Author Topic: Seminex was not an institution but a missional movement within American Luthe  (Read 8125 times)

Michael Slusser

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The most recent edition of the Concordia Theological Quarterly is a paean to CPH in its 150th year.  One of the articles, written by John Pless, highlights books written in the 60s articulating "evangelical confessionalism" as opposed to "scholastic confessionalism," in particular "Mission in the Making," a history of LCMS mission written by F. Dean Lueking.  At the same time Mickey Kretzmann was the director of missions, and the Mission Affirmations came out of that same concept - evangelical confessionalism.  Pless ties evangelical confessionalism into the ecumenical, inter-Lutheran unity efforts and John Tietjen's book "Which Way to Lutheran Unity."   I'm not convinced the two are intertwined that thoroughly. 

But I do think the red fault line in the Missouri Synod does lie right there in the differentiation between evangelical confessionalism and scholastic confessionalism.  I was formed culturally, theologically and academically throughout my education in the LCMS from home through all the various institutions by evangelical confessionalists to take up that mantle.  Which, to the best of my abilities, I have.  And I take a dim view of scholastic confessionalists.  So in terms of the thread title, I would say it represents accurately the goal of what eventually became Seminex as a missional movement:  that Lutheranism is a dynamic movement of the Gospel into the world God loves in word and deed to any and everyone by the Body of Christ empowered and encouraged in the hearing of the Word and the reception of the Eucharist.

Dave Benke

Awesome assessment.   Spot on imo.
I also find it helpful. But I wonder how that distinction between evangelical confessionalism and scholastic confessionalism works itself out in the context of "evangelical catholic"--terminology that appears on over 1100 occasions in this Forum. Does Prof. Pless get into that? Does this issue have anything to do with Dave Benke's observation
Quote
Pless ties evangelical confessionalism into the ecumenical, inter-Lutheran unity efforts and John Tietjen's book "Which Way to Lutheran Unity."   I'm not convinced the two are intertwined that thoroughly.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

John_Hannah

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The most recent edition of the Concordia Theological Quarterly is a paean to CPH in its 150th year.  One of the articles, written by John Pless, highlights books written in the 60s articulating "evangelical confessionalism" as opposed to "scholastic confessionalism," in particular "Mission in the Making," a history of LCMS mission written by F. Dean Lueking.  At the same time Mickey Kretzmann was the director of missions, and the Mission Affirmations came out of that same concept - evangelical confessionalism.  Pless ties evangelical confessionalism into the ecumenical, inter-Lutheran unity efforts and John Tietjen's book "Which Way to Lutheran Unity."   I'm not convinced the two are intertwined that thoroughly. 

But I do think the red fault line in the Missouri Synod does lie right there in the differentiation between evangelical confessionalism and scholastic confessionalism.  I was formed culturally, theologically and academically throughout my education in the LCMS from home through all the various institutions by evangelical confessionalists to take up that mantle.  Which, to the best of my abilities, I have.  And I take a dim view of scholastic confessionalists.  So in terms of the thread title, I would say it represents accurately the goal of what eventually became Seminex as a missional movement:  that Lutheranism is a dynamic movement of the Gospel into the world God loves in word and deed to any and everyone by the Body of Christ empowered and encouraged in the hearing of the Word and the reception of the Eucharist.

Dave Benke

I agree.
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Dave Benke

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The most recent edition of the Concordia Theological Quarterly is a paean to CPH in its 150th year.  One of the articles, written by John Pless, highlights books written in the 60s articulating "evangelical confessionalism" as opposed to "scholastic confessionalism," in particular "Mission in the Making," a history of LCMS mission written by F. Dean Lueking.  At the same time Mickey Kretzmann was the director of missions, and the Mission Affirmations came out of that same concept - evangelical confessionalism.  Pless ties evangelical confessionalism into the ecumenical, inter-Lutheran unity efforts and John Tietjen's book "Which Way to Lutheran Unity."   I'm not convinced the two are intertwined that thoroughly. 

But I do think the red fault line in the Missouri Synod does lie right there in the differentiation between evangelical confessionalism and scholastic confessionalism.  I was formed culturally, theologically and academically throughout my education in the LCMS from home through all the various institutions by evangelical confessionalists to take up that mantle.  Which, to the best of my abilities, I have.  And I take a dim view of scholastic confessionalists.  So in terms of the thread title, I would say it represents accurately the goal of what eventually became Seminex as a missional movement:  that Lutheranism is a dynamic movement of the Gospel into the world God loves in word and deed to any and everyone by the Body of Christ empowered and encouraged in the hearing of the Word and the reception of the Eucharist.

Dave Benke

Awesome assessment.   Spot on imo.
I also find it helpful. But I wonder how that distinction between evangelical confessionalism and scholastic confessionalism works itself out in the context of "evangelical catholic"--terminology that appears on over 1100 occasions in this Forum. Does Prof. Pless get into that? Does this issue have anything to do with Dave Benke's observation
Quote
Pless ties evangelical confessionalism into the ecumenical, inter-Lutheran unity efforts and John Tietjen's book "Which Way to Lutheran Unity."   I'm not convinced the two are intertwined that thoroughly.

Peace,
Michael

I can give you my assessment, as I've heard it through opinions expressed by various and sundry.  A pretty substantial group of those on the scholastic confessionalism side of the aisle, who are liturgical, have attempted to abscond with the term "evangelical catholic."  Many but not all of those folks are affiliated with our Ft. Wayne seminary or are its graduates.  Old school scholastic confessionals (RDPreus et al) would go along with the "Hypo-Euro" designation or something like that for them, but they are of the same uber-tribe.

In my opinion, however, they're minimally evangelical and minimally catholic.  That is, they insist that their scholastic version of confessionalism is in fact evangelical.  In my opinion it's an incurvatus se version, turned in on itself.  So "evangelical" is minimally connected to the world outside the sanctuary and is almost exclusively a function of preaching (which in scholastic mode is actually teaching more than proclamation)  correct doctrine to the already baptized.  And catholic is applied only to that which is universally accepted within our/their own confessional theology, and very minimally universal in any connection to the wider Church.  I just got an invitation to something at Herman Otten's (+) camp which is about stemming the membership losses in Lutheranism.  It's completely a workshop on preaching correct doctrine.  Not accidentally, our good brother RD Preus is one of the presenters.  This is, to me, the scholastic mode.

A straddling figure in the LCMS was Al Barry, whose mantra was "Keep the message straight; get the message out."  The scholastic confessional adumbrated version is simpler - "keep the message straight inside the walls."  So the ecumenical or universal version of evangelical and catholic is to allow people from other Lutheran denominations who are or are deemed to be scholastic confessionals to the altar for Eucharistic fellowship.  But that's as ecumenical or universal as it gets.

In this version, by the way, the mission movement is primarily and in some cases exclusively to establish academic teaching centers, mostly seminaries, so that the correct doctrine is learned through systematic indoctrination.  A missionary is more a scholastic and professorial.  An addition to that in the best sense of scholastic confessionalism is to allow others who are not teachers to conduct works of mercy.  This is virtually never allowed to bleed over into the arena of justice/equity, but is limited to gifts in mercy.

Enough for now.  There's plenty more on what evangelical and catholic would mean to an evangelical confessionalist.   My initial estimation is that these are two distinct branched "spirits".

Dave Benke

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The most recent edition of the Concordia Theological Quarterly is a paean to CPH in its 150th year.  One of the articles, written by John Pless, highlights books written in the 60s articulating "evangelical confessionalism" as opposed to "scholastic confessionalism," in particular "Mission in the Making," a history of LCMS mission written by F. Dean Lueking.  At the same time Mickey Kretzmann was the director of missions, and the Mission Affirmations came out of that same concept - evangelical confessionalism.  Pless ties evangelical confessionalism into the ecumenical, inter-Lutheran unity efforts and John Tietjen's book "Which Way to Lutheran Unity."   I'm not convinced the two are intertwined that thoroughly. 

But I do think the red fault line in the Missouri Synod does lie right there in the differentiation between evangelical confessionalism and scholastic confessionalism.  I was formed culturally, theologically and academically throughout my education in the LCMS from home through all the various institutions by evangelical confessionalists to take up that mantle.  Which, to the best of my abilities, I have.  And I take a dim view of scholastic confessionalists.  So in terms of the thread title, I would say it represents accurately the goal of what eventually became Seminex as a missional movement:  that Lutheranism is a dynamic movement of the Gospel into the world God loves in word and deed to any and everyone by the Body of Christ empowered and encouraged in the hearing of the Word and the reception of the Eucharist.

Dave Benke

Awesome assessment.   Spot on imo.
I also find it helpful. But I wonder how that distinction between evangelical confessionalism and scholastic confessionalism works itself out in the context of "evangelical catholic"--terminology that appears on over 1100 occasions in this Forum. Does Prof. Pless get into that? Does this issue have anything to do with Dave Benke's observation
Quote
Pless ties evangelical confessionalism into the ecumenical, inter-Lutheran unity efforts and John Tietjen's book "Which Way to Lutheran Unity."   I'm not convinced the two are intertwined that thoroughly.

Peace,
Michael

I can give you my assessment, as I've heard it through opinions expressed by various and sundry.  A pretty substantial group of those on the scholastic confessionalism side of the aisle, who are liturgical, have attempted to abscond with the term "evangelical catholic."  Many but not all of those folks are affiliated with our Ft. Wayne seminary or are its graduates.  Old school scholastic confessionals (RDPreus et al) would go along with the "Hypo-Euro" designation or something like that for them, but they are of the same uber-tribe.

In my opinion, however, they're minimally evangelical and minimally catholic.  That is, they insist that their scholastic version of confessionalism is in fact evangelical.  In my opinion it's an incurvatus se version, turned in on itself.  So "evangelical" is minimally connected to the world outside the sanctuary and is almost exclusively a function of preaching (which in scholastic mode is actually teaching more than proclamation)  correct doctrine to the already baptized.  And catholic is applied only to that which is universally accepted within our/their own confessional theology, and very minimally universal in any connection to the wider Church.  I just got an invitation to something at Herman Otten's (+) camp which is about stemming the membership losses in Lutheranism.  It's completely a workshop on preaching correct doctrine.  Not accidentally, our good brother RD Preus is one of the presenters.  This is, to me, the scholastic mode.

A straddling figure in the LCMS was Al Barry, whose mantra was "Keep the message straight; get the message out."  The scholastic confessional adumbrated version is simpler - "keep the message straight inside the walls."  So the ecumenical or universal version of evangelical and catholic is to allow people from other Lutheran denominations who are or are deemed to be scholastic confessionals to the altar for Eucharistic fellowship.  But that's as ecumenical or universal as it gets.

In this version, by the way, the mission movement is primarily and in some cases exclusively to establish academic teaching centers, mostly seminaries, so that the correct doctrine is learned through systematic indoctrination.  A missionary is more a scholastic and professorial.  An addition to that in the best sense of scholastic confessionalism is to allow others who are not teachers to conduct works of mercy.  This is virtually never allowed to bleed over into the arena of justice/equity, but is limited to gifts in mercy.

Enough for now.  There's plenty more on what evangelical and catholic would mean to an evangelical confessionalist.   My initial estimation is that these are two distinct branched "spirits".

Dave Benke

That is a an accurate brief summary of the current tensions within Missouri (the LCMS).

"Scholastic" is an apt description for everything on that side is cast in the cognitive, that is, right thinking about the faith. Seeing it as "evangelical" is quite a stretch for the imagination.

On the other hand, in my opinion, those on the other end of the pole stretch the imagination in any claim to being "catholic". Of course, some in that camp do not even make the claim to be "catholic", which may be more honest.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

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On the other hand, in my opinion, those on the other end of the pole stretch the imagination in any claim to being "catholic". Of course, some in that camp do not even make the claim to be "catholic", which may be more honest.


I agree with this as well, John - it's just generic contemporary protestantism in many ways disconnected from the Church through the ages, particularly with regards to the sacraments - "believer's baptism" and the Not Real/Spiritual Presence in the sacrament.  In that regard it parallels the scholastic confessionalists who are consumed with the Service of the Word/Teaching as assent to intellectual propositions.

This is also an area where questions can and have been raised as the ELCA has declared inter-communion with folks who don't have Holy Communion as the Church through the ages has viewed it, altar fellowship with a Meal-free altar.

Dave Benke

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Dave Benke:
..... as the ELCA has declared inter-communion with folks who don't have Holy Communion as the Church through the ages has viewed it,
Me:
The “church through the ages” Includes the Reformed, Methodist, Episcopalians, and the others with whom we in the ELCA have declared “fellowship”, and “fellowship” is a lot more missional then simply inter-communion. They, too, have the meal, and we dare to hope that in time they will approach it more precisely the way that we do. Until then, we believe our fellowship is for the sake of the wider mission of the church, which goes beyond preserving our particular view of what the meal is.
Retired ELCA Pastor. You can say liberal Christians are wrong. You can say that you disagree with our interpretation of faith. But when you say we are driven by “culture” or “trendiness,” you prove that you do not listen to us. Luther fared better with Rome.

Dave Benke

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Dave Benke:
..... as the ELCA has declared inter-communion with folks who don't have Holy Communion as the Church through the ages has viewed it,
Me:
The “church through the ages” Includes the Reformed, Methodist, Episcopalians, and the others with whom we in the ELCA have declared “fellowship”, and “fellowship” is a lot more missional then simply inter-communion. They, too, have the meal, and we dare to hope that in time they will approach it more precisely the way that we do. Until then, we believe our fellowship is for the sake of the wider mission of the church, which goes beyond preserving our particular view of what the meal is.

I find this personally one of those red line issues, Charles.  There are "levels" of precision, to be sure, but
Roman Catholic
Anglican/Episcopal
Orthodox Communions
Lutheran
fall on one side of the red line, while
Reformed
Presbyterian
Methodist
Baptist
Non-Denom/Pentecostal
fall on the other side.

Maybe that's just me anymore, but it has always seemed a pretty clear Eucharistic divide.

Dave Benke

Harvey_Mozolak

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and the more one leans/falls/walks on the one side of the red line the less one is on the other... it is not a balancing/straddling act any more
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peter_speckhard

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The most recent edition of the Concordia Theological Quarterly is a paean to CPH in its 150th year.  One of the articles, written by John Pless, highlights books written in the 60s articulating "evangelical confessionalism" as opposed to "scholastic confessionalism," in particular "Mission in the Making," a history of LCMS mission written by F. Dean Lueking.  At the same time Mickey Kretzmann was the director of missions, and the Mission Affirmations came out of that same concept - evangelical confessionalism.  Pless ties evangelical confessionalism into the ecumenical, inter-Lutheran unity efforts and John Tietjen's book "Which Way to Lutheran Unity."   I'm not convinced the two are intertwined that thoroughly. 

But I do think the red fault line in the Missouri Synod does lie right there in the differentiation between evangelical confessionalism and scholastic confessionalism.  I was formed culturally, theologically and academically throughout my education in the LCMS from home through all the various institutions by evangelical confessionalists to take up that mantle.  Which, to the best of my abilities, I have.  And I take a dim view of scholastic confessionalists.  So in terms of the thread title, I would say it represents accurately the goal of what eventually became Seminex as a missional movement:  that Lutheranism is a dynamic movement of the Gospel into the world God loves in word and deed to any and everyone by the Body of Christ empowered and encouraged in the hearing of the Word and the reception of the Eucharist.

Dave Benke

Awesome assessment.   Spot on imo.
I also find it helpful. But I wonder how that distinction between evangelical confessionalism and scholastic confessionalism works itself out in the context of "evangelical catholic"--terminology that appears on over 1100 occasions in this Forum. Does Prof. Pless get into that? Does this issue have anything to do with Dave Benke's observation
Quote
Pless ties evangelical confessionalism into the ecumenical, inter-Lutheran unity efforts and John Tietjen's book "Which Way to Lutheran Unity."   I'm not convinced the two are intertwined that thoroughly.

Peace,
Michael

I can give you my assessment, as I've heard it through opinions expressed by various and sundry.  A pretty substantial group of those on the scholastic confessionalism side of the aisle, who are liturgical, have attempted to abscond with the term "evangelical catholic."  Many but not all of those folks are affiliated with our Ft. Wayne seminary or are its graduates.  Old school scholastic confessionals (RDPreus et al) would go along with the "Hypo-Euro" designation or something like that for them, but they are of the same uber-tribe.

In my opinion, however, they're minimally evangelical and minimally catholic.  That is, they insist that their scholastic version of confessionalism is in fact evangelical.  In my opinion it's an incurvatus se version, turned in on itself.  So "evangelical" is minimally connected to the world outside the sanctuary and is almost exclusively a function of preaching (which in scholastic mode is actually teaching more than proclamation)  correct doctrine to the already baptized.  And catholic is applied only to that which is universally accepted within our/their own confessional theology, and very minimally universal in any connection to the wider Church.  I just got an invitation to something at Herman Otten's (+) camp which is about stemming the membership losses in Lutheranism.  It's completely a workshop on preaching correct doctrine.  Not accidentally, our good brother RD Preus is one of the presenters.  This is, to me, the scholastic mode.

A straddling figure in the LCMS was Al Barry, whose mantra was "Keep the message straight; get the message out."  The scholastic confessional adumbrated version is simpler - "keep the message straight inside the walls."  So the ecumenical or universal version of evangelical and catholic is to allow people from other Lutheran denominations who are or are deemed to be scholastic confessionals to the altar for Eucharistic fellowship.  But that's as ecumenical or universal as it gets.

In this version, by the way, the mission movement is primarily and in some cases exclusively to establish academic teaching centers, mostly seminaries, so that the correct doctrine is learned through systematic indoctrination.  A missionary is more a scholastic and professorial.  An addition to that in the best sense of scholastic confessionalism is to allow others who are not teachers to conduct works of mercy.  This is virtually never allowed to bleed over into the arena of justice/equity, but is limited to gifts in mercy.

Enough for now.  There's plenty more on what evangelical and catholic would mean to an evangelical confessionalist.   My initial estimation is that these are two distinct branched "spirits".

Dave Benke
I think congregationalism is what forces the distinction you're talking about. If membership in a congregation is a confession of that congregation's doctrine and membership in the Church is related to membership in a church, then there is little alternative to what you're describing as the scholastic confessional approach. That's a weakness of congregationalism because everything becomes a matter of "you're either in or you're out." And the only way to go from "out" to "in" is to profess true doctrine and reject false doctrine. That's a limiting template to work with.

But it is also a strength, and a strength that is easy but dangerous to underestimate. It makes sure there is a "there" there and that the center is central. If you're in, there is something there that you really are in. The more nebulous, mushy-boundaried connection of the church to the world favored by the resistance to the scholastic types too often leads just as quickly to empty churches. Why is that so? Because it has had to forfeit the claim to genuine teaching authority in order to embrace sufficient uncertainty or indifference to allow for varying and contradictory teachings to coexist. So it encourages activism, rolled-up-sleeves works of mercy, and up-beat praise in lieu of worship services. But it remains a churchy encourager, not an authoritative teacher. And pretty soon activists, doers of good deeds, and people wanting to praise God their own preferred way find that they don't really need the church. Then the last vestiges of what is churchy about it become obstacles and get jettisoned. The church becomes the world's cheerleader.

RJ Neuahus had a quote from Melville on his fridge:

Rome and the Atheist have gained:
These two shall fight it out-- these two;
Protestantism being retained
For base of operations sly
By Atheism.


The scholastic confessionals in the LCMS reject that analysis by claiming to embody a lasting alternative to those two. But in Melville's either/or, at least they would be recognized as allies of Rome, not the allies of Atheism that the mainline has already more or less become and that other decriers of pure doctrine inevitably become given enough time.   
« Last Edit: July 08, 2019, 04:48:20 PM by peter_speckhard »

John_Hannah

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Dave Benke:
..... as the ELCA has declared inter-communion with folks who don't have Holy Communion as the Church through the ages has viewed it,
Me:
The “church through the ages” Includes the Reformed, Methodist, Episcopalians, and the others with whom we in the ELCA have declared “fellowship”, and “fellowship” is a lot more missional then simply inter-communion. They, too, have the meal, and we dare to hope that in time they will approach it more precisely the way that we do. Until then, we believe our fellowship is for the sake of the wider mission of the church, which goes beyond preserving our particular view of what the meal is.

I find this personally one of those red line issues, Charles.  There are "levels" of precision, to be sure, but
Roman Catholic
Anglican/Episcopal
Orthodox Communions
Lutheran
fall on one side of the red line, while
Reformed
Presbyterian
Methodist
Baptist
Non-Denom/Pentecostal
fall on the other side.

Maybe that's just me anymore, but it has always seemed a pretty clear Eucharistic divide.

Dave Benke

That's what we learned in SEMINEX before it became SEMINEX.  I agree completely.   :)

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Charles Austin

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Theologically, Dave et alia, I tend to agree with you. But missionally, I think that moving back and forth across the “redline” might be beneficial for our time.
The ELCA has not declared fellowship with any Baptist or Pentecostal denomination and is not likely to do so.
As I have said here numerous times, we do not deny our differences in emphasis, and we hope we could find ways to fully resolve the differences. But in the meantime, we shall share the meal together and share of the mission together. This could mean that, rather than losing our understanding of Sacramental theology, which many people here seem to fear, we will enhance the sacramental theology of our ecumenical partners.
In one situation that I know well, this indeed happened through cooperation with a Presbyterian Congregation. They actually moved to a weekly celebration of holy communion and greater reverence for the elements than they had practiced previously.
Retired ELCA Pastor. You can say liberal Christians are wrong. You can say that you disagree with our interpretation of faith. But when you say we are driven by “culture” or “trendiness,” you prove that you do not listen to us. Luther fared better with Rome.

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Theologically, Dave et alia, I tend to agree with you. But missionally, I think that moving back and forth across the “redline” might be beneficial for our time.
The ELCA has not declared fellowship with any Baptist or Pentecostal denomination and is not likely to do so.
As I have said here numerous times, we do not deny our differences in emphasis, and we hope we could find ways to fully resolve the differences. But in the meantime, we shall share the meal together and share of the mission together. This could mean that, rather than losing our understanding of Sacramental theology, which many people here seem to fear, we will enhance the sacramental theology of our ecumenical partners.

Perhaps, or the movement may indeed go in the other direction (and it would appear to many that it already has), ala the cultural acquiescence and pliability of the ELCA in terms of instead of holding solid to Word and Sacrament, to being far more public in its support for what can properly be called "ideologies" not "theologies".
Pr. Tim Christ, STS

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Theologically, Dave et alia, I tend to agree with you. But missionally, I think that moving back and forth across the “redline” might be beneficial for our time.
The ELCA has not declared fellowship with any Baptist or Pentecostal denomination and is not likely to do so.
As I have said here numerous times, we do not deny our differences in emphasis, and we hope we could find ways to fully resolve the differences. But in the meantime, we shall share the meal together and share of the mission together. This could mean that, rather than losing our understanding of Sacramental theology, which many people here seem to fear, we will enhance the sacramental theology of our ecumenical partners.

Perhaps, or the movement may indeed go in the other direction (and it would appear to many that it already has), ala the cultural acquiescence and pliability of the ELCA in terms of instead of holding solid to Word and Sacrament, to being far more public in its support for what can properly be called "ideologies" not "theologies".

Or the growing refusal to place ANY restriction or expectation, including baptism, on participation in the Eucharist.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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Let’s see how far that will actually go, Richard. Maybe there will be discussion at the assembly this summer. And I hope it lays down certain restrictions On admission to the Eucharist, for instance,  baptism.
Retired ELCA Pastor. You can say liberal Christians are wrong. You can say that you disagree with our interpretation of faith. But when you say we are driven by “culture” or “trendiness,” you prove that you do not listen to us. Luther fared better with Rome.

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The most recent edition of the Concordia Theological Quarterly is a paean to CPH in its 150th year.  One of the articles, written by John Pless, highlights books written in the 60s articulating "evangelical confessionalism" as opposed to "scholastic confessionalism," in particular "Mission in the Making," a history of LCMS mission written by F. Dean Lueking.  At the same time Mickey Kretzmann was the director of missions, and the Mission Affirmations came out of that same concept - evangelical confessionalism.  Pless ties evangelical confessionalism into the ecumenical, inter-Lutheran unity efforts and John Tietjen's book "Which Way to Lutheran Unity."   I'm not convinced the two are intertwined that thoroughly. 

But I do think the red fault line in the Missouri Synod does lie right there in the differentiation between evangelical confessionalism and scholastic confessionalism.  I was formed culturally, theologically and academically throughout my education in the LCMS from home through all the various institutions by evangelical confessionalists to take up that mantle.  Which, to the best of my abilities, I have.  And I take a dim view of scholastic confessionalists.  So in terms of the thread title, I would say it represents accurately the goal of what eventually became Seminex as a missional movement:  that Lutheranism is a dynamic movement of the Gospel into the world God loves in word and deed to any and everyone by the Body of Christ empowered and encouraged in the hearing of the Word and the reception of the Eucharist.

Dave Benke

Awesome assessment.   Spot on imo.
I also find it helpful. But I wonder how that distinction between evangelical confessionalism and scholastic confessionalism works itself out in the context of "evangelical catholic"--terminology that appears on over 1100 occasions in this Forum. Does Prof. Pless get into that? Does this issue have anything to do with Dave Benke's observation
Quote
Pless ties evangelical confessionalism into the ecumenical, inter-Lutheran unity efforts and John Tietjen's book "Which Way to Lutheran Unity."   I'm not convinced the two are intertwined that thoroughly.

Peace,
Michael

I can give you my assessment, as I've heard it through opinions expressed by various and sundry.  A pretty substantial group of those on the scholastic confessionalism side of the aisle, who are liturgical, have attempted to abscond with the term "evangelical catholic."  Many but not all of those folks are affiliated with our Ft. Wayne seminary or are its graduates.  Old school scholastic confessionals (RDPreus et al) would go along with the "Hypo-Euro" designation or something like that for them, but they are of the same uber-tribe.

In my opinion, however, they're minimally evangelical and minimally catholic.  That is, they insist that their scholastic version of confessionalism is in fact evangelical.  In my opinion it's an incurvatus se version, turned in on itself.  So "evangelical" is minimally connected to the world outside the sanctuary and is almost exclusively a function of preaching (which in scholastic mode is actually teaching more than proclamation)  correct doctrine to the already baptized.  And catholic is applied only to that which is universally accepted within our/their own confessional theology, and very minimally universal in any connection to the wider Church.  I just got an invitation to something at Herman Otten's (+) camp which is about stemming the membership losses in Lutheranism.  It's completely a workshop on preaching correct doctrine.  Not accidentally, our good brother RD Preus is one of the presenters.  This is, to me, the scholastic mode.

A straddling figure in the LCMS was Al Barry, whose mantra was "Keep the message straight; get the message out."  The scholastic confessional adumbrated version is simpler - "keep the message straight inside the walls."  So the ecumenical or universal version of evangelical and catholic is to allow people from other Lutheran denominations who are or are deemed to be scholastic confessionals to the altar for Eucharistic fellowship.  But that's as ecumenical or universal as it gets.

In this version, by the way, the mission movement is primarily and in some cases exclusively to establish academic teaching centers, mostly seminaries, so that the correct doctrine is learned through systematic indoctrination.  A missionary is more a scholastic and professorial.  An addition to that in the best sense of scholastic confessionalism is to allow others who are not teachers to conduct works of mercy.  This is virtually never allowed to bleed over into the arena of justice/equity, but is limited to gifts in mercy.

Enough for now.  There's plenty more on what evangelical and catholic would mean to an evangelical confessionalist.   My initial estimation is that these are two distinct branched "spirits".

Dave Benke

If you would like to see if my preaching is scholastic, you may buy a volume of my sermons on the one year lectionary at https://www.amazon.com/Year-Law-Gospel-Preaching-Lectionary/dp/1795239123 or a volume of catechetical sermons at www.lutherancatechesis.org/store-1/christ-for-us/ or you may go to my website at http://christforus.org/

I have never thought of my preaching as scholastic.