Author Topic: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans  (Read 4185 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #30 on: October 31, 2021, 02:08:02 AM »
Peter, I think they would reach for passages like the following and argue they are acting in keeping with Scripture (and the Spirit):

Isaiah 42:9; 43:19; 48:6; Acts 10--11.

A conservative Lutheran would say that the work of the Spirit will not contradict the teaching of Scripture. He would point to Sola Scriptura as a hallmark of Reformation theology.


Did God declare many foods unclean in Scriptures? Did God later declare all foods clean in Scriptures?
"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]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2021, 02:31:24 AM »
A missing element in the discussion may be this: Different ideas about the work of the Holy Spirit.

Among conservative Lutherans, the emphasis is on the work of the Spirit in and through God's Word. Other Lutherans, however, will maintain some work of the Spirit unrestricted by God's Word. That opens up the possibility that the Spirit is leading in new ways. This is precisely how some Baptists and Pentecostals arrived at women's ordination. Sort of, "If the Spirit is blessing and moving in that direction, so should we." They then tend to reconcile the changes with potentially restrictive passages in new ways.

As I read statements from Charles/ELCA, I'm seeing something similar with respect to ordaining homosexuals. There is belief that the Spirit is moving the church in this new direction. I'll let Charles decide whether I've stated this with his understanding.

I would invite someone from NALC to comment on how this is or isn't working in their church body, which sees the ELCA as going too far.


One speaker I heard took a still different approach. According to him, it was/is an issue of applying our core doctrine of justification by God's grace to a new situation - life-long same-sex partnerships. What does it mean for us to proclaiming salvation by grace when talking about (or to) a homosexual who has found a life-partner in someone of the same sex?


Another thought from reading Peter's first post.


If our doctrine is true, it's truth should be seen in the lives of real people. A question I have on my biblical study sheet (after I've done all the Greek exegetical stuff and come to an interpretation of the text): "How has the biblical truth been re-enacted in my life or in the life of someone I know?" If a doctrinal truth is not being enacted in the lives of real people, it's just a theory, or, at worst, a lie. Another way I've phrased this (borrowed from a book by an Episcopal laywoman: "The real question is not: "What do you believe?", but "What difference does it make in your life that you believe?" The real issue is not our doctrines, but how they make a difference in people's lives. At least in my opinion, if the doctrines make people more judgmental, more hateful, more sectarian, rather than more loving and Christlike, and supportive of the "least of these," then maybe they need to be re-evaluated.









"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]

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #32 on: October 31, 2021, 06:12:21 AM »
When it comes to the church and homosexuality, women's ordination, etc., it seems almost a classic "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Did the church simply decide to study the issue and then adopt a new practice, or did the culture prompt the study and the church responded? For some the church simply studied the issue and came to the conclusion that the Bible was not opposed to these things.  But was this study prompted by social pressure as certain practices became more and more open and accepted as mainstream in the culture?  It's hard to think that the need to study the issue and change the stance of the church came about in a vacuum.  I believe that some church bodies, like the ELCA, may, indeed believe that their study of the scriptures supports these things. But I also believe that such study came about only after the prevailing culture itself became more accepting of the issues in question and made it necessary to address it and eventually adopt it.  Each change appears to be at least prompted by a cultural shift.


If we go back a generation or two, we didn't allow divorced men to be pastors. We bought a travel trailer from a man who was defrocked by the LCMS when got divorced. A member in an ELCA congregation I had served, opposed them calling a candidate because he had been divorced and remarried. Such views and removal of clergy because of a divorce seldom happens today. When it does, it's usually a case of adultery by the pastor rather than the divorce itself. Did our church bodies change their position because of cultural pressure; or did we find better ways of applying God's grace to sinners? Or, as one speaker theorized, so many pastors had children who had been divorced that they had to find away to make them acceptable to the church.


(I think that the Bible (and certainly Jesus,) is much clearer about divorced people getting married: it is always committing adultery; than it is about the marriage of same-sex couples that is not mentioned at all.)

The prohibition on wrongfully divorced men serving as pastors still applies in the LCMS.
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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #33 on: October 31, 2021, 06:18:21 AM »
Peter, I think they would reach for passages like the following and argue they are acting in keeping with Scripture (and the Spirit):

Isaiah 42:9; 43:19; 48:6; Acts 10--11.

A conservative Lutheran would say that the work of the Spirit will not contradict the teaching of Scripture. He would point to Sola Scriptura as a hallmark of Reformation theology.


Did God declare many foods unclean in Scriptures? Did God later declare all foods clean in Scriptures?

The Mosaic covenant, which includes the food restrictions, was always temporary. It was intended to form Israel as a nation. It was set aside when Christ came and offered the perfect redeeming sacrifice. (We've plowed this ground before. No sense repeating.)

In contrast, the New Testament affirms the moral law. So there is really no point of comparison between God doing something temporarily and doing something completely new.
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #34 on: October 31, 2021, 08:28:23 AM »
Furthermore, “in Scripture” shows that this is an entirely different topic. If nowhere in Scripture did God ever say anything about the OT strictures being fulfilled and therefore no longer applicable, we wouldn’t base our practice on immediate revelation on the assumption that our corporate intuition and judgment was the work of the Holy Spirit overturning what God had revealed.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #35 on: October 31, 2021, 11:04:36 AM »
When it comes to the church and homosexuality, women's ordination, etc., it seems almost a classic "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Did the church simply decide to study the issue and then adopt a new practice, or did the culture prompt the study and the church responded? For some the church simply studied the issue and came to the conclusion that the Bible was not opposed to these things.  But was this study prompted by social pressure as certain practices became more and more open and accepted as mainstream in the culture?  It's hard to think that the need to study the issue and change the stance of the church came about in a vacuum.  I believe that some church bodies, like the ELCA, may, indeed believe that their study of the scriptures supports these things. But I also believe that such study came about only after the prevailing culture itself became more accepting of the issues in question and made it necessary to address it and eventually adopt it.  Each change appears to be at least prompted by a cultural shift.


If we go back a generation or two, we didn't allow divorced men to be pastors. We bought a travel trailer from a man who was defrocked by the LCMS when got divorced. A member in an ELCA congregation I had served, opposed them calling a candidate because he had been divorced and remarried. Such views and removal of clergy because of a divorce seldom happens today. When it does, it's usually a case of adultery by the pastor rather than the divorce itself. Did our church bodies change their position because of cultural pressure; or did we find better ways of applying God's grace to sinners? Or, as one speaker theorized, so many pastors had children who had been divorced that they had to find away to make them acceptable to the church.


(I think that the Bible (and certainly Jesus,) is much clearer about divorced people getting married: it is always committing adultery; than it is about the marriage of same-sex couples that is not mentioned at all.)

The prohibition on wrongfully divorced men serving as pastors still applies in the LCMS.


What's a wrongful divorce? Or, from another angle, what's a rightful divorce (if there is one)?
"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]

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #36 on: October 31, 2021, 11:38:24 AM »
When it comes to the church and homosexuality, women's ordination, etc., it seems almost a classic "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Did the church simply decide to study the issue and then adopt a new practice, or did the culture prompt the study and the church responded? For some the church simply studied the issue and came to the conclusion that the Bible was not opposed to these things.  But was this study prompted by social pressure as certain practices became more and more open and accepted as mainstream in the culture?  It's hard to think that the need to study the issue and change the stance of the church came about in a vacuum.  I believe that some church bodies, like the ELCA, may, indeed believe that their study of the scriptures supports these things. But I also believe that such study came about only after the prevailing culture itself became more accepting of the issues in question and made it necessary to address it and eventually adopt it.  Each change appears to be at least prompted by a cultural shift.


If we go back a generation or two, we didn't allow divorced men to be pastors. We bought a travel trailer from a man who was defrocked by the LCMS when got divorced. A member in an ELCA congregation I had served, opposed them calling a candidate because he had been divorced and remarried. Such views and removal of clergy because of a divorce seldom happens today. When it does, it's usually a case of adultery by the pastor rather than the divorce itself. Did our church bodies change their position because of cultural pressure; or did we find better ways of applying God's grace to sinners? Or, as one speaker theorized, so many pastors had children who had been divorced that they had to find away to make them acceptable to the church.


(I think that the Bible (and certainly Jesus,) is much clearer about divorced people getting married: it is always committing adultery; than it is about the marriage of same-sex couples that is not mentioned at all.)

The prohibition on wrongfully divorced men serving as pastors still applies in the LCMS.


What's a wrongful divorce? Or, from another angle, what's a rightful divorce (if there is one)?

I am sure he means Scriptural.  For adultery or desertion.  But, I am also sure, you already knew that and were just trying to divert things.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #37 on: October 31, 2021, 12:52:32 PM »
Peter, I think they would reach for passages like the following and argue they are acting in keeping with Scripture (and the Spirit):

Isaiah 42:9; 43:19; 48:6; Acts 10--11.

A conservative Lutheran would say that the work of the Spirit will not contradict the teaching of Scripture. He would point to Sola Scriptura as a hallmark of Reformation theology.


Did God declare many foods unclean in Scriptures? Did God later declare all foods clean in Scriptures?

The Mosaic covenant, which includes the food restrictions, was always temporary. It was intended to form Israel as a nation. It was set aside when Christ came and offered the perfect redeeming sacrifice. (We've plowed this ground before. No sense repeating.)


What evidence do you have that the Mosaic covenant was temporary? As I read Jeremiah 31, the new covenant did not set aside the old covenant. What was new was that it would be written on people's hearts rather than on the tablets of stone.


Quote
In contrast, the New Testament affirms the moral law. So there is really no point of comparison between God doing something temporarily and doing something completely new.


I went searching for the word "moral" in the New Testament. It occurs once in the ESV (1 Cor 15:33). The Greek word is ἦθος, and Paul is quoting from a play by Menander who died 292 BC. That's the only instance of that word in the NT. It occurs in the LXX only in Sirach and 4 Maccabees. (It is not translated "morals" in those books.) It is related to ἐθίζω and ἔθος and related words which refer to "habits" or "customs," which is how they are usually translated.


So, I'm wondering what you mean by the "moral law." (I've commented before that "moral law" as distinct from other Torah commands is not something that I find that the Bible makes.)
"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]

Terry W Culler

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #38 on: October 31, 2021, 12:53:45 PM »
The AFLC does not allow divorced pastors on our clergy roster.  There are a few on other Lutheran rosters serving AFLC churches.  The "husband of one wife" text has been understood in various ways in different Christian traditions.  While I don't believe any divorce is solely the fault of one person, I personally have advocated looking at circumstances in a more nuanced way when determining whether or not to allow a divorced person on our roster.  So far I am well in the minority.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #39 on: October 31, 2021, 12:58:24 PM »
When it comes to the church and homosexuality, women's ordination, etc., it seems almost a classic "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Did the church simply decide to study the issue and then adopt a new practice, or did the culture prompt the study and the church responded? For some the church simply studied the issue and came to the conclusion that the Bible was not opposed to these things.  But was this study prompted by social pressure as certain practices became more and more open and accepted as mainstream in the culture?  It's hard to think that the need to study the issue and change the stance of the church came about in a vacuum.  I believe that some church bodies, like the ELCA, may, indeed believe that their study of the scriptures supports these things. But I also believe that such study came about only after the prevailing culture itself became more accepting of the issues in question and made it necessary to address it and eventually adopt it.  Each change appears to be at least prompted by a cultural shift.


If we go back a generation or two, we didn't allow divorced men to be pastors. We bought a travel trailer from a man who was defrocked by the LCMS when got divorced. A member in an ELCA congregation I had served, opposed them calling a candidate because he had been divorced and remarried. Such views and removal of clergy because of a divorce seldom happens today. When it does, it's usually a case of adultery by the pastor rather than the divorce itself. Did our church bodies change their position because of cultural pressure; or did we find better ways of applying God's grace to sinners? Or, as one speaker theorized, so many pastors had children who had been divorced that they had to find away to make them acceptable to the church.


(I think that the Bible (and certainly Jesus,) is much clearer about divorced people getting married: it is always committing adultery; than it is about the marriage of same-sex couples that is not mentioned at all.)

The prohibition on wrongfully divorced men serving as pastors still applies in the LCMS.


What's a wrongful divorce? Or, from another angle, what's a rightful divorce (if there is one)?

I am sure he means Scriptural.  For adultery or desertion.  But, I am also sure, you already knew that and were just trying to divert things.


I mentioned adultery in my post as a reason clergy nowadays may be defrocked; not just for getting a divorce.


So, in the LCMS, if a pastor's wife is unfaithful and asks for and gets a divorce, does that remove the divorced pastor from the clergy roster? Or, one you didn't mention, if the wife decides she's an unbeliever and asks for an gets a divorce, also a legal divorce according to Paul, does that remove the divorced pastor from the roster.


From what I'm hearing, a divorce simply because of "irreconcilable difference," without any extra-marital sexual relationships, would cause a pastor to be removed because of a "wrongful divorce."
"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]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #40 on: October 31, 2021, 01:01:20 PM »
The AFLC does not allow divorced pastors on our clergy roster.  There are a few on other Lutheran rosters serving AFLC churches.  The "husband of one wife" text has been understood in various ways in different Christian traditions.  While I don't believe any divorce is solely the fault of one person, I personally have advocated looking at circumstances in a more nuanced way when determining whether or not to allow a divorced person on our roster.  So far I am well in the minority.


As I read Jesus' words (as well as Paul's,) divorces are not the issue. It's getting married again after the divorce that becomes "committing adultery." We believe that God's grace covers even the sins of broken marriages and remarriages.
"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]

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #41 on: October 31, 2021, 01:19:18 PM »
The AFLC does not allow divorced pastors on our clergy roster.  There are a few on other Lutheran rosters serving AFLC churches.  The "husband of one wife" text has been understood in various ways in different Christian traditions.  While I don't believe any divorce is solely the fault of one person, I personally have advocated looking at circumstances in a more nuanced way when determining whether or not to allow a divorced person on our roster.  So far I am well in the minority.


As I read Jesus' words (as well as Paul's,) divorces are not the issue. It's getting married again after the divorce that becomes "committing adultery." We believe that God's grace covers even the sins of broken marriages and remarriages.
God’s grace and forgiveness is not at issue on questions of suitability for the pastoral office. It isn’t even necessarily a matter of fault, either. Part of the office is modeling the Christian life. That doesn’t mean being sinless, but it does mean that people in general would do well to emulate you. A divorce can hinder that aspect of the office, just as a bankruptcy, wild children, and a host of other things that may or may not be the pastor’s fault. A lot of things that aren’t your fault might make it problematic for you to be a pastor.

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #42 on: October 31, 2021, 03:37:16 PM »
The AFLC does not allow divorced pastors on our clergy roster.  There are a few on other Lutheran rosters serving AFLC churches.  The "husband of one wife" text has been understood in various ways in different Christian traditions.  While I don't believe any divorce is solely the fault of one person, I personally have advocated looking at circumstances in a more nuanced way when determining whether or not to allow a divorced person on our roster.  So far I am well in the minority.


As I read Jesus' words (as well as Paul's,) divorces are not the issue. It's getting married again after the divorce that becomes "committing adultery." We believe that God's grace covers even the sins of broken marriages and remarriages.
God’s grace and forgiveness is not at issue on questions of suitability for the pastoral office. It isn’t even necessarily a matter of fault, either. Part of the office is modeling the Christian life. That doesn’t mean being sinless, but it does mean that people in general would do well to emulate you. A divorce can hinder that aspect of the office, just as a bankruptcy, wild children, and a host of other things that may or may not be the pastor’s fault. A lot of things that aren’t your fault might make it problematic for you to be a pastor.


It doesn't happen often, but I agree with you. There are situations that can make one unsuitable for the pastoral office. Three of my seminary classmates were not certified for ordination after their four years of seminary. The ELCA tries harder to weed out the unsuitable candidates during the first years rather than at the end.
"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]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #43 on: October 31, 2021, 03:45:50 PM »
A number of years ago the LCMS had a one-page sheet that compared the LCMS with the ALC. (I haven't been able to find the copy I had.) In general, I summarized it as saying that the ALC and now the ELCA has a broader perspective on all the topics they discussed. We have a wider range of folks whom we will ordain: women, homosexuals with partners. (Will the LCMS ordain homosexuals who refrain sexual relationships?) We have a broader range of critical tools for biblical interpretation. We take a broader understanding of the Confessions and ecumenical relationships. We have a broader acceptance of members of lodges. We have a more inclusive invitation to the Sacrament of the altar: all the baptized.


I suspect that the variances of beliefs among LCMS members is much narrower than the variances of beliefs among ELCA members.


When I've explained this to folks, I use the gesture of my two hands being fairly close together to indicate a narrow distance apart within the LCMS on nearly every topic; and then spread them further apart for the wider range that's in the ELCA.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #44 on: October 31, 2021, 03:48:31 PM »
A group I know less about is LCMC. How are the different from the other Lutheran denominations?
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