Author Topic: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity  (Read 9323 times)

readselerttoo

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2015, 03:32:58 PM »
In addition to what I have noted above, officially Lutherans and RCs have different understanding of what a sacrament is.  In terms of grace as substantial matter which one receives from God (without any distinction made as to the origin or agency of this grace) in which one grows, RCs would disagree with us on the number of sacraments because of the fundamental way we define a sacrament.   Holy Matrimony is not a sacrament for us Lutherans.  For RCism, it is.  Jesus' institution and teaching founds a sacrament and not God in general, ie. not God without also talking about Christ.

The foundation is based on the Gospel not on the Law.  For example although Jesus teaches about marriage it is a teaching based on God's law as earlier noted by Jesus in Genesis and in Judaism, in general.  It does not follow that marriage is a sacrament in the Christian church.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2015, 03:45:05 PM by readselerttoo »

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2015, 04:21:55 PM »
I don't believe we will have official sharing of the Eucharist during my lifetime.  Until Rome reverses its anathemas at Trent, it cannot be an option.  I don't believe Lutherans need to accept whatever the Papacy puts forward that would compromise the New Testament's clear teaching about justification by faith through grace.  To do otherwise would lose the magnification of the benefits that Christ brought for us through His death on the cross and his resurrection. (Apology 4).


The problem is that the New Testament's clear teaching is not all that clear. If it were, why doesn't everyone agree with us Lutherans. It's been pointed out that the Bible never says "justification by grace alone" except where Luther added "alone" in Romans 3. The New Testament clearly states: "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone" (James 2:24, ESV).


Perhaps we have been overstating our case - emphasizing one particular portion of the NT (Romans & Galatians) by which we then interpret the rest of the NT. Similarly, Roman Catholics (as well as other denominations,) emphasize another portion of the NT (I think for Catholics it's the Gospel of Matthew,) and then interpret the rest of the NT in light of what they read in Matthew.


An event I've done a couple of times in ecumenical groups, is to ask, "What is a Christian?" The answers tend to differ along denominational lines, because of our different emphases and different starting points for understanding the NT.


I've mentioned this before. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the side, it has the shape of a rectangle. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the top, it has the shape of a circle. The two could keep arguing, "I'm right and you're wrong" and get nowhere in better understanding the cylinder. If we assume that each person is trying to accurately convey what they see, then we might come to understand how our different perspectives affect our seeing - and that both can be right - and that neither has the whole picture.
"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]

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2015, 04:26:03 PM »
In addition to what I have noted above, officially Lutherans and RCs have different understanding of what a sacrament is.  In terms of grace as substantial matter which one receives from God (without any distinction made as to the origin or agency of this grace) in which one grows, RCs would disagree with us on the number of sacraments because of the fundamental way we define a sacrament.   Holy Matrimony is not a sacrament for us Lutherans.  For RCism, it is.  Jesus' institution and teaching founds a sacrament and not God in general, ie. not God without also talking about Christ.

The foundation is based on the Gospel not on the Law.  For example although Jesus teaches about marriage it is a teaching based on God's law as earlier noted by Jesus in Genesis and in Judaism, in general.  It does not follow that marriage is a sacrament in the Christian church.


Why do you insist on starting with our differences? The document lists the following areas of agreement about the Eucharist.


 C. Agreements on the Eucharist

High Esteem for Eucharistic Union with Christ in Holy Communion
(27) Lutherans and Catholics agree in esteeming highly the spiritual benefits of union with the risen Christ given to them as they receive his body and blood in Holy Communion.

Trinitarian Dimension of Eucharist
(28) Catholics and Lutherans agree that in Eucharistic worship the church participates in a unique way in the life of the Trinity: In the power of the Holy Spirit, called down upon the gifts and the worshiping community, believers have access to the glorified flesh and blood of Christ the Son as our food, and are brought in union with him and with each other to the Father.

Eucharist as Reconciling Sacrifice of Christ and as Sacrifice of the Church’s Praise and Thanksgiving
(29) Catholics and Lutherans agree that Eucharistic worship is the memorial (anamnesis) of Jesus Christ, present as the one crucified for us and risen, that is, in his sacrificial self-giving for us in his death and in his resurrection (Romans 4:25), to which the church responds with its sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

Eucharistic Presence
(30) Lutherans and Catholics agree that in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus Christ himself is present: He is present truly, substantially, as a person, and he is present in his entirety, as Son of God and a human being.

Eschatological Dimension of Eucharist
(31) Catholics and Lutherans agree that Eucharistic Communion, as sacramental participation in the glorified body and blood of Christ, is a pledge that our life in Christ will be eternal, our bodies will rise, and the present world is destined for transformation, in the hope of uniting us in communion with the saints of all ages now with Christ in heaven.

Eucharist and Church
(32) Lutherans and Catholics agree that sharing in the celebration of the Eucharist is an essential sign of the unity of the church, and that the reality of the church as a community is realized and furthered sacramentally in the Eucharistic celebration. The Eucharist both mirrors and builds the church in its unity.
"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]

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2015, 04:32:05 PM »

Are you (and others) willing to begin by confessing that there is only one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one Spirit, one God and Father of all; and be willing to be transformed. If we want them to give up elements of Trent, can we say that we willing to give up elements of our Book of Confessions?
Is coming together in unity a matter of negotiating a settlement, like a treaty between nations or a union contract?  Each side gives up something so that the settlement can advance?

Let me ask this, what of the Book of Concord is not in line with Scripture or goes beyond what Scripture teaches and so be given up without denying what Scripture teaches?


We could give up the entire Book of Concord. There were faithful Christians long before there were any Lutheran Confessions. What if we, together with the Roman Catholics, go back to the root of our faith - the holy Scriptures - devoid of all the other documents like their canons and our confessions, and see what we might discover together. If our doctrines are teaching what scripture teaches, we will discover them in our study of scriptures. If they were created out of biases at the time they were written, we won't find them in scriptures.
"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]

readselerttoo

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2015, 04:35:50 PM »
In addition to what I have noted above, officially Lutherans and RCs have different understanding of what a sacrament is.  In terms of grace as substantial matter which one receives from God (without any distinction made as to the origin or agency of this grace) in which one grows, RCs would disagree with us on the number of sacraments because of the fundamental way we define a sacrament.   Holy Matrimony is not a sacrament for us Lutherans.  For RCism, it is.  Jesus' institution and teaching founds a sacrament and not God in general, ie. not God without also talking about Christ.

The foundation is based on the Gospel not on the Law.  For example although Jesus teaches about marriage it is a teaching based on God's law as earlier noted by Jesus in Genesis and in Judaism, in general.  It does not follow that marriage is a sacrament in the Christian church.


Why do you insist on starting with our differences? The document lists the following areas of agreement about the Eucharist.


 C. Agreements on the Eucharist

High Esteem for Eucharistic Union with Christ in Holy Communion
(27) Lutherans and Catholics agree in esteeming highly the spiritual benefits of union with the risen Christ given to them as they receive his body and blood in Holy Communion.

Trinitarian Dimension of Eucharist
(28) Catholics and Lutherans agree that in Eucharistic worship the church participates in a unique way in the life of the Trinity: In the power of the Holy Spirit, called down upon the gifts and the worshiping community, believers have access to the glorified flesh and blood of Christ the Son as our food, and are brought in union with him and with each other to the Father.

Eucharist as Reconciling Sacrifice of Christ and as Sacrifice of the Church’s Praise and Thanksgiving
(29) Catholics and Lutherans agree that Eucharistic worship is the memorial (anamnesis) of Jesus Christ, present as the one crucified for us and risen, that is, in his sacrificial self-giving for us in his death and in his resurrection (Romans 4:25), to which the church responds with its sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

Eucharistic Presence
(30) Lutherans and Catholics agree that in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus Christ himself is present: He is present truly, substantially, as a person, and he is present in his entirety, as Son of God and a human being.

Eschatological Dimension of Eucharist
(31) Catholics and Lutherans agree that Eucharistic Communion, as sacramental participation in the glorified body and blood of Christ, is a pledge that our life in Christ will be eternal, our bodies will rise, and the present world is destined for transformation, in the hope of uniting us in communion with the saints of all ages now with Christ in heaven.

Eucharist and Church
(32) Lutherans and Catholics agree that sharing in the celebration of the Eucharist is an essential sign of the unity of the church, and that the reality of the church as a community is realized and furthered sacramentally in the Eucharistic celebration. The Eucharist both mirrors and builds the church in its unity.


I begin with differences because that is where the rubber hits the road for me.  There ARE indeed differences that need to be illuminated as much as the commonalities.  There wouldn't be common places (loci communes) unless there were differences.  Shallow "unity" ignores the real and existing differences, imo.

readselerttoo

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2015, 04:39:19 PM »

Are you (and others) willing to begin by confessing that there is only one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one Spirit, one God and Father of all; and be willing to be transformed. If we want them to give up elements of Trent, can we say that we willing to give up elements of our Book of Confessions?
Is coming together in unity a matter of negotiating a settlement, like a treaty between nations or a union contract?  Each side gives up something so that the settlement can advance?

Let me ask this, what of the Book of Concord is not in line with Scripture or goes beyond what Scripture teaches and so be given up without denying what Scripture teaches?


We could give up the entire Book of Concord. There were faithful Christians long before there were any Lutheran Confessions. What if we, together with the Roman Catholics, go back to the root of our faith - the holy Scriptures - devoid of all the other documents like their canons and our confessions, and see what we might discover together. If our doctrines are teaching what scripture teaches, we will discover them in our study of scriptures. If they were created out of biases at the time they were written, we won't find them in scriptures.

We could give up the Book of Concord but that would be giving up also on a faithful interpretation of scripture.  The Papacy as office would need to give up canon law along with this deal-making, imo.

readselerttoo

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2015, 04:44:21 PM »
I don't believe we will have official sharing of the Eucharist during my lifetime.  Until Rome reverses its anathemas at Trent, it cannot be an option.  I don't believe Lutherans need to accept whatever the Papacy puts forward that would compromise the New Testament's clear teaching about justification by faith through grace.  To do otherwise would lose the magnification of the benefits that Christ brought for us through His death on the cross and his resurrection. (Apology 4).


The problem is that the New Testament's clear teaching is not all that clear. If it were, why doesn't everyone agree with us Lutherans. It's been pointed out that the Bible never says "justification by grace alone" except where Luther added "alone" in Romans 3. The New Testament clearly states: "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone" (James 2:24, ESV).


Perhaps we have been overstating our case - emphasizing one particular portion of the NT (Romans & Galatians) by which we then interpret the rest of the NT. Similarly, Roman Catholics (as well as other denominations,) emphasize another portion of the NT (I think for Catholics it's the Gospel of Matthew,) and then interpret the rest of the NT in light of what they read in Matthew.


An event I've done a couple of times in ecumenical groups, is to ask, "What is a Christian?" The answers tend to differ along denominational lines, because of our different emphases and different starting points for understanding the NT.


I've mentioned this before. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the side, it has the shape of a rectangle. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the top, it has the shape of a circle. The two could keep arguing, "I'm right and you're wrong" and get nowhere in better understanding the cylinder. If we assume that each person is trying to accurately convey what they see, then we might come to understand how our different perspectives affect our seeing - and that both can be right - and that neither has the whole picture.

Faith and works are a false attempt to bifurcate human beingness.  One cannot be a human person without works.  People are either doing good works or bad works.  There is no third way.  They are either works done under the Gospel via Jesus' reconciliation and forgiveness of the sinner or works done exclusively under the law in order to merit rewards or punishments.  THere is no third way.  Human beingness cannot be separated from human doingness.  To do so is to forego scripture and instead fall into the false bifurcation of the human person (ie. being vs. doing)
« Last Edit: October 31, 2015, 04:46:27 PM by readselerttoo »

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2015, 06:04:41 PM »
I don't believe we will have official sharing of the Eucharist during my lifetime.  Until Rome reverses its anathemas at Trent, it cannot be an option.  I don't believe Lutherans need to accept whatever the Papacy puts forward that would compromise the New Testament's clear teaching about justification by faith through grace.  To do otherwise would lose the magnification of the benefits that Christ brought for us through His death on the cross and his resurrection. (Apology 4).


The problem is that the New Testament's clear teaching is not all that clear. If it were, why doesn't everyone agree with us Lutherans. It's been pointed out that the Bible never says "justification by grace alone" except where Luther added "alone" in Romans 3. The New Testament clearly states: "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone" (James 2:24, ESV).


Perhaps we have been overstating our case - emphasizing one particular portion of the NT (Romans & Galatians) by which we then interpret the rest of the NT. Similarly, Roman Catholics (as well as other denominations,) emphasize another portion of the NT (I think for Catholics it's the Gospel of Matthew,) and then interpret the rest of the NT in light of what they read in Matthew.


An event I've done a couple of times in ecumenical groups, is to ask, "What is a Christian?" The answers tend to differ along denominational lines, because of our different emphases and different starting points for understanding the NT.


I've mentioned this before. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the side, it has the shape of a rectangle. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the top, it has the shape of a circle. The two could keep arguing, "I'm right and you're wrong" and get nowhere in better understanding the cylinder. If we assume that each person is trying to accurately convey what they see, then we might come to understand how our different perspectives affect our seeing - and that both can be right - and that neither has the whole picture.

Faith and works are a false attempt to bifurcate human beingness.  One cannot be a human person without works.  People are either doing good works or bad works.  There is no third way.  They are either works done under the Gospel via Jesus' reconciliation and forgiveness of the sinner or works done exclusively under the law in order to merit rewards or punishments.  THere is no third way.  Human beingness cannot be separated from human doingness.  To do so is to forego scripture and instead fall into the false bifurcation of the human person (ie. being vs. doing)


So you disagree with the Lutheran emphasis on grace alone without works?
"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]

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2015, 06:10:23 PM »

Are you (and others) willing to begin by confessing that there is only one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one Spirit, one God and Father of all; and be willing to be transformed. If we want them to give up elements of Trent, can we say that we willing to give up elements of our Book of Confessions?
Is coming together in unity a matter of negotiating a settlement, like a treaty between nations or a union contract?  Each side gives up something so that the settlement can advance?

Let me ask this, what of the Book of Concord is not in line with Scripture or goes beyond what Scripture teaches and so be given up without denying what Scripture teaches?


We could give up the entire Book of Concord. There were faithful Christians long before there were any Lutheran Confessions. What if we, together with the Roman Catholics, go back to the root of our faith - the holy Scriptures - devoid of all the other documents like their canons and our confessions, and see what we might discover together. If our doctrines are teaching what scripture teaches, we will discover them in our study of scriptures. If they were created out of biases at the time they were written, we won't find them in scriptures.

We could give up the Book of Concord but that would be giving up also on a faithful interpretation of scripture.  The Papacy as office would need to give up canon law along with this deal-making, imo.


Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time. If what other exegetes have found to be true is in the text, we will find it, too. Certainly, after coming to conclusions about a text, exegetes then compare with what others have discovered to verify their work or to see if they might have missed something that others have seen. Reading a commentary or our confessions or even the notes in a study Bible is not studying the scriptures. One has to actually carefully read the words of the Bible - not words about what's in the Bible.



"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]

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2015, 06:22:14 PM »
Lou writes:
As I listen to my formerly devout Roman parishioners, I come to understand there remains a long way to go for any meaningful sense of unity between Rome and Wittenberg. Sometimes institutional reality is a long way from reality. Most people live in reality.

I comment:
As I listen to my currently devout Roman Catholic friends and formerly Roman Catholic parishioners, I think there is already a kind of unity between "Rome" and "Wittenberg." The reality they live in is one where faith, service, witness and (sometimes) sacrament is shared. This is the reality some of us live in.

Pastor Culler writes:
Has the RCC renounced Trent?  Has the RCC said they are ready to stop praying to Mary?  Has the RCC stopped giving out indulgences?  Has the RCC said they will treat our theology as on a par with theirs?  Has the RCC agreed that the Reformation is right about justification?  Has the RCC said they agree that apostolic succession is about the teachings of the apostles, not the laying on of hands by people?  Could anyone claim they adhere to the Augsburg Confession and still accept the teachings of Rome as valid?  That's pretty much all I have to say on the matter.

I comment:
Yes, in a way, the Roman Catholic Church has agreed that the Reformation was right about justification. Are those other things at such a high level that they would impede a "unity" of faith and witness and service and even (sometimes) sacrament? No, they are not. Your suggestion seems to reek of "Well! once they agree completely with us, maybe then..."

Pastor Rahn writes:
For many years I believed there was a good chance for Lutheran-Roman Catholic "unity" whatever that word means.  But institutionally that could only happen on their terms.  No matter how much we interpret the wide meaning of the Augsburg Confession, the RC church officially would need to provide their caveats to it.  I say again and this has been my constant word on this:  until there is substantive agreement about the nature of sin and our variant understanding of the image of God and justification, there will be no "unity".  I say that with deep regret.

I comment:
See above; and we are not talking about an "institutional" or structural unity.

Pastor Fienen writes:
Is coming together in unity a matter of negotiating a settlement, like a treaty between nations or a union contract?  Each side gives up something so that the settlement can advance?
I comment:
In a way, yes; ecumenical dialogue often involves certain changes in understanding or attitudes. I know that may be impossible for you, but in our ecumenical relations, that's how it works.

Pastor Fienen:
Let me ask this, what of the Book of Concord is not in line with Scripture or goes beyond what Scripture teaches and so be given up without denying what Scripture teaches?  More specifically, what of the Augsburg Confession is contrary to Scripture or goes beyond what Scripture teaches and so may be given up without denying what Scripture teaches?
I comment:
We are not speaking of "giving up," except perhaps in terms of some interpretations. Again, your presumptions and assumptions mean there could not even be dialogue.

Pastor Fienen again:
Otherwise, what are you willing to give up that Scripture teaches in order to have unity with the Roman Catholics?  Can you show that all of our remaining disagreements are in areas that Scripture does not teach?
I comment:
Yes, but not in a way that would satisfy you. And it is not a question of what the scriptures "teach," for that teaching is dependent upon interpretation. (And I know you do not accept that at all.)

Pastor Fienen writes:
What if one of the remaining sticking points preventing unity with Roman Catholics was the ordination of women or the ordination of partnered homosexuals?  Would you be as willing to give that us as you apparently are willing to give up sections of the Augustana?
I comment:
Again, you show - not unsurprisingly - your ignorance of how 40+ years of dialogue have been conducted and progressed. Never, ever, have we said we have to agree 100 percent on every topic that comes up. And you keep repeating that we are "giving up" on the confessions, were I say we are taking new looks at those confessions. But speaking personally, for myself only, since I believe that while the confessions are a faithful exposition of scripture, I do not believe that the confessions are the absolute, once forever, only, for all time, never ever another word of confession added "rock" upon which every teaching of faith must be based. And I would be happy to find concurrence with the Roman part of the Church - as I believe we have done - even if it meant setting aside some formerly cherished interpretation. To some of you, that makes me non-Lutheran and a traitor. I don't care.

Pastor Fienen:
I remember reading some years back of an Episcopal priest who also wanted to be a Muslim and suggested that in order to foster greater understanding, peace and unity with the Muslim community we Christians should be willing to back down some of our claims about Jesus being God and Savior.  That is an extreme case and I doubt that you would go along with such a proposal.  But what of the faith would you be willing to jettison to foster unity with Roman Catholics or other religious groups?
Me:
Just picking such an extreme, idiosyncratic and widely denounced incident shows your have no real interest in what is going on in ecumenical dialogue. A nearly full type of eucharistic communion could be achieved with the Roman Catholic church without trashing any critical aspect of the faith. But I doubt that can be sensibly discussed here.

Pastor Fienen
Recognizing that generally the opinions of Lutherans who lived more than a hundred years ago are often discounted as irrelevant to today's world I still will go with what a prominent Lutheran has been quoted as saying about departing from what he found Scripture to be teaching: "Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves-I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one's conscience is neither safe nor sound. Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen."
Me:
Again, I am truly sorry that you have not experienced any of the fellowship, enlightenment, joy and Spirit movement of the last 40+ years of Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue. You are where many of us were in 1960 and before. You have noted, of course, that some closely involved in the dialogues, such as our friend Richard John Neuhaus and other prominent Lutherans such as our other friend Russ Salzman have concluded that they could take their still partly "Lutheran" selves into the Roman Catholic part of the Church. Many others, such as this humble correspondent, have taken the dialogues and conclusions to heart and faith, rejoice in such things as that Joint Declaration on Justification, and welcome the ways that we have overcome our formerly triumphalistic Lutheran tendency to yell "Here I stand," whine "well, what about Trent" and pretend that it is still 1580.



Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist  Writer for many church publications.

readselerttoo

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2015, 06:44:44 PM »
I don't believe we will have official sharing of the Eucharist during my lifetime.  Until Rome reverses its anathemas at Trent, it cannot be an option.  I don't believe Lutherans need to accept whatever the Papacy puts forward that would compromise the New Testament's clear teaching about justification by faith through grace.  To do otherwise would lose the magnification of the benefits that Christ brought for us through His death on the cross and his resurrection. (Apology 4).


The problem is that the New Testament's clear teaching is not all that clear. If it were, why doesn't everyone agree with us Lutherans. It's been pointed out that the Bible never says "justification by grace alone" except where Luther added "alone" in Romans 3. The New Testament clearly states: "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone" (James 2:24, ESV).


Perhaps we have been overstating our case - emphasizing one particular portion of the NT (Romans & Galatians) by which we then interpret the rest of the NT. Similarly, Roman Catholics (as well as other denominations,) emphasize another portion of the NT (I think for Catholics it's the Gospel of Matthew,) and then interpret the rest of the NT in light of what they read in Matthew.


An event I've done a couple of times in ecumenical groups, is to ask, "What is a Christian?" The answers tend to differ along denominational lines, because of our different emphases and different starting points for understanding the NT.


I've mentioned this before. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the side, it has the shape of a rectangle. When someone looks at a cylinder only from the top, it has the shape of a circle. The two could keep arguing, "I'm right and you're wrong" and get nowhere in better understanding the cylinder. If we assume that each person is trying to accurately convey what they see, then we might come to understand how our different perspectives affect our seeing - and that both can be right - and that neither has the whole picture.

Faith and works are a false attempt to bifurcate human beingness.  One cannot be a human person without works.  People are either doing good works or bad works.  There is no third way.  They are either works done under the Gospel via Jesus' reconciliation and forgiveness of the sinner or works done exclusively under the law in order to merit rewards or punishments.  THere is no third way.  Human beingness cannot be separated from human doingness.  To do so is to forego scripture and instead fall into the false bifurcation of the human person (ie. being vs. doing)


So you disagree with the Lutheran emphasis on grace alone without works?


Your phrasing of the topic is inconsistent with confessional Lutheran theology.  It is not grace alone but faith alone without (outside of, with no regard for) works.  Certainly from God in Christ's side it is grace alone.  But from our side as sinners it is trusting in God's promise of forgiveness in this grace alone.  It is trusting in God's promise for us, that God is for us not against us.  You are failing to distinguish between what God does for and to us (grace via the God in Christ) from what we "do" in faith.  Faith in this case happens to the person of faith always including their works.  Faith is trust not as a work but as trust in the promise ie. as Abraham modelled for us in that he believed that God would do what God promised.  Faith is not a work but reliance on Someone greater than oneself.

Also along this same line, the ELCA has co-opted the traditional confessional Lutheran phrase, Justification by Faith and renamed it Justification by Grace.  The fundamental theology built on the latter phrase mixes and confuses what God does and what humans do.  God does grace.  We "do" faith.  Justification of the sinner before God becomes real as one takes in God's forgiveness for them in Christ.  In Christ's death on the cross (which was the only death for sinners) for us, like Abraham, God is inviting us into a relationship where trusting in these promises becomes a way of living.  Sinners in one sense are justified by God's grace.  But in the traditional Lutheran formula it is faith that justifies us before God.  It is the sinner who knows that he cannot escape being a sinner but that in Christ (and only in Christ) the sinner's heart is finally convinced thoroughly and completely that he is forgiven and can thus move forward in confidence.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2015, 06:59:30 PM by readselerttoo »

Richard Johnson

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2015, 09:17:11 PM »

Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time.

Tommyrot.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Michael Slusser

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2015, 09:29:19 PM »

Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time.
Tommyrot.
My sentiment, too.

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2015, 09:43:48 PM »

Proper exegesis of scriptures begins by giving up all past interpretation of scripture and approach the text as if seeing it for the first time.
Tommyrot.
My sentiment, too.

Peace,
Michael

Add me to the chorus.

Charles Austin

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Re: Lutheran, Catholics "on the way" to greater unity
« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2015, 10:49:12 PM »
But if all one ever does is cling to whatever exegesis held sway for whatever time period one likes or from whichever exegete one feels buddy-buddy with, then our understanding and interpretation never becomes personal and never grows. That is dull, stale, flat and unpromising.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2015, 11:27:43 PM by Charles Austin »
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist  Writer for many church publications.