Author Topic: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article  (Read 20277 times)

John_Hannah

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 5218
    • View Profile
Re: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2015, 08:04:19 AM »
Early in the life of the Commission on the New Lutheran Church (CNLC, aka LXX for its 70 members), Richard John Neuhaus advocated abandoning the attempt and simply allowing the LCA, ALC, and the AELC to continue. He reasoned that the respective ethos of the LCA and ALC did not seem to make a good fit. He also pointed out that complete Lutheran unity was dead now that Missouri is out of the game.

I think now that he was prescient and correct. It is however, too late and we must continue with our respective dysfunctional structures (including the LCMS) as we have arranged them. We now have to make the best of it and the ALPB is prepared to assist. We always welcome suggestions for potential ALPB contributions to a better American Lutheranism.

Thanks, Paul, Bob, Steve, Charles, Ken, Erma, and the others for the honest discussion. Keep it up.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Satis Est

  • Guest
Re: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article
« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2015, 10:47:42 AM »
  I will add two small comments.

  One, since leaving the steering committee in 2010 I have not been active in Lutheran CORE. That was in part because I was just plain tired, in part because I felt that the new steering committee members didn't need a former member hanging around offering commentary and/or criticism, and in part because I felt that my decision to remain in the ELCA was viewed as criticism of others and their decisions to leave. My picture of CORE being divided internally may be overdone, although from some of the comments here by Bob Benne and others I think I am not so far off the mark there. And to be fair to those in the NALC, how can they go forward and really leave the ELCA and not look back if at the same time they are involved in an organization which has as a good part of its reason for existence being a voice for those remaining in the ELCA? Seems an impossible position to maintain for very long, at least to me.

  Two, while I thank you, Charles, for what you have written, I must take issue with one of your statements. You wrote: "I said I regretted that some felt 'forced' to leave."  Some, perhaps most, did feel forced to leave. But some were in fact actually forced out, by the apparatus of their synods. I recognize that you do not believe that ever happened, and I think that the only way you would is if a synod bishop from that time said point-blank, "Yes, I and the synod council forced this pastor and/or this congregation out of the ELCA." Which is unlikely to happen. So I register my protest here over what you have written. I am content with leaving it there, and acknowledging that we will just continue to disagree on that matter.

FrPeters

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2388
  • An Obedient Rebel
    • View Profile
    • Grace Lutheran Church Website
Re: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2015, 11:58:02 AM »
Quote
I said for a long long time that I hoped those who disagreed with the decisions of 2009 would remain in the ELCA. I said for a long long time that I believed we needed their voices.

I am writing sincerely and without snark or sarcasm but I am truly curious as to why you believe the ELCA needs those who disagree with the 89 CWA decisions?  Is there a chance that these decisions will ever be revisited?  Do you believe it is healthy for those disagreeing or for the ELCA to have a constant issue dividing members from one another?  Do many believe that if those parishes who disagree stay in the ELCA long enough, they will come around to the 09 decisions? 

I respect the decisions of those who stay but I cannot for the life of me understand how it is helpful for those who disagree or those who enacted the decisions because they believed in them to coexist with this issue constantly between them.  I would suspect that it would be as exhausting and frustrating as those in Missouri who wanted Dr. Becker to change his mind or leave and Dr. Becker who decided the fighting had reaped enough toll upon him and his family. 

Many may want the church to be an umbrella in which differences are allowed to stand but when those differences are as essential to the life of the church and part of the church's core values, how does it benefit either side to remain?  The LCMS is maddeningly consistent in its public statements and those who disagree are left with little realistic hope that Missouri will change much or change soon.  In the same way, those who charted the course for the ELCA are maddeningly consistent in their direction and choice and there is little realistic hope that the ELCA will revisit or consider changing what they decided.  In both of these church bodies, the course is clear.  So how does it help anyone when people continue to foment for a point of view that has already been rejected?

Again, my question is not meant to be snarky or sarcastic.  I genuinely want to know why people would want those in their church body who disagree radically with the direction of that church body and why those who radically disagree would want to stay when there is no chance of that church revisiting or reversing its decisions?

So, I ask for information, feelings, reasons, whatever that might help me understand. . . to Erma and those others who have chosen to stay... because I have friends in the ELCA who are not happy and who are not now in the process of leaving and they have no rationale except that of Dr. Becker who refused to go quietly but who insisted he must be removed from the church he insists is his as well.  That sounds all Luther like but it is hard on the person and the church for much of this to continue without an end in sight.  I suspect that Luther himself felt a bit of relief when Rome finally acted and he was free from having that hang over his head.  It may not be best but I would certainly understand it.  I know pastors who have left congregations not because they did anything wrong but because they could not fight the fight and bear up under the strain.  So please help me understand. . .
Fr Larry Peters
Grace LCMS, Clarksville, TN
http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 42405
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2015, 12:56:24 PM »
Early in the life of the Commission on the New Lutheran Church (CNLC, aka LXX for its 70 members), Richard John Neuhaus advocated abandoning the attempt and simply allowing the LCA, ALC, and the AELC to continue. He reasoned that the respective ethos of the LCA and ALC did not seem to make a good fit. He also pointed out that complete Lutheran unity was dead now that Missouri is out of the game.

I think now that he was prescient and correct. It is however, too late and we must continue with our respective dysfunctional structures (including the LCMS) as we have arranged them. We now have to make the best of it and the ALPB is prepared to assist. We always welcome suggestions for potential ALPB contributions to a better American Lutheranism.


David Preus, president of the ALC, also expressed reservations about forming the new church.
"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

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 6791
    • View Profile
Re: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2015, 01:03:28 PM »
But what I also regret is what I believe this did to Lutheran CORE. I believed in 2010 that CORE could not be both a voice for those remaining in the ELCA and create a "new" Lutheran denomination splitting off from the ELCA. I am sure others will disagree with me, but I believe that my fears on that score have been realized. Lutheran CORE is tainted in much (though not all) of the ELCA with being a traitorous organization that created a splinter denomination, and one that at least in part grew through congregations voting to leave the ELCA. And at the same time, CORE has been divided internally, with those who left the ELCA and those who remained in it being at odds with one another.

I actually distanced myself from Lutheran CORE for this very reason.  It was clear to me that if I or my congregation were affiliated with Lutheran CORE, the synod office would assume that I was planning to take my congregation out of the ELCA.  Whether it was the goal of CORE, many in power believed that it was the goal.  Simply defending three colleagues to did decide to leave the ELCA had aroused suspicion and hostility.  Involvement with CORE would have "proved" their suspicions. 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 42405
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article
« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2015, 01:06:42 PM »
  I will add two small comments.

  One, since leaving the steering committee in 2010 I have not been active in Lutheran CORE. That was in part because I was just plain tired, in part because I felt that the new steering committee members didn't need a former member hanging around offering commentary and/or criticism, and in part because I felt that my decision to remain in the ELCA was viewed as criticism of others and their decisions to leave. My picture of CORE being divided internally may be overdone, although from some of the comments here by Bob Benne and others I think I am not so far off the mark there. And to be fair to those in the NALC, how can they go forward and really leave the ELCA and not look back if at the same time they are involved in an organization which has as a good part of its reason for existence being a voice for those remaining in the ELCA? Seems an impossible position to maintain for very long, at least to me.

  Two, while I thank you, Charles, for what you have written, I must take issue with one of your statements. You wrote: "I said I regretted that some felt 'forced' to leave."  Some, perhaps most, did feel forced to leave. But some were in fact actually forced out, by the apparatus of their synods. I recognize that you do not believe that ever happened, and I think that the only way you would is if a synod bishop from that time said point-blank, "Yes, I and the synod council forced this pastor and/or this congregation out of the ELCA." Which is unlikely to happen. So I register my protest here over what you have written. I am content with leaving it there, and acknowledging that we will just continue to disagree on that matter.


I believe that there were people behaving badly on both sides. I would like to think that none of our synod bishops would have forced anyone to leave, but sinners that we are, it happened. I believe that folks in the ELCA thought that they were making room under our "big tent" for positions 1 & 2; but some within the ELCA didn't believe it - on both sides. I.e., "They won't respect my conservative position." Or, "We really don't want you conservatives messing up our liberal church."


I just posted a picture on my facebook timeline of a cylinder. When viewed from the side, it looks like a rectangle. When viewed from the top, it looks like a circle. Both are true. "It's a matter of perspective" is the caption.


When folks believe that their perspective is the only right one, the "big tent" gets smaller. As you know, I have defended CORE's right to be in the ELCA and express their views for the good of the ELCA. You do represent the beliefs of many of our people and we need to hear and respect and value them (even if we may not always agree).
"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

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 6791
    • View Profile
Re: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article
« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2015, 01:18:02 PM »
I respect the decisions of those who stay but I cannot for the life of me understand how it is helpful for those who disagree or those who enacted the decisions because they believed in them to coexist with this issue constantly between them.  I would suspect that it would be as exhausting and frustrating as those in Missouri who wanted Dr. Becker to change his mind or leave and Dr. Becker who decided the fighting had reaped enough toll upon him and his family. 

There are several reasons I stay.  For one thing, I'm not sure that any other body would be a lasting refuge from confessional erosion.  Secondly, I don't feel comfortable taking my congregation out of the ELCA.  (It's not mine to take.)  Finally, I want to give the ELCA an opportunity to keep its word. 

On the final point, there has been a real change in tone since 2013.  Bishop Eaton and my own synodical bishop seem committed to keeping the promises made in 2009 to "traditionalists".  In both cases it is more than rhetoric. 

Regarding Dr. Becker, I utilize an argument similar to the one he made for years.  I distinguish between the Lutheran Confessions and the policies of the ELCA.  I subscribe to the former.  I recognize and abide by the latter, but do not subscribe to them.  When we begin to place policies, social statements, and churchwide initiatives on the same level as the confessions, we have a serious problem.  I preach, teach and carry out my ministry in accordance with the Lutheran Confessions.  That ought to be the main thing. 
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 01:21:33 PM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

readselerttoo

  • Guest
Re: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article
« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2015, 01:35:37 PM »
Maybe CNLC should have listened more intently to Preus and Neuhaus.  Though I affiliated with AELC at the time I agreed with their (Preus) assessments.  Fools rush in, it seems.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 01:51:20 PM by readselerttoo »

readselerttoo

  • Guest
Re: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2015, 01:47:26 PM »
I respect the decisions of those who stay but I cannot for the life of me understand how it is helpful for those who disagree or those who enacted the decisions because they believed in them to coexist with this issue constantly between them.  I would suspect that it would be as exhausting and frustrating as those in Missouri who wanted Dr. Becker to change his mind or leave and Dr. Becker who decided the fighting had reaped enough toll upon him and his family. 

There are several reasons I stay.  For one thing, I'm not sure that any other body would be a lasting refuge from confessional erosion.  Secondly, I don't feel comfortable taking my congregation out of the ELCA.  (It's not mine to take.)  Finally, I want to give the ELCA an opportunity to keep its word. 

On the final point, there has been a real change in tone since 2013.  Bishop Eaton and my own synodical bishop seem committed to keeping the promises made in 2009 to "traditionalists".  In both cases it is more than rhetoric. 

Regarding Dr. Becker, I utilize an argument similar to the one he made for years.  I distinguish between the Lutheran Confessions and the policies of the ELCA.  I subscribe to the former.  I recognize and abide by the latter, but do not subscribe to them.  When we begin to place policies, social statements, and churchwide initiatives on the same level as the confessions, we have a serious problem.  I preach, teach and carry out my ministry in accordance with the Lutheran Confessions.  That ought to be the main thing.

I agree.  Good point.

John_Hannah

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 5218
    • View Profile
Re: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2015, 02:27:37 PM »
I respect the decisions of those who stay but I cannot for the life of me understand how it is helpful for those who disagree or those who enacted the decisions because they believed in them to coexist with this issue constantly between them.  I would suspect that it would be as exhausting and frustrating as those in Missouri who wanted Dr. Becker to change his mind or leave and Dr. Becker who decided the fighting had reaped enough toll upon him and his family. 

There are several reasons I stay.  For one thing, I'm not sure that any other body would be a lasting refuge from confessional erosion.  Secondly, I don't feel comfortable taking my congregation out of the ELCA.  (It's not mine to take.)  Finally, I want to give the ELCA an opportunity to keep its word. 

On the final point, there has been a real change in tone since 2013.  Bishop Eaton and my own synodical bishop seem committed to keeping the promises made in 2009 to "traditionalists".  In both cases it is more than rhetoric. 

Regarding Dr. Becker, I utilize an argument similar to the one he made for years.  I distinguish between the Lutheran Confessions and the policies of the ELCA.  I subscribe to the former.  I recognize and abide by the latter, but do not subscribe to them.  When we begin to place policies, social statements, and churchwide initiatives on the same level as the confessions, we have a serious problem.  I preach, teach and carry out my ministry in accordance with the Lutheran Confessions.  That ought to be the main thing.

Well stated Dave. All three reason seem quite valid to me.

Finally, if Jesus can love a fallible church I can too.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12943
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article
« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2015, 05:39:10 PM »
 I will let it pass too, Erma, except to note that my comment about being forced to leave generally applied to individual pastors, not necessarily to congregations.  Pastors claimed they were not getting calls just because of their position on the decisions of 2009, and I simply suggested that the reasons they were not getting calls were more complex than that.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Twice-vaccinated.

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 6791
    • View Profile
Re: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article
« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2015, 08:34:50 PM »
One of the challenges of remaining in the ELCA has to do with the clash of loyalties.  An ELCA pastor is to be loyal to the Canon, Creeds and Confessions.  An ELCA pastor is also to be loyal to "this church".  The two loyalties should not be in conflict, in fact, the ELCA gives priority to the former in its Constitution. 

Conflict of loyalties can arise when the church asks a pastor to do or say something that is in conflict with the Lutheran Confessions.  It can also arise when it fails to distinguish between policies or statements of faith adopted by the denomination and the Confessions themselves.  In such a case, I believe, the pastor must remain loyal to the Confessions, and in so doing remain loyal to the church that errs by creating the conflict. 

Clearly, this conflict, whether potential or actual, is not unique to the ELCA post 2009.  I'm sure it is familiar to Lutherans in all of the various church bodies.  If I remember correctly, one of Dr. Hinlicky's concerns is his Lutheran Forum article was that denominational loyalty would further divide confessional Lutherans.   I'd like to hear more from others about the potential/actual clash between Confessional and denominational loyalty. 
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 09:30:20 PM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Steve_Shipman

  • ALPB Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Re: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article
« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2015, 07:07:44 PM »
This is a very helpful conversation.
There is a narrative abroad (that Bob seems to have accepted) that has a few germs of truth but is largely false from my viewpoint. It has three facets:
1. The NALC subsidized Lutheran CORE heavily.
2. I made a major change in the focus of CORE when I became Director.
3. CORE is now for ELCA people only.
I hear these things from enough people in enough places that I know it is being spread actively by some persons or groups. I responded to 1 and 2 above. But 3 is totally inaccurate.
The focus of CORE moving forward is to provide shelter and voice for those Lutherans who hold to the positions listed in the Common Confession (maybe this description will keep us from getting into a shouting match over what to call the constituency). While those most needing that shelter and voice are in the ELCA at this point, the intent of continuing CORE after the formation of NALC was to continue the relationships among those who stayed in the ELCA with those who left. We knew at the time that it would be difficult, and the administrative linkage of the two organizations became increasingly unwieldy. But it is simply not true that CORE wants or intends to cut off its connections with NALC or LCMC folks. Any such movement is coming from outside CORE and I think I can still say is not what the new leadership of CORE wants to see happen.
I have told Paul that he and I have managed to achieve the status of pariah in pretty much every North American Lutheran denomination. And that isn't easy to accomplish. I believe that Paul's analysis of all the groups is more accurate than they might be willing to accept.
My hope is that we can end the Lutheran civil war (as Erma so aptly describes it) and move on to serious mission. There are hundreds of millions of unchurched people out there, and Lutherans of every brand are shrinking as a part of the total population. That won't change if we expend all our energy and time telling why "we" are good and "they" are bad. Paul spoke some hard truth; I think his sword cuts at all of us, as the truth has a habit of doing.
W. Stevens Shipman, Jr., STS
Retired

dkeener

  • ALPB Forum Regular
  • ****
  • Posts: 272
    • View Profile
Re: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article
« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2015, 10:22:13 AM »
This is a very helpful conversation.
There is a narrative abroad (that Bob seems to have accepted) that has a few germs of truth but is largely false from my viewpoint. It has three facets:
1. The NALC subsidized Lutheran CORE heavily.
2. I made a major change in the focus of CORE when I became Director.
3. CORE is now for ELCA people only.
I hear these things from enough people in enough places that I know it is being spread actively by some persons or groups. I responded to 1 and 2 above. But 3 is totally inaccurate.
The focus of CORE moving forward is to provide shelter and voice for those Lutherans who hold to the positions listed in the Common Confession (maybe this description will keep us from getting into a shouting match over what to call the constituency). While those most needing that shelter and voice are in the ELCA at this point, the intent of continuing CORE after the formation of NALC was to continue the relationships among those who stayed in the ELCA with those who left. We knew at the time that it would be difficult, and the administrative linkage of the two organizations became increasingly unwieldy. But it is simply not true that CORE wants or intends to cut off its connections with NALC or LCMC folks. Any such movement is coming from outside CORE and I think I can still say is not what the new leadership of CORE wants to see happen.
I have told Paul that he and I have managed to achieve the status of pariah in pretty much every North American Lutheran denomination. And that isn't easy to accomplish. I believe that Paul's analysis of all the groups is more accurate than they might be willing to accept.
My hope is that we can end the Lutheran civil war (as Erma so aptly describes it) and move on to serious mission. There are hundreds of millions of unchurched people out there, and Lutherans of every brand are shrinking as a part of the total population. That won't change if we expend all our energy and time telling why "we" are good and "they" are bad. Paul spoke some hard truth; I think his sword cuts at all of us, as the truth has a habit of doing.

To a certain extent I believe it is exactly because of mission that the "civil war" will continue.  The major reason for my departing the ELCA was not just the lack of focus on mission, but the fact that its political agendas were making it difficult to do mission on the local level.  I felt that I was in constant damage control mode, having to explain my denominations actions to my congregation and visitors. My hope,in leaving the ELCA, was that I could put that turmoil behind me and be fully focused on outreach and mission. This hope has only been partially realized. Since, most of the secular world does not understand the differences between the various Lutheran denominations, the liberal social agendas of the ELCA bleed into every other expression of Lutheranism in North America. News reports simply report "Lutherans ....." or adds "The ELCA, the largest Lutheran denomination ...." giving the impression that they represent all of us.  I grow weary of having to constantly tell people outside of the church that we are not them. I wish that when members transfer to other places I could just urge them to find a Lutheran church to worship in. Personally, I don't care if it is NALC, LCMC or LCMS, but unless I am familiar with the ELCA congregation in the area they are moving, the lack of standards in the ELCA make it impossible for me to make a general recommendation that they attend an ELCA congregation. This saddens me. So when some on this forum wonder why those of us outside the ELCA still complain about what goes on inside the ELCA, the answer is simply because the ELCA does not exist in a vacuum, their departures from orthodoxy affect all who wear the label "Lutheran". 
« Last Edit: July 28, 2015, 10:24:06 AM by dkeener »

Team Hesse

  • Guest
Re: Bob Benne responds to Paul Hinlicky Lutheran Forum article
« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2015, 10:41:49 AM »
This is a very helpful conversation.
There is a narrative abroad (that Bob seems to have accepted) that has a few germs of truth but is largely false from my viewpoint. It has three facets:
1. The NALC subsidized Lutheran CORE heavily.
2. I made a major change in the focus of CORE when I became Director.
3. CORE is now for ELCA people only.
I hear these things from enough people in enough places that I know it is being spread actively by some persons or groups. I responded to 1 and 2 above. But 3 is totally inaccurate.
The focus of CORE moving forward is to provide shelter and voice for those Lutherans who hold to the positions listed in the Common Confession (maybe this description will keep us from getting into a shouting match over what to call the constituency). While those most needing that shelter and voice are in the ELCA at this point, the intent of continuing CORE after the formation of NALC was to continue the relationships among those who stayed in the ELCA with those who left. We knew at the time that it would be difficult, and the administrative linkage of the two organizations became increasingly unwieldy. But it is simply not true that CORE wants or intends to cut off its connections with NALC or LCMC folks. Any such movement is coming from outside CORE and I think I can still say is not what the new leadership of CORE wants to see happen.
I have told Paul that he and I have managed to achieve the status of pariah in pretty much every North American Lutheran denomination. And that isn't easy to accomplish. I believe that Paul's analysis of all the groups is more accurate than they might be willing to accept.
My hope is that we can end the Lutheran civil war (as Erma so aptly describes it) and move on to serious mission. There are hundreds of millions of unchurched people out there, and Lutherans of every brand are shrinking as a part of the total population. That won't change if we expend all our energy and time telling why "we" are good and "they" are bad. Paul spoke some hard truth; I think his sword cuts at all of us, as the truth has a habit of doing.

To a certain extent I believe it is exactly because of mission that the "civil war" will continue.  The major reason for my departing the ELCA was not just the lack of focus on mission, but the fact that its political agendas were making it difficult to do mission on the local level.  I felt that I was in constant damage control mode, having to explain my denominations actions to my congregation and visitors. My hope,in leaving the ELCA, was that I could put that turmoil behind me and be fully focused on outreach and mission. This hope has only been partially realized. Since, most of the secular world does not understand the differences between the various Lutheran denominations, the liberal social agendas of the ELCA bleed into every other expression of Lutheranism in North America. News reports simply report "Lutherans ....." or adds "The ELCA, the largest Lutheran denomination ...." giving the impression that they represent all of us.  I grow weary of having to constantly tell people outside of the church that we are not them. I wish that when members transfer to other places I could just urge them to find a Lutheran church to worship in. Personally, I don't care if it is NALC, LCMC or LCMS, but unless I am familiar with the ELCA congregation in the area they are moving, the lack of standards in the ELCA make it impossible for me to make a general recommendation that they attend an ELCA congregation. This saddens me. So when some on this forum wonder why those of us outside the ELCA still complain about what goes on inside the ELCA, the answer is simply because the ELCA does not exist in a vacuum, their departures from orthodoxy affect all who wear the label "Lutheran".


Exactly. I had a new family to town visit last Sunday and had to find a way to parse the differences without leading them to toss the baby out with the bath water (by saying "clearly Lutherans have no witness to the world that makes any sense" and "there is too much bitter division in those people" as they wander down the street to the big non-denom).


Lou