Author Topic: LCMS kerfuffle  (Read 46522 times)

Donald_Kirchner

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LCMS kerfuffle
« on: December 08, 2017, 09:55:49 AM »
"The Age of the Earth and Confessional Lutheranism" by John Jurchen, beginning on page 64 of the Concordia Journal, Summer 2017

https://concordiatheology.org/2017/09/concordia-journal-summer-2017/

Wyoming District Fall Conference Resolution

http://steadfastlutherans.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/WY-District-Resolution-CSL2017.pdf

South Wisconsin District Fall Conference Overture

http://steadfastlutherans.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/SWD-OVERTURE.pdf

Responsive letter to the Wyoming District by the faculty of Concordia Seminary

http://steadfastlutherans.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Letter-to-Wyoming-District-Pastors-12-1-17-1.pdf
Don Kirchner

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Matt Staneck

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2017, 10:13:21 AM »
Synod has an official position on the (young) age of the earth?

The resolutions from Wyoming and South Wisconsin feel like they are adding to what we teach as a synod (and especially as to what we teach as subscribers to the Book of Concord).

M. Staneck
« Last Edit: December 08, 2017, 10:18:55 AM by Matt Staneck »
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Rev Mathew Andersen

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2017, 10:18:48 AM »
I would have to say that both conferences overreacted.  What Jurchen proposed is not evolution or theistic evolution in any way (although at my first reading I thought it was.)  There is nothing in his article about creation that is anti-biblical, although I think his statements about the flood stretched interpretation way too far.

And, no, the synod never established an official position on the age of the earth.

However, his old-age creationism doesn't work well and really is not a solution to the problem.  The old earth creationist has to figure out where to put the gaps in history and cosmology into the biblical account.  Because the sun, moon and stars are not created until the 4th day, this presents a problem.  You can't put billions of years prior to the 4th day.  It is too much time to put into any of the following days, between the creation of sea life and animals, for instance, or into the sixth day between the creation of animals and man.  And between Adam and the rest of the history of Genesis doesn't allow enough of a gap either.  The old earth creationist has to do more than just stick time into the gaps.  Somehow, he has to move the creation of stars and sun to an earlier time of creation and at that point you begin to break the text.

For that reason, I don't think there are a lot of old earth creationist around and those that I have read really don't seem to have a very full or specific model of creation, unless things have changed recently.  It usually comes down to saying "well, somewhere in there is some extra time but we don't know where or how.

So, while Jurchen's solution is not heretical, neither is it a very satisfying or workable one.

Matt Staneck

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2017, 10:21:45 AM »
I would have to say that both conferences overreacted.  What Jurchen proposed is not evolution or theistic evolution in any way (although at my first reading I thought it was.)  There is nothing in his article about creation that is anti-biblical, although I think his statements about the flood stretched interpretation way too far.

And, no, the synod never established an official position on the age of the earth.

However, his old-age creationism doesn't work well and really is not a solution to the problem.  The old earth creationist has to figure out where to put the gaps in history and cosmology into the biblical account.  Because the sun, moon and stars are not created until the 4th day, this presents a problem.  You can't put billions of years prior to the 4th day.  It is too much time to put into any of the following days, between the creation of sea life and animals, for instance, or into the sixth day between the creation of animals and man.  And between Adam and the rest of the history of Genesis doesn't allow enough of a gap either.  The old earth creationist has to do more than just stick time into the gaps.  Somehow, he has to move the creation of stars and sun to an earlier time of creation and at that point you begin to break the text.

For that reason, I don't think there are a lot of old earth creationist around and those that I have read really don't seem to have a very full or specific model of creation, unless things have changed recently.  It usually comes down to saying "well, somewhere in there is some extra time but we don't know where or how.

So, while Jurchen's solution is not heretical, neither is it a very satisfying or workable one.

Ok - but what you wrote strikes me as a measured and mature response to something one disagrees with. Why is this so difficult in our synod?

M. Staneck
Matt Staneck, Pastor
St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
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Matt Staneck

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2017, 10:23:57 AM »
Also: Do we need to know how old or young the earth is? Do we need to worry about "gaps" in historical timeline? Why is this a concern of ours? What does this have to do with what we believe about creation? Does our entire theology of creation subsist in 6-24 hour days?

M. Staneck
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SomeoneWrites

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2017, 10:32:20 AM »
There's a couple types of Old Earth Creationists. 

There's the Day-Age.  (1 day equal millions of years)
There's the Theistic Evolutionists

And there's the omphalists.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omphalos_hypothesis


My experience in the LCMS is that it's Young Earth Creationism or Omphalism. 
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aletheist

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2017, 10:59:36 AM »
Ok - but what you wrote strikes me as a measured and mature response to something one disagrees with. Why is this so difficult in our synod?
It is difficult in our society in general because people now equate disagreement with disrespect.  It is difficult in our Synod in particular because people insist that any theological issues on which they have strong convictions simply cannot be adiaphora; hence anyone who disagrees is not just wrong, but heretical.
Jon Alan Schmidt, LCMS Layman

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

Voelker

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2017, 11:08:16 AM »
Ok - but what you wrote strikes me as a measured and mature response to something one disagrees with. Why is this so difficult in our synod?
It is difficult in our society in general because people now equate disagreement with disrespect.  It is difficult in our Synod in particular because people insist that any theological issues on which they have strong convictions simply cannot be adiaphora; hence anyone who disagrees is not just wrong, but heretical.
This sounds accurate. Such a heightened response, it might also be argued, suggests an uncertainty concerning the defensibility or certainty of the position(s) held by those with such reactions.

Mark Brown

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2017, 11:33:36 AM »
Synod has an official position on the (young) age of the earth?

The resolutions from Wyoming and South Wisconsin feel like they are adding to what we teach as a synod (and especially as to what we teach as subscribers to the Book of Concord).

M. Staneck

Isn't the real answer "Its Complicated".  The Brief Statement (1932) combined with Bylaw 1.6.2 (b)(7) would seem to say that a YEC is the official position and "should be honored and upheld" until repealed".  It becomes complicated because I think the Brief Statement is prior to the Bylaw and the CTCR process it outlines.  Also because at heart we are a reformation church that runs really light on dogma i.e. Sola Scriptura + Confessions.  We have never added anything to the Article 2 constitutional confessions.  So, things that just weren't a problem in FoC days, but could be today, go without dogmatic expression.

Matt Staneck

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2017, 11:39:01 AM »
Synod has an official position on the (young) age of the earth?

The resolutions from Wyoming and South Wisconsin feel like they are adding to what we teach as a synod (and especially as to what we teach as subscribers to the Book of Concord).

M. Staneck

Isn't the real answer "Its Complicated".  The Brief Statement (1932) combined with Bylaw 1.6.2 (b)(7) would seem to say that a YEC is the official position and "should be honored and upheld" until repealed".  It becomes complicated because I think the Brief Statement is prior to the Bylaw and the CTCR process it outlines.  Also because at heart we are a reformation church that runs really light on dogma i.e. Sola Scriptura + Confessions.  We have never added anything to the Article 2 constitutional confessions.  So, things that just weren't a problem in FoC days, but could be today, go without dogmatic expression.

Why does believing and confessing that God created the world in 6-24 hour days require a dogmatic subscription to a 6,000 year old universe? Talk about a gap!

M. Staneck
Matt Staneck, Pastor
St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
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JoshuaEM

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2017, 11:42:51 AM »
I only skimmed the article, but it seems quite reasonable. I also like the mock conversation in Arandís article. The lively interplay between science and religion isnít going away. Itís nice to see theologians and faithful scientists engaging questions.

Josh

gan ainm

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2017, 12:05:42 PM »
From the BJS site:  http://steadfastlutherans.org/2017/12/lutheran-quotes-on-creation/

My personal opinion is God created the earth in six 24 hour days.  That is what Scripture says.

My second opinion is that since God cursed everything in Genesis 3, all methods used to determine that which cannot be proven are suspect.  For example, carbon 14 testing. 

My third opinion is don't try to explore the hidden side of God.  If you can believe he created the heavens and the earth, why is it so hard to understand the time thing, what ever it is.

aletheist

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2017, 12:06:17 PM »
The Brief Statement (1932) combined with Bylaw 1.6.2 (b)(7) would seem to say that a YEC is the official position and "should be honored and upheld" until repealed".  It becomes complicated because I think the Brief Statement is prior to the Bylaw and the CTCR process it outlines.
This part is not complicated at all; the LCMS does not have any "doctrinal statements" as defined by that particular Bylaw.  The status of the Brief Statement is no different from any other "doctrinal resolution" adopted by simple majority vote at a Synod convention under Bylaw 1.6.2.(a).

Why does believing and confessing that God created the world in 6-24 hour days require a dogmatic subscription to a 6,000 year old universe?
It does not, and I am puzzled by the ongoing widespread misunderstanding of this distinction.  The Brief Statement does not even insist on "24-hour" days; it simply says, "We teach that God has created heaven and earth, and that in the manner and in the space of time recorded in the Holy Scriptures, especially Gen. 1 and 2, namely, by His almighty creative word, and in six days."  It goes on to reject the proposition "that the world came into existence through a process of evolution; that is, that it has, in immense periods of time, developed more or less of itself."  However, it says nothing whatsoever about how much time has passed since the six days of creation.

What I usually say about this issue is that a plain-sense reading of Genesis suggests that creation took place in six 24-hour days a few thousand years ago, but I am not dogmatic about the age of the universe.
Jon Alan Schmidt, LCMS Layman

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

SomeoneWrites

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2017, 12:15:01 PM »

What I usually say about this issue is that a plain-sense reading of Genesis suggests that creation took place in six 24-hour days a few thousand years ago, but I am not dogmatic about the age of the universe.

This is usually the sense I get from Lutherans, particularly the pastors. 
I appreciate the journal contributions, and I appreciate that they want to engage in the discussion, but it all seemed to kind of dance around the issue. 
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Matt Staneck

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2017, 12:19:47 PM »
The more I think about this the more I think a response from President Harrison is appropriate. His response should be a rebuke of the Wyoming and South Wisconsin districts for their resolutions.

In addition to being uncharitable, they ask for the binding of consciences on matters which the scriptures, confessions, and The Brief Statement do not speak. This is dangerous and needs to be rebuked in the clearest possible terms.

M. Staneck
« Last Edit: December 08, 2017, 12:54:11 PM by Matt Staneck »
Matt Staneck, Pastor
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