Author Topic: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!  (Read 6836 times)

Juan Jeanniton

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2021, 09:27:42 PM »
????

What is there about Case of Conscience #1 that you don't understand?

What is it that you think is worth understanding?

The Lutheran source (The Lutheran Church Review, Volume 18, page 484, 485) which I quoted, and was written over 120 years ago, and which opposed the very idea of woman suffrage in the local congregation (on the grounds that the act of voting in church is an act of ruling and governing and exercising ecclesiastical authority: but I will get back to that assertion later on), contended that "If the Scriptures recognize us as voters at all, they do not recognize us as families, but as individuals. No one votes for a family, but for himself only"; but the prevailing conventional wisdom of that time, in opposition to woman suffrage, contended that the unit of electoral representation is the family, and that women are already represented by the votes of their adult male relatives in the same family, and therefore there is no need for these women to vote in person. The unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation cannot be both the individual and the family. If you accept the one you must reject the other. So according to the teachings of the Bible and Lutheran Confessions, which one of these two is the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation? The individual, or the family?

peter_speckhard

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2021, 09:33:42 PM »
????

What is there about Case of Conscience #1 that you don't understand?

What is it that you think is worth understanding?

The Lutheran source (The Lutheran Church Review, Volume 18, page 484, 485) which I quoted, and was written over 120 years ago, and which opposed the very idea of woman suffrage in the local congregation (on the grounds that the act of voting in church is an act of ruling and governing and exercising ecclesiastical authority: but I will get back to that assertion later on), contended that "If the Scriptures recognize us as voters at all, they do not recognize us as families, but as individuals. No one votes for a family, but for himself only"; but the prevailing conventional wisdom of that time, in opposition to woman suffrage, contended that the unit of electoral representation is the family, and that women are already represented by the votes of their adult male relatives in the same family, and therefore there is no need for these women to vote in person. The unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation cannot be both the individual and the family. If you accept the one you must reject the other. So according to the teachings of the Bible and Lutheran Confessions, which one of these two is the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation? The individual, or the family?
Where do you see the Bible or the Confessions addressing the issue of Voter Assemblies? The constitution of the congregation could call for the casting of lots to make decisions rather than taking votes and it would not be contrary to Scripture.

Juan Jeanniton

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2021, 10:01:33 PM »
Where do you see the Bible or the Confessions addressing the issue of Voter Assemblies? The constitution of the congregation could call for the casting of lots to make decisions rather than taking votes and it would not be contrary to Scripture.

Here is my answer. First, voting is clearly described in the New Testament with the Greek word "cheirotoneo"

KJV Acts 14:23 “And when they had ordained [chose by vote] them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” (We can assume that King James and the Anglican Church translated "cheirotoneo" "ordained" because they didn't want the people to vote.)

KJV 2 Corinthians 8:19 “And not that only, but who was also chosen [by vote] of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:”

Second, a number of translations incorrectly define "cheirotoneo" as "ordain." However, all authoritative Greek lexicons state that the New Testament clearly teaches congregational voting by using the word "cheirotoneo." Translating "cheirotoneo" to "choose," or "appoint," must be understood as "choose by vote" or "appoint by vote."

Third, LCMS theologians have always taught that congregational voting was Biblical including, Pieper , John Fritz, J. T. Mueller, George Perlich, and C. F. W. Walther.

Fourth, Luther's writings in so many places plead earnestly for the right of the congregation to elect their own pastors by popular congregational vote.

"Let this passage be your sure foundation, [1Cor.14:31 because it gives such an overwhelming power to the Christian congregations to preach, to permit preaching, and to call. Especially if there is a need, it [this passage] calls everyone with a special call-without a call for men-so that we should have no doubt that THE CONGREGATION WHICH HAS THE GOSPEL MAY AND SHOULD ELECT AND CALL FROM AMONG ITS MEMBERS someone to teach the word in its place." (LW 39:311)

"The other way of sending is indeed also one by God, but it is done through the instrumentality of man. . . . Now a new way of sending was instituted, which works through man but is not of man. We were sent according to this method; according to it we ELECT AND SEND others, and we install them in their ministry to preach and to administer the Sacraments. This type of sending is also of God and commanded by God. Even though God resorts to our aid and to human agency, it is He Himself who sends laborers into His vineyard." LW22:482

"Let this passage be your sure foundation, [1Cor.14:31] because it gives such an overwhelming power to the Christian congregations to preach, to permit preaching, and to call. Especially if there is a need, it [this passage] calls everyone with a special call-without a call from men-so that we should have no doubt that the congregation which has the gospel may and SHOULD ELECT AND CALL from among its members someone to teach the word in its place." LW39:311

"Neither Titus nor Timothy nor Paul ever instituted a priest without the CONGREGATION'S ELECTION AND CALL." LW39:312

"Moreover, if there were really decent bishops who want to have the gospel and wanted to institute decent preachers, they still could not and should not do so without the will, THE ELECTION, AND CALL OF THE CONGREGATION-except in those cases where need made it necessary so that souls would not perish for lack of the divine word." LW39:312

"Again, we even read in Acts 4 [6:1-6] regarding an even lesser office, that the apostles were not permitted to institute a person as deacon without the knowledge and consent of the congregation. Rather, THE CONGREGATION ELECTED AND CALLED the seven deacons, and the apostles confirmed them." LW39:312

"But the community rights demand that one, or as many as the COMMUNITY CHOOSES, shall be chosen or approved who, in the name of all with these rights, shall perform these functions publicly." LW40:34

"How much more, then, does not a certain community as a whole have both right and command to commit BY COMMON VOTE such an office to one or more, to be exercised in its stead. With the approval of the community these might then delegate the office to others." LW40:36

". . . then it but remains either to let the church perish without the Word or to let those who come together CAST THEIR BALLOTS and elect one or as many as are needed of those who are capable." [2Tim. 2; Acts 18: 24ff; 1Cor.14: 30; Ti.1: 6ff.] LW40:37

peter_speckhard

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2021, 10:42:21 PM »
Where do you see the Bible or the Confessions addressing the issue of Voter Assemblies? The constitution of the congregation could call for the casting of lots to make decisions rather than taking votes and it would not be contrary to Scripture.

Here is my answer. First, voting is clearly described in the New Testament with the Greek word "cheirotoneo"

KJV Acts 14:23 “And when they had ordained [chose by vote] them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” (We can assume that King James and the Anglican Church translated "cheirotoneo" "ordained" because they didn't want the people to vote.)

KJV 2 Corinthians 8:19 “And not that only, but who was also chosen [by vote] of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:”

Second, a number of translations incorrectly define "cheirotoneo" as "ordain." However, all authoritative Greek lexicons state that the New Testament clearly teaches congregational voting by using the word "cheirotoneo." Translating "cheirotoneo" to "choose," or "appoint," must be understood as "choose by vote" or "appoint by vote."

Third, LCMS theologians have always taught that congregational voting was Biblical including, Pieper , John Fritz, J. T. Mueller, George Perlich, and C. F. W. Walther.

Fourth, Luther's writings in so many places plead earnestly for the right of the congregation to elect their own pastors by popular congregational vote.

"Let this passage be your sure foundation, [1Cor.14:31 because it gives such an overwhelming power to the Christian congregations to preach, to permit preaching, and to call. Especially if there is a need, it [this passage] calls everyone with a special call-without a call for men-so that we should have no doubt that THE CONGREGATION WHICH HAS THE GOSPEL MAY AND SHOULD ELECT AND CALL FROM AMONG ITS MEMBERS someone to teach the word in its place." (LW 39:311)

"The other way of sending is indeed also one by God, but it is done through the instrumentality of man. . . . Now a new way of sending was instituted, which works through man but is not of man. We were sent according to this method; according to it we ELECT AND SEND others, and we install them in their ministry to preach and to administer the Sacraments. This type of sending is also of God and commanded by God. Even though God resorts to our aid and to human agency, it is He Himself who sends laborers into His vineyard." LW22:482

"Let this passage be your sure foundation, [1Cor.14:31] because it gives such an overwhelming power to the Christian congregations to preach, to permit preaching, and to call. Especially if there is a need, it [this passage] calls everyone with a special call-without a call from men-so that we should have no doubt that the congregation which has the gospel may and SHOULD ELECT AND CALL from among its members someone to teach the word in its place." LW39:311

"Neither Titus nor Timothy nor Paul ever instituted a priest without the CONGREGATION'S ELECTION AND CALL." LW39:312

"Moreover, if there were really decent bishops who want to have the gospel and wanted to institute decent preachers, they still could not and should not do so without the will, THE ELECTION, AND CALL OF THE CONGREGATION-except in those cases where need made it necessary so that souls would not perish for lack of the divine word." LW39:312

"Again, we even read in Acts 4 [6:1-6] regarding an even lesser office, that the apostles were not permitted to institute a person as deacon without the knowledge and consent of the congregation. Rather, THE CONGREGATION ELECTED AND CALLED the seven deacons, and the apostles confirmed them." LW39:312

"But the community rights demand that one, or as many as the COMMUNITY CHOOSES, shall be chosen or approved who, in the name of all with these rights, shall perform these functions publicly." LW40:34

"How much more, then, does not a certain community as a whole have both right and command to commit BY COMMON VOTE such an office to one or more, to be exercised in its stead. With the approval of the community these might then delegate the office to others." LW40:36

". . . then it but remains either to let the church perish without the Word or to let those who come together CAST THEIR BALLOTS and elect one or as many as are needed of those who are capable." [2Tim. 2; Acts 18: 24ff; 1Cor.14: 30; Ti.1: 6ff.] LW40:37
I've always understood our various theologians to be justifying call/ordination via congregational voters' bodies as Scripturally permissible (especially given recalcitrant, anti-Gospel bishops), not Scripturally mandated as the only permissible way for a church to be organized. What is the history of congregational voters' assemblies between Constantine and Luther? Would it be Scripturally permissible to require, say, a two thirds majority to pass any motion, which would in theory empower a minority to get its way? Could they have allowed teenagers to vote? It just seems to me highly anachronistic to read the modern idea of a congregational voter assembly into the whole of church history. I know anabaptist congregations go by consensus such that an overwhelming majority must agree to do anything before the community does it. I get that anabaptists have a lot of theological problems, but is that arrangement one of them?

Michael Slusser

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2021, 10:53:20 PM »
As an outsider, I'm still stuck on your thread title. Exactly what problem troubles your conscience? Or are you asking us to advise other people's consciences, people who are not asking us for help?

Peace,
Michael
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Juan Jeanniton

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2021, 12:29:28 AM »
As an outsider, I'm still stuck on your thread title. Exactly what problem troubles your conscience? Or are you asking us to advise other people's consciences, people who are not asking us for help?

Peace,
Michael

I arrived at this case of conscience when thinking about the question of woman suffrage in congregational affairs. The standard syllogism, in the form Celarent, used by those who OPPOSE woman suffrage in the congregation is this:

Major Premise (Ce): No acts of church government are lawful for women to exercise. (No As are Bs.) 

Minor Premise (La): But all acts of voting in congregational affairs are acts of church government. (But all Cs are As.) 

Ergo (Rent): No acts of voting in congregational affairs are lawful for women to exercise. (Ergo, no Cs are Bs.)

Now, I affirm and confirm the Major Premise (Genesis 3:16, 1 Corinthians 11:3, 7-10, 1 Corinthians 14:34, 1 Timothy 2:11-13). The question is now, is the Minor Premise true or false?

The Minor Premise is confirmed by a 16th century "roman catholic" cardinal, who lays down the same principle as does the Minor Premise, in arguing against the right of the Christian people to vote for their own pastor: “Eligere pastores ad gubernationem et regimen pertinere certissimum est, non igitur populo convenit pastores eligere” - in English: To elect pastors is certainly a prerogative of rule and government, therefore it is unseemly for the people to choose their own pastor! (Cardinal Bellarmine, de Clericis, c. vii., tom. II., p. 981.) The historical classical doctrine of the pre-1969 old German Missouri Synod is precisely the Minor Premise, and the WELS affirms the Minor Premise even today.

But there are many in the WELS who, in their attempts to restrict the congregational vote to adult males, contend that the electoral unit of representation in the Voter Assembly is the family and not the individual, and that all the female members of the family are already represented by the votes of the adult male members of that same family and therefore the females don't even NEED to vote in person. But the Lutheran source (The Lutheran Church Review, Volume 18, page 484, 485) which I quoted, and was written over 120 years ago, and which opposed the very idea of woman suffrage in the local congregation precisely on the grounds that the act of voting in church is an act of ruling and governing and exercising ecclesiastical authority, contended that "If the Scriptures recognize us as voters at all, they do not recognize us as families, but as individuals. No one votes for a family, but for himself only", and therefore the only Scripturally warrantable electoral unit of representation in the Voter Assembly is the individual.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 10:47:49 AM by Juan Jeanniton »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2021, 03:08:29 AM »
KJV Acts 14:23 “And when they had ordained [chose by vote] them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” (We can assume that King James and the Anglican Church translated "cheirotoneo" "ordained" because they didn't want the people to vote.)


χειροτονέω in Acts 14:23 does not indicate that the congregations voted for their elders, but, in that context, the word means "to choose," or "to appoint." These are meanings given in the Greek-English Lexicons of BDAG, Lowe & Nida, and even the classical lexicon of Lindell & Scott.

"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]

Michael Slusser

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2021, 09:40:10 AM »
As an outsider, I'm still stuck on your thread title. Exactly what problem troubles your conscience? Or are you asking us to advise other people's consciences, people who are not asking us for help?

I arose that this case of conscience when thinking about the question of woman suffrage in congregational affairs. The standard syllogism, in the form Celarent, used by those who OPPOSE woman suffrage in the congregation is this:

Major Premise (Ce): No acts of church government are lawful for women to exercise. (No As are Bs.) 

Minor Premise (La): But all acts of voting in congregational affairs are acts of church government. (But all Cs are As.) 

Ergo (Rent): No acts of voting in congregational affairs are lawful for women to exercise. (Ergo, no Cs are Bs.)

Now, I affirm and confirm the Major Premise (Genesis 3:16, 1 Corinthians 11:3, 7-10, 1 Corinthians 14:34, 1 Timothy 2:11-13). The question is now, is the Minor Premise true or false?

The Minor Premise is confirmed by a 16th century "roman catholic" cardinal, who lays down the same principle as does the Minor Premise, in arguing against the right of the Christian people to vote for their own pastor: “Eligere pastores ad gubernationem et regimen pertinere certissimum est, non igitur populo convenit pastores eligere” - in English: To elect pastors is certainly a prerogative of rule and government, therefore it is unseemly for the people to choose their own pastor! (Cardinal Bellarmine, de Clericis, c. vii., tom. II., p. 981.) The historical classical doctrine of the pre-1969 old German Missouri Synod is precisely the Minor Premise, and the WELS affirms the Minor Premise even today.

But there are many in the WELS who, in their attempts to restrict the congregational vote to adult males, contend that the electoral unit of representation in the Voter Assembly is the family and not the individual, and that all the female members of the family are already represented by the votes of the adult male members of that same family and therefore the females don't even NEED to vote in person. But the Lutheran source (The Lutheran Church Review, Volume 18, page 484, 485) which I quoted, and was written over 120 years ago, and which opposed the very idea of woman suffrage in the local congregation precisely on the grounds that the act of voting in church is an act of ruling and governing and exercising ecclesiastical authority, contended that "If the Scriptures recognize us as voters at all, they do not recognize us as families, but as individuals. No one votes for a family, but for himself only", and therefore the only Scripturally warrantable electoral unit of representation in the Voter Assembly is the individual.
And what is the case of  conscience that you face (if I may be so bold)? What are you tempted to do, or as to what decision do you wonder about what you should do?

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

Juan Jeanniton

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2021, 11:09:23 AM »
As an outsider, I'm still stuck on your thread title. Exactly what problem troubles your conscience? Or are you asking us to advise other people's consciences, people who are not asking us for help?

I arose that this case of conscience when thinking about the question of woman suffrage in congregational affairs. The standard syllogism, in the form Celarent, used by those who OPPOSE woman suffrage in the congregation is this:

Major Premise (Ce): No acts of church government are lawful for women to exercise. (No As are Bs.) 

Minor Premise (La): But all acts of voting in congregational affairs are acts of church government. (But all Cs are As.) 

Ergo (Rent): No acts of voting in congregational affairs are lawful for women to exercise. (Ergo, no Cs are Bs.)

Now, I affirm and confirm the Major Premise (Genesis 3:16, 1 Corinthians 11:3, 7-10, 1 Corinthians 14:34, 1 Timothy 2:11-13). The question is now, is the Minor Premise true or false?

The Minor Premise is confirmed by a 16th century "roman catholic" cardinal, who lays down the same principle as does the Minor Premise, in arguing against the right of the Christian people to vote for their own pastor: “Eligere pastores ad gubernationem et regimen pertinere certissimum est, non igitur populo convenit pastores eligere” - in English: To elect pastors is certainly a prerogative of rule and government, therefore it is unseemly for the people to choose their own pastor! (Cardinal Bellarmine, de Clericis, c. vii., tom. II., p. 981.) The historical classical doctrine of the pre-1969 old German Missouri Synod is precisely the Minor Premise, and the WELS affirms the Minor Premise even today.

But there are many in the WELS who, in their attempts to restrict the congregational vote to adult males, contend that the electoral unit of representation in the Voter Assembly is the family and not the individual, and that all the female members of the family are already represented by the votes of the adult male members of that same family and therefore the females don't even NEED to vote in person. But the Lutheran source (The Lutheran Church Review, Volume 18, page 484, 485) which I quoted, and was written over 120 years ago, and which opposed the very idea of woman suffrage in the local congregation precisely on the grounds that the act of voting in church is an act of ruling and governing and exercising ecclesiastical authority, contended that "If the Scriptures recognize us as voters at all, they do not recognize us as families, but as individuals. No one votes for a family, but for himself only", and therefore the only Scripturally warrantable electoral unit of representation in the Voter Assembly is the individual.
And what is the case of  conscience that you face (if I may be so bold)? What are you tempted to do, or as to what decision do you wonder about what you should do?

Peace,
Michael

The first case of conscience which I face is the question of whether the electoral unit of representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the individual or the family. I am trying to resolve it with sound theological reasons on the grounds of the Bible and Lutheran Confessions. The doctrine and morality of a true Christian Church ultimately rests on the teachings of her Divine Founder, which He had entrusted unto the Apostolic College, and which they taught in every local congregation at that time, and which the duly ordained and called public and official ministers of the Word and Sacrament in the said local congregations taught to their respective congregations. Every true Christian Church obeys her Lord's teachings not because they appear to be expedient or inexpedient, diplomatic or undiplomatic, but because she KNOWS that these are the Lord's teachings.

The Lutheran Church believes, teaches, and confesses that those teachings of the Lord are only to be found in the Holy Scriptures, and that the Lutheran Confessions are the true and correct Scriptural teaching concerning the very points discussed in the Lutheran Confessions themselves.

Again, the first case of conscience which I face is the question of whether the electoral unit of representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the individual or the family. It is not lawful for me or anybody else to accept on this question, any decision running contrary to the teachings of the Bible; nor it is lawful for any professing Lutheran on this question to accept or make any decision contrary to the Bible and Lutheran Confessions or else he ceases to be Lutheran! 

Charles Austin

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2021, 11:29:40 AM »
Juan Jeanniton writes (my emphasis added):
The doctrine and morality of a true Christian Church ultimately rests on the teachings of her Divine Founder, which He had entrusted unto the Apostolic College, and which they taught in every local congregation at that time, and which the duly ordained and called public and official ministers of the Word and Sacrament in the said local congregations taught to their respective congregations.
I comment:
You obviously do not know church history. There was wide variety of teachings and practices in the early church and a good number of those differences in teaching and practice continued for hundreds of years, most of those differences in teaching and practice remaining part of the Church catholic.
I sincerely doubt whether anyone here has ever heard of or contended that "the family" is the voting unit in a congregation. 
Retired ELCA Pastor: We are not a very inter-Lutheran forum. Posters with more than 1,500 posts: ELCA-6, with 3 of those inactive/rare and 1 moderator; LCMS-25, with 4 inactive/rare and 1 moderator. Non-Lutherans, 3; maybe 4 from other Lutheran bodies. 3 formerly frequent posters have gone quiet.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #25 on: May 12, 2021, 11:32:13 AM »
That's a strange crisis of conscience. It seems at least one step removed, possibly more, from any possibility of being involved in anything immoral or sinful. What would be the scenario by which the question of whether the voter assembly unit was the family or the individual would make the difference between the decision being God-pleasing or disobedient? Doesn't the vote itself, i.e. the motion voted on, have to be for something unscriptural or sinful for this to come into play at all? Or is the mere fact of a vote occurring without a clear sense of who is voting on behalf of whom itself sinful?

Juan Jeanniton

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2021, 02:00:16 PM »
That's a strange crisis of conscience. It seems at least one step removed, possibly more, from any possibility of being involved in anything immoral or sinful. What would be the scenario by which the question of whether the voter assembly unit was the family or the individual would make the difference between the decision being God-pleasing or disobedient? Doesn't the vote itself, i.e. the motion voted on, have to be for something unscriptural or sinful for this to come into play at all? Or is the mere fact of a vote occurring without a clear sense of who is voting on behalf of whom itself sinful?

That is no excuse for refusing to accept the Bible's teaching about what the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is; and it makes no difference whether the particular AFFAIR or QUESTION that the voter assembly is voting on is intrinsically sinful or not. Even if the particular DECISION that the congregation made by majority vote on a particular affair on which they had been voting had been lawful or right, it still wouldn't make it right for any member of the Voter Assembly to deny the Bible's clear teaching about what the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is.

If the Bible clearly and plainly teaches that the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the individual, well then we must accept that teaching and reject all other opinions to the contrary. Even if the particular DECISION that the congregation made by majority vote on a particular affair on which they had been voting had been lawful or right, it still wouldn't make it right for any member of the Voter Assembly to deny the Bible's clear teaching about whether the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the individual or the family.

If the Bible clearly and plainly teaches that the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the family, well then we must accept that teaching and reject all other opinions to the contrary. Even if the particular DECISION that the congregation made by majority vote on a particular affair on which they had been voting had been lawful or right, it still wouldn't make it right for any member of the Voter Assembly to deny the Bible's clear teaching about whether the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the individual or the family.

My first case of conscience which I proposed, actually turns out to be CRUCIAL for deciding the OTHER two cases of conscience to wit:

2: According to the teachings of the Bible and Lutheran Confessions, are adult sons (i.e. at least 21 years old) living with their father eligible to vote in the same Voter Assembly of the SAME local congregation as their father, or is that contrary to their duty of obedience to their father?

3: In light of the teachings of the Bible and Lutheran Confessions, especially including that part of the Table of Duties which prescribes it to be the duty of servants to be obedient to their masters, are male servants living in the household of their male master of the house to vote in the same Voter Assembly of the SAME local congregation as their master, or is that a violation of the plain Scriptural precepts which teach that servants MUST obey their masters?

But here is a more precise and fully detailed statement of Cases 2 and 3 of Conscience:

Case II - Voter Assemblies and the Case of Adult Children living with their Fathers: A male member of some Confessional Lutheran congregation is a Voting Member of that congregation, and he has a wife, but no daughters, but only two sons, both of which are of the minimum age necessary to be eligible to vote in the congregation. But both of them are still living with their father and neither of these two sons has yet found a woman he would like to marry, and they are still searching. The Bible prescribes that sons (and daughters) should obey their fathers as head of the home. Thus, according to the teachings of the Bible, Lutheran Confessions, and the doctrinal teachings of C. F. W. Walther on Church Polity, will these two sons be eligible to be members of the Voter Assembly and vote in the congregation alongside with their father? Or will that be contrary to their duty of obedience to their father? Explain why or why not, using sound proofs of the Bible, Lutheran Confessions, and the writings of C. F. W. Walther & the writings of the old German LC-MS synod before the year 1969.

Case III - Voter Assemblies and the Relationship between Masters and Domestic Servants living in the same Household: In some confessional Lutheran congregation, there is a married male head of the home with a wife, children (all of them minor children and too young to vote in the Voter Assembly), hired and paid manservants and maidservants (and all the manservants are old enough to vote in the voter assembly), and he himself is a voting member of the congregation in good ecclesiastical standing. Now, the Bible teaches in so many plain and explicit precepts that it is the duty of the manservants and maidservants to obey their master. One day, there is an important voter assembly in his congregation, and all the adult manservants, having finished all their household duties for the day, decide to attend the voter assembly with their master of the house. Now, according to the teachings of the Bible, Lutheran Confessions, and the doctrinal teachings of C. F. W. Walther on Church Polity, will these adult manservants be eligible to be members of the Voter Assembly and vote in the congregation alongside with their master? Or will that be contrary to their duty of subjection and obedience to the master of the house? Also, is not the master of the house the fittest member of the house to represent the whole household by his votes in the voter assembly? And if so, does that not prove that the extra votes of the manservants are needless and superfluous; and also that if these manservants decide to vote against their master, does that not prove that they are divided against their master? Have you never read in that Bible: a house (including a family) divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3.24/26, Luke 11.17/18)? Thus in light of these considerations, it is lawful according to the teachings of the Bible and Lutheran Confessions for the local congregation to give these manservants the right to vote in the local congregation's voter assembly along with their master? Or is that a violation of the plain precepts which teach that servants must obey their masters? Explain why or why not, using sound proofs of the Bible, Lutheran Confessions, and the writings of C. F. W. Walther & the writings of the old German LC-MS synod before the year 1969.

Now, if the Bible (and Lutheran Confessions!) clearly teaches that the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the family, well then it follows that since every family needs one head (indeed a two-headed creature is a monster!), that head and that head alone is idoneous and suitable to electorally represent not only himself but his whole household / family at the Voter Assembly. Any other member of the family who dares presume to vote at the same Voter Assembly of the same local congregation is usurping the representative role of their only lawful head of that family, and that is contrary to the Table of Duties.

And again, either these two members vote the same at the same Voter Assembly of the same local congregation, or they vote contrary to each other. If they vote the same, then that only proves the extra vote of the other member is needless and superfluous to represent the electoral opinions of the family, and if they vote contrary to each other, well then that proves that this extra member is divided against the head of the same family. The Sacred Scripture plainly states word-for-word that a house (including a family) divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3.24/26, Luke 11.17/18)?

Therefore if the Bible (and Lutheran Confessions!) clearly teaches that the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the family, well then it follows firstly that adult sons (i.e. at least 21 years old) living with their father are NOT eligible to vote in the same Voter Assembly of the SAME local congregation as their father, or else they are guilty of usurping the prerogatives of their father as head of their home; and secondly, that male servants living in the household of their male master of the house are INELIGIBLE to vote in the same Voter Assembly of the SAME local congregation as their master, or else they are guilty of violating the plain Scriptural precepts which teach that servants must obey their masters.

The answer to the Case of Conscience #1 is more decisive for the other two cases of conscience than you might think.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 04:51:17 PM by Juan Jeanniton »

peter_speckhard

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #27 on: May 12, 2021, 02:16:39 PM »
That's a strange crisis of conscience. It seems at least one step removed, possibly more, from any possibility of being involved in anything immoral or sinful. What would be the scenario by which the question of whether the voter assembly unit was the family or the individual would make the difference between the decision being God-pleasing or disobedient? Doesn't the vote itself, i.e. the motion voted on, have to be for something unscriptural or sinful for this to come into play at all? Or is the mere fact of a vote occurring without a clear sense of who is voting on behalf of whom itself sinful?

That is no excuse for refusing to accept the Bible's teaching about what the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is; and it makes no difference whether the particular AFFAIR or QUESTION that the voter assembly is voting on is intrinsically sinful or not. Even if the particular DECISION that the congregation made by majority vote on a particular affair on which they had been voting had been lawful or right, it still wouldn't make it right for any member of the Voter Assembly to deny the Bible's clear teaching about what the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is.

If the Bible clearly and plainly teaches that the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the individual, well then we must accept that teaching and reject all other opinions to the contrary. Even if the particular DECISION that the congregation made by majority vote on a particular affair on which they had been voting had been lawful or right, it still wouldn't make it right for any member of the Voter Assembly to deny the Bible's clear teaching about whether the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the individual or the family.

If the Bible clearly and plainly teaches that the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the family, well then we must accept that teaching and reject all other opinions to the contrary. Even if the particular DECISION that the congregation made by majority vote on a particular affair on which they had been voting had been lawful or right, it still wouldn't make it right for any member of the Voter Assembly to deny the Bible's clear teaching about whether the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the individual or the family.

My first case of conscience which I proposed, actually turned out to be CRUCIAL for deciding the OTHER two cases of conscience to wit:

2: According to the teachings of the Bible and Lutheran Confessions, are adult sons (i.e. at least 21 years old) living with their father eligible to vote in the same Voter Assembly of the SAME local congregation as their father, or is that contrary to their duty of obedience to their father?

3: In light of the teachings of the Bible and Lutheran Confessions, especially including that part of the Table of Duties which prescribes it to be the duty of servants to be obedient to their masters, are male servants living in the household of their male master of the house to vote in the same Voter Assembly of the SAME local congregation as their master, or is that a violation of the plain Scriptural precepts which teach that servants MUST obey their masters?

But here is a more precise and fully detailed statement of Cases 2 and 3 of Conscience:

Case II - Voter Assemblies and the Case of Adult Children living with their Fathers: A male member of some Confessional Lutheran congregation is a Voting Member of that congregation, and he has a wife, but no daughters, but only two sons, both of which are of the minimum age necessary to be eligible to vote in the congregation. But both of them are still living with their father and neither of these two sons has yet found a woman he would like to marry, and they are still searching. The Bible prescribes that sons (and daughters) should obey their fathers as head of the home. Thus, according to the teachings of the Bible, Lutheran Confessions, and the doctrinal teachings of C. F. W. Walther on Church Polity, will these two sons be eligible to be members of the Voter Assembly and vote in the congregation alongside with their father? Or will that be contrary to their duty of obedience to their father? Explain why or why not, using sound proofs of the Bible, Lutheran Confessions, and the writings of C. F. W. Walther & the writings of the old German LC-MS synod before the year 1969.

Case III - Voter Assemblies and the Relationship between Masters and Domestic Servants living in the same Household: In some confessional Lutheran congregation, there is a married male head of the home with a wife, children (all of them minor children and too young to vote in the Voter Assembly), hired and paid manservants and maidservants (and all the manservants are old enough to vote in the voter assembly), and he himself is a voting member of the congregation in good ecclesiastical standing. Now, the Bible teaches in so many plain and explicit precepts that it is the duty of the manservants and maidservants to obey their master. One day, there is an important voter assembly in his congregation, and all the adult manservants, having finished all their household duties for the day, decide to attend the voter assembly with their master of the house. Now, according to the teachings of the Bible, Lutheran Confessions, and the doctrinal teachings of C. F. W. Walther on Church Polity, will these adult manservants be eligible to be members of the Voter Assembly and vote in the congregation alongside with their master? Or will that be contrary to their duty of subjection and obedience to the master of the house? Also, is not the master of the house the fittest member of the house to represent the whole household by his votes in the voter assembly? And if so, does that not prove that the extra votes of the manservants are needless and superfluous; and also that if these manservants decide to vote against their master, does that not prove that they are divided against their master? Have you never read in that Bible: a house (including a family) divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3.24/26, Luke 11.17/18)? Thus in light of these considerations, it is lawful according to the teachings of the Bible and Lutheran Confessions for the local congregation to give these manservants the right to vote in the local congregation's voter assembly along with their master? Or is that a violation of the plain precepts which teach that servants must obey their masters? Explain why or why not, using sound proofs of the Bible, Lutheran Confessions, and the writings of C. F. W. Walther & the writings of the old German LC-MS synod before the year 1969.

Now, if the Bible (and Lutheran Confessions!) clearly teaches that the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the family, well then it follows that since every family needs one head (indeed a two-headed creature is a monster!), that head and that head alone is idoneous and suitable to electorally represent not only himself but his whole household / family at the Voter Assembly. Any other member of the family who dares presume to vote at the same Voter Assembly of the same local congregation is usurping the representative role of their only lawful head of that family, and that is contrary to the Table of Duties.

And again, either these two members vote the same at the same Voter Assembly of the same local congregation, or they vote contrary to each other. If they vote the same, then that only proves the extra vote of the other member is needless and superfluous to represent the electoral opinions of the family, and if they vote contrary to each other, well then that proves that this extra member is divided against the head of the same family. The Sacred Scripture plainly states word-for-word that a house (including a family) divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3.24/26, Luke 11.17/18)?

Therefore if the Bible (and Lutheran Confessions!) clearly teaches that the unit of electoral representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the family, well then it follows firstly that adult sons (i.e. at least 21 years old) living with their father are NOT eligible to vote in the same Voter Assembly of the SAME local congregation as their father, or else they are guilty of usurping the prerogatives of their father as head of their home; and secondly, male servants living in the household of their male master of the house are INELIGIBLE to vote in the same Voter Assembly of the SAME local congregation as their master, or else they are guilty of violating the plain Scriptural precepts which teach that servants must obey their masters.

The answer to the Case of Conscience #1 is more decisive for the other two cases of conscience than you might think.
Does the fact that you are asking the question strike you as an answer in itself as to whether "clear" and "clearly" are good modifiers? Either it is not clear or you already know the clear answer. Why not just tell us what you think the Scriptures clearly teach or admit that maybe they don't teach it so clearly?

Charles Austin

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #28 on: May 12, 2021, 02:25:12 PM »
Juan Jeanniton writes:
The answer to the Case of Conscience #1 is more decisive for the other two cases of conscience than you might think.
I muse:
OK, I get it.
1. You have happened upon some obscure aspect of Lutheran writing in some previous age and you have constructed certain things from your oddball interpretation of those writings. Now you bring those things to us as an example of how silly whack-doodle scenarios lie in wait for people who jump into the deep end of those writings. You warn us of the nutty stuff out there.
2. Or you are an aspiring humorist, a wannabe Jim Gaffigan hoping to be discovered.
3. You are just being you.
As for #1, we are warned. As for #2, don’t give up your day job if you have one. As for #3, see your pastor. Now.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 02:58:46 PM by Charles Austin »
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Juan Jeanniton

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #29 on: May 12, 2021, 06:41:21 PM »
Does the fact that you are asking the question strike you as an answer in itself as to whether "clear" and "clearly" are good modifiers? Either it is not clear or you already know the clear answer. Why not just tell us what you think the Scriptures clearly teach or admit that maybe they don't teach it so clearly?

I posed my Case of Conscience #1, hoping that there would be somebody else on this ALPB forum who knows the answer to the question: "According to the teachings of the Bible and Lutheran Confessions, is the electoral unit of representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the individual or is it the family?", and is able to prove it from the Bible and Lutheran Confessions.

So far:
Ezekiel 18 removes the family ties. Every individual is responsible for their own lives. (see also Jeremiah 31:29-30). Children are not connected to their parents, nor parents to their children. Every individual is judged on their own merits.

Most of the newer translations of Psalm 68:6a do not translate בַּיִת with "family," but with "house," its more literal meaning. "God settles the lonely in their homes." (CEB)

T0: Thesis. In the New Testament, salvation is identified by baptism and belief, and nobody can be baptized on behalf of another, or be regenerated on behalf of another, and salvation is a free gift given individually to the individual professing Christian irrespective of family connections or affinity and it is not by virtue of the fact that the male head of the home is saved that anybody else in that family is automatically saved. In Israel, only males were circumcised, and females did not need to be circumcised in order to keep the law. Even in the cases in which the New Testament refers to salvation of the whole family, yet each individual member of the family, sooner or later, had to be baptized. The Israelite concept of family, which is directed by Mosaic law, is not just merely a question of male headship per se: it is an organization of society and the State in which in which the 3 lowest de jure and/or de facto political divisions from lower to higher are families, clans, and tribes, and where certain adult males only are the heads of the said families, clans, and tribes; and especially where these heads are not just heads in a family and kinship sense, but also often if not always in a civil, political, and juridical sense, like any head of state or civil magistrate. But this tribal and gentilicious organization of society is not an essential constitutive element of New Testament soteriology or ecclesiology.

Now, according to the Bible and Lutheran Confessions, are the claims made in that above Thesis T0 true or false, and if they are all true, then are they sufficient grounds for considering the electoral unit of representation in the Voter Assembly of the local congregation to be the individual rather than the family?