Author Topic: LCMS kerfuffle  (Read 48398 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #225 on: December 15, 2017, 06:40:16 PM »
There is no doubt that unity around the Book of Concord has failed in the broader Lutheran community.  However, unity around the Bible has failed equally.  There are very different approaches to each between the ELCA on the one hand, and the LCMS/WELS/ELS et al on the other. 

Given the great diversity even between the ELCA and the Episcopalians and others with whom they are in fellowship, what would they identify as the unifying "glue" that holds them together?  It is not a completely unified understanding of Holy Scripture.  It is certainly not unity between the historic confessional documents of the various denominations.  It isn't even a completely unified doctrine of the church.  With such great diversity what is it that keeps them in such a unified fellowship that is not possible with other Lutherans?


We agree about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is enough.

And that in itself is complicated.  As we both know "Gospel" is taken in the scriptures and in the confessions in both a narrow and a broad sense. And even in the narrow sense there are those who see Gospel in a much broader way, especially regarding the person and mission of Jesus Christ.  If agreeing about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is "enough," how do you determine exactly what "enough" of the Gospel is for there to be unity?  Lowest common denominator?


Representatives from both church bodies spend years in discussions to determine exactly what is "enough". Frequently there are books published with some of the findings and finally a document that is voted on by both denominations in their highest legislative bodies. In all cases the lowest common denominator is Jesus.
"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]

Charles Austin

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #226 on: December 15, 2017, 07:01:02 PM »
    And in all cases, we do not "settle" on the lowest common point of agreement. We can agree on "Jesus" with all kinds of Christian bodies, but we do not declare full fellowship or full partnership in mission with them.
   All of our ecumenical agreements are detailed, nuanced, and the result of years - yes, years - of dialogue on every level. In every agreement, we support, defend, and maintain who we are as Lutherans; but we have found ways to say that some of our "old" points of contention no longer prevail and that the points of disagreement we do have - and still work at - are not serious enough to keep us from sharing mission and ministry.
   It is also clear that if they were to be suddenly plopped down from their time into our discussions, Luther, Melanchthon, and their buddies would be puzzled and outraged. It would be hard to get them caught up on 500 years of history in a constantly changing (reforming) church.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis.

SomeoneWrites

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #227 on: December 15, 2017, 07:49:42 PM »

As to your reply way back this morning, I appreciated it. I definitely fall into the omphalist camp. I would squibble with the name, as I think it unnecessarily implies trickery where I see only artistry (just like a great author writes backstory and a great painter shows their subject's aging). But I don't squibble with it, as saying I am an Omphalist sounds like I specialize in the scientific study of Oompah-Loompahs. Which tends to end the conversation quickly.

I was an Omphalist for a few years, and definitely through my time at Sem.  I have the same issue with the name but it's currently the best short hand for apparent age creation.  I never felt that trickery was an issue with it, as the tree rings in the garden of Eden didn't seem like trickery at all.  Unfortunately it still falls short if explored further, especially in regards to things like Dinos and flood narratives. 


A quick end to the evolution debate is fine with me because my complaint with the scientific community's trumpeting of evolution is that in most cases it has zero cash value. E.g. - I am pretty well-read on neuroscience (a natural outflow of my dad having a major TBI when I was in my early teens and my youngest son having childhood epilepsy). Shoehorned into those texts are always comments about "this balance between neuroexciters and neuroinhibitors evolved over hundreds of millions of years," even though that has absolutely zippo to do with any application to brain science today. In fact, if anything, brain science has become amazed at the neuroplasticity of the brain, the degree that it can change over the course of a single lifetime. No need to posit millions of years here. In fact, the whole mammalian/reptilian brain thing has been shown to be dead wrong and really stalled a proper understanding of the unique interplay of our brain's limbic and cortical systems.

This is why I brought up the geography thing.  Truth doesn't need a cash value.  Either way the principles of natural selection, mutation, genetic drift - all play into the study of biology in general (particularly its history) as well as ecology, zoology, and other overlapping fields.  Geology, radiology, astronomy, paleontology, anthropology all have overlaps that point to an extended history. 

Anyway, I am not a big fan of people pounding the table on either side. I have absolute confidence that what is recorded in Scripture is factually correct when seen from God's point of view. Which is, of course, the point of view I believe the Scriptures were written from. And it is a point of view I have to take by means of revelation more than reason. I am cool with that. I still go with six literal days, since it's the plainest reading of the Hebrew, but if I get to heaven and find out that wasn't quite it... what do I care? I'm in heaven, y'know. (Similarly, if I die and it turns out it was wrong and all I do is crumble in my grave... what do I care? I'm just crumbly.)
Yeah, I'm not a fan to table pounding - though I can see how things get push-to-shove from time to time. 
I do think some of these things have long term consequences.  I know creationists who have some overlap into the climate skepticism (any readers please put the best construction on the term) because they don't believe examination of pre-man climates.  And there I think some significant harm can be done to later generations.  In this instance I have a greater amount of respect for the current pope, who doesn't let evolution get in the way, and sees the problem with climate change. 


Have you come across the book "Amazing Truths" by Michael Guillen? It is written by a committed and conservative Christian who was the ABC Science News Editor (so, some legit street cred) about the ways that science and Scripture intersect. Some texts of that nature can be brutal, of the Russia-and-China-are-Gog-and-Magog-and-Jesus-is-returning-in-43-days variety. But I liked this one enough that halfway through I stopped so I could give it my focus while reading it with my elders, which we'll be taking up in the new year. If you get a chance to take a look, I'd value your take, either on the forum or via a private message.

Blessings,
Rob

I appreciate it and may look into that as I can.  I can tell you my reading list is pretty packed.  I've taken to watching lectures on double speed just to get more info faster.  But if I do, I'd happily discuss it with you. 

Blessings. 
SW
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R. T. Fouts

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #228 on: December 18, 2017, 12:12:04 AM »
I've never felt that the age of the earth was a matter Lutherans should be all that preoccupied with. Bishop Ussher saddled the Anglicans and, therefore, the Reformed with that dispute.  I am quite comfortable leaving the age of the earth question unanswered so long as we understand that God is Creator, we are his Creatures... And that dynamic is the primary concern of Genesis 1-2. While I have no qualms with a six day creationist viewpoint, we still had better recognize that focusing on this issue misses the point of the text.  The "who" of Creator is immeasurably more important than the "when." And one can maintain a confession of biblical inspiration and inerrancy without committing to a 24 hour day length here.  I personally lean toward the 24 hour day, but I also recognize that this rests on flimsy exegetical grounds.
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peterm

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #229 on: December 18, 2017, 01:06:08 PM »
Thank you Dr. Fouts.  This is how I explain it to my confirmation students and others who ask.
Rev. Peter Morlock- ELCA pastor serving two congregations in WIS

SomeoneWrites

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #230 on: December 30, 2017, 11:56:20 PM »
Not stoking the fire on this -
Couldn't find any information on this topic for the NALC, LCMC, or such.  I can kind of guess WELS. 
Anyone know of any official positions by the above regarding
Evolution
Age of the Earth
6 day creation
Historical Adam
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Charles Austin

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #231 on: December 31, 2017, 12:37:44 AM »
“Official position” is one thing, probably a theological or juridical document. What people actually believe is something quite different.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis.

SomeoneWrites

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #232 on: December 31, 2017, 12:58:14 AM »
“Official position” is one thing, probably a theological or juridical document.


I'd be fine with reading that too.


What people actually believe is something quite different.
I expect this. 
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Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #233 on: December 31, 2017, 08:31:34 AM »
Since the NALC, of which I am a member, does not have many theological papers much less official doctrinal documents other than the Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, I suspect you will not find a paper on the topics you listed like Evolution, Age of the Earth, 6 day creation, Historical Adam.  I assume you also mean historic Eve.  And this, the historic (whatever that fully means or might mean, which includes in one sense a pre-historic Adam and Eve, pre-historic in the sense that history could be defined as events after The Fall and sin... would be more a area of interest and even concern than the previous three topics as long as God our Creator who is the blessed and only Holy Trinity is not taken out of the story that Scripture presents.   IMO, since I am not any official voice of my church body. 
Harvey S. Mozolak
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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #234 on: December 31, 2017, 09:09:30 AM »
Not stoking the fire on this -
Couldn't find any information on this topic for the NALC, LCMC, or such.  I can kind of guess WELS. 
Anyone know of any official positions by the above regarding
Evolution
Age of the Earth
6 day creation
Historical Adam


Why do you ask? These things rarely come up in my ministry.


The moments that matter to me are the ones like the one that happened a couple of days ago. A young woman confessed to me that she was sure she was going to hell because she had had an abortion years ago and "God cannot possibly forgive someone who murders a child." She told me she kept a gun and would end her life herself when the suffering seemed unbearable. I told her about the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world--all of it. Romans 8 and Jeremiah 31 figured prominently. When I left, she told me the gun was now only for target practice.


Other stuff simply pales when compared to moments like that.


Lou (at best, one of the shepherd's sheepdogs)

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #235 on: December 31, 2017, 09:45:16 AM »
Lou, ah yes-- The Logos that created that now re-creates.  Giving timeless rebirth into the new Adam and Eve that come forth from the baptismal Worded waters
« Last Edit: December 31, 2017, 09:47:33 AM by Harvey_Mozolak »
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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #236 on: December 31, 2017, 09:54:14 AM »
Lou, ah yes-- The Logos that created that now re-creates.  Giving timeless rebirth into the new Adam and Eve that come forth from the baptismal Worded waters


Ah yes, indeed Harvey, ah yes....


Lou

Dan Fienen

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #237 on: December 31, 2017, 10:17:58 AM »

To be honest, I don't really know what to think about young earth/old earth, six 24 hour day creation, and the like.  I believe that God actively acted in creating the universe (not the Deist, He wound the clock and let it run) and reject atheistic neo-Darwinian evolution that makes random chance God.  I'm OK saying that I don't know just how to fit Genesis and the observable cosmological data.  Nowhere does it say that God has to explain it all to me, or that I would understand it if He did.  It is enough for me to believe that God did it.


I have a level of distrust of what has been called syllogistic theology.  Because the Bible says A and the Bible says B therefore we must believe C.  That works nicely for rather limited and well defined problems, but the real world is much less closely defined and there may be many factors that we just don't know that could introduce factors that throw the careful logical deductions off.  The more we deduce and extrapolate from what we know to figure out what we don't know, the easier for small errors or unexpected factors to throw off the result.  If one set sail from New York harbor for Liverpool, England with a precise compass heading to follow that turned out to be 0.1 degree off, by the time you crossed the Atlantic, you would not find England.  When we sent men to the moon, they left earth orbit on a precise heading, far more accurate than 0.1 degree, but they still needed midcourse correction.  It's not that I don't trust the Bible, I don't trust my or anyone else's ability to extrapolate from what Scripture says to deduce what it must mean.


The most important things for us to learn from the Bible are clear.  Not everything is that important to nail down.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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SomeoneWrites

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #238 on: December 31, 2017, 10:30:48 AM »

Why do you ask? These things rarely come up in my ministry.

I find it easier to process what a religion teaches when it's declared, even if the declaration is "we don't know" or "we don't have an official teaching on x."


The moments that matter to me are the ones like the one that happened a couple of days ago. A young woman confessed to me that she was sure she was going to hell because she had had an abortion years ago and "God cannot possibly forgive someone who murders a child." She told me she kept a gun and would end her life herself when the suffering seemed unbearable. I told her about the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world--all of it. Romans 8 and Jeremiah 31 figured prominently. When I left, she told me the gun was now only for target practice.


Other stuff simply pales when compared to moments like that.

For the most part, I agree.  I've got a number of similar experiences like the one you mentioned. 
Also the bulk of my work, including before I went into the ministry, was with youth - and they have a TON of questions.  Being able to engage them was important.  It also seems to come up in official circles in regards to who's allowed to teach what.  I get the sense that an LCMS pastor can be removed for teaching evolution as true.  Someone in the ELCA would be allowed to stay.  I don't know much about the NALC or LCMC, so there's a gap in my knowledge. 
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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #239 on: December 31, 2017, 10:41:15 AM »
so there's a gap in my knowledge.


Sometimes it's healthier to just admit we cannot know everything and simply trust. Knowing all things is one of those God things that is above my pay grade. When I am thinking I know, God usually sends a freight train fully loaded my way to let me know I don't. I am old enough to have been run over a few times by that train......


Lou