Author Topic: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 2006)  (Read 49941 times)

James_Gale

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #330 on: May 18, 2006, 07:13:27 PM »
Ken and others --

Have we considered the possibility that a majority of those in the ELCA are, or soon will be, inclined to vote for revisionism on issues of sexuality?  I do think that it is a possibility.  And if this is true, the orthodox position will lose, not because we are out-organized or out-spent, but simply because we do not have the votes.

Grizzly

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #331 on: May 18, 2006, 07:31:09 PM »
James Gale wrote:
Quote
Ken and others --

Have we considered the possibility that a majority of those in the ELCA are, or soon will be, inclined to vote for revisionism on issues of sexuality?  I do think that it is a possibility.  And if this is true, the orthodox position will lose, not because we are out-organized or out-spent, but simply because we do not have the votes.

James,
I hearken back to the responses to the Sexuality Task Force JTF II  in which 57% of the responses were strongly opposed to any change in the ELCA's standards regarding homosexual behavior and only 22-23% of the responses favored change (and this with a greased skids of study and all out pressure by the pro-glbt lobby to have their partisans send in responses).  A poll commissioned by an ally of SolidRock in Jan 04 confirmed those numbers generally across the ELCA (somewhat of a disappointment for the orthodox--showing that the ELCA had softened on this over the previous decade but the 57-60% who opposed change was very solid).  

If however it were to be the case that the revisionists do indeed gain the upper hand in terms of a majority of the ELCA's membership, then I and my parish will be leaving the ELCA (in all likelihood, if no other option is available, for Lutheran Churches in Mission for Christ, LCMC).  Frankly speaking, I and my folks are probably not conservative enough for Missouri.  

However, if that indeed becomes the case, then the Northeastern Iowa Synod, ELCA will be decimated.  In an article he wrote for Dialog some 3-4 years back, Bp. Ullestad estimated that if the ELCA were to adopt the pro-glbt positions that out of the 185 congregations in the synod perhaps only a dozen would remain in the ELCA.  My own guess is that around 100 congregations would leave within a year.  

Ken Kimball

James_Gale

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #332 on: May 18, 2006, 07:42:50 PM »
Ken --

Thanks for this information.  Over the last decade, I have lived in NYC and DC.  I also have spent a good deal of time in parts of Minnesota and Colorado.  Most of the parishes that I have visited have tilted noticably toward sexual revisionism and/or left-leaning political activisim.  It is good to hear about places where the situation is different.


peter_speckhard

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #333 on: May 18, 2006, 07:55:34 PM »
Quote
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.

To keep on doing this for how long? I don't think it is possible, but on a more fundamental level, I don't think it is desirable. The views on homosexuality are not "differing", they are mutually-exclusive and in direct opposition to each other. Both sides want to minister lovingly to homosexuals-- one side by drowning the Old Adam, the other side by throwing an antinomian life-preserver to the Old Adam. The unity of such a mission is pure fiction, and the future of such unity is something that will certainly favor one side-- the revisionists. It will go roughly like this--
2010--homosexual marriages recognized by ELCA, gay couples allowed on clergy roster, conscience clause guaranteed for dissenters.
2020-- resolution to offer apology to homosexual community and world at large for sinful oppression of homosexuals in ELCA prior to 2010. Gay couples given quota of votes to ensure institutional representation.
2025-- acceptance of gay marriage made mandatory-- conscience clause de facto revoked.
2030-- new translation of Bible proposed, which edits out unacceptable homophobia. Outrage over new Bible idea. Outraged people told to withhold judgment until they see the final product.
2035-- Translators (some of whom are gay) report disruptions, "oppressive environment" caused by conservatives on the committee. Conservatives quit translation team-- debate over whether they left or were kicked off.
2040-- Synod enacts rules ensuring that all congregations consider gay clergy on call lists to combat ongoing "discrimination". Bishops de facto assign gay pastors to recalcitrant congregations.
2040-- heteosexual unions called into question (very tentatively--initially laughed off the floor-- but it doesn't go away) due to overpopulation, ongoing lack of gender equality within traditional marriages, etc. ELCA youth leaders directed to "encourage" youth to explore homosexuality as a virtue.

If you think this timeline is apocalyptic science fiction, imagine what an ALC or LCA pastor of 1960 would say about current events in the ELCA.

ROB_MOSKOWITZ

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #334 on: May 18, 2006, 08:20:04 PM »
Quote
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.


I think Pastor Kimballs post needed no reinterpretation.
I think you missed the mark.

Pastor Kimball thank you especially for #5. and not reducing those who have stood and then have decided to move to continue their ministry as "We continue to speak in fear/terrorism language about the "hemmorhage" of congregations and pastors leaving the ELCA without documenting it."  

Plain Lutheran church for example participated in the discussion for 4 years, Documented in the JTF, participated in WA, responses to synod council and 2 resolutions that never reached the assembly.   Perhaps this documentation should not be discounted.   They unanimously voted to leave last August.

I have also seen many others do the same. Seldomly documented on synod reports but on web pages, blogs and on other lists.

Yours In Christ
Rob Moskowitz
« Last Edit: May 18, 2006, 08:25:22 PM by ROB_MOSKOWITZ »

Grizzly

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #335 on: May 18, 2006, 08:21:11 PM »
Peter,
A couple emendations to your envisioning (would that make you an "envisionist"?):

IF the trends in the Netherlands and Scandinavia indicate anything, it is that once the pro-gay lobby gets official acceptance of "gay marriage" there is an initial rush to "marriage" and then a subsequent sharp decline, with the accompanying apologetic that "marriage" is too binding and an unfair expectation for those involved in the homosexual lifestyle (more so for men than women, if the reporting is to be believed).  So at some point, "marriage" or even "committed relationships" may no longer be required and that promiscuity (so long as safely practiced with respect for individual dignity etc. blah-blah) tolerated.  We may even follow Norway where marriage among heterosexuals has nearly disappeared, replaced by cohabitation, even for pastors (got this out of a USA Today last summer).  

Ken

buechler

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #336 on: May 18, 2006, 08:27:11 PM »
Quote

To keep on doing this for how long? I don't think it is possible, but on a more fundamental level, I don't think it is desirable. The views on homosexuality are not "differing", they are mutually-exclusive and in direct opposition to each other. Both sides want to minister lovingly to homosexuals-- one side by drowning the Old Adam, the other side by throwing an antinomian life-preserver to the Old Adam. The unity of such a mission is pure fiction, and the future of such unity is something that will certainly favor one side-- the revisionists. It will go roughly like this--
2010--homosexual marriages recognized by ELCA, gay couples allowed on clergy roster, conscience clause guaranteed for dissenters.
2020-- resolution to offer apology to homosexual community and world at large for sinful oppression of homosexuals in ELCA prior to 2010. Gay couples given quota of votes to ensure institutional representation.
2025-- acceptance of gay marriage made mandatory-- conscience clause de facto revoked.
2030-- new translation of Bible proposed, which edits out unacceptable homophobia. Outrage over new Bible idea. Outraged people told to withhold judgment until they see the final product.
2035-- Translators (some of whom are gay) report disruptions, "oppressive environment" caused by conservatives on the committee. Conservatives quit translation team-- debate over whether they left or were kicked off.
2040-- Synod enacts rules ensuring that all congregations consider gay clergy on call lists to combat ongoing "discrimination". Bishops de facto assign gay pastors to recalcitrant congregations.
2040-- heteosexual unions called into question (very tentatively--initially laughed off the floor-- but it doesn't go away) due to overpopulation, ongoing lack of gender equality within traditional marriages, etc. ELCA youth leaders directed to "encourage" youth to explore homosexuality as a virtue.

If you think this timeline is apocalyptic science fiction, imagine what an ALC or LCA pastor of 1960 would say about current events in the ELCA.
[/quot

Actually Peter, the ELCA youth leaders encouraging youth to explore sexual immorality is already happening. See the LYO vote at the last Youth Gathering. Shameful.

You also left out (after each year): "And Jesus Wept!"

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler

buechler

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #337 on: May 18, 2006, 08:33:02 PM »
One other note. Peter S. mentions that continually discussing heretical views on homosexual behavior, pandering to unity, and thereby giving revisionists credibility which they do not warrant is not desirable.

This is most certainly true. When Resolution one from the CWA was overwhelmingly passed, the writing was on the wall. Resolutions 2 and 3 were of no account. If they passed, the revisionists would get what they  wanted. If they failed, which they did, then the revisionists still get what they want by pointing to Resolution 1 and claiming that each synod has the right to set up policies that help us "live together faithfully."

We cannot live together faithfully when we allow outright heresy to stand. But that is where we are. What we need is a resolution on assembly floors and on the CWA floor that would repudiate resolution 1.

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler

ROB_MOSKOWITZ

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #338 on: May 18, 2006, 08:37:56 PM »
Quote

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.


This is the entire point.  When we don't agree upon the very basics of the Christian faith such as the Word of God and the nature of the church.  Oh ya we can quote and declare but then the "buts" and criticisms and ambiguous contingencies come out and the message seems to seriously diverge in the end.

***Edited as I thought although the examples where pertinent I really should not confuse Charles with Brian.  Sorry about that.

Yours In Christ
Rob Moskowitz
« Last Edit: May 18, 2006, 08:59:23 PM by ROB_MOSKOWITZ »

Charles_Austin

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #339 on: May 18, 2006, 08:44:37 PM »
Peter writes:
If you think this timeline is apocalyptic science fiction, imagine what an ALC or LCA pastor of 1960 would say about current events in the ELCA.

I note:
Well, in 1960, I was a few years short of being a pastor, but I was president of the Iowa Synod Luther League. I am not the least bit surprised at what is happening now; although I had hoped we would have made greater progress ecumenically by now.
There would be no point in commenting on the "timeline," since I believe that God has suprises in store for us and laughs when we think we have it all figured out.

James_Gale

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #340 on: May 18, 2006, 08:45:04 PM »
Rob B --

You mention the position taken by the leaders of the Lutheran youth group.  As I recall, the youth at the CWA voted to support a revisionist agenda.  Is that right?

Compare that to the announcement from the Vatican regarding World Youth Day 2008:



Sydney '08 to Defy Moral Relativism, Says Pontiff

Receives Australia's New Ambassador in Audience

VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2006 (Zenit.org).- In their search for the truth, young people who take part in World Youth Day 2008 in Australia will pose a genuine challenge to "moral relativism," says Benedict XVI.

The Pope expressed his hopes for that World Youth Day when he received the letters of credence of Anne Maree Plunkett, Australia's new ambassador to the Holy See.

"As I welcome you to the Vatican my thoughts turn with joy to the visit I shall make, God willing, to Sydney for World Youth Day 2008," said the Holy Father. The Youth Day runs July 15-20 that year.

In this regard, the Bishop of Rome wised to thank "the people of Australia, and particularly the prime minister and government, for the enthusiasm with which they have embraced this visit and for the practical assistance already being given to its organization."

The Pope continued: "In countries such as yours, where the disquieting process of secularization is much advanced, many young people are themselves coming to realize that it is the transcendent order that steers all life along the path of authentic freedom and happiness.

"Against the tide of moral relativism which, by recognizing nothing as definitive, traps people within a futile and insatiable bid for novelty, the young generation is rediscovering the satisfying quest for goodness and truth."

Eclipse

"In so doing," Benedict XVI continued, "they look to both Church and civil leaders to dispel any eclipse of the sense of God and to allow the light of truth to shine forth, giving purpose to all life and making joy and contentment possible for everyone."

He added: "It is this same respect for transcendent order that has led Australians to recognize the fundamental importance of marriage and stable domestic life at the heart of society, and to expect that political and social forces -- including the media and entertainment industries -- recognize, support and protect the irreplaceable value of families.

"They appreciate that pseudo-forms of 'marriage' distort the Creator's design and undermine the truth of our human nature, confusing a false sense of freedom with the true freedom of choosing the definitive gift of the permanent 'yes' which spouses promise to each other."

The Pope commented: "I therefore encourage the people of Australia to continue to take up the challenge of forging a pattern of life, both individually and as a community, in harmony with God's loving plan for all humanity."

buechler

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #341 on: May 18, 2006, 08:58:54 PM »
Charles writes: "There would be no point in commenting on the "timeline," since I believe that God has suprises in store for us and laughs when we think we have it all figured out. "

Well, he certainly laughs the revisionists in derision. They claim not to know, and yet the Lord says: "Have you not seen! Have you not heard! Has it not been told to you from the beginning! Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth!"

Those who think the Lord is not clear on this issue of homosexual sex are only fooling themselves and need to wake up and smell the coffee. They are denying the very created order itself, as well as original sin, etc.

Wake up!

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler


buechler

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #342 on: May 18, 2006, 09:07:19 PM »
Quote
Rob B --

You mention the position taken by the leaders of the Lutheran youth group.  As I recall, the youth at the CWA voted to support a revisionist agenda.  Is that right?

Compare that to the announcement from the Vatican regarding World Youth Day 2008:



Sydney '08 to Defy Moral Relativism, Says Pontiff

Receives Australia's New Ambassador in Audience

VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2006 (Zenit.org).- In their search for the truth, young people who take part in World Youth Day 2008 in Australia will pose a genuine challenge to "moral relativism," says Benedict XVI.

The Pope expressed his hopes for that World Youth Day when he received the letters of credence of Anne Maree Plunkett, Australia's new ambassador to the Holy See.

"As I welcome you to the Vatican my thoughts turn with joy to the visit I shall make, God willing, to Sydney for World Youth Day 2008," said the Holy Father. The Youth Day runs July 15-20 that year.

In this regard, the Bishop of Rome wised to thank "the people of Australia, and particularly the prime minister and government, for the enthusiasm with which they have embraced this visit and for the practical assistance already being given to its organization."

The Pope continued: "In countries such as yours, where the disquieting process of secularization is much advanced, many young people are themselves coming to realize that it is the transcendent order that steers all life along the path of authentic freedom and happiness.

"Against the tide of moral relativism which, by recognizing nothing as definitive, traps people within a futile and insatiable bid for novelty, the young generation is rediscovering the satisfying quest for goodness and truth."

Eclipse

"In so doing," Benedict XVI continued, "they look to both Church and civil leaders to dispel any eclipse of the sense of God and to allow the light of truth to shine forth, giving purpose to all life and making joy and contentment possible for everyone."

He added: "It is this same respect for transcendent order that has led Australians to recognize the fundamental importance of marriage and stable domestic life at the heart of society, and to expect that political and social forces -- including the media and entertainment industries -- recognize, support and protect the irreplaceable value of families.

"They appreciate that pseudo-forms of 'marriage' distort the Creator's design and undermine the truth of our human nature, confusing a false sense of freedom with the true freedom of choosing the definitive gift of the permanent 'yes' which spouses promise to each other."

The Pope commented: "I therefore encourage the people of Australia to continue to take up the challenge of forging a pattern of life, both individually and as a community, in harmony with God's loving plan for all humanity."


James,

Yes, the LYO President supported sexual immorality at the last CWA and promised to continue doing so.

As for the Pope, while I still think there are great areas of disagreement, I did like what he said here. I also find it ironic that the current Pope has essentially played the role of Martin Luther in contrast to Mark Hanson, who played the role of Pope Leo. The Pope essentially told the Lutheran bishop that his hermenutics were not in accord with Scripture, and told him to get his house in order.  

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler

P.S. Before Charles gets his hair in a tissey, I am interpreting what happened between the current Pope and Mark Hanson based on reports found in the Forum Letter and other on line sites.

Of course, from the revisionist point of view what does it matter if it really happened this way or not. I should be able to make it up as I go along....well you get the point.

peter_speckhard

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #343 on: May 18, 2006, 09:07:46 PM »
Quote
There would be no point in commenting on the "timeline," since I believe that God has suprises in store for us and laughs when we think we have it all figured out.

I don't think I have it all figured out, and yes, I believe God has surprises in store for us, hopefully of the variety that J.R.R. Tolkien termed "eucatastrophe". But your comment shows, I think, that you agree that it would take something surprising for my fictional timeline not to be roughly accurate. All of the various links people have provided kind of embarrass me, in the sense that where I thought I was provocative, it turns out I was merely passe (sort of like a perfomance artist on an NEA grant), for a lot of the timeline is already happening.

I don't know what to make of the fact that you aren't surprised, though you have had decades to get used to some of these ideas. But are you saying that if someone had told the Iowa Luther League in 1960 that in your lifetime Lutheran youth leaders would be encouraging the youth to be open to and/or experiment with homosexuality, you wouldn't have been surprised?    

peter_speckhard

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #344 on: May 18, 2006, 09:35:33 PM »
Quote
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...


Don, logic and tradition/magisterium certainly help people interpret the Bible, but both fall short. In some cases we stand on the Word despite logic, as with the Lutheran view of predestination, which defies both of the "logical" possibilities-- double-predestination and decision-theology-- and lives with a paradox instead. In other cases we stand on the Word despite tradition and/or magisterium, as per Reformation history. The key is to stand on the Word. I would say Bible study is "powerful" and therefore potentially dangerous, but my "high" view of inspiration makes me comfortable with actual Bible study by anyone-- as distinct from the  many published group "Bible studies" which are really just series of leading study questions, discussion paragraphs, and interpretations from authors/publishers. Those are dangerous, and I'm enough of a homer to stick with CPH when recommendating them. So I wouldn't say Bible study "separated from church tradition" but rather "separated from the church" is dangerous. Every Christian is supposed to have a pastor, after all, who ought to be able to handle questions.