Author Topic: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten  (Read 11454 times)

jpetty

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #45 on: October 29, 2010, 01:28:52 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.

The rant and yawn comment was a dismissive one-liner, but the Tillich thing wasn't.  I also know of Braaten's Tillich connections and his apparent loyalty to them.  These days, it seems an unusual juxtaposition.

Mike Bennett

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #46 on: October 30, 2010, 11:23:22 AM »

An Open Letter to the Editor of The Lutheran, the magazine of the ELCA
from Dr. Carl Braaten


Bravo.

Mike Bennett
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #47 on: October 30, 2010, 11:29:45 AM »
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." 

He explicitly states that he is not and never was a "Tillichian."

Mike Bennett
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

jpetty

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #48 on: October 31, 2010, 11:35:19 AM »
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." 

He explicitly states that he is not and never was a "Tillichian."

Mike Bennett

Maybe he isn't now, but he was when we last drank beer together, which was in 1986.

Jim_Krauser

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #49 on: October 31, 2010, 05:53:19 PM »
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.

So the common description of what happend in 1054 as "the great schism" is a misnomer?  I realize that the issues between the churches of the east and the west are muddier than simply attributable to the filioque, but surely those on both sides beleived that fundamental church doctrine was at stake.  I think it fair to use schism to indicate what is meant by the term, a seemingely irreconcilable split between two or more parties who were previous united (at least formally).
Jim Krauser

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #50 on: October 31, 2010, 06:28:03 PM »
I'm not on the editorial board of The Lutheran nor do I fully comprehend its policies on what advertising it accepts or rejects.  But in the end, how they make those decisions is not really of any interest or concern to me.  No person or group has any claim of entitlement to purchase ad space in The Lutheran's pages.  So it should not be taken as an affront if advertising is refused.  On the other hand, many might make the argument that acceptance of advertising is a tacit approval of the material by the publication.  I think that is a logical stretch, but we know that it is a leap commonly made.  In the best of all possible worlds the kind of publication that The Lutheran is (or aspires to be) would have no advertising of any kind, but the financial realities make that prospect less than dim.

Braaten's complaint against the editor of the Lutheran seems to be grounded in his sense that there was a 'wall of separation' (to borrow a phrase)  between the conference he organized under the CORE umbrealla and NALC.  To be sure the chronology bears him out mechanically, but he strains credibility when he suggests that the formation of something like NALC was not already underway.  It was not underway as far as Braaten or CORE was concerned, but it is just plain naive to think that the conference would not have appealed to those angered or disgruntled with the actions of the 2009 churchwide assembly and who were already thinking about alternatives and what that church should look like.  It is true that the organizers of the conference bear no direct responsibility for the subsequent actions of others who went on to organize an alternative Lutheran shop in North America.  But like it or not, it is probable that those who will write the history of NALC (should its existence be long or short) will, like the editor of The Lutheran, discern that the conference figured in the history of its origin.  Was the magazine's judgment prescient, or was it simply making reasonable assumptions about what would be the next step for many of those who would attend that event?

« Last Edit: October 31, 2010, 06:36:33 PM by Jim_Krauser »
Jim Krauser

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Mike Bennett

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #51 on: October 31, 2010, 07:43:40 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." 

He explicitly states that he is not and never was a "Tillichian."

Mike Bennett

Maybe he isn't now, but he was when we last drank beer together, which was in 1986.

Wednesday evening last week he explicitly said that he was not a "Tillichian" during the time he was Tillich's teaching assistant and learning from Tillich, nor at any other period of his life.  I wasn't drinking beer, so I think I heard correctly.

Mike Bennett
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #52 on: October 31, 2010, 07:54:21 PM »
I'm not on the editorial board of The Lutheran nor do I fully comprehend its policies on what advertising it accepts or rejects.  But in the end, how they make those decisions is not really of any interest or concern to me.  No person or group has any claim of entitlement to purchase ad space in The Lutheran's pages.  So it should not be taken as an affront if advertising is refused.  On the other hand, many might make the argument that acceptance of advertising is a tacit approval of the material by the publication.  I think that is a logical stretch, but we know that it is a leap commonly made.  In the best of all possible worlds the kind of publication that The Lutheran is (or aspires to be) would have no advertising of any kind, but the financial realities make that prospect less than dim.

Braaten's complaint against the editor of the Lutheran seems to be grounded in his sense that there was a 'wall of separation' (to borrow a phrase)  between the conference he organized under the CORE umbrealla and NALC.  To be sure the chronology bears him out mechanically, but he strains credibility when he suggests that the formation of something like NALC was not already underway.  It was not underway as far as Braaten or CORE was concerned, but it is just plain naive to think that the conference would not have appealed to those angered or disgruntled with the actions of the 2009 churchwide assembly and who were already thinking about alternatives and what that church should look like.  It is true that the organizers of the conference bear no direct responsibility for the subsequent actions of others who went on to organize an alternative Lutheran shop in North America.  But like it or not, it is probable that those who will write the history of NALC (should its existence be long or short) will, like the editor of The Lutheran, discern that the conference figured in the history of its origin.  Was the magazine's judgment prescient, or was it simply making reasonable assumptions about what would be the next step for many of those who would attend that event?


Jim, "many" others, who enthusiastically attended the theological conference, had and have no interest in forming another denominational body.  In fact, one activity of Lutheran CORE is to encourage and facilitate mutual respect, support, and understanding between orthodox Lutherans who are "leaving" and those who are "staying," to use the well-understood shorthand of the recent year's conversations. It's a challenging undertaking, and those who pretend that anybody who hasn't drunk the CWA2009 kool aid is either "leaving" or is a fellow traveller with those who are "leaving" are not helpful (but why should they want to be?)

Miike Bennett
« Last Edit: October 31, 2010, 07:55:54 PM by Mike Bennett »
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

jpetty

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #53 on: October 31, 2010, 08:05:30 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." 

He explicitly states that he is not and never was a "Tillichian."

Mike Bennett

Maybe he isn't now, but he was when we last drank beer together, which was in 1986.

Wednesday evening last week he explicitly said that he was not a "Tillichian" during the time he was Tillich's teaching assistant and learning from Tillich, nor at any other period of his life.  I wasn't drinking beer, so I think I heard correctly.

Mike Bennett

In that case, I'll defer to your sober experience.  The local hockey team was celebrating at the next two tables over and I only heard about every other word anyway.  In fact, maybe it was "Teilhard" that he said, not "Tillich."  Better?  Or worse?

G.Edward

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #54 on: October 31, 2010, 08:07:42 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. 

Then the "Lutheran" might be a real magazine useful to "Lutheran" and other readers.  Maybe it's time to change the name to "The ELCA" since it seems to represent things ELCA more fervantly than things Lutheran.

G.Edward

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #55 on: October 31, 2010, 08:23:21 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. 

Then the "Lutheran" might be a real magazine useful to "Lutheran" and other readers.  Maybe it's time to change the name to "The ELCA" since it seems to represent things ELCA more fervantly than things Lutheran.

Or how about "The Diversity" since that's so dear to them...except when it's the "wrong" kind of diversity.  :o

Richard Johnson

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #56 on: October 31, 2010, 08:27:58 PM »

So the common description of what happend in 1054 as "the great schism" is a misnomer?

Actually, it probably is. East and West had been in the process of division for centuries. The 1054 event was not really in itself very significant, but it has been "latched onto" as a convenient date to "finalized" the split.

The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Mike Bennett

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #57 on: November 01, 2010, 09:58:04 AM »
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."  

He explicitly states that he is not and never was a "Tillichian."

Mike Bennett

Maybe he isn't now, but he was when we last drank beer together, which was in 1986.

Wednesday evening last week he explicitly said that he was not a "Tillichian" during the time he was Tillich's teaching assistant and learning from Tillich, nor at any other period of his life.  I wasn't drinking beer, so I think I heard correctly.

Mike Bennett

In that case, I'll defer to your sober experience.  The local hockey team was celebrating at the next two tables over and I only heard about every other word anyway.  In fact, maybe it was "Teilhard" that he said, not "Tillich."  Better?  Or worse?

So that this isn’t a memory contest, the following from his recent memoir, Because of Christ.  I can’t give page numbers because I have it on Kindle, so I’ll show chapters and Kindle Location numbers.

Preface (location 79):  “Paul Tillich was my most important mentor on my way to becoming a theologian.  Yet, I knew I could never become a Tilichian.”

Chapter Six (location 585):  “Although I had been a student of Tillich, I was in no way a Tillichian, and furthermore I never regarded Tillich’s theology as American.  It was thoroughly Germanic.”

Mike Bennett
« Last Edit: November 01, 2010, 09:59:59 AM by Mike Bennett »
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

Mike Bennett

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #58 on: November 01, 2010, 10:15:06 AM »
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."  

He explicitly states that he is not and never was a "Tillichian."

Mike Bennett

Maybe he isn't now, but he was when we last drank beer together, which was in 1986.

Wednesday evening last week he explicitly said that he was not a "Tillichian" during the time he was Tillich's teaching assistant and learning from Tillich, nor at any other period of his life.  I wasn't drinking beer, so I think I heard correctly.

Mike Bennett

In that case, I'll defer to your sober experience.  The local hockey team was celebrating at the next two tables over and I only heard about every other word anyway.  In fact, maybe it was "Teilhard" that he said, not "Tillich."  Better?  Or worse?

Probably didn’t say “Teilhardian” either.  Also from Because of Christ:

Chapter 10 (location 2579-80):  “I was invited to participate in a Conference on Hope and the Future of Man, held at the Riverside Church in New York City, October 8-10, 1971.

“The conference was uniquely designed to bring together for the first time three theological currents – eschatological theology from Germany, American process theology, and the evolutionary thought of Teilhard de Chardin.  Theologians representing the three schools of thought were chosen to address the conference, all dealing with the question, ‘What do you mean by the future?’  . . . . .

“The conference began with three position papers on the meaning of the future.  John Cobb represented the process point of view; Philip Hefner spoke from a Teilhardian perspective; I spoke for the theology of hope from the point of view of eschatology . . . . . The main result of the conference was to clarify the many ways in which process thought, biblical eschatology, and Teilhardian perspectives are radically incompatible.  Even when they may use the same words, they are loaded with different manings.”

How many bullets are you down to?

Mike Bennett
« Last Edit: November 01, 2010, 10:17:14 AM by Mike Bennett »
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

jpetty

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Re: An Open Letter from Dr. Carl Braaten
« Reply #59 on: November 01, 2010, 12:25:06 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."  

He explicitly states that he is not and never was a "Tillichian."

Mike Bennett

Maybe he isn't now, but he was when we last drank beer together, which was in 1986.

Wednesday evening last week he explicitly said that he was not a "Tillichian" during the time he was Tillich's teaching assistant and learning from Tillich, nor at any other period of his life.  I wasn't drinking beer, so I think I heard correctly.

Mike Bennett

In that case, I'll defer to your sober experience.  The local hockey team was celebrating at the next two tables over and I only heard about every other word anyway.  In fact, maybe it was "Teilhard" that he said, not "Tillich."  Better?  Or worse?

So that this isn’t a memory contest, the following from his recent memoir, Because of Christ.  I can’t give page numbers because I have it on Kindle, so I’ll show chapters and Kindle Location numbers.

Preface (location 79):  “Paul Tillich was my most important mentor on my way to becoming a theologian.  Yet, I knew I could never become a Tilichian.”

Chapter Six (location 585):  “Although I had been a student of Tillich, I was in no way a Tillichian, and furthermore I never regarded Tillich’s theology as American.  It was thoroughly Germanic.”

Mike Bennett


I wonder how he distinguishes "American" from "Germanic".  Or, to put it a different way, what's "Germanic" about Tillich?

Any thoughts?