Author Topic: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article  (Read 8226 times)

Mike Bennett

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Re: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article
« Reply #105 on: November 15, 2010, 02:51:32 PM »

The problem with a term like "open communion" is that the meaning shifts depending on who is using it. The Missouri use of the term would certainly include what you describe. I suspose that for the ELCA, inviting all baptized Christians is hardly thought of as open communion at all.

Not sure where that supposition arose.  At the ELCA parish where I'm a member, the invitation to communion is given to all baptized Christians who believe Christ is truly present in the bread and wine.

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

James_Gale

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Re: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article
« Reply #106 on: November 15, 2010, 03:00:27 PM »

The problem with a term like "open communion" is that the meaning shifts depending on who is using it. The Missouri use of the term would certainly include what you describe. I suspose that for the ELCA, inviting all baptized Christians is hardly thought of as open communion at all.

Not sure where that supposition arose.  At the ELCA parish where I'm a member, the invitation to communion is given to all baptized Christians who believe Christ is truly present in the bread and wine.

Mike Bennett

Mike --

I've been in several ELCA congregations in which the invitation to commune has been extended very expressly to everyone present, not just to baptized Christians.  This practice is counter to the ELCA's statement regarding The Use of the Means of Grace.  But it's not uncommon.  And so far as I know, bishops don't do much (anything?) to stop it.

Jim

Mike Bennett

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Re: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article
« Reply #107 on: November 15, 2010, 03:03:16 PM »

The problem with a term like "open communion" is that the meaning shifts depending on who is using it. The Missouri use of the term would certainly include what you describe. I suspose that for the ELCA, inviting all baptized Christians is hardly thought of as open communion at all.

Not sure where that supposition arose.  At the ELCA parish where I'm a member, the invitation to communion is given to all baptized Christians who believe Christ is truly present in the bread and wine.

Mike Bennett

Mike --

I've been in several ELCA congregations in which the invitation to commune has been extended very expressly to everyone present, not just to baptized Christians.  This practice is counter to the ELCA's statement regarding The Use of the Means of Grace.  But it's not uncommon.  And so far as I know, bishops don't do much (anything?) to stop it.

Jim

Confusion and inconsistent practice certainly abound. 

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

Timotheus Verinus

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Re: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article
« Reply #108 on: November 15, 2010, 03:51:06 PM »
...
It might be worth reflecting that how Rom. 16.17-18 is read depends very much on where one sits. When RCs read "take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them," they are sure to have a different identification of who "those" are than you might. And aren't "those who create dissensions and difficulties" more plausibly those who insist upon enforcing divisions among the brethren (as Paul often complained about) than those who seek to resolve divisions and make peace?

I'll consider this, but i do not believe this is how the LCMS understands Romans 16:17-18.
...
Mike

Mike,

Ponder for a moment, how certain opinions from some quarters of LCMS may deviate from say 2000 years of Catholicism, and as I often noted 500 years of Lutheranism, and 250 years of American Lutheranism, when it comes up against an exegesis from Missouri in light of those "who introduce divisions." The pride of 150 years of working at it, can blind perspective on who "introduced" the conflict. As an example, Rolf's dad did an excellent analysis of how Gerhardt dealt with election, and how posturing as if you stand on centuries of apostolic teaching, when you are the young upstarts, is not immune to divisive accusation, ie. guilty of Rom 16 in the way it has always been exegeted. The challenge may be true and right, but if the approach to tempering against contemporary diversion and error before us, is not well framed, then you are the one accused in Rom 16:17.

Just a thought,

TV
« Last Edit: November 15, 2010, 03:55:11 PM by TVerinus »
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Timotheus Verinus

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Re: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article
« Reply #109 on: November 15, 2010, 04:09:29 PM »
....The challenge may be true and right, but if the approach to tempering against contemporary diversion and error before us, is not well framed, then you are the one accused in Rom 16:17.

Just a thought,

TV

I've pondered how 1500 years of Catholicism deviated from proper apostolic teaching and John Hus was burned at the stake for it and Romans 16:17 used against Luther by that oh-so-sanctimonious Roman Catholic church.

So, call it "The pride of 150 years of working at it" as you wish, I'll stand by LUCF's statement that:

...
especially because it seems to accord well with St. Paul's dealings with the Judaizers and St. John's with the Gnostics.

Poor, poor Athanasius. Why did he fail to see the folly in making nice with the Arians when they temporarily dominated the visible church's teaching?

Poor deluded divisive man.  ::)

Praise God for his integrity.  :)

Mike

Framework in that presentation is important. When it slides into red herrings that avoid the question, ... well the question is no longer on the table ...  Every complaint presented is not Luther's "Here I stand." He stood on truth. Truth did not stand on him. And he and the Confessors took great effort to present the Apostolic and Fathers foundation, never "avoiding" the Church until they were cast out.

TV
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grabau14

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Re: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article
« Reply #110 on: November 15, 2010, 04:14:24 PM »
Mike,

In the end he admonishes them not to permist evil teachers, or those who sow teachings which militate against the Gospel, to come in or listen to them.  When a physician has shown the remidies, he commands also to avoid the things which seem to be harmful.  So after the apostle taught the chief topic of the Christian doctrine above, he urges them to be circumspect and watch lest some godless teachers sneak in on them.
So they may be able more easily to shun them, he indicates the tricks by which these impostlers get around the inexperienced.  They deceive, he says (v. 18), by eloguent speeches and praises.
Eloquent speeches without doubt mean flattering sermons.  For there are flatteries both in the customs of those who teach and in the kind of teaching itself.  As far as customs are concerned, these hypocrites know how to put on the complete appearance of friendliness, kindness, and patience.  They know how to play skillfully on the feelings of those with whom they are dealing.  Examples of this can easly be found among the monks.  While the Anabaptists know they teach many things which are not totally false, they also teach absurdities and things that are against the entire nature of men.  Nevertheless, they capture the minds of people with the prodigious simulation of patience and modesty.  Here their doctrine also has its attraction.  In a sense it flatters people, as then the common people are suddelnly relieved of burdensome traditions and ingenious people are freed from the bonds of heavenly dogmas which seem absurd to reason.           Philip Melanchthon, "Commentary on Romans", p. 296

jebutler

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Re: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article
« Reply #111 on: November 15, 2010, 04:14:59 PM »

I would accept your distinction that prayer fellowship with such Christians was being recognized as permissable which Eucharistic fellowship is not.  I accept an argument that to "mark and avoid" Christian brethren does not necessarily mean we cannot pray and worship with them but that we must avoid implying that we are of common confession with them.  For this recognizes that Romans 16 should be applied to such Christians, but the way in which it has been applied is wrong.

We are in the world even though we are not of the world.  I struggle with issues as to how simple dinner prayer and acts of cooperation in externals with Christians of a different confession is best rectified with the command of Romans 16.

I often find that Romans 14, and its counsel to be considerate of the weaker brother and what he regards as sin to place context on Romans 16.

But even that can be taken too far as i would argue has happened with the ELCA's new "bound conscience" attitude.

Thanks for your perspective.  I appreciate it, and I am considering it.

Mike

If you are going to read a historical document, then you need to read the things that surround it. Viewing the issue as prayer fellowship is not difficult if one reads the various issues of "The American Lutheran" that led up the writing of "A Statement." Second, you can read the annotated version of "A Statement" called "Speaking the Truth in Love" which was published soon after. It gets much more specific. Finally, as Marie Meyer noted, the Brux case was definitely in the mind of the authors as they were writing it (when I wrote my paper, I began with the Brux case).

I've argued that the view of fellowship that the 44 wanted--a view that they believed was truly Missourian--is the view which is held today by the vast majority of the LCMS: we can pray with other Christians, even those who are not Lutheran, but we do not join in public worship or Eucharist with them.
The truth we preach is not an abstract thing. The truth is a Person. The goodness we preach is not an ideal quality. The goodness is Someone who is good. The love we preach is God himself in Christ. --H. Grady Davis

grabau14

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Re: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article
« Reply #112 on: November 15, 2010, 04:33:14 PM »
From Gerhard's Loci "On the Church"

In Romans 16:17 Paul warns them to "take note of those who create dissensions and causes of offense aside from the doctrine that you have learned, and turn away from them." You can easily see that this concern and forewarning of the apostle was neither vain nor useless if you compare the state of the Roman church today with the state of the early church at Rome, that is, as it is described in this apostolic letter."  p.206

Second, the church is warned to provide no opportunity for errors
So, then, we go on to argue: (II) Whatever church the apostle warns gravely not to provide opportunity for errors is not immune to the peril of erring.  Such admonistions would be repeated in van if some absolute promise had been given to it.  Yet the aposlte gravely warns the Roman church not to provide and opportunity for errors or for seducers (Rom. 11:20ff.; Rom. 16:17). Therefore the Roman church is not immune to the peril of erring.  p. 229

In the entire section, Gerhard is warning the Roman church (of his day) that they have deviated from the truth of scripture.  He then uses the book of Romans as the means to show how the Roman Catholic church is erring with regard to scripture, original sin, free choice, the gospel, Justification, faith, etc... (just as the Roman church of Paul's day did)

grabau14

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Re: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article
« Reply #113 on: November 15, 2010, 05:21:14 PM »
Mike,

Martin Chemnitz cites how the Roman church under Pope Leo I used Romans 16:17 

"Second, at the time of Leo I, around A.D. 440, the Manichaeans attempted to introduce the taking of one kind only, because they detested wine as something abominable and taught that the body of Christ, being something imaginnary, had no real blood.  But Pope Leo, Sermon 40,4 calls it a sacrilege if anyone refuses to drink the cup of the blood of our redemption.  Here he applies the word of Paul in Romans 16:17: 'Take note of those who cause dissensions and diffilculties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught."            Examination of the Council of Trent Part II, p. 420




James_Gale

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Re: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article
« Reply #114 on: November 15, 2010, 05:33:37 PM »

The inclusion of the Lutheran Church of America, and the fellowship talks with them at the time, lead me to suspect that more than just prayer fellowship was in view here.  You are far more studied than me on the subject though so I will defer to you for now.


Are you operating under the assumption that "Lutheran Church of America" was a church body?  It wasn't.  The reference, I believe, was to Lutheranism generally in the US.

The Lutheran Church in America formed in 1962, more than 15 years after the writing of the Statement.

Timotheus Verinus

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Re: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article
« Reply #115 on: November 15, 2010, 06:10:10 PM »

The inclusion of the Lutheran Church of America, and the fellowship talks with them at the time, lead me to suspect that more than just prayer fellowship was in view here.  You are far more studied than me on the subject though so I will defer to you for now.

I do wonder though if Chaplain Wohlrabe taught you on "A Statement" and uses your research, then why does he seem to see things so differently here?
Quote
The interjection of church politics or what may be referred to as a “party spirit” into the polity of the Missouri Synod is an interesting study of the practical implications in the relationship between theology and polity. At its 1917 synodical convention, the Synod ....

“Practical Implications of the Relationship between Theology and Polity in the Missouri Synod”
John C. Wohlrabe, Jr., Th.D.
http://www.concordtx.org/tcl/conference/2009/john-wohlrabe-theology-and-polity/

Mike

Mike, concerning the positions Pr. Uttenreither brings and by extension how we read Wohlrabe's perspective, there is a question at hand, a presumption not shown in many discussions. I invite you to hear what the Ohio Synod was saying in those days.

"while vital issues are at stake, the controversy is artificial and useless, because the laymen believe exactly alike, do not understand the subtle differences, and do not hear any differences in the gospel preached by their pastors. The theologians are actually perpetuating divisions while the laymen are one in faith! ... there is a tendency of theologians to ascribe to their opponents views which seem to be logical deductions of the opponents' utterances. Such deductions belong to the sphere of speculation, not doctrine ... " CC Hein, Western District 1917

A different perspective, but one which every layman would readily comprehend.

When we speak of manifest practice of withholding a kind, as in the Father's citations above, or a clear false teaching, ... how this is applied to questions at issue, and by no means 'resolved,' take on a different counsel. These are not the same thing. ESPECIALLY when the essence of the debate is circular as in this verse, "since you don't agree with my exegesis, we are not in agreement in doctrine and therefore because you don't think I should avoid in this case (and only because of that) then I am compelled to avoid you according to the argument that we disagree on, but that I have not made the case for yet.

"The theologians are actually perpetuating divisions while the laymen are one in faith!"

TV
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Re: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article
« Reply #116 on: November 15, 2010, 06:17:45 PM »

The inclusion of the Lutheran Church of America, and the fellowship talks with them at the time, lead me to suspect that more than just prayer fellowship was in view here.  You are far more studied than me on the subject though so I will defer to you for now.

I do wonder though if Chaplain Wohlrabe taught you on "A Statement" and uses your research, then why does he seem to see things so differently here?
Quote
The interjection of church politics or what may be referred to as a “party spirit” into the polity of the Missouri Synod is an interesting study of the practical implications in the relationship between theology and polity. At its 1917 synodical convention, the Synod ....

“Practical Implications of the Relationship between Theology and Polity in the Missouri Synod”
John C. Wohlrabe, Jr., Th.D.
http://www.concordtx.org/tcl/conference/2009/john-wohlrabe-theology-and-polity/

Mike

Mike, concerning the positions Pr. Uttenreither brings and by extension how we read Wohlrabe's perspective, there is a question at hand, a presumption not shown in many discussions. I invite you to hear what the Ohio Synod was saying in those days.

"while vital issues are at stake, the controversy is artificial and useless, because the laymen believe exactly alike, do not understand the subtle differences, and do not hear any differences in the gospel preached by their pastors. The theologians are actually perpetuating divisions while the laymen are one in faith! ... there is a tendency of theologians to ascribe to their opponents views which seem to be logical deductions of the opponents' utterances. Such deductions belong to the sphere of speculation, not doctrine ... " CC Hein, Western District 1917

A different perspective, but one which every layman would readily comprehend.

When we speak of manifest practice of withholding a kind, as in the Father's citations above, or a clear false teaching, ... how this is applied to questions at issue, and by no means 'resolved,' take on a different counsel. These are not the same thing. ESPECIALLY when the essence of the debate is circular as in this verse, "since you don't agree with my exegesis, we are not in agreement in doctrine and therefore because you don't think I should avoid in this case (and only because of that) then I am compelled to avoid you according to the argument that we disagree on, but that I have not made the case for yet.

"The theologians are actually perpetuating divisions while the laymen are one in faith!"

TV

That would be consistent with the Task Force's understanding regarding the divisions in the LCMS - and indeed I do believe our AC speaks against such division when it describes the unity of the church. 

jebutler

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Re: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article
« Reply #117 on: November 15, 2010, 07:06:00 PM »

The inclusion of the Lutheran Church of America, and the fellowship talks with them at the time, lead me to suspect that more than just prayer fellowship was in view here.  You are far more studied than me on the subject though so I will defer to you for now.

I do wonder though if Chaplain Wohlrabe taught you on "A Statement" and uses your research, then why does he seem to see things so differently here?


I think you mean the American Lutheran Church, not the Lutheran Church of America. The original ALC was a merger of the Buffalo, Iowa, and Ohio Synods. We had been in fellowship with Ohio prior to the Predestinarian controversy and we had some common history with Iowa through Lohe.

There is no question but that the ALPB folks wanted fellowship between the ALC and Missouri. They spoke highly in favor of it. However, they also agreed that there were issues that needed to be worked out and resolved. That was one of the things that frustrated them about the Missouri position on prayer fellowship: how could it be displeasing to God to pray for common understanding and unity of faith?

Second, you have to understand that we were very close to fellowship with the ALC in the 1930s. In fact, the Synod in convention gave the Synod President permission to declare fellowship with the ALC once a few things were ironed out. Behnken could have done so at any time. The Statement was partly in reaction to the frustration when that resolution was repealed.

Finally, I stated that John "used" my research when he taught that section of the class in the 1980s. He was working on his Th.D. at that time. Since the article you reference notes that he has a Th.D., my guess would be that he wrote it after I had him in 84/85. I would assume that he continued his study in Lutheran history in the twenty years that followed. Even in class, he made it clear that he looked upon "A Statement" less favorably than I did.
The truth we preach is not an abstract thing. The truth is a Person. The goodness we preach is not an ideal quality. The goodness is Someone who is good. The love we preach is God himself in Christ. --H. Grady Davis

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article
« Reply #118 on: November 15, 2010, 08:20:26 PM »

Has the ALPB in its steadfast opposition to Schmuckerism had a significant portion of its leadership condemn the the ELCA's current position that the real presence is something Lutherans could do without in order to adapt to the American context and establish church fellowship agreement with Reformed church bodies?


Lutheran Forum signed "Editorial Position" published in the Pentecost 1997 issue:

Quote
Regarding the Reformed proposal, we are not persuaded that our respective teaching on the person of Christ, or on his bodily presence in the Eucharist, are either compatible or complementary.  Consequently, we cannot support a proposal in which the differences between Lutheran and Reformed are portrayed as merely emphases or perspectives (for example, a dispute over the mode rather than the reality of Christ's presence).  Even if the so-called interchangeability of ministers were to be subject to the discipline of the particular church, no one wants a minister who does not subscribe to what is expected to be preached and taught in that particular church.

I don't recall reading anything official by ALPB since that suggests that position was unwise.

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J. Eriksson

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Re: Steadfast Lutherans Reflection On Lutheran Forum Article
« Reply #119 on: November 17, 2010, 08:06:00 AM »


When I was a confused Methodist boy going to Baltimore Lutheran, I went to the sacrament at several LCMS parishes when the concert band played at one of the churches.  I told all of the LCMS pastors that I was a Methodist and they all invited me up to the altar.  It wasn't until I met Dr. Hein at CURF that I was told (and rightly so) that those LCMS pastors were in error. 



How did a confused Methodist boy end up going to Baltimore Lutheran?  am I correct in assuming that it is a LCMS school?  How old were you?  What percentage of the student body was Lutheran?
Why do you think they disregarded the Akron-Galesburg rule and invited you(and others) to the altar?
How would you then at that age; ( not now) have felt if you had been told you could not come?  Were you by any chance so confused as a Methodist boy that refusal would have hurt you in such a way that your ears would have been closed to what God was saying to you thru the  Church?   Did this hospitality have anything to do with where you ended up?   Look where you did end up  ;)a confused Methodist boy turning into a respectable LCMS pastor and respected member of this group.

What was the percentage of the  Baltimore community that was Lutheran?  LCMS?
Do you think that there was an assumption made all these kids go to Baltimore Lutheran, there is Christian instruction at BL and it follows LCMS doctrine; so there is a good chance that some/most of these kids now believe in the Real Presence even though they are not technically Lutherans  yet?
Do you think that there was a conscious decision to make a statement to the visiting school band (who may have had a high percentage of non-Lutheran members) that yes there is a place for them in this Lutheran church and they are more than just second class  tuition paying bodies in the school?  A statement to you (this is a fine young man with potential what can/should I do to keep him around)  Did something work ;)and what was it?
Around about the time you were born I started to meet some Pastors and RC Priests who believed very strongly in the power of the Holy Spirit to work through the Body and Blood of Our Lord  in the lives of those who partook of the Eucharist (even the confused and unsuspecting).  Basically to work to  bring into , strengthen and preserve guys like me/us in  True Faith unto Life Everlasting.  So much so that their belief in the power of this Means of Grace trumped their complete adherence to the Akron-Galesburg rule.

By any chance have you "peacefully" asked some of the pastors why they disregarded the AG rule?

Don't get me wrong I believe the GA rule to be the ideal and desired practice.  My prayers are for you to be able to lovingly keep it without alienating anyone, and to explain it in such a way that it has a beneficial effect  throughout the years of your ministry.
God Bless You
JamesinJapan
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