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Highlighting the Walkout

Started by PrTim15, February 19, 2024, 10:58:51 AM

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John Mundinger

Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

Charles Austin

The alleged false teaching was dealt with politically rather than theologically. Students asked what errors were being promulgated. Professors said, "heresy? So charge me."
Instead Synod resolutions took precedence. And the side with the most money and loudest voice in convention halls prevailed.
Hard-line personalities - Preus and Tietjen, for example - didn't help either.
Iowa-born. Long-time in NY/New Jersey, former LWF staff in Geneva.
ELCA PASTOR, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. Often critical of the ELCA, but more often a defender of its mission. Ignoring the not-so-subtle rude insults which often appear here.

RF

Alleged?  I thought it was definite that the historical critical method was being taught, which if accepted brings the Holy Scriptures into question. Does that not then result in picking and choosing and a magisterial rather than a ministerial approach to the Word? 

John Mundinger

Quote from: Fletch1 on February 20, 2024, 08:13:43 AMAlleged?  I thought it was definite that the historical critical method was being taught, which if accepted brings the Holy Scriptures into question. Does that not then result in picking and choosing and a magisterial rather than a ministerial approach to the Word? 

Historical criticism may bring the literal interpretation of the Holy Scriptures into question.  It does not bring the Holy Scriptures into question.  If anything, I'd suggest that the 1973 statement imposed a magisterial approach to the Word by insisting on thee inerrancy of the traditional, literal interpretation.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

RDPreus

Historical criticism presupposed the errancy of the Bible, but since the Bible is inspired by God, it is inerrant.  That was the heart of the issue then and, based on comments above, it remains the heart of the issue today.  Setting aside personal loyalties, heartbreaks, and disappointments, I think that any reasonable person can agree that the two opposing positions, the errancy of the Bible and the inerrancy of the Bible, cannot be taught side by side in the church.  Whether you like the way the division occurred (and I don't know anyone completely happy about how it happened), that it happened was for the best.

John Mundinger

Quote from: RDPreus on February 20, 2024, 09:07:23 AMHistorical criticism presupposed the errancy of the Bible, but since the Bible is inspired by God, it is inerrant.

That statement is not true.

Historical criticism is the effort to try to understand the original meaning of the text, the literal sense of the text in its historic context and as the first hearers of the text would have understood the text.

IMO, the controversy resulting from historical criticism resulted because several generations of Christians were very comfortable with a literal KJV as the original meaning of the text.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Fletch1 on February 20, 2024, 08:13:43 AMAlleged?  I thought it was definite that the historical critical method was being taught, which if accepted brings the Holy Scriptures into question. Does that not then result in picking and choosing and a magisterial rather than a ministerial approach to the Word? 
The historical critical method is a "method." Yes, it asks questions about the history/histories of biblical texts. (When "critical" methods were talked about at seminary, it was defined as "asking questions.") How does asking, "What was the historical situation when Isaiah or Matthew was written bring the Holy Scriptures into question? While I was at seminary, one professor was on a panel with LCMS folks to discuss the critical methods. He argued that they are absolutely necessary for properly understanding scriptures. He's right. 

I've used the illustration of driving a car. Driving a car is not necessarily good or bad. It can be used to run over people. It isn't the car's fault that it was used for that purpose - well maybe, if it had faulty breaks. For the most part it is used to transport people safely from one place to another. It is how the driver makes use of the car that makes the difference whether it is helpful or harmful device.

For exegetes who believe that the Bible is the Word of God, using the critical tools does not change that fact. In my opinion, those who use the critical tools take the words of scripture even more seriously than those who oppose those tools. It would be like trying to dig a deep hole without a shovel. The tool helps exegetes dig deeper into the meaning of the words God has given us in Holy Scriptures.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: RDPreus on February 20, 2024, 09:07:23 AMHistorical criticism presupposed the errancy of the Bible, but since the Bible is inspired by God, it is inerrant.  That was the heart of the issue then and, based on comments above, it remains the heart of the issue today.  Setting aside personal loyalties, heartbreaks, and disappointments, I think that any reasonable person can agree that the two opposing positions, the errancy of the Bible and the inerrancy of the Bible, cannot be taught side by side in the church.  Whether you like the way the division occurred (and I don't know anyone completely happy about how it happened), that it happened was for the best.
Again, I ask, which Bible on your shelf has no errors? The errancy of the Bible and the inerrancy of the Bible most certainly are taught side by side in your church. You believe in an inerrant Bible. You teach that. At the same time, if you are using nearly any translation from 2oth-21st centuries there are footnotes that indicate errors in ancient manuscripts, and indicate possible errors in translations. Belief in an actual inerrant Bible worked with the King James Version, because it didn't include such footnotes.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Dan Fienen

Historical criticism as a meaningful term is bankrupt. So many interpretive tools and methods have been labeled historical criticism that the term has become almost meaningless. For some, it is the basic assumption for understanding the Bible - as they mean the term and what for them is historical criticism. For others, it is the catch all label that covers everything one does not approve of in other people's interpretations. As a tool for discussion, it has become useless.

In that it is like "woke," "anti-racism," or "critical race theory." Each of these have come to be terms so widely applied, sometimes to concepts or interpretations that are needed correctives to past injustices, sometimes as clubs to beat down those you don't like and want to control or exclude.

Always, always, all of these terms promote talking past each other and spouting slogans rather than actually hearing each other, understanding each other, or actually discussing as rational adults. So many intellectual crimes and personal injustices have been committed in the name of historical criticism, critical race theory, anti-racism, and wokeness and opposing those bugbears. And always people are tempted, and so often succumb to the temptation, to paint ones own side as the side of moderation, reason, and caring by citing only the most reasonable proponents on your side while citing only the most extreme, unreasonable and hurtful proponents on the opposing side.

Quote from: John Mundinger on February 20, 2024, 09:22:15 AM
Quote from: RDPreus on February 20, 2024, 09:07:23 AMHistorical criticism presupposed the errancy of the Bible, but since the Bible is inspired by God, it is inerrant.

That statement is not true.

Historical criticism is the effort to try to understand the original meaning of the text, the literal sense of the text in its historic context and as the first hearers of the text would have understood the text.

IMO, the controversy resulting from historical criticism resulted because several generations of Christians were very comfortable with a literal KJV as the original meaning of the text.

RDPreus is not wrong about some of those who practice what has been labeled the historical critical method. Look at the output of the Jesus Seminar or scholars like John Dominic Crossan or Bart Ehrman. There work presumes an errant Bible, makes a sharp distinction between the historical Jesus (about whom we know very little and who, we are assured, never intended the Jesus cult and eventual Christian church to be built on him) and the Jesus of faith. To claim that historical criticism always doubts the Bible and assumes that it is errant and it is up to us to find the precious nuggets of truth within the drek of legend, folklore, and fairy tales, exaggerates the reality. To say that historical criticism never is involved in debunking the Bible is at best disingenuous.

On the other hand, to call historical criticism merely an objective search for the original meaning that is disputed only by those committed to understanding the Bible in the original KJV is itself an exaggeration and calumny.

What matters most are the assumptions made that guide the study. If one begins the study with the assumption that the Bible is simply another ancient text written by religious people to reflect their faith, that colors all the interpretation.

I am reminded of the several trends of Biblical archeology. There are the Biblical maximalists (usually scorned and dismissed as anti-intellectuals, after all what reasonable person could actually believe all the miracles and other ridiculous stuff in the Bible) who default to trusting the historical content of the Bible. There are the Biblical minimalists who distrust any archeological find that seems to support the Biblical account as being "too good to be true" and when given the choice among interpretations of a find default to the one that disproves the Biblical account.

Do we really have to resort to simply shouting at each other here?
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Dan Fienen

Quote from: Charles Austin on February 20, 2024, 07:33:55 AMThe alleged false teaching was dealt with politically rather than theologically. Students asked what errors were being promulgated. Professors said, "heresy? So charge me."
Instead Synod resolutions took precedence. And the side with the most money and loudest voice in convention halls prevailed.
Hard-line personalities - Preus and Tietjen, for example - didn't help either.
Political maneuvering got involved? How could it be? Of course there was political maneuvering, humankind is naturally political.

Can you actually say that the moderates who walked didn't engage in political ploys? The walkout was a spontaneous demonstration organized by the students on the spur of the moment to support their beloved Sem President who had been foully and wrongfully suspended by a Synod President drunk on power. That was the party line. 

The walkout had been in the planning for weeks, if not for months. Actually it was ready to go at least a month earlier but the expected action of the Board of Control that was supposed to trigger the spontaneous demonstration was delayed. The crosses planted in the quad, the plywood to block the arches of Luther Tower had be prepared well in advance. The students who led the walkout had been in consultation with their faculty advisors who did advise them. When the spontaneous walkout happened, there just happened to be a full complement of news media present and primed to give full play to the story.

Using bylaw, and rules was not the exclusive ploy from the conservatives.

In 1971, the Preus Fact Finding Committee met with the faculty majority to discuss their theology. There was an attempt to settle thing theologically, but that was met with obstruction and obfuscation. There was more to the story than No Room in the Brotherhood. In 1977, the Board of Control of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, published Exodus from Concordia: A Report on the 1974 Walkout that told the tale of those times from their point of view. Should their account be simply dismissed while the account from the viewpoint of those who left be accepted as objective truth? The Rev. Dr. Paul A. Zimmerman, who headed the 1971 Preus Fact Finding Committee, published A Seminary in Crisis: The Inside Story of the Preus Fact Finding Committee, CPH, 2007 that recounts his view of the gathering crisis and the interviews his committee held with faculty members. 

The narrative that the whole crisis was a political power play orchestrated by a power-hungry interloper in Missouri is far too simplistic.

I have absolutely no doubt that this whole crisis could have, should have been handled better. But I reject the thesis that the fault for that lies solely on the side of the conservatives.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

John Mundinger

#25
Quote from: Dan Fienen on February 20, 2024, 10:29:13 AMRDPreus is not wrong about some of those who practice what has been labeled the historical critical method. Look at the output of the Jesus Seminar or scholars like John Dominic Crossan or Bart Ehrman.

I acknowledge that belief that Scripture is God's inspired Word is not a pre-requisite for using the historical-critical method.  That, however, that those who employ the method necessarily reject Scripture as God's Word.  It should also be noted than neither John Dominic Crossan or Bart Ehrman were professors at CSL.  Nor were any of the CSL faculty accused of embracing their version of "theology". 

And, as a side note I suspect that believers can benefit from Crossan's and Ehrman's scholarship without being influenced by their agnosticism.

Quote from: Dan Fienen on February 20, 2024, 10:29:13 AMI am reminded of the several trends of Biblical archeology. There are the Biblical maximalists (usually scorned and dismissed as anti-intellectuals, after all what reasonable person could actually believe all the miracles and other ridiculous stuff in the Bible) who default to trusting the historical content of the Bible. There are the Biblical minimalists who distrust any archeological find that seems to support the Biblical account as being "too good to be true" and when given the choice among interpretations of a find default to the one that disproves the Biblical account.

I am reminded of adult classes taught by our school's principle who, at the time, was also a member of the Synod Council.  He was big on Biblical archaeology.  I had two difficulties with his approach.  He emphasized archaeology that supported a literal understanding of Scripture, while rejecting all of the archaeology that conflicted with a literal understanding of Scripture.  That approach is not very intellectual.  The other was the idea implicit in all of this that the supporting archaeology was a source of faith.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: John Mundinger on February 20, 2024, 11:01:13 AM
Quote from: Dan Fienen on February 20, 2024, 10:29:13 AMRDPreus is not wrong about some of those who practice what has been labeled the historical critical method. Look at the output of the Jesus Seminar or scholars like John Dominic Crossan or Bart Ehrman.

I acknowledge that belief that Scripture is God's inspired Word is not a pre-requisite for using the historical-critical method.  That, however, that those who employ the method necessarily reject Scripture as God's Word.  It should also be noted than neither John Dominic Crossan or Bart Ehrman were professors at CSL.  Nor were any of the CSL faculty accused of embracing their version of "theology". 

And, as a side note I suspect that believers can benefit from Crossan's and Ehrman's scholarship without being influenced by their agnosticism.

Quote from: Dan Fienen on February 20, 2024, 10:29:13 AMI am reminded of the several trends of Biblical archeology. There are the Biblical maximalists (usually scorned and dismissed as anti-intellectuals, after all what reasonable person could actually believe all the miracles and other ridiculous stuff in the Bible) who default to trusting the historical content of the Bible. There are the Biblical minimalists who distrust any archeological find that seems to support the Biblical account as being "too good to be true" and when given the choice among interpretations of a find default to the one that disproves the Biblical account.

I am reminded of adult classes taught by our school's principle who, at the time, was also a member of the Synod Council.  He was big on Biblical archaeology.  I had two difficulties with his approach.  He emphasized archaeology that supported a literal understanding of Scripture, while rejecting all of the archaeology that conflicted with a literal understanding of Scripture.  That approach is not very intellectual.  The other was the idea implicit in all of this that the supporting archaeology was a source of faith.
Outside of Tietjen, I don't believe that there were actual heresy charges against any other professors. Well, there is the Matt Becker saga, but that was in Oregon.

Much like, but I think even worse, is stating that "professors are teaching heresy," without naming the professors nor the heresies they are being charged with.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

RF

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on February 20, 2024, 09:51:05 AM
Quote from: Fletch1 on February 20, 2024, 08:13:43 AMAlleged?  I thought it was definite that the historical critical method was being taught, which if accepted brings the Holy Scriptures into question. Does that not then result in picking and choosing and a magisterial rather than a ministerial approach to the Word? 
The historical critical method is a "method." Yes, it asks questions about the history/histories of biblical texts. (When "critical" methods were talked about at seminary, it was defined as "asking questions.") How does asking, "What was the historical situation when Isaiah or Matthew was written bring the Holy Scriptures into question? While I was at seminary, one professor was on a panel with LCMS folks to discuss the critical methods. He argued that they are absolutely necessary for properly understanding scriptures. He's right.

I've used the illustration of driving a car. Driving a car is not necessarily good or bad. It can be used to run over people. It isn't the car's fault that it was used for that purpose - well maybe, if it had faulty breaks. For the most part it is used to transport people safely from one place to another. It is how the driver makes use of the car that makes the difference whether it is helpful or harmful device.

For exegetes who believe that the Bible is the Word of God, using the critical tools does not change that fact. In my opinion, those who use the critical tools take the words of scripture even more seriously than those who oppose those tools. It would be like trying to dig a deep hole without a shovel. The tool helps exegetes dig deeper into the meaning of the words God has given us in Holy Scriptures.

"Did God really say?"  Look what that resulted in. 

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: John Mundinger on February 20, 2024, 11:01:13 AM
Quote from: Dan Fienen on February 20, 2024, 10:29:13 AMRDPreus is not wrong about some of those who practice what has been labeled the historical critical method. Look at the output of the Jesus Seminar or scholars like John Dominic Crossan or Bart Ehrman.

I acknowledge that belief that Scripture is God's inspired Word is not a pre-requisite for using the historical-critical method.  That, however, that those who employ the method necessarily reject Scripture as God's Word.  It should also be noted than neither John Dominic Crossan or Bart Ehrman were professors at CSL.  Nor were any of the CSL faculty accused of embracing their version of "theology". 

And, as a side note I suspect that believers can benefit from Crossan's and Ehrman's scholarship without being influenced by their agnosticism.

They need to be read so that we can counter their arguments to support our orthodox beliefs. I think Raymond Brown does that in his The Birth of the Messiah. He uses much of the same information that Crossan uses. Crossan uses them to deny the virginal conception. Brown uses them to support the uniqueness of the virginal conception among all other accounts of miraculous births.

QuoteI am reminded of adult classes taught by our school's principle who, at the time, was also a member of the Synod Council.  He was big on Biblical archaeology.  I had two difficulties with his approach.  He emphasized archaeology that supported a literal understanding of Scripture, while rejecting all of the archaeology that conflicted with a literal understanding of Scripture.  That approach is not very intellectual.  The other was the idea implicit in all of this that the supporting archaeology was a source of faith.
I was asked to teach a class on Joshua at an Episcopal Church. Using a resource published by their publishing company, the author argued that archaeology has shown that there were walls around Jericho that had fallen down; but that it happened about 1000 years before Joshua and the Israelites came through the area. The city was uninhabited during the conquest years. It's possible that when Joshua was written some time after the exile (622?), the ancient stories of the walls falling down (c. 2500 BCE) and the Israelites coming through (c. 1200 BCE) had mingled together.

Anyway, I was asked not to come back for the second class (on Jeremiah) that I was scheduled to teach.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Fletch1 on February 20, 2024, 11:23:27 AM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on February 20, 2024, 09:51:05 AM
Quote from: Fletch1 on February 20, 2024, 08:13:43 AMAlleged?  I thought it was definite that the historical critical method was being taught, which if accepted brings the Holy Scriptures into question. Does that not then result in picking and choosing and a magisterial rather than a ministerial approach to the Word? 
The historical critical method is a "method." Yes, it asks questions about the history/histories of biblical texts. (When "critical" methods were talked about at seminary, it was defined as "asking questions.") How does asking, "What was the historical situation when Isaiah or Matthew was written bring the Holy Scriptures into question? While I was at seminary, one professor was on a panel with LCMS folks to discuss the critical methods. He argued that they are absolutely necessary for properly understanding scriptures. He's right.

I've used the illustration of driving a car. Driving a car is not necessarily good or bad. It can be used to run over people. It isn't the car's fault that it was used for that purpose - well maybe, if it had faulty breaks. For the most part it is used to transport people safely from one place to another. It is how the driver makes use of the car that makes the difference whether it is helpful or harmful device.

For exegetes who believe that the Bible is the Word of God, using the critical tools does not change that fact. In my opinion, those who use the critical tools take the words of scripture even more seriously than those who oppose those tools. It would be like trying to dig a deep hole without a shovel. The tool helps exegetes dig deeper into the meaning of the words God has given us in Holy Scriptures.

"Did God really say?"  Look what that resulted in. 
Yes, but God said it through human writers. Who wrote that question, "Did God really say?" Conservatives say, Moses wrote it down. Liberals attribute it to the J source. It was not something written by God's hand on stone tablets. In addition, it is translators that we usually read from. We are reading what translators believe the serpent might have said.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

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