Author Topic: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released  (Read 14553 times)

gan ainm

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Re: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released
« Reply #120 on: November 26, 2017, 01:16:45 PM »
Regarding making the desires of the Millennials standard and authority, shows me what takes precedent here and it's not the Gospel.  This church bows to consumerist culture yet again.


What's wrong with that? Isn't one of our goals to have people "consume" Christ in the sacrament? Throughout a large part of Church history, the church bowed to the people of its times. The Bible was written in the "common" Greek language of the people. (Even before that, the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek because that was the common language in the Hellenistic world. When Latin became the common language of the Roman Empire, the Bible was translated into the "common" (vulgate) Latin. When Paul witnessed in the synagogue he quoted Jewish scriptures. When he witnessed in the Greeks on Mars Hill he quotes one of their inscriptions and a Greek poet.


Unfortunately, the church got locked into a particular language for scripture and worship. Latin for Roman Catholics. German, Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish for Lutherans. King James English for English and American Protestants. There were often major fights when Lutheran congregations wanted to worship in the language of the people. Some saw it bowing to consumerism. It was. It was a good thing to have Lutheran English language services in America.


Nowadays Lutheran congregations offer Spanish language services, and some in Asian and African languages - again bowing to the consumers so that they might better hear and believe the Gospel we are proclaiming.


I dislike and don't do children's sermons. (Neither do I do special sermons for all the retired people, or all the teachers, etc.) This probably cost me some calls when the topic came up in interviews. Isn't offering a children's time with a different style of "sermon" (sitting on the floor with children gathered around the preacher, often using objects and simple language) bowing to the consumers?


When I travelled on Gospel teams we talked about the Treasure of the Gospel that we were presenting that remained the same, but the way we wrapped it could vary to make the receivers more interested in opening that treasure.

There is much difference between adapting to the language of the people and the content of the language.  It is the content (what is being endorsed and taught) that is objectionable to confessional traditional Christians (re. the subject of this thread and other "social statements" that some slavishly adore and support).


DCharlton

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Re: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released
« Reply #121 on: November 26, 2017, 01:24:11 PM »
I misrepresented what you said in exactly the same way that I find what I've said to be misrepresented.

Did you do so intentionally?  I have never intentionally misrepresented what you said. 

Quote
Have I any where indicated that our righteousness before God is anything other than the righteousness that God has given us?

I'm quite aware you said that.  I replied that it is only a given in a very narrow sense.  Specifically, I said it is a given only where the Holy Spirit gives the gift of faith through Word and Sacrament.  So I did not misrepresent your argument, but took it seriously. 

David Charlton  

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Re: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released
« Reply #122 on: November 26, 2017, 01:26:08 PM »
I truly don't understand how these two things go together:

It is very much a question worth asking.  But the answer is not to be found within the Lutheran theological tradition.

and

FWIW, this document will be the focus of the discussion for the Lutheran Ethicists' Network meeting in Portland, Oregon, at its annual Lutheran Ethicists' Gathering, this coming year on Januray 2-3, at the Portland Doubletree Hotel.

If the Lutheran theological tradition has no answer to the question of "what should I do," why is there such a thing as a Lutheran ethicist?
« Last Edit: November 26, 2017, 01:29:00 PM by DCharlton »
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pearson

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Re: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released
« Reply #123 on: November 26, 2017, 02:06:44 PM »

If the Lutheran theological tradition has no answer to the question of "what should I do," why is there such a thing as a Lutheran ethicist?


Ah.  This is an excellent question.  So, here's my own answer:

There are "Lutheran ethicists" who do ethics in the same sense that there are Lutherans who happen to play football or Lutherans who happen to write romance novels.  There is no intrinsic connection between their Lutheran identity and the particular vocation they practice.  I happen to be a "Lutheran ethicist" in this sense.

There are also "Lutheran ethicists" who do ethics in the sense that they view ethics as grounded in, and directly informed by, the Lutheran theological tradition.  I have never understood these folks, because I am skeptical that their project can be achieved, given the contours of the Lutheran theological tradition.  I am, pretty emphatically, not a "Lutheran ethicist" in this sense.

As for the event in Portland coming up in January: it takes all kinds to make up the Lutheran Ethicists' Gathering.

The reason I said, "the answer [to the question about what we should do, or how we should live] is not to be found within the Lutheran theological tradition" is that I still don't see how our tradition contains the resources for answering that question.

Does that make sense?

Tom Pearson

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Re: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released
« Reply #124 on: November 26, 2017, 02:21:30 PM »

If the Lutheran theological tradition has no answer to the question of "what should I do," why is there such a thing as a Lutheran ethicist?


Ah.  This is an excellent question.  So, here's my own answer:

There are "Lutheran ethicists" who do ethics in the same sense that there are Lutherans who happen to play football or Lutherans who happen to write romance novels.  There is no intrinsic connection between their Lutheran identity and the particular vocation they practice.  I happen to be a "Lutheran ethicist" in this sense.

There are also "Lutheran ethicists" who do ethics in the sense that they view ethics as grounded in, and directly informed by, the Lutheran theological tradition.  I have never understood these folks, because I am skeptical that their project can be achieved, given the contours of the Lutheran theological tradition.  I am, pretty emphatically, not a "Lutheran ethicist" in this sense.

As for the event in Portland coming up in January: it takes all kinds to make up the Lutheran Ethicists' Gathering.

The reason I said, "the answer [to the question about what we should do, or how we should live] is not to be found within the Lutheran theological tradition" is that I still don't see how our tradition contains the resources for answering that question.

Does that make sense?

Tom Pearson

Yes, thanks.  It has never been clear to me whether you meant that the Lutheran tradition lacked the resources to answer that question, or that it believed that the question was irrelevant. 

A few other questions I've wanted to ask:

1.  Is that lack an oversight on the part of the Lutheran tradition, or intentional?
2.  Is that lack a good thing or a bad thing?
3.  Should Lutherans who consider themselves, to be Christian first, western Christians second, and Lutheran Christians third utilize the resources from the greater tradition in answering those questions?
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released
« Reply #125 on: November 26, 2017, 02:42:00 PM »
I misrepresented what you said in exactly the same way that I find what I've said to be misrepresented.

Did you do so intentionally?  I have never intentionally misrepresented what you said.



Not intentionally, but sometimes from misunderstanding what you wrote (often because of reading it too quickly and/or after midnight.

Quote
Quote
Have I any where indicated that our righteousness before God is anything other than the righteousness that God has given us?

I'm quite aware you said that.  I replied that it is only a given in a very narrow sense.  Specifically, I said it is a given only where the Holy Spirit gives the gift of faith through Word and Sacrament.  So I did not misrepresent your argument, but took it seriously.


I would not limit the Holy Spirit to the means of grace. The Spirit blows where it wills. We have the assurance that the Spirit works in Word and Sacrament, but we shouldn't limit the Spirit only to those means.
"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: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released
« Reply #126 on: November 26, 2017, 02:44:39 PM »
The reason I said, "the answer [to the question about what we should do, or how we should live] is not to be found within the Lutheran theological tradition" is that I still don't see how our tradition contains the resources for answering that question.


I place ethics/morality under the first use of the law. It helps us to live better in society.
"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]

gan ainm

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Re: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released
« Reply #127 on: November 26, 2017, 02:48:50 PM »
The reason I said, "the answer [to the question about what we should do, or how we should live] is not to be found within the Lutheran theological tradition" is that I still don't see how our tradition contains the resources for answering that question.


I place ethics/morality under the first use of the law. It helps us to live better in society.

Serious question:  Why 1st and not 3rd?

readselerttoo

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Re: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released
« Reply #128 on: November 26, 2017, 03:17:37 PM »

Isn't it worth asking: "Now that God has saved you by grace, what are you going to do?"


It is very much a question worth asking.  But the answer is not to be found within the Lutheran theological tradition.

Robert Jenson (of blessed memory) used to tell a story in class about some random episodes when he had been asked to preach at a local congregation: "After the liturgy, when people were leaving the chuch, there would be a few folks who would come up to me and say, 'That was a great sermon on God's grace, Pastor Jenson.  Now, what should I be doing?'  And I always say, 'Nothing. It's already been done.'"  Lutheran to the core.

Tom Pearson


Actually, to ask that question is to not to trust God's action in Jesus Christ "for you".  It is to fall back into unbelief that your sins are really forgiven and that there is nothing you HAVE to do.  To ask "what do I do now" is to stop walking in faith only to return to the old life of shoulds, if only I had done this, etc."   There one has to face God's demand under the law to do something and do it quickly and thoroughly righteous so.  Because the God of demands (which one has fallen back into in unbelief) will have it no other way.  There is no more time left.

Another issue that needs to be heard at this meeting in Portland is the issue of making public opinion on matters that are addressed in other arenas of society already, ie. the OP Ed. pages of the newspaper, the academic think tanks in the secular realm, et. al.  Why become another voice in the matter when people have access to all forms of media and can evaluate for themselves?  What unique value or difference  does "this church" make in adding its voice to the other legitimate voices?  I see no other value than wanting relevancy in the public eye.  Believe me the ELCA and the rest of Christianity are already irrelevant in the public eye.  This church needs to do what Christ has commanded it to do and preach the Gospel and call people to repentance.

Finally on the issue of judgment.  These social statements are documents which observe, describe normativity and then make judgments based on peer review. But then they seem to drag God into affirming their human-based review.  THis is turning the tables on GOd's office as the final Judge in the matter perhaps finally overturning any peer review.  Presupposing what the authors have interpreted for themselves in the Scriptures, they make judgments (would they name them as prejudices under a bias?) that dominate this church's "airwaves" by believing that God agrees with what they have formulated.  They make appeals to our self-interest which is fair under the law, I suppose.  I get that.  But is that all there is? 

But what possible difference does it make when an "...apart from law a righteousness of God has appeared" is either ignored or never consulted?  Are we and they ever to arrive at a place where all we could do is stand in silence and wait for God's final verdict upon all of it? There is an ethos under the law under which rubric the social statements are gathered.  There is retributive righteousness under this ethos.  But it is far and away separate, different, mutually exclusive and unique from the other ethos which the Gospel offers.  It is that which seems to be lost in these documents, imo.

I do understand that since the political base in the ELCA is what it is and was won through fair and legitimate due process, that these pre-judices can be made and offered.  I don't agree with them.  I am not opening my hands to their offer.  But I also believe that ELCA has a wider and more important job to do than the above.

It would seem more relevant to posit stances against the culture than along with it.  Yes, ELCA would lose monetary support (and is so currently anyway because the New Testament Gospel has become irrelevant) for its counter-cultural stance.  But it would be more authentically Christian as it takes on more visibly the wounds of the one who was crucified for our trespasses and then raised for our justification!
« Last Edit: November 26, 2017, 03:47:27 PM by George Rahn »

readselerttoo

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Re: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released
« Reply #129 on: November 26, 2017, 03:22:18 PM »
I misrepresented what you said in exactly the same way that I find what I've said to be misrepresented.

Did you do so intentionally?  I have never intentionally misrepresented what you said.



Not intentionally, but sometimes from misunderstanding what you wrote (often because of reading it too quickly and/or after midnight.

Quote
Quote
Have I any where indicated that our righteousness before God is anything other than the righteousness that God has given us?

I'm quite aware you said that.  I replied that it is only a given in a very narrow sense.  Specifically, I said it is a given only where the Holy Spirit gives the gift of faith through Word and Sacrament.  So I did not misrepresent your argument, but took it seriously.


I would not limit the Holy Spirit to the means of grace. The Spirit blows where it wills. We have the assurance that the Spirit works in Word and Sacrament, but we shouldn't limit the Spirit only to those means.

Yes, but it is for those who are born of the Spirit that the "wind" blows where it wills.  For the one born of the flesh, it is Word and Sacrament only, thank you.

readselerttoo

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Re: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released
« Reply #130 on: November 26, 2017, 03:25:16 PM »
The reason I said, "the answer [to the question about what we should do, or how we should live] is not to be found within the Lutheran theological tradition" is that I still don't see how our tradition contains the resources for answering that question.


I place ethics/morality under the first use of the law. It helps us to live better in society.

It helps us live better in society as a sinner among other sinners.  It is retributive living and not love-one-another living.  Not everyone is saved by Christ through faith, at this point.

pearson

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Re: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released
« Reply #131 on: November 26, 2017, 03:46:32 PM »
Doggone it, Pr. Charlton, you ask profound and sometimes troubling questions here.  Cut it out.

But, from within the confines of my own limited perspective on such matters, here are my tentative answers:


1.  Is that lack an oversight on the part of the Lutheran tradition, or intentional?


It seems to me it is neither one.  Given the methodological priorities, and theological emphases, of the Lutheran tradition, it's difficult to find much room for a robust ethics.  It would be a bit like asking if the lack of a premillennial dispensationalism was an oversight on the part of the Lutheran tradition, or intentional.  There's just not much there to craft a premillennial dispensationalism, and there's just not much there to craft an ethical doctrine.


2.  Is that lack a good thing or a bad thing?


If we Lutherans are convinced that the doctrine of justification is truly "the doctrine on which the Church stands or falls," and if we think that the Lutheran distinctive revolves around preaching Law and Gospel, then I suppose it's a good thing.  It's a good thing, that is, in that we are not supposed to confuse justification with sanctification, or Law with Gospel; or be tempted to turn good works into moral imperatives.  On the other hand (sorry, Pr. Austin), if we Lutherans are convinced that we are nothing more than a reforming movement within the Church catholic -- that we stand squarely, if a little off-center, inside the Great Tradition of western Christianity -- then I suppose it's a bad thing.  It's a bad thing, that is, in that fundamental Lutheran theology amputates several of the appendages of pre-reformation western Christianity as being little more than "accretions," "human traditions," or "abuses" (and this includes most of what would pass for "ethics").  Thus, the Lutheran theological tradition sits awkwardly within the Great Tradition, if it can be situated there at all.  What to do?  I don't know.


3.  Should Lutherans who consider themselves, to be Christian first, western Christians second, and Lutheran Christians third utilize the resources from the greater tradition in answering those questions?


Maybe; but only because being "Lutheran Christians third" would be indistinguishable from not being Lutheran at all.  If it is imperative that Lutherans answer those questions (including ethical questions, I presume) from a distinctively Christian perspective, then we don't have much choice but to absorb the resources of pre-reformation Christianity (western or eastern), and somehow graft them onto a Lutheran model, no matter how clumsy the grafting process may be.

Of course, another alternative would be to locate the most sensible and effective ethical system we can find, no matter what its provenance, and adopt it without bothering to pretend that it was incubated within the Lutheran theological tradition.  Then we might be able to work backwards and see how Lutheran theology could be accommodated within that ethical system, rather than the other way around.

Those answers ain't much, but they're the best I can do at the moment.

Tom Pearson 

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Re: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released
« Reply #132 on: November 26, 2017, 04:21:47 PM »
I misrepresented what you said in exactly the same way that I find what I've said to be misrepresented.

Did you do so intentionally?  I have never intentionally misrepresented what you said.


Not intentionally, but sometimes from misunderstanding what you wrote (often because of reading it too quickly and/or after midnight.

Thank you, Pr. Stoffregen.  I certainly understand how that happens.  I've been known to do that myself. 
David Charlton  

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Harry Edmon

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Re: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released
« Reply #133 on: November 26, 2017, 04:23:12 PM »
I misrepresented what you said in exactly the same way that I find what I've said to be misrepresented.

Did you do so intentionally?  I have never intentionally misrepresented what you said.



Not intentionally, but sometimes from misunderstanding what you wrote (often because of reading it too quickly and/or after midnight.

Quote
Quote
Have I any where indicated that our righteousness before God is anything other than the righteousness that God has given us?

I'm quite aware you said that.  I replied that it is only a given in a very narrow sense.  Specifically, I said it is a given only where the Holy Spirit gives the gift of faith through Word and Sacrament.  So I did not misrepresent your argument, but took it seriously.


I would not limit the Holy Spirit to the means of grace. The Spirit blows where it wills. We have the assurance that the Spirit works in Word and Sacrament, but we shouldn't limit the Spirit only to those means.

This seems to violate SA-III VIII 3-13 and FC Ep II 13.
Harry Edmon, Ph.D., LCMS Layman

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Re: Draft ELCA Social Statement on Women & Justice Released
« Reply #134 on: November 26, 2017, 08:05:47 PM »

Isn't it worth asking: "Now that God has saved you by grace, what are you going to do?"


It is very much a question worth asking.  But the answer is not to be found within the Lutheran theological tradition.

Robert Jenson (of blessed memory) used to tell a story in class about some random episodes when he had been asked to preach at a local congregation: "After the liturgy, when people were leaving the chuch, there would be a few folks who would come up to me and say, 'That was a great sermon on God's grace, Pastor Jenson.  Now, what should I be doing?'  And I always say, 'Nothing. It's already been done.'"  Lutheran to the core.

Tom Pearson
What about the Table of Duties, which is one of the four parts of the catechism? It seems to me the Lutheran tradition answers the question "What should I do?" rather emphatically with the idea of vocation. To say, "Nothing. It has already been done," limits all discussion to justification, as though the implication of the question were really, "What should I be doing [in order to be saved]?" in which case the answer really is nothing. Only believe, and even that is not by your own power. But if the question is "What should I [as a saved person] be doing [in order to please God]?" then Lutheranism does not give the answer "Nothing."