Author Topic: LCMS kerfuffle  (Read 45310 times)

Matt Staneck

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2017, 12:21:22 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.

What dancing? It is not incumbent upon Synod to satisfy every curiosity of its members. This is Reformed fundamentalism and not Evangelical Lutheranism.

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2017, 12:22:37 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

I'm definitely curious to see if/how he responds. 
The hard part is I think the above districts believe they are in line with Scripture and the Confessions.  It would be interesting if one of them could engage the discussion here. 
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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2017, 12:25:01 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.

What dancing? It is not incumbent upon Synod to satisfy every curiosity of its members. This is Reformed fundamentalism and not Evangelical Lutheranism.

M. Staneck

It's a first step.  But yeah, it's speaking about it without actually speaking to it.  That's why I said "seemed" like dancing.  They recognize that it's a significant issue for some people, and that deserves to be spoken to.  We can see the immediate effects of that conversation with the letters/resolution, with Mbecker, with discussions between the LCMS and ELCA, the state of teaching in the Lutheran school systems, etc.
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Harry Edmon

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2017, 12:31:04 PM »
Here are some reflections on the reactions to the article from the editor of the Concordia Journal:

https://concordiatheology.org/2017/12/reflections-on-reactions-to-the-summer-issue-of-concordia-journal/
« Last Edit: December 08, 2017, 12:35:30 PM by Harry Edmon »
Harry Edmon, Ph.D., LCMS Layman

Matt Staneck

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2017, 12:31:14 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.

What dancing? It is not incumbent upon Synod to satisfy every curiosity of its members. This is Reformed fundamentalism and not Evangelical Lutheranism.

M. Staneck

It's a first step.  But yeah, it's speaking about it without actually speaking to it.  That's why I said "seemed" like dancing.  They recognize that it's a significant issue for some people, and that deserves to be spoken to.  We can see the immediate effects of that conversation with the letters/resolution, with Mbecker, with discussions between the LCMS and ELCA, the state of teaching in the Lutheran school systems, etc.

You can come away with that perception by accepting the terms of conditions of groups like BJS. This is not an "either/or." You can believe, teach, and confess that God created the world in 6 days and not subscribe to a 6,000 year old universe. The two are not dependent on each other. To say they are is to engage in Answers in Genesis-type fundamentalism and not Evangelical Lutheranism.

M. Staneck
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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2017, 12:33:23 PM »
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. 

Please put the best construction on these. 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APEpwkXatbY&t=134s (some language and snark)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXSYBp-Kjx0

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2017, 12:35:12 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.

What dancing? It is not incumbent upon Synod to satisfy every curiosity of its members. This is Reformed fundamentalism and not Evangelical Lutheranism.

M. Staneck

It's a first step.  But yeah, it's speaking about it without actually speaking to it.  That's why I said "seemed" like dancing.  They recognize that it's a significant issue for some people, and that deserves to be spoken to.  We can see the immediate effects of that conversation with the letters/resolution, with Mbecker, with discussions between the LCMS and ELCA, the state of teaching in the Lutheran school systems, etc.

You can come away with that perception by accepting the terms of conditions of groups like BJS. This is not an "either/or." You can believe, teach, and confess that God created the world in 6 days and not subscribe to a 6,000 year old universe. The two are not dependent on each other. To say they are is to engage in Answers in Genesis-type fundamentalism and not Evangelical Lutheranism.

M. Staneck

We might be talking past each other, because I've agreed with pretty much everything you've said thus far.  I'm saying that the journal articles didn't really speak to the issues so much as speak about the issues.  That's all I was saying. 
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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2017, 12:38:09 PM »


We might be talking past each other, because I've agreed with pretty much everything you've said thus far.  I'm saying that the journal articles didn't really speak to the issues so much as speak about the issues.  That's all I was saying.

Fair enough. I'm saying speaking about issues and not always giving answers to satisfy every curious conscience is just fine.

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2017, 12:40:07 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.

1. Ok, but that ends up in the same place.  "Such resolutions are to be honored and upheld until repealed".  [Look, I'm not saying I agree with any of this, but this is the argument that WY/ S WI would stand upon.  We do have dogmatic statements.  Look at the Brief Statement that makes clear what the scripture and confessions teach.]

2. Matt & Aletheist, you guys are better than that, c'mon.  The brief statement continues, "We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of
creation as taught in Scripture. In our days it is denied or limited by those who assert, ostensibly in deference to science, 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."  The clear intent of the Brief Statement was that creation took 6 literal days.  Maybe that doesn't mean 6000 year old earth.  Maybe Bishop Ussher is off. But not by billions of years.  Looking for wiggle room in the brief statement is dishonest.

I don't know if I'm honest, but when I am forced to present this I do two things.  1) The synod's teaching is Young Earth.  This is probably the best way to take this if you are able. 2) If you are not able to make that leap.  This should not bar belief in Jesus Christ as there are some other ways of reconciling what current science says and the biblical account.  All of these have their own theological problems.  The biggest typically being the appearance of death before sin.  But even that can be finessed in various ways.  At the end of the arguments, faith rests in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  There are lots of things that we don't get answers for, the age of the earth may be one of them.  I usually get pressed into "what I believe" and my answer is typically I default to a naive YEC or Omphalism, but I've been an engineer, a finance guy and a pastor.  None of those have ever forced me passed that naive understanding.  I respect the faith of many who are in the biological sciences who have been forced passed naive understanding.

The honest thing to do would be to put up a bylaw that altered the Brief Statement on Creation.

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2017, 12:42:51 PM »


We might be talking past each other, because I've agreed with pretty much everything you've said thus far.  I'm saying that the journal articles didn't really speak to the issues so much as speak about the issues.  That's all I was saying.

Fair enough. I'm saying speaking about issues and not always giving answers to satisfy every curious conscience is just fine.

M. Staneck

I actually agree with you here as well.  My disagreement (I think) would be that I think this is not one of those cases. 
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Dave Benke

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2017, 12:43:11 PM »
Having had some personal experience with directly-aimed overtures/resolutions of pastoral conferences, I think Matt Staneck's desire for a word of caution from the Synodical President is in order. 

What concerns me as an oldster is that the seminary was in my day designed to be a place not for "indoctrination" in the shove it down your throat/take notes and memorize the notes manner, but a place to explore and examine the substance and the subtleties of doctrinal expression in a community of trust as we moved toward the moment of the confessional subscription required in our ordination vows. 

The resolution-writers win when they create a reactive closed system.  Because that's what the resolution-writers want, at least in my opinion.  It's really the same desire as that of the Koinonia-Process-Bashers.  Unhealthy and emblematic of the just-under-the-surface tensions in our shrinking denomination. 

Dave Benke

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2017, 12:45:19 PM »
Here are some reflections on the reactions to the article from the editor of the Concordia Journal:

https://concordiatheology.org/2017/12/reflections-on-reactions-to-the-summer-issue-of-concordia-journal/

Thanks for this. Dr. Arand is a great prof. And a nice guy too!
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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2017, 12:45:44 PM »
Having had some personal experience with directly-aimed overtures/resolutions of pastoral conferences, I think Matt Staneck's desire for a word of caution from the Synodical President is in order. 

What concerns me as an oldster is that the seminary was in my day designed to be a place not for "indoctrination" in the shove it down your throat/take notes and memorize the notes manner, but a place to explore and examine the substance and the subtleties of doctrinal expression in a community of trust as we moved toward the moment of the confessional subscription required in our ordination vows. 

The resolution-writers win when they create a reactive closed system.  Because that's what the resolution-writers want, at least in my opinion.  It's really the same desire as that of the Koinonia-Process-Bashers.  Unhealthy and emblematic of the just-under-the-surface tensions in our shrinking denomination. 

Dave Benke

The disposition of at least one professor was, and I'm paraphrasing - "Call it indoctrination, or whatever you want, you are here to be shaped as part of pastoral formation."
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Matt Staneck

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2017, 12:48:28 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.


2. Matt & Aletheist, you guys are better than that, c'mon.  The brief statement continues, "We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of
creation as taught in Scripture. In our days it is denied or limited by those who assert, ostensibly in deference to science, 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."  The clear intent of the Brief Statement was that creation took 6 literal days.  Maybe that doesn't mean 6000 year old earth.  Maybe Bishop Ussher is off. But not by billions of years.  Looking for wiggle room in the brief statement is dishonest.



It isn't about forcing wiggle room it's about asserting dogmatic certainty where it does not exist. The Brief Statement does not advocate for a "Young Earth Creationism" theory. This obfuscates the gospel and needs to be rebuked.

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2017, 12:49:49 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.

1. Ok, but that ends up in the same place.  "Such resolutions are to be honored and upheld until repealed".  [Look, I'm not saying I agree with any of this, but this is the argument that WY/ S WI would stand upon.  We do have dogmatic statements.  Look at the Brief Statement that makes clear what the scripture and confessions teach.]

2. Matt & Aletheist, you guys are better than that, c'mon.  The brief statement continues, "We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of
creation as taught in Scripture. In our days it is denied or limited by those who assert, ostensibly in deference to science, 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."  The clear intent of the Brief Statement was that creation took 6 literal days...

The honest thing to do would be to put up a bylaw that altered the Brief Statement on Creation.

Perhaps that honesty includes pointing out the context of your quote:

"We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of creation as taught in Scripture. In our days it is denied or limited by those who assert, ostensibly in deference to science, 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." [emphasis added]
Don Kirchner

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