Author Topic: Is God Now a "Ze"?  (Read 16557 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #120 on: May 06, 2018, 09:40:07 PM »
And pastorally, what is the point?
Someone comes to me an says, "Pastor, I was saved as a teenager in my family's church. We went down to the lake and Rev. McKibben came into the water with me and dunked me in the name of Jesus. I been singing in the choir and helping at the soup kitchen ever since. If I join your church, do I have to be baptized again before I can eat the Lord's Supper?"

My answer would probably be "yes."

And that is indeed the pastoral answer. I would only delete the word "probably".

Well, the only consideration that makes it "probably" would be the need for nuance. For instance, if what the young man said was true, the word "again" is problematic. If there was some uncertainty about what actually happened, I would want to have further conversation with him and perhaps suggest "conditional baptism." In any event, my point was that a simple "yes" without further conversation may not be helpful to him.


The pertinent section of The Use of the Means of Grace:


We Baptize in the Name of the Triune God
Principle 24 Holy Baptism is administered with water in the name of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism into the name of the triune God involves confessing and teaching the doctrine and meaning of the Trinity. The baptized are welcomed into the body of Christ. This is the community which lives from “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit ….”[1]
   
Background 24a The Church seeks to maintain trinitarian orthodoxy while speaking in appropriate modern language and contexts. While a worldwide ecumenical discussion is now under-way about such language, we have no other name in which to baptize than the historic and ecumenically received name.[2]
 
Background 24b It is in the crucified Jesus that we meet the God to whom he entrusted all, who raised him from the dead for us, and who poured out the Spirit from his death and resurrection. Washing with water in this name is much more than the use of a “formula.” The name is a summary of the power and presence of the triune God and of that teaching which must accompany every Baptism. Without this teaching and without the encounter with the grace, love, and communion of the triune God, the words may be misunderstood as a magic formula or as a misrepresentation of the one God in three persons, “equal in glory, coeternal in majesty.”[3] What “Father” and “Son” mean, in biblical and creedal perspective, must also be continually reexamined. The doctrine of God teaches us the surprising theology of the cross and counters “any alleged Trinitarian sanction for sinful inequality or oppression of women in church and society.”[4]
 
Application 24c Some Christians, however, are received into our congregations from other churches in which they were baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ.”[5] There are some whose Baptisms were accompanied by trinitarian examination and confession of faith,[6] and whose Baptisms have occurred within the context of trinitarian life and teaching. We will do well to avoid quarrels over the validity of these Baptisms.
 
Application 24d Outside the context of trinitarian life and teaching no Christian Baptism takes place, whatever liturgical formula may be used.

[1] 2 Corinthians 13:13.
 
[2] Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, Baptism, 17.
 
[3] Athanasian Creed.
 
[4] Action of the Conference of Bishops, March 9-11, 1991, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
 
[5] Acts 2:38.
 
[6] Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus, 21.

   
"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 #121 on: May 06, 2018, 09:48:28 PM »
OK, so explain how the relationship between Jesus and the Father is only "like" that of a son (as opposed to BEING that of the Son to the Father).  And then explain how that is different from saying that Jesus is 'like" a son to the Father.  Can you say that I am "like" a son to my father, without somehow denying/lessening/weakening the actual relationship?


First of all, I didn't use the word "only". It is a relationship like that of a father with a son. Stating that a relationship is like that of a father and a son says nothing about the biological connection between the two persons. There are non-related people who have a relationship like that of a father with a son. There are biological father and sons who do not have a relationship like fathers should have with their sons.


Secondly, yes, I know of situations where a person is "like" a son to a man who is not his biological father. Paul talked about being a (spiritual) father to people. This implies that in some ways he was like a father to them, without actually being their father.



"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]

JEdwards

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #122 on: May 06, 2018, 10:01:35 PM »
The pertinent section of The Use of the Means of Grace:


We Baptize in the Name of the Triune God
Principle 24 Holy Baptism is administered with water in the name of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism into the name of the triune God involves confessing and teaching the doctrine and meaning of the Trinity. The baptized are welcomed into the body of Christ. This is the community which lives from “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit ….”[1]
   
Background 24a The Church seeks to maintain trinitarian orthodoxy while speaking in appropriate modern language and contexts. While a worldwide ecumenical discussion is now under-way about such language, we have no other name in which to baptize than the historic and ecumenically received name.[2]
 
Background 24b It is in the crucified Jesus that we meet the God to whom he entrusted all, who raised him from the dead for us, and who poured out the Spirit from his death and resurrection. Washing with water in this name is much more than the use of a “formula.” The name is a summary of the power and presence of the triune God and of that teaching which must accompany every Baptism. Without this teaching and without the encounter with the grace, love, and communion of the triune God, the words may be misunderstood as a magic formula or as a misrepresentation of the one God in three persons, “equal in glory, coeternal in majesty.”[3] What “Father” and “Son” mean, in biblical and creedal perspective, must also be continually reexamined. The doctrine of God teaches us the surprising theology of the cross and counters “any alleged Trinitarian sanction for sinful inequality or oppression of women in church and society.”[4]
 
Application 24c Some Christians, however, are received into our congregations from other churches in which they were baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ.”[5] There are some whose Baptisms were accompanied by trinitarian examination and confession of faith,[6] and whose Baptisms have occurred within the context of trinitarian life and teaching. We will do well to avoid quarrels over the validity of these Baptisms.
 
Application 24d Outside the context of trinitarian life and teaching no Christian Baptism takes place, whatever liturgical formula may be used.

[1] 2 Corinthians 13:13.
 
[2] Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, Baptism, 17.
 
[3] Athanasian Creed.
 
[4] Action of the Conference of Bishops, March 9-11, 1991, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
 
[5] Acts 2:38.
 
[6] Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus, 21.

 

In the abstract, I think Application 24c makes a defensible argument.  I wonder, however, whether it has any relevance in the 21st century.  In the early centuries of Christianity, with minimal contact between scattered churches, I think it is plausible that churches with a thoroughly orthodox trinitarian theology used varying baptismal formulae.  In the 21st century world, and certainly in 21st century America, I think it is universally apparent that the vast majority of Christians baptize "in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit"; therefore, the use of any other formula seems to be the result of a conscious choice not to do what the vast majority of Christians do when they baptize.  Therefore, it seems at best doubtful that those who would make such a choice are within "the context of trinitarian life and teaching".

Peace,
Jon

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #123 on: May 06, 2018, 10:07:10 PM »
Perhaps someone can parse this for me...

this Pentecostal group has a false view of the Trinity (assuming that is true, don't know the group myself and their teachings)... and so their baptism is more than suspect, must be done again...

so, the Roman Catholic church may teach salvation by works not by faith (traditional argument; again assume for this purpose) and so their baptism is OK, don't redo...

so, the Baptist church does not believe in the baptism of infants and so their adult baptism is OK, don't redo...

I get it that Trinitarian false teaching is bad but are not the others above (for the sake of argument) also bad or are they not bad enough ... like sin, there is venial heresy and mortal heresy?

In a word, yes.

I like to distinguish between heresy and false doctrine. I define heresy as something that makes a religious group that claims to be Christian non-Christian. For example, the Arians claimed to be Christian, but they were not for they denied the divinity of Jesus; the same is true with their descendants in the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Modalism, or Sabellianism, also denies the Trinity. Their descendants, the United Pentecostal Church (or the Oneness Pentecostals) do the same. This is a heresy. Their baptisms are not valid (neither are the JWs, Mormons, etc.)

In contrast, Rome, the Calvinists and the Arminians teach false doctrine in regards to many issues: justification, election, baptism, the Lord's Supper, etc. However, they do not deny the Trinity. They are still part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

I'm surprised you've never heard of the United Pentecostal Church. As recently as the early 1980s, they were the largest Pentecostal group in America.
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Jim Butler

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #124 on: May 06, 2018, 10:10:00 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.
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Steven W Bohler

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #125 on: May 07, 2018, 07:18:28 AM »
OK, so explain how the relationship between Jesus and the Father is only "like" that of a son (as opposed to BEING that of the Son to the Father).  And then explain how that is different from saying that Jesus is 'like" a son to the Father.  Can you say that I am "like" a son to my father, without somehow denying/lessening/weakening the actual relationship?


First of all, I didn't use the word "only". It is a relationship like that of a father with a son. Stating that a relationship is like that of a father and a son says nothing about the biological connection between the two persons. There are non-related people who have a relationship like that of a father with a son. There are biological father and sons who do not have a relationship like fathers should have with their sons.


Secondly, yes, I know of situations where a person is "like" a son to a man who is not his biological father. Paul talked about being a (spiritual) father to people. This implies that in some ways he was like a father to them, without actually being their father.

1. Yes, I inserted the word "only".  But it is there by implication, by definition: if something is "like" X, then it is similar to, but not the same as, X.  So, if the relationship is "like" that of Father to a son, then it is NOT that of Father to Son. 

2. As to your point about biological connection: we are not talking about the Father biologically, physically, genetically reproducing the Son.  Who has said such a thing?  The Father eternally begets the Son.  What does that mean?  How does it happen?  We can't explain or know; the Trinity is a mystery too great for us.  We simply take/believe/use God's words on the matter.  And He tells us: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.  Not "like" a Father or a Son or Spirit.

3.  You make my point when you say that there are non-related people who have a relationship like that of a father with a son.  Because, although their relationship is "like" (or similar) to that of father and son, it is NOT that of father-son.  So, when you say that Jesus is "like" a son to the Father, you are denying the actual relationship of Father-Son.

4. While biological fathers and sons may not have relationships as fathers and sons ought to have (however you wish to define that), that does not change the fact of the relationship.  They are still father-son.  Even if they do not act appropriately.  What any of this has to do with Jesus and the Father, I do not know but since you brought it up, I thought I would address it.

5. Again, you speak of situations where a person is "like" a son to another.  So, again, you are implying that those individuals are not really, truly sons -- making my point for me.  In fact, you even say so explicitly at the end of your post: "This implies that in some ways he was like a father to them, without actually being their father."  So, thank you for proving my point.  Again.

6. St. Paul does not say he is "like" a father to those people; he says he IS their father, spiritually.  He is not describing the relationship as being similar to, but not truly, that of father to children but actually of being their father.  In the same way as do Luther and the Catechism (4th Commandment) -- there are three types of fathers (family/state/church).  Not that the second and third categories are only "like" fathers but ARE fathers.  Otherwise, the 4th Commandment would not apply to those relationships.


Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #126 on: May 07, 2018, 07:32:25 AM »
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? 
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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #127 on: May 07, 2018, 09:31:32 AM »
Harvey,

Perhaps this will help alleviate your confusion.

"IV. The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household.

First.

What is Baptism?--Answer.

Baptism is not simple water only, but it is the water comprehended in God's command and connected with God's Word.

Which is that word of God?--Answer.

Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Matthew: Go ye into all the world and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

http://bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.php#baptism

Also:

"What makes a Sacrament?
 
What precisely makes a rite an authentic Sacrament? That is, what must be there for us to acknowledge the presence of a valid Sacrament? A common and accurate answer found among us is “God’s word and the element(s).” There is seldom debate on what elements are meant, so no discussion on that point is included at this time. (3) But what exactly is meant by the “word of God” that is here linked to the element? While this may seem like a silly question, it is one that must be asked with seriousness and answered with accuracy. Our understanding of the “word of God” that is joined to the water, bread, and wine will determine if and when we consider an ecclesiastical action a true Sacrament.

What is the Word of God?

The first observation that our Lutheran fathers have repeatedly made is that God’s word is not simply to be equated with the sounds and syllables drawn from the biblical text. Rather, the word of God is essentially the divine truths or thoughts conveyed to us through human speech or language. Robert Preus comments on the distinction between these aspects of Scripture:

'According to Lutheran theology, the materia of Scripture is the letters, syllables, words, and phrases that together constitute Scripture. . . . The forma of Scripture is its inspired meaning, the thoughts of God concerning our salvation and divine mysteries, . . . thoughts that God revealed to us in time and communicated to us in Sacred Scripture. Considered according to its materia, Scripture is the Word of God only in a secondary and inappropriate sense, inasmuch as it is only the vehicle that brings the thoughts of God to us. It is the forma of Scripture, the inspired meaning, that makes Scripture what it is—the Word of God—and distinguishes it from all other books. The dogmaticians, therefore, when they speak of Scripture as the Word of God, are thinking primarily of the divine intention and meaning, the inspired content, of Scripture. (4)'

This distinction between the forma (essence) and materia (external form) of Scripture is important to keep in mind while asking what is joined to the elements to create Sacraments. (5) The outward forms and sounds of the Bible text, including the grammatical constructions (materia Scripturae) are to serve as vehicles for the divine truth, the sense and thought God is communicating to us (forma Scripturae). When that does not happen we may have correct-sounding words, even biblical words and phrases, that nevertheless are empty of God’s word. Illustrative examples of this would be references to “Our Father in heaven” when used in the setting of a  false fraternal organization, the use of the divine name “Jehovah” when used at a Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or the use of the Trinitarian formula among the Mormons or Unitarians. In these instances, while the outward form and vocabulary of Scripture may be used and clearly recognizable, the meaning and sense is utterly foreign to Scripture and is for that reason no longer God’s Word.
 
The application of this principle to the matter of discerning the presence of a valid Sacrament is perhaps obvious. Any religious group that denies the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Holy Trinity does not have Christian Baptism even if they should apply water “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The correct vocabulary and sounds are all there, but the definitions attached to those words and the consistently maintained meaning of the phrase is simply not what God has communicated in Scripture. The essential word of God is absent, is not joined to the element, and so no valid Sacrament exists. "

(3)Questions and debate about the Sacramental elements are a part of church history. The question of whether liquids other than water are permissible in Baptism has been asked. Regarding the Lord’s Supper, of course, questions have more frequently been asked, e.g., whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used or whether grape wine should be used to the exclusion of grape juice or wines made from other fruits or plants. Our limited time and purpose prohibit us from including these issues in this paper. Let it suffice to say we acknowledge bread (with or without yeast) and “fruit of the grape vine” (normally fermented but not absolutely excluding unfermented) as the proper elements for the Lord’s Supper.

(4) Robert Preus, The Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism, I, p.267.

(5) While beyond our point of discussion here, we must also remember that in some ways the forma and materia of Scripture cannot be separated. Both are equally inspired when the reference is to the external form of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures." [emphasis added]

"The Sacraments: Who Exactly Has Them—And What Exactly Do They Have?
by Forrest L. Bivens

http://www.wlsessays.net/bitstream/handle/123456789/525/BivensSacraments.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 09:37:09 AM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
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Charles Austin

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #128 on: May 07, 2018, 09:45:37 AM »
I read through the Bivens paper. While one cannot fault the citations from the catechism, and the assertion of the Lutheran view of sacraments; I found the paper somewhat depressing. That is it seemed designed to say: "Well, folks, we got it right. Those other people, they might get it right once in a while, but generally they don't get it right so they "lose the essence" of the sacrament(s) or in fact, do not have them at all."
   I suppose it is an almost inevitable result of religious fervor, but why do we have this need to - again and again, over centuries - put down "the others"?
   This is not distinguishing us from Mormons, or Jehovah's Witnesses, and it is necessary to make those distinctions. But this paranoia about whether they get the sacraments "right" and arrogance in saying that we absolutely do get everything right about the sacraments is disturbing. 
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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #129 on: May 07, 2018, 10:01:51 AM »
And off you go again, riding your favorite hobby horse.  ::)

The issue is a valid baptism, Charles. Yes, the Small Catechism and the essay show the error in your statement:

 "5. We baptize with the biblical and confessional 'Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,' but if we refer to God in another Trinitarian way, we are still baptizing in the name of the Christian, Trinitarian God."

But there is no need to get depressed about it. From a comment on yesterday's Gospel reading:

"It is loving to preach God's Law and warn the sinner of error. As one writer put it, 'Charity [or love] does not cover error; because error is the daughter of sin, and charity [or love] is the daughter of God.'"

The same holds for false doctrine. Doctrine matters.   
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 10:12:18 AM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #130 on: May 07, 2018, 10:35:32 AM »
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.

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #131 on: May 07, 2018, 10:49:02 AM »

I read through the Bivens paper. While one cannot fault the citations from the catechism, and the assertion of the Lutheran view of sacraments; I found the paper somewhat depressing. That is it seemed designed to say: "Well, folks, we got it right. Those other people, they might get it right once in a while, but generally they don't get it right so they "lose the essence" of the sacrament(s) or in fact, do not have them at all."
   I suppose it is an almost inevitable result of religious fervor, but why do we have this need to - again and again, over centuries - put down "the others"?
   This is not distinguishing us from Mormons, or Jehovah's Witnesses, and it is necessary to make those distinctions. But this paranoia about whether they get the sacraments "right" and arrogance in saying that we absolutely do get everything right about the sacraments is disturbing.
Pr. Austin, I fail to understand your objection to this paper.  What would you suggest should be Bivens' (and our) attitude?  Should we rather say that this is what we guess but of course we could be wrong and others who assert otherwise could be right so who knows?  Believe whatever you want and it's just fine?  I don't think that is your attitude but then what are you asserting?


In the past you have asked, and others (including me) have asked you, "Have you ever considered that you might be wrong?"  Your response has been one that I share, that yes I've considered the possibility but that so far this is the conclusion that I have come to and will stand by it unless shown differently.  The possibility of error should not prevent us from stating what we believe is the truth.  Should not that also apply to Bivens?  Is every assertion of belief that what one believes is true impermissibly arrogant?  Arrogance seems to be what you attribute to Bivens and the rest of us when you attribute to him the stance, ""Well folks we got it right."" as distinguished from "the others" who do not.


I find your objection confusing.  On the one hand you agree that distinguishing between what we assert about who God is from what the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses assert is necessary.  On the other you seem to caution against making that kind of distinction about the "other."


Just what precisely are you objecting to?
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Charles Austin

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #132 on: May 07, 2018, 10:56:59 AM »
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."

Pastor Fienen comments:
I find your objection confusing.  On the one hand you agree that distinguishing between what we assert about who God is from what the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses assert is necessary.  On the other you seem to caution against making that kind of distinction about the "other."
Just what precisely are you objecting to?
I sigh and respond:
I am objecting to the persistent "we-vs.-them" dynamic, the locking everything down in the 16th Century, the Lutheran arrogance about how correct our doctrines are and the higgle-piggle about things that should not keep us apart in fellowship or mission, but because of the aforementioned dynamic, do.
Oh, how rutted and worn is this road! We in the ELCA have found our way towards common fellowship because we have forged agreements, understood that some of our former objections no longer apply and seek common mission in spite of some continuing disagreements.
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."
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.

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #133 on: May 07, 2018, 11:09:51 AM »
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.

Terry W Culler

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #134 on: May 07, 2018, 11:25:19 AM »
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? 
Trying to be retired but failing