Author Topic: Is God Now a "Ze"?  (Read 16553 times)

Charles Austin

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #135 on: May 07, 2018, 11:29:23 AM »
Of course. Because, in your view, Pastor Bohler, you and your tribe are always right and should always mistrust anyone who is not already precisely, exactly, in every conceivable way aligned with you.
I get that.
But then certain of you, and I put you in that cohort, mistrust and disbelieve even your own LCMS brothers. When they, some of them with years and lifetimes of service in your denomination say something, your response is: “You’re lying, we don’t believe you!”
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis. Preaching and presiding for Episcopalians next Sunday.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #136 on: May 07, 2018, 11:32:07 AM »

Contrary to Harvey Mozolak, the standard Lutheran understanding of baptism does not insist that everybody holds to the complete Lutheran understanding of baptism, its nature, practice and benefits, for there to be a valid baptism.  What was necessary for a baptism to be valid is a following of Jesus' instituting command, to apply water in God's name.  Thus when baptism is practiced in Trinitarian churches the baptism is considered valid even if their understanding of what happens in baptism and benefits of baptism differ from ours.  When baptism is practiced in a non-Trinitarian church, such as the Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses, the referent of the words used for God's name is different and therefor no baptism. 


To illustrate, when I am being seen by my doctor, if someone pokes their nose into the room and asks for Dan, both us would respond since his first name is the same as mine.  But just because that name could be applied to either of us does not mean that we are the same person.  Similarly, even though a Mormon or a Jehovah's Witness might use the same words to refer to God in baptism, they are not referring to the same entity as a Christian would.


Interestingly, while we Lutherans would generally consider a baptism performed in a Baptist church to be a valid baptism, they would not consider ours valid.


With the Lord's Supper, it becomes more complicated.  Again there is the application of Jesus' words to the material element.  It could be discussed how much variance there can be as to the material element used, as Bivens in the article indicated.  Bread, leavened or unleavened, wheat or other grain (to for example avoid gluten); wine, fruit of the grape vine but fermented or not, alcoholic or nonalcoholic?  Some variation has been deemed permissible but I suspect that for most of us Diet Coke and potato chips would  stretch things too far.  As for the Word from Jesus - here there has been great and heated debate.  The two extremes would have that what Jesus said indicated that the bread and wine changed into His body and blood and were no longer in essence bread and wine.  At the other extreme would be that in the sacrament as Jesus instituted it the bread and wine are only symbolic of His body and blood.  A great many shades of belief lie between.


Once again, the question begs to be asked what the reality is to which those words refer.  If the reality that a group believes the words
to
refer varies from what Jesus intended them to refer, at what point does that variance become a different reality being referred to and therefore no longer Jesus' words being applied to the material elements but a different sacrament and thus no sacrament at all.  We in the LCMS and you in the ELCA have come to draw that line in different places as well as interpreting Paul's warning about not discerning the Body of Christ differently.


Would it be arrogant for Pr. Stoffregen to assert that we in the LCMS have gotten it wrong as to what it means to discern the Body of Christ in the sacrament and thus apply Paul's warning wrongly?  Would it be arrogant for us in the LCMS to assert that Pr. Stoffregen and those in the ELCA who agree with his interpretation have gotten it wrong?  Are we both to be considered right?
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Steven W Bohler

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #137 on: May 07, 2018, 11:36:48 AM »
Of course. Because, in your view, Pastor Bohler, you and your tribe are always right and should always mistrust anyone who is not already precisely, exactly, in every conceivable way aligned with you.
I get that.
But then certain of you, and I put you in that cohort, mistrust and disbelieve even your own LCMS brothers. When they, some of them with years and lifetimes of service in your denomination say something, your response is: “You’re lying, we don’t believe you!”

As you correctly point out, I do not always trust and believe those within the LCMS.  On the other hand, there are a number of ELCA pastors (some on this forum, for instance) that I do trust and believe.  So, who is my "tribe"?

Dan Fienen

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #138 on: May 07, 2018, 11:39:03 AM »

You continue your focus on how right you are and how wrong everyone else is.
"Not going to have coffee with that church!" says one partisan, "They actually serve decaf at their coffee hours, and we can't have any of that."
Perhaps a bit over the top here, Charles?  But then it is not enough for you to disagree, for you to be satisfied we must be ridiculous.
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Charles Austin

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #139 on: May 07, 2018, 12:16:17 PM »
Then, most of the time, I am satisfied.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis. Preaching and presiding for Episcopalians next Sunday.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #140 on: May 07, 2018, 12:32:45 PM »
My ignorance, never studied the divisions (if there are any) in the Pentecostal churches and their anti-Trinitarian teachings...

but the distinction between false doctrine and heresy... where do we find that biblically and confessionally?

again, it seems to me that to deny the Trinity is big but it seems to me that to deny the means of salvation, by faith and not by our works, by God's activity and not our own is at least as big as to deny the opera ad intra of God...

I am not happy with either but to make one bigger than the other, how do we do that biblically or confessionally?

would a Lutheran who teaches today that the Holy Spirit gifts some Christians with tongues be false doctrine, heresy, shaky evaluation of the biblical material or what?  I know of Lutherans who would find it true teaching and many who would find it false teaching.  Would there be some who would find it heresy and non-Christian?

Are non-biblical judgements of the church and its denominations binding on the consciences of their adherents?


What compounds the problem is that the Pentecostal churches base their understanding on biblical texts. In the Book of Acts there is baptism in the name of Jesus. The trinitarian formula is not used. In addition, the baptism with water is separated from the baptism with the Holy Spirit (often manifested by speaking in tongues). While we interpret these as extraordinary events to convince the church to bring in Samaritans and Gentiles; Pentecostals see the two stage baptisms as normative.
"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]

Dave Benke

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #141 on: May 07, 2018, 12:34:56 PM »
Charles' argument is, at least in part, the 21st century version of the Schmucker American Lutheranism that Krauth opposed so vehemently.  It seems that the same things keep coming up in our circles all leading back to the basic question--just what is a Lutheran Christian?

Speaking of Charles Krauth, I just spent some time with the Pastors and leaders of First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Pittsburgh while at the national Lutheran Services in America gathering last week.  What a wonderful sanctuary!  And speaking of history, theirs was written by none other than former pastor (along with Krauth) Philip Pfatteicher - I took home a copy; they can also be obtained here: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/last-on-grant-philip-h-pfatteicher/1020191096.

They celebrate the Eucharist daily at noon, and have quite a remarkable team for ministry in downtown Pittsburgh.  I also attended a service of Prime at the hotel with the Missouri Synod campus pastor, Rev. Eric Andrae.

Dave Benke

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #142 on: May 07, 2018, 12:38:08 PM »
The same holds for false doctrine. Doctrine matters.


Doctrine matters, but doctrine does not save. God certainly saves many people whose have faulty doctrine.
"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]

DCharlton

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #143 on: May 07, 2018, 12:43:32 PM »
Of course. Because, in your view, Pastor Bohler, you and your tribe are always right and should always mistrust anyone who is not already precisely, exactly, in every conceivable way aligned with you.

Of course. Because, in your view, ___________, you and your tribe are always right and should always mistrust anyone who is not already precisely, exactly, in every conceivable way aligned with you.


Yes.  Thank God that this form of tribalism never makes an appearance in the good old ELCA.  Except at seminaries, synod assemblies, churchwide assemblies, Facebook groups, and ALPB Forum.  But apart from that, we avoid that kind of tribalism.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #144 on: May 07, 2018, 12:44:45 PM »
Who is the Christian God?  Is it ever important to name the Christian God?  Does the Christian God have a name?
These are good questions. Why have we allowed tradition (and, perhaps, Calvinist translators) to keep us saying Lord, Lord, Lord, when the name God has given appears over and over again in the Scriptures, though we strenuously avoid saying YHWH? The concordance of the Lutheran Study Bible has an interesting choice — listing Lord separately by where the Hebrew says (as we might in English) Lord and where YHWH appears; the sheer number of places this has happened shows how blurred this distinction is in the minds of modern Christians. Not only does a chunk of the Church have a problem with God's own use of masculine language to speak about Himself, the larger Church has a problem using the name He Himself used to talk about Himself.

The ancient Jews, when printed scriptures were rare, when reading the scriptures in worship, said 'adonai when the text had YHWH. Hearers wouldn't know what word was in the text. Confusion goes back a long, long, time.

Bibles for centuries, back to at least the King James Version, have let us readers know the distinction between YHWH and 'adonai. The first uses all upper-case letters: "LORD". The second uses upper and lower case letters: "Lord." In a few verses where both words occur in Hebrew, "Lord GOD" is used. (Nearly every time that comes up in a Bible study class, I point it out.)

The LXX uses κύριος for both Hebrew words. Perhaps that's where the confusion started - a couple centuries before Christ was born.
Thanks for stating what is known. The question still stands: why do modern translations stick with this, when there is no good reason to? I'm still partial to the suggestion made by Dr Reed Lessing when he was still at CSL, that YHWH Sabaoth be transated General Yahweh.


First of all, we don't know that Yahweh is how the word was pronounced when it was spoken by the High Priest on Yom Kippur. The vowel pointing under יהוה are the vowels for 'adonai to remind the readers not to speak the Holy Name. An older pronunciation was Jehovah.


Secondly, why would we want to purposively offend Jewish folks who would find it as misusing God's name; breaking the commandment?

This is one of the few times you and I find agreement, Brian. I agree with both of your arguments here. Good job.
1. Exact pronunciation of any ancient language is questionable; I don't see why that's necessarily an impediment to using them. Consider how modern Latin liturgies use the execrable Medieval pronunciations rather than the crisp, clear ancient style it is believed was used — they still work.

2. I have great sympathy with the wish to not offend. That said, there are invitations by God to call on God in the OT — that is a truly proper use of God's name, and is not a misuse of the Name, which is what all the futzing about with vowels was intended to avoid (Hey! If we never actually use it, we can't break that commandment! Sweet!). Yet what do we find when we read the OT? We find that it was used by God's people to address God directly; see, for instance, 2 Samuel 24.10. Avoiding the use of the name of the Lord is an accreted practice, and certainly not commanded.


The early rabbis developed a process of building a fence around God's commandments. The image is like building a fence around and three-feet away from a deep hole. The purpose is to make sure that no one falls into the hole, so rules (the fence) are created to keep people away from falling. So, while God's command doesn't forbid the use of the divine name, traditional developed a fence around the name to keep people from misusing it - they wouldn't say it.


I see Jesus doing something similar in Matthew 5. The Old Testament command against adultery doesn't forbid lusting after a woman. Jesus' words create a fence around adultery, a command so that we don't get close to falling into that sin. Similarly, the command against murder. In the OT, it doesn't forbid anger, but Jesus does. It's a fence to keep us from falling into that sin.
"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]

MaddogLutheran

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #145 on: May 07, 2018, 12:45:34 PM »
The same holds for false doctrine. Doctrine matters.


Doctrine matters, but doctrine does not save. God certainly saves many people whose have faulty doctrine.
I guess it's a good thing that no one here has claimed that doctrine saves.  We should care as Lutherans because of what we say in article 7 of the Augsburg Confession--it's how we are assured we are the Church.

It has not been given to us to determine which people with faulty doctrine God saves.  What we are commanded to do is AC7.

Sterling Spatz
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #146 on: May 07, 2018, 12:49:31 PM »
And your little wooden horse, Pastor Kirchner, is the obsession about you being right and others being wrong and making sure that their errors are denounced, even if the are not the kind of errors that take them into "heresy".
   Add to that the particularly LCMS "tactic" of mistrust and refusal to accept the statements of those you find suspicious.
   I have seen this for years, going way back to the times when your people (after the election of J.A.O. Preus) took part in inter-Lutheran and ecumenical dialogues.
   We or a dialogue partner would say, "Yes, we believe A.B., and C, and hold firmly to ...."
   Your people would smile and say "yes, but..." or more directly declare "Well, you say you believe A.B., and C, but we don't think you really do."



And, judging by where you (meaning the ELCA) has ended up in many teachings/practices, they were right to mistrust and refuse to accept those statements at face value.


And because we firmly believe that we aren't saved by our teachings/practices, we can accept and worship with and share Christ's body and blood with others. Jesus Christ is our salvation. He comes to us in Word and Sacrament regardless of what people might teach or believe about it.


The denunciation of those who disagree with your teachings is a proclamation of salvation by correct doctrine.
"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: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #147 on: May 07, 2018, 12:59:03 PM »
The same holds for false doctrine. Doctrine matters.


Doctrine matters, but doctrine does not save. God certainly saves many people whose have faulty doctrine.
I guess it's a good thing that no one here has claimed that doctrine saves.  We should care as Lutherans because of what we say in article 7 of the Augsburg Confession--it's how we are assured we are the Church.

It has not been given to us to determine which people with faulty doctrine God saves.  What we are commanded to do is AC7.

Sterling Spatz

No, folks don't claim that doctrine saves, they just act like it. "If you don't believe like us, then you can't share in the salvation Jesus gives in Holy Communion."

Article VII is exactly what I'm doing. When something is added to the Gospel like believing in the proper doctrine, it ceases to be the free grace of God that saves.


Nearly 50 years ago when I started seminary, it struck me that students who couldn't make a distinction between the faith that trusts God's grace for salvation and our academic study of theology and doctrines had difficulties. Our human attempts to try and understand God and put that into words will never be complete. Paul is clear that what we know now is only partial. Jesus states that the Holy Spirit has more to teach us.


« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 01:01:40 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"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]

MaddogLutheran

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #148 on: May 07, 2018, 12:59:30 PM »
Of course. Because, in your view, Pastor Bohler, you and your tribe are always right and should always mistrust anyone who is not already precisely, exactly, in every conceivable way aligned with you.

Of course. Because, in your view, ___________, you and your tribe are always right and should always mistrust anyone who is not already precisely, exactly, in every conceivable way aligned with you.


Yes.  Thank God that this form of tribalism never makes an appearance in the good old ELCA.  Except at seminaries, synod assemblies, churchwide assemblies, Facebook groups, and ALPB Forum.  But apart from that, we avoid that kind of tribalism.
It's interesting you make this point, as it gives me an opportunity to reflect on the one really disturbing theological item I experienced at my first synod assembly.  During a meditation on confession and forgiveness, specifically about racism, the presenters chose to highlight the second part of the office of the keys:  if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.  This struck me as, well, wrong.  Are we really not supposed to forgive racists?  I thought being stingy with such grace was something only a Pharisee did.  So I beg to differ, Pr. Stoffregen, with your observation above that we in the ELCA do not teach that right doctrine saves.  These meditation leaders are clearly making forgiveness conditional on the right kind of contrition for particular sins.  To be honest, I wasn't entirely clear who they were targeting.  They certainly did point the finger at this church, which was refreshing, but this was of course right before we elected an African-American woman as bishop.  Perhaps it was a not quite oblique swipe at the alt-right and the current presidential administration.  At any rate, I heard plenty of condemnation in the name of this church.

As I keep saying, those who preach tolerance don't really believe in tolerance, but merely want to replace one set of moral norms with another.  The progressive party here is doing with racism the very thing they object to about traditional sexual norms, for example.  Though of course they would put homo/trans phobias in the same elevated sin categories as racism.

I think tribalism is the biggest problem across our society today (civil and religious) and social media is the amplifier.

Sterling Spatz
P.S. Being a synod newbie, I suspect that you traditionalists veterans have experienced far worse.  Overall, it wasn't too painful and I am glad I had the opportunity.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 01:27:56 PM by MaddogLutheran »
Sterling Spatz
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #149 on: May 07, 2018, 01:02:01 PM »

Then, most of the time, I am satisfied.
Smug.
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