Author Topic: Unity and the Means of Grace  (Read 29997 times)

LCMS87

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #180 on: November 24, 2010, 01:46:26 PM »
In the example that '87 gives, I take it that this pastor refrained from the supper as a matter of principle. It appears he went out of his way to explain ahead of time that he was not making a protest statement or expressing a beef with the host pastor or anyone else.

How is this going a step too far? If he doesn't want to commune, he doesn't commune. We respect this freedom in our congregations. This pastor goes out of his way to ensure that his action is not misinterpreted and does not give offense. That is certainly the right thing to do.

Mr. Jamison,

I have a busy afternoon, so can't provide an appropriate reply at this point.  Suffice it for now to say that I understand what Pr. Benke means and that the devil is in the details--which I didn't include in my post.  I'll get back to it eventually, perhaps tomorrow.

Blessings on your celebration of Thanksgiving.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #181 on: November 24, 2010, 03:12:20 PM »
Restricting the sacrament to "sponsorship" of a congregation alone seems to be one of the most draconian steps ever taken by those who wish to exert ultra-conservative control over what belongs to the Church as "C"hurch.
    But of course, what can you expect from a denomination that has made a long long career or ripping people up over such things, bringing its leading theologians (the "44", Concordia-St. Louis Professors) to the guillotine, and letting each individual pastor decide for himself who he deigns to be worthy to kneel beside him at the altar rail.
    Such actions are a profound embarrassment to all decent Lutheran.....
    Oh! Wait! Stop! I let my guard down and a spirit of ptmccain took over my keyboard. I think I have now killed that intrusive spirit deader than Dobbie the House Elf at the close of the most recent Harry Potter movie.
    My apologies to all.  ;) Not.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #182 on: November 24, 2010, 03:38:00 PM »
Pr. Kirchner - please state where responses have been ambiguous so I can clarify anything that wasn't clear.

Oh, I don't know, it's hard to say.   ;)

Things like your response to Rev. Slusser's sense that the selective fellowship practiced by some within the Synod and then enter into dialog in order to again be in fellowship is akin to two denominations discussing fellowship, and his conclusion that the selective fellowship behavior is schismatic:

"Father, yes, it is right next door to schism. But the fact that they have not officially broken fellowship..."

What does that mean?  Again, is it like being kinda pregnant? Such behavior certainly creates division within the fellowship, i.e., schism. The LC-MS certainly acknowledges the danger of schismatic behavior within the Synod without having officially broken fellowship. See Art. 3, 1 of the Constitution and the objectives:

...provide a united defense against schism, sectarianism (Rom. 16:17), and heresy..."

Things like that. It's no big deal. Just my observation.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 03:41:37 PM by dgkirch »
Don Kirchner

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Weedon

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #183 on: November 24, 2010, 03:45:46 PM »
Okay, but that was not my ambiguity; it's theirs.  And they are well aware of it.  The contradictory nature of it, I mean.  That's why "impaired fellowship" seems the best word to describe it.  Inverse selective fellowship might also work.  In any case, as long as we are all agreed that they are welcome to sit down and share their concerns with us, I'm cool. 

Timotheus Verinus

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #184 on: November 24, 2010, 03:54:04 PM »
Restricting the sacrament to "sponsorship" of a congregation alone seems to be one of the most draconian steps ever taken by those who wish to exert ultra-conservative control over what belongs to the Church as "C"hurch.
    But of course, what can you expect from a denomination that has made a long long career or ripping people up over such things, bringing its leading theologians (the "44", Concordia-St. Louis Professors) to the guillotine, and letting each individual pastor decide for himself who he deigns to be worthy to kneel beside him at the altar rail.
    Such actions are a profound embarrassment to all decent Lutheran.....
    Oh! Wait! Stop! I let my guard down and a spirit of ptmccain took over my keyboard. I think I have now killed that intrusive spirit deader than Dobbie the House Elf at the close of the most recent Harry Potter movie.
    My apologies to all.  ;) Not.

Charles,

I am going to bet you miss the subtleties here, such as those Pr. W and J&S are trying to work out.

Let's leave this as a defense of how the serious discussions hit the street.

Even not being in LCMS any more, I in another body am welcome by Pr. Benke, J&S, and mainstream Missouri. I am certain Pr. Weedon and I could join at the table. I'll go a step further, even being from more restrictive environments than the conservative LCMS quarters, I would certainly be willing to sit with Rolf for a few hours, which I imagine we would do anyway if we found ourselves together, and imagine it is not impossible that on such talks, I might even commune at his church... Seeing as his son and I were taught in some degree by the same  school, and teachers. Rolf can speak to that, he knows me from the net. ELCA tables  become seriously problematic, and more reflective of draconian ripping. At least Rolf, Richard et al and I speak the same vocabulary, and understand the problems we're talking about.

Now! ... Keep in mind I probably engage ELCA pastors and people as much as any confessional/traditional pastor here. No, your cries from the left fence calling for unity is more than a stretch. What you have torn is quite severe. The ground you stand on is not even close to Unity. Draconian actions are everywhere evident.

No, I think you are constructing a straw man to attack. Here's a match, burn that scare crow! The conversation is ultimately a serious one about serious matters .... something I haven't seen too much in formal ELCA gatherings, ... to my dismay as many ELCA friends and pastors here lament.

I will say this, trying to keep any joint ministries focused, is more than challenging, as one outside, watching the debates. But there is a difference between the ELCA meanderings, and the most energetic Missouri discussions. Really. Your high ground is below sea level my friend.

TV
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 04:00:28 PM by TVerinus »
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Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #185 on: November 24, 2010, 03:56:40 PM »
Pr. Weedon,

Is this "inverse" selective fellowship schismatic behavior or is it not? It creates division. So, what is "right next door to schism"?

I agree. It's cool, for I am not aware that anyone has suggested that they are not welcome to sit down and share their concerns, no matter how many times you voice a concern about it.

Rest easy, Pastor. Some of those folks are my brothers and friends too. Except for the one who has "disdain" for members of our flocks who refuse to get involved in the issues voiced in the ACELC agenda or the ACELC signed supporter who calls brothers and sisters in Christ with whom he disagrees on worship "cockroaches." They're not my friends. But they are still welcome at the discussion table.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 04:59:14 PM by dgkirch »
Don Kirchner

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Dave Benke

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #186 on: November 24, 2010, 03:57:47 PM »
The Waltherian mode is indeed to have a sponsoring congregation for any eucharistic celebration, Charles.  This goes back to the Transference Theory of the Office of the Ministry/Call.  Which is why I reference the conversation leading toward whether pastors not in parishes have legitimate Divine Calls.  The basic Waltherian viewpoint has in large part indeed been affirmed by the Synod in Convention, most recently in the early 2000s when George Wollenburg was involved in a resolution out of Floor Committee Seven on Structure.  We re-affirmed Walther's Kirche und Amt in that conclave.  New President Harrison is undertaking a new translation of the work, so we'll see how "Kirche" gets translated this time.  In former days, it was normally "congregation," as in "local assembly of believers."  

Pr. W., what is the responsibility of the ecclesiastical supervisors toward those in "impaired fellowship," in your opinion?  Should these men have been placed on "restricted" roster status for their failure to walk together with fellow pastors?   I say "should have been" because I'm thinking now the mode will be to try to get and keep them at the dialogical table alongside another group of pastors with in many cases a lot more parishioners who are practicing contemporary worship and have little interest in table-talk either.  Anyway, should these men who really had gone beyond the bounds of dissent prescribed in the handbook have been dealt with more fervently in the past in your opinion?

Dave Benke

Weedon

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #187 on: November 24, 2010, 04:13:21 PM »
Pr. Kirchner,

Next door to schism is the furthest I'm willing to go because to THEM it is doctrinal matters that are dividing - nothing less.  We may not agree with them that a woman reading a Scripture reading in the Divine Service is a "doctrinal" matter.  But to them it clearly is.  And as Pr. Hess has pointed out, they're in most cases (not all) actually just holding to what WAS the position of the LCMS (at least culturally, if not dogmatically defined) on many of these questions.  

Bishop,

I'm glad that it is for you all to figure that one out.  I am not an ecclesiastical supervisor.  Of course, you know what I'd start with:  if the District President has not visited that pastor's parish, listened to his preaching and teaching, and personally had contact with him, he's not in a very good position to superintend.  Yes, dead horse beating, I'm sure.  But it's huge to me.  I suspect a significant contributor to the current state is District Presidents not actually visiting.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 04:28:56 PM by Weedon »

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #188 on: November 24, 2010, 04:21:03 PM »
So, what is the doctrinal matter that is dividing by which they question whether they should commune with you because you commune at District gatherings?

Anyway, thanks for your followup, Pastor. I guess it must be my confusion as to why your position is not clear to me.

An aside to how some of those who practice such selective fellowship view the magnitude of what they're doing... Do you know a common justification that they give for their actions? "Well, Luther refused to shake hands with Zwingli."  :o
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 04:41:22 PM by dgkirch »
Don Kirchner

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Dan Fienen

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #189 on: November 24, 2010, 04:39:23 PM »
Bishop,

I'm glad that it is for you all to figure that one out.  I am not an ecclesiastical supervisor.  Of course, you know what I'd start with:  if the District President has not visited that pastor's parish, listened to his preaching and teaching, and personally had contact with him, he's not in a very good position to superintend.  Yes, dead horse beating, I'm sure.  But it's huge to me.  I suspect a significant contributor to the current state is District Presidents not actually visiting.
If this is a side track, sorry.  I agree that for District President to be an ecclesiastical supervisor, parish visits are important and observing what actually happens in the parish, preached from the pulpit, etc.  However what I have a hard time understanding is the push also to have District Presidents be pastors actually serving in a parish.  In the average size district, if the DP is to be in every parish each year, or even every other year, how much time would that leave for him to be in his own pulpit, carring for the people he was called to serve?  I just have not figured out how that is supposed to work.

Dan
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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swbohler

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #190 on: November 24, 2010, 04:53:41 PM »
Now I am confused, Dr. Benke.  Are you suggesting that if a pastor does not commune with other pastors of the synod then he should be suspended?  Isn't that doing what everyone here is saying should never happen -- making the Sacrament a "have to" and a "weapon"?

ChrisG

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #191 on: November 24, 2010, 05:03:46 PM »
A couple things from a layman's perspective:
First, there are times when I travel and visit an LCMS congregation that I might refrain from taking communion.  The first situation would be if the consecration of the elements was carried out by someone who was not regularly called and ordained - such as a vicar or lay minister.  The second situation would be if the communion was open to the point that I knew with certainty that there were non-LCMS members receiving communion (such as my ELCA sister and Episcopal brother-in-law).  I would refrain from receiving communion in these instances not so much out of protest, but more as a matter of conscience (I usually try to research congregations prior to travelling to keep from having to make the choice in the first place). 

Secondly, I have observed that it is possible to have doctrinal divisions within a congregation and yet still have all the members be in good standing with the LCMS.  The church that I am a member at is divided over the issue of women's suffrage in the church.  One-third of the congregation is opposed to it, and two-thirds support it.  We have tried to work through the differences, but it has been to no avail.  My understanding of the synod's bylaws (handbook?) is that members can dissent with the resolution that approved women's suffrage and still remain members in good standing.  So, in a way, our congregation approaches the Lord's table every Sunday with a certain amount of doctrinal division.  It would be better if that were not the case, but that is the reality.

As a side note, it is the policy of our congegation to commune all members of the LCMS that are in good standing, but to deny those in any other denomination that the LCMS is not in fellowship with (be it ELCA, WELS, or ELS).  We are a smaller church, so the elders are able to ask each guest if they are members in good standing with the LCMS.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #192 on: November 24, 2010, 05:07:43 PM »
I can understand (sort of) that ordination for women is a "doctrinal" issue. But is being "divided" on the issue of whether women can vote at congregational meetings a "doctrinal" issue? Really?

Dave Benke

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #193 on: November 24, 2010, 05:13:55 PM »
Your church seems pretty normal to me, Chris - usually the division is over the color of the rugs, but the "dissent" from the vote (in this case, the Synod allows women's suffrage but doesn't mandate it, so in a sense it's like the rug color) is not divisive of the Altar.  

As to DPs visiting and not being parish pastors, visitation can be done if you are both a parish pastor and a DP, but there's delegation on both the parish and district side in terms of duties and activities.  And the district can't possibly be a huge one, either in number or geography.  Northwest, for pete's sake - how huge is that?

As to ecclesiastical supervision, I didn't indicate what should be done, but asked whether indeed something should be done when a pastor is out of fellowship with fellow brothers in the denomination.  What do you think, SW?  Apparently your answer would be "do nothing."  Look at that - that's what I've done to date!  In a sense, someone other than you could say that's derogation of duty.

Time for some serious Thanksgiving Eve stuff now at the old Hacienda in Brooklyn.  Paul McCain, I've posted pictures of the Reservoir where the birds hang out on my Facebook page - you'll see a couple of sparrows with switchblades if you look real close.

Dave Benke

Weedon

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Re: Unity and the Means of Grace
« Reply #194 on: November 24, 2010, 05:21:51 PM »
Pastor Fienen,

It would, of course, be impossible for many of the current district configurations.  One of the options on the table that went the way of all flesh was increasing the districts and making them smaller.  That would have allowed for more District Presidents to serve parishes.