Author Topic: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?  (Read 138176 times)

pearson

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #2100 on: February 10, 2011, 10:02:51 AM »

Is there any chance that creation-as-it-is (not creation as an event in the remote past) could be taken as a "book" in which God has revealed much that human beings need to know? That is one of the supports for natural law in Catholic tradition. (Could one call it "The Creator's Tapestry"?  ;) ).


Right.  The notion of "God's Two Books" (scripture and nature) is a familiar theme in Roman Catholic thought.  The problem with this approach, as I see it, is that natural law is swiftly mongrelized into natural theology, in which knowledge of God can be extracted from our inspection of the natural world, and that this knowledge stands authoritatively alongside scriptural knowledge of God.  There is the additional epistemological matter that annoys Lutherans (as Scott points out) of human possession of the requisite cognitive apparatus to acquire precisely the proper of knowledge of God that can be discerned in nature.  In considering the possible uses of the Christian natural law tradition, these are significant obstacles for Lutherans.

Tom Pearson

grabau

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #2101 on: February 10, 2011, 10:15:06 AM »
NATURAL law is rooted in the nature of God not in some arbitrary decree.  That is why stealing is wrong instead of a virtue.  grabau

pearson

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #2102 on: February 10, 2011, 10:20:48 AM »
NATURAL law is rooted in the nature of God not in some arbitrary decree.  That is why stealing is wrong instead of a virtue.  grabau

Good.  But by what natural, human means (as opposed to biblical revelation) do we accurately perceive the nature of God in this fallen world of sin?

Tom Pearson

Mike Gehlhausen

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #2103 on: February 10, 2011, 10:27:33 AM »
NATURAL law is rooted in the nature of God not in some arbitrary decree.  That is why stealing is wrong instead of a virtue.  grabau

Good.  But by what natural, human means (as opposed to biblical revelation) do we accurately perceive the nature of God in this fallen world of sin?

Tom Pearson

Are we perhaps confusing natural law and natural revelation?

Natural law is taught by Scripture to be written on our hearts.  Ethics and human moralism may erect defenses against that natural law in attempts to warp it and reject it.

But we are told that God has written His Law onto all of our hearts. What He has not done is fully revealed Himself and the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins which He gives to assuage our gult when we violate that natural law.  He does that revelation through His Word.

Mike

pearson

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #2104 on: February 10, 2011, 10:54:41 AM »

Ethics and human moralism may erect defenses against that natural law in attempts to warp it and reject it.


Given that sin has occluded our reason and corrupted our self-knowledge (including that knowledge of what is written on our hearts), how are we reliably to detect what the natural law teaches, and distinguish it successfully from "ethics and human moralism"?


But we are told that God has written His Law onto all of our hearts. What He has not done is fully revealed Himself and the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins which He gives to assuage our gult when we violate that natural law.  He does that revelation through His Word.


Does this mean that we know the divine Law through nature and the Gospel through revelation?  That Law and Gospel are known to us through two different mechanisms?

Tom Pearson

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #2105 on: February 10, 2011, 11:03:28 AM »
NATURAL law is rooted in the nature of God not in some arbitrary decree.  That is why stealing is wrong instead of a virtue.  grabau

Good.  But by what natural, human means (as opposed to biblical revelation) do we accurately perceive the nature of God in this fallen world of sin?

Tom Pearson

Are we perhaps confusing natural law and natural revelation?

Natural law is taught by Scripture to be written on our hearts.  Ethics and human moralism may erect defenses against that natural law in attempts to warp it and reject it.

But we are told that God has written His Law onto all of our hearts. What He has not done is fully revealed Himself and the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins which He gives to assuage our gult when we violate that natural law.  He does that revelation through His Word.

Mike

Now you are bringing in third article of the Creed in the LC type points.  That natural law is written on the hearts of man, and while they know of His existence, and try to find Him, their efforts are in vain because all they can know is law - and not the attitude of the God toward them that is mercy.

Man's search for God always results in a law/works based system if it doesn't have the specific revealtion pointing to the cross.  When I taught a course in World Religions a few years back, this was the basis for the course - each and every religion leaves man condemned in this life, unless he can transcend and live perfectly. (at which point his wife points out he has not!)

BTW - in regards to headship - using Christ as the source, we see it is not about authority, but responsibility to those entrusted under one's care/episcpacy.  I would contend that the reduction of responsibility to authority simplifies it, but reduces it to law, and not gospel.

Michael Slusser

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #2106 on: February 10, 2011, 11:09:40 AM »

Is there any chance that creation-as-it-is (not creation as an event in the remote past) could be taken as a "book" in which God has revealed much that human beings need to know? That is one of the supports for natural law in Catholic tradition. (Could one call it "The Creator's Tapestry"?  ;) ).

Right.  The notion of "God's Two Books" (scripture and nature) is a familiar theme in Roman Catholic thought.  The problem with this approach, as I see it, is that natural law is swiftly mongrelized into natural theology, in which knowledge of God can be extracted from our inspection of the natural world, and that this knowledge stands authoritatively alongside scriptural knowledge of God. There is the additional epistemological matter that annoys Lutherans (as Scott points out) of human possession of the requisite cognitive apparatus to acquire precisely the proper of knowledge of God that can be discerned in nature.  In considering the possible uses of the Christian natural law tradition, these are significant obstacles for Lutherans.

To me, natural theology and natural law each have their proper validity but are not identical, even though they both rest upon a contemplation of God's creation. Catholics hold that a kind of knowledge of God is available to all through creation (see Romans 1.19-21), but it does not include a knowledge of promise or covenant, incarnation or redemption, Trinity or the eternal vision of God. But that there is a God, that the world is totally dependent on God, and a partial realization of how immeasurably great God is (natural theology), and many things about how creatures should relate to each other (natural law) is knowable (and has been known) even to those to whom biblical revelation has not come.

Imperfection of knowledge, instability of knowledge--neither of those entails absence of knowledge.

Peace,
Michael

P.S. I like what Mike Gehlhausen wrote while I was drafting this.
Fr. Michael Slusser
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #2107 on: February 10, 2011, 11:16:43 AM »
NATURAL law is rooted in the nature of God not in some arbitrary decree.  That is why stealing is wrong instead of a virtue.

"Stealing" has no meaning in cultures where there is no personal possessions; but all things are community property.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Mike Gehlhausen

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #2108 on: February 10, 2011, 11:17:02 AM »
Now you are bringing in third article of the Creed in the LC type points.  That natural law is written on the hearts of man, and while they know of His existence, and try to find Him, their efforts are in vain because all they can know is law - and not the attitude of the God toward them that is mercy.

Yes. that is what I was trying to do.  That you recognize this means I must have had some measure of success.  Thanks for taking my small start and running with it.

P.S. I like what Mike Gehlhausen wrote while I was drafting this.

Thanks.  I'm just trying to contribute a small part to this fascinating discussion you all are having, and I am finding very helpful.

Mike

Pr. Luke Zimmerman

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #2109 on: February 10, 2011, 11:43:00 AM »
NATURAL law is rooted in the nature of God not in some arbitrary decree.  That is why stealing is wrong instead of a virtue.

"Stealing" has no meaning in cultures where there is no personal possessions; but all things are community property.

Just musing here, Pr. Stoffregen:

Could it be that in a place where all things are community property, "stealing" would then be defined as an individual appropriating such property for his/herself, thus taking the property from the community's ownership and depriving the neighbors use of such property?
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pr dtp

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #2110 on: February 10, 2011, 12:14:10 PM »
NATURAL law is rooted in the nature of God not in some arbitrary decree.  That is why stealing is wrong instead of a virtue.

"Stealing" has no meaning in cultures where there is no personal possessions; but all things are community property.

Wrong, in communal situations there is still the idea of someone stealing form the community, i.e. hoarding is considered a sin. As is refusing to share.  Or, the imposition of the foreigner who assumes they will be accepted as a community member and "takes" that right instead of being assimilated and accepted

pr dtp

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #2111 on: February 10, 2011, 12:21:44 PM »
Now you are bringing in third article of the Creed in the LC type points.  That natural law is written on the hearts of man, and while they know of His existence, and try to find Him, their efforts are in vain because all they can know is law - and not the attitude of the God toward them that is mercy.

Yes. that is what I was trying to do.  That you recognize this means I must have had some measure of success.  Thanks for taking my small start and running with it.

P.S. I like what Mike Gehlhausen wrote while I was drafting this.


Thanks.  I'm just trying to contribute a small part to this fascinating discussion you all are having, and I am finding very helpful.

Mike


Mike - ahh - the conversations from the days of White Rose FOrum about that article rise to mind.  The idea of natural law and natural revelation are incredibly important, especially as we look at reaching into cultures with the gospel.  One of te best books on this I have ever read is Don Richardson's "Eternity in their Hearts", which documents the natural revelation/law seen in cultures, and works to "circumcise" that which is observed, rather than just trashing the entire system.  Again, if the weight of their natural law/revelation is already crushing them (for they only know the law) then we can equate that judgment with judgment under the specific law, and console them with the gospel.

Interesting as I write this, this is what the Evangelical Catholic mindset has done with Roman Catholicism, as opposed to the Reformed and Ana-baptist (and crossbreeds of them) which want to do away with all that is catholic and start from scratch, restoring the "New Testament" church.

Karl Hess

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Re: Would Disaffected ELCA'ers Consider LCMS? Why or Why Not?
« Reply #2112 on: February 14, 2011, 01:43:02 PM »

Headship in its scriptural sense is based upon the self-sacrifice of Christ (who is described in a certain way throughout the OT and NT such that the OT was necessary to even comprehend his mission because it's such foolishness), and I don't see this as coming in any way from an observation of nature.  It is in this sense a third-use type issue, describing how we should live but only comprehensible by the one equipped to perceive it by being redeemed in Christ.  Further, doing so requires a certain free attitude of sacrifice that cannot be coerced but must be elicited in order for what Scripture has in mind re: headship to be operative.

Perhaps what I'm terming a third-use issue such as scriptural headship is descriptive of how redeemed creation should be rather than a reflection of how it actually is, now?  I'm unsure.  That thought just struck me 23 seconds ago.
Is biblical headship only knowable to Christians, and even then in an imperfect way?  I'm not so sure.  While it's true that the fall took away original righteousness from man so that we by nature "do not have love," the fall didn't destroy the created order.  You could say that man did not entirely lose the image of God in the sense that human beings still remain the "head" of creation.  We retain the outward shell of the image of God while having lost the "spirit" of it, so to speak.  We didn't become lower than the animals, or equal to animals, in the fall.  We didn't cease being male and female in the fall either, or the ability to procreate, and that's part of the image of God too, according to Genesis 1.  What we lost was the ability to carry out what we were created to do in love.

So I think a certain aspect of headship is knowable to fallen man.  In the same way that reason and experience can figure out that human beings are higher than animals--not only in terms of intellect, but also in that they were given authority and honor above the animals--reason can also figure out that man has been given a higher authority than woman.

In both cases, how God intended that authority to be used will be incomprehensible to fallen man, because the self-sacrificial love that was Adam's nature before the fall is something we are hostile towards now.  Since God is love and we are opposed to God, we cankt understand authority animated by love.  But it doesn't mean we aren't capable of reccognizing authority divorced from love.  That men were going to retain the outward shell of authority without the love that once animated it is predicted in the curse on the woman--"Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

Of course when a culture starts thinking away from the created order--away from reality, away from truth--it is capable of making an entire culture blind.  You get to the point where things that are obvious in most other times and places are completely not in that culture.  I would argue that that is where we are in the west regarding sex, sexuality, and related moral issues.  Maybe instead of chalking these differnces up simply to diversity, we should recognize them as divine punishment, at least in some cases.  After all, different languages and cultures are the result of a curse on human rebellion.  When a culture becomes unable to see the obvious in terms of morality, it seems like that is likely God's judgment on that culture or nation.  Romans 1 talks that way about "exchanging natural relations."  And in Titus Paul doesn't say, "Cretans have a different understanding of the importance of work than Greeks and Jews"; he says, "All Cretans are lazy drunkards.  Therefore rebuke them sharply."