Author Topic: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 2006)  (Read 49938 times)

hansen

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #315 on: May 18, 2006, 01:39:41 PM »
Quote

People on both sides believe that scriptures is authoritative for their interpretations.

O.k., I accept that (that revisionists believe that scripture is authoritative).  So, it boils down who/how/what/where/etc. the interpreting is being done.  And that leads me back to the church catholic and the Great Tradition, and the belief that the Holy Spirit always has and always will be, at work in the church and the hearts of all believers.  Heresies will spring up here and there, and consume many people, but the Truth will persist.  When the heresies persist and take over, then . . . lights out.

peter_speckhard

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #316 on: May 18, 2006, 01:59:49 PM »
Don, you are right; there will always be perfectly well-intentioned proposed changes that over time are labelled heresy or, more rarely, get incorporated into the Church's self-understanding. But they can't do both. That is what Charles wants to change-- as I understand it, he envisions a church in which mutually-exclusive doctrines coexist without causing division, where one congregation blesses homosexual behavior and another condemns it, and presumably people attend the congregation that affirms them while remaining in fellowship with the congregations that condemns them. Once that change is made, it is indeed lights out.    

buechler

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #317 on: May 18, 2006, 02:06:08 PM »
Quote
Don, you are right; there will always be perfectly well-intentioned proposed changes that over time are labelled heresy or, more rarely, get incorporated into the Church's self-understanding. But they can't do both. That is what Charles wants to change-- as I understand it, he envisions a church in which mutually-exclusive doctrines coexist without causing division, where one congregation blesses homosexual behavior and another condemns it, and presumably people attend the congregation that affirms them while remaining in fellowship with the congregations that condemns them. Once that change is made, it is indeed lights out.    


True enough. This is why the orthodox need to be careful about the idea of a non-geographic synod. It actually plays into the hands of revisionist thinkers. We will be in the same larger body, but we will be separated into essentially Christian/non-Christian districts.

This however only allows for the normalization of heresy and eventually causes people to grow cold in the faith. Non-geographic synods ultimately allow nothing and everything to be true all at the same time. This is not a model of faithfulness to Jesus Christ. It is a model of a church that has grown luke-warm to him and his word.
It is fit for nothing, but to be spewed out of his mouth.

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #318 on: May 18, 2006, 02:23:15 PM »
My bluntly worded post (concerning why the Traditionalists will "lose," the sexuality wars and the "Revisionists," "win" said war,) was meant to get folks to take action and vote in assembly.

Sorry for the harsh spurring, but, as you can read from the above posts, most discussion devolves to word-play bloviation, and high blood-pressure.

Please, you moderates and traditionalists: Show up and vote in your conference and synod gatherings.

You Revisionists: disregard this message...

There is no "church" out there.

You are the Church.

Gads!

Pete Garrison

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peter_speckhard

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #319 on: May 18, 2006, 03:20:47 PM »
C.S. Lewis somewhere wrote an interesting little paradigm about how various issues can destroy faith/church, and it can work against conservatives or liberals. First, some issue (e.g. conservatives against abortion or liberals for inclusion of homosexuality) comes to be seen as an aspect of the faith. All well and good, and nothing amiss. Then, said issue comes to be seen as central. Then all other aspects of the faith come to have value only as they promote that central thing. Then those other aspects get jettisoned in favor of something that promotes that central thing more efficiently. What was once (perhaps legitimately) an aspect of the faith has at that point destroyed the faith, at least for some people. Many people have progressed into anti-church Communism who started out simply knowing that the church ought to care for the poor, or anti-church National Socialism via knowing that the church ought to promote morality and clean living, or anti-church eco-terrorism from stewardship, or anti-church occult pratices from the need for spiritual experience, etc.  You cannot use the church to support something else, you can only use other things to support the mission of the church.  

hansen

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #320 on: May 18, 2006, 03:38:13 PM »
Correct me if I'm wrong here (please!  :) ), what I'm drawing from this discussion are a few items:

1)  Logic alone is not enough for orthodoxy, because logic can be used to prove anything.  Something more is necessary.  E.g., a trusted teaching authority (that came up in last Sunday's sermon -- Joshua, I think).

2)  The ELCA obviously isn't a teaching authority, given how "ambiguously tentative" their 'voice' is on one of the biggest and most divisive issues of the day.  And even if the ELCA took a positive, definitive pro-gay stance, they'd be at odds with most of the rest of worldwide Christendom.

3)  Bible study, separated from church tradition, is dangerous.

4)  If someone comes to a conclusion which is the antithesis of what the entire church has always taught, then be afraid . . . be very afraid...
« Last Edit: May 18, 2006, 04:27:32 PM by hansen »

James_Gale

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 2
« Reply #321 on: May 18, 2006, 04:59:05 PM »
Here is the revisionist resolution adopted by the St. Paul Area Synod Assembly relating to the roster status of persons engaged in same-gender sexual relations.  http://www.spas-elca.org/aboutsynod/synodassembly/resolutions/Endorsing%20restraint.pdf.

The synod assembly also enacted the following resolution, thanking the synod officers and staff for the way in which they already support gay and lesbian persons.  http://www.spas-elca.org/aboutsynod/synodassembly/resolutions/Expressing%20gratitude.pdf.

And so it goes.  (And for what it's worth (not much), this is the heart of what was ALC territory.)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #322 on: May 18, 2006, 06:03:37 PM »
Quote
So you think the Holy Spirit was no more at work in the writing of the Gospel of John than when you wrote your last sermon?

If I am to believe that my proclamation of the Gospel contains "the power of God for the salvation of all who believe," as our confession of faith states, then I have to believe that God has inspired it in the same way that scriptures have been inspired. If I do not believe that sermons have that kind of power, then we are just giving history lessons, or pep-talks, or essays on morality, or telling stories.
"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]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #323 on: May 18, 2006, 06:16:12 PM »
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By UU, do you mean the Unitarians?  If so, do you really want to bring a non-Christian group into this discussion?

They consider themselves Christians (as do Mormons). We may not agree, but, I think when academicians study Christianity in the U.S., the Unitarian-Universalist Association is seen as a "Christian" denomination.

Similarly, some of the legalistic, ultra-conservative churches, we may also argue are not teaching orthodox Christianity as we understand it, but they are included in the whole spectrum of Christian beliefs in the U.S.

Quote
If you are saying that the UU is more "liberal" theologically, you may be proving the point that Peter, Don, Eric and others have been pressing.  After all, the Unitarians in this country came out of the congregationalist tradition.  They ultimately applied contextualism and relativism to Scripture, and followed this process to what they viewed as its logical conclusion; namely, a rejection of orthodox Christianity and the faith reflected in its ecumenical creeds.  Thus, if the Unitarians are what you would consider to be theologically "liberal," you seem to be equating liberalness with a rejection of orthodox Christianity.  And your assertion that the ELCA is "moderate" means that the ELCA is "moderately" orthodox.  (For a summary of what the Unitarians believe, take a look here:  http://www.uua.org/aboutuua/principles.html.)

Is that what you mean?

Yes. They even state on their home page that they represent "over 1000 liberal congregations in North America."

By "moderate," I mean that the ELCA does not agree with their theologically liberal positions. Our confession of the faith is grounded in scriptures and the creeds. (Some branches of the UCC have had no use for the ecumenical creeds.) While there may be some within the ELCA who deny the Virgin Birth, as long as the Creeds are part of our confession of faith, belief in the Virgin Birth is part of the ELCA's beliefs.

By "moderate," I mean that we are orthodox, and that we are moderately liberal and moderately conservative. Liberal churches find us too conservative for them -- we have the creeds and the liturgy and confessional writings; and conservative churches find us too liberal for them -- we ordain women, and use the historical critical method on the Bible. That's what I mean by "moderate."
« Last Edit: May 18, 2006, 10:32:19 PM by Brian_Stoffregen »
"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]

Grizzly

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #324 on: May 18, 2006, 06:18:30 PM »
Pete Garrison wrote:
Quote
My bluntly worded post (concerning why the Traditionalists will "lose," the sexuality wars and the "Revisionists," "win" said war,) was meant to get folks to take action and vote in assembly.


As far as action is concerned Pete I think you're right and I applaud your effort and join you in that (though I have to concur with those who critiqued your take on the ALC/LCA split--and I'm ALC in my predecessor life--actually ordained into the ALC 1 1/2 months before the ELCA began its existence).  

The challenge for the orthodox is to realize that this is a constitutional church and victory goes, in large measure, to those who get the majority of votes.  It means getting involved and staying involved and then leading well and faithfully when elected to leadership.  

The orthodox will lose if:

1. we let old ALC-LCA conflicts divide us
2.  Evangelical catholics and WordAlone folks remain estranged and suspicious of one another (and if they continue to act as if it is still  

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Disservice?
« Reply #325 on: May 18, 2006, 06:19:52 PM »
Quote
Drawing upon that comment, I'll note that the Arians also understood themselves to be (as you say, Mark) standing very much upon the Word and in the tradition of the Church....

Zwingli understood himself to be standing in the Word ....

Are you then saying that sola scriptura is not a sufficient basis for determining orthodox theology?
"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]

Charles_Austin

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #326 on: May 18, 2006, 06:29:35 PM »
Peter writes:
That is what Charles wants to change-- as I understand it, he envisions a church in which mutually-exclusive doctrines coexist without causing division, where one congregation blesses homosexual behavior and another condemns it, and presumably people attend the congregation that affirms them while remaining in fellowship with the congregations that condemns them.

I comment:
No, I'm not so presumptuous as to believe that I can "change" much in the church. What you describe is a church that already exists; except that we have not yet made a "doctrine" out of any particular declaration regarding homosexuality. But you have it right: people who have differing views on homosexuality are already in fellowship with each other. One intent of the Orlando resolution was to seek ways to keep on doing this.

James_Gale

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #327 on: May 18, 2006, 06:36:05 PM »
Brian --

Here is the Unitarian's own description of their belief system:

"We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote

   * The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
   * Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
   * Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual      growth in our congregations;
   * A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
   * The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
   * The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
   * Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

The living tradition which we share draws from many sources:

   * Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
   * Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
   * Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
   * Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
   * Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
   * Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and ennobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision. As free congregations we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support."

They claim to be "pluralists," not Christians.

Grizzly

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #328 on: May 18, 2006, 06:36:47 PM »
Geez, your hand and fingers slip and you punch the wrong key and all of a sudden you're posting before you're even done writing...I was right to never trust a computer!

Any, as I was writing before I so rudely interrupted myself:

The orthodox will lose if:

1. we let old ALC-LCA conflicts divide us
2.  Evangelical catholics and WordAlone folks remain estranged and suspicious of one another (and if they continue to act as if it is still 1999 or 1997).  
3. We fail to recognize that WordAlone and the evangelical catholics simply represent two minority poles (sizeable minorities, but minorities nonetheless) among orthodox ELCA Lutherans, most of whom fall in between those two poles--and the task is to waken and energize those orthodox folks.  
4. Orthodox pastors and congregations remain passive, assuming that others will take up the fight or that what happens elsewhere in the ELCA will not affect them.  
5. The current hemmorhage of orthodox pastors and congregations leaving the ELCA continues (these are the pastors and congregations who have been active but have grown tired and discouraged and quit the fight hoping to find peace someplace else).  
6. We don't find a way to restore courage and hope to demoralized orthodox pastors and congregations in revisionist-dominated synods.  
7. We don't realize it's not about who has the most money but who gets the most people involved.  

Ken Kimball

Charles_Austin

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #329 on: May 18, 2006, 06:56:40 PM »
To paraphrase Pastor Kimball:

EVERYONE will lose if:
We let old ALC-LCA conflicts divide us.
Evangelical catholics and WordAlone folks remain estranged and suspicious of one another (and if they continue to act as if it is still 1999 or 1997).
WordAlone and evangelical catholics fail to recognize that neither of them has the full claim on "orthodoxy" and that there is not much point in trying to get people to jump on certain horses. [my paraphrase]
"Orthodox" pastors and congregations continue to define church life in terms of "fights" and what "affects them" rather than what prospers the ministry of the whole church including people who disagree with them and are probably in the majority.
We continue to speak in fear/terrorism language about the "hemmorhage" of congregations and pastors leaving the ELCA without documenting it.
We don't take seriously the efforts to forge working relationships across ideological lines, avoiding talk about who is "orthodox" and who isn't.
We don't realize that the biggest issue is proclaiming the gospel (which includes more than a sexual ethic) and serving the needs of the world. For even if the ELCA were to be "pure" and "orthodox," we would have to spend considerable time, money and effort cooperating with Christians who hold different views. I fear that many in this forum wouldn't even do that. So everyone loses.