Author Topic: The ELCA Requires Nothing  (Read 48049 times)

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7021
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #390 on: January 11, 2013, 04:10:49 PM »
John,

The best thing I could recommend to you is to re-read the Heidelberg Disputation and The Bondage of the Will.  That will make the distinctions between Theology of Glory or Theology of Cross, as well as Deus Absconditus and Deus Revelatus, more clear. 

I take you at your word that you accept the Scriptures, Creeds and Confessions as the basis for dialogue among Lutherans.  Those are the things we agree upon which make fruitful conversation possible.  You are also wary of making further lists of "things which must be believed" among us.  In the past, if I recall correctly, some in the LCMS sought to require subscription to brief summaries of doctrine or statement of biblical principles in addition to the Lutheran Confessions.  It's that kind of thing that I understand you to reject.

However, over here in the ELCA, we have a different problem.  Some would reopen what has previously been settled in Lutheranism.  Others, including some posters here, leave open the possibility that future churchwide assemblies might add to or subtract from our confessions.  According to this theory, the consciences of pastors and congregations would be bound by these decisions.  It is in this context that talk of open  questions and continuing dialog is heard. 

David 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Johan Bergfest

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #391 on: January 11, 2013, 05:09:37 PM »
Pr. Charlton - thanks for the additional clarification.  My understanding of the Theology of the Cross v. Theology of Glory comes from Luther's commentary on Galatians.

You are correct.  I am content with the expression of what it means to be a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (invisible), as I stated that confession in my confirmation vows.  I am comfortable with the ambiguity that comes with it and am not at all comfortable with any effort to diminish it by hanging a bunch of qualifiers on it.

I do not believe that "truth" is determined by majority vote.  And, from that perspective, I think it would be inappropriate for a church body in convention/assembly to adopt confessional statements by resolution/memorial.  The LCMS states their confession in the Constitution (I think it is Article II) and includes and additional paragraph which states that Article II may not be amended.  If my memory is correct (I do not have a copy of the minutes), LCMS had to finesse around that language at the '73 convention in order to adopt a resolution that was then held as binding on the seminary faculty and that then resulted in the Seminex fiasco.




Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #392 on: January 11, 2013, 05:20:06 PM »
The issue for "division" in the church is really the effect of the "divisions" we believe we have and what we let them do to the Gospel mission.
It is not inherently "wrong" or even "divisive" that there are Lutherans and Presbyterians. But the damage is done when what seems to be "different" 'twixt Lutherans and Presbyterians stands in the way of mission and fellowship.
It is not inherently "wrong" or even "divisive" that there are Lutherans and Anglicans. But the damage is done if one "side" says: "Bishops! Gotta have 'em or else you guys ain't got valid priests!" and another "side" says "Bishops! Fie! Never! Don't need no stinkin' bishops!" and when that line in the sand sets one against the other when it comes to mission and fellowship.
It's not that the differences don't "matter." It's what we let the differences do to us.

Pastor Ted Crandall

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #393 on: January 12, 2013, 06:40:33 AM »
Some would reopen what has previously been settled in Lutheranism.  Others, including some posters here, leave open the possibility that future churchwide assemblies might add to or subtract from our confessions.  According to this theory, the consciences of pastors and congregations would be bound by these decisions.  It is in this context that talk of open  questions and continuing dialog is heard. 

I leave it open that the Church could add, not to Christian doctrine, but to the written confession of the Church.  Didn't a churchwide assembly add to the written confessions each time one of the Creeds were written?  Didn't the Church again add to the written confession of the Church when the Book of Concord was written?  Is it inconceivable that after nearly 500 years "It's Time" again to address contemporary misunderstandings of God's Word, just as the Church once addressed the Trinity and Justification? 

"This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved."

What made these mere mortals think they could use such immoderate language when they added to the written confession of the catholic faith? 

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #394 on: January 12, 2013, 06:48:07 AM »
Pastor Crandall writes:
I leave it open that the Church could add, not to Christian doctrine, but to the written confession of the Church.  Didn't a churchwide assembly add to the written confessions each time one of the Creeds were written?  Didn't the Church again add to the written confession of the Church when the Book of Concord was written?  Is it inconceivable that after nearly 500 years "It's Time" again to address contemporary misunderstandings of God's Word, just as the Church once addressed the Trinity and Justification? 

I muse:
Amazingly "liberal" and "open" and even - dare I say? - quasi-"revisionist" words, Pastor Crandall. WTG!
Oh, but I suspect you meant that as irony or sarcasm. Sorry.
But as noted elsewhere, the "Church" did indeed add or detract what is taught. Those early councils added what should be taught about the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation. Parts of the Reformation subtracted what should be taught about bishops and the papacy. Subsequent conventions/assemblies in our land added or subtracted from what was taught by the folks who first came over.
And running through all these re-teachings, some significant, some minor, is still the solid, clear, scriptural Gospel message. There is the miracle.
What a pity that some let it be clouded or overshadowed by other things.

Pastor Ted Crandall

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #395 on: January 12, 2013, 06:49:04 AM »
...if there is a possibility that God might want division. Maybe God does. Maybe God don't. It takes more then "John or Peter don't like it" as  a basis for an answer. And suppose we can't say, then we need to be honest about that as well. But there are implications to the answer. One of those implications is to admit that we don't know if God wants a unified church and quit insisting on it. Scary . . .

I'd like to hear more about this.  I've never even considered the possibility that God wants division... 

I can see on the one hand, where God would not want us being united with those who oppose his Word, but I can also see where he wishes that those who cause the division by opposing his Word would stop and be one with Him and His. 

Johan Bergfest

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #396 on: January 12, 2013, 07:42:27 AM »
I leave it open that the Church could add, not to Christian doctrine, but to the written confession of the Church.

Pr. Crandall - please help me understand what you mean by a distinction between "Christian doctrine" and the "written confession of the Church".

I can see on the one hand, where God would not want us being united with those who oppose his Word, but I can also see where he wishes that those who cause the division by opposing his Word would stop and be one with Him and His.

I'd like to hear more about this.  I might agree with you strictly in the abstract.  However, we do not live in the abstract.  We are called to be faithful in a field of wheat and tares.  We are instructed that the task of weeding God's field is NOT our responsibility.  So, how do you distinguish wheat from tares?  How can you be so sure?  How do you know that ALPB is not a field that is growing multiple varieties of pure wheat? 

George Erdner

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #397 on: January 12, 2013, 08:02:08 AM »
...if there is a possibility that God might want division. Maybe God does. Maybe God don't. It takes more then "John or Peter don't like it" as  a basis for an answer. And suppose we can't say, then we need to be honest about that as well. But there are implications to the answer. One of those implications is to admit that we don't know if God wants a unified church and quit insisting on it. Scary . . .

I'd like to hear more about this.  I've never even considered the possibility that God wants division... 

I can see on the one hand, where God would not want us being united with those who oppose his Word, but I can also see where he wishes that those who cause the division by opposing his Word would stop and be one with Him and His.


God specifically called for us to do what we do in "good order". There are natural limits to how big an individual congregation can be. I don't think God objects to us having different congregations, or that when we assemble to worship, we divide into small groups. Based on what we know from scripture, we cannot say for certain that God regards the fact that some congregations are bunched together in one organization, while others are bunched together into different organizations, both operating in good order. We cannot say for certain that He approves. Since we cannot know the will of God regarding what He thinks about "unity", we're stuck trying to do our best as we pray for His guidance. I suspect that He wants us to be "united" in love and respect for each other, and open in accepting visitors to our congregations.

Dadoo

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3054
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #398 on: January 12, 2013, 09:52:18 AM »
...if there is a possibility that God might want division. Maybe God does. Maybe God don't. It takes more then "John or Peter don't like it" as  a basis for an answer. And suppose we can't say, then we need to be honest about that as well. But there are implications to the answer. One of those implications is to admit that we don't know if God wants a unified church and quit insisting on it. Scary . . .

I'd like to hear more about this.  I've never even considered the possibility that God wants division... 

I can see on the one hand, where God would not want us being united with those who oppose his Word, but I can also see where he wishes that those who cause the division by opposing his Word would stop and be one with Him and His.

About 20 pages ago the assertion was made that theology is basically a mental game. In ELCA that is sometimes used to say: "Well, it does not matter we all love Jesus, and that is enough, never mind what you do with it."

I used that question in response to John who is committed to unity somehow but wants to talk about "things held in common" and in the process of the debate seemed to join the "theology is a mental game" line.  He also states that God's work is still, somehow,  being done through the hands of us sinners (GOd's work; our hands - is and ELCA slogan BTW)  David and I made mention how that thinking functions in ELCA and why we are suspicious.

Further, the thread deals with an article that criticizes people who left ECLA. It is about division.

To answer the question one has to do one of several things: One has to use sacred sources in which case one does theology way beyond "we love Jesus." Or one has to make a case that God has nothing to do with it and merely a human decision which also needs theology to be done because one has to explain why God is not involved.  For that matter, one has to answer the question whether one even has the answer without violating Theology of Glory territory.

So the question asked that many necessary theological alleys be traveled including the alleys labeled: 'Theology is good for something after all." and "maybe the departures from ELCA were necessary losses." The latter is after all what the article is about.
 
If the question itself intrigues you I would be happy to explore it. I have ideas but no answers. But maybe we need to do it on another thread. Be happy to start it . just say the word.
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

Dadoo

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3054
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #399 on: January 12, 2013, 10:07:34 AM »
The division ELCA vs NALC is not a matter of dialog never engaged in but a story of dialog and decision  over 20 years and ending in the conclusion that we did not hold enough in common. It is not what we hold in common that is the trouble.

I am not suggesting that Christians should not dialogue about their disagreements.  In fact, to the contrary.  I am a strong proponent of dialogue.  I am talking about how we shape the conversation.

Please consider two different approaches to buying a new car.  What kind of relationship develops between the buyer/salesman when the negotiation begins with a buyer trying to low ball and dealership that is trying to sell the car for sticker price ++.  That is how I think Christians/Lutherans tend to approach their disagreements.  As an alternative, what would the conversation look like if the buyer says, "I would like to buy this car at a fair price.  Fair means you make you margin and I get a bargain.  How do we determine the dollar amount that corresponds with fair".  That is the kind of conversation that I am advocating.

John,

you are talking about a new relationship built between two parties that have agreed that something is negotiable. In the ELCA NALC LCMC dustup we are facing a matter were a generation long negotiation has reached and impasse with one side saying that a essential boundary has been crossed. In you example it is the time when the seller has a set bottom line and the buyer has a hard ceiling. They will part ways. They can still be friends. In the ELCA NALC LCMC case that is harder because we all once were ELCA. The floor or the ceiling were moved after many years of equilibrium. <editorial insertion Maybe the real situation is living in a one up one down condo and the downstairs owner demands that you let him have 11 foot ceilings but would be willing to settle for 9 feet. You still end up with 7 foot ceilings in a depressing apartment you can't sell but they tell you that you should be happy that you are not living with 5 foot ceilings. >

In a debate on finding common ground your example might apply. I am not sure we were in that place as ELCA. We were either at CarMax were the price wa non negotiable or we were being shopped by the maffia were the offer was better not refused. Take you pick


Quote

And again, what gives you the conviction that God does not want the NALC vs ELCA division?

Jesus' high priestly prayer.

I have every confidence that God will use that division, just as God will use the ACELC/Jesus First division in LCMS, to accomplish His purpose.  But, God's intention is for us to be one, just as Jesus and the Father are one.  In Baptism, God has claimed each of us as His child.  God has called each of us into a unique and loving relationship with Him and, empowered by God's love, we are called to live that same relationship with one another.

For that matter, maybe "dialog" is merely the sinners' attempt to pool their sin and ignorance rather than repenting.


If by "dialog" you mean talking at one another (rather than talking with one another), I agree.


Once the sides hardened into position it was a matter of asserting power - at least that what it looked like. That is why so many are dismissive of Charles_Austin's assertion that all solutions are merely legislative involvement. That road is snowed in by more power play than common sense and reason.

Quote

Your objection to division seems to be based more in personal preference. One could dismiss that by saying: "So what," and be perfectly justified in doing so.

Without question, it is my personal preference.  Out of the same mouths are proceeding blessings for those with whom we agree and curses for those with whom we disagree.  That ought not to be so!  Are divisions are hurtful.  Worse, our divisions, or, at least our poor behavior in dealing with divisions, bear false witness to the Gospel.  So, I think it is more important than "so what".

I am not sure about the false witness thing any more. In the face of disagreement we could have modeled standing apart creatively as well. A suggestions had been floated to just make two ELCA wings, officially, and have one operate more liberal and one more centrist - right; both still connected but with a boundary that was not porous to each other's theology. It went nowhere. An attempt to duplicate that in a very large congregation also failed - the two campuses were going to go one this way - one the other. Had they had more time to negotiate this in peace it might have happened but 2010 was not such a year.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 10:22:31 AM by Dadoo »
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

Dadoo

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3054
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #400 on: January 12, 2013, 10:13:22 AM »
Worse, our divisions, or, at least our poor behavior in dealing with divisions, bear false witness to the Gospel.  So, I think it is more important than "so what".

I think we've discovered Johan's true identity, since he, like Charles, doesn't want to use the quote feature.  ;)

This is not a difference over the real presence in the Sacrament, these are fundamental issues involving changing what Scripture actually says.  Seems to me that bears more false witness than your suggestion of it being merely because of "division".

I think you are referring to his reply to me where he manually parsed. He does not seem to be averse to the use of the feature nor incapable of it technically as his reply shows.

Neither does he know your reason for leaving I think, as he is new here and it might be good to give him the summary of the causes for your farewell. Coming to think of it Pr. Christian - remember him; wrote that article - might benefit from such knowledge as well.
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

Johan Bergfest

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #401 on: January 12, 2013, 10:40:55 AM »
Pr. Kruse - I am not suggesting that there are not legitimate reasons for disagreement.  I admit that I come to this conversation with a bias, having been an observer/parishioner affected by the Seminex dabacle.  Apart from the honest disagreement, that event impressed me as a political power struggle in search of theological legitimacy.  That political struggle continues in LCMS.  Although I am less familiar with the subtleties, I suspect political struggles, apart from the CCM and human sexuality questions, are also a significant undercurrent in the ELCA/NALC/LCMC struggle.

Let's continue the dialogue.  Let's do so by informing it with a little more justus and a little less et peccatur.  Let us do so with a little more understanding that the visible church is our opportunity to work together, doing those things we cannot do as individuals, to be the visible presence of our Lord in this world.  Let us do so without forgetting that it is more important to equip the saints than it is to get every last jot and tittle correct.

Dadoo

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3054
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #402 on: January 12, 2013, 03:40:31 PM »
Pr. Kruse - I am not suggesting that there are not legitimate reasons for disagreement.  I admit that I come to this conversation with a bias, having been an observer/parishioner affected by the Seminex dabacle.  Apart from the honest disagreement, that event impressed me as a political power struggle in search of theological legitimacy.  That political struggle continues in LCMS.  Although I am less familiar with the subtleties, I suspect political struggles, apart from the CCM and human sexuality questions, are also a significant undercurrent in the ELCA/NALC/LCMC struggle.

Let's continue the dialogue.  Let's do so by informing it with a little more justus and a little less et peccatur.  Let us do so with a little more understanding that the visible church is our opportunity to work together, doing those things we cannot do as individuals, to be the visible presence of our Lord in this world.  Let us do so without forgetting that it is more important to equip the saints than it is to get every last jot and tittle correct.

How do I do that? the simul justus etc statement is a declaration of what I am. I have no choice in how much I am or act like one or the other. It is  a statement. I can only respond. I can, I must, in contrition, confess my sin and I must, I may, humbly give thanks to my savior Jesus Christ. I have no right to utilize the whole designation or to attempt to say: Now I will act more like this and now I will act more like that. The justified still sin and sinners are justified by a gracious God. The old Adam, to use the Forde term, is happy to tell you how justified he is. He does it to hide the sinner from you and from himself. Give me a repentant sinner any day. Save me from those who think the law; the word of God is also law; no longer applies to them. I think that that is the battle field that is before confessional and conservative Lutherans in ELCA now.

The visible presence that the church gives, BTW, is to be  Justified sinners. The word and sacrament are the visible and tangible presence of the Lord. We are notable examples of his presence when we act according to His word and only then. It prevents us boasting when we remember that.
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

Johan Bergfest

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #403 on: January 12, 2013, 03:58:54 PM »
How do I do that? ... I can, I must, in contrition, confess my sin and I must, I may, humbly give thanks to my savior Jesus Christ.

Pr. Kruse - well isn't that a significant first step for all of us?  And, please notice that the focus is on confessing our own sins not those of our brothers/sisters.


The old Adam, to use the Forde term, is happy to tell you how justified he is.

Remember your Baptism and return to step 1. 

Save me from those who think the law; the word of God is also law; no longer applies to them. I think that that is the battle field that is before confessional and conservative Lutherans in ELCA now.

With all due respect, I think it is a bit more complex.  I have not heard many, if any, Lutherans say that the law no longer applies to them.  I have heard some disagreement whether one specific issue is as black and white as some others might suggest.

Pastor Ted Crandall

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #404 on: January 12, 2013, 04:12:38 PM »
I leave it open that the Church could add, not to Christian doctrine, but to the written confession of the Church.

Pr. Crandall - please help me understand what you mean by a distinction between "Christian doctrine" and the "written confession of the Church".

The Creeds and the Book of Concord did not change the teaching of God in any way, but added to the written confession of the Church.  They did not add to the teaching of God or take anything away.  What they teach is what the Word of God has always taught, which is Christian doctrine.