Author Topic: Unity and the Means of Grace  (Read 29132 times)

ptmccain

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #360 on: November 30, 2010, 01:39:49 PM »
Walther's views on the office of the ministry are such that not even the most "high church" or "rabid Waltherians" among us would agree with anymore.

Which is interesting, in itself, given all the silly comments about Walther not having a high view of the office of the holy ministry.

I have mixed feelings on these issues, frankly.

I have yet to understand what the value, use or need is for there to be lay people reading the Scriptures in the Divine Service. It seems to me to derive more from a false understanding of what it means for the laity to be "involved" in the Divine Service as opposed to fulfilling their true calling of being the royal priesthood at prayer in the Divine Service.

As for distributing the Sacrament, I believe the Synod wisely counsels against women distributing. I would prefer that distribution of the Sacrament be performed by ordained clergymen, but then, I'm just one of those "old school Lutherans" like Walther was, I guess. I think AC XIV is rather clear on these matters, in spite of The LCMS' best efforts to make it unclear via ammendation at Wichita, Kansas a while back.

 :)

pr dtp

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #361 on: November 30, 2010, 01:54:07 PM »
Walther's views on the office of the ministry are such that not even the most "high church" or "rabid Waltherians" among us would agree with anymore.

Which is interesting, in itself, given all the silly comments about Walther not having a high view of the office of the holy ministry.

I have mixed feelings on these issues, frankly.

I have yet to understand what the value, use or need is for there to be lay people reading the Scriptures in the Divine Service. It seems to me to derive more from a false understanding of what it means for the laity to be "involved" in the Divine Service as opposed to fulfilling their true calling of being the royal priesthood at prayer in the Divine Service.

As for distributing the Sacrament, I believe the Synod wisely counsels against women distributing. I would prefer that distribution of the Sacrament be performed by ordained clergymen, but then, I'm just one of those "old school Lutherans" like Walther was, I guess. I think AC XIV is rather clear on these matters, in spite of The LCMS' best efforts to make it unclear via ammendation at Wichita, Kansas a while back.

 :)

It is interesting that the two citations I placed above - both from Walther, show Walther's understanding of the OHM to include others than the pastor.  Here is part o that post again....

"One more time:

Here we go again, forgetting the giants upon whose shoulders we stand....

Specifically:

"Hence the highest office is that of the ministry of the Word, with which all other offices are also conferred at the same time. Every other public office in the church is part of the ministry of the Word or an auxiliary office that supports the ministry, whether it be the elders who do not labor in the Word and doctrine (1 Tim. 5:17) or the rulers (Rom. 12: or the deacons (the office of service in a narrow sense) or whatever other offices the church may entrust to particular persons for special administration. Therefore, the offices of Christian day school teachers, almoners, sextons, precentors at public worship, and others are all to be regarded as ecclesiastical and sacred, for they take over a part of the one ministry of the Word and support the pastoral office." 

"Again: “To whom ever the office of preaching is committed, to him the highest office in Christendom is committed: he may then also baptize, celebrate Mass [the Lord’s Supper], and perform all the cure of souls [Seelsorge]; or, if he prefers not to, he may tend only to the preaching and leave the baptizing and other auxiliary functions to others, as Christ did, and Paul, and all Apostles, Acts 6”

Funny looking guy, kinda sickly wrote these words.... C Ferdinand WW. Y'all might have heard of him? "

Dan Fienen

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #362 on: November 30, 2010, 02:05:53 PM »
1 Corinthians 11:4-5 (ESV)
Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven.

Prophesying - OK, reading lessions - no?

Dan
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grabau14

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #363 on: November 30, 2010, 02:11:12 PM »
And here is another quote from that C.F.W. Walther fellow:

"all adult, male members of the congregation have the right to participate actively in the discussions, votes, and decisions of the congregation since that is a right of the whole congregation.  See Matt 18:17-18; Acts 1:15,23-26;15:2,12-13,22-23; I Cor 5:2;6:2;10:15;15:7;II Cor 2:6-8; II Thess 3:15.  Excluded from the exercise of this right are the youth (I Pet 5:5) and the female members of the congregation (I Cor 14:34-35) { see also I tim 2:8-15}."
Pastoral Theology, p. 257

So I would find it odd that Walther who did not allow women to vote would turn around and allow them to read the OT and Epistle lessons.
 

ptmccain

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #364 on: November 30, 2010, 02:16:47 PM »
Here we go again, forgetting the giants upon whose shoulders we stand....

Walther is not referring to functions within the Divine Service of Word and Sacrament. He nowhere indicates even any support for a layman reading a prayer in a church meeting, as long as there was a pastor present, a point he made clear during the Norwegian Lay Preacher controversy where his representative communicated his position to the Norwegians.

Like I said, even those who claim to be the most supportive of Walther, probably would not even agree with him.

I notice you avoided responding to the point of my comments.

What, precisely, is the great value in involving laity in the liturgical functions in the chancel? I think it sends a wrong message that unless one is chancel prancing one is not really "involved" in worship or that somehow the laity's "rights" are not being acknowledged.

All these arguments for "rights" and "functions" and "positions" are really out of whack, whether we are talking about laity performing liturgical functions or advocating for women to be pastors, etc. etc. Same tune.

« Last Edit: November 30, 2010, 02:21:08 PM by ptmccain »

Dan Fienen

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #365 on: November 30, 2010, 02:27:42 PM »
On the topic of lay/female lectors there are two types of arguments.  One is for each pastor/congregation to decide whether they would allow/foster the practice.  The other is whether anyone should foster the practice.  Some have expressed why they do not see the necessity of lay lectors, or their personal dislike for the practice.  Those can be good reasons not to allow it where they are.  But they are not arguments as to why nobody should allow it anywhere.  Other arguments have been advanced supporting or denying lay lectors everywhere.  Those two types of arguments must be distinguished.

Another way to distinguish arguments is between arguments that deal with the permissibility of something, and arguments that deal with the wisdom of the practice.  A practice, whether it is lay lectors or lay assistance in distributing the elements in Holy Communion, may legitimately be wisely done in one place but could be unwise in a different place, different circumstances.

Affirming that you find lay lectors to be unwise or unliked or unnecessary may be good reason for you not to allow it in the church you are associated with, but it does not mean that it should not be done anywhere.

Dan
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swbohler

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #366 on: November 30, 2010, 02:40:53 PM »
Rev. Fienen,

I am still waiting for you (or someone else) to give me a reason for having lay lectors.  What exactly IS its purpose?  I am not just talking about women reading the lessons, but any of the laity.  Nor am I talking about when there is no pastor present and an elder fills in, but when the pastor is standing/sitting right there.  Is it just because we can?  Even if one grants the interpretation of 1 Timothy 4:13 as speaking about private reading (as opposed to the public reading in the worship service), is Christian freedom justification enough to offend those who do not accept that understanding?  What about 1 Corinthians 8 -- shouldn't the weaker consciences be taken into account and the freedom to have lay lectors be given up out of Christian love?

I am also still waiting for you (or someone else) to answer if "just reading" in the worhsip service is not exercising authority, then is it permissible for a woman to "just read" a sermon written by a man?  How about if the pastor is standing/sitting right there (just like he is for the reading of the Scripture lessons)?

ptmccain

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #367 on: November 30, 2010, 02:41:52 PM »
On the topic of lay/female lectors there are two types of arguments.  One is for each pastor/congregation to decide whether they would allow/foster the practice.  The other is whether anyone should foster the practice.  Some have expressed why they do not see the necessity of lay lectors, or their personal dislike for the practice.  Those can be good reasons not to allow it where they are.  But they are not arguments as to why nobody should allow it anywhere.  Other arguments have been advanced supporting or denying lay lectors everywhere.  Those two types of arguments must be distinguished.

Another way to distinguish arguments is between arguments that deal with the permissibility of something, and arguments that deal with the wisdom of the practice.  A practice, whether it is lay lectors or lay assistance in distributing the elements in Holy Communion, may legitimately be wisely done in one place but could be unwise in a different place, different circumstances.

Affirming that you find lay lectors to be unwise or unliked or unnecessary may be good reason for you not to allow it in the church you are associated with, but it does not mean that it should not be done anywhere.

Dan


Dan,

What do you think is the value, and the theological grounds, for lay lectors in our circles?

swbohler

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #368 on: November 30, 2010, 02:45:12 PM »
J & S,

At the risk of repeating what others have already said, let me point out to you that Walther was speaking of churchly offices.  He even gives some examples.  But he doesn't list lector (I wonder why?). 

So that brings the following questions to my mind: are those reading the lessons in churches holding an office?  How have they been put into that office?  Who has placed them there?  If the lector is fulfilling part of the pastor's office, can a woman be selected to do that?  If reading the Scriptures belongs to the laity, has the congregation chosen the readers?

revjagow

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #369 on: November 30, 2010, 02:49:25 PM »

I have mixed feelings on these issues, frankly.

I have yet to understand what the value, use or need is for there to be lay people reading the Scriptures in the Divine Service. It seems to me to derive more from a false understanding of what it means for the laity to be "involved" in the Divine Service as opposed to fulfilling their true calling of being the royal priesthood at prayer in the Divine Service.


In our case at BLC, it is because we have very talented readers.  Far be it from me to neglect the talents and abilities God gives for service in His church. "The gifts of God for the people of God...".

"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace..." 1 Peter 4:10
Soli Deo Gloria!

swbohler

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #370 on: November 30, 2010, 02:53:49 PM »
So, revjagow, if our congregation has a very talented woman who can write and deliver wonderful sermons she may do so?  That is, are you really saying that the justification for having lay readers is because they have the talent?  Is talent alone enough?  Isn't there something necessary from outside the individual? 

Dan Fienen

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #371 on: November 30, 2010, 03:08:20 PM »
A couple of the reasons for lay lectors that has been given, it is another way for lay people to actively participate in the worship service rather than being simply passive spectators.  In a way it affirms that God's Word was given not just to pastors but to the whole church.

A counter question, if you will, if you are not convinced that lay lectors are necessary - does that mean that it should be forbidden everywhere?  Is it a rule of Lutheran practice that what is not commanded should be forbidden?

Dan
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FrPeters

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #372 on: November 30, 2010, 03:08:31 PM »
Quote
"The commission strongly recommends that to avoid confusion regarding the office of the public ministry

Who is confused?  With me in Eucharistic vestments as the final one entering in procession, sitting in the middle chair with acolyte in cassock and cotta and assisting minister in alb only, absolving the congregation, reading the Gospel and preaching from the pulpit, presiding at the Table... I don't think there is much danger in this setting that anyone thinks that anyone assisting me in any way is exercising the prerogatives of the office...

It is much more likely when Pastor is in polo and khakis like everyone else on the dais and the table is absent, the absolution is not pronounced, and the Gospel read by one of the praise band folks...
« Last Edit: November 30, 2010, 03:15:14 PM by FrPeters »
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #373 on: November 30, 2010, 03:12:27 PM »
The catechism ask "What does this mean?" and responds by saying what we should and should not do or by saying what God does and does not do. In other words, the meaning is in the action, not just the abstraction. They can't be separated. That's what sacramental theology does-- insist ont he connection between abstract meaning and concrete thing. Action and meaning are wrongly separated when people who have spiritual unity in Christ refuse to commune together or when people who do not have said unity commune together as though to achieve or work toward that unity. Both errors amount to declaring that the meaning of the action is something other than or separable from the action itself.

FrPeters

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #374 on: November 30, 2010, 03:14:24 PM »
If someone told me that it was their right to read a lesson, I would dismiss it right away.  Any roles delegated or assigned by the Pastor to others is strictly a matter of privilege and not of right.  I also have mixed feelings about this but I am not so constrained by the arguments against to insist that it cannot or may not be done.  Again, I do not get the confusion argument against lay readers.  Nobody ever gets confused in the parish I serve.  Now, again, if someone were trying to stir something up, I would discontinue the practice straightway.  I inherited it and had other more important fish to fry before I got down to this item on the list...
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