Author Topic: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!  (Read 6853 times)

peter_speckhard

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #30 on: May 12, 2021, 07:19:58 PM »
My point is that if you need someone to answer the question because you can’t figure it out, then we know going in that all your uses of “plain,” “clear,” and “clearly” cannot meaningfully apply. If either answer were clearly and/or plainly the teaching of Scripture you wouldn’t need to ask.

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #31 on: May 12, 2021, 07:50:18 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?


Where do you find "family" as a unit in the Bible? As far as I can tell, neither the Hebrew nor the Greek of the Bible have a word that means "nuclear family." Two words that the NRSV does translate (sometimes) with "family" in the New Testament are γενός and πατρία.


While πατρία is translated "family" or "families" all three times in the NRSV, it refers to a group much larger than mom, dad, and children. Luke 2:4 it refers to "the family of David" all the offspring from David's time down to Joseph. Acts 3:25, quoting Genesis 12:3, refers to "all the families of the earth." Similarly, Ephesians 3:15 refers to "every family in heaven and on earth."


γενός is much more complex.
Three times it is translated "family" (Acts 4:6; 7:13; 13:26) referring to an extended family - perhaps better translated "clan".


Four times it is translated "kind."
"kind of fish" (Matthew 13:47)
"this kind" (of unclean spirit) (Mark 9:29)
"kinds of tongues" (1 Corinthians 12:10, 28)
"kinds of sounds" (1 Corinthians 14:10)


Three times with "native" (Acts 4:13; 18:2, 24)
Three times with "people" (2 Corinthians 11:26; Galatians 1:14; Philippians 3:5)
Twice with "race" (Acts 7:19; 1 Peter 2:9)
Twice with "offspring" (Acts 17:28, 29)
Once with "origin" (Mark 7:26)
Once with "descendant" (Revelation 22:11)


Neither of these words carries quite the same meaning as the English word, "family," especially as you are using it in reference to a nuclear family of mom, dad, and children.


I also don't believe that you'll find the concept of a democracy in the Bible. The biblical world was not a democratic world.


We don't read about any sort of vote at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. After a period of discussion, where Peter, Paul, and Barnabas, and perhaps others have their say, James declares what the church will do. In fact, he says, "I conclude …" or "I judge …" (v. 19). James made the decision for the whole church.
"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]

Juan Jeanniton

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #32 on: May 12, 2021, 08:17:47 PM »
My point is that if you need someone to answer the question because you can’t figure it out, then we know going in that all your uses of “plain,” “clear,” and “clearly” cannot meaningfully apply. If either answer were clearly and/or plainly the teaching of Scripture you wouldn’t need to ask.
What I meant by “plain,” “clear,” and “clearly” is that I was hoping somebody on this ALPB forum would be able to figure out the case #1 of conscience, using sound proofs from the Bible and Lutheran Confessions, but without using tactics or methods which tend to deny or evade the doctrine of the divine inspiration, divine authority, infallibility, inerrancy, irreformability, and perspicuity of the Bible.

Only by strict adherence and exact conformity to the doctrine of the divine inspiration, divine authority, infallibility, inerrancy, irreformability, and perspicuity of the Bible can we claim the moral high ground for our answer to this case of conscience.

Charles Austin

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #33 on: May 12, 2021, 09:38:11 PM »
You claim to read the Lutheran confessions. But you sure don’t write like any Lutheran I ever knew.
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Juan Jeanniton

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #34 on: May 12, 2021, 09:53:53 PM »
Where do you find "family" as a unit in the Bible? As far as I can tell, neither the Hebrew nor the Greek of the Bible have a word that means "nuclear family." Two words that the NRSV does translate (sometimes) with "family" in the New Testament are γενός and πατρία.

While πατρία is translated "family" or "families" all three times in the NRSV, it refers to a group much larger than mom, dad, and children. Luke 2:4 it refers to "the family of David" all the offspring from David's time down to Joseph. Acts 3:25, quoting Genesis 12:3, refers to "all the families of the earth." Similarly, Ephesians 3:15 refers to "every family in heaven and on earth."

γενός is much more complex.
Three times it is translated "family" (Acts 4:6; 7:13; 13:26) referring to an extended family - perhaps better translated "clan".

Four times it is translated "kind."
"kind of fish" (Matthew 13:47)
"this kind" (of unclean spirit) (Mark 9:29)
"kinds of tongues" (1 Corinthians 12:10, 28)
"kinds of sounds" (1 Corinthians 14:10)

Three times with "native" (Acts 4:13; 18:2, 24)
Three times with "people" (2 Corinthians 11:26; Galatians 1:14; Philippians 3:5)
Twice with "race" (Acts 7:19; 1 Peter 2:9)
Twice with "offspring" (Acts 17:28, 29)
Once with "origin" (Mark 7:26)
Once with "descendant" (Revelation 22:11)

Neither of these words carries quite the same meaning as the English word, "family," especially as you are using it in reference to a nuclear family of mom, dad, and children.

I also don't believe that you'll find the concept of a democracy in the Bible. The biblical world was not a democratic world.

We don't read about any sort of vote at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. After a period of discussion, where Peter, Paul, and Barnabas, and perhaps others have their say, James declares what the church will do. In fact, he says, "I conclude …" or "I judge …" (v. 19). James made the decision for the whole church.
There is one mistake you have made. You have forgotten the Greek terms οἶκος and οἰκία to express the idea of a household, especially with respect to the family that lives there and whose head of that family is the head of that household. What does the usage of these terms (οἶκος, οἰκία) in the Bible say about whether the electoral unit of representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the individual or the family?

Again, 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

Charles Austin

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #35 on: May 12, 2021, 09:59:04 PM »
All these words, spilled and wasted, over a nutty and meaningless triviality about “household” voting.
Can we just stop it?
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 #36 on: May 12, 2021, 10:28:14 PM »
All these words, spilled and wasted, over a nutty and meaningless triviality about “household” voting.
Can we just stop it?

It is a separate thread. Ignore it.

Charles Austin

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #37 on: May 12, 2021, 11:16:50 PM »
OK But having crud like this online dishonors and demeans the ALPB forum.
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RDPreus

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #38 on: May 13, 2021, 01:10:16 AM »
You claim to read the Lutheran confessions. But you sure don’t write like any Lutheran I ever knew.

That's because he isn't a Lutheran.  In his profile on Luther Quest he identifies his denomination as SDA. 

Charles Austin

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #39 on: May 13, 2021, 03:18:03 AM »
Elsewhere online someone with that name claims a PhD in “physical chemistry,” and there are writings on quantum mechanics under that name. There are also articles claiming the church requires a total “male headship.”
Over on that other site, he contends that a layman can never lead “public prayer.”
But if a Seventh-day Adventist, not a Lutheran, and repeatedly using “our” setting and asking “proof”  from the confessions and posting voluminously, he is a toxic, invasive troll. The postings dishonor and demean the ALPB forum.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 03:25:55 AM by Charles Austin »
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #40 on: May 13, 2021, 03:43:37 AM »
There is one mistake you have made. You have forgotten the Greek terms οἶκος and οἰκία to express the idea of a household, especially with respect to the family that lives there and whose head of that family is the head of that household. What does the usage of these terms (οἶκος, οἰκία) in the Bible say about whether the electoral unit of representation in the Voter Assembly of a local congregation is the individual or the family?


 Yes, οἶκος and οἰκία can mean "household". When it does, it refers to all the people living within the house; including servants. Very seldom are they translated "family." Again, I ask, where does the Bible talk about the nuclear family of mom, dad, and children?

Quote
Again, 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


Luther's Works have no official standing. They are not our confessional writings.


I believe Luther is wrong about calling the choice of the seven an "election". They were "chosen," and when that word is used, like God choosing us, it's not through an election process.


I also believe that his application of 1 Corinthians 14:31 is faulty. What does: "You can all prophesy one at a time so that everyone can learn and be encouraged" (CEB) have to do with elections or even calling a pastor? In addition, "prophesying," within that context, like within the contemporary charismatic movement, had a very specific meaning. It was/is seen essentially as the same thing as speaking in tongues, but rather being a language that wasn't understood, the Spirit used an understandable language when empowering someone to prophesy. It is not like spending hours studying a text, then composing a sermon; which is what pastors do every week.


I'm also curious what the German (or Latin) word Luther used that was translated "elected".
"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]

D. Engebretson

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #41 on: May 13, 2021, 09:53:57 AM »
The postings dishonor and demean the ALPB forum.

I have had no real interest in the premise of this thread. So, except for this post I haven't posted much of a response.  But how do these postings "dishonor and demean the ALPB forum"? Considering the rather biting political commentary we endured here during the election, this thread seems rather tame by comparison.  My impression was that the forum was a place of discussion that permitted a wide range of topics and issues and participants.  From time to time threads are closed down by moderators for a variety of reasons, and recently the ALPB leaders established some additional directions on discussions and participants, including one on anonymous posters. But this poster has a name and the topic, while seeming somewhat confusing and esoteric to some, doesn't necessarily seem to be offensive or combative or attacking, unless I'm missing something.   
Pastor Don Engebretson
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #42 on: May 13, 2021, 10:50:53 AM »
The postings dishonor and demean the ALPB forum.

I have had no real interest in the premise of this thread. So, except for this post I haven't posted much of a response.  But how do these postings "dishonor and demean the ALPB forum"? Considering the rather biting political commentary we endured here during the election, this thread seems rather tame by comparison.  My impression was that the forum was a place of discussion that permitted a wide range of topics and issues and participants.  From time to time threads are closed down by moderators for a variety of reasons, and recently the ALPB leaders established some additional directions on discussions and participants, including one on anonymous posters. But this poster has a name and the topic, while seeming somewhat confusing and esoteric to some, doesn't necessarily seem to be offensive or combative or attacking, unless I'm missing something.   
Agreed. It is a strange topic, but related to Lutheran theology for those who are interested in it and easily ignorable by those who aren't.

Juan Jeanniton

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #43 on: May 13, 2021, 10:55:22 AM »
Mr. Austin, you said:
Elsewhere online someone with that name claims a PhD in “physical chemistry,” and there are writings on quantum mechanics under that name. There are also articles claiming the church requires a total “male headship.”
Over on that other site, he contends that a layman can never lead “public prayer.”
I am not actually the one contending that it is unlawful for laymen to lead public prayer in church. The true origin of the source of that claim, namely that it is unlawful for laymen to lead in public prayer, is Pages 307, 323, and 324 of The Lutheran Witness, Volume 37, which shows and documents objectively, that it was the historical position of the Missouri Synod around the year 1915 - 1920 that laymen cannot ordinarily lead public prayer. In fact, here is also another confessional Lutheran source which also makes the same claim that it is for laymen to lead public prayer in church:

A letter from C.F.W. Walther to Pastor Ottesen of the Norwegian Synod, as given in Walther Speaks to the Church, Selected Letters by C.F.W. Walther, edited by Carl S. Meyer, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis London, 1973:
Quote
When the essay Kirke und Amt, page 24, says: "A layman shall not presume to teach in the presence of bishops, except when they themselves request it of him," this does not say there could not be cases in which such a demand is justified. Who will deny that there could be such cases! The question is whether such an arrangement might be made according to which the pastor would grant the layman as a right occasionally to teach the people publicly in his stead and to lead them publicly in prayer, and when this is done customarily. Such action is so absolutely diametrically opposed to the Scriptural doctrine of the office (1 Cor. 12:29; Acts 6:4; Titus 1:5) and to Article XIV of the Augsburg Confession, to all testimonies of pure teachers and against the constant practice of our church, that we cannot comprehend how a person who is otherwise grounded in God's Word and fairly well at home in the orthodox church can for one moment be in confusion. To based such a matter on the spiritual priesthood of Christians is nonsense, for if that procedure were followed, nobody would have any reason to pay any attention to the calling of the pastor [Herr Pfarrer]. Much less can such a procedure be based on a special call, for the church cannot create a call according to its own discretion but can issue only that call which God has instituted and which He alone recognizes, not, however, through a human contract for a few hours and days. Moreover, the matter cannot be founded, as is clear, on the case of necessity.

Finally, you said 'But if a Seventh-day Adventist, not a Lutheran, and repeatedly using “our” setting and asking “proof”  from the confessions and posting voluminously, he is a toxic, invasive troll. The postings dishonor and demean the ALPB forum'.

There are several logical fallacies you have committed in your last comment. First, you have committed an ad hominem attack on my personal character. Secondly, in trying to discredit the information I am giving you, you have committed what is known as the "genetic fallacy" or a "poisoning the well". An ad hominem "a rhetorical strategy where the speaker attacks the character, motive, or some other attribute of the person making an argument rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself" (Wikipedia on ad hominem). Here is how it occurs: A makes a certain claim Q, but the opponents B claim that the very fact that A has attributes that B doesn't like constitutes the definitive and decisive proof that the claim Q is false. The genetic fallacy occurs when a claim is rejected merely on account of the source of the evidence. Poisoning the well occurs when "adverse information about a target is preemptively presented to an audience, with the intention of discrediting or ridiculing something that the target person is about to say" (Wikipedia on Poisoning the Well). Here is the form of Poisoning the Well: Adverse information about a person making a certain claim C is presented preemptively just as if the mere truth of such information constituted the definitive and decisive PROOF that the claim C is false. There is also another fallacy you have committed, and that is straw-man. You claim that I teach and believe it is unlawful for laymen to lead in public prayer. That is not my actual claim. My actual claim is that the historical position of the Missouri Synod has been that it is unlawful for laymen to lead in public prayer. The sources I have used to prove my actual claim are GENUINE Lutheran sources.


Dave Likeness

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #44 on: May 13, 2021, 11:16:40 AM »
It might be helpful to those on this thread to understand what is a CONSTRUCTIVE argument.

A CONSTRUCTIVE argument focuses on the issues involved in the argument.

A DESTRUCTIVE argument verbally attacks the other person involved in the argument.