Author Topic: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies  (Read 6741 times)

Dave Benke

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #60 on: October 25, 2021, 11:34:28 AM »
And now a second question comes to mind, after Rev. Austin's rehearsal of the discussions that led to that agreement: In the almost 25 years since, have further discussions been held to work through those areas of disagreement?  And if so, what progress has been made?

That's an excellent question. It doesn't appear to me that much has happened other than the obligatory appearances of representatives of "full communion churches" at churchwide assemblies.

And the churches  feel they can comment on each other's business. Just this month, the Reformed Church in America had its general synod and was conflicted over sexuality. Bp. Eaton wrote a pastoral letter suggesting that the RCA could learn to live together harmoniously with differing views, just as the ELCA as done. I almost spilled my coffee.

I have known some of the RCA leaders in this part of the world through the years, faithfully reformed in all regards.  Here's a description of what's happening:  https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2021/10/14/reformed-church-in-america-faces-rupture-over-lgbtq-gridlock/

An issue with these splits in the smaller denominations is whether the structure of the organization can withstand the splintering, for one.  Secondly, what about the splintered?  Where do they land and how do they put anything beyond a local agenda together that is built to be multi-generational?  I guess this is a question for NALC and LCMC folks as well - how does strategizing take place for a future that's more than interim?  I can't believe any of the breakaway bodies somehow have only larger and more viable congregational memberships. 

The thing they won't have to worry about is receiving pastors from a seminary or pastors from the field who are misaligned with their stated values.  But the issues of holding on and holding things together for more than 5-10 years remain no matter who you are affiliated with.  So yes - we're looking for a pastor who, say, is opposed to gay ordination.  We can pay the pastor $2000 per month.  Anybody available? 

Dave Benke
I think the generational aspect is key. RJN rejected the dismissal, lamentably common among Christians both lay and clergy, of the “institutional” church. Institution, he pointed out, is simply the word that describes a mission through time. Yes, institutions, like all human things, are inclined to mission-creep into mere self-perpetuation and enlargement (Yes, our school founded for the training of foreign missionaries is still going strong after 150 years! Only now it more focus on oil changes and muffler repair, with some of the proceeds going toward various outreach events!), so the institutional trappings should always be a servant and never a master. But we should see the value of preserving institutions in decline. If we lose them, we’ll soon need new ones and wish we had been able to keep the old ones up and running.

For a church to endure through time it needs doctrinal definition. That has been my criticism of the NALC from the beginning. A church defined by avoiding extremes doesn’t cease to have extremes, it simply has a narrower set of extremes and is still in large part defined by the extremes it rejects. Right now, it works pretty well. The people in the NALC are familiar with the debates and issues, and more importantly, the churchly culture that gave birth to the NALC. But two generations from now all the membership will be all new and the old raison d’etre will not seem urgent to them at all. The work to be done in making the NALC is in building a lasting institution, which means, for a church, a clear understanding of why it exists as a separate institution. That can only mean doctrinal boundaries, which require some justification. Why is this acceptable but that isn’t? And then you’ll have hardliners and “moderates” and all the same old issues.

The NALC strikes me like a temporary solution. A set of people deeply involved in American Lutheranism just needed to come up for air before they drowned in what seemed like unacceptable alternatives. But they will soon have to dive down again to the foundations after they catch their breath. There is much work to be done if there are to be third and fourth generation NALC pastors.

Institutionally, then, doesn't the NALC hold doctrinally to the Book of Concord/Augsburg Confession as its confession of faith in line with Scripture (norma normata and norma normans)?  Same with LCMC, no?  I suppose these days that's seen as waffling. 

Clarification of doctrinal boundaries can get pretty petty pretty quickly. In the bad old days of the 2000s/2010s, we would toss out any number of overtures to the national convention that wanted to tighten or eliminate some already decided boundary.

If a Lutheran denomination allows for the ordination of women, for example, from the right side of the confessional aisle, there's no need for further conversation.   They're out, and not confessional and basically not Lutheran.  Since I believe both NALC and LCMC allow for the ordination of women, they're not going to be suitable partners for the LCMS, which may be headed for a wrenching dialog about whether women can read the lessons in church. 

All that being said, I think as well that LCMC - which is basically described as an interim affiliation, and NALC, could end up being interim groups.  They are, however, what I would consider "middle" options for Lutherans. 

Dave Benke

aletheist

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #61 on: October 25, 2021, 11:55:03 AM »
John, are you able to give us the page and footnote in Sasse, which would be helpful for this topic?
I wish I could but I had to downsize my library several years ago. I do recall that it was toward the end, probably in that last section where he discusses the import of Luther's stand at Marburg.
I do not have the book itself, and Google Books only provides brief snippets as search results, but one of them that came up for me reads as follows.

Quote from: Hermann Sasse, This Is My Body, p. 372
... Reformed Christians who in a bona fide manner celebrate the Lord's Supper according to their convictions. We would not deny that in such a case at least a spiritual communion may take place. But we cannot regard the verba testamenti as being on the same level with the formula of baptism in which the ...

It sounds like Sasse is going to say that unlike baptism, where using the standard Trinitarian formula is sufficient for validity, the Lord's Supper requires a correct interpretation of the Words of Institution--consistent with Luther's remark, quoted in the Formula of Concord and echoed by Walther, that at Reformed altars they "have nothing but bread and wine" because "they first change God’s Word and ordinance and interpret it otherwise." If anyone can provide the text right before and after this excerpt, as well as the actual footnote that Rev. Hannah paraphrased, it would be greatly appreciated.
Jon Alan Schmidt, LCMS Layman

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with great diligence in the Church, the Word of God is rightly divided according to the admonition of St. Paul." (FC Ep V.2)

Charles Austin

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #62 on: October 25, 2021, 12:17:53 PM »
So the celebration depends upon 1) human words and 2) the “proper” understanding of those words? Otherwise the Real Presence Jesus doesn’t show up?
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #63 on: October 25, 2021, 12:20:13 PM »
John, are you able to give us the page and footnote in Sasse, which would be helpful for this topic?
I wish I could but I had to downsize my library several years ago. I do recall that it was toward the end, probably in that last section where he discusses the import of Luther's stand at Marburg.
I do not have the book itself, and Google Books only provides brief snippets as search results, but one of them that came up for me reads as follows.

Quote from: Hermann Sasse, This Is My Body, p. 372
... Reformed Christians who in a bona fide manner celebrate the Lord's Supper according to their convictions. We would not deny that in such a case at least a spiritual communion may take place. But we cannot regard the verba testamenti as being on the same level with the formula of baptism in which the ...

It sounds like Sasse is going to say that unlike baptism, where using the standard Trinitarian formula is sufficient for validity, the Lord's Supper requires a correct interpretation of the Words of Institution--consistent with Luther's remark, quoted in the Formula of Concord and echoed by Walther, that at Reformed altars they "have nothing but bread and wine" because "they first change God’s Word and ordinance and interpret it otherwise." If anyone can provide the text right before and after this excerpt, as well as the actual footnote that Rev. Hannah paraphrased, it would be greatly appreciated.

In my copy of the book, page 372 is in the "Topical Index" section, after the text of the book concludes.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #64 on: October 25, 2021, 12:31:29 PM »
So the celebration depends upon 1) human words and 2) the “proper” understanding of those words? Otherwise the Real Presence Jesus doesn’t show up?
These are seminary classroom questions. I think “intent” is another factor. Also, there is a key distinction between questions of efficaciousness and questions of authorization or licitness. To take a tragic example from the news, the gun meant to be a prop still works as a gun. It is a matter of who is supposed to be in charge of it. Pastors who don’t think any real harm might result from the Body and Blood of Christ being distributed any which way usually focus exclusively on efficaciousness and think matters of licit/illicit or authorization to be moot for all practical purposes. Pastors who see great potential harm look at both efficaciousness and authorization as important matters.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #65 on: October 25, 2021, 12:36:54 PM »
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.

Lutherans do not.

This is probably not correct. Sasse (footnote in This Is My Body) states that although Lutheran pastors warned people not to receive at Reformed altars, they refrained from speculating what the Reformed actually received.

Peace, JOHN

Good catch, John - I'm surprised there aren't more full treatments on this question through the years.

Dave Benke

Good catch? Really?! It appears that Rev Hannah is speculating, what he states that Sasse suggests we should not do.

At any rate, given the subsequent citations and quotes, I trust you both stand corrected as to what Lutherans believe, teach, and confess regarding this issue.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2021, 12:55:40 PM by Donald_Kirchner »
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aletheist

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #66 on: October 25, 2021, 12:38:50 PM »
In my copy of the book, page 372 is in the "Topical Index" section, after the text of the book concludes.
Looking at the table of contents for the Google Books version, the snippet that I quoted is in chapter VII, section 2b, under the subheading "Word and Sacrament."
Jon Alan Schmidt, LCMS Layman

"We believe, teach and confess that by conserving the distinction between Law and Gospel as an especially glorious light
with great diligence in the Church, the Word of God is rightly divided according to the admonition of St. Paul." (FC Ep V.2)

Dan Fienen

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #67 on: October 25, 2021, 12:41:01 PM »
So the celebration depends upon 1) human words and 2) the “proper” understanding of those words? Otherwise the Real Presence Jesus doesn’t show up?
My understanding is a bit more nuanced than that, perhaps too nuanced for your taste. When we gather for the Lord's Supper, the words of institution are not some form of magical incantation that when intoned produce the effect of the real presence of Christ in the sacramental elements. Rather, what the verba do is to serve as a reminder of the promise that Jesus made when He first gave this meal to His people, with the further command to do this, and an indication that it is that which we are intending to do. Thus, it is not necessary for the verba to be spoken in the Greek as it was originally stated, nor in the exact work order. It is not magic hocus pocus words. However, if by their confession of faith, those who preside change the meanings of the words to something other than what Jesus promised (as, for example, no longer "This is my body" but rather "This symbolizes my body") then arguable they are no longer intending to participate in what Jesus offered and offers.
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Charles Austin

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #68 on: October 25, 2021, 12:56:30 PM »
Peter writes:
These are seminary classroom questions. I think “intent” is another factor.
I comment:
Hogwash. Again, makes the sacrament and its efficacy dependent upon us.

Peter:
Also, there is a key distinction between questions of efficaciousness and questions of authorization or licitness. To take a tragic example from the news, the gun meant to be a prop still works as a gun. It is a matter of who is supposed to be in charge of it. P
Me:
Oh, Peter, your analogies. Can you find another rhetorical device? Let's run with this, though. Presbyterian church pastor recites the Words of Institution and distributes the sacrament. Hovering over him is old-style Presbyterian doctrine saying "It's a memorial, He is in heaven," so the pastor thinks he has a "cold" sacrament in his hands, unloaded with the Real Presence Jesus. But wait, the Holy Spirit is the true "armorer" of this scene and the Real Presence Jesus is there, not to kill or wound, but to give life and forgiveness.
Meanwhile down the street a Lutheran pastor presides (properly, of course), but a Presbyterian mother-in-law of a member is in the fourth pew. She's expecting a "cold" sacrament (He is in heaven, remember, not here). But the armorer, the Holy Spirit, is on the job and the sacrament is loaded. So what happens to the Presbyterian mother-in-law? Bang! the Real Presence Jesus.
Has harm been done, because the Pastor didn't warn "Look out! This is the real thing!"
Was the sacrament less "effective" down the street in the Presbyterian Church because of that "memorial, He's in Heaven" thing?
Was anybody hurt in either place? What "great potential harm" are you seeing, Peter?
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

Dave Benke

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #69 on: October 25, 2021, 12:57:52 PM »
I believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament even among those Christians who see it as nothing but a memorial meal.

Lutherans do not.

This is probably not correct. Sasse (footnote in This Is My Body) states that although Lutheran pastors warned people not to receive at Reformed altars, they refrained from speculating what the Reformed actually received.

Peace, JOHN

Good catch, John - I'm surprised there aren't more full treatments on this question through the years.

Dave Benke

Good catch? Really?! It appears that Rev Hannah is speculating, what he states that Sasse suggests that we should not do.

At any rate, given the subsequent citations and quotes, I trust you both stand corrected as to what Lutherans believe, teach, and confess.

Seemed like a good catch, but maybe the it failed the 32" test and had to be given back to the waters.  (I'm remembering 32" as the minimum for a northern way back in the days when we threw lines in the reeds of the Flambeau Flowage  back in Wisconsin, but that has been a year or 50) 

I'm struck by the Pieper line "most of the old Lutheran", even with the Walther quote.  This must have been in those halcyon days in the 1800s, a question that came up.   And having had many a non-Lutheran pastor of Protestant vintage tell me through the years that they believed the Lutheran way on the Lord's Supper, I can understand a bit of the hesitancy.  The pastor is in his Presbyterian church, ordained and called, and comes to the conclusion that the Lutheran way is correct.  He's not leaving this heterodox mixmaster due to whatever, and continues to teach and lead his folks through a Real Presence reception.  Because of his institutional connection, is this still just a meal and not the Lord's Supper?  Walther would say No.  The pastor and congregation, which for Walther are the bedrock Reality due to his Transfer Theory, are actually Lutheran in the celebration of the meal, although undoubtedly vagabond in their double predestination malarky.

Since other Protestant groups have way more latitude in their doctrinal interpretations, there would certainly be some pastors and congregations in the Real Presence category.  Out in this part of the world, where the edges are more defined, therefore, there are most likely Presybterian and Methodist congregations that are very liturgical and Real Presence oriented, while at the other edge are more Unitarian providers of divine knowledge or knowledge-ish.

Dave Benke 

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #70 on: October 25, 2021, 01:01:54 PM »
What "great potential harm" are you seeing, Peter?

"For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, 'This is my body, which is for6 you. Do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord bin an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. " 1 Cor 11:23-29

As the beloved Dr. Nagel stated, "Yes, it's a krima/judgment. But, a krima/judgment can become a katakrima/condemnation."
Don Kirchner

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #71 on: October 25, 2021, 01:06:38 PM »
Seemed like a good catch, but maybe the it failed the 32" test and had to be given back to the waters.  (I'm remembering 32" as the minimum for a northern way back in the days when we threw lines in the reeds of the Flambeau Flowage  back in Wisconsin, but that has been a year or 50) 

Northerns given back to the waters?! We don't bring those slimy creatures into the boat! They wreck everything, and the slime gets on your hands. More like cut the line. Keep northerns in the waters.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2021, 01:23:39 PM by Donald_Kirchner »
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Steven W Bohler

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #72 on: October 25, 2021, 01:06:48 PM »
In my copy of the book, page 372 is in the "Topical Index" section, after the text of the book concludes.
Looking at the table of contents for the Google Books version, the snippet that I quoted is in chapter VII, section 2b, under the subheading "Word and Sacrament."

Footnote 28:

Peter Brunner, Grundlegung des Abendmahlsgesprachs (1954), 28-33, gives some very well-considered theses on the possibility of a renewed colloquy between Lutherans and Reformed on the basis of modern biblical and historical theology in both churches.  He rejects the superficial unionism of former times which did not realize the depth of the issues, and the seriousness of the authority of Holy Scripture.  As a Lutheran theologian in a union church (Brunner is professor at Heidelberg), he leaves open the possibility that Lutherans may admit that in a congregation which follows the Heidelberg Catechsim the body and blood of Christ may be received, because this Catechism teaches a presence of the body and blood, though in the sense of Calvin (according to question 79, 'we partake of His true body and blood through the power of the Holy Ghost as certainly as we receive the holy signs -- i.e., bread and wine -- orally').  However, Brunner, as a clear and sincere thinker, adds in a footnote (p 32) that Luther, had he known the Heidelberg Catechism, would not have agreed with Brunner's view.  The author himself admits that he could not recognize the Sacrament as valid where the Real Presence was completely denied: 'Darin hat Luther doc whole recut geschen, dass Dort wo eine Prasenz des Leibes und Blutes Jesu Christi bestridden word, die Substanz des Sakraments selbst zerstort wird'.  He also agreed with Luther in admitting that such heresy would be worse than the Roamn doctrine on transubstantion.  This means that while the sacrament of the Zwinglian cannot be recognized, it is possible to recognize that of the Calvinists.  This is the view of the Lutherans within union churches, otherwise they could not be members of such churches.  Peter Brunner himself must admit that Luther would not share his view.  The question whether a Lutheran in danger of death could receive th Sacrament from a Reformed minister was denied by Luther and all dogmaticians, as was also the case in the pastoral advice given in th books on casus conscientiae, e.g., Balduin, Tractatus de casabas conscientiae, edition of 1654, 345, where it is made clear that the Lord's Supper must not be received from a minister who is known to be a Calvinist.

-------------------------------

I do not think this footnote says what Rev. Hannah wants it to say.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #73 on: October 25, 2021, 01:20:05 PM »
Peter writes:
These are seminary classroom questions. I think “intent” is another factor.
I comment:
Hogwash. Again, makes the sacrament and its efficacy dependent upon us.

It appears that Charles is now confessing another reformed view that Lutherans reject:  irresistible grace, a theme that Brian continually touts.
Don Kirchner

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Dan Fienen

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Re: Filling Future Pastoral Vacancies
« Reply #74 on: October 25, 2021, 01:23:25 PM »
Peter writes:
These are seminary classroom questions. I think “intent” is another factor.
I comment:
Hogwash. Again, makes the sacrament and its efficacy dependent upon us.

Peter:
Also, there is a key distinction between questions of efficaciousness and questions of authorization or licitness. To take a tragic example from the news, the gun meant to be a prop still works as a gun. It is a matter of who is supposed to be in charge of it. P
Me:
Oh, Peter, your analogies. Can you find another rhetorical device? Let's run with this, though. Presbyterian church pastor recites the Words of Institution and distributes the sacrament. Hovering over him is old-style Presbyterian doctrine saying "It's a memorial, He is in heaven," so the pastor thinks he has a "cold" sacrament in his hands, unloaded with the Real Presence Jesus. But wait, the Holy Spirit is the true "armorer" of this scene and the Real Presence Jesus is there, not to kill or wound, but to give life and forgiveness.
Meanwhile down the street a Lutheran pastor presides (properly, of course), but a Presbyterian mother-in-law of a member is in the fourth pew. She's expecting a "cold" sacrament (He is in heaven, remember, not here). But the armorer, the Holy Spirit, is on the job and the sacrament is loaded. So what happens to the Presbyterian mother-in-law? Bang! the Real Presence Jesus.
Has harm been done, because the Pastor didn't warn "Look out! This is the real thing!"
Was the sacrament less "effective" down the street in the Presbyterian Church because of that "memorial, He's in Heaven" thing?
Was anybody hurt in either place? What "great potential harm" are you seeing, Peter?
You do not like analogies? (Or is it that you only like analogies when you offer them?) This is not an analogy but a quite possible real life situation. A scene is being filmed for a movie or TV show which takes place in a church during a communion service. The actor playing the part of the pastor says the words of institution over the elements as part of the scene. Is that really communion then, since the words were pronounced?


OK, now for an analogy. The scene being acted is a wedding, a scene that has been a part of many movies and TV shows. The actors playing the bride and groom say their vows and the actor pastor pronounces them husband and wife. Are they now married?
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