Author Topic: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.  (Read 13285 times)

Scott6

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #165 on: October 25, 2010, 08:02:53 AM »
V&E and the traditional understanding of Scripture, perhaps uniquely, view homosexual behavior without context. Sexuality is defined as a gift to be used appropriately. Appropriateness is defined in terms of the interpersonal dynamic between the sexual partners, except for gays who are ALWAYS prohibited from sexual behavior.

Yet this is how Scripture approaches the topic of homosexual behavior in that, in places like Rom 1, what is in view is the behavior itself, regardless of context.  Scripture does not treat heterosexual sexual behavior in the same way.  I.e., Scripture approaches the idea of what is "appropriate" for the two phenomena differently; so on this point, V&E is simply following Scripture's lead.

I also recognize that the above position is debatable, but that does not make it wrong.

Is there be a position that it's not possible to debate?  ???  ;)

peter_speckhard

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #166 on: October 25, 2010, 11:15:57 AM »
I think the RC explanation of the relationship between orientation and act captures the point well by referring to homosexual attraction as "objectively disordered desire." In other words, the act is always wrong because the desire to perform the act is, unlike normal human functions like eating and "mating", only a result of the fall. It is therefore, unlike eating done by sinners, or sleeping, or marrying, or most common actions performed by sinners, not redeemable. Those who do it are redeemable, of course, by repentance and faith, but the act itself is not something that can be "baptized" and made holy again, like eating and marrying, because the act itself is a sign of the fall. Nobody is saying the desire isn't sincere. The question of whether people were born that way is moot. Nobody is saying it is simple not to engage in something your whole being cries out to do. Nobody is saying homosexuals per se are worse than other people or that their sin is worse. They're saying that sodomy, as an act, is not redeemable, whereas heterosuexual sex between married people is redeemable. It is like idol worship. Idol worshippers are redeemable, but idol worship is not; it, like sodomy, has no legitimate place in the Christian life. 

MaddogLutheran

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #167 on: October 25, 2010, 11:18:22 AM »
[snip]
What is the argument that you see in our older disciplinary documents for prohibiting homosexual pastors from sexual relationships?
I refer my honorable friend to the reply I gave some moments ago.  I'm not pursuing this further, in no small part because you are doing again what I objected to previously, which makes dialog impossible.

I think my question is pretty clear. I state that our older (as well as the newer) documents offer no biblical arguments for our policy in regard to homosexuals. You seem to state that they do. I'm asking for evidence that you apparently see and I don't.
I fully acknowledge that your question was clear.  I'm trying to be equally clear that it's a question that doesn't need an answer, which I explained previously.  Having quickly re-scanned the new V&E, I found no biblical arguments in support of the requirement "to live in fidelity to their spouses, giving expression to sexual intimacy within a marriage relationship that is mutual, chaste, and faithful" either.  As I have been told, those sorts of biblical justifications rightly belong in an ELCA social statement, not implementing regulations.
 
Let me be equally clear here that I'm addressing the narrow issue of ELCA policy implementation and its foundations.  Even though I disagree with your arguments about PALMS, there is room for discussion up to a point (even if you are ultimately wrong  ::) ).  My point has been and remains that it is intellectually dishonest to pretend that there is not an obvious scriptural reason why all homosexual acts were ruled out of bounds by the original V&E and in the predecessor bodies, even if they were not written down.  Pr. Yakimow addresses that in his above post.  In my previous, I made the point that advocates for change made sure that predecessor body statements which were more explicit carried no official status within the new ELCA, supposedly leaving the question unanswered.

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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #168 on: October 25, 2010, 12:06:40 PM »
V&E and the traditional understanding of Scripture, perhaps uniquely, view homosexual behavior without context. Sexuality is defined as a gift to be used appropriately. Appropriateness is defined in terms of the interpersonal dynamic between the sexual partners, except for gays who are ALWAYS prohibited from sexual behavior.

Yet this is how Scripture approaches the topic of homosexual behavior in that, in places like Rom 1, what is in view is the behavior itself, regardless of context.  Scripture does not treat heterosexual sexual behavior in the same way.  I.e., Scripture approaches the idea of what is "appropriate" for the two phenomena differently; so on this point, V&E is simply following Scripture's lead.

Except that Romans 1 is clearly talking about the behavior of those who "did not honor him as God or give thanks to him" and "exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rater than the Creator". Romans 1 is not addressed to Christians. Paul is not talking about folks who honor and thank God as God and worship and serve God as our Creator rather than idols.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2010, 12:08:41 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"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: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #169 on: October 25, 2010, 12:19:50 PM »
V&E and the traditional understanding of Scripture, perhaps uniquely, view homosexual behavior without context. Sexuality is defined as a gift to be used appropriately. Appropriateness is defined in terms of the interpersonal dynamic between the sexual partners, except for gays who are ALWAYS prohibited from sexual behavior.

Yet this is how Scripture approaches the topic of homosexual behavior in that, in places like Rom 1, what is in view is the behavior itself, regardless of context.  Scripture does not treat heterosexual sexual behavior in the same way.  I.e., Scripture approaches the idea of what is "appropriate" for the two phenomena differently; so on this point, V&E is simply following Scripture's lead.

Except that Romans 1 is clearly talking about the behavior of those who "did not honor him as God or give thanks to him" and "exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rater than the Creator". Romans 1 is not addressed to Christians. Paul is not talking about folks who honor and thank God as God and worship and serve God as our Creator rather than idols.

To save time from the normal repetition, see the below quote.  The last paragraph speaks to the point you made (again):

You may not be getting many takers because this topic has been discussed to death on ALPB.  Really.  To death.  I could link literally thousands of posts around "The Issue" (which is ultimately about scriptural interpretation, btw).

But to enter this discussion again, let's just look at one passage for now, Rom 1:26-27:

26 Διὰ τοῦτο παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς εἰς πάθη ἀτιμίας, αἵ τε γὰρ θήλειαι αὐτῶν μετήλλαξαν τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν εἰς τὴν παρὰ φύσιν, 27 ὁμοίως τε καὶ οἱ ἄρσενες ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας ἐξεκαύθησαν ἐν τῇ ὀρέξει αὐτῶν εἰς ἀλλήλους, ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσιν τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην κατεργαζόμενοι καὶ τὴν ἀντιμισθίαν ἣν ἔδει τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἀπολαμβάνοντες.

Here we note that vs. 26 speaks of women giving up of "natural relations" (τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν) for those "against nature" (εἰς τὴν παρὰ φύσιν).  Though vs. 26 doesn't explicitly say this is women having relations with women, vs. 27 does make that clear with the particle ὁμοίως ("likewise") when it explicitly indicates that men engaged in relations with men.  Further, a judgment is given on these relations that are "against nature" -- such relations are "the shameless act" (τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην) and "their error" (τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν) for which they receive a penalty in their own bodies.

Note that no mention of the quality of their relationship is in view.  Only the engaging in relations "against nature" is.  And those are described as the "shameless act."

Further note that it doesn't say "against their nature" as if such activity would be wrong only if they were truly heterosexual and then engaged in homosexual relations.  Rather, it simply calls them "against nature" in general.

And also note that while the specific sin in view is idolatry (and yes, we have plenty of our own idolatries today, worshiping what is created rather than the Creator, but let's leave that obvious point aside for the moment), the description of the appropriateness of homosexual behavior in no way hinges upon whether or not they are idolaters.  Rather, such relations are said to be "against nature" and the acts themselves are called "shameless," and that they are a punishment for the specific sin of (crude) idolatry but the judgment regarding such activity is not so bound.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #170 on: October 25, 2010, 01:13:02 PM »
V&E and the traditional understanding of Scripture, perhaps uniquely, view homosexual behavior without context. Sexuality is defined as a gift to be used appropriately. Appropriateness is defined in terms of the interpersonal dynamic between the sexual partners, except for gays who are ALWAYS prohibited from sexual behavior.

Yet this is how Scripture approaches the topic of homosexual behavior in that, in places like Rom 1, what is in view is the behavior itself, regardless of context.  Scripture does not treat heterosexual sexual behavior in the same way.  I.e., Scripture approaches the idea of what is "appropriate" for the two phenomena differently; so on this point, V&E is simply following Scripture's lead.

Except that Romans 1 is clearly talking about the behavior of those who "did not honor him as God or give thanks to him" and "exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rater than the Creator". Romans 1 is not addressed to Christians. Paul is not talking about folks who honor and thank God as God and worship and serve God as our Creator rather than idols.

To save time from the normal repetition, see the below quote.  The last paragraph speaks to the point you made (again):

You may not be getting many takers because this topic has been discussed to death on ALPB.  Really.  To death.  I could link literally thousands of posts around "The Issue" (which is ultimately about scriptural interpretation, btw).

But to enter this discussion again, let's just look at one passage for now, Rom 1:26-27:

26 Διὰ τοῦτο παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς εἰς πάθη ἀτιμίας, αἵ τε γὰρ θήλειαι αὐτῶν μετήλλαξαν τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν εἰς τὴν παρὰ φύσιν, 27 ὁμοίως τε καὶ οἱ ἄρσενες ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας ἐξεκαύθησαν ἐν τῇ ὀρέξει αὐτῶν εἰς ἀλλήλους, ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσιν τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην κατεργαζόμενοι καὶ τὴν ἀντιμισθίαν ἣν ἔδει τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἀπολαμβάνοντες.

Here we note that vs. 26 speaks of women giving up of "natural relations" (τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν) for those "against nature" (εἰς τὴν παρὰ φύσιν).  Though vs. 26 doesn't explicitly say this is women having relations with women, vs. 27 does make that clear with the particle ὁμοίως ("likewise") when it explicitly indicates that men engaged in relations with men.  Further, a judgment is given on these relations that are "against nature" -- such relations are "the shameless act" (τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην) and "their error" (τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν) for which they receive a penalty in their own bodies.

Note that no mention of the quality of their relationship is in view.  Only the engaging in relations "against nature" is.  And those are described as the "shameless act."

Further note that it doesn't say "against their nature" as if such activity would be wrong only if they were truly heterosexual and then engaged in homosexual relations.  Rather, it simply calls them "against nature" in general.

And also note that while the specific sin in view is idolatry (and yes, we have plenty of our own idolatries today, worshiping what is created rather than the Creator, but let's leave that obvious point aside for the moment), the description of the appropriateness of homosexual behavior in no way hinges upon whether or not they are idolaters.  Rather, such relations are said to be "against nature" and the acts themselves are called "shameless," and that they are a punishment for the specific sin of (crude) idolatry but the judgment regarding such activity is not so bound.
Yes, you are clear about your understanding. It's not a universal understanding of that text nor of what "against nature" means.
"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: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #171 on: October 25, 2010, 01:23:57 PM »
Yes, you are clear about your understanding. It's not a universal understanding of that text nor of what "against nature" means.

Insightful.

A Catholic Lutheran

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #172 on: October 25, 2010, 01:28:18 PM »
As I noted in my previous, and you continue to do in the above, you (and others) willfully ignore the fact that there was a scriptural reason for the previous policy, as it was the historic practice of the church (which even the CWA recognized in adopting the social statement), and until very recently there was no need to specifically mention it.

Yes, scriptures could be used to argue for our previous policy, but our documents do not do that.

Quote
it's dishonest and disingenuous to suggest that there was no biblical reasons supporting the prior (and historic) policy.
 

Show me where the old Vision and Expectations or Definition and Guidelines use biblical reasons to support the policy contained therein. I'm not denying that there are biblical interpretations for that policy; but they are not used in our documents.

Quote
Since for your example you start at your desired conclusion, that not all homosexual acts are prohibited, instead of the historic understanding that all of them are (both because sex is reserved for marriage and homosexuality is yet another example of our fallen sinfulness), to build your thesis in a way that diverges from the actual starting point.

You are wrong. I start with the biblical passage -- not with a prior understanding, nor even the historic understanding. I read and study the texts, often in the original languages; taking special notice of their contexts -- and then came to my interpretation of them.

Quote
Whether any state recognizes same-sex marriage is yet another red herring, as a church is under no obligation to bless all state sanctioned arrangements.  Advocates for change were laying the groundwork for this changed policy before any state had recognized same-sex marriage, so there is no cause/effect argument to be had--it wasn't integral to the desire for change.  But I won't waste my time further on this, as I know all too well how this "discussion" goes.

What is the argument that you see in our older disciplinary documents for prohibiting homosexual pastors from sexual relationships?

Do we have detail the differences between a Social Statement (ie. "Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust") and Policy Statements (ie. "Vision and Expectations")?  

By-the-bye, V+E does not offer any Biblical injunctions for behavioral standards, including charging parishioners for hospital visits and the like.  That's not V+E's job.  V+E's purpose is to lay out the standards for ethical and moral behavior for the clergy and other rostered leaders.  

It is the purpose of the supposed Social Statement to lay the Biblical and theological rationale to teach what "this church" believes and will put into policy.  And, if you would hearken back to the inception of the ELCA, you will find that the CNLC explicitly stated that all the "Social Statements" issued by the Predecessor Church Bodies (PCB's) were considered valid and binding until such time that the ELCA would revise them.  And, while I don't have them at my fingertips, I would lay money that the LCA and TALC's statements on human sexuality (they each had one and both agreed that homosexuality was intrinsically sinful) does have biblical citations and theological rationale to back up the stance that led to V+E.

So, Brian, again you tell only half the story and convienently twist that half-truth to be something that it isn't.  Both "Definitions and Guildlines" and "Visions and Expectation" are not supposed to lay out the Biblical and theological rationales, but only the policy.  And they were backed up and formed by the PCB's statements on human sexuality, which were in force until the farce that is HSGT.

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Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

George Erdner

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #173 on: October 25, 2010, 01:30:05 PM »
Assuming he has some familiarity with what was meant when those words were penned, and maybe you assert that he didn't, he says,

"I conclude that there is no evidence based on the text of Scripture which permits or mandates the change as stated in the new policy adopted at the assembly. The action rather was unconstitutional and violated a part of the Confession of Faith. "

His is one approach to scriptures. I've argued from a different perspective: there is nothing in the text of Scriptures that prohibits the changes as stated in the new policy adopted at the assembly. I believe that this is a more Lutheran approach, ....  For us with that interpretation, the action is not unconstitutional nor a violation.

I hope you understand that it is not a speciifc. That is a point that has been empasized over and over. It is the "new ... approach" (your words)

Nope. I never wrote "new approach." I wrote "new policy," but I also stated that the approach of considering with scriptures does not prohibit is an approach that goes back to Luther. I used infant baptism as an example; but we could also throw in liturgical vestments. We're discussing under another subject, the proper use of cassock, surplice, alb, chasuble, stole, cope, etc. While there are other Lutheran ministers for whom Hawaiian shirts are their Sunday "vestment". Does the scriptures mandate what the ordained should wear? No. Does it prohibit the wearing of traditional vestments or modern suits or colorful shirts? No.

Amazingly, I am in agreement with this to some extent. While the ELCA's lack of doctrinal uniformity and definitiveness regarding important matters is very, very difficult to accept, I can see where the apparent practice of the LC-MS to elevate every issue, down to when to wear this and when to wear that, can be seen as equally difficult to accept in the opposite extreme. I do not wish to remain part of a denomination that has standards so loose that it allows non-celibate homosexuals to be ordained. But I also do not wish to join a denomination that has standards so strict that it has a dress code for clergy.

Neither extreme strikes me as spiritually beneficial.

ptmccain

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #174 on: October 25, 2010, 01:31:45 PM »
The LCMS does have a dress code for clergy.

 ::)

George Erdner

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #175 on: October 25, 2010, 01:32:57 PM »
The LCMS does have a dress code for clergy.

 ::)

Thank you for confirming what I just said.

ptmccain

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #176 on: October 25, 2010, 01:34:39 PM »
Hah, that's funny.

The LCMS does NOT have a dress code for clergy, of course.

 ::)

ptmccain

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #177 on: October 25, 2010, 01:35:37 PM »
But, I hasten to add that though we do not have a dress code for clergy, our clergy do not wear skirts. At least, if they do, they are not on the clergy roster for very long.

 :D

LutherMan

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #178 on: October 25, 2010, 01:37:44 PM »
I can see where the apparent practice of the LC-MS to elevate every issue, down to when to wear this and when to wear that, can be seen as equally difficult to accept in the opposite extreme.
Another pre-conceived false perception from a non-LCMS'er.   ::)

racin_jason

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Re: Differences between ELCA and LCMS doctrinally, an interesting look.
« Reply #179 on: October 25, 2010, 01:41:21 PM »
There's got to be at least one LCMS pastor of scottish descent out there who'd beg to differ.

Those guys can't get enough of their kilts and scotch (which has been making white men dance since 1494, according to one t-shirt i saw recently).   
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