Author Topic: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 2006)  (Read 49299 times)

buechler

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #45 on: April 27, 2006, 09:54:42 AM »
Charles wrote: "And again, the discussion descends into unintelligent chaos ..."

I respond: Indeed! You have not answered the question about ambiguity. Instead you go off on a rant. Again, your actual hermenutic cannot stand the test of debate or time. It is time for you and Brian to repent of this, and move back into the unity of the Church of Christ.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ, who calls us to true obedience of faith.

Rob Buechler

Gladfelteri

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #46 on: April 27, 2006, 10:00:58 AM »
Quote
I respond:
The "Church" is indeed a human institution (except for the One which may exist on some Platonic idealistic level). I don't see how anyone can say that it is not flawed.
 Whoa, there.  That statement puts you at odds with basic historic Catholic Christianity - both Western and Eastern - including many EC Lutherans, who as as non-Roman Catholics believe, teach, and confess that the Church is a supernatural entity, of supernatural origin which is the Mystical Body of Christ, which transcends the space-time continuum, and is divided into three parts:  (1) The Church Militant, those of us on Earth striving to follow Christ, (2) The Church Expectant, the souls "in a blessed, protected place in Heaven where those saved by grace through faith but still are in need of further spiritual growth are obtaining it, taught by Christ and the Saints" (formerly known as Purgatory - this is a Jesuit explanition I particularly like,) and (3) the Church Triumphant, the Saints in Heaven.

God the Holy Spirit does in fact teach absolute, universal, ultimate Truth (which, along with the supernatural, does, in fact exist.  Sorry postmoderns, you are wrong.)

No see-gar, Charles, but blessings anyway,
Irl
« Last Edit: April 27, 2006, 10:03:22 AM by Gladfelteri »

buechler

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #47 on: April 27, 2006, 10:04:35 AM »
Charles wrote the following (in part):I might even believe, maybe, perhaps, someday, that the Spirit would lead the whole earthly institution of the church to accept... maybe, even, perhaps, someday - same sex unions. To state otherwise would seem to limit God's ability to reveal his will to us.  

Actually Charles, the statement you make requires a god and a spirit other than the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"To state otherwise" as you say, would be to stand in fidelity in, with, and under the Scriptural witness. Every spirit is not Holy Spirit. If what you perceive is not in accord with the Holy Scriptures, it is not Holy Spirit to which you are listening but rather human sin, the devil, and/or both.

Of course, that gets back to your practical hermenutics again, which are not in accord (at least here) with Christianity as proclaimed for the last 2,000years. Again, your in a pickle.

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler

P.S. The whole point of what I am doing here is not to "attack" you as such, but to call you to redemption. I do believe that to teach, preach, and persist in these fraudulent "gospels" endangers the souls of those who will accept them, and those who proclaim them.

pastorg1@aol.com

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #48 on: April 27, 2006, 10:19:49 AM »
Charles-

Nice article in The Lutheran, by the way.

Journalistically objective and well-written, if I may say so.

Of course, the magazine's editorial stance continues to pick at the scabs of discontent.

For some time now, The Lutheran has been exploring doubt and stages of faith, and the troubles that diverse opinions bring to the Church. Then, in the back, they print the rages of the revisionists and traditionalists and hope this means the publication is, I don't know, "open-minded," or something.

Can we expect more roque waves sent our way by the winds of change blowing from ELCA headquarters?

Anyway- don't get discourged by the battle. I may be on the opposite side of most of your opinions, but I keep you all in my prayers even as I hope the traditionalists are right and the revisionists are wrong on the same-sex union deal.

No matter how tolerated and quaint the gay-rights conundrum has now become in our daily lives, it is still a very odd thing to consider in the first place as..as...dignified for polite discussion?

I was at a pastoral conference party and, one of the revisionist pastors felt it necessary to come over and "fly the flag," even at a social gathering by speaking to me about my being widely seen as "homophobic."

"Gads," I thought. "And most see you as Gay. What's worse?"

We'll find out, I suppose.

Pete
Pete Garrison

hansen

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #49 on: April 27, 2006, 01:55:57 PM »
A thought that's been in the back of my mind for quite a while now, thought I'd slip it in here...

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that in God's eyes, homosexual monogamy is on-par with heterosexual monogamy.  It's only the quality of the individual relationship that matters.  From what I've gathered, that's what Pr. Stoffregen's belief is.  What that then means, is that for as long as there has been a Bible (and I presume prophets and texts which preceded the Bible) it has wrongly condemned homosexual behavior, and has wrongly presented heterosexual monogamy as the one and only place where the expression of sexuality is a part of God's design.

Homosexual behavior is nothing new, so, for all of these thousands of years, the church was rightly reading and understanding everything it had to go on to understand God's will -- the Bible above all -- the exact opposite of the truth.  Not a shade of grey of interpretation, but 180 degrees out of synch.  And as a direct result of reading the Bible and taking it seriously.  So, then I think about all of those millions of homosexuals who lived out their desires, and were condemned for it, by the church, in the name of God, and fully backed up by the Bible.

Such a scenario would be obscene.  How could I continue to be a Christian if I believed that?  How could God's church get it so wrong, for so long?  And be a *cause* of so much pain for so many people?  And how could God allow that to continue for so long?  And why didn't Jesus say anything, at all, in the least, to correct such a gross error?  He certainly wasn't afraid to go against the grain of common wisdom the times, so why not say or do something to correct this terrible misunderstanding of intimate relationships and bonding?

The revisionists often say that this stuff is no big deal, but it is.  Like I said in the previous paragraph, how could I continue to believe, if I thought that such a scenario had played out?  The Bible and the church becomes a vehicle for hurting millions of people, for thousands of years.  And Jesus says nothing to correct a gross misunderstanding of human nature?!?  What a stupid, rotten religion!

But thank God, I don't have to presume such things, because the Bible is awesome, as-is.  The older I get, the clearer it gets.  Ugly stuff and all (just like real life).

Charles_Austin

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #50 on: April 27, 2006, 02:05:38 PM »
Someone writes:
Again, your actual hermenutic cannot stand the test of debate or time. It is time for you and Brian to repent of this, and move back into the unity of the Church of Christ.

I note:
I have not even said that I favor same-sex unions or gay and lesbian clergy; and apparently it is my supposed "hermeneutic" that has placed me - in the minds of folks here - outside of the "unity of the Church of Christ." And by the way, we are not yet at the end of "time," so we have yet to see which view stands.

The archbishop's posting is fine, and I even agree with it; but the hard truth is that this mystical "Church" comes to us through a real "church" - expressed in human terms and bearing human flaws. Otherwise why should we care what our denominations say about anything?


Pastor1 writes:
Nice article in The Lutheran, by the way.  
Journalistically objective and well-written, if I may say so.

I respond:
Thank you. You may.  
« Last Edit: April 27, 2006, 02:07:15 PM by Charles_Austin »

peter_speckhard

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #51 on: April 27, 2006, 02:30:39 PM »
Quote
To respond to Peter's sweeping declarations about what constitutes the "unity" of Christian doctrine could probably not be done in an online forum and almost certainly would lead me to engage in shouting and table-pounding.

So I shall not do that.


So, sweeping declarations about the organic unity of Christian doctrine can potentially lead to shouting and table pounding. It is good to know something, anything, can still arouse such zeal for the truth among the open-minded, tolerant set. No real heresy seems to have that ability anymore. When we talk about herchurch.org and Asherah worship in the ELCA, we get a less-than-passionate "I don't agree with that, but we can work together on other things". No raised voices. No cyberspace equivalent of emphatic gestures, atleast not from the open-minded. Asherah worship is, well, perhaps tacky and weird, but not worth getting worked up about, and certainly not worth making a stink that might lead to disunity in the ELCA. When we talk about inclusive language butchering John 3:16, we're urged not to overreact, though it is admitted that perhaps that one instance went too far. But those in the tolerant set take it remarkably calmly. Same-sex unions? Something like "I'm not saying one way or the other, but we can agree to disagree," or words to the effect. But if someone just comes right out and says Christian doctrine is an organic unity, the gloves just might come off. Such vile stuff is just plain fightin' words. Now if only we could get that zeal and passion to build up rather than deconstruct the Christian faith that was handed down to us, we'd have real unity in the Church.        

buechler

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #52 on: April 27, 2006, 03:50:29 PM »
Charles writes: "And by the way, we are not yet at the end of "time," so we have yet to see which view stands. "

Well, since the proleptic event has happened; and since we know what He thought about sexual matters; we don't need to wait till the end of time to know how things stand!

Again, your hermenutic is insufficient. Repent!

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler

Charles_Austin

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #53 on: April 27, 2006, 05:16:05 PM »
Peter, I only meant that the a discussion of that nature would require some face-to-face work, a situation where we can indeed raise our voices and pound the table and then smile and continue; something which cannot be done online.

And I recognize the clear imprint of the LC-MS in your comments, an imprint which I respect and understand -having worked in inter-Lutheran circles during the height of the 1960s-1970s conflict- but one which I do not believe is helpful today.

Dr. J.A.O. Preus and I had a very pleasant and long conversation about that very thing over dinner some years after the LC-MS split. His last words to me were along the lines of: "Good luck!" and "blessings!" rather than "repent!"

Buechler writes, re my "time statement":
Well, since the proleptic event has happened; and since we know what He thought about sexual matters; we don't need to wait till the end of time to know how things stand!

Again, your hermenutic is insufficient. Repent!

I note, finally:

Yes, indeed; I hope that each day I am able to repent of my sins and seek the grace of God. And, I suspect that a lot of us will be very surprised when the true "end of time" comes. I wonder if it will really be our h-e-r-m-e-n-e-u-t-i-c that saves us.

Until my end or the end of time really comes, I shall continue to preach the grace of God and justification by faith in Jesus Christ; the Christian faith as expressed in the ecumenical creeds and refined daily - by the work of the Holy Spirit. I shall no doubt preach some "error," or not get something exactly right. But that John 3:16 verse? I think I can nail that every time.

« Last Edit: April 27, 2006, 05:33:06 PM by Charles_Austin »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #54 on: April 27, 2006, 06:43:03 PM »
Quote
P.S.  Brian, we do disagree, and you do think that I am WRONG.

Obviously you don't know me.
"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 #55 on: April 27, 2006, 06:50:16 PM »
Quote
Let's say, for the sake of argument, that in God's eyes, homosexual monogamy is on-par with heterosexual monogamy.  It's only the quality of the individual relationship that matters.  From what I've gathered, that's what Pr. Stoffregen's belief is.  What that then means, is that for as long as there has been a Bible (and I presume prophets and texts which preceded the Bible) it has wrongly condemned homosexual behavior, and has wrongly presented heterosexual monogamy as the one and only place where the expression of sexuality is a part of God's design.

I've never said that the Bible wrongly condemned homosexual behavior; but the behaviors it condemns are not that of mutually loving couples in a life-long committed relationship.

It would be as if you read rules against rape, and conclude that heterosexual intercourse must be forbidden.

There is very little in scriptures about heterosexual monogamy. Polygamy seemed more the norm in the OT. Even if it did talk about heterosexual monogamy, it does not state that that's the only way sexual relationships can exist.

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]

John Theiss

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #56 on: April 27, 2006, 07:54:04 PM »
Nice to know that if Brian approves of same-sex unions under the right conditions and I reject them under all conditions, neither of us is wrong.  We are both right.  Therefore, they are always forbidden by God but at the same time blessed by God under the right conditions - of course still rejected by God but rejected with his blessing upon them.

peter_speckhard

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #57 on: April 27, 2006, 08:04:14 PM »
Quote
Peter, I only meant that the a discussion of that nature would require some face-to-face work, a situation where we can indeed raise our voices and pound the table and then smile and continue; something which cannot be done online.


I think I'd have a grand time-- there is a lamentable dirth of swash-buckling theological discussion, which is why this forum is so fun-- it weeds out those who don't care about theology. But the online aspect of it does inhibit the real rousing aspects of good discussion. And don't take my criticisms personally; some of my best friends are wrong.

Charles also writes-- "And I recognize the clear imprint of the LC-MS in your comments, an imprint which I respect and understand -having worked in inter-Lutheran circles during the height of the 1960s-1970s conflict- but one which I do not believe is helpful today."

That imprint wold be pretty hard to avoid, since my dad was an LCMS teacher and professor (and my mom was a Seward-trained LCMS teacher, though she only taught very briefly), both my grandfathers were LCMS pastors, and on my dad's side there are three generations of LCMS pastors before that, all the way back to Frankenlust, Michigan from the old country. I guess I'm genetically orthodox.

As for the helpfulness of the LCMS approach, I guess it all depends upon what is being helped, institutional unity or doctrinal soundness.

By the way, how do you guys intersperse boxed quotations in your posts? I can't seem to mkae it work.



« Last Edit: April 27, 2006, 08:07:15 PM by peter_speckhard »

Charles_Austin

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #58 on: April 27, 2006, 08:14:01 PM »
Brian writes:
There is very little in scriptures about heterosexual monogamy. Polygamy seemed more the norm in the OT. Even if it did talk about heterosexual monogamy, it does not state that that's the only way sexual relationships can exist.

I note:
A brave statement, Brian; but such information carries no weight here. Those who hold positions contrary to the views of certain folks who post here can only repent or be lost.

Before I go, I express my sorrow that there was no response to my query about the journalistic holes in Pastor Kimball's report from the ELCA Church Council.

It may be futile, but - what the hey! -  I'll just express them again and maybe turn the discussion back to the article that began this thread.

I said upstream:
I am very disappointed in the report by Pastor Kimball. It is simply not up to the usual standards of Forum Letter.  

What was actually said during the discussion? No council member other than the Presiding Bishop is quoted. Why? What was the vote count on various amendments or proposals? How many constitute a "handful" and what defines "idealist revisionists"?  Where are the split lines geographically?  

It is said that "quite a number" of council members were sympathetic to the MNY Synod initiative. How many? Who moved the reference to the Orlando assembly to the end of the Church Council document and why? Was the tenor of the discussion disputatious, congenial, or bitter? How long did they talk about this? Over how many days? What did people say after the action was finished? Who was satisfied? Who was not satisfied?  

Pastor Kimball writes:  "At the same time, while reluctant to supersede the actions of the churchwide assembly, the church council was clearly disinclined to endorse the actions of the assembly." What was said to make him reach this conclusion, especially since the ELCA Church Council doesn't have to "endorse" the actions of the Assembly; the Assembly actions stand on their own. As a matter of fact, the Church Council cannot NOT endorse the actions of the assembly; it has no authority to do so.

Pastor Kimball may be right in every sentence of his report; but he does not provide information proving that he is right in his conclusions. And, since he is identified as on the steering committee of a group with a particular agenda on these topics, eyebrows must be raised and the was-it-really-that-way brain cells activated.  


 

Ken Kimball

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #59 on: April 27, 2006, 09:05:06 PM »
Excuse me…Charles…did you say something?  I’d hate to leave you saddened.

Pr. Austin employs standard rhetorical tactics to discredit my report on the Church Council Response to Metro New York Synod:
1)The reporting isn’t up to the usual FL standards, so we can’t know what really happened.

2)Too little of the actual discussion is reported, so we can’t know what really happened.

3)The reporting is agenda-based, so we can’t know what really happened.

Like the fellow (as Abe Lincoln told the story) who was “tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail” then said, “If it weren’t for the honor the thing, I’d just as soon walked.”  To have garnered the attention and critical lashes of a pastor and journalist of Austin’s reputation is something of an honor.  At least Charles cared enough to critique my form, assail my motives, and impugn my integrity; apparently the only substantive concern had to do with my use of “endorse” in that it was my observation that the CC was disinclined to endorse the CWA rejection of resolution #3.  The Church Council cannot over-ride or invalidate an action of a CWA but it sure can refuse to affirm, defend, stand next to, or embrace with enthusiasm an action of a CWA.    

To Pastor Austin’s rhetorical critique, I reply:

1)Russ and Richard are probably surprised—but gratified, I’m sure—that a pastor and journalist of Austin’s deserved reputation credited Forum Letter with any standards at all.  As a first-time contributor, I could hardly hope to match the wit and erudition of the editors, much less the charming whimsy and incisive style of an accomplished newspaper reporter such as Pr. Austin.   I am certainly sorry for any lessening of Pr. Austin’s high regard (or that of anyone else) for FL to which my report may have contributed.  I am sure Pr. Austin’s estimate and itemization of the technical deficiencies of my report are not meant as a slur against either of the editors.

2)Space requirement necessarily limited exactly how much, if any, of the Church Council discussion (some three hours over the space of Sunday morning April 2 and into the afternoon) could or would be reported word-for-word.  Pr. Austin has been a newspaper reporter; he knows how fussy editors are with space.  I was asked to characterize the Response and provide some summary of how the Council reached the Response it did—within certain space requirements.  Simply because I did not repristinate the Church Council discussion on this issue, therefore, it does not follow that I made an inadequate report on the substance of the meeting.  The conclusions the council reached speak for themselves.    

3)As for questioning my integrity and that of my reporting, I shall let that pass without further word, except to note that the judgment made about the meeting and Response is entirely my own, based upon my observations and the outcome of the meeting.  I understand this to fit with the editor’s notion of what he calls “opinionated objectivity.”  If I have written wrongly, show me and everyone the wrong.  The Response and accompanying analysis are available.  Pr. Austin surely has his sources on the Church Council or at Churchwide, maybe even access to the verbatim minutes of the meeting.  Let him provide a corrective.

For another, longer and more detailed review and account of the April Church Council meeting regarding the Response to the request from the MNYS, you can find the initial report I wrote and released for Lutheran CORE and Lutheran Churches of the Common Confession on Pastor Eric Swensson’s web-site:

http://www.holytrinitynewrochelle.org/elcaresponsemetronys.html

For some reason I didn’t catch until later, Eric’s format changed a number of my dashes “—“ into question marks “?”  However, apart from typos and grammatical irregularities that reflect the haste with which I wrote from my extensive notes while the weekend was still fresh in mind, it is still IMHO quite readable.  You will of course have to make up your own mind as to its accuracy and my truthfulness.