ELCA's "Table and Font: Who is welcome?"

Started by Steven Tibbetts, August 19, 2014, 03:02:15 PM

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peter_speckhard

Quote from: Team Hesse on September 22, 2014, 12:08:51 PM
Quote from: peter_speckhard on September 22, 2014, 11:05:26 AM
God made me and gave me all I am and have. That doesn't mean I can't say I cooperate with Him in the support and maintenance of my body. Things that I do are beneficial or hurtful to the body and life God gave me, and it does not rob God of any glory to say as much.

In being born again, true, I cannot take any more credit for it than I can for being born. It is/was entirely God's doing. But having been born again, there are things I do that are conducive to the life to which God has called me or corrosive of that life. Something as little as deciding whether or not to skip church this week is not a matter of wondering whether God will have it such that I find myself in church. It involves the difficult cross-bearing of aligning my will with God's for me. Cooperation with the Holy Spirit in justification is like cooperating with God the Father in one's own conception-- not possible. Cooperating with the Holy Spirit thereafter in one's ongoing life and sanctification, though in great weakness, is every bit as important and unavoidable as cooperating with God in one's physical life.


This clearly works for you and David. I hope you will allow me to avoid the idea of cooperation between me and God because it leads me into processes and thoughts I find unhelpful. I am extremely strong-willed and function best in a mode of thankfulness for all that I receive rather than giving me an opening to claim I have a leg-up or some other superiority over against those I am called to serve. The witness I have works best when it is always and all about God and His gifts alone. The problems I have experienced in relationships and life in general have come when I have hinted that some special attribute of mine has uniquely gifted me in certain situations. Those problems have resulted in specific dead ends which have only been dealt with through confession and absolution.


Lou
Lou, I think you make my point for me. I said there were things we can do that are conducive to or corrosive of the life God has called us to in baptism. You then said you find it conducive to your spiritual life to avoid thinking of things or explaining things in terms of cooperation. So in avoiding such talk, you make a decision and do something for the sake of maintaining your faith. It may or may not be a decision or course of action everyone agrees is salutary, but it is clearly making a decision and doing something for the sake of your faith and witness.

LutherMan

Quote from: G.B. on September 22, 2014, 07:42:13 PM
Quote from: Charles Austin on September 22, 2014, 05:12:10 PM
Pastor Crandall links everything he considers "bad" together and if the ELCA does one thing he abhors (actually we do quite a lot of things he abhors), he is eager to say we are on the edge of killing puppies and hand-squishing hamsters to death.
Do you have anything beyond one-line put downs to add to the conversation, Pastor Crandall? And are you ever going to tell us what SHT means? You have been asked by several people.

Is Revd. Austinn a moderator here? I'm new, not sure, seems like he is though the way he talks to people
No, he isn't.  He is just the loudest mouth in the ELCA and has actually been banned for life on one occasion...

Harvey_Mozolak

Is Revd. Austinn a moderator here? I'm new, not sure, seems like he is though the way he talks to people
Oh, ok, thanks for the info, I'll keep that in mind.
and GB for one of the newest members, you really aren't that much in the dark, now are you?

Ah, the games go on and more of initial-ness.   

Harvey Mozolak
Harvey S. Mozolak
my poetry blog is listed below:

http://lineandletterlettuce.blogspot.com

Charles Austin

And again, I raise the question about allowing anonymous posters here, people who do not have the guts to stand behind what they say and use anonymity when they criticize and condemn others. This is an inter-Lutheran fellowship board, and anyone here should be gracious enough to make it clear who he or she is. Especially when the intent of the postings is to criticize.
But that is just my opinion, one not shared by anyone in authority here. Too bad.
Iowa-born. Long-time in NY/New Jersey, former LWF staff in Geneva.
ELCA PASTOR, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis.
GUILTY on ALL 34 counts

Dan Fienen

Quote from: Charles Austin on September 22, 2014, 10:18:41 PM
And again, I raise the question about allowing anonymous posters here, people who do not have the guts to stand behind what they say and use anonymity when they criticize and condemn others. This is an inter-Lutheran fellowship board, and anyone here should be gracious enough to make it clear who he or she is. Especially when the intent of the postings is to criticize.
But that is just my opinion, one not shared by anyone in authority here. Too bad.

When we join with others in a joint endeavor, whether it be a project or a discussion we at times cannot have everything our own way.  That is one side effect of welcoming diversity.  Even if we are sure that we are correct and others err.

Perhaps you should start your own Lutheran Discussion Forum where you can make the rules you think right a proper and keep out anonymous posters and LCMS riff raff who do not show proper respect to the ELCA and progressive theology and ideology.  I'm sure as moderator you would be able to keep them in line or give them the boot.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

LutherMan

Quote from: Dan Fienen on September 22, 2014, 11:03:14 PM
Quote from: Charles Austin on September 22, 2014, 10:18:41 PM
And again, I raise the question about allowing anonymous posters here, people who do not have the guts to stand behind what they say and use anonymity when they criticize and condemn others. This is an inter-Lutheran fellowship board, and anyone here should be gracious enough to make it clear who he or she is. Especially when the intent of the postings is to criticize.
But that is just my opinion, one not shared by anyone in authority here. Too bad.

When we join with others in a joint endeavor, whether it be a project or a discussion we at times cannot have everything our own way.  That is one side effect of welcoming diversity.  Even if we are sure that we are correct and others err.

Perhaps you should start your own Lutheran Discussion Forum where you can make the rules you think right a proper and keep out anonymous posters and LCMS riff raff who do not show proper respect to the ELCA and progressive theology and ideology.  I'm sure as moderator you would be able to keep them in line or give them the boot.
*LIKE*

Team Hesse

Quote from: peter_speckhard on September 22, 2014, 06:29:10 PM
Quote from: Team Hesse on September 22, 2014, 12:08:51 PM
Quote from: peter_speckhard on September 22, 2014, 11:05:26 AM
God made me and gave me all I am and have. That doesn't mean I can't say I cooperate with Him in the support and maintenance of my body. Things that I do are beneficial or hurtful to the body and life God gave me, and it does not rob God of any glory to say as much.

In being born again, true, I cannot take any more credit for it than I can for being born. It is/was entirely God's doing. But having been born again, there are things I do that are conducive to the life to which God has called me or corrosive of that life. Something as little as deciding whether or not to skip church this week is not a matter of wondering whether God will have it such that I find myself in church. It involves the difficult cross-bearing of aligning my will with God's for me. Cooperation with the Holy Spirit in justification is like cooperating with God the Father in one's own conception-- not possible. Cooperating with the Holy Spirit thereafter in one's ongoing life and sanctification, though in great weakness, is every bit as important and unavoidable as cooperating with God in one's physical life.


This clearly works for you and David. I hope you will allow me to avoid the idea of cooperation between me and God because it leads me into processes and thoughts I find unhelpful. I am extremely strong-willed and function best in a mode of thankfulness for all that I receive rather than giving me an opening to claim I have a leg-up or some other superiority over against those I am called to serve. The witness I have works best when it is always and all about God and His gifts alone. The problems I have experienced in relationships and life in general have come when I have hinted that some special attribute of mine has uniquely gifted me in certain situations. Those problems have resulted in specific dead ends which have only been dealt with through confession and absolution.


Lou
Lou, I think you make my point for me. I said there were things we can do that are conducive to or corrosive of the life God has called us to in baptism. You then said you find it conducive to your spiritual life to avoid thinking of things or explaining things in terms of cooperation. So in avoiding such talk, you make a decision and do something for the sake of maintaining your faith. It may or may not be a decision or course of action everyone agrees is salutary, but it is clearly making a decision and doing something for the sake of your faith and witness.


Foreign to the way of thinking I have been formed in Peter. I am sure these are the categories you have been formed in but they are different than mine subtly. Through your lenses I am making decisions for the sake of my faith. Through the lens I have been nurtured in, the Holy Spirit has enlightened my path for the sake of the faith He has gifted me with. There is a difference-- one path is fundamentally synergistic (we are cooperating)-- the other is overtly monergistic (all that I have is a gift from God, including what looks like my decisions to everyone else).


Lou

Team Hesse

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on September 22, 2014, 02:32:05 PM
Quote from: Team Hesse on September 22, 2014, 09:23:15 AM
The "but" clause in the above makes it clear it is not speaking of synergism in the Formula. But this is one of the places that the Formula can be misconstrued by old Adams looking for a port in a storm. I much prefer the stark clarity of the third article of the creed. When we claim a piece of the glory due to the Holy Spirit who is working in and through us to will and to do the father's will......well, that is probably not the best. When we boast it should only be in Jesus. Initiation/cooperation language tends to move us from gratitude to God for His work to examining our supposed own "journey" and how well we think we are doing or not doing in comparison to the poor soul "over there."


Where does "fruit-bearing" come into your scheme of Christian living? Or civil righteousness? Or improving on ways we live out Luther's meanings to the Ten Commandments? I assume you believe that we can and should improve in ways we honor parents and others in authority, and helping our neighbors keep and maintain their property; or even the general command to love our neighbors as ourselves. Should we seek to learn more about ways of loving our neighbors and seek to do them?


I believe that we are called to improve our civil righteousness - which has nothing to do with our eternal righteousness. Our salvation is solely a work of God without any efforts on our part. Our civil righteousness is about making life better for our neighbors, e.g., seeking to improve in the ways we obey the first use of the law. It can also be about our witness to our God. As a Jewish scholar said, "We don't keep the laws to get anything from God - we're already God's people because God said so - we keep the laws so that the rest of the world might know that we are God's people."


Fruit bearing happens every day, most of the time in ways hidden from me. And since the Word is at work in my life I am more sure of progress on that front than if I take charge of that area of my life myself. Trusting the Lord actually makes things better. You might want to give it a whirl some time.... ;)


Lou

Team Hesse

Quote from: DCharlton on September 22, 2014, 12:56:31 PM
I think we'd all agree that the Holy Spirit is the one who initiates us.  Is part of the problem with the language of initiation the fact that it usually refers to a communal process, so that we're confusing the work of the community with the work of the Holy Spirit?


The real problem with initiation is that it implies a progressive improvement over time by our own effort/cooperation. Probably another hangover from our pre-Lutheran heritage....


Lou

Jim_Krauser

#579
Quote from: Team Hesse on September 20, 2014, 07:32:10 PM

"Initiation" has a vexed history. A beginning, for sure, but baptism is also the completion of the "New Life In Christ". One never is any more or less than a "Baptized Christian." "Initiation" in many traditions is the beginning of a lifelong process moving towards some sense of a fulfilled state to be obtained through trial, testing, and tribulation-- a notion of a progressive journey toward the "Holy" which should not be encouraged. Lutherans have generally objected to the notions connected with personal progression in Holiness.

Lou

I suppose "initiation" may have that feel in some contexts...and I think it may also carry the sense opposite your concern that initations indicate the end of a journey. 

The life of the baptized is certainly more than that.  I would never say that one's baptism is complete.  We are not merely born again, but we are being born again daily.   In the Renewing Worship materials they offered a prayer that spoke of the deceased baptism being complete in death.  At first I liked it, but came to reject that image.  Our baptism is only complete in the ultimate and final rising from the grave.  For that reason I only said in a sermon recently we never should speak of baptism in the past tense.  Not I was or we were baptized, but I am and we are baptized.  It is not completed.  It is ever present, though sometimes walked away from and to which we return. 

In my comment I borrowed the term from Rome's RCIA.  To be sure there are some differences in our understanding the sacraments that it may rub up against.  But to suggest that there is no progression or growth in righteousness and yes holiness in the Christian that is expected to follow baptism is to undermine a wholesome understanding of sanctification and destroy the tension that lives in the space between the poles of the paradox of simul justus et peccator.  To be sure sanctifcation is God's work not ours; but it is being worked in us. 
Jim Krauser

Pastor-Grace Evang. Lutheran Church, North Bellmore, NY

Charles Austin

#580
Pastor Fienen again (slightly edited for space):
... you should start your own ... forum where you can make the rules ... and keep out anonymous posters and LCMS riff raff who do not show proper respect to the ELCA and progressive theology and ideology.  I'm sure ... you would be able to keep them in line or give them the boot.
Me:
I would keep out anonymous posters, preferring as I do the company of people who are honest and open, especially when criticizing others. But (despite your desire to have me do so) I do not consider LCMS "riff raff," and while I would prefer them to show some "respect" for other human beings, whatever their theology might be, I would understand why some fevered of mind people could not do that, and might need persistent encouragement to amend their lives.
   Now as to the topic at hand: Having read the study materials, and had a few preliminary discussions with a couple of friends; I remain of the opinion that Holy Communion is for those baptized, or at least for those who have made a profession of Christian faith.
   If I were a petition-signing guy, I might sign the one going around and printed inside the current edition of Lutheran Forum. But I think that petitioners are sometimes only drawing a line in the sand or threatening to punch someone out or take their potato salad and leave the picnic. So I don't usually sign them.
   If I did, however, I would use my real name.  ;D ;D
Iowa-born. Long-time in NY/New Jersey, former LWF staff in Geneva.
ELCA PASTOR, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis.
GUILTY on ALL 34 counts

David Garner

Quote from: Dan Fienen on September 22, 2014, 05:21:24 PM
From years ago, I remember an episode of "Father Knows Best."  A classmate of the youngest daughter, Kathy, discovers a receipt from a local orphanage and figures that she has been adopted.  She then undertakes to be extra helpful around the house so that the family will keep her.  Of course, she was not adopted and the lesson is that they love her and accept her without her having to earn her place in the family.  Still, they want her to learn to be a good and responsible person.

The analogy can be pushed too far.  But I see that as an analogy for this issue of whether or not we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in growing in Christian living.  We are born again into God's family.  What does a child contribute to being born?  He shows up.  And even in that he is delivered there, he does not show up on his own.  From the beginning his place in the family (we're talking an ideal family, God's family) is not earned but given out of love.  Neither is it easily lost.  Forgiveness is a part of the family way.  We do not have to earn our way into God's family, not do we have to earn staying in the family. 

But part of being in God's family is His desire that we grow as His children, to become all that we can be, especially as moral, responsible people.  He wants that not as payment for adopting us into the family, or keeping us in the family, but because it is good for us.  It is also good for us to strive with His help to become better people.  Naturally we often disappoint Him and ourselves, and we continually rely on His forgiveness.  But unless we repudiate God, our place in His family is secure.

As children grow, we want what is best for them.  That includes them learning to make moral choices in part by making bad choices.  They also need to work to develop themselves.  If we take away the challenge of growing up, they generally will not grow up.  So God challenges us to work toward growing up as His children, not as a condition of becoming or remaining His children, but because that striving is good for us.

Dan

Pastor Feinen, this is wonderful.  I have said before that good works are for our benefit, not God's, and I have used the example of making my children eat their vegetables.  I don't make them do it because I need to be obeyed so they can earn my favor before I will love them, but because I already love them and I therefore wish for my children to be healthy.  At some point, they grow up and I can no longer make them eat healthy, but I pray nonetheless they will do it for their own benefit, not mine.

So much of the Christian world has been formed in the lens of earning favor with God that I think we sometimes lose sight of the fact that it is not God's favor that we ought to wish for, but His life.  Lutherans have a good, solid sense of this in my experience (we are saved from sin, death and the devil), but I often see merits dragged in the back door.  God loves us already, and freely forgives our every transgression.  Cooperation isn't about merits.  It's about living the life God has freely given us to live.  Not because our striving earns us anything, but because God loves us and this is what He says is best for us.  As you rightly note, we act as members of the family.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

David Garner

Quote from: Team Hesse on September 22, 2014, 11:27:29 PMForeign to the way of thinking I have been formed in Peter. I am sure these are the categories you have been formed in but they are different than mine subtly. Through your lenses I am making decisions for the sake of my faith. Through the lens I have been nurtured in, the Holy Spirit has enlightened my path for the sake of the faith He has gifted me with. There is a difference-- one path is fundamentally synergistic (we are cooperating)-- the other is overtly monergistic (all that I have is a gift from God, including what looks like my decisions to everyone else).

Lou

I don't object when you say you need to think this way in order to deal with your own salvation.  But I have a real issue with the suggestion that "we are cooperating" equals what I can only assume is the Lutheran notion of "synergism," which you view as an error.  If that is true -- if our cooperation with God after conversion is "synergism," and therefore an error -- then I submit that Pastor Kirchner was wrong above, and that you are in fact in opposition to both the Lutheran Confessions and the Holy Scriptures.

The reason I suggest that is outlined above.  The Formula says that after conversion we do cooperate, albeit in great weakness, and St. Paul uses the word "synergoi" to describe our co-working with God.  If you are going to ascribe these as errors, I'd appreciate hearing why you think St. Paul and the Confessors are somehow immune to those errors, since in regards to this discussion others and I are saying no more than they are.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

David Garner

Quote from: Team Hesse on September 22, 2014, 11:36:55 PM
Quote from: DCharlton on September 22, 2014, 12:56:31 PM
I think we'd all agree that the Holy Spirit is the one who initiates us.  Is part of the problem with the language of initiation the fact that it usually refers to a communal process, so that we're confusing the work of the community with the work of the Holy Spirit?


The real problem with initiation is that it implies a progressive improvement over time by our own effort/cooperation. Probably another hangover from our pre-Lutheran heritage....


Lou

If you're going to describe it as such, I'd think you'd need to demonstrate why this is an error.  Lutherans didn't throw out everything that came before, but only errors.  So if you want to take this approach, I'd think you would need to show how this fits into some error that is condemned by the Confessions.  And the problem with that is the understanding we are articulating is not only not condemned by the Confessions, in fact, it is endorsed by them.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

Team Hesse

The question revolves around Luther, through Augustine, via St Paul from the mouth of Jesus himself about the bondage of the will. Jesus said "apart from me you can do nothing","you did not choose me--I chose you," and other such things as "blessed are you Simon Bar Jonah for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you but my Father who is in heaven." There is a lot more, but the necessary underpinning to all interactions between the finite and the infinite is divine agency. So sure, we are "fellow workers" with the Lord but it is like a father guiding his young son at the carpenter's table--the boy is "working with Dad" but his father has full control of anything that might actually do something and at the end of the day when the boy beams at his father and says "wow we got a lot done today" the father smiles knowingly back and says " yes we sure had a fine day didn't we!" knowing all along that possibly more work could have been done without the son's "help."


The Confessions are quite clear on this except for the one section of the Formula which needs to be read through the lens of "the Bondage of the Will" as the Formula itself explicitly states. Cherry picking one line from any document does not make for sound theology.


There is a lot more, and I have a full day ahead of me....


Lou

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