Author Topic: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?  (Read 32599 times)

A Catholic Lutheran

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #300 on: November 01, 2010, 09:26:20 PM »
This is precisely where the concept (promulgated by John Paul the Great) about a "culture of life" versus a "culture of death" comes into play.  

As I understand it, a Culture of Life focuses upon the God-given dignity of life and seeks to honor that dignity in every facet of our communal life together, and protests any influence that seeks to deny or destroy that dignity.

On the other hand, a Culture of death is nihilistic, seeking only to marginalize or destroy the dignity of life, looking for any excuse to degrade and destroy life.

The Deaconess asks a question out of the context of extolling the God given dignity of life.
Pr. Stoffregen asks a question about God demanding and sanctioning the death of children.

Draw your own conclusions.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

A Catholic Lutheran

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #301 on: November 01, 2010, 09:36:55 PM »
By the way...  I have always been somewhat shocked at the way that certain people can argue that they "support life" by protesting capital punishment but then go on to say that they support current abortion laws.  First, capital punishment is a violation of life, but so is abortion.  That being said, there is NO moral equivelence between the two.  Capital punishment happens relatively rarely, as oppossed to abortion which occurrs every day.  Second, there is a stringent legal process that leads up to the imposition of capital punishment--a process that must be followed even when the offender has admitted their guilt and sometimes desire the punishment--but there are few, if any, legal roadblocks to abortion. (And while there are evermore challenges and roadblocks to capital punishment, there is a push to liberalize access to abortion.)  Thirdly, the premise of capital punishment is that the perpetrator has committed a heinous crime, while abortion is executed on a completely innocent victim.  Finally, when the lives of the innocent are wantonly taken, it is an assault on the very bedrock of humanity and human rights, whereas capital punishment is an assault, not upon the bedrock of human values but upon something much higher.

Abortion is the primary evil, capital punishment is a secondary evil.  If you are going to be outraged about one, it should be abortion.  The Roman Catholic Church is outraged about both.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #302 on: November 02, 2010, 01:37:02 AM »
What is your point or are these points pointless?

The question was asked if God ever approved the killing of children. I quoted scriptures where the answer has to be "yes".

That was not MY question . . .

Your exact statement was: "If someone can show me within Scripture that it is or ever was pleasing to God that the life of a child be taken before or after birth (apart from His command to do so when punishing un-Godly nations), I'll gladly consider the evidence."

My first response was: "Why would killing of ungodly nations be any different? I'm sure that you wouldn't say that abortion for non-believers is OK."

My second response was to show where the Israelites killed children in response to commands from God. Was that pleasing to God or not?
"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: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #303 on: November 02, 2010, 01:44:48 AM »

And Jesus quoted some back. So, if I am in the role of Satan, others should be quoting scriptures to show where anything I've said is wrong.


Not for the first time...

What comes to mind is the account of Jesus and the man born blind in John 9.  Especially the conclusion:

Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind."

Some of the Pharisees near him heard this, and they said to him, "Are we also blind?"

Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains."


Of course that would apply if I were stating what I see or what I believe. I've asked questions. Did it please God when Moses and Joshua killed children in obedience to God's command as they returned to the Promised Land as Deuteronomy and Joshua state?
"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]

kls

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #304 on: November 02, 2010, 06:26:45 AM »
Your exact statement was: "If someone can show me within Scripture that it is or ever was pleasing to God that the life of a child be taken before or after birth (apart from His command to do so when punishing un-Godly nations), I'll gladly consider the evidence."

My first response was: "Why would killing of ungodly nations be any different? I'm sure that you wouldn't say that abortion for non-believers is OK."

My second response was to show where the Israelites killed children in response to commands from God. Was that pleasing to God or not?

You haven't put forth any evidence to prove what was put forth in my question.  You've merely pointed out instances where God specifically commanded the lives of children to be taken, thus my qualification in parenthesis.  Again, God chose to take these lives for reasons that are His alone.

Is it pleasing to God to do such things?  How would I know?  I suppose anyone trying to get into the mind of God may want to re-read the last few chapters of Job to get a sense of how dangerous that can be.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #305 on: November 02, 2010, 06:33:49 AM »
Let us say that God is sorrowful about those militaristic commands given to the Israelites that resulted in the death of children.
Maybe God suffers with people who have to make difficult decisions today and the shared suffering is part of the way God identifies with us and brings us comfort.

Scott6

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #306 on: November 02, 2010, 08:14:54 AM »
Let us say that God is sorrowful about those militaristic commands given to the Israelites that resulted in the death of children.
Maybe God suffers with people who have to make difficult decisions today and the shared suffering is part of the way God identifies with us and brings us comfort.

Yeah, I tried using Moltmann as comfort once to an Afghan teenager in Rawalpindi, Pakistan during the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban, letting him know that God is suffering with him.

A complete whiff -- even when dealing with an affliction whose cause is forces beyond his control -- but as I had received my most recent theological training from Luther at that point, it was all I had.

While Christ does indeed suffer with us when we are oppressed by outside forces, that is not and cannot be the end of the story.  A God who only suffers does no one any good.  That's why there's a resurrection.  The path from the cross to the resurrection may be inscrutable and there may never be a satisfactory answer to the "why?" question this side of the eschaton (and maybe not even then), yet we do know that God is with us, Immanuel, especially in suffering, even as we know that suffering is not the final answer.  Resurrection is.  Suffering and the grave cannot frustrate the love of our God, and He is not satisfied to leave us in that condition.  Rather, he overcomes suffering and the grave, whether in this temporal life or beyond.  Healing does not come through suffering; healing comes through resurrection.

Yet there are times -- most of the time, I would say -- where our problem results precisely not from outside forces but from ourselves.  When our suffering is self-inflicted as we turn in upon ourselves, seeking what we think is our good in contradistinction to God.  It's called sin.  And here, it is God who is the problem.  It is God who afflicts us, and He does so with His Law, written on our hearts, operative in nature, and revealed in Scripture.  Here, it is God who causes us to suffer, who seeks to kill this deformed creature before Him, this creature twisted by sin.  This is God's "alien work," but it is still God's work.  He puts that creature to death in baptism, in confession and absolution, in the Lord's Supper.  Wherever forgiveness is offered and received, a death occurs.  But like before, not simply a death but a resurrection.  A new creature comes forth, fully cleansed of his sin even as he still bears the scars of his affliction in this life, awaiting for the full redemption and healing that is to come.

Which is all to say that a proclamation of a God who suffers with and comforts us in our suffering, if that's all there is, has little to do with the Law and Gospel, the cross and the empty tomb.  It is anemic.

Scott6

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #307 on: November 02, 2010, 08:19:14 AM »
Let us say that God is sorrowful about those militaristic commands given to the Israelites that resulted in the death of children.
Maybe God suffers with people who have to make difficult decisions today and the shared suffering is part of the way God identifies with us and brings us comfort.

Now, to the point of the thread, if the difficult decision that causes God to suffer with us is that made to kill His gift of a child, then, no.  Here, it's God who is the problem.  And that's why confession and absolution -- true, robust, full-throated forgiveness, not paper hopes that no one really buys when the chips are down -- is needed.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #308 on: November 02, 2010, 09:06:06 AM »
I am in general, though probably not complete agreement with what Scott just posted. Good words.

Mike Bennett

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #309 on: November 02, 2010, 10:08:37 AM »
What is your point or are these points pointless?

The question was asked if God ever approved the killing of children. I quoted scriptures where the answer has to be "yes".

It's interesting that the Canaanites, whose killing God commanded, had their own chapter of Planned Parenthood sacrificing children to Molech.  So I'm not sure your mischievous response led you in a direction you would have wanted to go.

Mike Bennett
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

Scott6

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #310 on: November 02, 2010, 11:02:00 AM »
Let us say that God is sorrowful about those militaristic commands given to the Israelites that resulted in the death of children.
Maybe God suffers with people who have to make difficult decisions today and the shared suffering is part of the way God identifies with us and brings us comfort.

Now, to the point of the thread, if the difficult decision that causes God to suffer with us is that made to kill His gift of a child, then, no.  Here, it's God who is the problem.  And that's why confession and absolution -- true, robust, full-throated forgiveness, not paper hopes that no one really buys when the chips are down -- is needed.

I know that you may have already said all that there is to say on this in this post and the one immediately preceding it.

But if you can walk me through the relationship between God's alien work in His hidden will where He commands the destruction of pagan nations or false prophets and so on to that of true, robust, full-throated forgiveness, then I would find that helpful.

I have always had to stop with Dcs. Schave's counsel that we cannot know the mind of God and that the clay may not judge the Potter.

Combined, of course, with Luke 13 and thoughts that "Am I any less sinful or worthy of destruction? Then I should repent."  Perhaps that is where the repentance and the preaching of rue, robust, full-throated forgiveness comes in?

Mike

There are a number of places to look, but one good one is Luther's sermon on St. Thomas day in 1516:

But He cannot come to this his proper work unless he undertakes a work that is alien and contrary to himself, as Isa. 28 [:21] says: An alien work is his that he may work his own work. His alien work, however, is to make men sinners, unrighteous, liars, miserable, foolish, lost. Not that he actually makes them such himself, but that the pride of men, although they are such, will not let them become or be such, so much so that God makes use of a greater disturbance, indeed, he uses this work solely to show them that they are such, in order that they may become in their own eyes, what they are in God’s eyes. Therefore, since he can make just only those who are not just, he is compelled to perform an alien work in order to make them sinners, before he performs his proper work of justification. Thus he says, “I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal” [Deut. 32:39]. But they who deem themselves just and wise and think they are somebody are most violently hostile to this alien work, which is the cross of Christ and our Adam. For they do not want what is theirs to be despised and regarded as foolish and evil, that is, they do not want their Adam to be killed. So they do not come to God’s proper work, which is justification or the resurrection of Christ.

God’s alien work, therefore, is the suffering of Christ and sufferings in Christ, the crucifixion of the old man and the mortification of Adam. God’s proper work, however, is the resurrection of Christ, justification in the Spirit, and the vivification of the new man, as Rom. 4 [:25] says: Christ died for our sins and was raised for our justification. Thus, conformity with the image of the Son of God [cf. Rom. 8:29] includes both of these works. This is what I said not long ago concerning John [the Baptist] and the gospel of which he is a figure. For just as the work of God is twofold, namely, proper and alien, so also the office of the gospel is twofold. The proper office of the gospel is to proclaim the proper work of God, i.e. grace, through which the Father of mercies freely gives to all men peace, righteousness and truth, mitigating all his wrath. Therefore it is called a good, delightful, sweet, friendly gospel, and he who hears it finds it impossible not to rejoice. But this happens whenever the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to grieving consciences, as Rom. 10 [:15] says: “How beautiful,” that is, how amiable, delightful, and, as the Hebrew reads, desirable [cf. Isa. 52:7], “are the feet of those who preach the gospel,” that is, those who bring the good and pleasant news, who proclaim peace, and therefore, not the law and the threats of the law, not something which must still be fulfilled and performed, but rather the forgiveness of sins, peace of conscience, the message that the law has been fulfilled, etc. “Who preach good news,” that is, the altogether sweet and delightful mercy of God the Father, the Christ who is given to us.
(LW 51:19-20)

Or again, in his commentary on Psalm 90:

God indeed also claims for Himself the work of slaying man, as we have heard above (v. 13). In Scripture God expressly says: “I kill and I make alive” (Deut. 32:39). But Isaiah distinguishes between these works of God and says that some are His “alien” works and others his “natural” works (Is. 28:21).
The latter are God’s works of grace, according to which He forgives sins, pronounces sinners just, and saves those who believe in Christ.

God’s “alien” works are these: to judge, to condemn, and to punish those who are impenitent and do not believe. God is compelled to resort to such “alien” works and to call them His own because of our pride. By manifesting these works He aims to humble us that we might regard Him as our Lord and obey His will.
(LW 13:135)

Or on the 4th Thesis of the Heidelberg Disputation:

4. Although the works of God always seem unattractive and appear evil, they are nevertheless really eternal merits.

That the works of God are unattractive is clear from what is said in Isa. 53[:2], “He had no form of comeliness,” and in I Sam. 2[:6], “The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.” This is understood to mean that the Lord humbles and frightens us by means of the law and the sight of our sins so that we seem in the eyes of men, as in our own, as nothing, foolish, and wicked, for we are in truth that. Insofar as we acknowledge and confess this, these is no form or beauty in us, but our life is hidden in God (i.e. in the bare confidence in his mercy), finding in ourselves nothing but sin, foolishness, death, and hell, according to that verse of the Apostle in II Cor. 6[:9–10], “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as dying, and behold we live.” And that it is which Isa. 28[:21] calls the alien work of God that he may do his work (that is, he humbles us thoroughly, making us despair, so that he may exalt us in his mercy, giving us hope), just as Hab. 3[:2] states, “In wrath remember mercy.” Such a man therefore is displeased with all his works; he sees no beauty, but only his ugliness. Indeed, he also does those things which appear foolish and disgusting to others.
(LW 31:44)

LutherMan

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #311 on: November 03, 2010, 06:19:02 PM »
Abortion is the primary evil, capital punishment is a secondary evil.  If you are going to be outraged about one, it should be abortion.  The Roman Catholic Church is outraged about both.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
And we are not the Roman Catholic Church, we are Lutherans.  A CTCR statement of the LCMS says we can freely support, or oppose capital punishment.   There is none such wrt abortion.

Not that I need CTCR statements to help me decide this.

ptmccain

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #312 on: November 03, 2010, 06:57:16 PM »
No, to be precise, The LCMS position on capital punishment is that whereas one can oppose it on various grounds, one can NOT say that the act of capital punishment is, in itself, contrary to God's Word.

The Lutheran Confessions reflect the Scripture's teaching that it is given to government to bear the sword and punish law breakers.

This is not to say there is no room for arguments against it based on issues of fairness, justice, judicual procedure, etc.

My brother-in-law used to be the Assistant Attorney General for the State of TN and we used to get into fascinating debates over the death penalty. He opposed based on the principle that it was not evenly and fairly applied. I supported it based on the reason that if, rightly convicted, a man who kills another is put to death it is a just act.

He found that the only argument that made any sense, for it, and I found his argument the only that made any sense, against it.

« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 07:45:46 PM by ptmccain »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #313 on: November 03, 2010, 07:58:23 PM »
What is your point or are these points pointless?

The question was asked if God ever approved the killing of children. I quoted scriptures where the answer has to be "yes".

It's interesting that the Canaanites, whose killing God commanded, had their own chapter of Planned Parenthood sacrificing children to Molech.  So I'm not sure your mischievous response led you in a direction you would have wanted to go.

Whether or not Canaanites actually sacrificed children to Molech is up for debate. (Just Google it.)
"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]

Mike Bennett

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Re: Is Lutherans For Life "too LCMS" for ELCA Pro-Life People?
« Reply #314 on: November 03, 2010, 10:03:07 PM »
What is your point or are these points pointless?

The question was asked if God ever approved the killing of children. I quoted scriptures where the answer has to be "yes".

It's interesting that the Canaanites, whose killing God commanded, had their own chapter of Planned Parenthood sacrificing children to Molech.  So I'm not sure your mischievous response led you in a direction you would have wanted to go.

Whether or not Canaanites actually sacrificed children to Molech is up for debate. (Just Google it.)

Today everything is up for debate. 

Mike Bennett
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22