Author Topic: Whatever became of BEM?  (Read 808 times)

Dadoo

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Whatever became of BEM?
« on: August 11, 2011, 10:05:53 PM »
Back in the 80's, when I was im seminary, this little document, whose 30th anniversary next year was all the rage. They shipped us out to the RC seminary and made us listen to Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist drafter talk about it. I seem to remember that our professors though this was the cats meow and that it meant that all the churches, RC Lutheran etc would soon be one.

WHat ever happened to BEM?

You might find it here by the way.

http://www.oikoumene.org/fileadmin/files/wcc-main/documents/p2/FO1982_111_en.pdf
Peter Kruse

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

Erma S. Wolf

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Re: Whatever became of BEM?
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2011, 10:50:44 PM »
   Ah, yes, I remember the BEM from seminary in the 1980's.  Quite the document.  What happened?

Well, for starters, the ELCA at the conclusion of its study of ministry rejected the threefold order of ministry, particularly the ordained diaconate.  (Sorry, vicarbob.)   And then there is this:

"A. The Eucharist as Thanksgiving to the Father
3. The eucharist, which always includes both word and sacrament, is a proclamation
and a celebration of the work of God. It is the great thanksgiving to the Father for
everything accomplished in creation, redemption and sanctification, for everything
accomplished by God now in the Church and in the world in spite of the sins of human
beings, for everything that God will accomplish in bringing the Kingdom to fulfilment. "


And that language was rejected in almost all of the eucharistic prayers in the ELW. 

So I'd say, frankly, for whatever reasons, the ELCA has said "thanks, but no thanks" to BEM.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Whatever became of BEM?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2011, 06:13:05 AM »
It is much simpler than that, and one cannot blame the ELCA. (I know that's hard to grasp, but we in the ELCA aren't responsible for bed bugs either.)
     BEM is a visionary document, crafted by a remarkable group of visionary people at a time when the vision was bright and shining. It took the fruit of ecumenical discussion up to 1982 (or actually a few years before that), and projected what the world gathering of theologians saw as logical outcomes. It was not a legislative document, as its signers had no legslative authority, and it recognized many serious problems yet ahead.
     The broad vision of BEM was not embraced by world Christendom. And the ecumenisphere was changing rapidly. The "Faith and Order" movement was in decline, John Paul II had just begun to put his mark on the Roman Catholic church; the progressive Cardinal Johannes Willbrands - considered by some papabile himself, was still head of the Vatican's unity secretariat, but his influence was waning.
     WCC and conciliar ecumenism was down-playing Faith and Order for the "Life and Work" thread, a most unfortunate fact that would deprive the ecumenical movement of much of its theological and spiritual wealth.
     BEM stands as a landmark, a milestone, even a direction sign. Perhaps someday more will seek to go down its road.

Team Hesse

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Re: Whatever became of BEM?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2011, 07:54:36 AM »
   Ah, yes, I remember the BEM from seminary in the 1980's.  Quite the document.  What happened?

Well, for starters, the ELCA at the conclusion of its study of ministry rejected the threefold order of ministry, particularly the ordained diaconate.  (Sorry, vicarbob.)   And then there is this:

"A. The Eucharist as Thanksgiving to the Father
3. The eucharist, which always includes both word and sacrament, is a proclamation
and a celebration of the work of God. It is the great thanksgiving to the Father for
everything accomplished in creation, redemption and sanctification, for everything
accomplished by God now in the Church and in the world in spite of the sins of human
beings, for everything that God will accomplish in bringing the Kingdom to fulfilment. "


And that language was rejected in almost all of the eucharistic prayers in the ELW. 

So I'd say, frankly, for whatever reasons, the ELCA has said "thanks, but no thanks" to BEM.

Thankfully, there must have been enough old Lutheran DNA left in the ELCA to recognize the upside down problems with the BEM. A cursory read reveals it is a very religious document without a lot of faith in it, IMNSHO. There is a lot of that running around in the world--sometimes it is difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff....

Lou

Dadoo

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Re: Whatever became of BEM?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2011, 08:19:00 AM »
   Ah, yes, I remember the BEM from seminary in the 1980's.  Quite the document.  What happened?

Well, for starters, the ELCA at the conclusion of its study of ministry rejected the threefold order of ministry, particularly the ordained diaconate.  (Sorry, vicarbob.)   And then there is this:

"A. The Eucharist as Thanksgiving to the Father
3. The eucharist, which always includes both word and sacrament, is a proclamation
and a celebration of the work of God. It is the great thanksgiving to the Father for
everything accomplished in creation, redemption and sanctification, for everything
accomplished by God now in the Church and in the world in spite of the sins of human
beings, for everything that God will accomplish in bringing the Kingdom to fulfilment. "


And that language was rejected in almost all of the eucharistic prayers in the ELW. 

So I'd say, frankly, for whatever reasons, the ELCA has said "thanks, but no thanks" to BEM.

Thankfully, there must have been enough old Lutheran DNA left in the ELCA to recognize the upside down problems with the BEM. A cursory read reveals it is a very religious document without a lot of faith in it, IMNSHO. There is a lot of that running around in the world--sometimes it is difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff....

Lou

Notable Lutheran voices in the mid 80's considered BEM a victory for Lutherans. The other churches had signed on to what largely represented "our" position. If there are upside down problems with it today, then I am interested to hear what they might be.
Peter Kruse

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

Charles_Austin

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Re: Whatever became of BEM?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2011, 08:21:04 AM »
The late Lutheran Bishop William Lazareth, one of the last clear, solid energetic voices of Faith and Order, was head of that WCC department when the document was drafted.
FWIW, I was covering religion for The New York Times when BEM was written and my story about it was on the front page. It is probably available online somewhere, if you have access to NYT back that far.
 
« Last Edit: August 12, 2011, 08:42:34 AM by Charles_Austin »

Team Hesse

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Re: Whatever became of BEM?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2011, 08:42:12 AM »
If there are upside down problems with it today, then I am interested to hear what they might be.
This could take some time..... ;)
My quick response has to do with the distinction I mentioned upstream, namely the difference between religion and faith. BEM is very religious, when dealing with the Lord's Supper, for instance, the language is all Eucharist focusing on our thanksgiving to God with a, in my view, only passing reference to the Sacramental nature of the action. Eucharist is important but the important thing is God coming to us with His gifts, receiving, and recognizing those gifts. When the focus is switched from God's action to ours, well God slowly fades from the picture and we can end up at a point where we can all agree that well it is a good idea to be thankful to whoever you see your God being. We end up giving thanks to our idea of God, rather than receiving gifts gratefully from God who has come to us in the flesh. Everyone, including some Buddhists, can agree on giving thanks to their own idea of God.
I am going to quit here but this kind of thinking focused on our actions rather than God's actions is too strong in the document to my taste.

Lou

vicarbob

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Re: Whatever became of BEM?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2011, 10:21:36 AM »
I have somewhere in my archieved e-mails a short correspondance between Bsp Lazareth and myself with regard to BEM and the three fold pattern of ordained ministry. The correspondance promised a copy of his book, sadly the good bishop died before this was accomplished. I visited his grave in upstate NY three years ago.
BEM stands as a document which was prayerfully crafted and I firmly believe was guided by the Holy Spirit. Pr Austin, very much around and active in those days, shares insight into why the Church of the Augsburg Confession did not embrace it. I believe, notwithstanding Lou's IMNSHO, was and is a mistake.
Perhaps, as we remember, re-read or even first become aquainted with this inspired ecumenical document, we can move forward, asking the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and ears to what is written therein.
And yes, the rejection of the ordained diaconate is one of the casualities. Most unfortunate, as servant ministry is indeed our Baptismal birthright.
Pax
Bob...........becoming a Presbyter, but not becasue of the non-ordained diaconate :) 

PTMcCain

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Re: Whatever became of BEM?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2011, 10:25:01 AM »
It is important to remember that the Lutheran Confessions do not mandate, require or insist on any certain ordering of the ministry, much to the chagrin of Rome, on the one side, and Calvinism, on the other, each of which insist on a precise Biblical mandate for an ordering of the church's organization and ministerial structure.

Just as we do not put our trust in kings and princes, in the kingdom of the left, we do not place our trust in Popes and Bishops in the kingdom of the right.

A system of bishops can be used, and the Lutheran Confessions indicate that we are comfortable with this, although, we would note, that there were only one or two actual bishops in post-Reformation era Germany, while in the Scandinavian countries, the episcopal system continued after the Reformation.

I've always regarded such intense interest in a "three fold office" to be quite a lot of romantic pining for something that never really did any better in the past, then it would going forward.

vicarbob

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Re: Whatever became of BEM?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2011, 10:44:49 AM »
Slow day at the office Paul?  :P
 :-*
Bob, now a "romantic"..wait, roma

Team Hesse

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Re: Whatever became of BEM?
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2011, 11:11:16 AM »
It is important to remember that the Lutheran Confessions do not mandate, require or insist on any certain ordering of the ministry, much to the chagrin of Rome, on the one side, and Calvinism, on the other, each of which insist on a precise Biblical mandate for an ordering of the church's organization and ministerial structure.

Just as we do not put our trust in kings and princes, in the kingdom of the left, we do not place our trust in Popes and Bishops in the kingdom of the right.

A system of bishops can be used, and the Lutheran Confessions indicate that we are comfortable with this, although, we would note, that there were only one or two actual bishops in post-Reformation era Germany, while in the Scandinavian countries, the episcopal system continued after the Reformation.

I've always regarded such intense interest in a "three fold office" to be quite a lot of romantic pining for something that never really did any better in the past, then it would going forward.
Oswald Bayer came to us out of the church of Wurttemberg, if I'm not mistaken. In one of his books he has written about the Lutheran understanding of the office and how it varies from the "high" office of Sweden to the "low" office of his native Wurttemberg. I would be interested in knowing more about his church of origin. Does anyone know any English language sources detailing the history of this church? I would like to explore this further.
I believe I heard one time that this church went 450 years without anyone being ordained by any Bishop. Interesting.....
Lou

Charles_Austin

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Re: Whatever became of BEM?
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2011, 11:16:13 AM »
Paul T. McCain writes:
I've always regarded such intense interest in a "three fold office" to be quite a lot of romantic pining for something that never really did any better in the past, then it would going forward.

I muse:
And BEM did not require that ordering of ministry. So let us avoid the diversionary tactic. As for "romantic pining," there's a lot of that going around, often having to do with a rosy-eyed view of 16th Century Lutheranism or the days of Walther and Company.

Dadoo

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Re: Whatever became of BEM?
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2011, 11:21:56 AM »
It is important to remember that the Lutheran Confessions do not mandate, require or insist on any certain ordering of the ministry, much to the chagrin of Rome, on the one side, and Calvinism, on the other, each of which insist on a precise Biblical mandate for an ordering of the church's organization and ministerial structure.

Just as we do not put our trust in kings and princes, in the kingdom of the left, we do not place our trust in Popes and Bishops in the kingdom of the right.

A system of bishops can be used, and the Lutheran Confessions indicate that we are comfortable with this, although, we would note, that there were only one or two actual bishops in post-Reformation era Germany, while in the Scandinavian countries, the episcopal system continued after the Reformation.

I've always regarded such intense interest in a "three fold office" to be quite a lot of romantic pining for something that never really did any better in the past, then it would going forward.

I tend to agree with you here. It is not a disaster that we embraced a single-fold office and called it "Pastor" but it marks a certain entrenchment on our side that makes any possible reunion, and BEM was written in hope of a such, at least at some level, more unlikely. One may shrug that off or lament it. WHat one might not want to do is to assume that the others will just come aground to our on this side lock, stock, and barrel. For that matter, the formation of Word Alone and LCMC, following an attempt to embrace three fold structure ever so lightly and incompletely, give witness that we have stopped considering polity as an adiaphora. One could likewise point to the enthusiasm for threefold office as an example on the other side of the issue. It is important to us at very deep level even though the confessions do not envision a particular structure as normative and both sides claim both tradition and faithfulness to the Gospel as factors in their preference.
Peter Kruse

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