Author Topic: The ELCA Requires Nothing  (Read 47033 times)

Johan Bergfest

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #585 on: January 21, 2013, 01:14:36 PM »
I'm going to have to agree with Brian on this one.  While I stand firmly opposed to homosexuality as a departure from God's naturally created order and a sin...We must never forget that anyone who is homosexual, like all of us, is a sinner in need of repentance and forgiveness.

Pr. Cottingham - I don't necessarily disagree with you, but I wonder whether defining people on the basis of their departure from God's naturally created order is the most appropriate way for sinners - especially sinners who are confident of God's promise of forgiveness and salvation - to relate with one another.

Each of us, in our own way, is a deviate because we all have departed from God's naturally created order.  We all sin.  We all sin willfully and intentionally.  The only difference between a heterosexual person who lives in a committed, faithful relationship and the homosexual person who lives in a committed, faithful relationship is that the heterosexual's person's sins are congruent with established social norms.  So what?  Sin is sin!  If God's grace is not sufficient to embrace the homosexual who, by faith, holds to God's promise, how can God's grace be sufficient to embrace me?

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #586 on: January 21, 2013, 01:33:15 PM »
One of the reasons I opposed HSGT, and earlier attempts at "structured flexibility" is that I did not want to create another situation similar to that faced by women during the early days of women's ordination.  In my opinion, a man or woman on the roster of the ELCA, or one approved for ordination, ought to be eligible to serve in any congregation in the ELCA.  "Structured flexibility" as proposed in 2005, or adopted in 2009, creates a division on the ELCA roster, between those able to serve in some places and those able to serve everywhere.  Furthermore, it creates the situation that Charles found so offensive earlier on this thread where congregations dictate what a pastor may or may not teach, preach, etc...


Assuming, as I do, that God has given different gifts to different pastors, I recognize that there are congregations for which I would not be a good match. The gifts (skills, talents, interests, strengths) that they are looking for aren't the ones that I have to offer. Thus, while I am willing to serve anywhere, I also recognize that not all places will be good matches. A congregation that does not believe women should be pastors is not likely to be a good match for a female pastor. A friend who was a single mother while going through seminary was assigned a "traditional" internship site where there were people who did not believe women should be pastors, where there were people who thought children needed a mother and a father, where there were people who thought a woman's place was at home raising the children, where there were complaints the one time her youngest child sat with her in the front of the church. She failed her internship. It was not a good match.
"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]

George Erdner

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #587 on: January 21, 2013, 01:33:33 PM »
We must never forget that anyone who is homosexual, like all of us, is a sinner in need of repentance and forgiveness.


I think you'll agree that a murderer is a sinner in need of repentance and forgiveness. Should we refrain from referring to murderers as "murderers"? Should we refrain from calling someone who steals a "thief"?

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #588 on: January 21, 2013, 01:35:05 PM »
We must never forget that anyone who is homosexual, like all of us, is a sinner in need of repentance and forgiveness.


I think you'll agree that a murderer is a sinner in need of repentance and forgiveness. Should we refrain from referring to murderers as "murderers"? Should we refrain from calling someone who steals a "thief"?


And would you like it if you were constantly referred to as George, that heterosexual?
"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]

DCharlton

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #589 on: January 21, 2013, 02:11:30 PM »
One of the reasons I opposed HSGT, and earlier attempts at "structured flexibility" is that I did not want to create another situation similar to that faced by women during the early days of women's ordination.  In my opinion, a man or woman on the roster of the ELCA, or one approved for ordination, ought to be eligible to serve in any congregation in the ELCA.  "Structured flexibility" as proposed in 2005, or adopted in 2009, creates a division on the ELCA roster, between those able to serve in some places and those able to serve everywhere.  Furthermore, it creates the situation that Charles found so offensive earlier on this thread where congregations dictate what a pastor may or may not teach, preach, etc...


Assuming, as I do, that God has given different gifts to different pastors, I recognize that there are congregations for which I would not be a good match. The gifts (skills, talents, interests, strengths) that they are looking for aren't the ones that I have to offer. Thus, while I am willing to serve anywhere, I also recognize that not all places will be good matches. A congregation that does not believe women should be pastors is not likely to be a good match for a female pastor. A friend who was a single mother while going through seminary was assigned a "traditional" internship site where there were people who did not believe women should be pastors, where there were people who thought children needed a mother and a father, where there were people who thought a woman's place was at home raising the children, where there were complaints the one time her youngest child sat with her in the front of the church. She failed her internship. It was not a good match.

True, but irrelevant to the point I was making.  "Structured flexibility" encourages such treatment.
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Pastor Ted Crandall

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #590 on: January 21, 2013, 03:07:26 PM »
The only difference between a heterosexual person who lives in a committed, faithful relationship and the homosexual person who lives in a committed, faithful relationship is that the heterosexual's person's sins are congruent with established social norms.  So what?  Sin is sin!  If God's grace is not sufficient to embrace the homosexual who, by faith, holds to God's promise, how can God's grace be sufficient to embrace me?

You neglected to mention the most important difference -- the homosexual who is still living a life of unrepentant sin is, well, living a life of unrepentant sin.  Now, if you had compared the homosexual in "a committed, faithful relationship" (to include sex with someone of the same sex) and a heterosexual person who was shacked up, then you and I could agree on something. 

Your logic is contradictory:  "If God's grace is not sufficient to embrace the [insert here any sinner refusing to repent, such as an inhospitable, promiscuous homosexual rapist] who, by faith, holds to God's promise, how can God's grace be sufficient to embrace me?”  The refusal to repent contradicts the presence of the faith you presume.   

"Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works… For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead."

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #591 on: January 21, 2013, 03:56:14 PM »

And the church bent over backwards to try to create spaces for those who disagreed with the vote....

Where are these spaces, Brian? ...


I note that you have not been kicked out of the ELCA...

This must be some new form of "bending over backwards."
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
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Johan Bergfest

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #592 on: January 21, 2013, 03:56:54 PM »
You neglected to mention the most important difference -- the homosexual who is still living a life of unrepentant sin is, well, living a life of unrepentant sin.

Pr. Crandall - assuming your definition of homosexuality as sin, the homosexual's intentional sin is public (well, not really, unless you have a view into his bedroom).  Your intentional sins are private.  Both his and yours are intentional and God sees both.  You confess yours and you receive the promise of forgiveness, knowing full well that you will continue to commit your intentional sins.  Please explain to me again how you are so sure that the homosexual is unrepentant, but you are.  And, show me your works so that I might also see your faith.

Pilgrim

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #593 on: January 21, 2013, 05:16:48 PM »
Pr. Crandall - assuming your definition of homosexuality as sin, the homosexual's intentional sin is public (well, not really, unless you have a view into his bedroom).  Your intentional sins are private.  Both his and yours are intentional and God sees both.  You confess yours and you receive the promise of forgiveness, knowing full well that you will continue to commit your intentional sins.  Please explain to me again how you are so sure that the homosexual is unrepentant, but you are.  And, show me your works so that I might also see your faith.

Tim notes: the bolded simply indicates "therein lies the problem". Those who define it as sin use the Bible for that basis. Those who define it as something else (per ELCA's 4-choices), must perform exegetical gymnastics unheard of in the history of the OHCA Church until the very recent past along with some other criteria to redefine. It's about that simple.
Pr. Tim Christ, STS

Johan Bergfest

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #594 on: January 21, 2013, 06:01:54 PM »
Tim notes: the bolded simply indicates "therein lies the problem".

Not in this exchange, Pr. Christ.  For the sake of this conversation, I am content to accept Pr. Crandall's (and yours) definition of homosexuality as a sin.  But, I am not willing to concede my Lutheran understanding of "sin" to a Baptist understanding of "sin".

As a Lutheran, I understand that we all are sinners.  I also understand that individual sins - sins of omission and sins of commission - are the expression of our inherently sinful nature.  Some of those sins we commit because we can't help ourselves.  Some of those sins we commit intentionally.  We continue to sin and sin intentionally even though we believe that we have the promise of forgiveness.  As a Lutheran, I also understand that there is only ONE sin that separates me from God's love for me, in Christ Jesus - that is the sin against the Holy Spirit, my willful rejection of God's promise.

As a Lutheran, I reject the notion that sins of omission and commission can be sub-divided into a list of "big" sins and "little" sins and the corresponding notion that we can identify the repentant sinners because they no longer commit any of those "big" sins.  Sin is sin and, no matter which sins we commit, everyone of us has sinned and will continue to sin and will never measure up the the glory of God! 

But, thanks be to God who has given us the victory in Christ Jesus.  That is a victory which we claim by faith, a gift of the Holy Spirit - not a victory which we claim because we have stopped sinning and not a victory which we are able to claim because we can show the good works which prove that we have faith.  St. Paul says as much in Roman 1 - 3.  He cites a long list of sins - a list which is broad enough to include you and me, in addition to the homosexual.  But, Paul doesn't stop there.  He concludes that passage by affirming the righteousness that we have in Christ, apart from the law.  That promise of forgiveness and salvation is made to everyone on that list of folks that Paul had just condemned - that promise is for you, for me and for the homosexual. 

I believe that you and I have a righteousness from God that comes through faith in Jesus Christ to each person who believes.  If you want to know whether a homosexual is a penitent sinner, ask him what he believes - don't ask him what goes on in his bedroom.


Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #595 on: January 21, 2013, 06:14:39 PM »

And the church bent over backwards to try to create spaces for those who disagreed with the vote....

Where are these spaces, Brian? ...


I note that you have not been kicked out of the ELCA...

This must be some new form of "bending over backwards."


The ELCA worked diligently, spending thousands of dollars, to remove Ross Merkel, Steve Sabin, and Brad Schmeling from the clergy roster because their convictions (and actions) were at odds with the ELCA policy at the time. Countless number of seminary students were not endorsed for ordination because there was no "space" for them in the ELCA at that time. There is essentially no chance that your bishop will file disciplinary charges against you because you have a "traditionalists" conviction (one of the four in HSGT) about homosexual relationships. There is space for you that was not present for many with a different conviction prior to 2009.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 02:53:56 AM by Brian Stoffregen »
"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]

DCharlton

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #596 on: January 21, 2013, 07:10:10 PM »

And the church bent over backwards to try to create spaces for those who disagreed with the vote....

Where are these spaces, Brian? ...


I note that you have not been kicked out of the ELCA...

This must be some new form of "bending over backwards."


The ELCA worked diligently, spending thousands of dollars, to remove Ross Merkel, Steve Sabin, and Brad Schmeling from the clergy because their convictions (and actions) were at odds with the ELCA policy at the time. Countless number of seminary students were not endorsed for ordination because there was no "space" for them in the ELCA at that time. There is essentially no chance that your bishop will file disciplinary charges against you because you have a "traditionalists" conviction (one of the four in HSGT) about homosexual relationships. There is space for you that was not present for many with a different conviction prior to 2009.

No one disputes that this church has made space for those formerly excluded.  What is disputed is your earlier assertion that the ELCA "bent over backwards" to make space for Pr Tibbets.  Since, presumably, his position was the privileged position, there would have been no need to make space for it.

However, if instead of making room for a previously excluded position, the ELCA was adopting a new position, namely the one previously excluded, then the need to make room for Pr Tibbets position would make sense.
David Charlton  

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Pastor Ted Crandall

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #597 on: January 21, 2013, 07:24:36 PM »
Your intentional sins are private.  Both his and yours are intentional and God sees both.  You confess yours and you receive the promise of forgiveness, knowing full well that you will continue to commit your intentional sins.  Please explain to me again how you are so sure that the homosexual is unrepentant, but you are.  And, show me your works so that I might also see your faith.

Well, there's that pesky little thing called an intention to amend our lives, with the help of God.  Compare that to a determination to continue engaging in homosexuality or any other sin.  You can try to twist this into an argument about “big” sins and “little” sins, but that is not at all what we are talking about.  Let’s switch to one of the so-called little ones, just to illustrate:  If a sweet little old man is determined to continue gossiping with glee – and boasts of his determination to do so, the way homosexuals love to remind you that they are living together as husband and wife, then he is unrepentant. 

What sin are you clinging to?  (That’s the only thing I can think of to make sense of you clinging to this silly notion that there is no difference between penitent and impenitent people.) 

Please explain to me again, considering the argument you cling to here, how it could ever be possible for anyone ever to be held accountable to God for being unrepentant. 

(I won't ask you to explain how excommunication could ever be possible, because I imagine you don't believe it should ever be possible.) 

A Catholic Lutheran

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #598 on: January 21, 2013, 08:01:52 PM »

And the church bent over backwards to try to create spaces for those who disagreed with the vote....

Where are these spaces, Brian? ...


I note that you have not been kicked out of the ELCA...

This must be some new form of "bending over backwards."


The ELCA worked diligently, spending thousands of dollars, to remove Ross Merkel, Steve Sabin, and Brad Schmeling from the clergy because their convictions (and actions) were at odds with the ELCA policy at the time. Countless number of seminary students were not endorsed for ordination because there was no "space" for them in the ELCA at that time. There is essentially no chance that your bishop will file disciplinary charges against you because you have a "traditionalists" conviction (one of the four in HSGT) about homosexual relationships. There is space for you that was not present for many with a different conviction prior to 2009.

My God!  If you tell a lie enough, it's bound to become true, eh, Brian?

The ELCA "worked diligently" to "remove" Merkel, Sabin, and Schmelling?  Really?  I don't know Ross Merkel, but I do know Pr. Sabin and his ex-wife.  There was no "witch hunt," Brian.  And Pr. Schmelling WALKED into his Bishop's office, announced his violation of standards, and basically dared his Bishop and Synod to do something about it.

For your three, I'll give you Gladys Moore, the former assistant to the Bishop of the New Jersey Synod, who lived openly and proudly as a non-celibate lesbian during her tenure, Pr. Katrina Foster, who was LAUDED as an example of what us pastors "should be," and (I'm sorry, but I can't remember his name) the Pastor who got up at CWA 2007 and announced...freely... that he had been lying to his Bishop for seven years as a non-celibate gay man, and was subsequently a voting member at CWA's 2009 and 2011...not to mention being featured in an article in "The Lutheran."

Good grief!  This falderal that LC/NA cooked up about all those sinister Bishops sniffing around trying to uncover the brave, stalwart, virtuous gay and lesbian Pastors... that were sitting right there in front of them!  Wow, the ELCA must have spent countless resources ferreting these folks out and relentlessly bringing discipline against them...  I mean, hello!  You've got Steve Sabin, who publicly divorces his wife and moves in with his lover.... and announces it to his congregation!  Man, that's requires a heckuva inquisition, man.  Break out the thumb-screws.

No space indeed...  Whatever.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

DCharlton

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Re: The ELCA Requires Nothing
« Reply #599 on: January 21, 2013, 08:02:27 PM »
Tim notes: the bolded simply indicates "therein lies the problem".

Not in this exchange, Pr. Christ.  For the sake of this conversation, I am content to accept Pr. Crandall's (and yours) definition of homosexuality as a sin.  But, I am not willing to concede my Lutheran understanding of "sin" to a Baptist understanding of "sin".

As a Lutheran, I understand that we all are sinners.  I also understand that individual sins - sins of omission and sins of commission - are the expression of our inherently sinful nature.  Some of those sins we commit because we can't help ourselves.  Some of those sins we commit intentionally.  We continue to sin and sin intentionally even though we believe that we have the promise of forgiveness.  As a Lutheran, I also understand that there is only ONE sin that separates me from God's love for me, in Christ Jesus - that is the sin against the Holy Spirit, my willful rejection of God's promise.

As a Lutheran, I reject the notion that sins of omission and commission can be sub-divided into a list of "big" sins and "little" sins and the corresponding notion that we can identify the repentant sinners because they no longer commit any of those "big" sins.  Sin is sin and, no matter which sins we commit, everyone of us has sinned and will continue to sin and will never measure up the the glory of God! 

But, thanks be to God who has given us the victory in Christ Jesus.  That is a victory which we claim by faith, a gift of the Holy Spirit - not a victory which we claim because we have stopped sinning and not a victory which we are able to claim because we can show the good works which prove that we have faith.  St. Paul says as much in Roman 1 - 3.  He cites a long list of sins - a list which is broad enough to include you and me, in addition to the homosexual.  But, Paul doesn't stop there.  He concludes that passage by affirming the righteousness that we have in Christ, apart from the law.  That promise of forgiveness and salvation is made to everyone on that list of folks that Paul had just condemned - that promise is for you, for me and for the homosexual. 

I believe that you and I have a righteousness from God that comes through faith in Jesus Christ to each person who believes.  If you want to know whether a homosexual is a penitent sinner, ask him what he believes - don't ask him what goes on in his bedroom.

John,

I'm afraid you misunderstand the point of contention in the ELCA over the last decade.  There is no disagreement over these things:
 1.  Gay and lesbians people are welcome in our churches.
 2. Their sins are no worse than yours mine.
 3.  They deserve love, compassion and respect.
 4.  You and I have no right to judge.
 5.  Many gay and lesbian people have gifts for ministry.
 6.  There is no place for verbal abuse or physical harassment of gays and lesbians in the church or in 
      society.

The debate was about standards for ministers, blessing of same sex unions, and what the Church teaches about human sexuality. 
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 08:05:46 PM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

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