Author Topic: The ELCA Requires Nothing  (Read 47015 times)

Pastor Ted Crandall

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #480 on: January 15, 2013, 05:39:39 AM »
There was not even a reference to honoring "bound conscience" following the LCMS convention decisions of those days.

Of course not, because the LCMS honored Sola Scriptura.  She still has not elevated "the bound conscience" above the Word of God. 

Johan Bergfest

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #481 on: January 15, 2013, 07:57:53 AM »
Now, I suggest an alternative way of looking at this:  The lesson is that when politics trumps theology, you have trouble.  If we are liberal, then we will find liberal politics to be just fine, and conservative politics to be unsavory.  If we are conservative, it may be the opposite.  But the effects of placing politics first is the same, even if it looks different.

I agree.  So, why don't we simply agree that there is no legitimate place for politics within the Body of Christ and each of us make a personal commitment to stop playing politics, even the politics played by persons with whom we agree? 

Isn't it strange to think that "kumbyah" is thought of as a 4-letter word among folks who all profess faith in Jesus Christ, the same Christ who prayed that we would be one just as Christ and the Father are one?


Voting members to CWA are not elected by ecclesiastical ballot. They are elected by each synod. In the synods where I have served, conferences also had a role in the selection of voting members. In some cases they nominate people to fill the "slots" of that conference, and from the nominees the synod assembly elects the voting members. In another case, they elect the voting members, and the synod assembly ratifies the election.

Thanks for that much of the explanation.

What I am trying to understand is how politics plays out in the selection of nominees for to fill the ballots for CWA voting members and how politics influences the voting at synod assemblies.  I'm also curious how that process/politics compares with that used to select delegates to the Synod convention.

I understand that the ecclesiastical ballot applies to the election of leadership positions and not to the election of voting members.  I thought that I had phrased the question with that understanding, but, apparently, I left to much room for misunderstanding.  So I will try again.

President Harrison is up for re-election during the next LCMS convention and a person does not have to spend much on the internet to understand that groups within LCMS are working hard to rally support for him and to rally support for a potential alternative candidate or two.  The process looks like it was modeled after the process used by D's and R's to nominate their candidates for President of the United States.  Bishop Hanson is completing a term and will either stand for re-election or step down.  In either case, he will be re-elected or his successor will be selected by ecclesiastical ballot.  I am curious to know how politics will play out to influence the outcome.

Charles_Austin

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #482 on: January 15, 2013, 08:32:11 AM »
Pastor Charlton writes:
Now, I suggest an alternative way of looking at this:  The lesson is that when politics trumps theology, you have trouble.

I comment:
But "politics," in every place and in one sense of the word, is not evil, corrupt and of the dark side. Politics is people coming together to make decisions.
   "Theology" is not some pure, undefiled, crystal-clear, shining "thing" which by its very existence enlightens and inspires.
   "Politics" was at work when the apostles chose a successor for Judas; they decided how they were going to do that and did it. "Politics" was at work at the Council in Jerusalem reported in Acts.   
   "Politics" was, as we have seen elsewhere, oozing out the pores of those ecumenical councils.
   "Politics" can be seen throughout the Lutheran confessional documents of the 16th Century, making sure that the papists, Calvinists and Zwinglians got bopped in the head and booted in the butt.
   "Politics" is people deciding how they are going to make a decision, making that decision, and then implementing it.
   "Theology" cannot stand alone; and it certainly cannot be put to work for the Church unless there is a way to decide what - on a particular point - the "theology" is and how to implement it.
   This construct - politics=bad; theology=good - is unrealistic.
   Those who want a certain person to become president of the LCMS act politically to make that happen. (It's harder to do in the ELCA with our methods of electing bishops.) Those who wanted seminary faculty ousted acted politically to bring that about.
   Those who want the ELCA to do certain things with regard to ordination, act politically to make that happen. Those who wanted the ELCA to be in fellowship with other church bodies acted politically.
    Now in all those cases, partisans on all sides will proclaim that "theology" was the foundation and driving force in what they did. And it was.
   Elsewhere I have lamented the fact that some claiming to speak "theology" (in all its "purity" ::) ) seem cold, distant at at times lacking in human emotion, because they believe they have this "thing" called "theology," sort of a crystal ball they consult for answers to everything. I believe they discount "political" reality and human experience and the result is something icily Spockian (the Vulcan, not the baby doctor). I still believe that and see it happening in this forum; not everywhere, but in some places.
 

DCharlton

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #483 on: January 15, 2013, 08:52:01 AM »
Trumps.  When theology becomes the handmaid of politics.  When politics replaces proclamation, etc...
David Charlton  

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #484 on: January 15, 2013, 10:41:17 AM »
Trumps.  When theology becomes the handmaid of politics.  When politics replaces proclamation, etc...

Arn't we driving a false dichotomy(not sure it is the right words even) here? Theology ought to inform and shape church politics. Church politics will certainly inform theology here and there, even influence it for good or bad, and at the outside pole politics will dictate theology. I think the latter point we can all agree is a "bad,"  against which one ought to stand up. I think theology influencing and informing church politics is a "good" in everyone's book unless you are beyond  "no - third - use - of - the - law" into "anti - third- use - of - the law." 
The middle, influence of church politics on theology, is really the problem. HSGT may just be an instance where the politics of the church which was trying to maintain the institution made a decision that now has to be followed up by a theology to justify it. The trick seems to be being able to tell when the boundary to bad method is crossed.

Peter Kruse

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

Coach-Rev

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #485 on: January 15, 2013, 10:45:35 AM »
There was not even a reference to honoring "bound conscience" following the LCMS convention decisions of those days.

Of course not, because the LCMS honored Sola Scriptura.  She still has not elevated "the bound conscience" above the Word of God.

But, Rev. Crandall, the whole "bound conscience" thing was the bone thrown to those who still held Scripture as the highest authority (cue Charles' protestations here) over and against the revisionist side who claimed that God was doing a "new thing." 

For many, including myself, they saw it as the sham that it was and pulled up stakes and left town after years of fighting and debating on the issues.

DCharlton

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #486 on: January 15, 2013, 10:52:57 AM »
Trumps.  When theology becomes the handmaid of politics.  When politics replaces proclamation, etc...

Arn't we driving a false dichotomy(not sure it is the right words even) here? Theology ought to inform and shape church politics. Church politics will certainly inform theology here and there, even influence it for good or bad, and at the outside pole politics will dictate theology. I think the latter point we can all agree is a "bad,"  against which one ought to stand up. I think theology influencing and informing church politics is a "good" in everyone's book unless you are beyond  "no - third - use - of - the - law" into "anti - third- use - of - the law." 
The middle, influence of church politics on theology, is really the problem. HSGT may just be an instance where the politics of the church which was trying to maintain the institution made a decision that now has to be followed up by a theology to justify it. The trick seems to be being able to tell when the boundary to bad method is crossed.

I agree.  It ought not be a dichotomy, but a distinction.  The church exists in both the Left Hand and the Right Hand Realms.  Churches, like families, businesses, civic groups and the state need rules, procedures, organization, etc...  The distinction I'd like to focus on is that between what you might call the alien work* of the Church, and the Church's proper work.  The proper work of the Church is  proclamation of the Word of God and administration of the Sacraments.   Politics is the handmaid, not the queen.  The Church needs enough politics to make the proper work of the Church possible. 

In my own denomination, the ELCA, that distinction is too often obscured.  People speak of what happens at assemblies and council meetings as if that was the work of the church, as if changing policy, passing resolutions, and adopting social statements advanced the Kingdom of God. 

One of my old colleges professors, and a fellow member of STS, Dr. Larry Yoder, has long argued that the focus on politics and power was the fatal flaw in the organization of the ELCA.  Looking back, I think he might be right. 

*Not to be confused with God's Alien Work and Proper Work. 
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 10:55:55 AM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

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Pastor Ted Crandall

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #487 on: January 15, 2013, 11:01:49 AM »
There was not even a reference to honoring "bound conscience" following the LCMS convention decisions of those days.

Of course not, because the LCMS honored Sola Scriptura.  She still has not elevated "the bound conscience" above the Word of God.

But, Rev. Crandall, the whole "bound conscience" thing was the bone thrown to those who still held Scripture as the highest authority (cue Charles' protestations here) over and against the revisionist side who claimed that God was doing a "new thing." 

For many, including myself, they saw it as the sham that it was and pulled up stakes and left town after years of fighting and debating on the issues.


Wasn't a similar offer made to the congregations and pastors who objected to the "new thing" when women were first ordained? 

DCharlton

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #488 on: January 15, 2013, 11:19:16 AM »
I think theology influencing and informing church politics is a "good" in everyone's book unless you are beyond  "no - third - use - of - the - law" into "anti - third- use - of - the law." 

More and more, I'm convinced that "anti-third-us-of-the-law" or what we might call tertiusususophobia is a big part of our problem.  The church, as a temporal organization that falls within the Left Hand Realm, needs rules, regulations, standards, policies, constitutions and "visions and expectations".  The most obvious thing would be to allow the Word of God to provide the basis and primary content of those rules. 

However, when we have tertiusususophobia we dare not do that.  So we must craft new rules and regulations based on another source.  Here we turn to the "Second Use of the Gospel" for our new and better policies.  We seek to craft new policies and rules that embody the Gospel.  So we enact rules that we believe will promote diversity, inclusivity, justice, etc...  You might call this The Politics of the Second Use of the Gospel.

Now, I'm sure that ReadsElertToo, Lou Hesse, and others will retch we they hear of "rules that embody the Gospel."  I share their distaste.   
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 11:21:13 AM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #489 on: January 15, 2013, 11:30:54 AM »
I think theology influencing and informing church politics is a "good" in everyone's book unless you are beyond  "no - third - use - of - the - law" into "anti - third- use - of - the law." 

More and more, I'm convinced that "anti-third-us-of-the-law" or what we might call tertiusususophobia is a big part of our problem.  The church, as a temporal organization that falls within the Left Hand Realm, needs rules, regulations, standards, policies, constitutions and "visions and expectations".  The most obvious thing would be to allow the Word of God to provide the basis and primary content of those rules. 

However, when we have tertiusususophobia we dare not do that.  So we must craft new rules and regulations based on another source.  Here we turn to the "Second Use of the Gospel" for our new and better policies.  We seek to craft new policies and rules that embody the Gospel.  So we enact rules that we believe will promote diversity, inclusivity, justice, etc...  You might call this The Politics of the Second Use of the Gospel.

Now, I'm sure that ReadsElertToo, Lou Hesse, and others will retch we they hear of "rules that embody the Gospel."  I share their distaste.   

OK tertiusususophobia , that was a spew-coffee-out-of-nose-at-the-screen moment.  :) Good one.

on a much more serious side: trying to derive law out of Gospel destroys the Gospel.
Peter Kruse

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

DCharlton

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #490 on: January 15, 2013, 11:40:49 AM »
Yes.  So what I'm concerned about is not only the way politics seeks to become the queen rather than the handmaiden, but they way church politics tends to turn the Gospel into Law.
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Coach-Rev

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #491 on: January 15, 2013, 11:45:05 AM »
There was not even a reference to honoring "bound conscience" following the LCMS convention decisions of those days.

Of course not, because the LCMS honored Sola Scriptura.  She still has not elevated "the bound conscience" above the Word of God.

But, Rev. Crandall, the whole "bound conscience" thing was the bone thrown to those who still held Scripture as the highest authority (cue Charles' protestations here) over and against the revisionist side who claimed that God was doing a "new thing." 

For many, including myself, they saw it as the sham that it was and pulled up stakes and left town after years of fighting and debating on the issues.


Wasn't a similar offer made to the congregations and pastors who objected to the "new thing" when women were first ordained?

That, I cannot comment on.  It is truly before my time, as I was about 5 years old when all of that went down. 

Pastor Ted Crandall

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #492 on: January 15, 2013, 03:54:54 PM »
There was not even a reference to honoring "bound conscience" following the LCMS convention decisions of those days.

Of course not, because the LCMS honored Sola Scriptura.  She still has not elevated "the bound conscience" above the Word of God.

But, Rev. Crandall, the whole "bound conscience" thing was the bone thrown to those who still held Scripture as the highest authority (cue Charles' protestations here) over and against the revisionist side who claimed that God was doing a "new thing." 

For many, including myself, they saw it as the sham that it was and pulled up stakes and left town after years of fighting and debating on the issues.


Wasn't a similar offer made to the congregations and pastors who objected to the "new thing" when women were first ordained?

That, I cannot comment on.  It is truly before my time, as I was about 5 years old when all of that went down.

Charles?  Were you there? 

Johan Bergfest

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #493 on: January 15, 2013, 05:25:01 PM »

OK tertiusususophobia , that was a spew-coffee-out-of-nose-at-the-screen moment.  :) Good one.

on a much more serious side: trying to derive law out of Gospel destroys the Gospel.

I'm still trying to get a handle on this third use thing.  Based on a comment that I made in another thread, a few folks have suggested that I have it all wrong.  In that thread, I said that I though third use was a conversation between me and the Holy Spirit, not a conversation that I have with a fellow Christian.

I agree that trying to derive law out of Gospel destroys the Gospel (I also think it is a mis-use of the Law).  Isn't telling one another "you should" or "you shouldn't" because you have been redeemed a matter of deriving law out of the Gospel if such conversations are rationalized on the basis of 3rd use?  Please understand that I am not suggesting that such conversations should not occur.  But, when they do, it is a matter of 2nd use.

Dadoo

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #494 on: January 15, 2013, 06:22:33 PM »

OK tertiusususophobia , that was a spew-coffee-out-of-nose-at-the-screen moment.  :) Good one.

on a much more serious side: trying to derive law out of Gospel destroys the Gospel.

I'm still trying to get a handle on this third use thing.  Based on a comment that I made in another thread, a few folks have suggested that I have it all wrong.  In that thread, I said that I though third use was a conversation between me and the Holy Spirit, not a conversation that I have with a fellow Christian.

I agree that trying to derive law out of Gospel destroys the Gospel (I also think it is a mis-use of the Law).  Isn't telling one another "you should" or "you shouldn't" because you have been redeemed a matter of deriving law out of the Gospel if such conversations are rationalized on the basis of 3rd use?  Please understand that I am not suggesting that such conversations should not occur.  But, when they do, it is a matter of 2nd use.

John,,
I would hope you have read the Book of Concord or even have one at hand. If not, here

http://www.bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php#VI.%20The%20Third%20Use%20of%20the%20Law.

  and here

http://www.bookofconcord.org/sd-thirduse.php


are some bits of interest on the matter.

I am not sure what you mean by having a conversation with the Holy Spirit. That could go wrong ever so quickly if not understood in a word a sacrament way that is unique to Lutherans.

Maybe we can start by saying that, if you do trust God and his word, why would it not occur to you to obey it? So your trust is defective? The law will do its work and accuse you to bring you to repentance. But again, if you already know that something grieves the Father's heart or is an abomination to Him, why would you do it? And does not thinking that way somehow guide you? If so, then maybe you are practicing the third use of the law.

Or another way: You seem to like "Getting to Yes." you are conversing here guided by Getting . . . 's principles, suggestions and warnings. And you cannot do that with the Law of God that the Holy Spirit has seen fit to transmit to you in bible and sermon, brotherly admonition and sisterly counsel?
Peter Kruse

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