Author Topic: The ELCA Requires Nothing  (Read 49048 times)

George Erdner

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #255 on: January 10, 2013, 01:25:31 PM »
Steverem writes (re the church council members who does not agree with same-sex unions):
Well, sure, he can serve on the church council--until the church is approached by a same-sex couple hoping to perform a wedding ceremony in the sanctuary, and the council is called upon to determine if such a ceremony should be allowed.  At that point, it ceases to be a theological decision, and "agreeing to disagree" is no longer an option.

I comment:
In the ELCA, a council decision is not needed in such a case; and in almost every case, no matter what a council decision might be, it is the pastor's decision in the end. The council member who does not agree to same sex unions need not approve of every ceremony that takes place in the church and need not attend. I don't see the problem.

It may not be needed, in a strict constructionist reading of the various constitutions that govern ELCA congregations.  However, having served in several ELCA synods and heard bishops give general counsel on this type of situation, they tend to argue that it is a very good idea to get the congregation council to approve of such ceremonies. (One bishop said that his first question to a pastor would be, "Is your council on board with this?") And the type of "Herr Pastor" move that basically says that the pastor's bound conscience trumps the bound consciences of the laity, especially those elected to represent the congregation on its council, just doesn't fly in much of the ELCA.  (And if one must use it, better make sure that it is truly a hill one is ready to die on, and have the bags packed and the car warmed up.)

Satis,

Charles is wrong here. THe council is responsible for the worship life of the congregation. A wedding service is a worship service. As soon as it is entered into the records of the congregation (even if it is not performed in the sanctuary) it is/ was a worship service of the congregation. The pastor's mandate to perform weddings is specifically noted to be "within the congregation." Whether pastors like it or else, who gets to be married in the congregation's ministry is a council decision. If the pastor can convince the council that it is merely his authority, so be it. But it is bluster and not constitutional argument that make the council surrender its authority there.


You and Satis Est both have it right. Regardless of whether or not there is some formal requirement that all weddings be approved by council before they take place, any pastor who does something controversial like performing a pseudo-marriage ceremony for two homosexuals is begging to have his call rescinded. Isn't there some sort of implied understanding that a good pastor exercises good care and judgement in what he does? Isn't that an expectation? I wouldn't be surprised that it isn't a requirement, as the ELCA doesn't seem to have many of those. But isn't it an expectation? And shouldn't a pastor who defies his council expect consequences, regardless of what may or may not be written in some dusty and/or confusing rule book?


I'm pretty confident that for most ELCA pastors, conducting a pseudo-marriage ceremony for a pair of homosexuals without council approval will mean either the pastor will lose his call, or he'll lose quite a few pewsitters.


I wonder, how could any pastor be so incompetent and unsuited to the ministry that he'd only worry about whether or not something was supported by the written rules, to the exclusion of all other considerations? Such a person really shouldn't be wearing a collar.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 01:27:49 PM by George Erdner »

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #256 on: January 10, 2013, 01:49:55 PM »
Pastor Schimmel writes:
Before I left the ELCA I had drafted a bylaw for our congregational constitution that forbid same sex blessings or marriages from being performed in or on our church property.  It also forbid the participation in such a ceremony/service by any person employed or called by the congregation at any other location.  Any disobedience of this bylaw would be interpreted by the council as being equivalent to an immediate unconditional notice of resignation.

I comment:
Fine. But I contend that any pastor who consents to such a thing does irreparable harm to the Holy Office of the ministry, his or her call, and the synod and ELCA to which he and the congregation belongs. What's next? Voting on how many sermons there can be or what can or cannot be included in the content? Fie!

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #257 on: January 10, 2013, 01:54:37 PM »
Mr. Erdner writes:
You and Satis Est both have it right. Regardless of whether or not there is some formal requirement that all weddings be approved by council before they take place, any pastor who does something controversial like performing a pseudo-marriage ceremony for two homosexuals is begging to have his call rescinded.
I comment:
A call issued under normal ELCA procedures cannot be rescinded.

Mr. Erdner writes:
Isn't there some sort of implied understanding that a good pastor exercises good care and judgement in what he does? Isn't that an expectation? I wouldn't be surprised that it isn't a requirement, as the ELCA doesn't seem to have many of those. But isn't it an expectation? And shouldn't a pastor who defies his council expect consequences, regardless of what may or may not be written in some dusty and/or confusing rule book?
I comment:
Who says the pastor is defying his or her council. He or she might have to act contrary to the wishes of one or two council members. Happens all the time.

Mr. Erdner writes:
I'm pretty confident that for most ELCA pastors, conducting a pseudo-marriage ceremony for a pair of homosexuals without council approval will mean either the pastor will lose his call, or he'll lose quite a few pewsitters.
I comment:
Mr. Erdner can be confident. But he can also be wrong.
Union ceremonies for such people have been going on in ELCA churches for some time.

Mr. Erdner comments:
I wonder, how could any pastor be so incompetent and unsuited to the ministry that he'd only worry about whether or not something was supported by the written rules, to the exclusion of all other considerations? Such a person really shouldn't be wearing a collar
I comment:
Another leap to the ridiculous, designed only to kvetch and moan. Every pastor takes into consideration the mood of the congregation. And sometimes it may be necessary to act contrary to the wishes of a few. As noted above, it happens all the time.

 

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #258 on: January 10, 2013, 02:04:11 PM »
Pastor Kliner writes:
That's why, Pr. Austin, Pr. Stoffregen's posts evoke such a reaction from me.  It's not because he "simply and eloquently presents his points with patience..." but because he is so very far from the Faith.  It's precisely because he "muses" on issues of critical importance and his "musing" is so very, very unChristian and unLutheran that I am tempted to tresort to breaking my silence.
I comment:
It is too bad that your faith would appear to be so weak or your temperament so fragile that you cannot contend with difficult discussion and speculation. But based on previous years of postings, I suppose I am not surprised.

Pastor Kliner writes:
But I am done arguing with both you and him, because in the end you are not really interested in real argument, discourse, or even inquiry.  These pages are, for you, not really about fellowship, learning, or edification; you use these pages as your own personal universe that revolves around you, to prove that (like "cognito ergo sum") that you exist and somehow are important.  This forum seems to exist as your own personal echo chambers, everyone else be damned.
I comment:
That is a pretty arrogant assumption. I get hammered if I suggest these pages exist just so some can whine and complain and air their dissatisfaction with how they can't get calls or how their bishop doesn't love them any more.
And your sense of the discussion dynamic is perverse and also arrogant. If I didn't care for anyone else's opinion, why would I take the time to try and correct them when they are wrong or praise them when they are right? I don't even insist that you agree with me.
And get off your overly-psychological high horse and inquisitional throne. Pastor Stoffregen and I are not the ones here who are issuing edicts of damnation.
"personal echo chambers"? Hoo-hah! Who echoes anything I say here? Nobody. You're just miffed because both Pastor Stoffregen and I refuse to go away and leave this field to .... well, pick your own category of people.

Johan Bergfest

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #259 on: January 10, 2013, 02:25:31 PM »
If our claim is Justification by grace, etc then we are making a truth claim on which we are betting our lives and eternal fates.

By faith, I believe that Scripture is one means by which God reveals Himself to us.  By faith, I believe that the doctrine of Justification is core to that revelation.  By faith, I believe that Scripture is authoritative in these matters.  By faith, I believe that, because I am justified, God also sanctifies me.  By my understanding, that is the heart of the Lutheran confession and my assumption is that all who profess to be Lutheran would agree on at least this much, irrespective of the other things about which we might disagree.

And, as a side note, I get real uncomfortable when people of faith rely too heavily on the rules of formal logic to discern matters of faith.  My faith is not dependent on my ability to reason these things out for myself.

Johan Bergfest

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #260 on: January 10, 2013, 02:32:54 PM »
Anyway, we most certainly can KNOW God, even if we cannot COMPREHEND God.

Pr. Kliner - I presume that by knowing, you really mean knowing by faith, as a gift from the Holy Spirit, and not knowing because we have the ability to figure out that much for ourselves.

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7043
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #261 on: January 10, 2013, 02:39:49 PM »
If our claim is Justification by grace, etc then we are making a truth claim on which we are betting our lives and eternal fates.

By faith, I believe that Scripture is one means by which God reveals Himself to us.  By faith, I believe that the doctrine of Justification is core to that revelation.  By faith, I believe that Scripture is authoritative in these matters.  By faith, I believe that, because I am justified, God also sanctifies me.

John,

Saying, "By faith, I believe" seems tantamount to saying, "By belief, I believe," or "By faith, I have faith."  What, if any, relationship is there between faith and truth, faith and knowledge? 

Quote
By my understanding, that is the heart of the Lutheran confession and my assumption is that all who profess to be Lutheran would agree on at least this much, irrespective of the other things about which we might disagree.

Did you use reason and logic to reach this conclusion.  Or did you arrive at it by faith?

Quote
And, as a side note, I get real uncomfortable when people of faith rely too heavily on the rules of formal logic to discern matters of faith.  My faith is not dependent on my ability to reason these things out for myself.

I'm afraid you'll have to toss out the Lutheran Confessions then.  When they set out what we "believe, teach and confess" they utilized reason and logic to make their arguments, define terms, distinguish between truth and error.  The devil's whore was not completely absent.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 03:23:38 PM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7043
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #262 on: January 10, 2013, 02:41:41 PM »
Pastor Schimmel writes:
Before I left the ELCA I had drafted a bylaw for our congregational constitution that forbid same sex blessings or marriages from being performed in or on our church property.  It also forbid the participation in such a ceremony/service by any person employed or called by the congregation at any other location.  Any disobedience of this bylaw would be interpreted by the council as being equivalent to an immediate unconditional notice of resignation.

I comment:
Fine. But I contend that any pastor who consents to such a thing does irreparable harm to the Holy Office of the ministry, his or her call, and the synod and ELCA to which he and the congregation belongs. What's next? Voting on how many sermons there can be or what can or cannot be included in the content? Fie!

Why would my synod recommend that congregations adopt such policies?  Why would they allow them to pass synodical review before they are incorporated into the continuing resolutions of the congregation?
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Johan Bergfest

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #263 on: January 10, 2013, 02:42:39 PM »
David - what part of, "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe on the Lord Jesus Christ or come to Him, but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel..." do you disagree with?
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 02:44:22 PM by Johan Bergfest »

Coach-Rev

  • Guest
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #264 on: January 10, 2013, 02:55:42 PM »
Pastor Schimmel writes:
Before I left the ELCA I had drafted a bylaw for our congregational constitution that forbid same sex blessings or marriages from being performed in or on our church property.  It also forbid the participation in such a ceremony/service by any person employed or called by the congregation at any other location.  Any disobedience of this bylaw would be interpreted by the council as being equivalent to an immediate unconditional notice of resignation.

I comment:
Fine. But I contend that any pastor who consents to such a thing does irreparable harm to the Holy Office of the ministry, his or her call, and the synod and ELCA to which he and the congregation belongs. What's next? Voting on how many sermons there can be or what can or cannot be included in the content? Fie!

And again we see the emptiness of the sham known as "respecting the bound conscience."   I would argue, dear Charles, that it was the ELCA actions precipitating such a response that has done irreparable harm to the Holy office of the ministry, anyone's call, and the synod and ELCA to which he and the congregation belongs.  But apparently you don't get that, and never will.

Dadoo

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3055
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #265 on: January 10, 2013, 03:17:37 PM »
David - what part of, "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe on the Lord Jesus Christ or come to Him, but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel..." do you disagree with?

I think that would be the part where the Holy Spirit works through "means" to awaken and strengthen faith. It's 5th article kind of stuff. See also St John: These things are written that you believe . . .

Anyone who tends the teaching of the story does what St. John and the other evangelists modeled: we make a rational case for the story, its veracity (John and Luke are sure to tell you they actually had eye witnesses to attest to what they were saying), its reliability and its purpose. It is my job, I am sorry. I am a word and sacrament minister.

That takes nothing from Faith. Faith comes from hearing (St. Paul) and that hearing can only happen when someone dares to speak (Also St. Paul) and that one has to have a reliable message and not just what comes to their mind right then even if it is gibberish (also St. Paul). We set apart ministers to cherish and perpetuate the preaching of the word so there might be faith. I apologize that we are set apart with the charge that we be "right" about the Gospel and its preaching, which in Lutheran circles means also knowing and preaching the law so the Gospel be heard.
Peter Kruse

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

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7043
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #266 on: January 10, 2013, 03:22:53 PM »
David - what part of, "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe on the Lord Jesus Christ or come to Him, but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel..." do you disagree with?

There is no part that I disagree with.  I stated three things:

1.  The statement, "By faith, I believe" is a tautology.  It's akin to saying, "By faith, I have faith," or "By belief, I believe."  Did you intend to convey what the Small Catechism does by saying, "By the power of the Spirit, I have faith that....," or , "By the power of the Spirit, I believe that..."  If so, I understand that.

2.  I asked if what you "understand" about what we Lutherans believe in common about Justification was arrived at through reason or faith. 

3.  I stated that a rejection of the use of formal logic in talking about what we "believe, teach and confess" would require you to reject the Lutheran Confessions. 

Nothing of what I wrote was a rejection of the teaching of the Small Catechism, which by the way is very logical in its structure.
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Dadoo

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3055
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #267 on: January 10, 2013, 03:27:51 PM »
Pastor Schimmel writes:
Before I left the ELCA I had drafted a bylaw for our congregational constitution that forbid same sex blessings or marriages from being performed in or on our church property.  It also forbid the participation in such a ceremony/service by any person employed or called by the congregation at any other location.  Any disobedience of this bylaw would be interpreted by the council as being equivalent to an immediate unconditional notice of resignation.

I comment:
Fine. But I contend that any pastor who consents to such a thing does irreparable harm to the Holy Office of the ministry, his or her call, and the synod and ELCA to which he and the congregation belongs. What's next? Voting on how many sermons there can be or what can or cannot be included in the content? Fie!

Why would my synod recommend that congregations adopt such policies?  Why would they allow them to pass synodical review before they are incorporated into the continuing resolutions of the congregation?

I would think that the synod approved such bylaws because someone at synod had read the governing documents of the ELCA and had determined that such restrictions are the right and duty of the congregation's officers. I happen to agree with them. They also BTW say that the pastor shall preach the word of God at worship.
Peter Kruse

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

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7043
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #268 on: January 10, 2013, 03:28:17 PM »
Concerning Arthur Carl Piepkorn.  He had this to say about "Subscription to the Lutheran Symbols":

These facts in no way alter the basic consideration, that Lutherans subscribe to the doctrinal content of the Lutheran Symbols because it correctly reproduces the teaching of the Sacred Scriptures.  The alternative is not really to subscribe to the Lutheran Symbols at all.  As theologians have long pointed out, one can just as well subscribe to the Qur'an, the Bhagavad-Gita, or the collected works of Thomas Paine as far as these reproduce the Sacred Scriptures.  Such a commitment really says nothing.  (Secker, p. 204)
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 03:39:53 PM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7043
    • View Profile
Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #269 on: January 10, 2013, 03:29:09 PM »
Pastor Schimmel writes:
Before I left the ELCA I had drafted a bylaw for our congregational constitution that forbid same sex blessings or marriages from being performed in or on our church property.  It also forbid the participation in such a ceremony/service by any person employed or called by the congregation at any other location.  Any disobedience of this bylaw would be interpreted by the council as being equivalent to an immediate unconditional notice of resignation.

I comment:
Fine. But I contend that any pastor who consents to such a thing does irreparable harm to the Holy Office of the ministry, his or her call, and the synod and ELCA to which he and the congregation belongs. What's next? Voting on how many sermons there can be or what can or cannot be included in the content? Fie!

Why would my synod recommend that congregations adopt such policies?  Why would they allow them to pass synodical review before they are incorporated into the continuing resolutions of the congregation?

I would think that the synod approved such bylaws because someone at synod had read the governing documents of the ELCA and had determined that such restrictions are the right and duty of the congregation's officers. I happen to agree with them. They also BTW say that the pastor shall preach the word of God at worship.

Technically, they are continuing resolutions, not bylaws.  But yes.
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?