Author Topic: WordAlone  (Read 29830 times)

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: WordAlone
« Reply #150 on: July 03, 2007, 07:17:23 PM »

Can't help but reflect on my own "ordination pedigree" here. Since I was originally ordained in the UMC, I could in theory trace that pedigree back in a succession of bishops with only one break (that of John Wesley's "consecration," the term he used, of two bishops for the American Methodists, and which he viewed as an "emergency situation"). Not that it matters to me, understand, I just think it is interesting. When I became a Lutheran, it was via the ALC, at least in part because at that time (1984) the LCA would have required me to be ordained again, and that just didn't feel right to me. But when I was received into the ALC, I had to avow that the Lutheran confessions were my confession. Someone being ordained--whether a life-long Lutheran or someone previously ordained in some other church but now being ordained into the ELCA--would have to avow only that he or she would teach according to those confessions (not that he or she actually believed them). I always though that a bit ironic.


Our journeys have been remarkably parallel.  But instead of being received into the ALC, I needed to wait until the beginning of the ELCA when a window of opportunity blew open (or, more precisely, was flung open by LSS Bishop Emeritus Guy S. Edmiston.  Neither of us cared much for the concept of re-ordination, so his first question to me at a meeting of the Synod Council was "Pastor Shelley, what do you think about re-ordination?"  "Well, Bishop" I replied, "what do you think about re-Baptism."  He said that we ought to move on to the next question.

Like Richard, I too had to declare that the Book of Concord is in fact my confession.  I don't find that so much ironic, but indicative of two things; first, that our Confessional documents are not antiquated snapshots of the past, but utterly dynamic, continuing to attract new signatories every time a Pastor is received; and, second, that it is not surprising that, like Richard, I find myself drawn to groups and associations pledged to defend those documents and the faith which they embody.  To attack the Confessions is to attack me.

What I do find truly ironic, however, is that in 1986 an official of the LCA in Philadelphia sought to create a process for reception akin to the RCC program outlined by Irl on another thread strictly on the basis that, in his opinion, the UMC did not" confess all three of the ecumenical creeds".  His basis for that opinion was that the UMC hymnal did not contain the Athanasian Creed.   Yes, I am very bitter about that omission from ELW, and for good reason.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: WordAlone
« Reply #151 on: July 03, 2007, 07:21:14 PM »
Second, the ordination of women is a matter of rightly administering the sacraments.  If a woman cannot be ordained to the Office of the Holy Ministry (as the LCMS, many other churches that emerged from the Reformation, and some ELCA folk hold), then she cannot preside at the Holy Eucharist.
Is the ordination (or sex) of the presider an issue of the gospel or one of "good order" in the church?

In my second call, the LCMS congregation in town was served by a licensed lay pastor. He could preside without ordination, so I don't think that ordination is what constitutes the right administration of the sacraments.
"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: WordAlone
« Reply #152 on: July 03, 2007, 07:31:48 PM »
Someone being ordained ... would have to avow only that he or she would teach according to those confessions (not that he or she actually believed them). I always though that a bit ironic.
Perhaps ironic, but pragmatic. Sometimes our cry to Jesus is, "I believe, help my unbelief." Sometimes we are like the blind man partially healed of his blindness so that we sees "in a mirror dimly" (1 Cor 13:12).

I'm presently reading a book that suggests our understanding of belief has changed over the centuries. Original we believed in a person, e.g., the Triune God, which implies trusting them. That has often been replaced with believing that certain statements are true.
"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]

Eric_Swensson

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Re: WordAlone
« Reply #153 on: July 03, 2007, 07:50:37 PM »
Tell us more. What is this book?

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Re: WordAlone
« Reply #154 on: July 03, 2007, 07:57:54 PM »
Tell us more. What is this book?
First, I'll quote from the book, and let you respond with whether or not you agree with the quote.

...prior to about the year 1600, the verb "believe" had a very different meaning within Christianity as well as in popular usage. It did not mean believing statements to be true; the object of the verb "believe" as always a person, not a statement. This is the difference between believing that and believing in. To believe in a person is quite different from believing that a series of statements about the person are true. In premodern English, believing meant believing in and thus a relationship of trust, loyalty, and love. Most simply, to believe meant to belove.
"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]

Eric_Swensson

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Re: WordAlone
« Reply #155 on: July 03, 2007, 08:44:47 PM »
I think that if we simply look at the Bible (written before 1600) we will see that both forms exist.

peter_speckhard

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Re: WordAlone
« Reply #156 on: July 03, 2007, 09:01:54 PM »
Tell us more. What is this book?
First, I'll quote from the book, and let you respond with whether or not you agree with the quote.

...prior to about the year 1600, the verb "believe" had a very different meaning within Christianity as well as in popular usage. It did not mean believing statements to be true; the object of the verb "believe" as always a person, not a statement. This is the difference between believing that and believing in. To believe in a person is quite different from believing that a series of statements about the person are true. In premodern English, believing meant believing in and thus a relationship of trust, loyalty, and love. Most simply, to believe meant to belove.
I disagree. Like Eric, I think (I teach to the confirmands) both facets of the word. If your quotation were true, it would have made little sense for Luther to begin his catechism explanations with "I believe" and end with "This is most certainly true." C.S. Lewis has a very interesting essay somewhere about the shades of meaning of the word "believe". It may be that at times one aspect or another has been emphasized, but for Luther believing in Jesus without affirming that he was true God and Man was in fact believing in a different Jesus.

ptmccain

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Re: WordAlone
« Reply #157 on: July 03, 2007, 11:21:43 PM »
Because we do not agree.
Where is the disagreement about rightly preaching the gospel and administering the sacraments?

I don't see the ordination of women as an issue of gospel preaching.

Don't we both proclaim that all people are sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God?
Don't we both proclaim that divine forgiveness for sinners comes to us by God's grace alone through faith in Christ alone?

Brian, since you deny the historicity of Gen. 3, I don't know what you mean by "fallen" short of the glory of God.

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: WordAlone
« Reply #158 on: July 03, 2007, 11:27:16 PM »
Of course a different, and in some ways more interesting question (and one to which there probably is an answer, but I don't know it) would be: if an ELCA pastor decides to become an Episcopal priest, would he/she be [re]ordained. The way I read the document's provisions for "interchangeability," it would appear not, but I wonder if there have been actual cases and how they have been treated.

The only places this might be an issue would be with an ELCA pastor going into a very traditionalist, very Anglo-Catholic diocese.  Though I also know there are highly respected, very traditionalist Anglo Catholics who (as part of their study preparing for the Concordat) assert that our orders as priests were, under appropriate canon law, actually already "valid."  I don't believe anyone has tried to cross that particular bridge -- but we do have C/SIS (ELCA) clergy serving as priests in the Springfield (Illinois) Diocese, which is very traditionalist and pretty Anglo-Catholic, without any problem.  In Quincy, ordination sub conditione of an ELCA pastor would almost certainly be explored, despite the Concordat and CCM, but Bishop Ackerman doesn't seem to have made up his mind for sure.  Of course, until someone presents himself (and Quincy is one of the Dioceses where it would literally, and not only grammatically, be "himself"), the Bishop doesn't need to make up his mind.

Pax et bonum, Steven+
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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: WordAlone
« Reply #159 on: July 03, 2007, 11:42:46 PM »
Is the ordination (or sex) of the presider an issue of the gospel or one of "good order" in the church?

In my second call, the LCMS congregation in town was served by a licensed lay pastor. He could preside without ordination, so I don't think that ordination is what constitutes the right administration of the sacraments.

Asked and answered, Brian. It is a matter of the sacraments being rightly administered.  (And, for Western Catholics -- except for disciples of to John Calvin -- lay baptism has never been a problem.  So don't try to divert the conversation with the ancient practice of lay-administered emergency baptisms.)

That the LCMS (and we in the ELCA) more and more violate the Augsburg Confession (and the Catholic Faith it upholds) by allowing lay persons to "preside at ," even to the point of institutionalizing it, doesn't change position one iota. 

Pax, Steven+
« Last Edit: July 04, 2007, 12:00:34 AM by Pr. Steven P. Tibbetts »
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J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: WordAlone
« Reply #160 on: July 03, 2007, 11:53:16 PM »


That the LCMS (and we in the ELCA) more and more violate the Augsburg Confession (and the Catholic Faith it upholds) by allowing lay persons to "preside at ," even to the point of institutionalizing it, doesn't change position one iota. 


I am told that this plague existed in the Western Penn Synod in the LCA days, appropriately termed and suitably acronymed as follows:

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Erma_S._Wolf

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Re: WordAlone
« Reply #161 on: July 04, 2007, 12:30:02 AM »
Second, the ordination of women is a matter of rightly administering the sacraments.  If a woman cannot be ordained to the Office of the Holy Ministry (as the LCMS, many other churches that emerged from the Reformation, and some ELCA folk hold), then she cannot preside at the Holy Eucharist.
Is the ordination (or sex) of the presider an issue of the gospel or one of "good order" in the church?

In my second call, the LCMS congregation in town was served by a licensed lay pastor. He could preside without ordination, so I don't think that ordination is what constitutes the right administration of the sacraments.

Actually, if I remember this right, in the LCMS the ordination of women is wrong because it is a violation of the orders of creation that were established by God prior to the Fall.  For a woman to be in a position of authority over a man is to usurp the authority that only men are given by God.  While this teaching has suffered somewhat in the past few decades (for example, in secular politics and with women having jobs outside of the home), it is still considered to be authoritative in two spheres: in marriage and in the church.  After all, Scripture speaks about the roles of men and women specifically in those two spheres.

In the church only men are to exercise "headship".  For a woman to exercise any role that might give the impression that she is exercising authority over men, or it might be interpreted that she is serving in the role of a minister, which carries an authority that only men can exercise, would be to violate the teachings of God in Scripture.  There are still districts in the LCMS in which women cannot vote at congregational meetings.  There have been heated disputes regarding whether a woman can serve as a congregational president, or as a vice-president, or in any office where she might under any circumstances have to preside over a meeting of men.  In some places women may not serve as lectors reading Scripture, may not lead prayers in a worship service, may not be communion assistants, may not teach Bible classes that men attend.  I know one congregation in which women could not be ushers because someone might mistakenly think that they were taking on a ministry role.  

Because the ELCA has women in positions of leadership in the church, including but not limited to the worship service,  exercising headship by preaching, teaching, presiding at the Sacraments and exercising the Office of the Keys, to mention only a few, the ELCA is viewed as denying a clear teaching in Scripture and thus denying the authority of Scripture.  Ultimately this is a form of idolatry because one is placing one's own ideas and desires above what God has given us in his Holy Word.  Thus the ELCA is neither rightly preaching the Gospel nor rightly administering the Sacraments, according to this interpretation of what is the clear teaching of the Scriptures and the Confessions.

Erma Wolf  

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: WordAlone
« Reply #162 on: July 04, 2007, 02:51:25 AM »
Because we do not agree.
Where is the disagreement about rightly preaching the gospel and administering the sacraments?

I don't see the ordination of women as an issue of gospel preaching.

Don't we both proclaim that all people are sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God?
Don't we both proclaim that divine forgiveness for sinners comes to us by God's grace alone through faith in Christ alone?

Brian, since you deny the historicity of Gen. 3, I don't know what you mean by "fallen" short of the glory of God.
What makes you think I deny the truth of Genesis 3?
"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: WordAlone
« Reply #163 on: July 04, 2007, 02:56:10 AM »
Is the ordination (or sex) of the presider an issue of the gospel or one of "good order" in the church?

In my second call, the LCMS congregation in town was served by a licensed lay pastor. He could preside without ordination, so I don't think that ordination is what constitutes the right administration of the sacraments.

Asked and answered, Brian. It is a matter of the sacraments being rightly administered.  (And, for Western Catholics -- except for disciples of to John Calvin -- lay baptism has never been a problem.  So don't try to divert the conversation with the ancient practice of lay-administered emergency baptisms.)

That the LCMS (and we in the ELCA) more and more violate the Augsburg Confession (and the Catholic Faith it upholds) by allowing lay persons to "preside at ," even to the point of institutionalizing it, doesn't change position one iota.

My question is what for the LCMS constitutes the right administration of the sacraments that we are not doing right? It is not ordination that makes it right, because both church bodies allow lay presidents -- even though some disagree with the practice. It would seem that what makes it right for LCMS is that the presider has to be male.
"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]

Charles_Austin

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Re: WordAlone
« Reply #164 on: July 04, 2007, 05:46:38 AM »
Pastor Tibbetts writes (re a bishop in Illinois and "re-ordination"):

until someone presents himself (and Quincy is one of the Dioceses where it would literally, and not only grammatically, be "himself"), the Bishop doesn't need to make up his mind.

I comment:
And in both cases, regarding gender and "re-ordination," how the bishop in Quincy makes up his mind is irrelevant and violates - at least in spirit - the canons and agreements. Certain dioceses were given a long time during which they did not have to agree to women priests. I think that time was ended by the Episcopal Church.
Under our agreement, I do not see how re-ordaining an ELCA pastor who enters the Episcopal church could be justified, unless perhaps the pastor was one of those who took steps to make sure that their ordination was not clouded by the presence of a bishop; and it seems unlikely that one of those would apply for admission to Anglicanism, at least in their present state of mind.
And the present state of mind of the present bishop in Quincy is not the determining factor.