Author Topic: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans  (Read 6148 times)

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« on: October 30, 2021, 12:37:04 PM »
On a different thread there was a discussion forming about ELCA and LCMS differences. Here is a list Charles provided:

LCMS has no women's ordination
-Closed communion
-no ordaining of partnered homosexuals
-young earth creationism
-heresy hunting

Here is a list Peter provided regarding concerns with the ELCA:

Support for abortion
-following culture rather than Scripture
-approving and celebrating adulterous and sinful relationships

Perhaps folks from other Lutheran denominations would like to voice their concerns about one or more groups. I recommend everyone stay calm and voice their concerns constructively. It should be a helpful learning experience.
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D. Engebretson

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2021, 01:31:29 PM »
According to the LCMS's official online site, these are the main differences between the LCMS and ELCA:
https://www.lcms.org/about/beliefs/faqs/denominations#elca-differences
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

peter_speckhard

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2021, 02:10:19 PM »
According to the LCMS's official online site, these are the main differences between the LCMS and ELCA:
https://www.lcms.org/about/beliefs/faqs/denominations#elca-differences
That was 1998, one decade after the formation of the ELCA. In the time since, the two bodies have done nothing but drift further and further apart. The LCMS has not changed except perhaps for some organizational changes. What we taught then is what we still teach. That isn’t even sort of true about the ELCA.

For most of the 19th and 20th Centuries it was not wholly unreasonable to hope for and work toward genuine Lutheran unity in America. The alpb has always tried to facilitate that despite much controversy. But the state of things now is far more fundamental. There is no particular reason apart from nomenclature for the LCMS and ELCA to seek unity with each other in particular, beyond the normal striving for unity common to all Christian churches. There is a time for discussion and a time for decisions. Endlessly calling for further dialog is simply a refusal to recognize a time for decision.

 Before the 09CWA I wrote in FL about reading the new sexuality document and feeling like a stranger in a strange land wading through the foreign assumptions, categories of thought, and language that seemed far more inspired by academia than anything Biblical or ecclesial. The last dozen years have accelerated things. At the time, I was friends with Clint Schneckloth of the ELCA, and he contacted me with appreciation for the article and agreed with some of my criticisms. He was clearly in favor of the changes in general, but thought it the wrong document at the wrong time. Twelve years later, my views haven’t changed a whit. His, I’m going to presume, have. If the same document were up for a vote again, I would have the same concerns now as I had then. He would consider even thinking about revisiting the issue with an open mind to be a reactionary betrayal of the church’s commitment to progressive values. What was an issue whose time might not have come just yet in 09 is now old and taken for granted. On to other issues. Notably, the ELCA just added the B and T to LGBTQ as taken for granted without needing more discussion and votes. They aren’t going to turn around. They aren’t going to backtrack. The only point of discussion is hoping that we’ll try to catch up.

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2021, 02:12:07 PM »
According to the LCMS's official online site, these are the main differences between the LCMS and ELCA:
https://www.lcms.org/about/beliefs/faqs/denominations#elca-differences

Thank you, Don. That is helpful. Perhaps the ELCA has a similar summary.
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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2021, 03:03:01 PM »
I just read a remarkable quote from Luther, which is salient here.

Quote
One becomes a theologian by living, by dying, and in fact, by being damned. (Translated by Mattox from WA 51:113.28--9.)

Perhaps we are sharpening one another as we clash.
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2021, 03:33:17 PM »
A big concern I have is a mode of argumentation or discussion that can’t distinguish between the personal/pastoral application and the doctrinal truth.

A great movie that features the workings of a Lutheran Church is Lars and the Real Girl. In it, a psychologically disturbed man has a make believe girlfriend, and his family and church family play along with his delusions because they care about him. It is funny and heartwarming. But when you’re talking about doctrine or secular law you can’t go by such personal/relational decision-making. Much as the town might go along with it, it would be flagrant injustice for the make believe girlfriend to vote, collect insurance or unemployment benefits, or do anything that required the citizenry to act as though she is real. They might do so because they live Lars, but that is their choice. The church can’t declare she is real, and the government can’t make her real or treat her as real. Officially teaching that a make believe thing is reality is false and dangerous. Playing along in any given instance may or may not be be the kind thing to do. So when we’re discussing a Biblical teaching or secular law, it is mere obfuscation to bring in personal stories in order to imply that claiming x is true is an act of hatred against a very nice person. This is one of the subtle tricks that (deliberately, by design) makes rapprochement between the differing church bodies impossible. We will be looking at Bible verses and church history. They will be looking at Mayor Pete and Chasten.

This happened to me the very first day of the Pastor-Theologian program I began in 2004. Before the participants had even all been introduced, while we were in line for drinks before the opening dinner, everyone was talking about gay marriage. This was years before most churches had formally accepted it, but these were progressives, and it became clear to me a)that the man in front of me in line was head and founder of the entire program, and b) every single person there approved gay marriage. When someone in line rhetorically asked how anyone could oppose it, I responded that I didn’t think it was Biblical or right. The head of the program turned around and said, “I married my son to his his husband last summer. Are you saying they’re not married?” It was not an argument for gay marriage, it was a “how dare you” response to an assertion. That has been the progressive m.o. all along. Make it personal. Make it not about truth and falsehood but about hatred and inclusiveness. It is an entirely bogus way to have a legitimate debate, but the personal is guaranteed to win out. They’ll make a pariah out of anyone who disagrees by calling that person a hatemonger or homophobe, then complain that the person they’ve cast out is being exclusive rather than inclusive.

If we were having a legitimate debate about sexuality issues, the progressive side would accuse me of homophobia or hatred. There are people who would come to my defense and tell my accuser to apologize for the false slander or be excused from the discussion. But only a handful of them are in this forum. Others might privately back me up but would be too mealy-mouthed in public to actually call out the accuser in any meaningful way.

And the thing is, there are such things as deal-breakers and lines in the sand. Endless discussion doesn’t change that. For many in the ELCA, even having the discussion would be a deal-breaker. They’d take it as putting their humanity and love up to a vote. Some point is the breaking point, beyond which discussion become pointless, then comic, then obscene, then just sad.

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2021, 04:15:55 PM »
Peter:
The only point of discussion is hoping that we’ll try to catch up.
Me:
So you feel you are behind? Well, I guess that’s something.
We have been Lutherans together even though we disagree on ordination for women.
Why can’t we be Lutheran’s together, even if we disagree about gay marriage?
LCMS pastors in the modest forum that said they can sit alongside our women pastors and treat them respectfully.
So are you unable to sit alongside a married gay pastor and treat them respectfully,  Recognizing in some way their marriage and ministry?
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired in Minneapolis. My only Thanksgiving cooking chore: providing fresh ground, fair trade, bird friendly coffee.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2021, 04:26:18 PM »
A couple of areas that are challenging in attempting a discussion on differences....

As was noted, discussions on some of the more 'hot button' topics, such as ones that involve sexuality, end up being interpreted in a very personal way. Are you calling me a what?  Are you implying that I am....? etc. 'To each his own,' we are accustomed to saying in many situations where we feel we have little at stake. Walk away. Let the person be.  It's their life and its a free country. And so forth.  But as was also noted, sometimes there are "deal-breakers and lines in the sand."  Areas that are more absolute, that are not given to compromise. Especially when they impinge on what the Bible does or does not say.  Do we simply remain mute? Because to say that we believe some behavior or teaching is wrong and contrary to the scriptures is quickly taken in a personal way as an indictment against the person that may hold these contrary views/beliefs.  We live in a culture that holds affirmation and approval as high ideals and expectations. We also believe that certain behaviors are now in the realm of non-negotiable social expectations and anyone holding a contrary position is hateful and full of fear, disrespectful and demeaning.  For example, to insinuate that homosexuality is contrary to God's will is to automatically become a "homophobe," one who is assumed to have a dislike of anyone with such a predisposition.  But that is not always the case.  And as the word also insinuates, there is a built "fear" of such people.  But again, that is a wrong assumption.  But as long as we label and characterize those who disagree with us with certain personal assumption, discussion is likely not going to be productive. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Dave Likeness

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2021, 04:28:00 PM »
In Holy Scriptures,  God instituted Marriage as a lifelong union
between one man and one woman.  It is a sham to recognize
a homosexual partnership by calling it a marriage.  Call it a civil
union, but do not mock God by calling it a marriage.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2021, 04:51:10 PM »
Peter:
The only point of discussion is hoping that we’ll try to catch up.
Me:
So you feel you are behind? Well, I guess that’s something.
We have been Lutherans together even though we disagree on ordination for women.
Why can’t we be Lutheran’s together, even if we disagree about gay marriage?
LCMS pastors in the modest forum that said they can sit alongside our women pastors and treat them respectfully.
So are you unable to sit alongside a married gay pastor and treat them respectfully,  Recognizing in some way their marriage and ministry?
Peter will have to respond to your challenge for himself. But as one who has said that I can treat women pastors respectfully, I can accept your challenge.


I would commit myself to being able to sit alongside a married gay pastor and treat them respectfully, as I would a woman pastor, or a pastor who is a committed Arian, or Muslim. in the case of Arians or Muslims, I reserve the right to consider them clergy in the community but not Christian. A married gay pastor who is not a member of the LCMS is not subject to the same discipline or rules that I work under and have some responsibility to see enforced. One who is LCMS would be doing so under false pretenses and should be disciplined as such.


Your question of whether I would "Recognizing in some way their marriage and ministry gives me pause." I recognize that such a person is in a relationship that has been given legal recognition by the secular government. As such their partnership is entitled to the privileges and responsibility accorded that relationship by the state. I would not try to interfere with those privileges or responsibility. Nor would I feel it my responsibility to go out of my way to be unpleasant to them or be disrespectful. I would not say that their relationship, while legal, is necessarily in accord with God's will or God pleasing. It is finally their business, between those partners, the government, and God. Finally, God will judge, not me.


As with women clergy, the ministry of married gay pastors so long as they are not proposing to be ordained or serve as pastors within the LCMS, is the business of the church with which they are associated. In the community I can respect women pastors and married gay pastors as having be credentialled as pastors by their church and work with them as I would any other credentialled pastor in the community. Many of them because of their doctrine and practice I would personally not recommend as LCMS pastors either. And no, no reason I should go out of my way to be unpleasant. Respect as you would be respected.


None of this means that I feel it necessary or indicated that I approve of their having been placed into ministry, I do not. But their ministry is in no ways connected to my approval. Their being approved by their church and placed into the pastoral ministry has nothing to do with me.


As for us being behind and needing to catch up, do we really need to have a discussion about idioms and how with idioms things are not always to be taken literally?


We do not feel that we are in any significant way falling behind you so that we need to catch up, but you have said that we are. You have frequently expressed your hope, your wish, your expectation that eventually we will change as a church body to adopt the understandings and practices that you have now. In your mind you see us a behind the times and need to catch up. In our minds we are no more behind and needing to catch up than the last lemming in line and having second and third thoughts is behind the leader already plunging over the cliff and needing to catch up. Much better to simply not go there!
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Dan Fienen

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2021, 05:05:04 PM »
Or let's look at this from another perspective. Obviously, a married gay pastor would most likely disapprove of my church's and my objection to same sex marriage, including his. Can he or she or xe sit beside me and treat me respectfully and recognize in some my ministry?
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2021, 05:18:45 PM »
Peter:
The only point of discussion is hoping that we’ll try to catch up.
Me:
So you feel you are behind? Well, I guess that’s something.
We have been Lutherans together even though we disagree on ordination for women.
Why can’t we be Lutheran’s together, even if we disagree about gay marriage?
LCMS pastors in the modest forum that said they can sit alongside our women pastors and treat them respectfully.
So are you unable to sit alongside a married gay pastor and treat them respectfully,  Recognizing in some way their marriage and ministry?
If course I can. And have. But here is the problem, again the subtle but deliberate problem. I sit with them respectfully, have good discussion, even enjoy a few laughs. Not often, but when it happens, so be it. But I in no way recognize their marriage. If respectful discussion requires recognition of their marriage, respectful discussion will have to be sacrificed. And you clearly think having a discussion implies just that. That’s one of the reasons you’re so keen on such discussions; you think you advance your argument just by having the discussion. Two men never have been, aren’t, and never will be “one flesh” in the manner of a marriage as God designed humanity. It is impossible even at a theoretical level and not worth discussing anymore. That doesn’t mean I hate those who try it, have a phobia about them, or must think they’re jerks who aren’t worth talking to or don’t merit courtesy as people. And the fact that you even think it is “progress” or a point worth making is pure insult, as though you just aren’t sure conservatives have what it takes to be civil. You get tired of saying the same things over and over and not being believed (because you are mistaken). I get tired of the colossal arrogance and ignorance with which you argue and which you seem unable to shake.

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2021, 05:21:03 PM »
The issue of homosexuality and same sex "marriage" is settled by the Holy Scriptures.  The Scriptures condemn homosexuality -- both desires and deeds -- very clearly.  God's word also forbids women to serve as pastors.  Whether I or anyone else is a homophobe or a sexist has nothing to do with what the Bible says.  Nor is it relevant to what the Bible says how nice we are to women pastors or same sex couples who think they are married.  My criticism of the ELCA is that it abandons the clear teaching of the Bible when the rules of the popular culture require it.  Just as the old ELC embraced synergism because divine monergism in conversion was disallowed by the religious culture of their day, so today the ELCA embraces women's ordination and the GLBTQ agenda in obedience to the demands of the religious culture of our day.  It's an old story.  The church, seeking to relate to the world, adopts the world's standards, sanctifies them with Christian-sounding language, and claims that the world's standards are Christian.  Remember the sixties?  Remember how the world sets the agenda?  No.  It doesn't.  God does.

Should we show respect to those with whom we disagree?  Of course we should!  I have visited with men in prison who committed heinous crimes.  I showed them respect.  We should show everyone respect.  But what divides the LCMS from the ELCA is not a matter of who respects whom and how much.

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2021, 05:46:32 PM »
Do we have NALC folks here?  The old domino theory was that once you ordain women, the LGBTQ agenda automatically follows.  The dominos fall.  It seems to me both NALC and LCMC are examples of the issue of women's ordination being treated separately and quite differently from LGBTQ.  How is that working and what were the theological rationales involved?

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

Charles Austin

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Re: Listing Concerns about Those Other Lutherans
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2021, 06:12:42 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.”

To Peter:
Yes, I do accuse you of homophobia, or some kind of over-extended passionate response to gay marriage. But it Doesn’t matter, because you say you aren’t and I’m willing to let it go at that.

To Bishop Benke:
Yes, and Baptists in many areas, though not universally, have had women pastors for many decades. I have not heard that that ickyness ever led to the greater atrocity of gay pastors.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired in Minneapolis. My only Thanksgiving cooking chore: providing fresh ground, fair trade, bird friendly coffee.