Author Topic: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten  (Read 11451 times)

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12649
    • View Profile
Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #30 on: October 28, 2010, 09:35:50 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.
It has long been said, one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist.  One man's reformer is anogther man's schismatic.  One big difference is whether you agree with the group or not.

Dan
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

jpetty

  • Guest
Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #31 on: October 28, 2010, 09:44:44 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.


I find it kind of surprising that Braaten still considers himself a "Tillichian." 

FatherWilliam57

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 561
    • View Profile
Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #32 on: October 28, 2010, 10:01:23 PM »
I find it kind of surprising that Braaten still considers himself a "Tillichian." 

Care to expand upon that statement?
The Rev. William B. Henry, Jr.
Interim Pastor, St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Evans City, PA
"Put on the whole armor of God."

Erma S. Wolf

  • Guest
Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #33 on: October 28, 2010, 10:07:36 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.


I find it kind of surprising that Braaten still considers himself a "Tillichian." 

If you had heard Dr. Braaten talk about his time as a student of Paul Tillich while at Harvard, as he did at the General Retreat of the Society of the Holy Trinity last week, then I think you would understand it much better.  And the way in which Dr. Braaten considers himself a "Tillichian" might be something of interest to you, rather than one in a series of dismissive one liners.

Matt

  • Guest
Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #34 on: October 28, 2010, 10:11:00 PM »
I fear too many people get too emotionally invested in their denomination, and mistake it for the actual Church itself.

I think this gets right to the heart of the matter.

ddrebes

  • Guest
Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #35 on: October 28, 2010, 10:21:53 PM »
If you had heard Dr. Braaten talk about his time as a student of Paul Tillich while at Harvard, as he did at the General Retreat of the Society of the Holy Trinity last week, then I think you would understand it much better.  And the way in which Dr. Braaten considers himself a "Tillichian" might be something of interest to you, rather than one in a series of dismissive one liners.

Erma, I'd love to hear more. Both Tillich and Braatan intrigue me.

MaddogLutheran

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3492
  • It's my fantasy football avatar...
    • View Profile
Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #36 on: October 28, 2010, 10:25:54 PM »
If you had heard Dr. Braaten talk about his time as a student of Paul Tillich while at Harvard, as he did at the General Retreat of the Society of the Holy Trinity last week, then I think you would understand it much better.  And the way in which Dr. Braaten considers himself a "Tillichian" might be something of interest to you, rather than one in a series of dismissive one liners.

Erma, I'd love to hear more. Both Tillich and Braatan intrigue me.
Me too.  My senior pastor is fond of Tillich (sermon shout-outs), and I've also heard his name poo-pooed by Missouri participants here.  So I'm curious about Dr. Braaten's take.  I guess I'll have to expand my reading list...

Sterling Spatz
« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 10:35:41 PM by MaddogLutheran »
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

Erma S. Wolf

  • Guest
Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #37 on: October 28, 2010, 10:34:29 PM »
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.  

Actually, no, this is not what happened in Lutheran CORE following the 2009 CWA of the ELCA.  

Lutheran CORE never considered creating a non-geographic synod that congregations could transfer to in order to remain in the ELCA.  That idea was floated by a number of people who were supporters of Lutheran CORE, and the question of creating a "non-geographic" synod was asked of us on the steering committee on a pretty constant basis in the months following August 2009.  But those of us on the steering committee always thought that was a non-starter, and we never seriously considered trying it.  At Fishers we did describe Lutheran CORE as "a free-standing synod", which unfortunately created a huge amount of confusion.  And while some of us (myself included) tried to retain the language of "free synod" or "free-standing synod,"  by early this last summer even I recognized that the level of confusion and misunderstanding created by the term "synod" was not worth the time spent trying to reclaim this language.  

And the "free standing synod" language was always used in describing Lutheran CORE, not the NALC.  Lutheran CORE and the NALC are seperate organizations.  The idea of a new Lutheran denomination was from the beginning intended to be a denomination, and we never used "free-standing synod" language to describe what soon was given the name of North American Lutheran Church.  

As for whether Lutheran CORE is schismatic in its work to create the NALC, and is, as Editor Lehmann asserts, indistinguishable from the denomination that it created and that was voted into existence at the Lutheran CORE convocation (NOT the theological conference), well, I think Editor Lehmann has the prior personal experience to know whereof he speaks.  It takes a schismatic to know a schismatic.

George Erdner

  • Guest
Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #38 on: October 28, 2010, 11:11:54 PM »
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.  

Actually, no, this is not what happened in Lutheran CORE following the 2009 CWA of the ELCA.  

Lutheran CORE never considered creating a non-geographic synod that congregations could transfer to in order to remain in the ELCA.  That idea was floated by a number of people who were supporters of Lutheran CORE, and the question of creating a "non-geographic" synod was asked of us on the steering committee on a pretty constant basis in the months following August 2009.  

My apologies. I was working from my notes from the presentation Pastor Heber gave at Christ Our Shepherd Lutheran Church in Peachtree City, Georgia last February. She said that CORE had thought about a free standing synod within the ELCA, but decided it wouldn't work.

I heard something similar from a CORE spokesman giving a presentation at a different ELCA church south of Atlanta a few months earlier, where I didn't take notes and there wasn't a handout to save that had everyone's name on it. At that meeting, he said that a free-standing synod in the ELCA was something being discussed.

I'm also confused. How is having an idea "floated by a number of people who were supporters of Lutheran CORE, and the question of creating a 'non-geographic' synod was asked of us on the steering committee on a pretty constant basis in the months following August 2009." not an example of "considering" that idea? You heard the idea, you rejected the idea. Was there not some "consideration", even if very brief, in between hearing the idea and rejecting it?

Steven Tibbetts

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 10213
  • Big tents are for circuses.
    • View Profile
Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #39 on: October 28, 2010, 11:20:51 PM »
...that congregations of "dissident traditionalists" could transfer to in order to remain in the ELCA, but under the authority of a different bishop.

The correct verb would be "join," not "transfer to," and no one was talking about changing any bishops' authority.  You are once again confusing a "free synod" with some sort of ELCA Synod, the latter of which no one in Lutheran CORE proposed.

spt+
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

revjagow

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1491
  • Proverbs 9:8-9
    • View Profile
    • Article 7
Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #40 on: October 28, 2010, 11:32:43 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?

To me, it's apples and oranges.  I did think about the ACELC briefly before posting on this thread and decided quickly that these are two completely different entities that evolved for very different purposes. 

Going back to the list I drew up as to why one should not dismiss the NALC:

-There is a lot of flux within Lutheranism in North America at this point in time. (I don't think the ACELC factors into that flux at all.  It's a matter of scale.  I don't think this group is going to ultimately convince the rest of the LCMS that esoteric matters like women lectors are of vital enough importance that there needs to be full agreement across the board.  They are my brothers and sisters and I care about them, but I sincerely doubt they will have a large impact on North American Lutheranism like the NALC will). 
-This conference garnered the attention of some rather large non-Lutheran news agencies. (Again, I think folk in the LCMS are the only ones who paid attention to the ACELC matter).
-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." (Here, I initially did not take the formation of the ACELC as an attempt to discuss doctrine as much as an attempt to dictate to me, and others, what our doctrine should be.  I am highly encouraged that they abandoned the need to fully organize themselves into a separate entity and that representatives met in St. Louis w/ members of the presidium.  I pray no one feels that they are just being dismissed.  I also pray they are willing to go along with the rest of the church once we do engage in doctrinal discussion should the majority of us not go along with their definition of "error.").
-(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.  (Again, a matter of scale here.  There would not be the upheaval in the LCMS on quite the same scale as what has already happened in the ELCA.  Still, size should not mean that we get to dismiss our brothers and sisters.  That is the one touchpoint with Braaten's article that I can see - dismissing is not the same thing as engaging and disagreeing.)
Soli Deo Gloria!

Erma S. Wolf

  • Guest
Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #41 on: October 28, 2010, 11:46:05 PM »

My apologies. I was working from my notes from the presentation Pastor Heber gave at Christ Our Shepherd Lutheran Church in Peachtree City, Georgia last February. She said that CORE had thought about a free standing synod within the ELCA, but decided it wouldn't work.

I heard something similar from a CORE spokesman giving a presentation at a different ELCA church south of Atlanta a few months earlier, where I didn't take notes and there wasn't a handout to save that had everyone's name on it. At that meeting, he said that a free-standing synod in the ELCA was something being discussed. 

Your notes are correct, and Pastor Heber is/was correct, along with the CORE spokesman.  And I am correct.

Because the "free-standing synod" was never a "non-geographic"synod.  Never.  But the use of the word "synod" created confusion of just this sort from the get-go.  That is why in the revisions to the constitution of Lutheran CORE that were adopted at the convocation this past August the word "synod" was removed and replaced with another word (association, I think.  I am working off of memory right now.). 

The free-standing synod (now association) was for those individuals and congregations remaining in the ELCA, as well as for those outside of the ELCA.  But we never considered creating a non-geographic synod.  (And I am using the word "considered" in the sense that one weighs the pros and cons of doing something.  We did not do that.  It was never an idea that the steering committee pursued.)

So I and Pastor Heber are in agreement. 

Terry W Culler

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2237
    • View Profile
Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #42 on: October 29, 2010, 07:19:39 AM »
The use of the word schism in this discussion is, I think, wrong.  Schism does not occur when a group leaves a denomination over doctrinal issues.  Schism occurs only when people leave over issues that have nothing to do with fundamental truths.  Those who have left to join the NALC, LCMC, AFLC, LCMS or any other letter grouping are not schismatics.  They are people concerned with fundamental church doctrine.
Goodnewsforabadworld.wordpress.com

Maryland Brian

  • Guest
Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #43 on: October 29, 2010, 07:34:47 AM »
The use of the word schism in this discussion is, I think, wrong.  Schism does not occur when a group leaves a denomination over doctrinal issues.  Schism occurs only when people leave over issues that have nothing to do with fundamental truths.  Those who have left to join the NALC, LCMC, AFLC, LCMS or any other letter grouping are not schismatics.  They are people concerned with fundamental church doctrine.

IMHO the ELCA is not experiencing schism so much as a shattering with shards scattering in all directions.   

George Erdner

  • Guest
Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #44 on: October 29, 2010, 11:43:38 AM »
...that congregations of "dissident traditionalists" could transfer to in order to remain in the ELCA, but under the authority of a different bishop.

The correct verb would be "join," not "transfer to," and no one was talking about changing any bishops' authority.  You are once again confusing a "free synod" with some sort of ELCA Synod, the latter of which no one in Lutheran CORE proposed.

spt+

At a presentation at an ELCA congregation in a congregation located south of Atlanta that took place last fall, a spokesman for CORE made reference to a free-standing (ie. non-geographical) synod similar to the Slovak-Zion Synod. He specifically mentioned the Slovak-Zion synod as an example of an ELCA synod not defined by geographic boundaries. As I told Erma, I don't recall his name as I didn't take notes.

Does it really matter if one "joins" or "transfers to" such a non-geographic synod? As Erma acknowledged, such a synod within the ELCA was suggested by members of the CORE rank and file, even if it was rejected by the leadership.

« Last Edit: October 29, 2010, 12:17:39 PM by Richard Johnson »