Author Topic: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation  (Read 101566 times)

Timotheus Verinus

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #435 on: March 08, 2012, 12:13:01 AM »
....
And there you have it. The end of dialogue. The declaration of judgement. I am orthodox, you are not. Your way of being Lutheran is not a proper way.
    .....
     So in any conversation with anyone in the ELCA, you are going to have to say to them - if you are consistent and honest - "Well, after all the ELCA is not orthodox and their contention that they are is false."
     For that is what you have written.

Other than the "end of dialog" judgement, you really are beginning to get the framework. Maybe we can break through - for some dialog after all. :)

I actually do make plain statements like the above to those in the ELCA. They take the statement at its face value and it is not a problem. Some say maybe, amybe not and shrug. Some disagree, some agree and are staying in the ELCA anyway for a number of reasons. The statement is not a problem. I encourage you to try and hear what that means. The statement is nothing more than a witness.I would guess that you would say it is a false witness. I would disagree.

At some level the assertion you stand by is framed as follows: "For us to discuss, debate, whatever, it is a precondition that you accept that my (your) position is valid and correct." To use Brian's framework "right for me."

But don't you see. That's part of the debate for us. We discuss with the presumption that there is an absolute truth. You are welcome to convince that yours is it, or even that there is none. Go for it. But you don't get to set preconditions for that discussion. That is the only thing that makes "end of argument." We simply cannot endorse what we believe to be in error. Why do you wish to insist-make us- do so as a precondition?

It runs deeper but let's try framing it this way. We assert there is absolute truth. the argument is presented and you (ala Brian) argue that there is only truth "for you," and "for him," and "for me" and who really knows. So let's discuss.. But you basically say, "wait not till you agree that there is only relative truth." Actually you go further and note that because we assert absolute truth, we have "judged you," ... maybe ... but in truth, we only witness to what we believe to be true, and note you reject it ... which is true. Actually what you say is just as judgmental, using your logic.

It goes on and on but if we could get that far, it would be a good start.

TV

PS I also reject the way you framed "romanticism of grandma." in opposition to the "same confession," but one subject at a time.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 12:18:43 AM by Timotheus Verinus »
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George Erdner

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #436 on: March 08, 2012, 12:50:18 AM »
So the commitment here is not to the Church of Jesus Christ, evanescent wraith that it is, but to "my confession" -- we belong not to the body of Christ, but to "my confession."

I find this distinctly weird.  Even for a Lutheran.  But maybe mine is strictly a minority position.

Tom Pearson

I suspect the problem is using the LCMS jargon of "confession" as meaning "the doctrines, teachings, and understandings of what the church is". He was saying that he understood the Church of Jesus Christ to be a particular way. It was like this, not like that. It was (and is) what it was (and is). He was lead by the Holy Spirit to a particular understand of what the Church of Jesus Christ is, including the understanding that one's understanding is called a "confession", even if that confuses most folks who hear it.
 
So, over the years, while his understanding of what the Church of Jesus Christ was about never changed or wavered, what various denominations within the Church of Jesus Christ taught as being their understanding did change. So, he stayed put, as they left him.
 
I'm reminded of the old couple from New England who were out riding in their buggy, and the wife asked why they didn't sit close together like they used to. The old guy said, "I haven't moved".
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 01:39:21 AM by George Erdner »

Timotheus Verinus

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #437 on: March 08, 2012, 01:26:06 AM »
George thanks.

I sometimes forget how radically our vocabularies differ in use of the same words. I should have known better. Tom, I'm sorry you heard it the way you did. I'll try and be less casual with my word use.

TV
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Don Whitbeck

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #438 on: March 08, 2012, 06:17:36 AM »
Unfortunately, Pastor Fienen, what you try to say with irony and hyperbole has been said in these circles and elsewhere without those two "qualifiers" by such people as Paul T. McCain (formerly of these precincts) and a few other folk. And if we in the ELCA have to keep hearing about certain folk who might be at the edge of our orthodoxy, you will have to bear the burden of those who claim to speak so absolutely and decisively for yours; vociferously denouncing, as they do so, anyone who disagrees with them.
As we must bear your funlminations against those who have found the ELCA wanting in orthodoxy (how dare they say that!  >:( ) or who disagree that what mainstream ELCA espouses as proper (or even the only proper) way to study and interpret the Bible is entirely orthodox.  In order, it sometimes seems, to qualify as civilized and proper discourse, we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way.
 
Dan

Pastor Fienen writes: we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way.


Can you tell me how so?  If that's the case, then all of these people that left before 2009 CWA decree, and all of those Bishops, Pastors, and Congregations that left thereafter, must of have some other reason for doing so.

I'm sure you are aware that the LCMS Convention as declared otherwise, a few times now.  Would President Harrison or officers of the Synod declare it also to be so?

Respectfully,
You misunderstand me by not taking into account the entire sentence.  What I meant was a counterfactual.  My entire sentence had two main parts.  "In order, it sometimes seems, to qualify as civilized and proper discourse," (it seems to me that some want to demand that if our discourse is to be considered proper then) "we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way."  I am not agreeing that is what we should do, but rather what it seems to me some are demanding that we do.
 
Dan


So we can still agree, that the ELCA is not an Orthodox Lutheran Church!  It's anything but, and has always been that way from the start!   ;) :)
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Don Whitbeck

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #439 on: March 08, 2012, 06:28:37 AM »
"Confessional Lutheran," I have already - too many times - violated my general principle of not getting involved in dialogue with people who will not post their real names, and I find some of your comments extremely hard to follow, so I shall back off.
Is this something like "bound conscience"?   ;D


Pastor Sampson

He doesn't believe in "Bound conscience"; anymore then the ELCA does.
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Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #440 on: March 08, 2012, 08:15:30 AM »
In the midst of all those words, Pastor Awtrey, I think I see the bottom line:
We in the ELCA are not "orthodox." Period. Stop. End of story.
And you will do all you can to make sure that ELCAers in your arena of influence know that.
Yours is "absolute" truth or teaching or doctrine or whatever; ours is "relative" and therefore wrong wrong wrong.
Any dialogue has to begin with the agreement that we are wrong, for you will not entertain the idea that we could be right or half right or sort of right or whatever.
I think I have encountered more graciousness and brotherliness from some in the LCMS.
Good grief!


grabau

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #441 on: March 08, 2012, 08:27:43 AM »
In the C. S. Lewis tale the bishop who is in hell says: "WE have such interesting discussions.  grabau

Timotheus Verinus

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #442 on: March 08, 2012, 10:07:19 AM »
In the midst of all those words, Pastor Awtrey, I think I see the bottom line:
.....
I think I have encountered more graciousness and brotherliness from some in the LCMS.
Good grief!

Nope I think you do not see the bottom line yet, but at least we are talking about the right things. :) The difficulty with your conclusion is that it doesn't match the plain witness in the street. IE.Many in LCMS are currently very cautious to engage the discussion. On the other hand, while I admit to better "brotherhood" and common purpose with NALC types, we still multually  manage "gracious" relationships in real terms with ELCA folks. The message here is that you must have missed something on the way to your conclusion,

But I believe we are close. Whether my understandings are absolutely true God will judge, and we might examine. If "absolutely" means "without any error," I imagine I fall quite short. If much of what you witness is in fact true, that still speaks nothing to the question of whether it is also only relatively so. This is why 'bound conscience' is such a meaningless ruse.

Your major premise is that we can both be right. How gracious and brotherly that is. But it doesn't mean that this point is true. That's the level of disagreement between us, and in fact the argument. When you insist that before discussion, it must be conceded that we can both be right, you empty the discussion, because we assert, no we cannot both be correct on what is absolutely true, whichever of us is right. In fact you show no graciousness in insisting your presumption must be conceded as a staring point.

And history of the church, setting aside my own, has consistently held this. We allow we may have been wrong at this turn or that, even that we assumed revealed, what perhaps God may not have included in the revealed Word. But at its heart traditionalist continue in the same confession, and revisionist thought seeks to set aside absolute revealed truth, even revealed absolute error. "It was true then." That is the divergent road, the ELCA path over the last 60 plus years has taken. That is the discussion. Tradition has in fact maintained a constant faith. ELCA is self confessing that it is on the road to something new. In other words, I didn't change, the ELCA and its predecessor bodies where I formally found the faith, changed and gladly proclaims that reality. ELCA is proud of it.

TV
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 10:31:59 AM by Timotheus Verinus »
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #443 on: March 08, 2012, 10:15:41 AM »
I had no part in it, but the pastor who supervised my vicarage was ALC--a kinder, gentler man it would be hard to find. His words to me--they lied to us and sold us down the river.  FWIW.


Who is "they"? The ones that I saw blatantly lying were some pamphlets decrying the new Lutheran church. One had a column of what the ALC believes and another with what the new church believed -- even before there was the new church -- and there were lies!
"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: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #444 on: March 08, 2012, 10:25:01 AM »
Good thing we have been educated by those "who were there," unlike us ... oh wait! .. we WERE  there! ... hmmm. It's so confusing...


TAALC was not there. They bailed before "there" arrived. They believed some of the lies that were being told about the new church. The last congregation I served had a major split in 1987 when the pastor and about 1/3 of the members left to form a TAALC congregation. Even a conservative guy like our moderator Richard Johnson, who I believe was dean of the conference at the time, could not persuade them otherwise. The result was two struggling congregations whose total membership even after 20 years was only 2/3 of what had been in the single congregation. 1/3 of the members just disappeared -- left over all the turmoil. Ironically, that pastor soon retired and remains on the roster of the ELCA.
"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: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #445 on: March 08, 2012, 10:34:26 AM »
If I had known this, I would of love to have discussed what went on from his prospective as well as yours.  However, you’re right about one thing, a New Lutheran Church like NO OTHER, sure blew up like a volcano and the last eruption in 2009 sent it flying.  Of course I'm sure more is to come as the ashes settle from the last one.


And yet the ELCA is still the largest Lutheran denomination in North America even after 2009. A majority of the members and congregations are not leaving. Who knows if we still be the largest 20 years from now?


As more and more of the disgruntled people leave, more and more of the members of the ELCA will be in agreement with the 2009 decisions. The ladies who will be at our Bible study later today have expressed their agreement with it.


As I've said before, the ELCA Clergy facebook page has over 3600 members (a few more than who belong to this forum) and, for the most part, they support the direction of the ELCA.
"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: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #446 on: March 08, 2012, 10:38:50 AM »
Unfortunately, Pastor Fienen, what you try to say with irony and hyperbole has been said in these circles and elsewhere without those two "qualifiers" by such people as Paul T. McCain (formerly of these precincts) and a few other folk. And if we in the ELCA have to keep hearing about certain folk who might be at the edge of our orthodoxy, you will have to bear the burden of those who claim to speak so absolutely and decisively for yours; vociferously denouncing, as they do so, anyone who disagrees with them.
As we must bear your funlminations against those who have found the ELCA wanting in orthodoxy (how dare they say that!  >:( ) or who disagree that what mainstream ELCA espouses as proper (or even the only proper) way to study and interpret the Bible is entirely orthodox.  In order, it sometimes seems, to qualify as civilized and proper discourse, we must first agree that while the ELCA way is not our way, it is just as much a proper and orthodox Lutheran way.


I believe that it is entirely possible that God is big enough to accept the ELCAers and the LCMSers and a whole bunch of others people with some differences in their beliefs and biblical interpretations than ours as his own children. What do we think of a child within a multi-child family who declares to the world and all the other children, "I'm the best and only proper child of our parents"?
"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]

Timotheus Verinus

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #447 on: March 08, 2012, 10:46:46 AM »
Good thing we have been educated by those "who were there," unlike us ... oh wait! .. we WERE  there! ... hmmm. It's so confusing...


TAALC was not there. They bailed before "there" arrived. They believed some of the lies that were being told about the new church.

I understand Brian. I was there also during that chaos. I went over to LCMS in 1985/6ish, prior to "there being there." With many friends and family growing through the "birth of the new thing," I was there at kitchen tables, and visiting in pews, in discussions with folks like Richard on "how could I go to LCMS?" Substantive discussions, on what was unfolding as it evolved. -
As an aside to the Richard reference I was a member of Peace Lutheran in Grass Valley from 1974-Nov 76, when the events were just beginning. I'm sorry if you think that doesn't quailify as being "there."

To the points you make, I will agree that we were predicting, divining, projecting things that would happen, as basically already decided. And to this extent, you are correct that they were sometimes more like "lies" than facts. BUT BUT did the predictions in fact come true? By and large I have to say that the "lies" ended up being true and later facts. The technicalities that were technically true, ended up being lies. That is the simple reality and seen no clearer than CWA '09.

TV
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Charles_Austin

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #448 on: March 08, 2012, 10:50:12 AM »
Rarely, Pastor Awtrey, have I encountered such arrogance. Do you notice how many times your have said now that it is your confession, your references to your grandmother's church, your repeated declaration that you have held the same beliefs and that you have never changed? And this focus on what you say leads you from one church body to another and now to the declaration that your view is right and that there are no allowances for interpretation, for that would go against your absolutism.
And all this without a decent explanation of just what is included in your "absolute truth." Ordination for women? Historical Adam and Eve? Literal interpretation of scripture? Open or closed communion? A particular view of marriage?
I still contend that it is that last item - a particular view of marriage - that becomes the ultimate issue for many. For you, given your peripatetic wanderings through Lutheranism, I can't really tell.
Since you cannot even begin to say that the ELCA is a church where the gospel is rightly preached and the sacraments rightly administered (save, perhaps for a dozen or so folks who might, if pressed, agree with you), I wonder if there is anything left to say.
I can only conclude that the "relationships" with ELCA folks you speak of so frequently only exist so that you can lead them from our "errors." So I would rather not hear any more unctuous words about what you are "really" doing.
Pastor Stoffregen points out that, even with the defections, the ELCA remains the largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S.A. And I have noted that over the past ten years (except for the last two) the drop in membership in the LCMS has been about the same as that in the ELCA. That certainly wasn't because the LCMS is too "liberal."
We all have work to do to reach people with the Gospel, people who have no faith community. We should not spend time trying to rustle people from one faith community to another.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 10:52:29 AM by Charles_Austin »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Estranged members sue ELCA-LCMC congregation
« Reply #449 on: March 08, 2012, 10:52:01 AM »
Not trying to issue a "gotcha" here, Charles, but trying to see if perhaps we could make sure that we are on the same page when it appears that we are not.  When "we" are speaking of "assurances given," these reference things that were said when the CNLC had settled on the relevant issues -- i.e, the "excruciating detail" that, indeed, was available well before the churchwide and synodical constituting conventions.


Part of the "excruciating detail" was the process by which the ELCA would make decisions for itself. Through that process, we are not quite the same church now as in 1988. I am not quite the same pastor I was in 1976 or 1991. Hopefully, I've learned a few things over the past 35 years and made modifications in practices. So has this new church. I've heard it being compared to a maturing child: infancy, toddler, teenage years, emerging adult. After only 24 years, we are still discovering who we are as a maturing denomination -- like many humans at that age.


Quote
The critique we, both former ELCA folks and staying-in-the-ELCA critics, are offering -- and have offered consistently for several years now, but which has fallen on hears that do not hear -- is that from 1986 to about 1994, we looked at the words of the (your appelation, here) "excruciating detail" of concern and asked "We read this to mean thus-and-so; are we correct in this understanding?" the assurances were, "Yes, that is what the words say."  And then by (say) 2005, we were being told, "No, that is not what the words say," often followed by, "and they never said that.  How could you have gotten such an interpretation?" 

Or, in 1991, "No, the words don't mean that; this is the furthest thing from our minds," only to be told in 2010, "Of course that's what they mean.  Why would you think otherwise?"  "Well, we were given assurances by our leaders."  To which, two days ago, you replied "No one could give any 'assurances' about what the ELCA would require until the merge was actually completed."  Only to insist today that all you are trying to say is, "All of the plans for the merger, in excruciating detail, were available to anyone who wanted them."


Who was telling you "No, that is not what the words say"? Who was giving you assurances? When we had to hire a lawyer, we were advised that any lawyer who guaranteed a verdict was not worth hiring. No one can know for sure what a judge or jury might decide. We can think or suppose what our process and our good arguments should produce, but no one knows for sure until there has been a vote by a CWA.


Considering that bishops have even less control over what happens than a lawyer does -- bishops are only advisory positions -- they can only offer opinions. They don't make policy.
"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]