Author Topic: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’  (Read 17605 times)

DCharlton

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Re: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’
« Reply #60 on: February 01, 2020, 10:41:54 PM »
We've had experiments with using something other than bread and wine/juice for communion; e.g. beer and pretzels; crackers and kool aid. We state in The Use of the Means of Grace, that bread and wine will be used.

There were some, and continue to be some, who do not see baptism as a requirement for feasting at the Table of the Lord. Again, we state in The Use of the Means of Grace, that the meal is for the baptized.

There are pastors/congregations who authorize lay people to preside at communion. That is not our practice. Presiders are to be ordained, on the clergy roster of the ELCA or a full partner denomination, or receive permission to preside from the bishop.

I think it would be better if you would differentiate between practice and policy.  The Use of the Means of Grace is the policy of the ELCA.  The practice of the ELCA is whatever congregations and pastors do on a regular basis.  That something is the policy of the ELCA does not necessarily mean it is the practice of the ELCA.  In the case of Holy Communion, I think the practice of the ELCA is fairly close to the policy of the ELCA.  Although from Richard Johnson's recent reports, that conclusion is not certain.

The confusion between practice and policy is sometimes accidental, but oftentimes it is intentional.  So a person complains to the bishop about the a certain practice within the ELCA, only to be reassured that the policy of the ELCA has not changed.

You are right. Pastors and congregations can do pretty much whatever they want to do. I interviewed at one where they pushed the altar to the side to make room for the praise band. They were intentionally trying to become a community church (rather than Lutheran). That's not something I would allow. It's not something a previous pastor there, a friend of mine, would have allowed. (I didn't receive a call to that congregation.)

Pastors and congregations do not have to follow the rules given in The Use of the Means of Grace. Many of us agree with them and use them to guide are decisions.

When I've been on synod worship committees, we did follow the rules. They also guide those who plan the worship for churchwide events.

The same clergy/congregation disregard for rules happens in the LCMS. There are pastors in the LCMS who practice open communion. As far as I know, they are not disciplined. I've had an LCMS pastor preach and preside when I was on vacation. I got his name from the other ELCA pastor in town who also had used him as a supply pastor. He was not disciplined for communing with us. An LCMS pastor friend participated in his grandchild's baptism in an ELCA congregation. There is no LCMS congregation where his daughter and husband live, so they joined the ELCA congregation.

On the other side, an LCMS pastor told me that he could not preach in another denomination, like a nearby ALC pastor who preached each week in one of three Methodist congregations. (The Methodist minister preached in the other two.) He then corrected himself (as best as I remember). "I could preach there once. After I proclaimed to them the truth, they should all want to join the LCMS. If they don't, I couldn't return and preach to them again." I don't believe that's the stance of all LCMS, but it was certainly his position.

The difference is that in the LCMS, the "dissenters" are those who deviate from the policy of the LCMS.  In the ELCA, the "dissenters" are often the ones who adhere most closely to the policy of the ELCA.  In the LCMS, the people who criticize bishops and pastors for deviating from official policy are considered loyal.  In the ELCA, the people who criticize bishops and pastors for deviating from official policy are considered disloyal.
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mj4

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Re: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’
« Reply #61 on: February 01, 2020, 11:00:26 PM »
So I can't wait for the ELCA Assembly and its Fritos and Kool-Aid Eucharist presided over by some lay person who won that day's pick. What will be darkly amusing is watching people like you and Charles clasp your pearls and/or knot your knickers in dismay, only to be told by the powers that be to, "Shut the **** up old man!"

Some would already put them in the oppressors camp for their continued use of binary gender language.

David Garner

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Re: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’
« Reply #62 on: February 02, 2020, 07:15:29 AM »

They aren't matters of salvation, but of good order in the church.


The ordination of women and of partnered gays and lesbians are likewise a matter of good order in the church.  They are not matters of salvation.  So, based on your answer above, I don't see how prohibiting those practices can be criticized as "legalism."  Probiting those practices appears to be simply a matter of good order in the church.


The basic issue is salvation: does being a woman or homosexual or in a same-sex marriage exclude one from the kingdom of God? Because we have answered, no, we've taken the next steps to say that these believers can also become ordained in our church. However, like all other clergy, they have to follow the rules we have set for ordination.

So children, then, are beyond salvation in your view.  Those with insufficient education are beyond salvation.  Those who are not in communion fellowship with your church are beyond salvation.  Even those who think filling out forms is stupid and refuse to do it are beyond salvation.

Either that or this is just something you say to justify doing whatever you want.  If you meant it, you'd ordain literally everyone without qualification, because being "excluded from the kingdom of god" is the only possible disqualification.  After all, it's the one you chose, and the one you said is "the basic issue" with regard to ordination."

But you don't ordain everyone, so this is really just a backhanded way to slander those who hold to the traditional belief of the Church.
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David Garner

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Re: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’
« Reply #63 on: February 02, 2020, 07:17:00 AM »
Are we seriously to believe that people who do not wish to or for some reason cannot (low IQ, head injury, lack of funds) go through this process are excluded from salvation?

https://www.elca.org/Resources/Candidacy#StartHere

I mean, I'd wager most of us here have not gone through that process.  I could not at this point.  Sadly, I must be beyond salvation.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’
« Reply #64 on: February 02, 2020, 10:22:14 AM »

They aren't matters of salvation, but of good order in the church.


The ordination of women and of partnered gays and lesbians are likewise a matter of good order in the church.  They are not matters of salvation.  So, based on your answer above, I don't see how prohibiting those practices can be criticized as "legalism."  Probiting those practices appears to be simply a matter of good order in the church.


The basic issue is salvation: does being a woman or homosexual or in a same-sex marriage exclude one from the kingdom of God? Because we have answered, no, we've taken the next steps to say that these believers can also become ordained in our church. However, like all other clergy, they have to follow the rules we have set for ordination.

So children, then, are beyond salvation in your view.  Those with insufficient education are beyond salvation.  Those who are not in communion fellowship with your church are beyond salvation.  Even those who think filling out forms is stupid and refuse to do it are beyond salvation.


Huh? I think you're misreading me. Nothing is required for salvation. Jesus saves sinners by grace. A number of things are required for ordination. Salvation is totally a gift from God. Ordination is a Calling from God and the Church that has requirements.

Quote
After all, it's the one you chose, and the one you said is "the basic issue" with regard to ordination."


I said that everyone has to follow the rules we have set for ordination.

Quote
But you don't ordain everyone, so this is really just a backhanded way to slander those who hold to the traditional belief of the Church.


When the traditional belief is in conflict with Scriptures, we side with scriptures. I believe God purposely selected women to be the first to share the news of Jesus' resurrection. God choose the Moabite Ruth and foreigner Rahab to be examples of faith in the Old Testament. God shattered the patriarchic tradition and the xenophobic tradition within Judaism. Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch undermines the Torah's command against Eunuchs.


The tradition of male-only clergy came more from society's tradition of patriarchy than the biblical witness of equality. While the biblical witness is against homosexual behaviors; there is a belief that it, too, comes from the society's views, like Paul's comments about hair length.
"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]

pearson

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Re: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’
« Reply #65 on: February 02, 2020, 10:25:47 AM »

The basic issue is salvation: does being a woman or homosexual or in a same-sex marriage exclude one from the kingdom of God? Because we have answered, no, we've taken the next steps to say that these believers can also become ordained in our church. However, like all other clergy, they have to follow the rules we have set for ordination.


My concern, Pr. Stoffregen, is with those "next steps."  When some prohibit the ordination of women, and of gays and lesbians in partnered relationships, as an aspect of good order in the church, you call that an expression of "legalism."  When others approve of the ordination of women, and of gays and lesbians in partnered relationships, as an aspect of good order in the church, you call that an expression of "Gospel."  It begins to smell like a double standard.

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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’
« Reply #66 on: February 02, 2020, 04:07:29 PM »

The basic issue is salvation: does being a woman or homosexual or in a same-sex marriage exclude one from the kingdom of God? Because we have answered, no, we've taken the next steps to say that these believers can also become ordained in our church. However, like all other clergy, they have to follow the rules we have set for ordination.


My concern, Pr. Stoffregen, is with those "next steps."  When some prohibit the ordination of women, and of gays and lesbians in partnered relationships, as an aspect of good order in the church, you call that an expression of "legalism."  When others approve of the ordination of women, and of gays and lesbians in partnered relationships, as an aspect of good order in the church, you call that an expression of "Gospel."  It begins to smell like a double standard.


No! When folks talk about salvation and include "only if" - that's legalism. "Homosexuals are saved only if they refrain from sexual relationships." "Sinners are saved only if they work hard at sinning no more."


We are all saved by the grace of God through the faithfulness of Jesus. Period. That's grace.


Ordination is not only a calling from God, but also a calling from the church. It is a human institution. The church has expectations of its clergy. We differ on those expectations. (In talking to some seminarians at a recent conference, there are even differences among the synod candidacy committees in the ELCA.)
"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]

Richard Johnson

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Re: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’
« Reply #67 on: February 02, 2020, 04:49:46 PM »


No! When folks talk about salvation and include "only if" - that's legalism. "Homosexuals are saved only if they refrain from sexual relationships." "Sinners are saved only if they work hard at sinning no more."


Who says that, specifically?
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Matt Hummel

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Re: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’
« Reply #68 on: February 02, 2020, 05:13:46 PM »


No! When folks talk about salvation and include "only if" - that's legalism. "Homosexuals are saved only if they refrain from sexual relationships." "Sinners are saved only if they work hard at sinning no more."


Who says that, specifically?

The straw men (straw people? persons of agricultural material?) that folks like Brian, NBW, and others raise up so they can knock them down.
Matt Hummel


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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’
« Reply #69 on: February 02, 2020, 05:38:21 PM »

Huh? I think you're misreading me. Nothing is required for salvation. Jesus saves sinners by grace. A number of things are required for ordination. Salvation is totally a gift from God. Ordination is a Calling from God and the Church that has requirements.


If you weren't so incoherent, you wouldn't be misread.

You began by responding
But to me, where I and the LCMS are fellow travelers are in these areas:

1)  Respect for tradition and the historic teachings of the Christian Church

We respect the tradition and teaching of salvation by grace alone. That is a core doctrine that caused us to question the legalism that excluded women and homosexuals.


to which I pondered, "Excluded women and homosexuals from what?" 

If it's such a "core doctrine," then it seems you're asserting women and homosexuals were excluded from "salvation by grace alone" or the Church, either of which would be utter nonsense.  I was going to post my question (Excluded from what?), but I also wanted to address the points in the "argument" you made in response to David Garner, and addressing the incoherence of those points was simply taking me too much time. 

So I've sat back and let others respond to you.  And in watching you dig and refill holes as David Garner, Tom Pearson, and others attempt conversation with you, it's becoming clear that you can't actually answer the "from what?" for the only way you are able defend the, uh, unexclusion of women and homosexuals from whatever it is that they were excluded (and still are outside of the ELCA) is to blur any distinction between salvation and ordination, which even you don't want to do, at least completely -- if only for the sake of "good order" (however you will, presumedly at some point, define or judge that) which seems to be for you the sole basis for ordering the holy Office of the Ministry -- even though that blurring is the core of your assertion that "we" have respect for the tradition and teaching of salvation by grace alone by including both women and homosexuals (which you are also treating as equivalent) in ways that they had never before until our current more enlightened generations.

Christe eleison, Steven+
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David Garner

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Re: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’
« Reply #70 on: February 03, 2020, 08:48:35 AM »
Huh? I think you're misreading me. Nothing is required for salvation. Jesus saves sinners by grace. A number of things are required for ordination. Salvation is totally a gift from God. Ordination is a Calling from God and the Church that has requirements.

I'm not the one who tied ordination to the "basic idea" that the question, "does being a woman or homosexual or in a same-sex marriage exclude one from the kingdom of God?," then logically leads to this:  "Because we have answered, no, we've taken the next steps to say that these believers can also become ordained in our church."

Some of those words -- "basic idea," "exclude one from the kingdom of God," "BECAUSE we have answered, no . . . ," those tie together a concept that you view the question of ordination in terms of who may be saved.

Now, by contrast, you say nothing is required for salvation, and many things are required for ordination.  Well, yeah, but that sort of undoes that little word "because," doesn't it?  And it places you right back at square one.  If ordination has nothing to do with salvation or who may be saved, then you should just tell the truth -- you did it because you wanted to -- and stop implicitly slandering those who hold to the traditional view by calling us legalists for not following your reductionist theology.
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David Garner

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Re: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’
« Reply #71 on: February 03, 2020, 08:55:39 AM »
Let me state it more simply Pastor Stoffregen.  You don't have to justify your decision to depart from the historic practices of Christianity, and those who maintain those historic practices do not have to justify their decision to depart from you.

You wish to have it another way.  You wish to justify by whatever means, claiming it is your view of salvation by grace that impels you to ordain homosexuals on the one hand, while at the same time saying "that's not what I'm saying" when people repeat to you the logical implications of what you said.  You also wish to bully others into justifying their decision not to share communion and other major forms of fellowship with you by claiming we are legalists who do not appreciation the doctrine of salvation by grace.

As I have said many times before, you wish to play the victim while acting as the abuser.  You slander and accuse, then you pretend to be oh so put upon when your slanderous accusations are met with a lack of fellowship.  You pretend these matters are not church dividing, and yet you maintain them even though they divide the church.  You lack love for your brethren, which is why you are very, very quick to call your brethren unloving, and to do things that you know in advance will create stumbling blocks and even impediments to fellowship.

Everything you do is a mirror.  Your theology is a theology of narcissistic, gaslighting projection.  And I don't tell you this to be mean, but because I would love to see you recognize that one day and repent. 
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peter_speckhard

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Re: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’
« Reply #72 on: February 03, 2020, 10:23:14 AM »
Let me state it more simply Pastor Stoffregen.  You don't have to justify your decision to depart from the historic practices of Christianity, and those who maintain those historic practices do not have to justify their decision to depart from you.

You wish to have it another way.  You wish to justify by whatever means, claiming it is your view of salvation by grace that impels you to ordain homosexuals on the one hand, while at the same time saying "that's not what I'm saying" when people repeat to you the logical implications of what you said.  You also wish to bully others into justifying their decision not to share communion and other major forms of fellowship with you by claiming we are legalists who do not appreciation the doctrine of salvation by grace.

As I have said many times before, you wish to play the victim while acting as the abuser.  You slander and accuse, then you pretend to be oh so put upon when your slanderous accusations are met with a lack of fellowship.  You pretend these matters are not church dividing, and yet you maintain them even though they divide the church.  You lack love for your brethren, which is why you are very, very quick to call your brethren unloving, and to do things that you know in advance will create stumbling blocks and even impediments to fellowship.

Everything you do is a mirror.  Your theology is a theology of narcissistic, gaslighting projection.  And I don't tell you this to be mean, but because I would love to see you recognize that one day and repent.

Indeed.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’
« Reply #73 on: February 03, 2020, 11:32:18 AM »
As I have said many times before, you wish to play the victim while acting as the abuser.  You slander and accuse, then you pretend to be oh so put upon when your slanderous accusations are met with a lack of fellowship.  You pretend these matters are not church dividing, and yet you maintain them even though they divide the church.  You lack love for your brethren, which is why you are very, very quick to call your brethren unloving, and to do things that you know in advance will create stumbling blocks and even impediments to fellowship.


I was just at a conference where a speaker from the Australian Lutheran Church lamented the fact that she feels called to the ordained ministry, she has been through seminary, she is a CPE supervisor helping to form clergy; but she cannot yet be ordained in the LCA. She does feel victimized by the church that she loves. She speaks out against their practice. Perhaps, like your accusation against me: she is both a victim and an abuser of her church body. While over the years the number of votes for changing the practices have increased, it hasn't reached the 2/3 majority that is necessary. (The last vote was about 60% in favor.)


She is not willing, as many of her friends have done, to switch to the Anglican church where she could be ordained.


The LCA is the merger of Lutheran bodies in Australia and being unified is a key element of their identity. There is the fear that should they change the tradition (even though a majority want a change,) it would cause a split in the church body.


Love for which "brethren" [sic]? How should I show love towards the lady who spoke at the conference who cannot respond to God's Call in her own church body; or to homosexual friends who are ordained but wished to fall in love and have a lifetime helpmate? How do you show love for these fellow believers?


Quote
Everything you do is a mirror.  Your theology is a theology of narcissistic, gaslighting projection.  And I don't tell you this to be mean, but because I would love to see you recognize that one day and repent.


Why shouldn't I conclude that everything you (and your denomination) do is a mirror? That your theology is a theology of misogyny and/or homophobia? (That certainly is how some women and homosexuals view "traditional" church bodies.) I don't tell you this to be mean, but because I would love to see you recognize that one day and repent.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2020, 11:39:02 AM by Brian Stoffregen »
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David Garner

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Re: What Qualifies as ‘Similar Belief’
« Reply #74 on: February 03, 2020, 12:04:02 PM »
I was just at a conference where a speaker from the Australian Lutheran Church lamented the fact that she feels called to the ordained ministry, she has been through seminary, she is a CPE supervisor helping to form clergy; but she cannot yet be ordained in the LCA. She does feel victimized by the church that she loves. She speaks out against their practice. Perhaps, like your accusation against me: she is both a victim and an abuser of her church body. While over the years the number of votes for changing the practices have increased, it hasn't reached the 2/3 majority that is necessary. (The last vote was about 60% in favor.)

She is not willing, as many of her friends have done, to switch to the Anglican church where she could be ordained.

The LCA is the merger of Lutheran bodies in Australia and being unified is a key element of their identity. There is the fear that should they change the tradition (even though a majority want a change,) it would cause a split in the church body.


Love for which "brethren" [sic]? How should I show love towards the lady who spoke at the conference who cannot respond to God's Call in her own church body; or to homosexual friends who are ordained but wished to fall in love and have a lifetime helpmate? How do you show love for these fellow believers?

Your question implies, typically, that I do not.  What evidence do you have that I lack love toward women who "feel called" to the ordained ministry, or to homosexual friends who are ........ whatever else you want to add here (since I fear a shifting goalpost)?


Quote
Why shouldn't I conclude that everything you (and your denomination) do is a mirror? That your theology is a theology of misogyny and/or homophobia? (That certainly is how some women and homosexuals view "traditional" church bodies.) I don't tell you this to be mean, but because I would love to see you recognize that one day and repent.

You do say this.  So perhaps you should start by not pretending you don't.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).