Author Topic: LCMS kerfuffle  (Read 45318 times)

Dave Benke

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #330 on: January 04, 2018, 01:01:33 PM »
As I endure another bone-freezing wintry day in the Midwest, it warms my heart to hear
the word "Kittel" mentioned in an above post.   Every pastor needs Gerhard Kittel's
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (9 volumes) in his library.  It is an excellent
resource for teaching and preaching God's Word.

Yes, I know that his dictionary is highly regarded, but doesn't it give you pause that Kittel was a Nazi and anti-Semite?

I never heard this before.  Have you seen that reflected in his scholarship?

This being a snow day (or two) in NYC, I took some time and read an article on Kittel's Nazi connections written in 1977.  Very illuminating.  And very sad.  As it turns out, Kittel's scholarship as presented during the 1930's-40's definitely took a turn for the worse, as he was recruited to write articles exploring history and archaeology on the Jewish Question and brought forth some very spurious, nasty stuff.  The article can be looked up under Gerhard Kittel biography on a web search, but you have to have a JSTOR account to get to read it.   His last years were spent in prison, separated from his wife, and then at the very end battling to regain control of the TDNT.  He defended himself for his views, but they were way, way off and used by the Nazis to support their ends.

Dave Benke

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #331 on: January 04, 2018, 01:14:40 PM »
As I endure another bone-freezing wintry day in the Midwest, it warms my heart to hear
the word "Kittel" mentioned in an above post.   Every pastor needs Gerhard Kittel's
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (9 volumes) in his library.  It is an excellent
resource for teaching and preaching God's Word.

Yes, I know that his dictionary is highly regarded, but doesn't it give you pause that Kittel was a Nazi and anti-Semite?

I never heard this before.  Have you seen that reflected in his scholarship?

I had never heard it before either. A historian of the holocaust, Robert Ericksen (at Pacific Lutheran University) has done a lot of research into it dating back in 1977.

As to giving 'pause', Kittel was the founding editor, but he was not the only editor, nor did he write all of the entries. His anti-semitism doesn't come through in it anywhere. I think it sad, but his work is still usable.
The significance of the passage of time, right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time. -- VP Kamala Harris

LCMS87

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #332 on: January 04, 2018, 01:48:57 PM »
"If I reject what Scripture teaches as history about creation, why should I not then reject everything else (including the resurrection itself) that appears contrary to reason?"

That is the logic of rationalism and the Enlightenment. We do not know that it is God's logic.

Peace, JOHN

Actually, it's illogic, a logical fallacy. In this context a fallacy often set forth by Fundamentalists.

Since the quote that began this comes from President Harrison's article cited above, can you explain a bit more what you mean?

I take him to be saying that if you accept the premise that Scripture is not to be believed concerning creation when what it says is contradicted by human reason and the teachings of science, there are many other teachings of Scripture that must also be dismissed as untrue on the same basis. 

Of course, he asks it as a question.  What is the answer to his why?  On what basis or principle is the Scriptures' teaching on creation to be dismissed but not its teaching on Jesus' resurrection, or miracles, or conception by Spirit in the womb the Virgin? 

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #333 on: January 04, 2018, 02:27:49 PM »
"If I reject what Scripture teaches as history about creation, why should I not then reject everything else (including the resurrection itself) that appears contrary to reason?"

That is the logic of rationalism and the Enlightenment. We do not know that it is God's logic.

Peace, JOHN

Actually, it's illogic, a logical fallacy. In this context a fallacy often set forth by Fundamentalists.

Since the quote that began this comes from President Harrison's article cited above, can you explain a bit more what you mean?

I take him to be saying that if you accept the premise that Scripture is not to be believed concerning creation when what it says is contradicted by human reason and the teachings of science, there are many other teachings of Scripture that must also be dismissed as untrue on the same basis. 

Of course, he asks it as a question.  What is the answer to his why?  On what basis or principle is the Scriptures' teaching on creation to be dismissed but not its teaching on Jesus' resurrection, or miracles, or conception by Spirit in the womb the Virgin?

I take the quote the same way. That is what rationalism and the Enlightenment taught in order to discount the Christian faith. I reject their syllogism.

Many faithful Christians confess the creation (and the resurrection) while considering the Genesis--six seven day creation text to be liturgical poetry rather than a scientific account. Myself, I favor the one day creation account (Genesis 2:4).

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #334 on: January 04, 2018, 02:32:31 PM »
Just a brief comment on Kittel as a resource: its methodology tends to assume that a word’s origins (its diachronic existence) are in someway determinative of its meaning in actual use (its synchronic existence). It is true that the very existence of a writing system ensures that older significations can be understood and remembered long after the vocable’s signification has altered, but the truth remains solid (as Voelz pointed out): a word most properly means what it means in its contemporary usage and not its (admittedly interesting) etymological history. FWIW. Think of the origins of “nice” and how it originally was understood to be mean foolish, stupid; that doesn’t get you far with how it is used today. “How nice!”
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 02:34:38 PM by Weedon »

LCMS87

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #335 on: January 04, 2018, 02:46:13 PM »
Just a brief comment on Kittel as a resource: its methodology tends to assume that a word’s origins (its diachronic existence) are in someway determinative of its meaning in actual use (its synchronic existence). It is true that the very existence of a writing system ensures that older significations can be understood and remembered long after the vocable’s signification has altered, but the truth remains solid (as Voelz pointed out): a word most properly means what it means in its contemporary usage and not its (admittedly interesting) etymological history. FWIW. Think of the origins of “nice” and how it originally was understood to be mean foolish, stupid; that doesn’t get you far with how it is used today. “How nice!”

Kittel's overemphasis on etymology--what one might label etymological determinism--is what I view as its greatest weakness as well.  I'm somewhat surprised it's taken this long to have it come up. 

Most Americans know what excruciating means.  Ask them about the origin of the word though and you'll find far fewer able to explain.  Yet that in no way stops them from using the word appropriately.

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #336 on: January 04, 2018, 02:48:20 PM »
I take him to be saying that if you accept the premise that Scripture is not to be believed concerning creation when what it says is contradicted by human reason and the teachings of science, there are many other teachings of Scripture that must also be dismissed as untrue on the same basis. 

Of course, he asks it as a question.  What is the answer to his why?  On what basis or principle is the Scriptures' teaching on creation to be dismissed but not its teaching on Jesus' resurrection, or miracles, or conception by Spirit in the womb the Virgin?

I'm not the person you're asking, but this is a question I've considered multiple times so I thought I'd weigh in.

To me, the implication of a scriptural teaching being proven false/otherwise dismissed is that other scriptural teachings that scaffold from the dismissed one are either themselves false, or true but with different (perhaps non-scriptural?) justification. To use the topic at hand, if the universe wasn't created in seven twenty-four hour days, then subsequent scriptural teachings that rely on this for their justification are either themselves false, or perhaps true if an alternative explanation can be found, with the attendant problems of this alternative explanation being accepted, particularly if one has a big focus on sola scriptura.

I think a better example is the idea of original sin. The traditional Western explanation is that Eve first sinned by eating the apple, and since all of humanity are her descendants, all of humanity inherits her sinful nature as Paul notes in Romans. I don't think I have to elaborate on the multitude of beliefs or practices that we have as a consequence of this belief. However, if Adam and Eve are found/presumed not to be actual people who existed, the scriptural basis of original sin (for example) and those beliefs and practices resulting from our belief in original sin, such as our understanding of baptism, now have no scriptural basis. This means that those beliefs and practices we have are either false and unnecessary and must be discarded, or that, if the secondary principle seems true, then alternative reasoning must be found - which may be scriptural or unscriptural. Then it becomes another whole problem of getting others to recognize that our justification is significant.

Obviously this has various stages of severity depending on how far one goes - one can hold the opinion that the opening narrative of Genesis didn't really happen, but the authors are in fact conveying truths about the human condition.

Rob

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #337 on: January 04, 2018, 03:21:03 PM »
Just a brief comment on Kittel as a resource: its methodology tends to assume that a word’s origins (its diachronic existence) are in someway determinative of its meaning in actual use (its synchronic existence). It is true that the very existence of a writing system ensures that older significations can be understood and remembered long after the vocable’s signification has altered, but the truth remains solid (as Voelz pointed out): a word most properly means what it means in its contemporary usage and not its (admittedly interesting) etymological history. FWIW. Think of the origins of “nice” and how it originally was understood to be mean foolish, stupid; that doesn’t get you far with how it is used today. “How nice!”

Oh I don’t know . . . I often use it that way. 8)
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #338 on: January 05, 2018, 12:12:41 AM »
I take him to be saying that if you accept the premise that Scripture is not to be believed concerning creation when what it says is contradicted by human reason and the teachings of science, there are many other teachings of Scripture that must also be dismissed as untrue on the same basis. 

Of course, he asks it as a question.  What is the answer to his why?  On what basis or principle is the Scriptures' teaching on creation to be dismissed but not its teaching on Jesus' resurrection, or miracles, or conception by Spirit in the womb the Virgin?

I'm not the person you're asking, but this is a question I've considered multiple times so I thought I'd weigh in.

To me, the implication of a scriptural teaching being proven false/otherwise dismissed is that other scriptural teachings that scaffold from the dismissed one are either themselves false, or true but with different (perhaps non-scriptural?) justification. To use the topic at hand, if the universe wasn't created in seven twenty-four hour days, then subsequent scriptural teachings that rely on this for their justification are either themselves false, or perhaps true if an alternative explanation can be found, with the attendant problems of this alternative explanation being accepted, particularly if one has a big focus on sola scriptura.

I think a better example is the idea of original sin. The traditional Western explanation is that Eve first sinned by eating the apple, and since all of humanity are her descendants, all of humanity inherits her sinful nature as Paul notes in Romans. I don't think I have to elaborate on the multitude of beliefs or practices that we have as a consequence of this belief. However, if Adam and Eve are found/presumed not to be actual people who existed, the scriptural basis of original sin (for example) and those beliefs and practices resulting from our belief in original sin, such as our understanding of baptism, now have no scriptural basis. This means that those beliefs and practices we have are either false and unnecessary and must be discarded, or that, if the secondary principle seems true, then alternative reasoning must be found - which may be scriptural or unscriptural. Then it becomes another whole problem of getting others to recognize that our justification is significant.

Obviously this has various stages of severity depending on how far one goes - one can hold the opinion that the opening narrative of Genesis didn't really happen, but the authors are in fact conveying truths about the human condition.

Rob

I think this is a solid assessment.  It's not a problem for Christianity as a whole, but definitely has some trouble for Confessional Lutheranism.  I like the term "Scaffolding."  If you don't mind, I'm probably going to steal that. 

To continue -  I don't think rejecting the historicity of one thing means rejecting the historicity of another.  Noah's flood actually ends up being a better example, particularly in interpretation.  Not only is there no geological evidence for the catastrophe, there's no evidence for a genetic bottleneck in any animal/human population for about that time.  The distribution of animal life suggests otherwise.  Paleontology and the fossil record suggests otherwise.  Anthropology suggests otherwise. 
The only corroboration, so to speak, is other myths.  Flood myths make sense in the context of developing in areas with floods, or explanations of shells in uplifted rock.  And the transmissions of myths to other cultures is repeatedly evident.

Even then, there may as well have been a localized flood in the black sea.  There's some evidence for this happening 8-16k years ago.  (And there's evidence of people living 20k years ago making pottery, though that was in China, not the mideast). 


None of these things directly mean other things aren't historical.  It's one thing when there's a lack of evidence, and another when there's tons of evidence that point the opposite direction. 
« Last Edit: January 05, 2018, 12:15:31 AM by SomeoneWrites »
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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #339 on: January 05, 2018, 07:32:07 AM »
Of course, he asks it as a question.  What is the answer to his why?  On what basis or principle is the Scriptures' teaching on creation to be dismissed but not its teaching on Jesus' resurrection, or miracles, or conception by Spirit in the womb the Virgin?

To continue -  I don't think rejecting the historicity of one thing means rejecting the historicity of another.

[Hope I got the formatting right. I'm on a Kindle.]

That was my point, that rejecting the former means rejecting the latter is illogical.

I mentioned it back on Dec 9th.

https://alpb.org/Forum/index.php?topic=6885.msg434054#msg434054

I recall my first year at Sem, hanging out with some fellow students in a dorm room. I asked one why one could not be a Christian and reject a 6-day, 24-hour creation. (BTW, I do not.) His response was that, if you reject that, pretty soon you're rejecting the resurrection. I did not say anything, but I thought, "No, that doesn't follow. That's right on down the slippery slope."


If this goes beyond what President Harrison was stating, my apologies.

Don Kirchner

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Harry Edmon

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #340 on: January 05, 2018, 08:53:53 AM »
I think you are misunderstanding the basis for President Harrison's comments.  It is not a matter of logic, it is a matter of hermaneutics.  If you interpret Genesis 1 and 2 that way what does it imply about your interpretation of the rest of Scripture.  The ultimate question is, what does Jesus think about Genesis 1 and 2? If He takes it as literal, how can we not?
Harry Edmon, Ph.D., LCMS Layman

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #341 on: January 05, 2018, 10:30:35 AM »
Yes, it is a matter of hermeneutics, and more fundamentally, a matter of faith.  Rev. Harrison wrote, "If I reject what Scripture teaches as history about creation, why should I not then reject everything else (including the resurrection itself) that appears contrary to reason?"  Specifically, Harrison addressed the rejection of the historicity of the biblical account.  The Christian religion is rooted in history.  Stated more generally, he is asking: if I place my reason above the teaching of the Scriptures on one matter, what is to keep me from placing my reason above the teaching of the Scriptures on any matter?  I see nothing rationalistic about such a question.  Rationalism would rather be the spirit behind the denial of the biblical historical accounts.

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #342 on: January 05, 2018, 10:45:15 AM »
Yes, it is a matter of hermeneutics, and more fundamentally, a matter of faith.  Rev. Harrison wrote, "If I reject what Scripture teaches as history about creation, why should I not then reject everything else (including the resurrection itself) that appears contrary to reason?" 

Because the latter does not necessarily follow from the former.

"'If the Bible is wrong about creation, there is no Gospel. It's as simple as that.' [No, it's not that simple.] that if one Biblical doctrine such as a literal 6-day/24 hour creation fell, your faith would fall because one's faith is based on a conviction that the Scriptures are the inspired and inerrant word of God (a Fundamentalist view) rather than the other way around (the Lutheran view), that, coming to faith through the Gospel, we then confess an inerrant Scripture."

"Gospel and Scripture," CTCR, November 1972

http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/CTCR/gospel_scripture.pdf

E.g.:

"The truthfulness of the Gospel does not depend upon the inerrancy of the Scriptures. [footnote 13]

and,

"Relative to the role of the Gospel as norm in the Scriptures, however, it is important to observe that it is one thing to say that it is contrary to the Holy Spirit's intent when Scripture is interpreted in such a way that the Gospel is obscured; it is quite another thing to say that since the Holy Spirit's intent in the Scriptures is to proclaim the Gospel, it was never His intent that His Word in Genesis 1-11, for instance, should be understood as relating facts of history, or to say that in view of "the perpetual aim of the Gospel" (AC XXVIII, 66; Latin) apostolic directives for the church's life may be set aside. It is one thing to search the Scriptures to discover ever more fully how they witness to Christ and relate to His Gospel; it is quite another thing to explore the implications of the Gospel for freedom in handling the Scriptures. The interest of one is to see the richness and the glory of the Gospel to aid preaching; the interest of the other is to explain the alleged limitations and flaws of the Bible in a way that avoids the embarrassment of defending it as God's very own inerrant Word while at the same time upholding and affirming its authority. The Gospel is the norm in the Scriptures in the sense that it absolutely prohibits understanding any passage to teach salvation by works. It is not norm in the sense that the center of Scripture becomes a device to sanction a view of the Bible and a method of interpreting it which virtually denies that the whole Bible is God's inspired, authoritative Word on all matters concerning which it speaks." [page 11]

I recall Andy Bartelt's class, when a portion of OT Scripture seemed to be in error. Upon further examination of the Hebrew, however, it was properly explained. Bartelt's quip, "Whew! Almost lost my faith for a minute there!"
« Last Edit: January 05, 2018, 11:03:52 AM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #343 on: January 05, 2018, 11:09:16 AM »
Again and again and again, we get from that element of your church body, the ridiculous “domino theory” of doctrine. If one small matter falls, then the entire doctrine of the faith collapses. I just don’t get that.
And it adds to the ultimate mythology in your church body, that concept of “unity in doctrine.”
I do not Believe that pastor Preus or your Synod president speak for the majority of people in your church body. And to say there must be “unity” around  their views just ain’t gonna work.
But carry on. Not my business.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve 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

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Re: LCMS kerfuffle
« Reply #344 on: January 05, 2018, 11:18:39 AM »
Yes, it is a matter of hermeneutics, and more fundamentally, a matter of faith.  Rev. Harrison wrote, "If I reject what Scripture teaches as history about creation, why should I not then reject everything else (including the resurrection itself) that appears contrary to reason?" 

Because the latter does not necessarily follow from the former.

"'If the Bible is wrong about creation, there is no Gospel. It's as simple as that.' [No, it's not that simple.] that if one Biblical doctrine such as a literal 6-day/24 hour creation fell, your faith would fall because one's faith is based on a conviction that the Scriptures are the inspired and inerrant word of God (a Fundamentalist view) rather than the other way around (the Lutheran view), that, coming to faith through the Gospel, we then confess an inerrant Scripture."

"Gospel and Scripture," CTCR, November 1972

http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/CTCR/gospel_scripture.pdf

E.g.:

"The truthfulness of the Gospel does not depend upon the inerrancy of the Scriptures. [footnote 13]

and,

"Relative to the role of the Gospel as norm in the Scriptures, however, it is important to observe that it is one thing to say that it is contrary to the Holy Spirit's intent when Scripture is interpreted in such a way that the Gospel is obscured; it is quite another thing to say that since the Holy Spirit's intent in the Scriptures is to proclaim the Gospel, it was never His intent that His Word in Genesis 1-11, for instance, should be understood as relating facts of history, or to say that in view of "the perpetual aim of the Gospel" (AC XXVIII, 66; Latin) apostolic directives for the church's life may be set aside. It is one thing to search the Scriptures to discover ever more fully how they witness to Christ and relate to His Gospel; it is quite another thing to explore the implications of the Gospel for freedom in handling the Scriptures. The interest of one is to see the richness and the glory of the Gospel to aid preaching; the interest of the other is to explain the alleged limitations and flaws of the Bible in a way that avoids the embarrassment of defending it as God's very own inerrant Word while at the same time upholding and affirming its authority. The Gospel is the norm in the Scriptures in the sense that it absolutely prohibits understanding any passage to teach salvation by works. It is not norm in the sense that the center of Scripture becomes a device to sanction a view of the Bible and a method of interpreting it which virtually denies that the whole Bible is God's inspired, authoritative Word on all matters concerning which it speaks." [page 11]

I recall Andy Bartelt's class, when a portion of OT Scripture seemed to be in error. Upon further examination of the Hebrew, however, it was properly explained. Bartelt's quip, "Whew! Almost lost my faith for a minute there!"

This is well-recalled and stated, Don.  For the ancient folks among us, the so-called Battle for the Bible, because of the way it was waged, ended with a rump group becoming empowered to promote the fundamentalist concept that the truthfulness of the Gospel DOES indeed depend on the inerrancy of the Scriptures.  That's the way it has been prosecuted for a full 40 year generation among that rump group and out to God's people. 

Dave Benke