Author Topic: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12  (Read 2556 times)

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 11527
    • View Profile
Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
« Reply #30 on: November 20, 2010, 10:42:30 AM »
Unfortunately, your analogy to the Supreme Court finally requires a vote, and the majority state what the doctrinal position is. Kind of like the CTCR.

I don't think that's what President Harrison has in mind with the Koinonia project. We don't unify by majority vote. As with the Supreme Court, that's running things in the way of the law. The key is The Word that is active and creates, it does what it says. 
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but itís not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Dave Benke

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12442
    • View Profile
    • Atlantic District, LCMS
Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
« Reply #31 on: November 20, 2010, 10:52:55 AM »
I agree with Don here, Matt J.   My usual entrance text for preaching on the doctrine of the Word is Hebrews 4:12, the Word, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division between "soul and spirit."  Where is that?  The answer is - you know where that is, because that's the you that's you.  In Elert's way of explication, the ash that's left of the psychic content of you is covered by the cross of Christ, where death meets and conquers death in the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Doing that explication in group setting around controverted or central issues of faith and life promises to be a transformative Body of Christ experience, one not addressed by majority opinions, no matter how they're vetted.

Dave Benke

Matt

  • Guest
Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
« Reply #32 on: November 20, 2010, 10:59:40 AM »
My suggestion does not involve voting; the analogy with the Supreme Court is not appropriate on that point, only in the drafting of opinions.

There is no voting at any level, and the intention is not to produce legislation or overatures or confessions or canon law. I don't recommend taking power away from any existing boards or committees or the Synod in convention.

Everything works by power of persuasion. The hope is that each group can reach unanimity on a subject and produce one document with 12 signatures. It is possible, I suppose, for a group to produce 12 documents drafted by each of the 12 members. My guess is that most groups will settle on two opinions, perhaps one with eight signatures and one with four.

Then, everything gets posted on the Internet for public comment so that the next higher group may be informed by the opinions of the lower. Again, somewhat like the court system but with no voting or binding powers. My hope is that those reading the documents will support the arguments with the strongest support from scripture and confessions rather than judging the personalities of the people signing the documents. Still, I think it will be very enlightening to have the signatures of many church leaders on positions stating "here I stand, this I believe." This process will provide clarity and transparency and identify who believes what.

« Last Edit: November 20, 2010, 11:01:16 AM by Matthew Jamison »

Matt

  • Guest
Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
« Reply #33 on: November 20, 2010, 11:36:50 AM »
Deep study of the Word of God must permeate every level of the discussion. I envision 50% of each group's time together spent on Bible study, 25% on discussion and debate and 25% on writing and signing statements.

Sharper than any two edged sword, I can see a group producing one statement informed by clear reasoning from the Scripture and one or more statements that is not. It very well may be the minority opinion or the opinion of one person that expresses Scriptural truth. I am confident that as Christians read, evaluate and discuss these statements with the help of the Holy Spirit, the truth will become clear.

As far as "the you that's you" and psychic ash, I have no idea what you are talking about. The Word of God is an objective reality that exists outside of me. As a sinful man, my understanding of the Bible is incomplete at best, and perhaps wrong on some points. If someone shows me from scripture that my opinion is wrong, I must change my opinion and humbly thank he who corrected me. I must conform my mind to scripture. The same is true for all Christians. No one's opinion gets to carry the day because of exalted education or office or majority vote. Our Synod in convention has produced decisions that directly contradict the Lutheran Confessions and the Word of God. The CTCR has produced some opinions that are poorly reasoned, poorly written and not helpful for the life of the church. Rank-and-file LCMS'ers have rightfully ignor the worst of this.

No human process is infallible, neither will be the Koinonia Project. But the more the process depends on the Word of God and the less it depends on political maneuvering, the better the outputs will be. If this idea of Koinonia is meant to replace anything, it would be the CTCR. We can think of this as a CTCR with much broader participation and transparency (I do think one of the best things about the CTCR is the posting of minority opinions).

pr dtp

  • Guest
Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
« Reply #34 on: November 20, 2010, 12:42:36 PM »
Deep study of the Word of God must permeate every level of the discussion. I envision 50% of each group's time together spent on Bible study, 25% on discussion and debate and 25% on writing and signing statements.

Sharper than any two edged sword, I can see a group producing one statement informed by clear reasoning from the Scripture and one or more statements that is not. It very well may be the minority opinion or the opinion of one person that expresses Scriptural truth. I am confident that as Christians read, evaluate and discuss these statements with the help of the Holy Spirit, the truth will become clear.

As far as "the you that's you" and psychic ash, I have no idea what you are talking about. The Word of God is an objective reality that exists outside of me. As a sinful man, my understanding of the Bible is incomplete at best, and perhaps wrong on some points. If someone shows me from scripture that my opinion is wrong, I must change my opinion and humbly thank he who corrected me. I must conform my mind to scripture. The same is true for all Christians. No one's opinion gets to carry the day because of exalted education or office or majority vote. Our Synod in convention has produced decisions that directly contradict the Lutheran Confessions and the Word of God. The CTCR has produced some opinions that are poorly reasoned, poorly written and not helpful for the life of the church. Rank-and-file LCMS'ers have rightfully ignor the worst of this.

No human process is infallible, neither will be the Koinonia Project. But the more the process depends on the Word of God and the less it depends on political maneuvering, the better the outputs will be. If this idea of Koinonia is meant to replace anything, it would be the CTCR. We can think of this as a CTCR with much broader participation and transparency (I do think one of the best things about the CTCR is the posting of minority opinions).


Sorry, I don't think the signing statements will work, anymore than it has in our ordinations and installations.   We all "signed" onto agareement with the confessions and scripture therein - how many more documents can we have? 

However, we can come into agreement on what those documents means - for example AC 4, 7, 8, 14, 24 etc.

One thing as ell - the constant concept that we are all justified sinners - and that our unity will only be found in our being united to Christ.

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 11527
    • View Profile
Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
« Reply #35 on: November 20, 2010, 12:49:26 PM »
My suggestion does not involve voting; the analogy with the Supreme Court is not appropriate on that point, only in the drafting of opinions.

Well, neither of us has been in the Supreme Court conference room, but my understanding is that, generally, they retire to the conference room after oral argument, take a vote, and the majority and minority opinions are then assigned by the Chief Justice. Others may concur or dissent, with or without separate opinions. So, the drafting of opinions inherently involves a vote. And we have a deeply divided Suypreme Court. So, I don't think the Court's methods are analogous at all to a Koinonia project, thanks be to God.

I'm not sure what you mean by everything working by power of persuasion. I hope you mean by The Word. As Dr. Nagel always warned us, beware of power talk for, if we are doing the persuading, it's law talk. (Hence my aversion toward the "power of prayer" phrase.) When the Lord is running the verbs, however, then we have the power of the Word.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2010, 12:54:45 PM by dgkirch »
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but itís not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

pr dtp

  • Guest
Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
« Reply #36 on: November 20, 2010, 01:06:28 PM »
My suggestion does not involve voting; the analogy with the Supreme Court is not appropriate on that point, only in the drafting of opinions.

Well, neither of us has been in the Supreme Court conference room, but my understanding is that, generally, they retire to the conference room after oral argument, take a vote, and the majority and minority opinions are then assigned by the Chief Justice. Others may concur or dissent, with or without separate opinions. So, the drafting of opinions inherently involves a vote. And we have a deeply divided Suypreme Court. So, I don't think the Court's methods are analogous at all to a Koinonia project, thanks be to God.

I'm not sure what you mean by everything working by power of persuasion. I hope you mean by The Word. As Dr. Nagel always warned us, beware of power talk for, if we are doing the persuading, it's law talk. (Hence my aversion toward the "power of prayer" phrase.) When the Lord is running the verbs, however, then we have the power of the Word.

Can the moderators add a FB-like "thumbs up" to the forum?  I would like to click such for this one!

Matt

  • Guest
Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
« Reply #37 on: November 20, 2010, 03:41:56 PM »
J&S: I don't propose changing anything about the ordination oath. Whatever documents Koinonia produces would not have the same force as quia subscriptions to the Lutheran Confessions. This is what I mean when
I say (and I believe Pr. Harrison says) that we are not in the business of adding to the confessions or drafting new confessions. Anything that anybody produces that is not in line with scripture and confessions is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Pr. Kirch: Feel free to disagree, but please make the effort to understand what I am saying. Like the Supreme Court, the Koinonia participants would deliberate behind closed doors with an attitude of confidentiality and collegiality as they discuss the issues at hand. Just as the Supreme Court's freedom is restricted by the Constitution, legislation and precedent; the Koinonia participants will be limited to reasoning from Scripture and confessions. This is, I understand, the norm for theological debate in our seminaries and conventions already.

Unlike the Supreme Court, no vote will be taken. The participants will produce as many statements as they need to in order to represent the range of opinion in the room that exists after prayer, Bible study and deliberation. The group should pray that it is led to come to one understanding on the issue at hand so that the 12 participants can sign one document. But if division still exists, we should recognize it honestly and not force anyone to endorse anything that they can not in good conscience endorse.

As to signing one's name to opinions, that is what we do all day long on boards like this one! When I opine on church matters on the Internet, I must be accountable for what I write. If I write something in error or sin against a brother, I expect to be corrected and called to repentence. This has happened many times for me and it has made me a better Christian. Steel has sharpened steel, and I've gained respect for those I disagree with and insight about what they believe. If all, or even most people come to Koinonia with a humble and teachable spirit, I believe it could be a great blessing for our life together in the Synod.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2010, 03:49:18 PM by Matthew Jamison »

Dave Benke

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12442
    • View Profile
    • Atlantic District, LCMS
Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
« Reply #38 on: November 20, 2010, 04:12:31 PM »
Oops.  I think I jumped ahead too quickly there for you on the Elertian reference, Matt J.  What is being discussed is saving faith.  Saving faith is not something you do, is not subjective, is not the you that is you doing anything.  It is quite the opposite,  In the words of the theologians, its a mathematicum punctum, a mathematical point.  And the mathematical point, for Luther, is that the ash left of you when you are along with all humanity dead in your trespasses and sins is covered objectively by the cross of Christ.  The doctrine of the Word is that which reveals the innermost thoughts and discernments of the heart (Hebrews 4) and thereby as the living and active two-edged sword cuts you to the bone, revealing the spot in you and all humanity that is addressed by and covered by the Gospel - the availiing death and resurrection of Christ.  This is the theologians' way of expressing what historically transpired at the hearing of Peter's words in Acts 2. 

There is, of course, a theological category of "appropriating faith," that which clings to the promise delivered.  But saving faith cannot begin with or be anchored in human effort, or you're left with the Baptist "I believe that I believe that I believe that I believe" deal where what you have faith in is your faith, which is a tautology and not a useful one.

I think what you're outlining is useful in terms of the "statements;" the documents will be fluid, and normally proceed on the basis of "here's what we all hold to be true, here's where the areas of difficulty are, and here's what's happened in uncovering those;"  and so forth unto conclusion.

The Synod's Task Force on Harmony has been working for a number of years and their insights as to the areas for theological study will be part and parcel of the Koinonia Project. 

Dave Benke

Matt

  • Guest
Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
« Reply #39 on: November 20, 2010, 05:08:47 PM »
Let me be the first to admit that I have not read deeply or broadly as a theologian; especially compared to the professional theologians in this Forum. The depth of learning demonstrated by (for example) Prs. Benke, Weedon or Stoffregen is very impressive. My Greek is very elementary, my Hebrew nonexistent.

So I am not familiar with Elert and some of the terminology that you are using. I'm not familiar with the term mathematicum punctum and you don't really define what you mean by it. So I'm not sure if I agree or not. I do think it is possible that you might approvingly quote some theologians or theological ideas that I would reject. I hope my ignorance does not disqualify me from participating in this conversation.

I don't think there is disagreement between us given what you just wrote, insofar as I understand it. No one's saving faith will be determined or defined by the Koinonia Project.

Our overarching problem in the LCMS is that we would like to walk together in perfect unity and fellowship, but this is threatened by the longstanding divisions among us. Pr. Harrison is proposing a project to work toward overcoming these divisions and I'm musing about how the details should work. The opinions of those of you who are on the other side of these divisions is most useful. I don't pretend that my opinion counts for anything more than any other lay man or woman but if, by the grace of God, I come up with some good ideas, they might catch on and influence reality. Or not, either way I enjoy the conversation!

LCMS87

  • Guest
Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
« Reply #40 on: November 20, 2010, 08:20:43 PM »
I think what you're outlining is useful in terms of the "statements;" the documents will be fluid, and normally proceed on the basis of "here's what we all hold to be true, here's where the areas of difficulty are, and here's what's happened in uncovering those;"  and so forth unto conclusion.

The Synod's Task Force on Harmony has been working for a number of years and their insights as to the areas for theological study will be part and parcel of the Koinonia Project.  

Dave Benke

Reverend President,

I'd click the "like" button on this.  

One thing I hope we are able to do is work out our "statements" in thesis and antithesis.  It can be very helpful to say, "This is what we agree on, and together we reject these contrary understandings."  That's not in style today, but it an age of agreeing to disagree or "You have your truth and I have mine," I think it's extremely valuable.  It facilitates clarity and precision, both of which are necessary for real concordia.

Dave Benke

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12442
    • View Profile
    • Atlantic District, LCMS
Re: Koinonia Project: The Chosen 12
« Reply #41 on: November 22, 2010, 10:25:03 AM »
I think that's not only workable, but the way it will work.   
Agreed on.
Against.
Left to determine.
Whittling.

Dave Benke