Author Topic: Raising an Ebenezer at the church of her (March, 2005)  (Read 31197 times)

Gladfelteri

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2005, 07:58:34 AM »
>>It is quite a leap to go from these biblical (female) images for God to accusing them of worshiping Astarte or Isis.<<

I didn't say that their website mentioned Astarte or Isis.  But this doesn't come through my theologically conservative "filter" as being in synch with classical, traditionally orthodox Christianity, either.  (And maybe the people at Ebenezer Church would agree with that . . .) And I don't know of a single reputable theologically conservative Evangelical theologian who would consider what Ebenezer Church is doing with the "goddess" /"divine feminine" thing to fit in with classical, traditionally orthodox Christianity.  

If I didn't know better, I would almost think that they have been taking Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code" too seriously . . .

I have to wonder with the positions they are taking, and the direction in which they are going, why they are staying in the ELCA rather than becoming an independent, non-Lutheran congregation.

I also know a lot of Synods (not only mine, but the LCMS, WELS, ELS just to mention a few big ones for starters) which would not tolerate what Ebenezer Church is doing "for a New York minute."  Their Congregation and Clergy would find themselves thrown out of those Synods faster than they could say "Da Vinci Code."
« Last Edit: March 21, 2005, 08:03:36 AM by Gladfelteri »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2005, 06:32:27 PM »
Quote
And I don't know of a single reputable theologically conservative Evangelical theologian who would consider what Ebenezer Church is doing with the "goddess" /"divine feminine" thing to fit in with classical, traditionally orthodox Christianity.  

One of the problems with "classical, traditionally orthodox Christianity" is that it was created by males who were usually unable (or unwilling) to see the feminine images of God that are present in scriptures. Even the Greek word for God Theos, is used both as a masculine and feminine. In all four of the Greek dictionaries I checked, "God," "god," and "goddess" are ways this one Greek word is translated. (It is used as a feminine in Acts 19:37.) Thus it is not incorrect to refer to Theos as a she. In some context it is clear that the god is feminine.
"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]

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2005, 09:54:07 PM »
Quote
Even the Greek word for God Theos, is used both as a masculine and feminine. In all four of the Greek dictionaries I checked, "God," "god," and "goddess" are ways this one Greek word is translated. (It is used as a feminine in Acts 19:37.) Thus it is not incorrect to refer to Theos as a she. In some context it is clear that the god is feminine.

Indeed.  Of course, the goddess in Acts 19:37 is not the God of Abraham, Issac, Jacob, St. Paul, or Jesus of Nazareth, but a different divine being.

Which leaves open the question, just which god(dess) is being invoked on Ebenezer Lutheran's web site?

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buechler

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
« Reply #33 on: March 22, 2005, 05:54:14 AM »
Brian wrote: "One of the problems with "classical, traditionally orthodox Christianity" is that it was created by males..."

Let me get this straight, the scriptures and traditions of the church were written by males who were simply writing through their own cultural bigotries without benefit of divine inspiration. Therefore the Scriptures and traditions of the church can be thrown out in favor of another set of human made criteria, because after all this "Christian stuff" is whatever we decide it is in our culture.

Well Brian, I certain can see the reason for your revisionist ideas. No divine inspiration, no divine mandate with regards to metaphors used for God, therefore anything goes...sexually or theologically. (unless of course you find something politically incorrect, then it is objectionable).

Thanks for the secret Gnosis!

Rob Buechler

hansen

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 200
« Reply #34 on: March 22, 2005, 06:56:54 AM »
Quote

One of the problems with "classical, traditionally orthodox Christianity" is that it was created by males who were usually unable (or unwilling) to see the feminine images of God that are present in scriptures.


Presuming that's true (something I don't believe) what makes you think that your current views/opinions/ideas aren't driven mostly by the culture in which you live, rather than by all that is good, decent, upright, righteous, and holy?  Seems to me that your view of the world is very much in synch with the secular temple of the university, where "studies" are their scripture, postmodernism is their philosophy, gender/race/class is their trinity, "no distinctions" is their view of male/female, where you can never be too liberal/leftist, and where the only real sin is being "judgmental".  Ergo, to be consistent, you should discount/discredit your own words and ideas, by at least equal measure that you discount/discredit all of Christianity which has come before you.

DH
« Last Edit: March 22, 2005, 07:21:47 AM by hansen »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
« Reply #35 on: March 22, 2005, 07:28:05 AM »
Quote
Let me get this straight, the scriptures and traditions of the church were written by males who were simply writing through their own cultural bigotries without benefit of divine inspiration. Therefore the Scriptures and traditions of the church can be thrown out in favor of another set of human made criteria, because after all this "Christian stuff" is whatever we decide it is in our culture.


Nope. The writers were divinely inspired. The centuries of studies and interpretation by only (white) males reflects the interpreters' cultural myopia.

Quote
Well Brian, I certain can see the reason for your revisionist ideas. No divine inspiration, no divine mandate with regards to metaphors used for God, therefore anything goes...sexually or theologically. (unless of course you find something politically incorrect, then it is objectionable).

Well, Rob, I can certainly see the reason why you are unable to carry on a conversation with someone else. You put words in their mouths that they have never said -- actually, opposite words from what is said. I have always maintained divine inspiration for scriptures. There are divine mandates regarding metaphors for God -- and many of them are in feminine images that have frequently been overlooked. I don't believe that I have made any statements that I couldn't back up biblically.

Quote
Thanks for the secret Gnosis!

If you now know it, it's no longer a secret. It seems to me that it's about time that some of your faulty gnoses were challenged.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 200
« Reply #36 on: March 22, 2005, 07:43:25 AM »
Quote
Presuming that's true (something I don't believe) what makes you think that your current views/opinions/ideas aren't driven mostly by the culture in which you live, rather than by all that is good, decent, upright, righteous, and holy?

1. My views/opinions/ideas come from detailed study of scriptures. Although I try to use the best unbiased exegetical tools available, it is likely that my own life will filter what I see.
2. I listen to the views/opinions/ideas of other Christians. I find that my white, middle-class, male cultural limits my abilities to look fully at scriptures. For example, I can't fully understand the situation of a woman who was bleeding for 12 years as well as female exegetes might understand the woman's turmoil. When I read biblical studies by females and non-whites and from third-world countries, I usually discover ways of looking at a text that I had never thought of before. I read what both liberal (e.g., Jesus Seminary) and conservaitve exegetes may say about a passage. I certainly don't agree with every person whom I read; but if I only read views that were the same as mine, I wouldn't learn anything. It is from those who are different that I learn the most -- and discover some of my own cultural filters that limit my understanding.

I look at Paul who was so damn certain of his beliefs and what God wanted that he tried to rid the world of Christians. God had to make him blind before he could see clearly. So I worry about anyone who is so certain about his/her beliefs in God that they were willing to judge others as ungodly. They strike me as being somewhat like the self-righteous, strongly religious, deeply committed, but misguided Paul.
"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]

hansen

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 200
« Reply #37 on: March 22, 2005, 08:15:07 AM »
Quote

1. My views/opinions/ideas come from detailed study of scriptures. Although I try to use the best unbiased exegetical tools available, it is likely that my own life will filter what I see.


Given that there are others who have contrary opinions, who likewise draw on a detailed study of scriptures and "the best unbiased" exegetical tools, then...

Quote
2. I listen to the views/opinions/ideas of other Christians. I find that my white, middle-class, male cultural limits my abilities to look fully at scriptures.


Wow.  Excuse me for being harsh here, but what nonsense.  What on earth does skin pigmentation, social class, or even culture have to do with a clear understanding of God?  I have been friends with a hispanic family for about ten years (many of whom were born and raised in a dirt poor part of Mexico) and in all that time, I certainly haven't noticed any significant differences -- no great religious epiphanies yet.  But we have had a lot of long talks about the nonsense ideas that liberal intellectuals come up with (including about race, sex, and culture).

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For example, I can't fully understand the situation of a woman who was bleeding for 12 years as well as female exegetes might understand the woman's turmoil.


The likelyhood that a modern woman could fully empathize with a woman of thousands of years ago, is slim.  Add in a heavy-duty dose of feminism on the part of the exegete (which is most likely) and I think that I could better empathize with that woman.

Quote
When I read biblical studies by females and non-whites and from third-world countries, I usually discover ways of looking at a text that I had never thought of before.  I read what both liberal (e.g., Jesus Seminary) and conservaitve exegetes may say about a passage. I certainly don't agree with every person whom I read; but if I only read views that were the same as mine, I wouldn't learn anything. It is from those who are different that I learn the most -- and discover some of my own cultural filters that limit my understanding.


Good, but I still don't have any idea what difference race, sex, nationality, income level, etc.,  has to do with anything.

Quote
I look at Paul who was so damn certain of his beliefs and what God wanted that he tried to rid the world of Christians. God had to make him blind before he could see clearly. So I worry about anyone who is so certain about his/her beliefs in God that they were willing to judge others as ungodly. They strike me as being somewhat like the self-righteous, strongly religious, deeply committed, but misguided Paul.


So, after Paul became a Christian, he became a wise,  open-minded liberal, unwilling to take a stand on anything, because then he was no longer sure of himself?
« Last Edit: March 22, 2005, 08:23:56 AM by hansen »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 200
« Reply #38 on: March 22, 2005, 03:13:09 PM »
Quote
Wow.  Excuse me for being harsh here, but what nonsense.  What on earth does skin pigmentation, social class, or even culture have to do with a clear understanding of God?


Since "we know only in part" and "see in a mirror, dimly" (1 Cor 13:9, 12), none of us have a "clear understanding of God?" What any of us knows is only partial -- and our knowledge is colored by our own experiences.

Quote
The likelyhood that a modern woman could fully empathize with a woman of thousands of years ago, is slim.  Add in a heavy-duty dose of feminism on the part of the exegete (which is most likely) and I think that I could better empathize with that woman.

Perhaps a modern woman cannot fully empathize with a woman from 2000 years ago -- but I'm certain that whatever empathy they may have with the ancient woman, it will be a whole lot more than I could ever muster.

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Good, but I still don't have any idea what difference race, sex, nationality, income level, etc.,  has to do with anything.

That is your loss. One example that my seminary theology professor discovered was that he had been teaching that the basic sin was trying to be like God: being proud of our accomplishments, raising ourselves up to to godlike status. He knew that that was his experience.

His wife went to seminary and said that she did not have that experience of sin. For her, like many women, she had never had thoughts of becoming like God. She saw her basic sin was thinking of herself as less than human -- not living up to the giftedness and potential that God had given her.

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So, after Paul became a Christian, he became a wise,  open-minded liberal, unwilling to take a stand on anything, because then he was no longer sure of himself?

There is some ambiguity in his writings. Circumcision is not necessary, but he has Timothy circumcised. There are no such things as other gods, so sacrifices to them mean nothing, but he would refrain from eating such meat. We are justified by faith (alone). Works account for nothing, but then most of his letters have a section where he tells the readers what they should be doing. While he says that he doesn't want to boast, he goes ahead and boasts about what a good Jew he was -- and what a suffering Christian he is. I think Romans 7 is a good illustration of a man who knows the limits of his own abilities. If anything, Paul is sure that he will sin; and he is sure that there is no condemnation for those in Christ.
"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]

buechler

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
« Reply #39 on: March 22, 2005, 03:16:11 PM »
Brian wrote: "Nope. The writers were divinely inspired. The centuries of studies and interpretation by only (white) males reflects the interpreters' cultural myopia."

Good to see that you and yours are so much wiser than the apostolic fathers, Nicene fathers, Luther, etc...not to mention Peter, Paul, and our Lord. Also amazing that you and yours know the culture of that time better than they did. What Wisdom! There must be a secret Gnosis here!

As for your other comments, they are hardly worth a reply.

Peace!
Rob Buechler




Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
« Reply #40 on: March 22, 2005, 03:24:59 PM »
Quote
Good to see that you and yours are so much wiser than the apostolic fathers, Nicene fathers, Luther, etc...not to mention Peter, Paul, and our Lord. Also amazing that you and yours know the culture of that time better than they did. What Wisdom! There must be a secret Gnosis here!

Yup. I would venture to guess that I know a whole lot more about the 20th & 21st century Americans than those apostles, patriarchs, and reformers did. Presumably, I know a whole lot more about the English language than they did.

If the Gospel is to be something more than a history lesson, it has to interact with the lives of people today. It has to be presented in language and images and metaphors that are (1) accurate in reflecting the biblical and theological truths and (2) make so much sense to the people of today that it changes their lives.
"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]

buechler

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
« Reply #41 on: March 22, 2005, 03:54:20 PM »
Quote

Yup. I would venture to guess that I know a whole lot more about the 20th & 21st century Americans than those apostles, patriarchs, and reformers did. Presumably, I know a whole lot more about the English language than they did.

If the Gospel is to be something more than a history lesson, it has to interact with the lives of people today. It has to be presented in language and images and metaphors that are (1) accurate in reflecting the biblical and theological truths and (2) make so much sense to the people of today that it changes their lives.



Great! Good for you! And thanks for proving the point that what THEY say means less than what YOU say.
That would also mean that what God says means less than what You say. I didn't realize that you had been elected to such a high estate, nor did I realize that I was arguing with the GREAT I AM BRIAN!


Peace!
Rob Buechler

P.S. I think I am enjoying rattling your cage too much, so lets consider this discussion closed. I will keep you in prayer, that you may repent of your pride.

hansen

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 200
« Reply #42 on: March 22, 2005, 04:46:58 PM »
Quote


Since "we know only in part" and "see in a mirror, dimly" (1 Cor 13:9, 12), none of us have a "clear understanding of God?" What any of us knows is only partial -- and our knowledge is colored by our own experiences.


True, but I find little in race, gender, and class, per se, to help us see the face of God.  We see it in a variety of people.  We see the antithesis of God in those whose lives are in chaos, and we see excellent examples of it in those who bring peace to others -- peace which breeds strength   order, and happiness, rather than the liberal version of peace, which is really just wimpiness.  Race-gender-class have little to do with it.  E.g., I have more in common with Condoleeza Rice (a black woman raised in a poor, racist environment, who now is far beyond me socially, and is an evangelical protestant) than I do a white male Lutheran attending Ebenezer.

Quote
Perhaps a modern woman cannot fully empathize with a woman from 2000 years ago -- but I'm certain that whatever empathy they may have with the ancient woman, it will be a whole lot more than I could ever muster.


That sounds like a generalization -- one which states that there are innate, inborne differences between men and women...

Quote

DH Wrote:
Good, but I still don't have any idea what difference race, sex, nationality, income level, etc.,  has to do with anything.
BS Wrote:
That is your loss. One example that my seminary theology professor discovered was that he had been teaching that the basic sin was trying to be like God: being proud of our accomplishments, raising ourselves up to to godlike status. He knew that that was his experience.

His wife went to seminary and said that she did not have that experience of sin. For her, like many women, she had never had thoughts of becoming like God. She saw her basic sin was thinking of herself as less than human -- not living up to the giftedness and potential that God had given her.


Male-female differences are significant, I accept that.  It is important for us to have contact with the opposite sex.  But I don't accept your theology professor's take on it.  Women are quite capable of playing God, and men are quite capable of thinking of themselves as less than human, and not living up to their potential.

Quote
There is some ambiguity in his writings. Circumcision is not necessary, but he has Timothy circumcised. There are no such things as other gods, so sacrifices to them mean nothing, but he would refrain from eating such meat. We are justified by faith (alone). Works account for nothing, but then most of his letters have a section where he tells the readers what they should be doing. While he says that he doesn't want to boast, he goes ahead and boasts about what a good Jew he was -- and what a suffering Christian he is. I think Romans 7 is a good illustration of a man who knows the limits of his own abilities. If anything, Paul is sure that he will sin; and he is sure that there is no condemnation for those in Christ.


Sounds right-on to me.  Works are important, but only as a *byproduct* of faith.  Standards vs. compassion.  Passion & ambition vs. humbleness.  Etc..  As our pastor once said, a symptom of being a Christian is an internal struggle.  And it's true.  If we move too far in the conservative direction, then we are heartless and inhumane.  If we move too far in the liberal direction, then chaos ensues.  The goal is to be in the middle (the absolute middle, not relative to society), constantly struggling with truisms of right and left, micro and macro, etc..  The goal isn't to be perfectly consistent.  I think it was Fr. Neuhaus who once said, "better to be inconsistent, than consistently wrong".

So Paul didn't become a liberal (or a conservative).  He became a Christian.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2005, 04:57:16 PM by hansen »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
« Reply #43 on: March 22, 2005, 09:01:44 PM »
Quote

Great! Good for you! And thanks for proving the point that what THEY say means less than what YOU say.
That would also mean that what God says means less than what You say. I didn't realize that you had been elected to such a high estate, nor did I realize that I was arguing with the GREAT I AM BRIAN!

I tried letting God speak one Sunday, and there was silence. I realized that God had called me to the office of pastor and that God was expecting me to preach -- and so were all the people sitting in the pews. They were uncomfortable with the silence.

I believe that there are few pastors who spend more time studying scriptures than I do in preparation for preaching or teaching. At best guess, at least 3000 use my biblical exegesis on the gospels each week to help them prepare sermons -- or just for their own devotions.


Quote
P.S. I think I am enjoying rattling your cage too much, so lets consider this discussion closed. I will keep you in prayer, that you may repent of your pride.

I'm happy to give you pleasure. If any of your accusations were even remotely close to reality my cage might be rattled. The arrows you're throwing my way completely miss your target.
"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]

buechler

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Re: Raising an Ebenezer (Part 2)  (March, 2005)
« Reply #44 on: March 24, 2005, 04:01:45 AM »
To get back to the point vis-a-vis Ebenezer, a couple of thougths that I would bring to the table:
1) This congregation is not alone in its syncretism or heterodoxy. There are any number of pastors or parishes that would join Ebenezer in this kind of thing. What does that mean with regards to a united witness by virtue of doctrine for any denomination?

2) If there is nothing that can be done to correct the situation by virtue of discipline, then is it time for the orthodox and the heterodox to part ways?

3) If this happens, can the orthodox keep orthodoxy or will the spirit of Anti-Christ creep in and create the same mess we now have?

I am reminded by Luther that we cannot find a perfect church, but am also reminded that we must strive to be holy as Christ is holy and keep fast to the apostolic witness and the authority of Scripture.

The whole situation that Ebenezer encapsulates makes me more than a little nervous for the future. I pray the Lord will come soon and put an end to this rebellion.

Peace!
Rob Buechler