Author Topic: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 2006)  (Read 49937 times)

buechler

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #450 on: May 24, 2006, 11:09:51 AM »
Peter wrote: "A revisionist is a church of one and the author of his own holy text. "

Amen! This is the cause of much confusion and frustration in the ELCA today! Of course, Brian may disagree, but he did say some time ago in another thread that he viewed his own interpretation of Scripture to be superior to that of the early church fathers, the apostles, and Jesus himself. So this quote definitively fits!

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler
« Last Edit: May 24, 2006, 11:10:13 AM by buechler »

Charles_Austin

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #451 on: May 24, 2006, 11:41:40 AM »
Eric writes:
Charles I was going to go through your list and respond point by point, but I got to the above [where I said that the dire description did not match the ELCA of my experience] and changed my mind.

I respond:
Then you agree that some good is being done throughout the ELCA and the for the most part our church is gospel-centered and healthy?

Eric:
First, you take no responsibility for what happens in this forum? You bait people, obsfucate, make generalizations.

Me:
I take responsibility for what I post. I reject the allegations of baiting, obfuscating and generalizing... generally.

Eric:
That's your right. We understand your position. this post itself is you to a "T"....it is not the ELCA that has a problem, but its detractors.

Me:
And you can state my "position" clearly? I believe the ELCA has a serious problem - the problem of proclaiming the Gospel as a counter-cultural message of salvation to people that sometimes don't want to hear it and in a society that does not reflect its values. That's a big problem. And both the supporters and detractors of the ELCA oftimes contribute to the problem. Let us pray.

Eric:
The ELCA will exist 20 years from now, its member congregations that have managed to learn how to engage nonmembers(,)  that is. I fear all "family" churches will not be able to afford our clergy and will not be able to get along without the pastor doing most of the outreach.

Me:
We agree, and we agree on the emphasis of engaging non-members. I'm not sure "family" churches should exist, if by that you mean congregations of 50 to 100+ people, many of them related by blood or marriage.  And the pastor should *not* be doing *most* of the outreach, but equipping the members to reach out.

Eric (after an excursis on the prediction of what he calls an emerging centrist denomination):
Anyway, you just keep being Charles, but you have to know that if you keep casting aspersions you will keep getting offended.

Me:
I am not good at being anyone else (except in the days when I did some community theater) and - as above - I deny casting aspersions. "getting offended"? Sheesh! I've been a journalist, pastor, PR person and bureaucrat; I've got rhino hide. My sometimes testy responses are not "offense" but righteous indignation.
     

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #452 on: May 24, 2006, 11:42:51 AM »
Quote
So if somebody cruises through a stop sign, I guess I shouldn't say he broke the law; he only broke my interpretation of the law.

We agree that a stop sign means "stop". Exactly where one needs to stop can be a matter of interpretation. If I'm the second car in line and stop when the first car stopped, but then did not stop again, is that breaking the law? I saw the sign and I stopped.

How close to the crosswalk line do I need to be for it to be a valid stop? If I cross the line and then stop, should I be ticketed for an illegal stop?

So, even with something that seems as clear as a stop sign, there is still interpretation of its application. In addition, even if I have broken the law and illegally driven through a stop sign, a police officer has some discretion about whether to give me a ticket, give me a written warning, or give me a verbal warning. Some of that will be dependent upon his/her interpretation of my actions. Was I being defiant? Did I not see the sign because it was partially hidden or because I was looking down to adjust the radio. Some of that will be the context of the actions. Were there other cars on the street or was I the only moving vehicle? Were pedestrians present or no one?

Quote
If the emphasis is on the interpretation instead of the text, the actual text becomes superfluous.

Nope. Interpretation does not start with a blank sheet of paper. It starts with the biblical text. It is an interpretation of the words which we call the inspired Word of God. There is a basis for our interpretation: the words of scriptures; the meaning(s) of those words, the grammar of those words, the syntax of those words, etc.

Quote
Revisionists emphasize interpretation for two reasons. First, they can say the text says anything they want.

Not likely. Any interpretation needs to provide arguments for the interpretation. It has to start with a biblical text and take logical steps to reach the interpretive conclusion. Others may disagree with the logic and/or provide a different set of logical steps.

Quote
Secondly, the force of counter-arguments is reduced to mere opinion. God cannot express His opinion; nobody can say, "Thus says the Lord"; every disagreement can be reduced to a battle of interpretations and therefore dismissed as a mere political power-play.

A "battle of interpretations" is a battle of the logical steps to reach that interpretation. There have been people who have taken Matthew 5:29-30 literally and actually blinded themselves or cut off a hand. I remember reading about a man who had done this in the newspaper; and recently heard about another man who had taken similar drastic actions against a "sinful part". Could not someone say, "Thus says Jesus, 'If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell'"? I would hope that everyone would ask, "What does Jesus mean by this?" and come to a non-literal interpretation. Scholars can and do interpret this text in different ways. There have been a couple different ways that I have interpreted this text in sermons.

Quote
A revisionist is a church of one and the author of his own holy text.

Nope. God, through the ancient human authors, is the source of our holy text. However, we are honest enough to admit that we are interpreters of that text. It is through our efforts and understanding and prayerful discernment that we seek to hear what God would say to us through the holy text. That is interpretation. It is not making up our own meanings, but listening to God through the text.
"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 #453 on: May 24, 2006, 11:50:34 AM »
Quote
Of course, Brian may disagree, but he did say some time ago in another thread that he viewed his own interpretation of Scripture to be superior to that of the early church fathers, the apostles, and Jesus himself.

That sounds like an interpretation of something I might have written. I can't imagine me saying anything like that. I certainly don't speak that way or consider that my interpretations are superior to others. (Of course, I think that my interpretations make more sense to me than other interpretations.)
"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]

James_Gale

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #454 on: May 24, 2006, 12:11:23 PM »
Peter (and others) --

I would like to press you a bit to get a better sense of your view of the way in which we should properly discern the meaning of Scripture.

Let us step aside for just a moment from the question of sexuality.  On this question, most of those who post here believe that the plain language of Scripture is clear in stating that sexual relations are proper only between those who are married and that sexual relations between two persons of the same gender (and particularly between two men) are prohibited.

Instead, let us look instead at a question with respect to which the LCMS and WELS disagree; namely, whether women should be able to vote in congregational meetings.  WELS says no, and argues that its view is compelled by the clear language of Scripture.  The LCMS says yes, and argues that Scripture permits this type of participation.  Is the difference one of "interpretation"?  Is either the LCMS or WELS "revisionist" on this point?  Or do you understand the difference in approach in some other way.

I ask this question because the plain language of Scripture often has led Christians to different understandings regarding what is, and what is not, right and proper.

In circumstances like this, how do we know who is right and who is wrong?  Who decides?

buechler

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #455 on: May 24, 2006, 12:16:32 PM »
Brian wrote: " (Of course, I think that my interpretations make more sense to me than other interpretations.)"

Thanks for making my point for me Brian. This is true of me as well. It is also sin when it goes against the teachings and interpretations of Jesus Christ and the apostles.

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler

Kurt Weinelt

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #456 on: May 24, 2006, 12:24:24 PM »
Quote

1. The ELCA is being ripped to shreds by the homosexuality issue. (Yet no one has listed many congregations or pastors who are leaving.)


In my synod alone (Southwest Texas), the following congregations have left in toto over this issue:

St Paul-Bulverde (near San Antonio)
St Paul-Hondo (west of SA)
Zion-Kerrville (NW of SA)
Trinity-Stonewall (west of Austin, or "Babylon on the Colorado")
Risen Lord-Odessa
Our Savior-Victoria

There may be others I have not yet heard of.  The point is, someone (me) has now listed a significant number of congregations who have left over this issue, and just in one synod at that.  The stimulus for all this is that sometime around 1999 or 2000, pro-GLBTQ activists were successful in a synod assembly in naming the Southwest Texas Synod a "Reconciled In Christ" synod.  This is not a point of view acceptable to the vast majoity of congregants in this synod.  Since then, many of us mainstream folks in the pews began to become more active participants in assemblies to try and block subsequent parliamentary foolishness.  A motion to repeal the "Reconciled In Christ" label narrowly failed last week, and I am afraid other congregations may withdraw from the ELCA as well.  We have a decent and Godly bishop (Ray Tiemann-definitely NOT a revisionist) who is trying to keep the synod together, and we pray for him weekly.

It is a sad situation for us here; that Pr Austin can deny  "the ELCA is being ripped to shreds" from a position of splendid isolation strikes me as a bit insensitive to the suffering of good Christian people trying to grapple with this issue.
Peace,
Kurt Weinelt
"Learning about history is an antidote to the hubris of the present, the idea that everything in OUR lives is the ultimate." David McCullough

Richard Johnson

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #457 on: May 24, 2006, 01:34:11 PM »
OK, boys and girls, I think we've had enough. We've strayed very, very far from the topic initiated by this particular article, so I'm going to shut it down. If you want to continue to call each other names, move it to "Your Turn." But it would be more salutary to turn your guns on Editor Saltzman's analysis of the current state of affairs in LCMS, which appears in the June issue and has just been posted above.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS