Author Topic: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 2006)  (Read 44340 times)

Gladfelteri

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2006, 01:54:24 PM »
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This is true, unless the unity comes at the cost of sound theology and biblical faithfulness.
Some of us would say that sound theology and biblical faithfulness are absolute prerequisites for true unity and should be required for the visible, corporate unity of Christ's Church.

I find it incredible to believe that there can be any long-lasting, real visible, corporate unity in a Church which is part traditionalist, biblically, theologically, socially conservative, orthodox,  and part post-modern revisionist.  At the least, such a Church would first start to fragment into various regional and non-geographic sections on both sides which would act as separate Churches, and eventually, it would eventually separate into actual Churches.  (Isn't this what is in fact happening all through mainline Protestantism?)

I am not picking on the ELCA here, guys.  I am saying the same things to my colleagues in the clergy of the ECUSA, UMC, and PCUSA, and doing all I can to help their conservatives.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 02:03:13 PM by Gladfelteri »

buechler

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2006, 04:27:14 PM »
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Peter writes:
The scriptural view of them (homosexual acts) is utterly unambiguous.

I must note:
So you say. Others, who also believe that Scripture is God's Word, say otherwise. And Brian, with great patience and admirable persistence, points out that we have modified other things which scripture speaks about in ways that some might say are "utterly unambiguous."


Well Charles, its all a matter of opinion eh? Then to each his/her own. Let's start marrying incestuous siblings and call it good! Brian says no, some others say yes, so it goes! Your argumentation and Brian's flies in the face of true Christian faith and doctrine. This is not my opinion, but that of the Scriptures and the Church for 2,000 years. Unless you are claiming some new knowledge, which would really be Gnosticism (a heresy), I do not see how you can reasonably defend yourself (though I know you will).

You are in my prayers!

Peace in the Lord Jesus, who is unambiguous about these things you call ambiguous!

Rob Buechler

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2006, 09:24:44 PM »
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Do you say the same thing about...

Very good, Brian.  Divert attention from the new innovation by bringing up other subjects, some for which there is a long history of defense, some of which there is not and that, indeed, we ought to (re-) visit.  Either way, the more subjects that get thrown into the pile, the better to minimize the radicality of the new innovation.

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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2006, 10:17:17 PM »
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And who might that be?

In my mind, it's those who threaten to leave and those who have left for other "bodies".
"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 #34 on: April 26, 2006, 10:24:36 PM »
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I believe the Bible is clear on this issue, and I also believe if someone think otherwise, they are wrong.  They either willfully reject God's will, are confused, or probably doing a little bit of both.

In this one section you point out great differences between us.

1. I believe that the Bible is clear on this issue. It does not prohibit same-sex unions. We differ on this.

2. Those who think differently than I, think differently than I. I don't label them "wrong". We differ on this.

3. I don't try to pretend to know or to judge the motivations of those who differ from me. I believe that there are faithful Christians on both sides of this issue, who are seeking God's will. We differ on this.
"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 #35 on: April 26, 2006, 10:28:19 PM »
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And Brian continues to make arguments that really amount to nothing more than saying that absolutely nothing is utterly unambiguous

I have said often that justification by God's grace through faith in Jesus is the core of our belief. I have never been ambiguous about that.
"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 #36 on: April 26, 2006, 10:30:54 PM »
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This is true, unless the unity comes at the cost of sound theology and biblical faithfulness.

Can you post what unsound theology and unfaithful biblical statements have been promoted in seeking unity?
"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 #37 on: April 26, 2006, 10:34:52 PM »
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Very good, Brian.

Thank you.

Quote
Divert attention from the new innovation by bringing up other subjects, some for which there is a long history of defense, some of which there is not and that, indeed, we ought to (re-) visit.  Either way, the more subjects that get thrown into the pile, the better to minimize the radicality of the new innovation.

The one subject I am bringing up with these old examples is the interpretation and application of scriptures. I see traditionalist applying one hermeneutic principle when dealing with verses related to homosexual behaviors and other principle when dealing with verses about remarriage or hair-length.

I will state, as has often been said about me, I just am not convinced by your defense of the multi-hermenuetical principles used by traditionalists.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 10:37:33 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]

Charles_Austin

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #38 on: April 27, 2006, 05:30:16 AM »
Someone writes:
Well Charles, its all a matter of opinion eh?

I respond:
I did not and will not say that. Studying all aspects of the Bible and reaching conclusions - some of them unsettling to our prior beliefs - is not merely opinion.

Someone writes:
Then to each his/her own. Let's start marrying incestuous siblings and call it good! Brian says no, some others say yes, so it goes!

I note:
I don't think anyone on this board says "yes" to that.

Someone again:
Your argumentation and Brian's flies in the face of true Christian faith and doctrine. This is not my opinion, but that of the Scriptures and the Church for 2,000 years. Unless you are claiming some new knowledge, which would really be Gnosticism (a heresy), I do not see how you can reasonably defend yourself (though I know you will).

Me, finally:
Once again, I am not "defending" any position here; I am trying to be interpretative and analytical. Gnosticism claims "new" "secret" knowledge not available to outsiders; scripture interpretation provides tools available to all.

Brian said just upstream that he does not label those who think differently than he does on these issues "wrong." Nor does he accuse them of nefarious motivations; he believes that there are faithful Christians on both sides of this. So do I. The issue may be whether we can be in the same denomination together. I think we can. But there are others who contend that fellowship requires absolute, rigid conformity on a long long list of ecclesial matters from whether women can vote in congregational meetings through the historicity of Jonah and on through a dozen other matters.

That is the LC-MS mode of operation (in theory, at least; in reality it is quite different.) It is not, and I pray that it will never be the ELCA mode of operation.



« Last Edit: April 27, 2006, 05:38:29 AM by Charles_Austin »

buechler

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #39 on: April 27, 2006, 06:03:42 AM »
Charles wrote: "Once again, I am not "defending" any position here; I am trying to be interpretative and analytical. "

Doesn't sound like it from the tack you have taken. Also seems like doctrinal purity and unambiguousness is threatening to you. Interesting.

Rob Buechler

Charles_Austin

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #40 on: April 27, 2006, 06:33:38 AM »
buechler writes:
Also seems like doctrinal purity and unambiguousness is threatening to you. Interesting.

I comment:
Well, I happen to believe that since the Church - yes, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church - is a human institution, it will never achieve "doctrinal purity." And I suppose I am "threatened," or rather disturbed and worried, when member of the Church claim to have an absolute, final, definitive lock on "doctrinal purity" in all matters.

Brian said it upstream and I agree. I do not believe that the message about salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ is ambiguous. Good ol' John 3:16.

buechler

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #41 on: April 27, 2006, 07:15:19 AM »
Charles wrote: "I do not believe that the message about salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ is ambiguous. Good ol' John 3:16. "

Yes, but since we "cannot know" that this was really Jesus' position, since we cannot know that what is canonical is canonical; since some people, like the church universal have claimed this but others do not agree; therefore how can you claim that this statement of yours is unambiguous doctrine?

Again, your position earlier cannot allow unambiguous belief. I agree that what John 3:16 says is unambiguous, but then I don't make the arguments that you and Brian make.

In short, I see the arguments that you and Brian make as a fraud. Jesus is fine as long as he fits whatever agenda you or he happen to fancy.

You are both in a hermenutical pickle, and I suggest you both get out of that "jar" before its too late.


peter_speckhard

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #42 on: April 27, 2006, 07:42:53 AM »
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I have said often that justification by God's grace through faith in Jesus is the core of our belief. I have never been ambiguous about that.


It would be easy to debunk Brian's rigid, narrow, exclusive, and church-dividing dogma ;D (sorry, breaking my rule about smileys lest anyone not get the irony) by pointing out how many, many honest followers of Jesus have believed in salvation by works, and done so with the same genuine sincerity that Brian believes in salvation by grace (and they can't be "wrong" of course, but merely in disagreement), and to point to James and many other places that specifically call Brian's view into question, throw in some speculation about non-canonical Scriptures attesting to the long tradition and practice of teaching salvation by works in the early church, go on to the Church Fathers, focus on the close of the Athanasian Creed, add a little Reformation history of "disagreements" (again, no one was wrong, because that would be to sacrifice unity) and easily call salvation by grace into question. And then, when refuted, merely keep raising the questions, keep acknowledging that I'm not against salvation by grace, I'm not saying it is wrong, I'm merely saying it is one of the possibilities, and the Church is big enough to celebrate diversity of soteriologies, you know, by comparing the works/grace debate to such adiaphora as meat/vegetables. The key, of course, would be an air of exasperated patience, a constant sense of "Sigh...let's try this again...grace is good, but so are works...we can't claim the status of "right" for ourselves and "wrong" for those who disagree on the matter of salvation by grace through faith because so many faithful Christians have proclaimed salvation by works..." and then start the whole process over. But even as a joke, applying the acid drip of constant questioning to established Christian doctrine is distasteful to me.

A more constructive response is to say that I agree totally with Brian on the words, but not on what the words mean. Salvation by grace through faith is indeed the central doctrine, but all the other doctrines define the terms. Eph. 2:8-10 or John 3:16 or what-have-you are at the heart of it, and all the rest of the Christian doctrines merely explain what those short statements mean. You could take a multi-volume dogmatics text and re-organize it along the words of John 3:16 (vol. 1 God (trinity), vol. 2 Love, vol. 3 World (creation), vol. 4 Gave (grace), vol. 5 Only-begotten Son (two-natures Christology), vol. 6 Whovever (election), vol. 7 Believes (nature of faith), vol. 8 In Him (ridiculousness of inclusive language  ;), vol. 9 Should Not Perish (original sin, damnation), vol. 10 But Have Everlasting Life (eschatology, heaven, new creation, etc.). And having written that dogmatic series, you'd discover you'd said all the same things that are currently in standard dogmatics texts, except you'd see how John 3:16 doesn't mean anything without the rest of Christian doctrine, just as the heart has no purpose or life apart from the rest of the body. Nobody can say "Jesus is Lord" apart from the Holy Spirit, and nobody who makes the Jesus the Lord in real life condones sodomy. Sexual morality is not unrelated to the central doctrines, as the NT repeatedly makes clear. Doctrine is an organic unity.  

Durkin_Park

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #43 on: April 27, 2006, 08:06:57 AM »
Charles: "Well, I happen to believe that since the Church - yes, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church - is a human institution, it will never achieve "doctrinal purity." And I suppose I am "threatened," or rather disturbed and worried, when member of the Church claim to have an absolute, final, definitive lock on "doctrinal purity" in all matters."

Response: The church is not a human institution.  The Holy Church is instituted by God, not man.  And why are you limiting the work of The Spirit?  The church can't be led to right understanding and kept in pure faith by Him?  You're so rigid and dogmatic.  You should be more open to the power of The Spirit, who I pray does lead us to pure understanding.  

Oh, that makes me threatening.  I want to know God's will for my life, so I can lord it over people and make them feel bad, right.

Come on,  I want to know God's will and want The Holy Spirit to purify our doctrine and life because I love God.


P.S.  Brian, we do disagree, and you do think that I am WRONG.  If not also my stance on homosexual behavior, at least you think it is wrong of me to think that your stance is wrong, or at least that I believe our messages cannot and should not be in the same church body, or at least that I believe that these beliefs are mutually exclusive.  Brian, you're just as judgemental as everyone else.  You can't escape planting your flag.  You might as well gird up your loins and stand where you stand, firmly, until convinced by Scripture and plain reason.  Or at least get off this fake, "I don't think your wrong gig."          

Charles_Austin

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Re: An Ambiguously Tentative Probably Not (May 200
« Reply #44 on: April 27, 2006, 09:47:20 AM »
buechler writes:
In short, I see the arguments that you and Brian make as a fraud. Jesus is fine as long as he fits whatever agenda you or he happen to fancy.

I note:
And again, the discussion descends into unintelligent chaos and refusal to accept one's word. Neither Brian nor I believe Jesus fits into any "agenda" I "happen to fancy." (For myself, I'd rather not have those words about loving all people, caring for the poor or sacrificing for the faith.) And how does it help the discussion to declare that I am a "fraud" or that Brian is a "fake"?

And Mr. Park writes:
The church is not a human institution.  The Holy Church is instituted by God, not man.  And why are you limiting the work of The Spirit?  The church can't be led to right understanding and kept in pure faith by Him?  You're so rigid and dogmatic.  You should be more open to the power of The Spirit, who I pray does lead us to pure understanding.  

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. The church, yes, this flawed "human" church can indeed be led to "right understanding," and maybe God is doing that even now. I hope I remain "open to the power of The Spirit" as you suggest, for I might even believe, maybe, perhaps, someday, that the Spirit would lead the whole earthly institution of the church to accept women clergy or - maybe, even, perhaps, someday - same sex unions. To state otherwise would seem to limit God's ability to reveal his will to us.

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.