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Author Topic: ELCA's "Table and Font: Who is welcome?"  (Read 20591 times)

The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS

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ELCA's "Table and Font: Who is welcome?"
« on: August 19, 2014, 03:02:15 PM »
Time for another ELCA "conversation," this time regarding "who is welcome" to Holy Communion.  An innocuous-sounding invitation to participate came out a few weeks ago, and and similar notice appears again in the Summer 2014 Seeds for the Parish, now appearing in snail boxes across the ELCA but not yet on its website.  Resources for the conversation will be available at www.elca.org/worship "by mid-August," but so far not yet.

Over at lutheranforum.org, Paul Hinlicky will have none of this innocuousness in yesterday's post The Truth about "Radical Hospitality".  At its conclusion, he invites readers (I would presume ELCA clergy and laity) to add their names to an iPetition to the ELCA Conference of Bishops, Speaking the Truth about "Radical Hospitality", which appeared there last week and reads as follows:

Quote from: iPetition to the ELCA Bishops

Speaking the Truth about "Radical Hospitality"

To the Conference of Bishops of the ELCA: We bring before you our concerns regarding “radical hospitality,” which we understand to propose the invitation of the unbaptized to the Lord’s Supper as a matter of principle. We are informed that such “radical hospitality” is already practiced in some ELCA congregations and is being advocated in others by certain leaders and teachers.

1. “Radical hospitality” disregards in principle the stringent warning against unworthy reception in the Scripture, as in I Corinthians 11:27–28.

2. It further disregards in principle the repeated emphasis of the Lutheran Confessions that the sacrament of the altar is for those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ in faith and public profession—a faith and confession whose first act is holy Baptism into the Lord’s death and resurrection. See especially The Large Catechism on “The Sacrament of the Altar” and The Formula of Concord 7, “Concerning the Holy Supper.”

3. It discards the age-old rule of faith by which the church has always understood Baptism as the entry into the cross-carrying Christian life, for which holy Communion is the nourishment.

4. As such, it also discards the ELCA’s own teaching in “The Use of the Means of Grace” (1997) as expressed in Principle 37 and Applications 37E and 37G.

5. The proposal of “radical hospitality” misleads by falsely suggesting that identifying the addressee of the promise of holy Communion as the baptized is an act of anti-gospel exclusion.

6. “Radical hospitality” fails to recognize Baptism itself as the truly radical act of inclusion. All people in every nation are called by the gospel to join themselves to Christ, who “has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14), by baptism into a community in which “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female” (Galatians 3:28).

7. Under the cover of inclusivity, “radical hospitality” in fact deceives the unbaptized, encouraging them to participate in the sacrament without recognizing the entailed commitment to the cross of Jesus Christ and without discerning His body, both in the blessed bread and wine and in the holy community of those who take and eat it.

8. Baptism, repentance, and faith are not legalistic preconditions for grace, but the form grace takes as the Holy Spirit draws persons into a lifegiving new relationship with God.

9. As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we call upon the ELCA to remember in principle and in power the opening words of the Ninety-Five Theses: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he meant for the entire life of the Christian to be one of repentance.”

10. We exhort pastors and laity of the ELCA to self-examination as to whether our own lives reflect the way of the cross, the life of repentance, and the joy of faith, which are our proper witnesses to the unbaptized and in themselves an invitation to Baptism.

11. And we ask the Conference of Bishops to reiterate clearly the teaching of the whole church, the Lutheran Confessions, and the ELCA: holy communion is intended for the baptized, just as baptism is intended for the world.


Yes, I've signed it.

Pax, Steven+
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria, Illinois, USA
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Charles Austin

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Re: ELCA's "Table and Font: Who is welcome?"
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 03:05:31 PM »
I would sign it.
The air crisp and chill on my morning walk; autumn's sun is bright, but lacks warmth. Leaves colored, soon to fall. In the garage, beach gear stowed; a snow shovel to the fore, ominous. But coterie of revelers has booked our weeks in Cancun and we look forward, happy.

Randy Bosch

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Re: ELCA's "Table and Font: Who is welcome?"
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2014, 03:07:52 PM »
We experienced "radical hospitality" in an ELCA parish over 8 years ago.  The pastor was introduced to a family's visitors, who stated that they were practicing Buddhists.  He welcomed them to Communion, and they participated (I don't know how that fits into Buddhist practice...).  Later, the Pastor taught that even if they were not Christian, let alone not Baptized, conversion can work through receipt of Communion.  We found that to be an interesting concept...
Randy Bosch
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The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS

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Re: ELCA's "Table and Font: Who is welcome?"
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2014, 03:07:58 PM »
I do encourage you read the whole thing, but Hinlicky's critique on "everyone is invited to the Table" concludes:

Quote from: Paul Hinlicky
Ironically, this is but a new legalism and the sanctimoniousness of the “more-inclusive-than-thou” crowd. After the destructive tumult of the past five years, such proposals are particularly perilous to the fragile unity, not to mention ecumenical responsibilities, of the ELCA.

What is needed to address the pastoral and missiological needs of today is a serious commitment to and training in evangelism, apologetics, and catechesis. It is an abuse of the Supper—not to mention an abuse of the unbaptized—to make the sacrament into a tool of proselytism, taking advantage of visitors with no understanding of these holy things, least of all that their reception entails taking up the cross. It undermines the foundational unity of the church in one baptism. It confuses the radical hospitality of God in the gospel with religiously sanctioned permissiveness in a decaying culture. The proposal to suspend the rule of faith in this case would take the ELCA another huge and fatal step in the wrong direction.


Pax, spt+
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria, Illinois, USA
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Dan Fienen

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Re: ELCA's "Table and Font: Who is welcome?"
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2014, 03:13:22 PM »
I do encourage you read the whole thing, but Hinlicky's critique on "everyone is invited to the Table" concludes:

Quote from: Paul Hinlicky
Ironically, this is but a new legalism and the sanctimoniousness of the “more-inclusive-than-thou” crowd. After the destructive tumult of the past five years, such proposals are particularly perilous to the fragile unity, not to mention ecumenical responsibilities, of the ELCA.

What is needed to address the pastoral and missiological needs of today is a serious commitment to and training in evangelism, apologetics, and catechesis. It is an abuse of the Supper—not to mention an abuse of the unbaptized—to make the sacrament into a tool of proselytism, taking advantage of visitors with no understanding of these holy things, least of all that their reception entails taking up the cross. It undermines the foundational unity of the church in one baptism. It confuses the radical hospitality of God in the gospel with religiously sanctioned permissiveness in a decaying culture. The proposal to suspend the rule of faith in this case would take the ELCA another huge and fatal step in the wrong direction.


Pax, spt+

Does the LWF have anything to say about who is invited to the Lord's Table, whether baptism is required or assumed before reception of the Lord's Supper?  If the ELCA makes standard policy of welcoming the unbaptized to partake of the Lord's Supper, will it be out of step with the rest of the LWF?

Dan
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Rev. J. Thomas Shelley, STS

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Re: ELCA's "Table and Font: Who is welcome?"
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2014, 03:22:05 PM »
I would sign it.
So would I, if I were still in the ELCA.

Point #6 is the diamond among many gems in this statement.
Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Became a Lutheran Pastor by God's grace and the beneficence of Lower Susquehanna Synod, ELCA Bishop Guy S. Edmiston on Reformation Day, 1989.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.
Now serving in the LCMC.

LutherMan

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Re: ELCA's "Table and Font: Who is welcome?"
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2014, 03:28:56 PM »
Anyone know if Bp Eaton supports this?
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Re: ELCA's "Table and Font: Who is welcome?"
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2014, 03:30:19 PM »
Steven (and other orthodox ELCA folks)-

I am that sorry.  Truly.  It's one things to to piss away one's heritage and the Faith once delivered.  But to do so in such a clangingly unoriginal manner. This is the stuff and nonsense that has infected TEC. And What good has it done them?  I read this morning that there are as many Mormons as Piskies these days, and more Moslems. Does anyone in the ELCA actually see this as leading edge, prophetic, emergent  or otherwise important?  Or is it just damned spiritual laziness?

Prayers go up, my brother.  And if necessary, your brothers and sisters across the way stand ready for Dunkirk on the Tiber. As, I assume, others stand by on the Mississippi.

But in the meanwhile, be strong.  And it heartens me to know that Charles would sign it. 
Matt Hummel


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Rev. J. Thomas Shelley, STS

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Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Became a Lutheran Pastor by God's grace and the beneficence of Lower Susquehanna Synod, ELCA Bishop Guy S. Edmiston on Reformation Day, 1989.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.
Now serving in the LCMC.

Charles Austin

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Re: ELCA's "Table and Font: Who is welcome?"
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2014, 04:23:55 PM »
They require my email address to sign on that site. I won't do that.
The air crisp and chill on my morning walk; autumn's sun is bright, but lacks warmth. Leaves colored, soon to fall. In the garage, beach gear stowed; a snow shovel to the fore, ominous. But coterie of revelers has booked our weeks in Cancun and we look forward, happy.

LutherMan

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Re: ELCA's "Table and Font: Who is welcome?"
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2014, 04:36:24 PM »
They require my email address to sign on that site. I won't do that.
Just curious, but why not?
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Re: ELCA's "Table and Font: Who is welcome?"
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2014, 04:38:35 PM »
They require my email address to sign on that site. I won't do that.

Charles-

FWIW- I understand the reluctance on that, and I know you are rather tech savvy.  I do know some other folks who have established dead-end email accounts with yahoo, rocket mail, etc., for just this sort of purpose. 
Matt Hummel


“The chief purpose of life, for any of us, is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

LutherMan

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Re: ELCA's "Table and Font: Who is welcome?"
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2014, 04:40:05 PM »
They require my email address to sign on that site. I won't do that.

Charles-

FWIW- I understand the reluctance on that, and I know you are rather tech savvy.  I do know some other folks who have established dead-end email accounts with yahoo, rocket mail, etc., for just this sort of purpose.
Yep.  I have several throw-away email addy's I use for deals like this...
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DCharlton

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Re: ELCA's "Table and Font: Who is welcome?"
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2014, 04:59:00 PM »
Thank you for the heads up.
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?