Author Topic: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA  (Read 16812 times)

Marshall_Hahn

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What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA
« on: March 18, 2011, 12:25:41 PM »
(Moving this note from "The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow up" to begin a new thread, per Rev. Yakimow's suggestion:)

At the Conference of Bishops Academy on January 6, 2011, Dr. Walter Taylor was asked to give a presentation on the concerns of those "troubled by the use of the Bible in Churchwide 2009 documents and decisions."  He presented 11 points outlining "what did not happen" at the 2009 Churchwide Assembly.  (Pr. Tony Metz listed these on his blog, "The Bible Is God's Word - Lutheran Style."  I contacted Dr. Taylor to be sure these were accurate, and they are.)  His 11 points:

1. What did not happen:  adequate use of the Bible, especially the Old Testament.
2. What did not happen:  a clear, full statement of the biblical foundations for marriage.
3. What did not happen:  study and reflection - even refutation - of the texts on homosexuality that normally come into play.
4. What did not happen:  normal historical study of Acts 10:9-16.
5. What did not happen:  use of the Bible when trying to build a positive case for acceptance of same-sex relationships.
6. What did not happen:  an acceptable definition of the neighbor's need.
7. What did not happen:  adequate understanding of the Law.
8. What did not happen:  the need for a savior adequately stated.
9. What did not happen:  a positive biblical and theological understanding of being single.
10. What did not happen:  an attempt to resolve the hermeneutical issues.
11. What did not happen:  adequate foundation for bound conscience.

One more quotation from Dr. Taylor, which comes from an online article in 2008 which he wrote about the earlier draft, and which he repeats in his presentation at the Bishops Academy with regard to the 2009 decisions:

"By not engaging the debate regarding same-sex relationships, the document, I believe, has done a disservice to gay and lesbian people, as well as their family members and supporters.  The document gives the impression that there is no argument to be made, only assertions to be stated.  Thus any change to current practice that might be suggested will appear arbitrary and in conflict with the Bible.  If the task force has a biblical argument to state, I think it needs to state it - for the sake of the ELCA, but even more for the sake of the people whose lives are most immediately affected."

Now me - As serious as these omissions are (and they make the actions of the 2009 CWA fatally flawed, that is, they ought to be declared invalid) - just as serious is the lack of any response by the leadership of the ELCA to these concerns.  What will the Bishops do with these charges?  What efforts are being made to address these 11 points?  Noone in any leadership position in the ELCA is even acknowledging these as legitimate concerns.  It is both of these things - the serious theological, constitutional, confessional errors committed by the 2009 CWA and the absolute silence of the leadership of the ELCA in addressing these errors that are leading some, such as Dr. James Crumley, Jr. to question "whether the ELCA is still without question a faithful and confessing church" (in an address given January 9, 2010 at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, Lexington, SC) and driving congregations and pastors out of the ELCA.

Marshall Hahn


frluther1517

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Re: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2011, 12:39:27 PM »
bump.

Erma S. Wolf

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Re: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2011, 12:47:11 PM »
Marshall, thank you for bringing this information to us, not only the eleven points and content of Dr. Taylor's presentation, but also the information that he was asked to present this to the Conference of Bishops.  Whatever is the outcome of such a presentation (which I agree is important to know what does and does not result from this), it is important that such a presentation even took place.  I thank whoever was responsible for making this happen.

Charles_Austin

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Re: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2011, 12:47:59 PM »
Re-posted here from that other thread:
Pastor Hahn writes:
Now me - As serious as these omissions are (and they make the actions of the 2009 CWA fatally flawed, that is, they ought to be declared invalid) - just as serious is the lack of any response by the leadership of the ELCA to these concerns. 
I comment:
And how do you define "lack of any response"? Explain why the bishops should cower before one critic and let him set the agenda?

Pastor Hahn writes:
What will the Bishops do with these charges?  What efforts are being made to address these 11 points? 
I comment:
And why should they? It just could be that the bishops disagree that they are valid concerns.

Pastor Hahn:
Noone in any leadership position in the ELCA is even acknowledging these as legitimate concerns.
Me:
See above.
Honestly, I wish someone would explain to me - almost two years after the action - why a certain minority keeps saying the action was invalid, ill-considered, unbiblical, unLutheran, unkosher or unAmerican! I venture say that the alleged "no response" means: "WE DON'T AGREE WITH YOU!"
Do you want the ELCA staff, our bishops and everyone else simply to disregard, ignore, or go against the decisions made? How could that happen?
Another Church-Wide Assembly will take place this year. So, Pastor Hahn (and everyone else so aggrieved), where are your memorials asking that the Social Statement be rescinded, tabled, set aside, replaced or otherwise taken out of circulation? Where are your memorials to synods about the policies regarding ministry? Where is anything that could actually have an effect on changing the actions of 2009?
Saying that what happened in 2009 was - whatever - is ineffective. Get in the game if you want something changed.

George Erdner

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Re: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2011, 01:13:02 PM »
Another Church-Wide Assembly will take place this year. So, Pastor Hahn (and everyone else so aggrieved), where are your memorials asking that the Social Statement be rescinded, tabled, set aside, replaced or otherwise taken out of circulation? Where are your memorials to synods about the policies regarding ministry? Where is anything that could actually have an effect on changing the actions of 2009?

Memorials don't just happen in a vacuum. Memorials won't get through the review committees and onto the floor for consideration until the leadership is convinced that the time for such memorials is at hand. Until Hanson and most of the bishops see the error of their ways back in 2009, no memorial to reverse the damage of 2009 will ever see the light of day. What might happen is the appointment of a task force to study the matter for a decade or so. By then, the number of traditionalists remaining in the ELCA will be almost nil, unless that happens even sooner.

Dadoo

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Re: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2011, 01:13:07 PM »
(Moving this note from "The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow up" to begin a new thread, per Rev. Yakimow's suggestion:)

At the Conference of Bishops Academy on January 6, 2011, Dr. Walter Taylor was asked to give a presentation on the concerns of those "troubled by the use of the Bible in Churchwide 2009 documents and decisions."  He presented 11 points outlining "what did not happen" at the 2009 Churchwide Assembly.  (Pr. Tony Metz listed these on his blog, "The Bible Is God's Word - Lutheran Style."  I contacted Dr. Taylor to be sure these were accurate, and they are.)  His 11 points:

1. What did not happen:  adequate use of the Bible, especially the Old Testament.
2. What did not happen:  a clear, full statement of the biblical foundations for marriage.
3. What did not happen:  study and reflection - even refutation - of the texts on homosexuality that normally come into play.
4. What did not happen:  normal historical study of Acts 10:9-16.
5. What did not happen:  use of the Bible when trying to build a positive case for acceptance of same-sex relationships.
6. What did not happen:  an acceptable definition of the neighbor's need.
7. What did not happen:  adequate understanding of the Law.
8. What did not happen:  the need for a savior adequately stated.
9. What did not happen:  a positive biblical and theological understanding of being single.
10. What did not happen:  an attempt to resolve the hermeneutical issues.
11. What did not happen:  adequate foundation for bound conscience.

One more quotation from Dr. Taylor, which comes from an online article in 2008 which he wrote about the earlier draft, and which he repeats in his presentation at the Bishops Academy with regard to the 2009 decisions:

"By not engaging the debate regarding same-sex relationships, the document, I believe, has done a disservice to gay and lesbian people, as well as their family members and supporters.  The document gives the impression that there is no argument to be made, only assertions to be stated.  Thus any change to current practice that might be suggested will appear arbitrary and in conflict with the Bible.  If the task force has a biblical argument to state, I think it needs to state it - for the sake of the ELCA, but even more for the sake of the people whose lives are most immediately affected."

Now me - As serious as these omissions are (and they make the actions of the 2009 CWA fatally flawed, that is, they ought to be declared invalid) - just as serious is the lack of any response by the leadership of the ELCA to these concerns.  What will the Bishops do with these charges?  What efforts are being made to address these 11 points?  Noone in any leadership position in the ELCA is even acknowledging these as legitimate concerns.  It is both of these things - the serious theological, constitutional, confessional errors committed by the 2009 CWA and the absolute silence of the leadership of the ELCA in addressing these errors that are leading some, such as Dr. James Crumley, Jr. to question "whether the ELCA is still without question a faithful and confessing church" (in an address given January 9, 2010 at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, Lexington, SC) and driving congregations and pastors out of the ELCA.

Marshall Hahn



Marshall,

Taylor gets to speak quite often to the bishops. Usually, he is invited to give his view and then someone else from another ELCA faculty also gives a paper outlining a very different view. In the run-up to the writing of the sexuality statement Taylor wrote a paper outlining why homosexuality is indeed called sin in the bible and a professor from Luther wrote one explaining why the condemnations do not apply to homosexuality as we know it. This is common practice in ELCA and we know it. It is also one of the problems: Some think this and some think that and in the end we do not make a decision, or at least try not to.

So, question: Who was the other theologian and what did that theologian think?
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

pearson

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Re: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2011, 01:23:06 PM »

Honestly, I wish someone would explain to me - almost two years after the action - why a certain minority keeps saying the action was invalid, ill-considered, unbiblical, unLutheran, unkosher or unAmerican! I venture say that the alleged "no response" means: "WE DON'T AGREE WITH YOU!"
 

For me, the question is: on what basis might someone say, "We don't agree with you!"?  What is the argument?  If a bishop is speaking out of her own private and subjective opinions, that alone should disqualify the bishop from being taken seriously by anyone.  Dr. Taylor is hardly just "one critic," and at least one bishop (my own) generally agrees with him.

You are seeking an explanation, Pr. Austin.  So are a lot of us.  It appears none of us is satisfied.

Tom Pearson

 
« Last Edit: March 18, 2011, 01:24:47 PM by pearson »

Scott6

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Re: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2011, 01:25:24 PM »
Pastor Hahn writes:
What will the Bishops do with these charges?  What efforts are being made to address these 11 points?  
I comment:
And why should they? It just could be that the bishops disagree that they are valid concerns.

It's not a valid concern that the document didn't "adequate use of the Bible" or that "the need for a savior [is not] adequately stated," to just choose 2?

I would think that any church body would be concerned that the Bible is adequately used in its documents -- especially one that validates a practice -- and that the need for a savior is adequately stated.  Are you really saying that a church could legitimately say that these concerns aren't valid?

And if they are valid, then the way to respond is to show how the document does indeed address the concerns or to acknowledge that more work is needed.

Coach-Rev

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Re: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2011, 02:00:08 PM »
Another Church-Wide Assembly will take place this year. So, Pastor Hahn (and everyone else so aggrieved), where are your memorials asking that the Social Statement be rescinded, tabled, set aside, replaced or otherwise taken out of circulation? Where are your memorials to synods about the policies regarding ministry? Where is anything that could actually have an effect on changing the actions of 2009?

Also reposted from the other thread:  The memorials, resolutions, and other actionable items are in the hands of synod councils and committees, where they are automatically ruled out of order, unconstitutional, and the like.  And before you go back and demand more proof, Charles, go back and review the thread from which this was branched, where numerous examples were given.


James_Gale

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Re: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2011, 02:00:32 PM »
Honestly, I wish someone would explain to me - almost two years after the action - why a certain minority keeps saying the action was invalid, ill-considered, unbiblical, unLutheran, unkosher or unAmerican! I venture say that the alleged "no response" means: "WE DON'T AGREE WITH YOU!"
Do you want the ELCA staff, our bishops and everyone else simply to disregard, ignore, or go against the decisions made? How could that happen?
Another Church-Wide Assembly will take place this year. So, Pastor Hahn (and everyone else so aggrieved), where are your memorials asking that the Social Statement be rescinded, tabled, set aside, replaced or otherwise taken out of circulation? Where are your memorials to synods about the policies regarding ministry? Where is anything that could actually have an effect on changing the actions of 2009?
Saying that what happened in 2009 was - whatever - is ineffective. Get in the game if you want something changed.

It seems to me that you are conflating two different issues.

Nobody expects the ELCA's leadership to ignore the 2009 CWA's actions regarding ELCA practices.  However, the fact that the CWA voted to change practices does not mean that Dr. Taylor is wrong (or right).  These are two independent issues.  

In fulfilling their teaching duty, it seems to me that the bishops would and should either (i) explain where and how Dr. Taylor is wrong and (ii) explain where and how he is right.

Future CWA action might result from such a teaching document.  But that would not be the immediate purpose.  Instead, the purpose would be to set out the ELCA's teaching as set out by those who occupy the office charged with teaching.

If neither the bishops nor anyone else acts, people on all sides of these issues will be left with a practice that is completely disconnected from any theological rationale.

Marshall_Hahn

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Re: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2011, 02:41:12 PM »
Marshall,

Taylor gets to speak quite often to the bishops. Usually, he is invited to give his view and then someone else from another ELCA faculty also gives a paper outlining a very different view. In the run-up to the writing of the sexuality statement Taylor wrote a paper outlining why homosexuality is indeed called sin in the bible and a professor from Luther wrote one explaining why the condemnations do not apply to homosexuality as we know it. This is common practice in ELCA and we know it. It is also one of the problems: Some think this and some think that and in the end we do not make a decision, or at least try not to.

So, question: Who was the other theologian and what did that theologian think?

I do not believe there was any other theologian on the "other side."  My understanding is that Dr. Taylor was asked to give a presentation on the matter of "Giving Voice to People Troubled by the Use of the Bible in Churchwide 2009 Documents and Decisions."  As Pastor Wolf says above, it is good that at least such a presentation took place.  My concern is, will anything come of it?  - beyond the hopelessly unhelpful reply, "Well, we disagree."  Dr. Taylor was kind enough to send me his entire presentation, but I do not have permission to reproduce it here for you.  But I can tell you that he says far more in it than just, "This is my opinion."  As Dr. Pearson states, Dr. Taylor is much more than simply "one critic".  Just as Dr. Crumley is much more than just "one retired pastor" and Rev. John Stumme is much more than just some "retired ELCA bureaucrat."  If the ELCA leadership fails to respond to the criticisms of these three - who represent many others, like myself, who have been raising these questions and objections for two years now, then the "precarious position" in which it has placed itself, as Dr. Crumley has put it, will be even more untenable.

Marshall Hahn

jpetty

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Re: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2011, 03:02:33 PM »
Another Church-Wide Assembly will take place this year. So, Pastor Hahn (and everyone else so aggrieved), where are your memorials asking that the Social Statement be rescinded, tabled, set aside, replaced or otherwise taken out of circulation? Where are your memorials to synods about the policies regarding ministry? Where is anything that could actually have an effect on changing the actions of 2009?

Memorials don't just happen in a vacuum. Memorials won't get through the review committees and onto the floor for consideration until the leadership is convinced that the time for such memorials is at hand. Until Hanson and most of the bishops see the error of their ways back in 2009, no memorial to reverse the damage of 2009 will ever see the light of day. What might happen is the appointment of a task force to study the matter for a decade or so. By then, the number of traditionalists remaining in the ELCA will be almost nil, unless that happens even sooner.


Flat not true.  There is a procedure for handling all memorials and it is closely followed. 

jpetty

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Re: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2011, 03:05:57 PM »
Pastor Hahn writes:
What will the Bishops do with these charges?  What efforts are being made to address these 11 points?  
I comment:
And why should they? It just could be that the bishops disagree that they are valid concerns.

It's not a valid concern that the document didn't "adequate use of the Bible" or that "the need for a savior [is not] adequately stated," to just choose 2?

I would think that any church body would be concerned that the Bible is adequately used in its documents -- especially one that validates a practice -- and that the need for a savior is adequately stated.  Are you really saying that a church could legitimately say that these concerns aren't valid?

And if they are valid, then the way to respond is to show how the document does indeed address the concerns or to acknowledge that more work is needed.

I don't know what planet Dr. Taylor is on, but it might not be this one.  In my synod, we have discussed "the issue" for about 15 years.  Every possible permutation of the issue, including all that Taylor has named, has been explored, at considerable length, by advocates on both sides. 

Scott6

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Re: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2011, 03:08:33 PM »
Pastor Hahn writes:
What will the Bishops do with these charges?  What efforts are being made to address these 11 points?  
I comment:
And why should they? It just could be that the bishops disagree that they are valid concerns.

It's not a valid concern that the document didn't "adequate use of the Bible" or that "the need for a savior [is not] adequately stated," to just choose 2?

I would think that any church body would be concerned that the Bible is adequately used in its documents -- especially one that validates a practice -- and that the need for a savior is adequately stated.  Are you really saying that a church could legitimately say that these concerns aren't valid?

And if they are valid, then the way to respond is to show how the document does indeed address the concerns or to acknowledge that more work is needed.

I don't know what planet Dr. Taylor is on, but it might not be this one.  In my synod, we have discussed "the issue" for about 15 years.  Every possible permutation of the issue, including all that Taylor has named, has been explored, at considerable length, by advocates on both sides. 

Great.  Now go to the document and prove it.

Marshall_Hahn

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Re: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2011, 03:11:01 PM »
Re-posted here from that other thread:
Pastor Hahn writes:
Now me - As serious as these omissions are (and they make the actions of the 2009 CWA fatally flawed, that is, they ought to be declared invalid) - just as serious is the lack of any response by the leadership of the ELCA to these concerns. 
I comment:
And how do you define "lack of any response"? Explain why the bishops should cower before one critic and let him set the agenda?
Dr. Taylor was solicited by the Conference of Bishops to make this presentation.  Given the seriousness of "what did not happen", one of two responses are appropriate:
1) Demonstrate that these points are inaccurate.  These are very specific charges.  If the leadership of the ELCA believes that these things DID happen at the 2009 CWA, they simply need to quote page and paragraph to show it.
2) Begin the process of addressing these omissions.  I believe the first step should be to declare the actions of the 2009 CWA invalid since they were not done in accord with our constitution and confession of faith.  If the leadership can suggest other remedies, they should do so.
Quote
Pastor Hahn writes:
What will the Bishops do with these charges?  What efforts are being made to address these 11 points? 
I comment:
And why should they? It just could be that the bishops disagree that they are valid concerns.
Again, they asked Dr. Taylor to give this presentation.  I suppose it is possible it was simply to break up the monotony of their other important meetings.  But if there was an actual concern to address the issues that are tearing the ELCA apart, it would be prudent to respond in some way to what he presented.  See 1) above.  And  simply saying "Well, we disagree" would be hopelessly unhelpful.  (Maybe I already said that.)
Quote
Pastor Hahn:
Noone in any leadership position in the ELCA is even acknowledging these as legitimate concerns.
Me:
See above.
Honestly, I wish someone would explain to me - almost two years after the action - why a certain minority keeps saying the action was invalid, ill-considered, unbiblical, unLutheran, unkosher or unAmerican! I venture say that the alleged "no response" means: "WE DON'T AGREE WITH YOU!"
In case I have not said this already, such a response is hopelessly unhelpful.
Quote
Do you want the ELCA staff, our bishops and everyone else simply to disregard, ignore, or go against the decisions made? How could that happen?
With respect to the notion of "bound conscience" as defined in the documents presented to the Churchwide Assembly voting members, and the provisions mentioned therein for synods to exercise a "bound conscience", they aleady have done these things.  But that is fodder for another thread.  Here, what I would want them to do is to declare that the actions of the CWA were unconstitutional, contrary to our confession of faith, and begin the process of overturning them.
Quote
Another Church-Wide Assembly will take place this year. So, Pastor Hahn (and everyone else so aggrieved), where are your memorials asking that the Social Statement be rescinded, tabled, set aside, replaced or otherwise taken out of circulation? Where are your memorials to synods about the policies regarding ministry? Where is anything that could actually have an effect on changing the actions of 2009?
Saying that what happened in 2009 was - whatever - is ineffective. Get in the game if you want something changed.
You are to be forgiven for not knowing that I have done all of these things.  And it is not just that my efforts have been unsuccessful - it is that the concerns I raised - which are what Dr. Taylor lifts up in his presentation in a much more rigorous way - were never directly addressed.  To repeat what I wrote to our bishop last summer when I resigned as secretary of our synod:
"My greatest disappointment is not that my efforts have been rebuffed, but that the concerns I have raised have not been addressed.  Nowhere have I received an answer to the issues I have raised.  Neither ELCA Secretary Swartling's rulings nor the decisions of the ELCA Churchwide Council dealt with the confessional, constitutional issues raised by the failure of the 2009 Churchwide Assembly to present - or even refer to - a compelling case from Scripture for the changes that have been adopted.  At the 2010 Northeastern Iowa Synod Assembly, not one of the speakers who spoke in opposition to the resolutions I authored touched upon the primary issue that was at the heart of those proposals."

Marshall Hahn