Author Topic: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?  (Read 9782 times)

Dave Likeness

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Re: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?
« Reply #30 on: May 30, 2017, 11:24:37 AM »
The Concordia University System has been in place for 25 years.  This effort has attempted
to keep the preparation of full time church workers in the LCMS as a high priority.   However,
that goal does not imply that our current Concordia University System is still a teacher and
preacher factory.  Seward, River Forest, and St. Paul probably are the biggest feeders to
supply our Lutheran Elementary  Schools with Synodically trained teachers. 

peter_speckhard

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Re: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?
« Reply #31 on: May 30, 2017, 11:33:26 AM »
The shift from preparing church-workers to providing higher education generally is a major shift in purpose. The shift from being part of a church body to being an independent entity is a shift in identity.

The underlying question for those involved in sorting through how all this is going to work is, what is a Lutheran university? What does it mean to say that a university is Lutheran?

Look at some other activity besides higher education. If my congregation does a car wash, as the youth group sometimes does, well, in what sense is it a Lutheran car wash? The cars are not washed any differently in particularly Lutheran way. But the whole activity is done by and for a real, flesh-and-blood, visible group of Lutheran people. The fact that it is affiliated with my congregation is critical to the nature of the enterprise. If a bunch of kids organized an independent Lutheran car wash, well, the independence of it calls into question the Lutheranness of it, since it is unclear how a car wash in and of itself can be Lutheran. 

To say an institution can be Lutheran without being affiliated with an actual Lutheran church body is to render Lutheranism an abstraction. Certainly one could not claim a university was Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican without at least having that designation be a two-way understanding between the university and an actual church. Even if the affiliation is loose or in name only, it makes a big difference. Evangelicals can have independent universities, but then they typically have a statement of faith and some governing body that makes sure nobody teaches anything contrary to it. Do any independent Lutheran universities have that kind of dynamic, such that the instructors must believe, teach, and confess Lutheranism?

If I said that Purdue University is an independent Lutheran university, what would prove me wrong other than the fact that Purdue doesn't self-identify as such?

« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 11:40:00 AM by peter_speckhard »

Dave Benke

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Re: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?
« Reply #32 on: May 30, 2017, 11:49:05 AM »
The shift from preparing church-workers to providing higher education generally is a major shift in purpose. The shift from being part of a church body to being an independent entity is a shift in identity.

The underlying question for those involved in sorting through how all this is going to work is, what is a Lutheran university? What does it mean to say that a university is Lutheran?

Look at some other activity besides higher education. If my congregation does a car wash, as the youth group sometimes does, well, in what sense is it a Lutheran car wash? The cars are not washed any differently in particularly Lutheran way. But the whole activity is done by and for a real, flesh-and-blood, visible group of Lutheran people. The fact that it is affiliated with my congregation is critical to the nature of the enterprise. If a bunch of kids organized an independent Lutheran car wash, well, the independence of it calls into question the Lutheranness of it, since it is unclear how a car wash in and of itself can be Lutheran. 

To say an institution can be Lutheran without being affiliated with an actual Lutheran church body is to render Lutheranism an abstraction. Certainly one could not claim a university was Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican without at least having that designation be a two-way understanding between the university and an actual church. Even if the affiliation is loose or in name only, it makes a big difference. Evangelicals can have independent universities, but then they typically have a statement of faith and some governing body that makes sure nobody teaches anything contrary to it. Do any independent Lutheran universities have that kind of dynamic, such that the instructors must believe, teach, and confess Lutheranism?

If I said that Purdue University is an independent Lutheran university, what would prove me wrong other than the fact that Purdue doesn't self-identify as such?

What do you mean by identity?  To use your analogy and then make it real - Recognized Service Organizations, for several hundred in the Missouri Synod and X amount of Social Service Organizations in the ELCA, are agencies - including some solely with the service of educational purpose - that are identified as Lutheran Organizations, by themselves and by those who use their services.  RSO LCMS agencies are Lutheran and affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.   Their identity is Lutheran. 

Dave Benke

peter_speckhard

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Re: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?
« Reply #33 on: May 30, 2017, 12:28:32 PM »
The shift from preparing church-workers to providing higher education generally is a major shift in purpose. The shift from being part of a church body to being an independent entity is a shift in identity.

The underlying question for those involved in sorting through how all this is going to work is, what is a Lutheran university? What does it mean to say that a university is Lutheran?

Look at some other activity besides higher education. If my congregation does a car wash, as the youth group sometimes does, well, in what sense is it a Lutheran car wash? The cars are not washed any differently in particularly Lutheran way. But the whole activity is done by and for a real, flesh-and-blood, visible group of Lutheran people. The fact that it is affiliated with my congregation is critical to the nature of the enterprise. If a bunch of kids organized an independent Lutheran car wash, well, the independence of it calls into question the Lutheranness of it, since it is unclear how a car wash in and of itself can be Lutheran. 

To say an institution can be Lutheran without being affiliated with an actual Lutheran church body is to render Lutheranism an abstraction. Certainly one could not claim a university was Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican without at least having that designation be a two-way understanding between the university and an actual church. Even if the affiliation is loose or in name only, it makes a big difference. Evangelicals can have independent universities, but then they typically have a statement of faith and some governing body that makes sure nobody teaches anything contrary to it. Do any independent Lutheran universities have that kind of dynamic, such that the instructors must believe, teach, and confess Lutheranism?

If I said that Purdue University is an independent Lutheran university, what would prove me wrong other than the fact that Purdue doesn't self-identify as such?

What do you mean by identity?  To use your analogy and then make it real - Recognized Service Organizations, for several hundred in the Missouri Synod and X amount of Social Service Organizations in the ELCA, are agencies - including some solely with the service of educational purpose - that are identified as Lutheran Organizations, by themselves and by those who use their services.  RSO LCMS agencies are Lutheran and affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.   Their identity is Lutheran. 

Dave Benke
That simply begs the question. I get that institutions can and do call themselves Lutheran and are known that way by their clients. My question was what, apart from simply self-identifying as such, makes an independent Lutheran organization Lutheran?

An RSO is not entirely independent. RSO's have a clear connection to a flesh and blood church body, the people doing the recognizing that makes the organizations "recognized." They start (or stop) being "recognized" as such by an official act of an ecclesial body.

If I started, say, a health clinic (or a hospital, school, or soup kitchen  or whatever) as an independent Floopy health clinic, I would expect someone to ask, "What makes it Floopy?" And if I answered, "It's a Floopy clinic because it is identified as a Floopy Organization by those running it and by those using their services," I wouldn't expect a lot of people nodding and saying, "Ah, I see." I would expect them to persist with questions like, "How is it different from the public health clinic across town? Why should I prefer a Floopy clinic to a non-Floopy clinic?"

For many people "Lutheran" doesn't mean anything more than "Floopy." But even those of us in the know on what "Lutheran" means attach the words to a church or at the very least to Confessions. Without that connection to a church or relationship to the Confessions, what makes an independent Lutheran university Lutheran, again, apart from simply calling itself by that name?

Purdue doesn't call itself Lutheran, but apart from the name, what isn't Lutheran about it? What is it lacking? If it did call itself 
"Purdue Lutheran University" but changed nothing else whatsoever about itself as currently constituted and operated, would it legitimately be a Lutheran university? If an independent Lutheran university decided to become an independent non-Lutheran university, what would it have to acquire or divest itself of other than a name?
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 12:43:39 PM by peter_speckhard »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?
« Reply #34 on: May 30, 2017, 12:48:38 PM »
That simply begs the question. I get that institutions can and do call themselves Lutheran and are known that way by their clients. My question was what, apart from simply self-identifying as such, makes an independent Lutheran organization Lutheran?


The answer is, "Nothing."


There are "Lutheran" congregations who are not affiliated with any Lutheran church body. Prior to becoming an independent congregation, Zion Lutheran Church in Worland, Wyoming, was affiliated with the UCC. (Before that, they were E&R). Those initials were printed on their sign, but in small letters. It made it difficult for the ALC (and I imagine the LCMS) congregation in town to tell folks that Zion was not Lutheran.


What was Emanuel Lutheran Hospital in Portland, Oregon, when I was growing up, is now Legacy Emanuel Hospital. I don't know how much it was connected with the Lutheran congregations or any Lutheran denomination when "Lutheran" was in its name. (Our Oregon Synod offices are located on their campus.)


The ALC and LCA had different polities in regards to such organizations. In the ALC, Lutheran parachurch groups, like camps, nursing homes, schools, etc. were owned and managed by separate corporations. Often the corporation members were Lutheran congregations or individual members of congregations. In the LCA the ownership and management was the synods. In the ALC, these separate corporation could solicit money directly from congregations and individuals. In the LCA, monies were to come through the synods. The ELCA has gone more towards the ALC model.
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Charles Austin

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Re: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?
« Reply #35 on: May 30, 2017, 01:22:16 PM »
Actually, were I an outsider and uninformed about identities, I think I would be more drawn to the "Floopy Health Clinic" rather than the "Lutheran Health Clinic," 'cause it sounds like the former would be more fun than the latter.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Former national staff Lutheran Church in America And the Lutheran world Federation, Geneva. Former journalist. Now retired and living in Minneapolis.

Dave Benke

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Re: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?
« Reply #36 on: May 30, 2017, 01:49:07 PM »
The shift from preparing church-workers to providing higher education generally is a major shift in purpose. The shift from being part of a church body to being an independent entity is a shift in identity.

The underlying question for those involved in sorting through how all this is going to work is, what is a Lutheran university? What does it mean to say that a university is Lutheran?

Look at some other activity besides higher education. If my congregation does a car wash, as the youth group sometimes does, well, in what sense is it a Lutheran car wash? The cars are not washed any differently in particularly Lutheran way. But the whole activity is done by and for a real, flesh-and-blood, visible group of Lutheran people. The fact that it is affiliated with my congregation is critical to the nature of the enterprise. If a bunch of kids organized an independent Lutheran car wash, well, the independence of it calls into question the Lutheranness of it, since it is unclear how a car wash in and of itself can be Lutheran. 

To say an institution can be Lutheran without being affiliated with an actual Lutheran church body is to render Lutheranism an abstraction. Certainly one could not claim a university was Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican without at least having that designation be a two-way understanding between the university and an actual church. Even if the affiliation is loose or in name only, it makes a big difference. Evangelicals can have independent universities, but then they typically have a statement of faith and some governing body that makes sure nobody teaches anything contrary to it. Do any independent Lutheran universities have that kind of dynamic, such that the instructors must believe, teach, and confess Lutheranism?

If I said that Purdue University is an independent Lutheran university, what would prove me wrong other than the fact that Purdue doesn't self-identify as such?

What do you mean by identity?  To use your analogy and then make it real - Recognized Service Organizations, for several hundred in the Missouri Synod and X amount of Social Service Organizations in the ELCA, are agencies - including some solely with the service of educational purpose - that are identified as Lutheran Organizations, by themselves and by those who use their services.  RSO LCMS agencies are Lutheran and affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.   Their identity is Lutheran. 

Dave Benke
That simply begs the question. I get that institutions can and do call themselves Lutheran and are known that way by their clients. My question was what, apart from simply self-identifying as such, makes an independent Lutheran organization Lutheran?

An RSO is not entirely independent. RSO's have a clear connection to a flesh and blood church body, the people doing the recognizing that makes the organizations "recognized." They start (or stop) being "recognized" as such by an official act of an ecclesial body.

If I started, say, a health clinic (or a hospital, school, or soup kitchen  or whatever) as an independent Floopy health clinic, I would expect someone to ask, "What makes it Floopy?" And if I answered, "It's a Floopy clinic because it is identified as a Floopy Organization by those running it and by those using their services," I wouldn't expect a lot of people nodding and saying, "Ah, I see." I would expect them to persist with questions like, "How is it different from the public health clinic across town? Why should I prefer a Floopy clinic to a non-Floopy clinic?"

For many people "Lutheran" doesn't mean anything more than "Floopy." But even those of us in the know on what "Lutheran" means attach the words to a church or at the very least to Confessions. Without that connection to a church or relationship to the Confessions, what makes an independent Lutheran university Lutheran, again, apart from simply calling itself by that name?

Purdue doesn't call itself Lutheran, but apart from the name, what isn't Lutheran about it? What is it lacking? If it did call itself 
"Purdue Lutheran University" but changed nothing else whatsoever about itself as currently constituted and operated, would it legitimately be a Lutheran university? If an independent Lutheran university decided to become an independent non-Lutheran university, what would it have to acquire or divest itself of other than a name?

What you say about "institutions" could also be applied to wider designations, such as denominations or affiliative denominational groups.  So, to put the spike in the chest of the perpetrator, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America can self-identify as "Lutheran," and have all kinds of theological, doctrinal and practical linkages to that word, but are they as a denomination "Lutheran?"  Certainly your friends on other forums would say "Not a chance."    They'd say the same thing about the Lutheran World Federation.  And many of those interlocutors would also impale the LCMS on the same spike, and call for stouter or changed leadership to hew the True Lutheran Line.

So what's a guy to do?  His institution is going to be connected to the word Lutheran, is going to have less rather than more political/electoral supervision from The Home Bureau.  Can he remain underlying-ly, undying-ly Lutheran?  How?

My suggestion would be a connection a bit less overt, like Recognized Service Organization status.  We're with you, but we get to pick our own leaders and we get to set a course consistent with our core mission, which you have said by allowing us this status is also an aspect of your core mission, values and doctrine, all of which are (at this time) "Lutheran." 

That's about the best a guy would do.

Dave Benke

Dave Likeness

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Re: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?
« Reply #37 on: May 30, 2017, 02:06:55 PM »
Speaking of Master Plans for the campus of Concordia Seminary, St Louis.

They have been given approval to demolish Fritz and Metzger Halls which
were built in 1960  as dormitories to each house 44 men.  During my 1st year
on campus I lived in Metzger Hall.  The big bonus for seminarians:  It was
air-conditioned.  After my first year, I got married and we rented a home
in Richmond Heights.

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?
« Reply #38 on: May 30, 2017, 02:26:46 PM »
What makes Valparaiso University a Lutheran school?

What makes the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau a Lutheran institution.

Can we start the American Floopy Publicity Bureau?

Pax, Zip+
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peter_speckhard

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Re: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?
« Reply #39 on: May 30, 2017, 02:29:22 PM »
The shift from preparing church-workers to providing higher education generally is a major shift in purpose. The shift from being part of a church body to being an independent entity is a shift in identity.

The underlying question for those involved in sorting through how all this is going to work is, what is a Lutheran university? What does it mean to say that a university is Lutheran?

Look at some other activity besides higher education. If my congregation does a car wash, as the youth group sometimes does, well, in what sense is it a Lutheran car wash? The cars are not washed any differently in particularly Lutheran way. But the whole activity is done by and for a real, flesh-and-blood, visible group of Lutheran people. The fact that it is affiliated with my congregation is critical to the nature of the enterprise. If a bunch of kids organized an independent Lutheran car wash, well, the independence of it calls into question the Lutheranness of it, since it is unclear how a car wash in and of itself can be Lutheran. 

To say an institution can be Lutheran without being affiliated with an actual Lutheran church body is to render Lutheranism an abstraction. Certainly one could not claim a university was Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican without at least having that designation be a two-way understanding between the university and an actual church. Even if the affiliation is loose or in name only, it makes a big difference. Evangelicals can have independent universities, but then they typically have a statement of faith and some governing body that makes sure nobody teaches anything contrary to it. Do any independent Lutheran universities have that kind of dynamic, such that the instructors must believe, teach, and confess Lutheranism?

If I said that Purdue University is an independent Lutheran university, what would prove me wrong other than the fact that Purdue doesn't self-identify as such?

What do you mean by identity?  To use your analogy and then make it real - Recognized Service Organizations, for several hundred in the Missouri Synod and X amount of Social Service Organizations in the ELCA, are agencies - including some solely with the service of educational purpose - that are identified as Lutheran Organizations, by themselves and by those who use their services.  RSO LCMS agencies are Lutheran and affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.   Their identity is Lutheran. 

Dave Benke
That simply begs the question. I get that institutions can and do call themselves Lutheran and are known that way by their clients. My question was what, apart from simply self-identifying as such, makes an independent Lutheran organization Lutheran?

An RSO is not entirely independent. RSO's have a clear connection to a flesh and blood church body, the people doing the recognizing that makes the organizations "recognized." They start (or stop) being "recognized" as such by an official act of an ecclesial body.

If I started, say, a health clinic (or a hospital, school, or soup kitchen  or whatever) as an independent Floopy health clinic, I would expect someone to ask, "What makes it Floopy?" And if I answered, "It's a Floopy clinic because it is identified as a Floopy Organization by those running it and by those using their services," I wouldn't expect a lot of people nodding and saying, "Ah, I see." I would expect them to persist with questions like, "How is it different from the public health clinic across town? Why should I prefer a Floopy clinic to a non-Floopy clinic?"

For many people "Lutheran" doesn't mean anything more than "Floopy." But even those of us in the know on what "Lutheran" means attach the words to a church or at the very least to Confessions. Without that connection to a church or relationship to the Confessions, what makes an independent Lutheran university Lutheran, again, apart from simply calling itself by that name?

Purdue doesn't call itself Lutheran, but apart from the name, what isn't Lutheran about it? What is it lacking? If it did call itself 
"Purdue Lutheran University" but changed nothing else whatsoever about itself as currently constituted and operated, would it legitimately be a Lutheran university? If an independent Lutheran university decided to become an independent non-Lutheran university, what would it have to acquire or divest itself of other than a name?

What you say about "institutions" could also be applied to wider designations, such as denominations or affiliative denominational groups.  So, to put the spike in the chest of the perpetrator, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America can self-identify as "Lutheran," and have all kinds of theological, doctrinal and practical linkages to that word, but are they as a denomination "Lutheran?"  Certainly your friends on other forums would say "Not a chance."    They'd say the same thing about the Lutheran World Federation.  And many of those interlocutors would also impale the LCMS on the same spike, and call for stouter or changed leadership to hew the True Lutheran Line.

So what's a guy to do?  His institution is going to be connected to the word Lutheran, is going to have less rather than more political/electoral supervision from The Home Bureau.  Can he remain underlying-ly, undying-ly Lutheran?  How?

My suggestion would be a connection a bit less overt, like Recognized Service Organization status.  We're with you, but we get to pick our own leaders and we get to set a course consistent with our core mission, which you have said by allowing us this status is also an aspect of your core mission, values and doctrine, all of which are (at this time) "Lutheran." 

That's about the best a guy would do.

Dave Benke
I don't think I have any friends on other forums who aren't also your friends.

The key, though, is that whether we agree with a particular application of the word "Lutheran" to a church body, it actually is connected to a church body. It is precisely because we disagree on what a Lutheran church is or looks like that we have multiple denominations calling themselves by that name. But it is a name that applies a church, a specific mission of a church, or a confession of faith.

Let's say my church has a large parcel of land that was once intended to be a cemetery but which never got used as such and is now in the middle of a city. The community loves the space and doesn't want it to be developed, so the church agrees to turn it into park called St. Paul's Lutheran Park. How can a park be Lutheran? Well, it can, sort of, in the sense that is it connected to or associated with a Lutheran church. It is Christians and churches that are or aren't Lutheran, not parks. Either that or doctrinal pronouncements. But nobody goes to feed the Lutheran ducks, fly a kite on the Lutheran lawn, or jump in the Lutheran leaves. The difference between St. Paul's Lutheran Park and the Anytown Public Park would strictly be some association with St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

And the same is true of universities. It is a Christians and churches and doctrinal pronouncements that are or aren't Lutheran, not universities. Universities derive their Lutheranness, if any, from their relationship to a Lutheran church. Which is what makes the idea of an independent Lutheran university so interesting to me.

In the example above of the park, suppose we wanted to start an independent Lutheran park, one not associated with St. Paul's or any flesh and blood church. What would make the park Lutheran? Or the parking garage that serves it Lutheran? It seems to me the same thing applies to universities. If a mission of the church is largely indistinguishable from a mission of the secular kingdom of the left, as in Purdue, in what sense it is really a mission of the church?

Below are some resources I've been alerted to that address some of these questions, though without really examing the the issue of Lutheranness in a sense that is independent of Lutheran churches.

http://www.cu-portland.edu/sites/default/files/pdf/Here%20I%20Study%20Booklet_100806_final.pdf

http://www.cu-portland.edu/sites/default/files/pdf/Here%20I%20Work%20Booklet_2014_lowres.pdf

 

Dave Benke

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Re: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?
« Reply #40 on: May 30, 2017, 04:54:06 PM »
The shift from preparing church-workers to providing higher education generally is a major shift in purpose. The shift from being part of a church body to being an independent entity is a shift in identity.

The underlying question for those involved in sorting through how all this is going to work is, what is a Lutheran university? What does it mean to say that a university is Lutheran?

Look at some other activity besides higher education. If my congregation does a car wash, as the youth group sometimes does, well, in what sense is it a Lutheran car wash? The cars are not washed any differently in particularly Lutheran way. But the whole activity is done by and for a real, flesh-and-blood, visible group of Lutheran people. The fact that it is affiliated with my congregation is critical to the nature of the enterprise. If a bunch of kids organized an independent Lutheran car wash, well, the independence of it calls into question the Lutheranness of it, since it is unclear how a car wash in and of itself can be Lutheran. 

To say an institution can be Lutheran without being affiliated with an actual Lutheran church body is to render Lutheranism an abstraction. Certainly one could not claim a university was Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican without at least having that designation be a two-way understanding between the university and an actual church. Even if the affiliation is loose or in name only, it makes a big difference. Evangelicals can have independent universities, but then they typically have a statement of faith and some governing body that makes sure nobody teaches anything contrary to it. Do any independent Lutheran universities have that kind of dynamic, such that the instructors must believe, teach, and confess Lutheranism?

If I said that Purdue University is an independent Lutheran university, what would prove me wrong other than the fact that Purdue doesn't self-identify as such?

What do you mean by identity?  To use your analogy and then make it real - Recognized Service Organizations, for several hundred in the Missouri Synod and X amount of Social Service Organizations in the ELCA, are agencies - including some solely with the service of educational purpose - that are identified as Lutheran Organizations, by themselves and by those who use their services.  RSO LCMS agencies are Lutheran and affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.   Their identity is Lutheran. 

Dave Benke
That simply begs the question. I get that institutions can and do call themselves Lutheran and are known that way by their clients. My question was what, apart from simply self-identifying as such, makes an independent Lutheran organization Lutheran?

An RSO is not entirely independent. RSO's have a clear connection to a flesh and blood church body, the people doing the recognizing that makes the organizations "recognized." They start (or stop) being "recognized" as such by an official act of an ecclesial body.

If I started, say, a health clinic (or a hospital, school, or soup kitchen  or whatever) as an independent Floopy health clinic, I would expect someone to ask, "What makes it Floopy?" And if I answered, "It's a Floopy clinic because it is identified as a Floopy Organization by those running it and by those using their services," I wouldn't expect a lot of people nodding and saying, "Ah, I see." I would expect them to persist with questions like, "How is it different from the public health clinic across town? Why should I prefer a Floopy clinic to a non-Floopy clinic?"

For many people "Lutheran" doesn't mean anything more than "Floopy." But even those of us in the know on what "Lutheran" means attach the words to a church or at the very least to Confessions. Without that connection to a church or relationship to the Confessions, what makes an independent Lutheran university Lutheran, again, apart from simply calling itself by that name?

Purdue doesn't call itself Lutheran, but apart from the name, what isn't Lutheran about it? What is it lacking? If it did call itself 
"Purdue Lutheran University" but changed nothing else whatsoever about itself as currently constituted and operated, would it legitimately be a Lutheran university? If an independent Lutheran university decided to become an independent non-Lutheran university, what would it have to acquire or divest itself of other than a name?

What you say about "institutions" could also be applied to wider designations, such as denominations or affiliative denominational groups.  So, to put the spike in the chest of the perpetrator, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America can self-identify as "Lutheran," and have all kinds of theological, doctrinal and practical linkages to that word, but are they as a denomination "Lutheran?"  Certainly your friends on other forums would say "Not a chance."    They'd say the same thing about the Lutheran World Federation.  And many of those interlocutors would also impale the LCMS on the same spike, and call for stouter or changed leadership to hew the True Lutheran Line.

So what's a guy to do?  His institution is going to be connected to the word Lutheran, is going to have less rather than more political/electoral supervision from The Home Bureau.  Can he remain underlying-ly, undying-ly Lutheran?  How?

My suggestion would be a connection a bit less overt, like Recognized Service Organization status.  We're with you, but we get to pick our own leaders and we get to set a course consistent with our core mission, which you have said by allowing us this status is also an aspect of your core mission, values and doctrine, all of which are (at this time) "Lutheran." 

That's about the best a guy would do.

Dave Benke
I don't think I have any friends on other forums who aren't also your friends.

The key, though, is that whether we agree with a particular application of the word "Lutheran" to a church body, it actually is connected to a church body. It is precisely because we disagree on what a Lutheran church is or looks like that we have multiple denominations calling themselves by that name. But it is a name that applies a church, a specific mission of a church, or a confession of faith.

Let's say my church has a large parcel of land that was once intended to be a cemetery but which never got used as such and is now in the middle of a city. The community loves the space and doesn't want it to be developed, so the church agrees to turn it into park called St. Paul's Lutheran Park. How can a park be Lutheran? Well, it can, sort of, in the sense that is it connected to or associated with a Lutheran church. It is Christians and churches that are or aren't Lutheran, not parks. Either that or doctrinal pronouncements. But nobody goes to feed the Lutheran ducks, fly a kite on the Lutheran lawn, or jump in the Lutheran leaves. The difference between St. Paul's Lutheran Park and the Anytown Public Park would strictly be some association with St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

And the same is true of universities. It is a Christians and churches and doctrinal pronouncements that are or aren't Lutheran, not universities. Universities derive their Lutheranness, if any, from their relationship to a Lutheran church. Which is what makes the idea of an independent Lutheran university so interesting to me.

In the example above of the park, suppose we wanted to start an independent Lutheran park, one not associated with St. Paul's or any flesh and blood church. What would make the park Lutheran? Or the parking garage that serves it Lutheran? It seems to me the same thing applies to universities. If a mission of the church is largely indistinguishable from a mission of the secular kingdom of the left, as in Purdue, in what sense it is really a mission of the church?

Below are some resources I've been alerted to that address some of these questions, though without really examing the the issue of Lutheranness in a sense that is independent of Lutheran churches.

http://www.cu-portland.edu/sites/default/files/pdf/Here%20I%20Study%20Booklet_100806_final.pdf

http://www.cu-portland.edu/sites/default/files/pdf/Here%20I%20Work%20Booklet_2014_lowres.pdf

Maybe I understand what you're trying to say.  So what is being said in the Portland booklet is that the independent Lutheran universities are Lutheran and independent.  And perhaps Portland will be joining them, as opposed to the universities now affiliated with the LCMS, the ELCA, the ELS and WELS.  And those that are independent are considered in that list to be Lutheran. 

You're wondering (I guess wondering) whether when they're listed as "Independent" they are still "Lutheran" and how we would know if they're not connected to some denominational doctrinal pronouncement - ie a churchly pronouncement.  Do those independent universities have doctrinal pronouncements?  I know they have doctrinal pronouncements at some of the individual ones under the heading "Lutheran Identity," Concordia Bronxville being one.  And they went through their statement of Lutheran Identity with the CUS Board when I was still on the Concordia BOR, with great skill and adeptness lining up that their statement of Lutheran Identity was their own and yet connected to the LCMS.  That to me is what an independent or quasi-independent Lutheran university would do as well.

Finally, what was going on in Wittenberg 500 years ago?  Didn't what became the Lutheran movement come out of an academic environment?  In that case, the university and its professors led the Church when it came to doctrinal positions, pronouncements and teaching, not the other way around, no?

Dave Benke

Dave Likeness

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Re: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?
« Reply #41 on: May 30, 2017, 05:36:52 PM »
In our recent LCMS history we had only  two theologians who became Synodical
President after serving as a seminary professor and then as a seminary president.
Both Dr. J.A.O. Preus and Dr. Ralph Bohlmann were excellent theologians with a
PH.D.

Bishop Benke raises an important point about the lack of input from our theologians
at both our seminaries and universities.  Every 3 years the LCMS has a political
convention.  Instead it might be prudent to have a theological convocation for the
laity and pastors every 3 years and anticipate an audience of 10,000 people from
our congregations.

« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 05:45:57 PM by Dave Likeness »

peter_speckhard

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Re: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?
« Reply #42 on: May 30, 2017, 06:17:05 PM »
When and where theology is the queen of the sciences, and the church over-arches the state, academia, and general culture, there is really no way to distinguish a secular university from a Christian university. That's how it was 500 years ago.

When and where Christian theology is taught as one subject among many, the teachings merely descriptive of what some people believe rather than encountered/lived within a community of faith, there is also no way to distinguish a secular university from a Christian university. That's how it too often is today.

Mailings from Valpo, an excellent school, make clear that Islam and Muslims are every bit as much a part of the mission and purpose of the place as Christians. That's fine if the mission and purpose of the place is purely secular. But if so, in what sense is it Lutheran? Why not just go to Purdue? But if the mission and purpose of the place is a natural aspect of church, what church? And what is churchly about it if it is for Muslims as much as for Christians?

Clarity of purpose is crucial. If we started something for the purpose of training church-workers but no longer use it for that purpose, fine. If we started something for the purpose of educating the laity in a specifically Lutheran environment and are no longer doing that, also fine. We can alter the purpose or sell the institution and do something else. But if we alter the purpose, we ought to be very clear on why we're doing what we're doing, because otherwise mere institutional momentum causes us to do things in the name of the church expensively and redundantly, because they are things already being done just as well and in the same basic environment by the state.

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Re: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?
« Reply #43 on: May 30, 2017, 06:25:54 PM »
I think it's the difference between a university that values and remembers its Lutheran heritage, but that regards it no longer as its mission to shape a Christian worldview (from the Lutheran perspective) in its students and through that lens help them understand their vocations in this world; and one that still regards it as its mission to shape that Christian worldview in all that study there so that they redeem the time since the days are evil.

D. Engebretson

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Re: I don't understand? Concordia Portland asked to be independent?
« Reply #44 on: May 31, 2017, 07:23:15 AM »
Mailings from Valpo, an excellent school, make clear that Islam and Muslims are every bit as much a part of the mission and purpose of the place as Christians. That's fine if the mission and purpose of the place is purely secular. But if so, in what sense is it Lutheran? Why not just go to Purdue? But if the mission and purpose of the place is a natural aspect of church, what church? And what is churchly about it if it is for Muslims as much as for Christians?

This is why I asked my question earlier.  If Portland patterns itself after Valpo their identity changes significantly, especially in terms of the priority of the Christian identity and message.  Given Portland's history with the LCMS, I wouldn't expect it to transform over night.  It would continue to look and act much as it did before.  However, like Valpo it would eventually change and become more like a secular university.  Once the synodical restrictions were fully removed it would determine its direction from other sources. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI