclusivism that ought to be abhorrent to Christians.
Agreed that many members of the various orders of Freemasonry do not take its theology seriously, but one must subscribe to it in order to join and participate.
This humble correspondent was a member of the Order of DeMolay and held several offices in my chapter. I was offered the Chevalier degree, but refused it and resigned from the order because I had concluded that the LC-MS was correct about Freemasonry. (How about that, folks?) Its theology and practice are such that Lutherans should not take part.

I agree with Charles. I once had an elder who was something like a fifth or sixth generation Mason. He had joined out church via marriage and apparently never been asked about Lodge membership, but when it came up tangentially in a Bible study he asked me about it and after our study of the matter together he resigned from the Lodge.

Richard Johnson

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Re: NALC constitution
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2010, 10:45:06 PM »
I also agree with Charles. And the language about "given solely to His church" were also in the ALC constitution--at least I know they are in our (former ALC) constitution. I don't believe they are in the model ELCA constitution for congregations, but at my insistence we kept them in even when we went to the ELCA model.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Chuck

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Re: NALC constitution
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2010, 10:56:46 PM »
I don't believe they are in the model ELCA constitution for congregations, ...

Correct as usual. However, since pastors are subject to the ELCA constitution and the provision is there in Chapter 7, dealing with the ordained ministry, it could be argued to be redundant. At the same time, many congregations, mainly former ALC and some former Augustana, retained provisions in bylaws with similar language and/or forbidding such ceremonies on the church's property.
Chuck Ruthroff

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pr dtp

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Re: NALC constitution
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2010, 10:58:32 PM »
The section on the bishop is pretty interesting....

Chuck

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Re: NALC constitution
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2010, 11:01:57 PM »
Sadly, no three-fold office. Oh, well.
Chuck Ruthroff

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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: NALC constitution
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2010, 11:35:29 PM »
Ah, excuse me, but that provision, 4.05, is NOT a prohibition on Freemasonry any more than it is a prohibition on fraternities or sororities. It is also an identical provision to one in Section 7 of the ELCA constitution.

I have studied and written a great deal on the topic of Freemasonry (my master's thesis was on colonial Freemasonry as a social institution).  I have studied many of its rituals in great detail.


For this provision of the ELCA Constitution, Art, your studies were of the wrong subject.  The proper subject is the merger of the Augustana and United Lutheran Churches, and there you will learn that the provision is particularly a reference to Freemasonry. 

Pax, Steven+
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Rev. Spaceman

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Re: NALC constitution
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2010, 12:14:56 AM »
My understanding was that the ALC allowed its pastors to be Masons and the LCA did not.  The issue of Lodge membership (referring to the Masons, not the Moose or Elks) was a big deal at the time when the Missouri Synod was talking about altar and pulpit fellowship with the ALC.  I don't know how the decision was made when the ELCA was formed.  Perhaps someone more familiar with the merger might have some insight on this.

For the record, Pr. Hebbeler, I wasn't making any judgment statement on the Masons, simply stating that the prohibition in the constitution is commonly understood to refer to the Masons, similar to how the note in our funeral service "the rites and orders of fraternal societies have no place in the service of the church" is commonly understood to refer to the Masons.  It would include some other things, but practically speaking, let's be honest and acknowledge that the "fraternal society" that we will be dealing with in ministry will almost always be the Masons. 
Rev. Thomas E. Jacobson, Ph.D

George Erdner

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Re: NALC constitution
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2010, 12:32:30 AM »
The only thing that gave me pause was the process for creating Regional subdivisions. It strikes me that in leaving to the congregations to decide where to hook up with each other, and leaving it to the regional subdivisions to do the things listed in 11.02. I fear that leaves too big an opening for the kind of chaos that reigns in the ELCA when one moves from synod to synod. If it is right and proper to do things using one organizational pattern in one regional subdivision, it should be right and proper to do things using the same organizational pattern in the others. That still would leave plenty of room for taking into account the specific needs of regional subdivisions.

It also seems a bit silly to retain this language in 5.01. "which shall include persons serving as Associates in Ministry, Deaconesses, Diaconal Ministers and other lay vocations". It made a little bit of sense to maintain the different terms for fundamentally the same office from the LCA, ALC, and AELC when the ELCA was formed. It doesn't make sense to perpetuate multiple terms for that office for the NALC. For the sake of good order, they would do better to pick one of the terms and use it and it alone. If there are going to be multiple lay ministries, they should be defined first or not at all.

I could see how a case could be made for a two-level lay ministry model with a volunteer ministry vocation similar to the SWPA synod's "Aaron's Ministry" program or the "Stephens Ministers" and a second, professional career level ministry vocation that required only a Bachelor's degree. If that's what they want, give the volunteer ministry vocation one name, and the professional career ministry vocation another. 

I'm glad to see that they resisted any temptation to adopt the threefold ministry of the ancient Roman Church.

Charles_Austin

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Re: NALC constitution
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2010, 12:37:09 AM »
Mr. Erdner:
I'm glad to see that they resisted any temptation to adopt the threefold ministry of the ancient Roman Church.
Me:
That order is, of course, also present in the modern Roman Catholic Church, the modern Episcopal Church, and some Lutheran churches. Some of us, including people in this discussion who think that I am nearly always full of beans, wish - as I do - that we had it in the ELCA.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: NALC constitution
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2010, 12:39:05 AM »
My understanding was that the ALC allowed its pastors to be Masons and the LCA did not. 

No. I don't remember the exact wording in the ALC model constitution, but it prohibited pastors from participating in lodge services -- thus we could not be Masons.
"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]

George Erdner

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Re: NALC constitution
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2010, 12:40:51 AM »
Mr. Erdner:
I'm glad to see that they resisted any temptation to adopt the threefold ministry of the ancient Roman Church.
Me:
That order is, of course, also present in the modern Roman Catholic Church, the modern Episcopal Church, and some Lutheran churches. Some of us, including people in this discussion who think that I am nearly always full of beans, wish - as I do - that we had it in the ELCA.


I see. So are you telling me that the three-fold ministry in the current, modern Roman Catholic Church is not a continuation of the threefold ministry of the ancient Roman Church? Are you telling me that it is a new thing, and not an old tradition started in the early centuries of the Church of Rome?

Or are you simply "correcting" where no error exists?

Kevin C.

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Re: NALC constitution
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2010, 02:11:10 AM »
Quote
Quote from: Charles_Austin on Today at 12:37:09 AM
Mr. Erdner:
I'm glad to see that they resisted any temptation to adopt the threefold ministry of the ancient Roman Church.
Me:
That order is, of course, also present in the modern Roman Catholic Church, the modern Episcopal Church, and some Lutheran churches. Some of us, including people in this discussion who think that I am nearly always full of beans, wish - as I do - that we had it in the ELCA.


George:
I see. So are you telling me that the three-fold ministry in the current, modern Roman Catholic Church is not a continuation of the threefold ministry of the ancient Roman Church? Are you telling me that it is a new thing, and not an old tradition started in the early centuries of the Church of Rome?

Or are you simply "correcting" where no error exists?

Okay, I know it's late.  And normally I don't get involved in these personal disputes.  But unless I am really dense, which could very well be, George, I think you need to re-read what Charles wrote.  It made complete sense to me.  He wasn't correcting you at all.  He just pointed out that the 3 fold ministry is still being used in the modern church, just as it was in the ancient church as you had stated.

Kevin