Author Topic: Unity and the Means of Grace  (Read 30090 times)

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2010, 04:12:47 PM »
We are sure that Mary and others were not the based on what painting...  And reception is not just for males but the action of a celebrant is based on what?   I just tossed in Judas because Jesus loved him not because he filled out a registration card. .  Harvey Mozolak
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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2010, 04:15:26 PM »
I would ask that we not go off on a tangent of whose there and practices of the Lord's Table between denominations.  If you want that - please start another thread. 

So far this one has been fairly on track and even enjoyable.

Matt

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2010, 04:32:34 PM »
In many discussions herein, I have made the comment that I do not see the possibility of a discussion of the differences between Christian brothers in the LCMS occuring without it being centered around the means of grace.

I believe the possibility exists. Here in the ALPB Forum, we have had an edifying discussion of the differences between Christian brothers, not all of whom are in altar or pulpit fellowship with one another. Obviously, there is no way that we could commune together without in some sense being physically together, and it would be a mistake to try. The ground rules of the ALPB Forum is that anyone can register and post regardless of what they believe, and no one has to reveal his or her real name, though many choose to do so. No one preaches or teaches authoritatively here.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the proper scope of the means of grace is the local congregation. Typically, we preach, absolve, baptize and commune as a local congregation, and every congregation identifies one or more pastors who are called to administer the means of grace with Christ's authority in that context. Note here that the Epistles are all addressed to local congregations who have different issues, and Christ speaks to congregations in the first chapters of Revelation. Our Synod is not a congregation but an association of pastors and congregations walking together. The ALPB (or BJS, or Jesus First, or ACELC) is also not a congregation.

Weedon

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2010, 05:03:02 PM »
I'd add the caveat that the congregatio of AC VII is singular.  The Church isn't congregations.  She IS congregation.  More on that here if anyone is interested:  http://bookofconcord.blogspot.com/2006/12/repost.html

Matt

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2010, 05:21:47 PM »
So how can we limit altar and pulpit fellowship to a visible church body on any level?

Michael Slusser

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2010, 05:34:12 PM »
So how can we limit altar and pulpit fellowship to a visible church body on any level?

Conversely, how can we refuse altar and pulpit fellowship within a visible church body on any level?

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Michael
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Matt

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2010, 05:40:48 PM »
My question exactly! Pr. Weedon's essay that he linked to is excellent as is the comments from Dr. Sonntag after it. On that blog, Pr. Poedel asks the same question that Fr. Slusser and I posit here.

To summarize, Rome defines the church as the bishops in communion with the Pope and all those under their authority. The LCMS restricts fellowship to members of the LCMS and church bodies that it is in full fellowship with, but acknowledges that the true, invisible church is both broader and narrower than the "visible" LCMS and its sister bodies. The ELCA apparently believes that communion is not to be denied to baptized Christians who present themselves for it, and it is possible to have altar and pulpit fellowship with non-Lutheran church bodies.

Weedon

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2010, 05:46:23 PM »
It's always helpful if we realize that the AC was a document penned in service of KEEPING communion fellowship intact between Rome and the Lutherans.  It urged that regarding Lutherans as heretics because of their correction of certain abuses when they manifestly held to the old faith was hasty and something the bishops would have to answer to Christ for.  Obviously by the time of the SA and the FC the situation had deteriorated significantly.  The point of AC VII though was essentially that the parishes and territories in which the reform had been introduced are of a piece with the one Church and that it is not necessary for Roman ceremonial to be observed in them for them to share in that unity.  

Father, altar fellowship may be refused to any within one's fellowship who persists in sin after being warned, thus refusing the grace of repentance.  So the AC quotes Chrysostom saying that he stands daily at the altar, admitting some, refusing others.  

Weedon

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2010, 05:55:04 PM »
An addendum:  when it became clear that the Lutheran understanding of the old catholic faith was not shared by Rome; in fact, in part being anathematized by Rome, then the situation of the divided table between these two became a fact of life.  The way back to the united table is found through a renewed understanding of what exactly IS the old catholic faith that both camps claim as their own.  God grant the day to come!  But until that day comes, to share the table together would be a confession of conflicting versions of what is the old catholic faith.  Take even the question of who is competent to celebrate the Sacrament.  We do not agree on this, for Rome insists that our pastors are not fully priests (though, it is always good to note that in the first rounds of the Lutheran/Catholic dialog in this country, the Roman participants actually recommended recognizing the validity of Lutheran orders). 

Michael Slusser

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2010, 05:57:35 PM »

Father, altar fellowship may be refused to any within one's fellowship who persists in sin after being warned, thus refusing the grace of repentance.  So the AC quotes Chrysostom saying that he stands daily at the altar, admitting some, refusing others.  

Of course a pastor may be forced to such a step (have you ever found yourself in that position in your own congregation, or had personal knowledge of a colleague who had to take such a step?).

But my impression (which may have been erroneous) is that this thread concerned pastors within the same visible church who felt they could not be in altar fellowship with their fellow pastors until after they had settled certain doctrinal differences, therefore that doctrinal discussions within the church would need to commence without Eucharist and continue until these pastors were satisfied that it was safe for them to commune with each other. That is a very different situation from the one envisaged by AC or Chrysostom, is it not? And it is one that makes me shiver.

If I misunderstood this thread's concern, I apologize to all.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
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Weedon

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2010, 06:10:23 PM »
Father,

Briefly, yes.  I have had the sad occasion to do so more than once.  It is always with tears and heart-ache (and heart-burn!). 

And yes, to your second paragraph.  There are some in the Synod who hold that we live in a state of impaired communion within the Synod.  They are not many, but this is often manifested by their decision to avoid communion outside their own parishes.  They do recognize, though, the inconsistency inherent in that:  for by communing in any one parish of the synod, one has communed with them all. 

Matt

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2010, 06:11:56 PM »
Of course a pastor may be forced to such a step (have you ever found yourself in that position in your own congregation, or had personal knowledge of a colleague who had to take such a step?).

This is not uncommon in the congregations of the LCMS where closed communion is observed. In a congregation where I was an elder, I observed communion being denied for both unrepentant sinful behavior and for a person from a different church body. In the case of the sinful behavior, the pastor placed the person under the "minor ban" and asked him not to take communion until the situation was resolved. Obviously, this is a very sensitive situation that calls for a high level of tact, sensitivity and love from the pastor. Sometimes this results in repentance and reconciliation, and sometimes it results in someone leaving the church in anger.

As for visitors from different church bodies, the bulletin would contain a statement of our understand of communion fellowship and ask visitors to speak with the pastor before communing. When someone the pastor did not know appeared at the rail, he would quietly ask them what church they were a member of. If it was not an LCMS church, he would not commune them but would pronounce a blessing. Believe it or not, this, too can be done in a discreet and sensitive way.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2010, 06:17:48 PM »
What's a "minor" ban?
« Last Edit: November 20, 2010, 06:24:32 PM by dgkirch »
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Michael Slusser

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2010, 06:22:54 PM »
Of course a pastor may be forced to such a step (have you ever found yourself in that position in your own congregation, or had personal knowledge of a colleague who had to take such a step?).

This is not uncommon in the congregations of the LCMS where closed communion is observed. In a congregation where I was an elder, I observed communion being denied for both unrepentant sinful behavior and for a person from a different church body. In the case of the sinful behavior, the pastor placed the person under the "minor ban" and asked him not to take communion until the situation was resolved. Obviously, this is a very sensitive situation that calls for a high level of tact, sensitivity and love from the pastor. Sometimes this results in repentance and reconciliation, and sometimes it results in someone leaving the church in anger.

As for visitors from different church bodies, the bulletin would contain a statement of our understand of communion fellowship and ask visitors to speak with the pastor before communing. When someone the pastor did not know appeared at the rail, he would quietly ask them what church they were a member of. If it was not an LCMS church, he would not commune them but would pronounce a blessing. Believe it or not, this, too can be done in a discreet and sensitive way.

Pr. Weedon clearly was not speaking of persons from other church bodies:

Father, altar fellowship may be refused to any within one's fellowship who persists in sin after being warned, thus refusing the grace of repentance.  So the AC quotes Chrysostom saying that he stands daily at the altar, admitting some, refusing others. 


Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2010, 06:31:17 PM »
What's a "minor" ban?

I think it is what a sports bar has, so as to not get cited for serving Lutheran beverages to people under 21. 

Apparently in the realm populated by fans of NFC Central teams - there is often a need for unity as  they drink away sorrow.    ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;)

Now more serious....

@Pr. Weedon
In regard to pastors who avoid communing because of a perceived impairment.  How long should such a hold-out continue, without effort to mend the impairment?  Do they, because they institute the ban on themselves have an obligation to work at repairing the breach?  Or can it just continue indefinitely?