Author Topic: Reforming Catholic Confession  (Read 23911 times)

Harvey_Mozolak

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4857
    • View Profile
    • line and letter lettuce
Re: Reforming Catholic Confession
« Reply #75 on: September 18, 2017, 06:24:24 PM »
a read through of the Confession gives me the impression that a number of lines are so flowery as to be either really unhelpful as a careful confession and/or questionable as to their meaning.  "God has life in himself"... can't really deny that God is alive but the pronoun sort of makes God a container.  God, "lives eternally in glorious light and sovereign love in three persons..."  Later it speaks of the regenerate  having "hearts  oriented to the light and life of the kingdom of God...."  What is this light apart from the God who is the light of the world?  What is eternal light in a confessed sense.  "God is, the one whose perfections...."  Why the plural and what does it mean?  And those from the first couple of sections.  Our Catholic Creeds tend to surpass by their sparse but necessary words and phrases.  Of course the section on the Sacrament of the Altar does not speak of the body and blood of Christ.
Harvey S. Mozolak
my poetry blog is listed below:

http://lineandletterlettuce.blogspot.com

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 44460
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Reforming Catholic Confession
« Reply #76 on: September 18, 2017, 06:27:41 PM »
This is "catholic" terminology and practice from the beginning of the Christian era, as Brian indicates.  The Missouri Synod differential is to micro-size authentic "church" to "congregation" only (at least in the eyes of some).  As Brian and you both point out, this is accurate neither to the New Testament nor to the church through the ages. 


However, in every other letter of Paul, he addresses a single congregation in a single town, i.e., Rome, Corinth, Thessalonica, etc. Galatia is different because it is not a town, and there were multiple congregations within that region. Another possible exception is the letter to the Ephesians. In some manuscripts, "Ephesus" is missing leading some to believe that other towns could have been inserted as the letter made a circuit to different congregations.
"The church Ö 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]

Richard Johnson

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 10619
  • Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    • View Profile
Re: Reforming Catholic Confession
« Reply #77 on: September 18, 2017, 06:40:30 PM »
I am consistent, Pastor Fienen (not that it should matter to you much).
I wish the NALC well. I would be willing to be in altar and pulpit fellowship with them.

I was under the impression that the ELCA regards itself as in altar and pulpit fellowship with all churches that acknowledge the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. Did that get changed somewhere along the line?


It is still in the 2016 Model Constitution.


*C2.05. This congregation accepts the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel, acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.

We can say that we are in fellowship with the LCMS, NALC, LCMC, and even WELS. Their members are invited to our sacramental table. Some of us have even invited their ministers to preach and preside in our stead. Such feelings are mostly not reciprocated.

It can, and has happened, that when we say, "We like you," and they respond, "But we don't like you," some may modify their reply, "Then I don't like you anymore either."

I'm aware of that language. I'm not sure that being "one in faith and doctrine" means the same thing in ELCA-talk as being in "altar and pulpit fellowship." I thought there was a specific statement about being in altar and pulpit fellowship with all who confess the Augustana, but I'm not finding it. The closest I can find is a statement that such fellowship might be practiced "in local situations" but it seems to require synod council approval to do so.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 44460
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Reforming Catholic Confession
« Reply #78 on: September 18, 2017, 06:51:00 PM »
I am consistent, Pastor Fienen (not that it should matter to you much).
I wish the NALC well. I would be willing to be in altar and pulpit fellowship with them.

I was under the impression that the ELCA regards itself as in altar and pulpit fellowship with all churches that acknowledge the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. Did that get changed somewhere along the line?


It is still in the 2016 Model Constitution.


*C2.05. This congregation accepts the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel, acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.

We can say that we are in fellowship with the LCMS, NALC, LCMC, and even WELS. Their members are invited to our sacramental table. Some of us have even invited their ministers to preach and preside in our stead. Such feelings are mostly not reciprocated.

It can, and has happened, that when we say, "We like you," and they respond, "But we don't like you," some may modify their reply, "Then I don't like you anymore either."

I'm aware of that language. I'm not sure that being "one in faith and doctrine" means the same thing in ELCA-talk as being in "altar and pulpit fellowship." I thought there was a specific statement about being in altar and pulpit fellowship with all who confess the Augustana, but I'm not finding it. The closest I can find is a statement that such fellowship might be practiced "in local situations" but it seems to require synod council approval to do so.


We also have this language in The Use of the Means of Grace. Boldface added:


Lutherans Long for Unity at Christís Table
Principle 50 Because of the universal nature of the Church, Lutherans may participate in the eucharistic services of other Christian churches.

Background 50a This churchís ongoing ecumenical dialogues continue to seek full communion with other Christian churches.

Application 50b When visiting other churches Lutherans should respect the practices of the host congregation. A conscientious decision whether or not to commune in another church is informed by the Lutheran understanding of the Gospel preached and the sacraments administered as Christís gift.

Application 50c For Lutheran clergy to be involved as presiding or assisting ministers in the celebration of Holy Communion in other churches, a reciprocal relationship between the denominations involved should prevail.1
 
[1] A Statement on Communion Practices, 1989, II.A.7.

   
"The church Ö 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

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 44460
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Reforming Catholic Confession
« Reply #79 on: September 18, 2017, 06:55:45 PM »
To expand on my tag line: in theory, if a group can create a statement that they would all agree with, there would be unity; e.g., Lutherans agreeing with the unaltered Augsburg Confession; or Protestants agreeing with a Reforming Catholic Confession. In practice, it doesn't work. Lutherans are not united. Presbyterians are not united. The United Church of Christ is not united (and it is certainly not the same thing as the Church of Christ). The United Methodist Church is not united. The people, with all their differences come together within one congregation and within one denomination. God makes us one around the font, around the table, and around the Word. Perhaps by communing together, hearing one another preach and teach, we might better realize the unity that God wants to give us. Documents are not necessary.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 07:00:15 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"The church Ö 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]

James_Gale

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4107
    • View Profile
Re: Reforming Catholic Confession
« Reply #80 on: September 18, 2017, 07:10:12 PM »
I am consistent, Pastor Fienen (not that it should matter to you much).
I wish the NALC well. I would be willing to be in altar and pulpit fellowship with them.

I was under the impression that the ELCA regards itself as in altar and pulpit fellowship with all churches that acknowledge the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. Did that get changed somewhere along the line?


It is still in the 2016 Model Constitution.


*C2.05. This congregation accepts the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel, acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.

We can say that we are in fellowship with the LCMS, NALC, LCMC, and even WELS. Their members are invited to our sacramental table. Some of us have even invited their ministers to preach and preside in our stead. Such feelings are mostly not reciprocated.

It can, and has happened, that when we say, "We like you," and they respond, "But we don't like you," some may modify their reply, "Then I don't like you anymore either."

I'm aware of that language. I'm not sure that being "one in faith and doctrine" means the same thing in ELCA-talk as being in "altar and pulpit fellowship." I thought there was a specific statement about being in altar and pulpit fellowship with all who confess the Augustana, but I'm not finding it. The closest I can find is a statement that such fellowship might be practiced "in local situations" but it seems to require synod council approval to do so.


I don't know if this is the original language, or if the ELCA tightened it in response to the NALC/LCMC departures:

"8.63. This church, in accord with constitutional provision 2.05., acknowledges as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that accept the teaching of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession and understands that altar and pulpit fellowship with congregations and other entities of such churches may be locally practiced. Local practice of altar and pulpit fellowship, in accord with churchwide constitutional provision 2.05., is subject to the approval of the Synod Council, upon endorsement by the synodical bishop. Notice of such approval is to be given to the presiding bishop as the chief ecumenical officer of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. "
   

mj4

  • Guest
Re: Reforming Catholic Confession
« Reply #81 on: September 18, 2017, 09:10:00 PM »
We also have this language in The Use of the Means of Grace. Boldface added:

Lutherans Long for Unity at Christís Table
Principle 50 Because of the universal nature of the Church, Lutherans may participate in the eucharistic services of other Christian churches.

Background 50a This churchís ongoing ecumenical dialogues continue to seek full communion with other Christian churches.

Application 50b When visiting other churches Lutherans should respect the practices of the host congregation. A conscientious decision whether or not to commune in another church is informed by the Lutheran understanding of the Gospel preached and the sacraments administered as Christís gift.

Application 50c For Lutheran clergy to be involved as presiding or assisting ministers in the celebration of Holy Communion in other churches, a reciprocal relationship between the denominations involved should prevail.1
 
[1] A Statement on Communion Practices, 1989, II.A.7.

 

I'm not sure that you want to cite The Use of the Means of Grace as an authority in our church, Pr. Stoffregen, when other features of its content are so widely ignored. Of course I'm speaking of the communion of the unbaptized which is precluded in The Use.

THE HOLY COMMUNION
IS GIVEN TO THE BAPTIZED
Principle
37 Admission to the Sacrament is by invitation of the Lord, presented
through the Church to those who are baptized.


http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/The_Use_Of_The_Means_Of_Grace.pdf
« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 10:03:01 PM by mj4 »

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 14892
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: Reforming Catholic Confession
« Reply #82 on: September 18, 2017, 10:50:12 PM »
I have said this before.
As much as I value, support and try to honor "denominational" and "theological" policies and principles; I must note that it is not only denominations and theologians who create union.
Take a parish I know quite well.
On a some Sundays, a member of a Pentecostal church will be present and will commune; that same Sunday will include the presence of a couple of Roman Catholics, some spouses of members, and they will commune. Someone whose membership is not in any church will be present and commune, and I am fairly certain this person, who claims a "biblical" Christian faith, would not sign off on the "Real Presence" in strictly Lutheran terminology.
Particularly with regard to Roman Catholics, people I know who have been deeply involved in Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue on the local level (including some priests) have already found Eucharistic fellowship with one another. Other Roman Catholics who may visit us and experience our liturgy will find it so "comfortable" for them that most of them could not begin to understand why they should not receive the Sacrament.
This type of church unity and Eucharistic fellowship is being started, shaped and furthered by faithful people far "below" the places where denominational policies and theological papers are developed. (Or maybe they are "higher" than those places.)
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns couldíve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7023
    • View Profile
Re: Reforming Catholic Confession
« Reply #83 on: September 18, 2017, 11:37:53 PM »
Some of us have even invited their ministers to preach and preside in our stead. Such feelings are mostly not reciprocated.

I believe things are almost completely the opposite of what you suggest. ELCA pastors in my synod are not permitted to preach or preside in NALC congregations.  Those who have accepted an invitation to preach or preside in an NALC congregation have been warned that doing so again would result in severe consequences. 

My guess is that an ELCA congregation that invited an NALC clergy person to preach or preside would receive a similar letter of warning, but I have never heard of an ELCA congregation making such an invitation.  Apparently, ELCA congregations are not as eager welcome NALC clergy as you suggest.

I am not aware of any similar policy in the NALC, but there may be one.

PS - I'm not arguing that the ELCA policy is wrong, only that Pr. Stoffregren misrepresents it.   
« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 11:53:22 PM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

James_Gale

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4107
    • View Profile
Re: Reforming Catholic Confession
« Reply #84 on: September 19, 2017, 12:23:25 AM »
Some of us have even invited their ministers to preach and preside in our stead. Such feelings are mostly not reciprocated.

I believe things are almost completely the opposite of what you suggest. ELCA pastors in my synod are not permitted to preach or preside in NALC congregations.  Those who have accepted an invitation to preach or preside in an NALC congregation have been warned that doing so again would result in severe consequences. 

My guess is that an ELCA congregation that invited an NALC clergy person to preach or preside would receive a similar letter of warning, but I have never heard of an ELCA congregation making such an invitation.  Apparently, ELCA congregations are not as eager welcome NALC clergy as you suggest.

I am not aware of any similar policy in the NALC, but there may be one.

PS - I'm not arguing that the ELCA policy is wrong, only that Pr. Stoffregren misrepresents it.   


There is no such policy in the NALC.  In fact, there have been (and still may be) congregations that belong both to the ELCA and NALC.  The NALC's constitution expressly contemplates the possibility of dual-membership congregations:

"6.03 A congregation of the NALC may be a member of other Lutheran church bodies, provided that the confession of faith and practice of such congregation is compatible with the NALCís, as determined by the Executive Council."


NALC congregations are not prohibited from having ELCA pastors preach or preside in a supply role.  Moreover, with NALC approval, a congregation could call an ELCA pastor:

"6.04 A congregation of the NALC may only call ordained ministers and appoint commissioned lay leaders who are members of or are otherwise authorized by the NALC."  (emphasis added)

The NALC lacks the authority to force a congregation to comply with its rules.  Rather, the NALC's only recourse would be discipline, which could include expulsion.  No matter what, however, the congregation keeps its property and the final authority to call whom it pleases.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 12:26:16 AM by James_Gale »

Steven Tibbetts

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 10213
  • Big tents are for circuses.
    • View Profile
Re: Reforming Catholic Confession
« Reply #85 on: September 19, 2017, 01:21:36 AM »

It is still in the 2016 Model Constitution.

*C2.05. This congregation accepts the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel, acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.

We can say that we are in fellowship with the LCMS, NALC, LCMC, and even WELS. Their members are invited to our sacramental table. Some of us have even invited their ministers to preach and preside in our stead. Such feelings are mostly not reciprocated.


I'm aware of that language. I'm not sure that being "one in faith and doctrine" means the same thing in ELCA-talk as being in "altar and pulpit fellowship."

That's it, Dick.  That is also what we believed in the LCA, which used that lsnguage, and I confirmed that was ELCA understanding with Bishop McCoid in a personal conversation in 2010.  See also the CWA action that amended the Constitution to permit full communion with other (not Luthersn) church bodies, either '97 or '99.

Pax, Zip+
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 01:26:17 AM by The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS »
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 14892
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: Reforming Catholic Confession
« Reply #86 on: September 19, 2017, 05:06:16 AM »
Pastor Charlton writes (re the comment by Pastor Stoffregen on fellowship with the NALC):
I believe things are almost completely the opposite of what you suggest. ELCA pastors in my synod are not permitted to preach or preside in NALC congregations.  Those who have accepted an invitation to preach or preside in an NALC congregation have been warned that doing so again would result in severe consequences. 
My guess is that an ELCA congregation that invited an NALC clergy person to preach or preside would receive a similar letter of warning, but I have never heard of an ELCA congregation making such an invitation.  Apparently, ELCA congregations are not as eager welcome NALC clergy as you suggest.
I comment:
Pastor Charlton may be right, but not in a comprehensive sense.
   I discussed this with numerous ELCA bishops at two or three ELCA Assemblies. In some Synods, those who left the ELCA mostly left in an orderly and - dare I say? - less bitter and contentious fashion. In some other Synods, pastors and congregations not only left the ELCA, there were fervent and frequent attempts to get other pastors, congregations and lay people to depart with them.
   Can we not see why, in those situations, and with some of those people, a bishop would not want to have those pastors preaching in ELCA congregations and encouraging them to leave? That makes sense to me.
   And can we not see why a bishop would not want pastors of his or her synod helping those congregations who have pulled out of the synod's and the ELCA's ministry and presumably want others to do the same?
   I do not think there can be a comprehensive "ELCA policy" with regard to pastors helping the NALC. The situation is too varied and in many places too tense and potentially divisive.
   In the future - who knows how long it will take - I hope we will be in fellowship and even re-united.
   But today I understand why a bishop would not want pastors of the synod helping certain NALC congregations and their pastors.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns couldíve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

Dave Benke

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13337
    • View Profile
    • Atlantic District, LCMS
Re: Reforming Catholic Confession
« Reply #87 on: September 19, 2017, 07:40:42 AM »
Pastor Charlton writes (re the comment by Pastor Stoffregen on fellowship with the NALC):
I believe things are almost completely the opposite of what you suggest. ELCA pastors in my synod are not permitted to preach or preside in NALC congregations.  Those who have accepted an invitation to preach or preside in an NALC congregation have been warned that doing so again would result in severe consequences. 
My guess is that an ELCA congregation that invited an NALC clergy person to preach or preside would receive a similar letter of warning, but I have never heard of an ELCA congregation making such an invitation.  Apparently, ELCA congregations are not as eager welcome NALC clergy as you suggest.
I comment:
Pastor Charlton may be right, but not in a comprehensive sense.
   I discussed this with numerous ELCA bishops at two or three ELCA Assemblies. In some Synods, those who left the ELCA mostly left in an orderly and - dare I say? - less bitter and contentious fashion. In some other Synods, pastors and congregations not only left the ELCA, there were fervent and frequent attempts to get other pastors, congregations and lay people to depart with them.
   Can we not see why, in those situations, and with some of those people, a bishop would not want to have those pastors preaching in ELCA congregations and encouraging them to leave? That makes sense to me.
   And can we not see why a bishop would not want pastors of his or her synod helping those congregations who have pulled out of the synod's and the ELCA's ministry and presumably want others to do the same?
   I do not think there can be a comprehensive "ELCA policy" with regard to pastors helping the NALC. The situation is too varied and in many places too tense and potentially divisive.
   In the future - who knows how long it will take - I hope we will be in fellowship and even re-united.
   But today I understand why a bishop would not want pastors of the synod helping certain NALC congregations and their pastors.

I think you have to take into account the personalities involved as well.  Going back to the Missouri Synod split in the 70s, the young pastors at that time were relieved to hear from then-President Jack Preus that after the Purge of leadership that transpired when 8 district presidents were removed from office that there would be no continuing witch hunt out in the districts.  Because we were relating to all the folks, leaders and pastors alike, who had left in the wake of those removals.  The Bible-believer/Bible-doubter divide was to those of us on the ground a political stunt.  Our friends and neighbors remained our friends and neighbors.   

In today's more polarized environment and with instantaneous communication, I'm not sure the Watchers would allow the continuation of neighborliness, or that a leader could basically promise that life could go on much as before after a rift.

Dave Benke

J. Thomas Shelley

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4284
    • View Profile
Re: Reforming Catholic Confession
« Reply #88 on: September 19, 2017, 08:19:27 AM »
One size seldom fits all.

+Augustine of Hippo stated that "not all sheep are to be treated alike" and the Pastoral Rule of +Gregory the Great is replete with distinctions and differentiations.

Such advice pertains also to the the chief shepherds, the Bishops, in dealing with clergy and congregations.

In the East we have Canons.  Disciplinary Canons may be relaxed through economia on a case by case basis.  Economia is not to be confused with the western legal principle of precedence.   No ecclesial "case law" is established; and a subsequent case with apparently identical circumstances might be decided entirely differently.

There principles seem to be at work with ELCA-NALC relations.   And that is good.
Greek Orthodox Deacon -Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Harvey_Mozolak

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4857
    • View Profile
    • line and letter lettuce
Re: Reforming Catholic Confession
« Reply #89 on: September 19, 2017, 08:21:11 AM »
Dave, are you sure:
 
YOU SAID:
 Going back to the Missouri Synod split in the 70s, the young pastors at that time were relieved to hear from then-President Jack Preus that after the Purge of leadership that transpired when 8 district presidents were removed from office that there would be no continuing witch hunt out in the districts.  Because we were relating to all the folks, leaders and pastors alike, who had left in the wake of those removals. 

that the reason for the such a cessation was due to love for the departed or fear that any further hunting would have resulted in more tumult and leavings?  After you chop off a few heads you can hope the tail will settle down into a quiet death curl?
Harvey S. Mozolak
my poetry blog is listed below:

http://lineandletterlettuce.blogspot.com