Author Topic: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here  (Read 40729 times)

Dan Fienen

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Re: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here
« Reply #390 on: April 19, 2016, 11:01:11 AM »
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Very bad for the confessional identity of Missouri. The only comfort is that it has taken more than fifty years (54, from 1962 to 2016) finally to achieve this serious depreciation of the Book of Concord and the Constitution of the LCMS. The resilience of confessional subscription is impressive and remains strong enough that proponents fear that a constitutional change would fail.

From those who think this way I have yet to hear a coherent statement as to what status doctrinal resolutions and statements have if they cannot hold people accountable to the faith we hold.  I have yet to hear how a real argument how Confessional subscription is weakened by such doctrinal resolutions and statements (that do not contradict the Confessions).  I have yet to hear a reasonable means how a confessional church body can hold accountable those who teach contrary to the faith we have confessed together without such clear statements that flow from Scripture and the Confessions.

The Confessional subscription of the ELCA and the predecessor bodies did not prevent the novelty of the ordination of women, the communion fellowship with those who believe in no real presence of Christ except in the mind and heart of the Christian, who have decided that much of the Old Testament and New is mythology at worst or parable at best (including the Virgin Birth confessed in the Creeds), or the transformation of GLBT relationships into the realm of normal and Biblical order.  How will Missouri be kept from these without statements that directly address these subjects from the vantage point of Scripture (without contradicting the Confessions but speaking where those Confessions may not directly address such topics)?

I hear pious sentiment and a lot of throat clearing but I have yet to read a clear detailed manner for dealing with these things apart from the public affirmation that this is what we have always and still believe, teach, and confess in the form of doctrinal statements and resolutions.
I have sympathies on both sides.  On the one hand, making doctrinal statements or resolutions in any way more binding than are all other resolutions should be done very cautiously and carefully.  Binding the consciences of our fellow believers is very serious business and should not be done in the heat of the moment and by a burst of enthusiasm.  On the other hand, doctrinal and practical issues have arisen that were never even considered by the 16th century confessionists, including matters that they would have considered too obvious to even mention.  We need to be able express what we as a church body believe about these matters.

A suggestion, although perhaps too cumbersome and elaborate.  Only doctrinal statements adopted by the Synod would be considered binding (more than any other resolution).  For a doctrinal statement to be adopted, whatever the initial impetus from the seminaries, Synodical leadership, individual pastors, congregations or circuits, the matter would be first referred to the CTCR for study, discussion and the drafting of a statement.  This would be issued to the Synod for study in ample time before a convention.  At the convention, the statement would be discussed and either remanded to the CTCR for further study, rejected or adopted by a 2/3 majority.  If adopted it would then be commended to the Synod for study and brought back in 3 years to the next convention for adoption, again by a 2/3 majority.  Finally if it passes at 2 conventions it would be given to the congregations of Synod and need to be passed by a simple majority of congregations who care to vote on the Statement.  Only then would it be considered a binding doctrinal statement.  If the matter is serious enough to invest that amount of effort into, and clear enough that it be adopted in that many votes, it will be considered "How we the LCMS understand this issue."  But this would make it very difficult for a relatively small special interest group to ram through their pet peeve.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

FrPeters

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Re: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here
« Reply #391 on: April 19, 2016, 11:03:29 AM »
Yes, you will receive a printed copy...  Bylaws require it!

Yes, there is clear and careful distinction between doctrinal resolution and statements attested to in the bylaws of the Synod.

No, there is no voluntarily abide; bylaws describe dispute process for those who believe something is contrary either to Scripture or Confession but no member (congregation or pastor or commissioned) may voluntarily decide to ignore a resolution of Synod.  Expedient means not applicable (the way a resolution about a school would be to a parish without a school) and not simply "I don't like it" and the only voluntary way to disagree after the process for disputing such stance of Synod without Synod recanting or repenting is to be silent and teach and act in harmony with the position of Synod or to resign and leave.  I do not say this to be harsh because I and nearly everyone I know wants doctrinal agreement and not disagreement or resignation but neither the constitution or bylaws envision a Synod in which there is no system of doctrinal supervision and oversight that both calls to account those who depart from what Synod believes, confesses, and teaches, and, for lack of a better word, enforces that teaching of Synod.

Though Pr. Hannah traces this to 1962, you can go way back to the Brief Statement (1932) or to Walther's Church and Ministry which were adopted as the official positions of Synod.
Fr Larry Peters
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http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/

John Koke

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Re: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here
« Reply #392 on: April 19, 2016, 11:20:29 AM »
Yes, there is clear and careful distinction between doctrinal resolution and statements attested to in the bylaws of the Synod.

If would indulge a lurker, could you please point me to where in the bylaws that distinction is made?  I would feel much better about the CCM decision if I could see something objective that says "Yes, this is a doctrinal decision that is binding.". Sorry, that's the IT geek in me that likes objective facts I can point to.

John_Hannah

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Re: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here
« Reply #393 on: April 19, 2016, 11:24:02 AM »
I don't know if we will receive printed copies, we have in the past.  I intend to download mine to my tablet and use that for the convention, probably rather than the printed copy if they send it out.  Smaller, lighter, easier to schlep around.  Besides, while the workbook is an important reference and good to look at before the convention, the really important book will be the first Daily News.  That will have the actual resolutions to be voted on once the floor committees finish working on them.  Overtures in the convention workbook may or may not see the light of day and are usually changed, sometime almost beyond all recognition.

I'm not sure that they will let you bring it into the voting delegates area. Electronic devices are usually prohibited.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Harry Edmon

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Re: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here
« Reply #394 on: April 19, 2016, 11:27:17 AM »
I don't know if we will receive printed copies, we have in the past.  I intend to download mine to my tablet and use that for the convention, probably rather than the printed copy if they send it out.  Smaller, lighter, easier to schlep around.  Besides, while the workbook is an important reference and good to look at before the convention, the really important book will be the first Daily News.  That will have the actual resolutions to be voted on once the floor committees finish working on them.  Overtures in the convention workbook may or may not see the light of day and are usually changed, sometime almost beyond all recognition.

I'm not sure that they will let you bring it into the voting delegates area. Electronic devices are usually prohibited.

Peace, JOHN
They allowed them in 2013.   You were supposed to make sure you had your device in "Airplane" mode to prevent electonic communications between the delegates.
Harry Edmon, Ph.D., LCMS Layman

John_Hannah

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Re: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here
« Reply #395 on: April 19, 2016, 11:34:10 AM »

Though Pr. Hannah traces this to 1962, you can go way back to the Brief Statement (1932) or to Walther's Church and Ministry which were adopted as the official positions of Synod.


They were not adopted as additional confessions or symbols, per the Synodical constitution. As noted many times above, there is a procedure to amend the constitution. That is what should be done here.

The 1962 date is from the Convention that ruled the Brief Statement to not be confessional. (That was because it is not.)

I think it will be sinister and mischievous if the convention approves this based upon appeals to avoid protestant liberalism when that is exactly what it is from the position of those of subscribing (unqualified subscription) to the Book of Concord.  As I said, "Good luck on recovering Lutheran identity."   :'(

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Dan Fienen

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Re: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here
« Reply #396 on: April 19, 2016, 11:38:43 AM »
Yes, there is clear and careful distinction between doctrinal resolution and statements attested to in the bylaws of the Synod.

If would indulge a lurker, could you please point me to where in the bylaws that distinction is made?  I would feel much better about the CCM decision if I could see something objective that says "Yes, this is a doctrinal decision that is binding.". Sorry, that's the IT geek in me that likes objective facts I can point to.
The Bylaw on Doctrinal Resolutions and Statements is 1.6.2 on pgs. 34-35 of the 2013 Handbook.  Clicking on the link will download a pdf copy of the Handbook.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Weedon

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Re: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here
« Reply #397 on: April 19, 2016, 11:44:21 AM »
When the magisterium is paper, it begets reams.

John Koke

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Re: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here
« Reply #398 on: April 19, 2016, 11:46:11 AM »
Yes, there is clear and careful distinction between doctrinal resolution and statements attested to in the bylaws of the Synod.

If would indulge a lurker, could you please point me to where in the bylaws that distinction is made?  I would feel much better about the CCM decision if I could see something objective that says "Yes, this is a doctrinal decision that is binding.". Sorry, that's the IT geek in me that likes objective facts I can point to.
The Bylaw on Doctrinal Resolutions and Statements is 1.6.2 on pgs. 34-35 of the 2013 Handbook.  Clicking on the link will download a pdf copy of the Handbook.

Thank you. :)

FrPeters

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Re: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here
« Reply #399 on: April 19, 2016, 11:58:09 AM »
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When the magisterium is paper, it begets reams.

Sadly true but when the Word is unheard and Confessions unheeded, we are left with the bylaw.  While this is not as it should be, we have covenanted together in constitution and bylaw to live together under the Word, confessing with the confessors, we believe and teach.  I am not happy when we begin with the bylaw but I do understand how we end up there.
Fr Larry Peters
Grace LCMS, Clarksville, TN
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aletheist

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Re: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here
« Reply #400 on: April 19, 2016, 12:57:22 PM »
A suggestion, although perhaps too cumbersome and elaborate.  Only doctrinal statements adopted by the Synod would be considered binding (more than any other resolution).
I have proposed this here, as well, along with a requirement that doctrinal statements be adopted by the exact same procedure as constitutional amendments.  I even drafted language for an overture to that effect.  However, the fact of the matter is that no doctrinal statements have ever been adopted since the elaborate process for doing so was added to the Bylaws in 1977.  In other words, the LCMS does not currently have any doctrinal statements as defined by the Bylaws.
Jon Alan Schmidt, LCMS Layman

"We believe, teach and confess that by conserving the distinction between Law and Gospel as an especially glorious light
with great diligence in the Church, the Word of God is rightly divided according to the admonition of St. Paul." (FC Ep V.2)

aletheist

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Re: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here
« Reply #401 on: April 19, 2016, 12:59:38 PM »
Yes, there is clear and careful distinction between doctrinal resolution and statements attested to in the bylaws of the Synod.
The problem is that there is no definitive way to differentiate which resolutions are "doctrinal" and which are not.  The Bylaws do not require that a resolution be explicitly designated as "doctrinal" (or not) when it is adopted in convention.
... no member (congregation or pastor or commissioned) may voluntarily decide to ignore a resolution of Synod.  Expedient means not applicable (the way a resolution about a school would be to a parish without a school) and not simply "I don't like it" ...
My dictionary defines "expedient" as "suitable for achieving a particular end in a given circumstance" or "characterized by concern with what is opportune; especially, governed by self-interest."  It goes on to suggest that "expedient usually implies what is immediately advantageous without regard for ethics or consistent principles."  Therefore, I see no basis for equating "expedient" with "applicable" as suggested here; rather, if a resolution--doctrinal or otherwise--is deemed by a congregation to be unsuitable for achieving a particular end, inopportune, or otherwise contrary to its self-interest, then that congregation is not bound by it.  The only way to change this is to amend the Constitution.
Jon Alan Schmidt, LCMS Layman

"We believe, teach and confess that by conserving the distinction between Law and Gospel as an especially glorious light
with great diligence in the Church, the Word of God is rightly divided according to the admonition of St. Paul." (FC Ep V.2)

aletheist

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Re: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here
« Reply #402 on: April 19, 2016, 01:05:48 PM »
The 1962 date is from the Convention that ruled the Brief Statement to not be confessional. (That was because it is not.)
More to the point, the convention that year affirmed a CCM opinion that ruled a 1959 convention resolution unconstitutional for the very same reason that 13-2694 is unconstitutional:  It effectively amends Article II without following the procedure prescribed by Article XV.  The CCM even cited that precedent in its opinion 12-2634, which explicitly gave a negative answer to the question, "Does the Synod require as a condition of membership that a member be bound by a doctrinal statement or resolution by the Synod in convention?"  That prompts me to wonder what caused the CCM to reverse its position so suddenly between opinions 12-2634 and 13-2694.
Jon Alan Schmidt, LCMS Layman

"We believe, teach and confess that by conserving the distinction between Law and Gospel as an especially glorious light
with great diligence in the Church, the Word of God is rightly divided according to the admonition of St. Paul." (FC Ep V.2)

John Koke

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Re: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here
« Reply #403 on: April 19, 2016, 01:25:45 PM »
Yes, there is clear and careful distinction between doctrinal resolution and statements attested to in the bylaws of the Synod.
The problem is that there is no definitive way to differentiate which resolutions are "doctrinal" and which are not.  The Bylaws do not require that a resolution be explicitly designated as "doctrinal" (or not) when it is adopted in convention.
... no member (congregation or pastor or commissioned) may voluntarily decide to ignore a resolution of Synod.  Expedient means not applicable (the way a resolution about a school would be to a parish without a school) and not simply "I don't like it" ...
My dictionary defines "expedient" as "suitable for achieving a particular end in a given circumstance" or "characterized by concern with what is opportune; especially, governed by self-interest."  It goes on to suggest that "expedient usually implies what is immediately advantageous without regard for ethics or consistent principles."  Therefore, I see no basis for equating "expedient" with "applicable" as suggested here; rather, if a resolution--doctrinal or otherwise--is deemed by a congregation to be unsuitable for achieving a particular end, inopportune, or otherwise contrary to its self-interest, then that congregation is not bound by it.  The only way to change this is to amend the Constitution.

Thank you - that was what I was trying to get at with my earlier question.  We have a procedure for adopting doctrinal resolutions, but as far as I can tell from the Bylaws, nothing that defines which resolutions must be adopted via that process.

As to the meaning of "expedient", if memory serves, the problem stems from the translation of the German adjective " geeignet" from the original constitution.  The German can be translated as "suitable" or "fitting".  That is a bit closer to the example of a resolution relating to day schools as being " geeignet" to congregations with a school.  I have a copy of the German constitution ... somewhere ...

John_Hannah

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Re: LCMS 2016 Convention Approacheth - Keep Moving, Nothing to See Here
« Reply #404 on: April 19, 2016, 01:29:30 PM »

The only way to change this is to amend the Constitution.


AMEN! For all the energy spent these many, many years...

Think of Pastor Becker going through three accusatory exercises, which in the end acquitted him, simply because the current constitution requires that. Many people (not only Pastor Becker) could have been saved much time and energy if the constitution had been amended after 1962.   :'(

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS