Author Topic: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!  (Read 8886 times)

Charles Austin

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #60 on: May 15, 2021, 12:26:33 AM »
Nope. At least in the past 50 years.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Former national staff Lutheran Church in America And the Lutheran world Federation, Geneva. Former journalist. Now retired and living in Minneapolis.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #61 on: May 15, 2021, 01:19:09 AM »
I am wondering, does the American Lutheran Church (ELCA) admit of electing pastors, bishops, deacons, and other ministers of the Word and Sacrament through the congregational vote, and if so, when were women first granted the right to vote congregationally in the American Lutheran Church (and I am not talking about the LCMS, WELS, or CLC, but the American Lutheran Church that eventually evolved into the ELCA)? Somewhere I have read that in the early 1900's the Suomi (Finlandic Lutheran) Synod granted women the right to congregationally vote. Are there any American Lutheran Publicity Bureau articles which discuss the question of who may vote in the congregations?


Back in 1920 when women were given the right to vote in the U.S. there were the following Lutheran bodies which eventually became the ELCA in 1988. I don't have information on when women began voting in these congregations.


The following eventually became the LCA in 1962
Icelandic Evangelical Lutheran Synod in North America
United Lutheran Church in American
Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Suomi Synod)
Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod of North America
Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


The following eventually became the ALC in 1960
Untied Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church
Lutheran Synod of Buffalo
Evangelical Synod of Iowa
Texas Synod
Joint Synod of Ohio and Other States
Norwegian Lutheran Church in America
Lutheran Free Church


The above two groups with the Association of Lutheran Churches (which split from the LCMS in 1976) formed the ELCA in 1988.
"The church Ö 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 #62 on: May 15, 2021, 07:58:50 AM »
Women voted in ULCA congregation at least in the 1950s. I know this because my mother voted. We do not ďelectď ordained leaders through the congregation. They are ordained by the church body, and called by the congregation.

Called by the congregation?!?!?!?!? Well then, if certain persons are to be called or at least NOMINATED by the congregation, well then, is this call or nomination exercised through the congregational vote?

Charles Austin

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #63 on: May 15, 2021, 08:49:15 AM »
I think you still donít get it. Ordination, that is, setting a person aside for ministry of the word and of the sacrament, is done by the church body, the national church body. Normally, among us, the congregation does not ordain people. (That has occasionally happened, but our national church bodies are not structured that way.)
The congregation votes, and that includes women, to decide whether a particular ordained person will be the pastor of that congregation.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Former national staff Lutheran Church in America And the Lutheran world Federation, Geneva. Former journalist. Now retired and living in Minneapolis.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #64 on: May 15, 2021, 09:06:54 AM »
But the Holy Spirit does the calling. The congregation is the means. Which is why different congregations might do things more or less democratically and there is no uniform voting age, membership requirement, etc.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #65 on: May 15, 2021, 09:12:35 AM »
Women voted in ULCA congregation at least in the 1950s. I know this because my mother voted. We do not ďelectď ordained leaders through the congregation. They are ordained by the church body, and called by the congregation.

Called by the congregation?!?!?!?!? Well then, if certain persons are to be called or at least NOMINATED by the congregation, well then, is this call or nomination exercised through the congregational vote?

Calls for Lutheran pastors come, generally, in two different ways.  As I am this day remembering my graduation from the seminary 34 years ago, I also recall receiving a "diploma" noting that the seminary certified me for the Office of Pastoral Ministry.  The route to my first call came via the seminary placement officer (after a course of study and a final interview) and the district president.  The congregation would have initially voted to call a seminary graduate, but did not vote specifically on my name. I was assigned that call through the seminary and DP. Subsequent calls 'from the field' were different, but were still mediated, in a way, by the district office which provided a call list from which the congregation could choose a man to call. There a vote was taken in a voter's assembly meeting of the congregation to specifically issue a divine call to me, preceded by a prayer for the Holy Spirit's guidance (as Pr. Speckard notes, the Holy Spirit does the calling).  Usually a call committee, working with the circuit counselor/visitor would review the many names given to them (which could be upwards of a dozen), and recommend some names to the congregation.  However, it was the right of the church's voters to choose the man to call from the full list, unless certain names had to be removed for cause.  In most LCMS congregations today men and woman both serve on call committees, and the voter's assembly that calls the pastor has women's suffrage.  All of the congregations that called me over my 34 years in two different districts (North Wisconsin and Michigan), had women's suffrage. 

As for my ordination, which occurred, in my case in June following my graduation at my home congregation, it was authorized by the district president of the district to which I was going and was carried out by a pastor duly authorized by the DP.  Usually, the DP does the ordaining, but can authorize others to do so, usually another district officer.  Ordinations, like installations, are carried out not by vote, but by the district acknowledging that the church has prepared this man and certifies that he is ready to assume the office.  The rite of ordination also includes the participation of fellow clergy.  The congregation attends and celebrates with the candidate, but they do not vote on this. 
« Last Edit: May 15, 2021, 09:14:34 AM by D. Engebretson »
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Terry W Culler

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #66 on: May 15, 2021, 10:25:42 AM »
I think you still donít get it. Ordination, that is, setting a person aside for ministry of the word and of the sacrament, is done by the church body, the national church body. Normally, among us, the congregation does not ordain people. (That has occasionally happened, but our national church bodies are not structured that way.)
The congregation votes, and that includes women, to decide whether a particular ordained person will be the pastor of that congregation.

At least not all of them.  The AFLC will allow a congregation to raise up for themselves a man who will preach the Word and administer the Sacraments.  That would not place him on the clergy roster nor would he be eligible for a call to another congregation, but it is allowable as long as the congregation remains true to the inerrancy of Scripture and the true explication of Scripture as given in the Augsburg Confession and the Small Catechism.  I believe the LCMC also allows congregations to do the same.  Luther would have approved.
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Michael Slusser

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #67 on: May 15, 2021, 10:33:37 AM »
I think you still donít get it. Ordination, that is, setting a person aside for ministry of the word and of the sacrament, is done by the church body, the national church body. Normally, among us, the congregation does not ordain people. (That has occasionally happened, but our national church bodies are not structured that way.)
The congregation votes, and that includes women, to decide whether a particular ordained person will be the pastor of that congregation.

At least not all of them.  The AFLC will allow a congregation to raise up for themselves a man who will preach the Word and administer the Sacraments.  That would not place him on the clergy roster nor would he be eligible for a call to another congregation, but it is allowable as long as the congregation remains true to the inerrancy of Scripture and the true explication of Scripture as given in the Augsburg Confession and the Small Catechism.  I believe the LCMC also allows congregations to do the same.  Luther would have approved.
Thank you! I'm glad to know that.

The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan has had something similar for a quarter-century, but these parishes and their ministers are regularly visited by seminary-trained priests.

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

D. Engebretson

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #68 on: May 15, 2021, 10:37:20 AM »
I think you still donít get it. Ordination, that is, setting a person aside for ministry of the word and of the sacrament, is done by the church body, the national church body. Normally, among us, the congregation does not ordain people. (That has occasionally happened, but our national church bodies are not structured that way.)
The congregation votes, and that includes women, to decide whether a particular ordained person will be the pastor of that congregation.

At least not all of them.  The AFLC will allow a congregation to raise up for themselves a man who will preach the Word and administer the Sacraments.  That would not place him on the clergy roster nor would he be eligible for a call to another congregation, but it is allowable as long as the congregation remains true to the inerrancy of Scripture and the true explication of Scripture as given in the Augsburg Confession and the Small Catechism.  I believe the LCMC also allows congregations to do the same.  Luther would have approved.

It is required that men in the SMP program have to be part of the congregation they plan to serve, and the people certainly would have a voice in affirming this man to be their pastor. In that sense they "raise up for themselves a man who will preach the Word and administer the Sacraments." However, in the LCMS the DP must ultimately approve this, after which he would begin a course of study at one of our sems while simultaneously serving as a vicar under the supervision of a neighboring pastor. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Terry W Culler

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #69 on: May 15, 2021, 11:32:19 AM »
I think you still donít get it. Ordination, that is, setting a person aside for ministry of the word and of the sacrament, is done by the church body, the national church body. Normally, among us, the congregation does not ordain people. (That has occasionally happened, but our national church bodies are not structured that way.)
The congregation votes, and that includes women, to decide whether a particular ordained person will be the pastor of that congregation.

At least not all of them.  The AFLC will allow a congregation to raise up for themselves a man who will preach the Word and administer the Sacraments.  That would not place him on the clergy roster nor would he be eligible for a call to another congregation, but it is allowable as long as the congregation remains true to the inerrancy of Scripture and the true explication of Scripture as given in the Augsburg Confession and the Small Catechism.  I believe the LCMC also allows congregations to do the same.  Luther would have approved.

It is required that men in the SMP program have to be part of the congregation they plan to serve, and the people certainly would have a voice in affirming this man to be their pastor. In that sense they "raise up for themselves a man who will preach the Word and administer the Sacraments." However, in the LCMS the DP must ultimately approve this, after which he would begin a course of study at one of our sems while simultaneously serving as a vicar under the supervision of a neighboring pastor.


I can't speak for the LCMC so I'll just note that in the AFLC lay pastors can take seminary courses across a 10 year span and be placed on the clergy roster if they so desire.  One of the problems we all seem to be having is a shortage of men attending seminary.  I believe our vacancy rate is about 10% right now and a number of retired men serving as interims.  I personally believe we should be exploring other options toward ordination, but right now the focus remains on the sem as the source of all knowledge and shaping of pastors.  What the future holds is in the hand of God.
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Charles Austin

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #70 on: May 15, 2021, 11:37:21 AM »
Pastor Culler:
What the future holds is in the hand of God.

Me:
And church conventions.
And those who can sway church conventions towards certain actions.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Former national staff Lutheran Church in America And the Lutheran world Federation, Geneva. Former journalist. Now retired and living in Minneapolis.

Terry W Culler

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #71 on: May 15, 2021, 12:41:13 PM »
I guess you're saying that God is only somewhat sovereign? ???
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #72 on: May 15, 2021, 12:48:11 PM »
I think you still donít get it. Ordination, that is, setting a person aside for ministry of the word and of the sacrament, is done by the church body, the national church body. Normally, among us, the congregation does not ordain people. (That has occasionally happened, but our national church bodies are not structured that way.)
The congregation votes, and that includes women, to decide whether a particular ordained person will be the pastor of that congregation.

At least not all of them.  The AFLC will allow a congregation to raise up for themselves a man who will preach the Word and administer the Sacraments.  That would not place him on the clergy roster nor would he be eligible for a call to another congregation, but it is allowable as long as the congregation remains true to the inerrancy of Scripture and the true explication of Scripture as given in the Augsburg Confession and the Small Catechism.  I believe the LCMC also allows congregations to do the same.  Luther would have approved.

It is required that men in the SMP program have to be part of the congregation they plan to serve, and the people certainly would have a voice in affirming this man to be their pastor. In that sense they "raise up for themselves a man who will preach the Word and administer the Sacraments." However, in the LCMS the DP must ultimately approve this, after which he would begin a course of study at one of our sems while simultaneously serving as a vicar under the supervision of a neighboring pastor.


I can't speak for the LCMC so I'll just note that in the AFLC lay pastors can take seminary courses across a 10 year span and be placed on the clergy roster if they so desire.  One of the problems we all seem to be having is a shortage of men attending seminary.  I believe our vacancy rate is about 10% right now and a number of retired men serving as interims.  I personally believe we should be exploring other options toward ordination, but right now the focus remains on the sem as the source of all knowledge and shaping of pastors.  What the future holds is in the hand of God.


I once heard a bishop state that he liked to keep about 10% of the congregations open so that there could be movement within the synod for pastors who needed to get out of bad situations.
"The church Ö had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #73 on: May 15, 2021, 12:49:39 PM »
I guess you're saying that God is only somewhat sovereign? ???


Nope. But the sovereign God uses human means to accomplish the divine purposes. God didn't put Jesus on the cross, the Roman officials did, spurred on by the Jewish crowd.
"The church Ö 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]

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Some Cases of Conscience on Lutheran Church Government!
« Reply #74 on: May 15, 2021, 03:24:58 PM »
Pastor Culler:
What the future holds is in the hand of God.

Me:
And church conventions.
And those who can sway church conventions towards certain actions.

I guess you're saying that God is only somewhat sovereign? ???

Nope. But the sovereign God uses human means to accomplish the divine purposes. God didn't put Jesus on the cross, the Roman officials did, spurred on by the Jewish crowd.

I think you miss the point. Pr. Culler was questioning Charles' addition by which Charles seems to imply that God is only partly sovereign. I'm sue Pr. Culler agrees that God works through means, one being church conventions.

Don Kirchner

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