Author Topic: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans  (Read 4180 times)

John_Hannah

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #60 on: November 01, 2021, 09:03:33 AM »
This summary of the difference between the two major Lutheran church bodies in America is from Jaroslav Pelikan: "the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod became Baptist, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America became Methodist".

A lot of truth in that.

And Pelikan became Orthodox.

I don't think his statement about the LCMS makes sense at all. I'm familiar with the Baptist tradition and the points of departure are many more than the points of full agreement. More than likely Pelikan intended to imply that the LCMS was becoming fundamentalist. But that also doesn't work since sociologists use fundamentalist to describe conservatism in a wide variety of religions and not just Christianity. Pelikan was uncomfortable with the conservative trend in the LCMS. With greater candor, he might have said the latter.

EDWARD,

You may be correct technically. However, as the more rigorrist Missourians sought in the 1960's to distinguish us from the ALC (then being considered for full communion with Missouri) and the LCA, Baptist like shibboleths and slogans dominated the debate. Inerrancy of historical and scientific items as well as closed communion are two examples. That party won the day. Once more our Missouri polity is more like Baptist than any other classic type in America.    ;D

Peace, JOHN
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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #61 on: November 01, 2021, 09:28:40 AM »
David and John, I see your point but it's at best a tongue-in-cheek comparison. Contemporary services have never dominated in the LCMS; Baptists would not recognize our blended services as there own since they are still too liturgical. Most LCMS churches still have use of the western liturgy. Inerrancy was firmly a Lutheran orthodoxy teaching entirely independent of the Baptist tradition. I can see culturally why Pelikan said what he did at the time but it's not an accurate thing to say but at best a rhetorical thing to say.
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #62 on: November 01, 2021, 09:36:54 AM »
So what did the Lutherans do who became neither Baptist, nor Methodist, nor Catholic, nor Orthodox?

Richard Johnson

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #63 on: November 01, 2021, 09:50:55 AM »
David and John, I see your point but it's at best a tongue-in-cheek comparison. Contemporary services have never dominated in the LCMS; Baptists would not recognize our blended services as there own since they are still too liturgical. Most LCMS churches still have use of the western liturgy. Inerrancy was firmly a Lutheran orthodoxy teaching entirely independent of the Baptist tradition. I can see culturally why Pelikan said what he did at the time but it's not an accurate thing to say but at best a rhetorical thing to say.

Well of course it is tongue-in-cheek! The ELCA didn't become "Methodist" in any technical sense; he was referring, I suspect, in both cases, to the loosening of liturgical norms; and in the case of the ELCA, to the increasing social activism.
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John_Hannah

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #64 on: November 01, 2021, 10:34:52 AM »
David and John, I see your point but it's at best a tongue-in-cheek comparison. Contemporary services have never dominated in the LCMS; Baptists would not recognize our blended services as there own since they are still too liturgical. Most LCMS churches still have use of the western liturgy. Inerrancy was firmly a Lutheran orthodoxy teaching entirely independent of the Baptist tradition. I can see culturally why Pelikan said what he did at the time but it's not an accurate thing to say but at best a rhetorical thing to say.

Well of course it is tongue-in-cheek! The ELCA didn't become "Methodist" in any technical sense; he was referring, I suspect, in both cases, to the loosening of liturgical norms; and in the case of the ELCA, to the increasing social activism.

I had heard this legend about Pelikan many years ago. As I heard it, his father was said to have told his son, "after the . . . . you know what to do. Namely go Orthodox. They were Slovak Americans. In any event I began hearing the story before the kerfuffle of SEMINEX, etc.
 
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Dave Benke

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #65 on: November 01, 2021, 11:03:48 AM »
David and John, I see your point but it's at best a tongue-in-cheek comparison. Contemporary services have never dominated in the LCMS; Baptists would not recognize our blended services as there own since they are still too liturgical. Most LCMS churches still have use of the western liturgy. Inerrancy was firmly a Lutheran orthodoxy teaching entirely independent of the Baptist tradition. I can see culturally why Pelikan said what he did at the time but it's not an accurate thing to say but at best a rhetorical thing to say.

We have another thread speaking about the halving of small church attendance toward tiny across the Protestant spectrum with an emphasis on small town/rural.  The LCMS and old ALC are majority small town/rural groupings among Lutherans.  Most likely the WELS/ELS and LCMC fall into that category as well.  Those were SBH page X and TLH page 5/15 congregations.  The larger suburban congregations morphed at some point along the timeline toward - my opinion - more blended formats including something semi-traditional and then more Word/song contemporary. 

So you're right that the majority of congregations have stuck with a liturgical framework and the hymns from whichever book they're using.  However, the kicker is that the majority, and that majority is growing greater, of the people in worship on any given Sunday are in those blended/contemporary congregations.  Does that feel somehow then more Baptist to worshipers?  I don't know; but to someone committed to liturgical worship, the answer might be Yes.

As an aside, something we have done locally through the pandemic has caused me to reflect on our sacramental piety.  Prior the congregant came forward, could receive a blessing only, or a blessing with the Meal.  So it was less Meal optional than blessing optional.  Most received the Meal and returned to their seats.  Now, the folks come forward in family groups to receive the pre-packaged Eucharist and all receive a blessing along with the Meal, with only several adults who aren't catechized just taking a blessing.  So it's no longer blessing optional.  The response to the personal blessing/prayer has been overwhelming, positive, and created a more prayerful culture in the congregation.  Personally, somehow that feels more "Protestant" to me in the altar call way of thinking. And yet it's not, and in fact strengthens the reception of the Eucharist.  I can see this remaining after a return to some kind of normalcy, not a pro tem thing.  Of course, we have more time for all of this with three times the amount of services and less people at each one.

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Dan Fienen

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #66 on: November 01, 2021, 11:09:16 AM »

To Pastor Fienen:
Nice job. Rest assured that I fully understand how you can be “respectful“ to women or partnered gay pastors without getting anything icky on your hands or your virtue. For that is how I read your long comment, that is, protecting you rather than being respectful of “them.”



Been trying to figure out what is so upsetting to you about my response to the question about being able to sit next to and respect the ministries and marriages of women and partnered gay pastors. No, it is not a matter of them being "icky" nor do I think them to have "cooties" that by dealing with them are a danger of rubbing off on me. You show your disrespect for me and your lack of understanding of me and the positions that I espouse by suggesting that my objection is a matter of considering them to be icky and a danger of their ickiness rubbing off on me.


After careful and prayerful Bible study, consideration of what the church has taught through the ages, and consultation with my peers, I have concluded that women's ordination to the pastoral ministry, same sex sexual relations, and thus the ordination of partnered gay or lesbian persons to the pastoral ministry is not in accord with God's will. I have also concluded that God's intent for marriage is that it be between a male and a female, although I recognize that people through the ages have distorted that intent in various ways. I know that you and many others after careful and prayerful Bible study and consideration have concluded otherwise.


We disagree. It really doesn't have anything to do with ickiness, although I suppose if it makes you feel more comfortable and confident of your conclusions to denigrate my beliefs by assuming that they are not the result of carful and prayer study but an internal, irrational, revulsion, I can understand your insistence that I must not have really thought this through or listened to the Holy Spirit. How could I rationally disagree with you and your colleagues? There is cognitive dissonance here. So some of my colleagues insist that you arrived at your position not by listening to the Bible but by listening to the culture that insists on the positions you hold. (Which is itself a misjudgment of your position and how you arrived at it.) And you insist that I must  have arrived at my position out of fear, or an irrational revulsion at these people's ickiness. Neither estimation is respectful of the other side.


We live in a pluralistic society. That means that not only are we not racially, ethnically, or culturally homogenous, but that we hold disparate beliefs. There are many different religions being practiced in the United States, and of course the nones, and even within faith traditions there are varieties of beliefs, some mutually incompatible. What that means, among other things, is that we must find ways to coexist cooperatively with people with whom we disagree and consider to be simply wrong about some of the things that they believe, say, and do.


There are a number of ways that people have tried to do this. The way that I strive to coexist I described in my post that you dismissed as not "getting anything icky on {my} hands or {my} virtue." So you "read {my} long comment, that is, protecting {me} rather than being respectful of 'them.' " Thus you dismiss my position as irrational and not worthy of serious consideration, a mere defense mechanism. Although you do not say this explicitly, it sounds to me that lurking in you response is the assumption that to be truly respectful of women pastors and partnered gay pastors I must come to agree that their positions are correct and my position is wrong.


This perhaps helps explain why you and so many of your colleagues find this ALPB Forum an uncongenial space. To be truly respected and welcomed here, you would need to be acknowledged as correct and those who have opposed you to be wrong. Sure it may take time for them to recognize the error of their ways and they can be tolerated while they come around, so long as they don't make too much noise or bother, but in the end if they truly respect you, they will agree with you.


One of the foundational principles of the American experiment is the protection of the rights of minorities. And yes, I know that America has sometimes (often) done a dismal job of living up to that principle. I respect the right of people to conclude that women pastors, same sex marriage, and partnered gay pastors are in accord with God's will and to organize their churches to include these beliefs. They may be fellow Lutherans. And in our pluralistic society we need to be able to work together and coexist in those areas where we can without either of us compromising our beliefs. I also claim the right to gather with people who believe as I do in these matters and organize our churches accordingly. And I claim the same respect for me and my beliefs that I am called upon to extend to others who believe differently. I will extend civility and mutual professional courtesy to those who have been called within their religious bodies and in accordance to their beliefs to positions similar to mine.


What I will not do, Charles, is to operate under the assumption that you are right and I am wrong and that inevitably, eventually, I will come to understand that.


Sorry about the long answer, but you made what I consider a major misunderstanding of my position as well as denigration of my beliefs. To just engage in a "do not" "do too" exchange just didn't seem to cut it.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2021, 11:18:56 AM by Dan Fienen »
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DCharlton

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #67 on: November 01, 2021, 11:17:31 AM »
Pastor Charlton says  his ELCA:
- considers "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" to be an optional metaphor
- considers the Gospel to be synonymous with Social Justice
- considers sex outside of marriage to be acceptable for ordained ministers
- believes that Christ is one among many saviors

I comment:
-No. Our ELCA says God is “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”. And however we refer to God, that Holy Trinity is the God to whom we refer, no one else.
-Care for our neighbor, individually and collectively, and for justice for our neighbors  is a clear, un-disputed biblical mandate. It must exist with the proclamation of the Gospel. Only the weirdest “faith-is-me-and-my-God” heretic would argue with that.
-No. Full sexual intimacy belongs within a committed, public, life-long relationship.
-Show us where, in our statements of faith, our liturgical publications, our hymnals, the words of our key leaders, we say Christ is “one among many saviors”. If I thought the ELCA taught that, I would resign from it immediately. (There may be other saviors out there, but Jesus is the only one revealed to us as Christians and the only one we follow. We call everyone to Jesus, not to anyone else.)

You are describing an ELCA that once existed.  Time has passed you by. 
- The notion that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a metaphor, but not God's name, has prevailed.  (See the installation of Bishop Rohrer.)
- The distinction between Law and Gospel, which would recognize the importance of preaching justice as Law, while still distinguishing it from the Gospel, strictly speaking, has been lost.  (See just about any pronouncement on justice that comes from the ELCA.)
- Being in a committed, public, life-long relationship is no longer the standard.  (See the installation of Nadia Bolz-Weber as public theologian.)
- It is no longer clear where the ELCA stands in regard to religious pluralism, and the necessity of Christ for salvation.  (See CWA 2019)

This is how the ELCA works.  First, the proponents of change establish facts on the ground, then they may or may not bother to change our governing documents to reflect those changes.  An appeal to what is in the ELCA constitution doesn't change facts on the ground. 

Whatever the ELCA constitution may say, students at ELCA seminaries have been taught that Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a replaceable metaphor for over 30 years.  The idea that social justice is the true Gospel, and that the distinction between Law and Gospel is the opiate of the masses, has likewise been taught for over 30 years.  ELCA bishops ordained people in same-sex relationship long before it was permitted.  And universalism has been alive and well in the ELCA from the beginning.  (And I'm not talking about Christocentric universalism.)

Yes, it is true that prominent theologians and professors, including Robert Jenson and Carl Braaten, resisted these trends.  Walter Bouman, at my seminary, did the same.  (Bouman may have supported ordaining pastors in committed, lifelong, same-sex relationships.)  They lost the battle. 

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #68 on: November 01, 2021, 11:24:48 AM »
PS - My only doubt is in regard to universalism.  I am certain that the vast majority of ELCA pastors are universalists.  Whether they are Christocentric universalists, believing that all will be save propter Christum, or simply universalists, believing that all religions save, is unclear to me.  My guess is that the younger generation of ELCA pastors have been taught that even Christocentric universalism is a form of colonialism, bordering on white-supremacy.
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Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Dave Benke

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #69 on: November 01, 2021, 12:34:16 PM »
PS - My only doubt is in regard to universalism.  I am certain that the vast majority of ELCA pastors are universalists.  Whether they are Christocentric universalists, believing that all will be save propter Christum, or simply universalists, believing that all religions save, is unclear to me.  My guess is that the younger generation of ELCA pastors have been taught that even Christocentric universalism is a form of colonialism, bordering on white-supremacy.

Is this the way it's taught at the various seminaries, and are there course offering curriculae that are able to be looked at, or are the younger/new pastors bringing that with them to their training? 

Secondly, from your other post, is there a remnant left of any size nationwide or regionally which is sort of undercover but desirous of support?  Maybe longer term clergy and congregations that didn't leave for the NALC?

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Dan Fienen

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #70 on: November 01, 2021, 12:47:42 PM »
Pastor Preus:
…so today the ELCA embraces women's ordination and the GLBTQ agenda in obedience to the demands of the religious culture of our day.

Me:
Can you possibly, just possibly abandon the canard that what we do in the ELCA is “in obedience to the demands of the culture”?
Go ahead. Say we misuse scripture. Say we misunderstand scripture, but stop saying we do what we do in response to some cultural demands.

To Pastor Fienen:
Nice job. Rest assured that I fully understand how you can be “respectful“ to women or partnered gay pastors without getting anything icky on your hands or your virtue. For that is how I read your long comment, that is, protecting you rather than being respectful of “them.”

Or more succinctly, I find Charles' post as disrespectful and offensive as he finds posts that suggest that "the ELCA embraces women's ordination and the GLBTQ agenda in obedience to the demands of the religious culture of our day."
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #71 on: November 01, 2021, 01:03:06 PM »
So you're right that the majority of congregations have stuck with a liturgical framework and the hymns from whichever book they're using.  However, the kicker is that the majority, and that majority is growing greater, of the people in worship on any given Sunday are in those blended/contemporary congregations.  Does that feel somehow then more Baptist to worshipers?  I don't know; but to someone committed to liturgical worship, the answer might be Yes.


I see two (or three) types of contemporary music in churches. Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) is one type. It's often heard on Christian radio stations. Maranatha Music is a key publisher. Perhaps before them was Singspiration. It is somewhat designed for performance groups. A second type I have called "contemporary liturgical music." It mostly comes out of Roman Catholic publishers. Today: Gregorian Institute in America (GIA) and Oregon Catholic Press (OCP) are primary publishers. In prior decades there was also North American Liturgical Resource (NALR) and Friends of the English Liturgy (FEL). Marty Haugen is a key representative of this type of composer. They write for liturgical worship and congregational singing. Perhaps included in this group might also be Taize music. It's created for congregational singing within a worship setting, although not necessarily the traditional Western liturgies.


A possible third group might be the newer music that Augsburg and Concordia publish which often sounds a lot like the traditional music. It's often written to be accompanied by an organ.


In a magazine article I wrote years ago, I stated that for the common person in the pew, the primary difference between contemporary worship and traditional worship is the instrumentation. Traditional worship uses an organ. Contemporary worship uses other instruments; usually, piano, guitars, sometimes drums, flute, etc. Blended worship uses organ sometimes and other instruments other times.
"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]

Dan Fienen

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #72 on: November 01, 2021, 01:08:09 PM »
One problem that I have long had with doing Contemporary Worship is with gathering the musical resources. To do it well, one needs several musicians for the various instruments, a guitar or two, flute, drums, etc. These must already be in the congregation and willing to volunteer or hired. The congregations that I've served simply have not had the resources.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #73 on: November 01, 2021, 01:54:40 PM »
One problem that I have long had with doing Contemporary Worship is with gathering the musical resources. To do it well, one needs several musicians for the various instruments, a guitar or two, flute, drums, etc. These must already be in the congregation and willing to volunteer or hired. The congregations that I've served simply have not had the resources.


I think that part of the reason the (pipe) organ became a key instrument for worship was because it is a type of "one-man band." Different pipes were created to mimic the sounds of instruments in the orchestra.


Another reason was that if the pumper pumped hard enough on the billows, it was an instrument that could fill up a large space with sound.


Perhaps contrary to all expectations, Nadia BW grew her congregation without any musicians. They sang a cappella.


It happened one Sunday on internship that the organist for our early service couldn't come. I offered to read my parts and the congregation could read theirs (this was from the SBH,) but a member thought we should sing it. I said that I would sing mine and he could lead the congregation in singing theirs. He did. People commented on how different it seemed to be doing it that way. (I remember one saying, "That was interesting. We should do it again … but not more than once a year.) (It may be that back in 1974-5 when I was on internship, the folks in the pews may have been more musically minded and more accustomed to singing than folks today.)
"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]

Dan Fienen

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #74 on: November 01, 2021, 02:31:25 PM »
One problem that I have long had with doing Contemporary Worship is with gathering the musical resources. To do it well, one needs several musicians for the various instruments, a guitar or two, flute, drums, etc. These must already be in the congregation and willing to volunteer or hired. The congregations that I've served simply have not had the resources.


I think that part of the reason the (pipe) organ became a key instrument for worship was because it is a type of "one-man band." Different pipes were created to mimic the sounds of instruments in the orchestra.


Another reason was that if the pumper pumped hard enough on the billows, it was an instrument that could fill up a large space with sound.


Perhaps contrary to all expectations, Nadia BW grew her congregation without any musicians. They sang a cappella.


It happened one Sunday on internship that the organist for our early service couldn't come. I offered to read my parts and the congregation could read theirs (this was from the SBH,) but a member thought we should sing it. I said that I would sing mine and he could lead the congregation in singing theirs. He did. People commented on how different it seemed to be doing it that way. (I remember one saying, "That was interesting. We should do it again … but not more than once a year.) (It may be that back in 1974-5 when I was on internship, the folks in the pews may have been more musically minded and more accustomed to singing than folks today.)
Singing a cappella works if the music is already familiar to the congregation or they can read music and have had enough training to sing a cappella. That training is, I fear, greatly lacking in most people, especially younger ones. My impression is that public education has not had as much an emphasis on music for everybody as previously.


Much of contemporary worship music is not so familiar to the average congregation that they would already know most of the music, and the few times that I've worshiped with contemporary worship, only the words and not the music was supplied to the congregation. (One reason that I usually find contemporary worship unsatisfying as worship. I have a hard time participating and find treating it as a concert to be observed lacking as worship.)
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