Author Topic: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten  (Read 11330 times)

James_Gale

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2010, 12:54:04 PM »
Another Braaten rant?  Yawn.
That's the best you can do, snark?  I guess you can't be bothered to address anything actually written by Dr. Braaten, if you think there are any inaccuracies in it.  Or perhaps you think he's correct, but it doesn't bother you enough that he's been wronged by The Lutheran's editorial to actually say so.

It's ironic that The Lutheran chose to use the blanket epithet of "schismatic" without even mentioning Pr. Wolf's sermon at the gathering on that very topic.  Of course, considering her even-handed assignment of blame on the issue, perhaps that's not surprising.

Sterling Spatz

I don't see why the Lutheran is obligated to report on the doings of another denomination.  

Reasons not to be dismissive (for those too lazy to engage Dr. Braaten's letter):

-Many folks who formed the NALC still have many connections to the ELCA.  
-There is a lot of flux within Lutheranism in North America at this point in time.
-This conference garnered the attention of some rather large non-Lutheran news agencies.
-The topics at this conference were theological issues that many consider vital to future ministry of any church.  To quote Braaten: "the authority and interpretation of Scripture, the doctrine of the Trinity, the centrality of Christ, the nature and purpose of the Church, Christian ethics, and so forth."
-(I would add) the mass exodus has already caused institutional strife and many strains in the ELCA's ecumenical partnerships around the world.  Good reason, perhaps, to pay some attention to the groups that are leaving.

If I had a church with an independent-sounding name, perhaps I could dismiss this and any and all major things that happen among Lutherans.  But, it so happens that my church has the name "Lutheran," so I am very concerned about the common witness that name gives to people outside of my little corner of Beacon Hill Road.  I would find it unwise to be dismissive of events of far less importance than what went on in Columbus this past summer.  So, for The Lutheran to use the word "schismatic" and to so carelessly disregard those events strikes this Lutheran as beyond irresponsible.  

In addition, Lutheran CORE sponsored the theological conference, not the NALC.  Lutheran CORE is not a new denomination.  It is not a denomination at all.  It is an organization that includes many who have left the ELCA and, importantly, many who intend to stay in the ELCA.

In short, this was not a story only about another "denomination"  It was also an important story about a continuing struggle within the ELCA.  And why would The Lutheran choose not to cover important stories about continuing struggles within the ELCA?  The editors do not answer that question.  Perhaps it simply does not fit a preferred narrative.  
« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 05:14:50 PM by James_Gale »

jrubyaz

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2010, 12:56:30 PM »
But do any of us, regardless of whether we are in the ELCA, on the way out, or not a part of it at all, really believe that a magazine that is a magazine of that denomination would promote a group or church formed out of disagreement?

Mind you, I know Carl and he has spoken here at LCdC-A great letter, and I did find the editor very dismissive and snarky.

But do you really believe they would promote this? The realpolitik of the situation seems  to argue otherwise.

I am not surprised.

Jeff Ruby
« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 01:03:03 PM by jrubyaz »

MaddogLutheran

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2010, 01:11:46 PM »
But do any of us, regardless of whether we are in the ELCA, on the way out, or not a part of it at all, really believe that a magazine that is a magazine of that denomination would promote a group or church formed out of disagreement?

Mind you, I know Carl and he has spoken here at LCdC-A great letter, and I did find the editor very dismissive and snarky.

But do you really believe they would promote this? The realpolitik of the situation seems argue otherwise.

I am not surprised.

Jeff Ruby

You raise an interesting point, which I almost addressed in my previous:  what is The Lutheran, exactly?  Is it a journalistic enterprise, or marketing/public relations vehicle, or dare I say, instrument of propaganda?  I'd agree that it has no obligation to extensively report on the daily goings-on of another denomination, which the NALC certainly is, regardless of its heritage.  But does the magazine not also have an 8th commandment and journalist obligation to the truth? Not to mention the CWA's bound conscience declaration, which would seem to preclude the magazine from taking sides on the theological disagreement, since we are not of one mind as a church, supposedly--especially important to those who have not left.   It's been a while since I've read it regularly, but I assume it reported on the recent election of the new LCMS president.  I couldn't say whether it reported the convention's response to the CWA09 actions, but I think it should have if it did not.  Certainly NALC merits similar kinds of coverage on an annual basis.

Sterling Spatz
« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 01:29:22 PM by MaddogLutheran »
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Marshall_Hahn

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2010, 02:18:38 PM »
But do any of us, regardless of whether we are in the ELCA, on the way out, or not a part of it at all, really believe that a magazine that is a magazine of that denomination would promote a group or church formed out of disagreement?

Mind you, I know Carl and he has spoken here at LCdC-A great letter, and I did find the editor very dismissive and snarky.

But do you really believe they would promote this? The realpolitik of the situation seems argue otherwise.

I am not surprised.

Jeff Ruby

You raise an interesting point, which I almost addressed in my previous:  what is The Lutheran, exactly?  Is it a journalistic enterprise, or marketing/public relations vehicle, or dare I say, instrument of propaganda?  I'd agree that it has no obligation to extensively report on the daily goings-on of another denomination, which the NALC certainly is, regardless of its heritage.  But does the magazine not also have an 8th commandment and journalist obligation to the truth? Not to mention the CWA's bound conscience declaration, which would seem to preclude the magazine from taking sides on the theological disagreement, since we are not of one mind as a church, supposedly--especially important to those who have not left.   It's been a while since I've read it regularly, but I assume it reported on the recent election of the new LCMS president.  I couldn't say whether it reported the convention's response to the CWA09 actions, but I think it should have if it did not.  Certainly NALC merits similar kinds of coverage on an annual basis.

Sterling Spatz

The two congregations I serve dropped the pretense of the "Every Member Plan" a couple years ago.  (We had reduced it down to the very bare minimum one could order and still be in the plan.)  We have been ordering 20 copies of the magazine for each congregation since then and put them out for people to read and/or pick up at church.  I leave them out for three months - there are usually 10 - 15 left by then.  In large part due to Editor Lehmans's editorial in October, I will be recommending at this month's council meeting that we drop our subscription entirely and let people know how they can subscribe individually if they wish to do so.  I will order a copy for myself.

Marshall Hahn

George Erdner

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2010, 02:28:52 PM »
You raise an interesting point, which I almost addressed in my previous:  what is The Lutheran, exactly?  Is it a journalistic enterprise, or marketing/public relations vehicle, or dare I say, instrument of propaganda?  I'd agree that it has no obligation to extensively report on the daily goings-on of another denomination, which the NALC certainly is, regardless of its heritage.  But does the magazine not also have an 8th commandment and journalist obligation to the truth? Not to mention the CWA's bound conscience declaration, which would seem to preclude the magazine from taking sides on the theological disagreement, since we are not of one mind as a church, supposedly--especially important to those who have not left.   It's been a while since I've read it regularly, but I assume it reported on the recent election of the new LCMS president.  I couldn't say whether it reported the convention's response to the CWA09 actions, but I think it should have if it did not.  Certainly NALC merits similar kinds of coverage on an annual basis.

Sterling Spatz

From the magazine's website (which, since it's an ELCA publication, isn't official and anything in it that's uncomfortable can be denied):

Mission
The Lutheran magazine belongs to the people of the ELCA in all our diversity. The magazine:
• Nurtures awareness of Christ's presence in our lives and the world.
• Shares stories of God's people living their faith.
• Connects us with the global Christian community.
• Provides an open forum for discussion.
• Challenges us to bring God's grace and care to all.


More detail from the wbsite.

Editorial Guidelines

The following is the Statement of Editorial Guidelines for The Lutheran, adopted by the Advisory Committee in October 1988 and by the Church Council of the ELCA in November 1988:

The Lutheran is the periodical of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. As such it belongs to the whole constituency of this church. In accordance with this church's Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions, this statement of Editorial Guidelines was adopted by the Advisory Committee for the church periodical.

As the magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The Lutheran shall interpret and uphold the Lutheran confessions, the church's constitution, and the policies and practices adopted by the Churchwide Assembly and the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This magazine also shall address the total constituency of the church in its diversity by:

1. proclaiming the Christian faith and relating it to the life of the people;

2 . nurturing understanding of the mission and ministry of the church, its various units, its affiliates, and its related agencies;

3. reporting information of significance to the church and its people;

4. offering a forum for the responsible discussion of issues important to the life of the church and its people;

5 . providing informed editorial content about relevant problems, needs, and concerns in the church's common life;

6 . acquainting members of the church with church personalities and institutions; and

7 . publishing official notices as required by the Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The Lutheran belongs to the people of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, not to the editorial staff or to individual structures of the church. The freedom of the magazine, therefore, is best understood as the right of the people of the church to be informed about the life and work of the church.

Coupled with this freedom must be a sense of responsibility and accountability on the part of the editorial staff to the church and its members. In this context, The Lutheran staff represent readers in gathering information, in raising questions, and in reflecting varied viewpoints. The credibility of The Lutheran depends in part on its ability to openly discuss issues within the church. The staff can expect cooperation, support, and openness from leaders whose concerns and actions it is to present. In turn, the staff is expected to report accurately the decisions and activities of the church, including its assemblies, officers, Church Council, boards, standing committees, synods, congregations, and other entities.

The editor is authorized to present, in the pages of the magazine, articles and statements of opinions reflecting responsible concern for relevant issues. These articles and opinion columns are not to be regarded as official statements of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The columns of this periodical also shall be open to those who hold cogent and responsible opposing opinions but the editor shall exercise final judgment on which expressions shall be given space in the magazine.

In all matters, the concept of ‘speaking the truth in love’ must prevail.

Advertising guidelines

The Lutheran accepts advertisements according to the guidelines adopted by its advisory committee and the Church Council of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  Read the guidelines ...

jpetty

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2010, 03:30:00 PM »
Braaten continues to beat the drum that "bureaucrats" manipulated CWA to do their bidding.  I'll put the "best possible construction" on this by saying that I'm assuming he really believes it.  If that's the case, however, then his judgment is so clouded that I'm not willing to trust him on any of his other assertions.

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2010, 04:00:38 PM »

I don't see why the Lutheran is obligated to report on the doings of another denomination. 

Of course, The Lutheran did report on the formation of another denomination.  The issue is from whom The Lutheran is willing to accept paid advertising.  Some of us, for instance, see this defense in the light of previous defenses for accepting advertising from goodsoil/Lutherans Concerned.

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jrubyaz

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2010, 06:20:11 PM »


Jpetty,

Some of us who were there would agree with him!

Jeff Ruby

Braaten continues to beat the drum that "bureaucrats" manipulated CWA to do their bidding.  I'll put the "best possible construction" on this by saying that I'm assuming he really believes it.  If that's the case, however, then his judgment is so clouded that I'm not willing to trust him on any of his other assertions.

Marshall_Hahn

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2010, 07:37:59 PM »
Braaten continues to beat the drum that "bureaucrats" manipulated CWA to do their bidding.  I'll put the "best possible construction" on this by saying that I'm assuming he really believes it.  If that's the case, however, then his judgment is so clouded that I'm not willing to trust him on any of his other assertions.
I believe he is trying his best to be kind.  I have heard him use other descriptions.  I have also heard him rant.  This is not a rant.

Marshall Hahn

Matt

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2010, 08:04:17 PM »
Please help me understand this:

An organization (ACELC) is formed among LCMS congregations to protest the current direction of the LCMS. The LCMS leadership condemns this as schismatic in the harshest possible terms.

An organization (NALC) is formed among ELCA congregations to protest the current direction of ELCA. The ELCA leadership condemns this as schismatic in the harsshest possible terms.

How are these things different?

« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 08:26:26 PM by Matthew Jamison »

Charles_Austin

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2010, 08:40:50 PM »
I have a high regard for Dr. Braatan as a professor of systematics. He taught me much about Tillich, Pannenberg and other systematic theologians and brought me to a greater understanding of that phase of theological enterprise.
I am less impressed with his recent missives on ecclesiology and the role of ELCA publications.

pr dtp

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2010, 08:46:20 PM »
Please help me understand this:

An organization (ACELC) is formed among LCMS congregations to protest the current direction of the LCMS. The LCMS leadership condemns this as schismatic in the harshest possible terms.

An organization (NALC) is formed among ELCA congregations to protest the current direction of ELCA. The ELCA leadership condemns this as schismatic in the harsshest possible terms.

How are these things different?



SImple - one group is trying to be a resource and haven for those feeling like their denomination has abandoned the faith delivered to them.

The other group is trying to mold 6000 churches to their version of the Lutheran faith, which is not historic.  Personally, I would have far more respect for Bolland and the rest of ACELC if they left and formed their own synod that mirrored their values, rather than sent out letters admonishing people they have never talked to.  Heck maybe Ulma or Eldona would like a few more churches.

Matt

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2010, 09:03:38 PM »

SImple - one group is trying to be a resource and haven for those feeling like their denomination has abandoned the faith delivered to them.


Sounds like a good description of the intentions of both groups.

Prs. McCain and Benke, among others, condemned the ACELC in the harshest possible terms for the sin of schismatic behavior. Schism, in this case, was defined as soliciting LCMS congregations to join the new organization which was perceived as a prelude to a split even though Pr. Bolland repeatedly denied that this was the intention of the ACELC. According to Benke and McCain, the sin of schism is so severe that it utterly discredits anyone associated with the ACELC and their arguments. Apparently, the only non-schismatic way to criticize the LCMS is through the official dispute resolution process.

The NALC took actions that actually led to a split. According to Benke/McCain definition, this behavior is clearly schismatic. So why do we defend the NALC as heroic? There must be a principle here that is higher than organizational loyalty.

George Erdner

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #28 on: October 28, 2010, 09:22:49 PM »

SImple - one group is trying to be a resource and haven for those feeling like their denomination has abandoned the faith delivered to them.


Sounds like a good description of the intentions of both groups.

Prs. McCain and Benke, among others, condemned the ACELC in the harshest possible terms for the sin of schismatic behavior. Schism, in this case, was defined as soliciting LCMS congregations to join the new organization which was perceived as a prelude to a split even though Pr. Bolland repeatedly denied that this was the intention of the ACELC. According to Benke and McCain, the sin of schism is so severe that it utterly discredits anyone associated with the ACELC and their arguments. Apparently, the only non-schismatic way to criticize the LCMS is through the official dispute resolution process.

The NALC took actions that actually led to a split. According to Benke/McCain definition, this behavior is clearly schismatic. So why do we defend the NALC as heroic? There must be a principle here that is higher than organizational loyalty.

No, the NALC took no actions prior to coming into existence, which happened a few short months ago. CORE was the organization that attempted to reform the ELCA from within. It originally considered creating a free-standing, non-geographic synod that congregations of "dissident traditionalists" could transfer to in order to remain in the ELCA, but under the authority of a different bishop. When it became apparent that wasn't a viable option, then some of the people within CORE changed the free-standing synod idea to a new denomination. From what I've heard from people from CORE, this was a last resort choice entered take with some reluctance.

As for being "schismatic", it's not like splitting a man-made denomination is the same as a true schism, like when the East split with Rome in the early Middle Ages, or when the Protestant Reformation split the Roman Catholic Church. I fear too many people get too emotionally invested in their denomination, and mistake it for the actual Church itself. Yes, the word for splitting a denomination is "schism". But there's schism and there's SCHISM. What has happened in the ELCA and what might or might not happen in the LC-MS is schism, but it isn't SCHISM.

MaddogLutheran

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2010, 09:32:13 PM »
Prs. McCain and Benke, among others, condemned the ACELC in the harshest possible terms for the sin of schismatic behavior. Schism, in this case, was defined as soliciting LCMS congregations to join the new organization which was perceived as a prelude to a split even though Pr. Bolland repeatedly denied that this was the intention of the ACELC. According to Benke and McCain, the sin of schism is so severe that it utterly discredits anyone associated with the ACELC and their arguments. Apparently, the only non-schismatic way to criticize the LCMS is through the official dispute resolution process.

The NALC took actions that actually led to a split. According to Benke/McCain definition, this behavior is clearly schismatic. So why do we defend the NALC as heroic? There must be a principle here that is higher than organizational loyalty.
In response to your second paragraph, you are wrong.  It was the ELCA CWA that took the specific, recent action that led to a split, not the NALC.  The formation of the NALC was a direct response to that--after considerable efforts by CORE to avoid it being necessary (as George describes).  For your analogy to hold, you'd have to point to what the LCMS has done specifically and recently to make the course of action by the ACELC necessary.  Quite the contrary, since you recently elected a president more sympathetic to your concerns.  To my outsider observation, I see no new actions by central authority that corresponds to the ELCA promulgating its teaching on same sex relationships.  Much of ACELC complaints have been longstanding, and to me, somewhat nebulous, quite frankly.

Sterling Spatz
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