Author Topic: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.  (Read 11659 times)

George Erdner

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #60 on: October 23, 2010, 01:01:39 AM »
Actually, notice the difference? The one I cited actually quotes official ELCA documents.

No, what I noticed that the "official" documents you referred to didn't address the detail issues that were covered on the other "chapter" webpages in the overall page. As I noted in a reply to Austin, "The only difference is that Pastor Johnson posted a link to the general statement of overall core belief, while the pages on the details are other "chapters" in the same basic webpage." 

So, I'm find myself at the same "damned if I do and damned if I don't" place I'm often in. If I write too little, I'm misunderstood. If I write enough to be through, then others kvetch over my posts being too long.

So, to return to the original Gneiso comparison, they compared several different subject areas. They were:

The Bible
Trinity
Holy Spirit
Creation
Justification
The Resurrection of Jesus
The Virgin Birth of Jesus
The Devil
Church Fellowship
Abortion
Homosexuality
Women’s Ordination

The page you linked to with the "official" documents didn't address some of those points. So, where can we find the official documents that do? Even the issues that they do address are pithy little telegrams that conceal as much as they reveal. Each statement begs the question, "What does this mean?". The statements that Genios quoted are the ELCA's answers to those "What does this mean" questions.

I'm not asking you to do my research for me. I am content to accept what the ELCA publishes on their own website as accurate. That's the ELCA's public witness to the world, posted on the World Wide Web. Frankly, if they post inaccurate information about matters of faith like the topic presented in the comparison, that could be seen as an even bigger problem than some of their other issues.

Or, we could look at it another way, and presume that if that brief little summary is all that the ELCA really teaches, and there is no need for depth or detail or asking "What does this mean", then whatever each individual person interprets those statements as meaning is just as good as what any other person interprets. Since that brief little "Statement of Faith", though official, doesn't mention women's ordination, homosexuality, abortion, the devil, church fellowship, or justification, then that means the ELCA has no "official" teachings on those subjects, right?

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #61 on: October 23, 2010, 01:54:00 AM »
Let me just say, denial is not a river in Egypt.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
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Ah, thank you, Father.  I needed that about now!   ;)

Pax, Steven+
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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #62 on: October 23, 2010, 01:56:45 AM »
And based on what Pastor Johnson posted as the link to the "official" information, it's the same basic webpage.

That's like saying Mercury and Mars are the same basic planet.

spt+
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swbohler

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #63 on: October 23, 2010, 07:55:57 AM »
"The logic of your argument, Paul, forgive me, but it is bearing an unsettling resemblance to the pre-time out Paul McCain." -- Rev. Johnson, moderator


Bohler: "A veiled threat?  Or simple observation (or maybe, an Austinian 'interpretation')?"


Johnson: "Or perhaps a cautionary word to a Christian brother who has previously admitted, quite honorably, that his 'time out' had caused him to reflect on and consequently try to change his previous attitude.

But I suppose interpreting it that way would require you to exercise the 8th commandment."
______________________________

That street runs both ways, brother. 
 
 
 

ptmccain

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #64 on: October 23, 2010, 07:56:43 AM »
Perhaps, without intending to, the Gnesio folks have underscored the true problem facing the ELCA.

The ELCA constitution refers to historic Scripture, creeds and confessions and says this is what the ELCA believes.

But, in reality, as sadly demonstrated on the ELCA web site, the very things said to be believed, are subject to severe doubt, distortion, contradiction and even outright denial, in the institutions and leadership structure of the ELCA, as evidenced by the ELCA's official web site posting statements of faith that are diametrically opposed, at many points, to the historic doctrinal standards mentioned in the ELCA constitution. We are all aware of how extensively such things have been taught, for a very long time, to up and coming ELCA pastors throughout the ELCA's seminaries.

Therefore, if we grant Richard's point—and upon further reflection, I'm more than willing to do that—that the Gnesio folks are not quoting from "official" statements of the ELCA, we have an even ore disturbing reality to deal with, in any number of ways, documented for all to see on the ELCA web site.


Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. Kyrie eleison.


« Last Edit: October 23, 2010, 08:02:24 AM by ptmccain »

Charles_Austin

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #65 on: October 23, 2010, 08:07:32 AM »
Mr. Erdner wrote, (when I suggested that there are plenty of ELCA pastors here who can provide honest, first-hand faithful information about what the ELCA is):
I won't speak for the others, but you haven't given a clear, accurate answer to any questions of that type for as long as I've been a participant in here. Asking you anything is a royal waste of time.

I respond:
The answers have been provided. You just don't like them and refuse to believe them. So leave me out of the loop. Ask those questions to all the other ELCA pastors here. Ask in the same tone and with the same level of decency that you use when you pose those questions to me and see what happens. Respond in your usual way, a way that seems to irritate even those who might agree with you on some points. You have already barked at our moderator for his reasoned response, so I think I know what will happen.
Done. Headed off to watch my granddaughter play hockey.


kls

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #66 on: October 23, 2010, 08:40:08 AM »
Or perhaps a cautionary word to a Christian brother who has previously admitted, quite honorably, that his "time out" had caused him to reflect on and consequently try to change his previous attitude.

But I suppose interpreting it that way would require you to exercise the 8th commandment.

Where exactly would one find the official rules as to what language/behavior warrants getting a time-out on this site?  I am still new, admittedly, but there is quite a bit of noticeable leniency applied to some and not others in this regard (and implied threats made).   It would be nice to see the "lesser ban" applied more consistently to ALL who misbehave according to what I perceive at the moment (until I'm more adequately informed) as arbitrary rules.  Just in case I want to get a little crazy and start upping the rhetoric I use a little (the Deaconess behaving badly, if you will), it would be nice to know what those limits are.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2010, 08:41:44 AM by Kim Schave »

Matt

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #67 on: October 23, 2010, 09:12:01 AM »
I don't envy the position of moderator.

The general rule in these type of things is that the moderator rules as czar within his domain. If he is too restrictive or biased than the discussion will migrate to a different forum with a different moderator. The job is, by its nature, arbitrary.

I don't know whether Pr. McCain's timeout was well-deserved or not, but I think he is one of the most informed and insightful contributors here. His exile made the ALPB boards a poorer place. On the other side, there are some very prolific commenters that I wish were not here. In most cases, I just don't read their posts.

So I favor moderation with a light hand, which is generally what we get here. I don't think it is possible or necessary to draw up a comprehensive list of rules.


kls

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #68 on: October 23, 2010, 09:20:25 AM »
I don't envy the position of moderator.

The general rule in these type of things is that the moderator rules as czar within his domain. If he is too restrictive or biased than the discussion will migrate to a different forum with a different moderator. The job is, by its nature, arbitrary.

I don't know whether Pr. McCain's timeout was well-deserved or not, but I think he is one of the most informed and insightful contributors here. His exile made the ALPB boards a poorer place. On the other side, there are some very prolific commenters that I wish were not here. In most cases, I just don't read their posts.

So I favor moderation with a light hand, which is generally what we get here. I don't think it is possible or necessary to draw up a comprehensive list of rules.



So poster beware, I suppose.  What is good for one might not be good for another.  Got it.  I surely don't envy the task of the moderator either.  I suppose I'd better keep my behavior in check the best I can then.   ;)  I was brand new when ptmccain was put on time-out, but it sure did seem boring without him, too.  I suppose if we don't like the rules, we can just leave the forum.  Got that, too.

George Erdner

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #69 on: October 23, 2010, 09:50:33 AM »
And based on what Pastor Johnson posted as the link to the "official" information, it's the same basic webpage.

That's like saying Mercury and Mars are the same basic planet.

spt+

And that is a red herring worthy of Stoffregen.

Perhaps, without intending to, the Gnesio folks have underscored the true problem facing the ELCA.

The ELCA constitution refers to historic Scripture, creeds and confessions and says this is what the ELCA believes.

But, in reality, as sadly demonstrated on the ELCA web site, the very things said to be believed, are subject to severe doubt, distortion, contradiction and even outright denial, in the institutions and leadership structure of the ELCA, as evidenced by the ELCA's official web site posting statements of faith that are diametrically opposed, at many points, to the historic doctrinal standards mentioned in the ELCA constitution. We are all aware of how extensively such things have been taught, for a very long time, to up and coming ELCA pastors throughout the ELCA's seminaries.

Therefore, if we grant Richard's point—and upon further reflection, I'm more than willing to do that—that the Gnesio folks are not quoting from "official" statements of the ELCA, we have an even ore disturbing reality to deal with, in any number of ways, documented for all to see on the ELCA web site.


Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. Kyrie eleison.




That bolded line is the best summary of the whole problem I've seen. The ELCA defenders make a great deal of noise about the material on the issues raised not being "official", yet they cannot point to any official source because there is none. It would appear that the ELCA just makes it up as it goes along.

And now Austin will make a churlish "Mr. Erdner said" response, but it will not include any sort of link to any official statements of the ELCA that address those points, because he can't. They apparently do not exist.

Team Hesse

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #70 on: October 23, 2010, 10:43:52 AM »
So the site is run by people with a natural hostility to what the ELCA is. Fine.It's a free country.


Very revelatory. Two recent graduates of the ELCA's flagship seminary are considered " naturally hostile" to the parent denomination. Something is obviously askew on the good ship ELCA.

Lou

Richard Johnson

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #71 on: October 23, 2010, 11:51:05 AM »
"The only difference is that Pastor Johnson posted a link to the general statement of overall core belief, while the pages on the details are other "chapters" in the same basic webpage." 
. . .
So, to return to the original Gneiso comparison, they compared several different subject areas. They were:

The Bible
Trinity
Holy Spirit
Creation
Justification
The Resurrection of Jesus
The Virgin Birth of Jesus
The Devil
Church Fellowship
Abortion
Homosexuality
Women’s Ordination

The page you linked to with the "official" documents didn't address some of those points. So, where can we find the official documents that do?

OK, let me try to be more helpful:

(1) There still is a very pronounced difference between the page I cited and the others; the page I cited are the actual words from the ELCA confession of faith, and as such they represent an actual and official statement.
(2) ALL the other pages are simply some Chicago functionary's expression, and they have no official status, are not binding, could not be used to accuse someone of heresy.
(3) One difference between ELCA and LCMS is that ELCA is rather minimalist when it comes to making doctrinal and theological statements. They have nothing comparable to the LCMS Commission on Theology or whatever they call it. Unfortunate, but the way it is.
(4) Part of the ELCA's heritage is the old Iowa synod, which had a philosophy of "open questions"--theological questions which, while important, are not dogmatically settled, and thus allow for different interpretations. So the ELCA does not demand doctrinal uniformity on all the issues you mention. There really is no "ELCA position."
(5) On the other hand, the "official" page I cite pledges us, after a fashion at least, to the ecumenical creeds and the Lutheran confessions. Most of the topics you mention are discussed at length there, and are the ELCA teaching. The ELCA has not found it profitable to reiterate every doctrinal teaching found in the Confessions in some denominational statement.
(6) I acknowledge that this is a "generous" interpretation, at least in the minds of some, and that for many of us the ELCA has strayed rather badly from really living up to the teachings it claims as its own.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

A Catholic Lutheran

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #72 on: October 23, 2010, 12:00:17 PM »
Pastor Kliner writes:
The trouble is that the "ELCA's own description of itself" may or, as likely as not, not be accurate.  Sometimes the best answer as to who somebody is does not come from themselves, but others who can answer the question from an outside perspective.  Hence why you have to provide other references when you apply for a job and I never trust anybody's "personal" ads on a dating site...
I comment:
The official documents say what they say. They are accurate.
You may have more experience with "personal ads" on a dating site than I do, but I don't see the parallel.

Pastor Kliner writes:
The funny thing is, the more ELCA parishes people get to know, the more confused people tend to get.  We have become such a broad and divergent group, it is almost impossible to get any common thread between 20-30 congregations besides generics.  Weekly celebration of the Sacrament, monthly, or even less?  "Traditional," "Contemporary," or some other variety of worship?  
I comment:
What confusion? We are diverse. Congregations are not all alike. Worship services are not lock-step uniform. What is wrong with this? Some LC-MS congregations practice closed communion, some do not. Does this alone make the LC-MS "confusing"?

Pastor Kliner writes:
Yet, no matter where the "source" comes from, you traditionally don't brook any negative critique of the ELCA...  Which all brings us back to the beginning again.
I respond:
Actually, I brook quite a lot. But I have little tolerance for silly, uninformed criticism or for the "gotcha-bombs" hurled by people like "Lutherman" or the sniping by those who have - sometimes years ago - left the ELCA in a snit.

A few points:
First, my simple point is that people, either intentionally or unintentionally, misrepresent themselves all the time.  Maybe they really "think" that they are more handsome or beautiful than they really are.  Maybe they really think that they are "humble" and "modest" when, in fact they are anything but.  So, what the ELCA says about herself is simply that.... what she says about herself.  But, as others have repeatedly noted, what she apparently thinks about herself may not, in fact be accurate.  (By the way, if you're looking for such an oppinion from within the ELCA herself, I refer you to the decision at the 2010 Synod Assembly of the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod that decisively stated that the CWA 2009 decisions around homosexuality were, in fact, in opposition to the ELCA's and the Synod's consitution.  Or, in other words, what the Synod and the ELCA are "saying about themselves" is contradicted by our own actions...)

Second, if you don't think there is literal confusion about the ELCA out there, you do need to get out and talk to clergy of other denominations.  The plethora of contradicting practices and beliefs within the ELCA leaves many of us inside and a whole lot of people outside the ELCA confused about "What the ELCA really believes..."  I cited worship practices as an example, but maybe just as telling could be questions about "What the ELCA believes about Jesus in the Sacrament of Holy Communion?" or "What does the ELCA believe about salvation and damnation?" or  "What does the ELCA believe about ecumenism?"  I could go on, but I won't...

Finally, you consistentlty misunderstand... perhaps deliberatlely I wonder?... about the motivations about those who are leaving.  They are not leaving "in a snit."  This is not a "kerfuffle."  What has occurred inside the ELCA is a schism, not merely among those who have or are leaving, but also between those who hold to the orthodox faith that was handed down to us and the ELCA which is bravely pioneering a different way.

Pax Christi;
Pr.  Jerry Kliner, STS
« Last Edit: October 23, 2010, 12:02:51 PM by A Catholic Lutheran »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #73 on: October 23, 2010, 12:20:36 PM »
From our official Confession of Faith.

So, to return to the original Gneiso comparison, they compared several different subject areas. They were:

The Bible

2.02.c. The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God. Inspired by God's Spirit speaking through their authors, they record and announce God's revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them God's Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world.

2.03. This church accepts the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith, and life.


Quote
Trinity

2.01. This church confesses the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

2.04. This church accepts the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the faith of this church.


Quote
Holy Spirit

2.02.c. The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God. Inspired by God's Spirit speaking through their authors, they record and announce God's revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them God's Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world.

2.04. This church accepts the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the faith of this congregation.


Quote
Creation

2.04. This church accepts the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the faith of this congregation.

2.06. This church accepts the other confessional writings in the Book of Concord, namely, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, as further valid interpretations of the faith of the Church.


Consider, especially, Luther's explanation to the First Article of the Creed.

Quote
Justification

2.05. This church accepts the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel, acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.

Consider, especially, Article IV on justification -- also in the Apology.

Quote
The Resurrection of Jesus
The Virgin Birth of Jesus

2.04. This church accepts the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the faith of this church.

Quote
The Devil
Church Fellowship
Abortion
Homosexuality
Women’s Ordination

As the earliest Christians defined the faith in the creeds without mentioning these issues, so we too, confess our Christian faith without requiring uniformity of beliefs on these and many other issues.

For a summary of what the ELCA believes:

2.07. This church confesses the Gospel, recorded in the Holy Scriptures and confessed in the ecumenical creeds and Lutheran confessional writings, as the power of God to create and sustain the Church for God's mission in the world.
"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: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #74 on: October 23, 2010, 12:27:05 PM »
"The only difference is that Pastor Johnson posted a link to the general statement of overall core belief, while the pages on the details are other "chapters" in the same basic webpage." 
. . .
So, to return to the original Gneiso comparison, they compared several different subject areas. They were:

The Bible
Trinity
Holy Spirit
Creation
Justification
The Resurrection of Jesus
The Virgin Birth of Jesus
The Devil
Church Fellowship
Abortion
Homosexuality
Women’s Ordination

The page you linked to with the "official" documents didn't address some of those points. So, where can we find the official documents that do?

OK, let me try to be more helpful:

(1) There still is a very pronounced difference between the page I cited and the others; the page I cited are the actual words from the ELCA confession of faith, and as such they represent an actual and official statement.
(2) ALL the other pages are simply some Chicago functionary's expression, and they have no official status, are not binding, could not be used to accuse someone of heresy.
(3) One difference between ELCA and LCMS is that ELCA is rather minimalist when it comes to making doctrinal and theological statements. They have nothing comparable to the LCMS Commission on Theology or whatever they call it. Unfortunate, but the way it is.
(4) Part of the ELCA's heritage is the old Iowa synod, which had a philosophy of "open questions"--theological questions which, while important, are not dogmatically settled, and thus allow for different interpretations. So the ELCA does not demand doctrinal uniformity on all the issues you mention. There really is no "ELCA position."
(5) On the other hand, the "official" page I cite pledges us, after a fashion at least, to the ecumenical creeds and the Lutheran confessions. Most of the topics you mention are discussed at length there, and are the ELCA teaching. The ELCA has not found it profitable to reiterate every doctrinal teaching found in the Confessions in some denominational statement.
(6) I acknowledge that this is a "generous" interpretation, at least in the minds of some, and that for many of us the ELCA has strayed rather badly from really living up to the teachings it claims as its own.

But what does that mean?