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Excommunication ever???

Started by RevSteve, August 26, 2012, 08:58:48 PM

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RevSteve

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on August 27, 2012, 02:47:26 AM
Quote from: RevSteve on August 26, 2012, 10:57:12 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on August 26, 2012, 09:14:39 PM
If you ever sent your children to bed without supper as punishment, then you probably believe excommunication is an option. If you never saw withholding food from your children as a viable punishment, then you probably don't believe in excommunication.

So we can then assume that the ELCA bishops who removed "schismatic" pastors from the ELCA roster must be in favor of withholding food from children.


Bishops cannot remove pastors. There is nothing in our rules that give them that power. There are some who act as though they can exert that authority over a pastor, but they can request that an errant pastor resign.


And yet they send these fancy little letters out telling Pastors that, by the bishop's authority, they have been de-frocked. In what universe is that a request??
Pastor Steven M. Bliss LCMC and NALC-  St Olaf Lutheran Church, Bode, Iowa

New quote, got tired of questions about Dante quote...

"Doin stuff is overrated. Like Hitler did a lot of stuff but don't we all wish he would have just sat around all day and got stoned?"-Dex from the Tao of Steve

Charles_Austin

#16
You are shifting the topic, Pastor Bliss. Are you talking about "excommunication" or removing someone from the clergy roster? They are totally different things. Bishops and synod councils have the right to remove pastors from the ELCA ministerium. A pastor who is removed from the clergy roster is not "excommunicated."
To dredge up the old complaints about letters from bishops to pastors does not address the topic of the thread you began.

Dave Benke

In the Missouri Synod a layperson, a non-"member" of the Synod, has rights within the procedures articulated in the Constitution and Bylaws under dispute resolution, is if and as the layperson contests her/his excommunication by a congregation. (Handbook 1.10.2.4)  The reason for this is that the congregation retains self-government (1.10.9) but the decision to excommunicate a parishioner can be examined through the dispute resolution process and found to be wanting.  In that case, if the congregation determines to continue to consider the person(s) excommunicated, can be disciplined by the district of its membership.

Concomitantly, while the matter is in dispute, those excommunicated who contest the excommunication can at the behest of the district be allowed to continue to receive the Sacrament at another altar.  Should the decision of the dispute resolution panel be to restore the person(s) as communicants, the matter becomes pastoral in the determinations made by pastor and congregation concerning their restoration. 

So you can't throw somebody out without good cause or the whole thing could come bouncing back to you.

I've seen this happen in the long course of time supervising ecclesiastically.  It's not pretty.

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

Scotty8284

If I'm not mistaken, wasn't Dr. George Tiller (the baby killer) ex-communicated from his LCMS parish?  Wasn't that appropriate for a non-repentant murderer whose continuing actions were a scandal to the church? 

Jim Scott
NALC Layman
Wittenberg '78

RevSteve

Quote from: Charles_Austin on August 27, 2012, 04:08:17 AM
You are shifting the topic, Pastor Bliss. Are you talking about "excommunication" or removing someone from the clergy roster? They are totally different things. Bishops and synod councils have the right to remove pastors from the ELCA ministerium. A pastor who is removed from the clergy roster is not "excommunicated."

You're right they are different. But I was just responding to Brian's claim the bishops only have the authority to ask pastors to resign. Brian's claim does not resonate with the experience of myself and many others. But anyway, back on topic.
Pastor Steven M. Bliss LCMC and NALC-  St Olaf Lutheran Church, Bode, Iowa

New quote, got tired of questions about Dante quote...

"Doin stuff is overrated. Like Hitler did a lot of stuff but don't we all wish he would have just sat around all day and got stoned?"-Dex from the Tao of Steve

RevSteve

Quote from: Scotty8284 on August 27, 2012, 08:33:56 AM
If I'm not mistaken, wasn't Dr. George Tiller (the baby killer) ex-communicated from his LCMS parish?  Wasn't that appropriate for a non-repentant murderer whose continuing actions were a scandal to the church?

Yes he was. And I agree that was appropriate. Dr Tiller had to know of LCMS' strong biblically-based position on life. For him to continue terminating pregnancies (some partial-birth) indeed would have been a scandal to the church. Though Dr Tiller's situation does also prove Charles right in that Dr Tiller just ended up going to an ELCA congregation. Nevertheless, especially if Dr Tiller grew up LCMS, the reality of having been excommunicated by an LCMS congregation had to manifest, at least to a certain degree, a continual presence of the accusing finger of the law; one that, sadly, it appears he ignored.
Pastor Steven M. Bliss LCMC and NALC-  St Olaf Lutheran Church, Bode, Iowa

New quote, got tired of questions about Dante quote...

"Doin stuff is overrated. Like Hitler did a lot of stuff but don't we all wish he would have just sat around all day and got stoned?"-Dex from the Tao of Steve

Coach-Rev

 Perhaps we need to stop thinking of it in 21st century or post-2009 terms (or for that matter, even in "reformation" terms) and go back to look at the early canons of the church to understand its real purpose and intent.  It wasn't to exercise authority over anyone, but to drive an unrepentant person to repent, and thus be brought back into communion with the church. 

Because we have so bastardized the term today, and because so many denominations exist, it really cannot hold that purpose any longer as anyone excommunicated simply goes down the road to another church or denomination.  Sadly, they often find a warm welcome in the same denomination just down the road, since there is little uniformity or conformity to any standardized doctrines today.

Mike Gehlhausen

Quote from: Coach-Rev on August 27, 2012, 12:20:36 PM
Perhaps we need to stop thinking of it in 21st century or post-2009 terms (or for that matter, even in "reformation" terms) and go back to look at the early canons of the church to understand its real purpose and intent.  It wasn't to exercise authority over anyone, but to drive an unrepentant person to repent, and thus be brought back into communion with the church. 

Because we have so bastardized the term today, and because so many denominations exist, it really cannot hold that purpose any longer as anyone excommunicated simply goes down the road to another church or denomination.  Sadly, they often find a warm welcome in the same denomination just down the road, since there is little uniformity or conformity to any standardized doctrines today.

Heartily agreed.

Mike

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: RevSteve on August 27, 2012, 03:14:24 AM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on August 27, 2012, 02:47:26 AM
Quote from: RevSteve on August 26, 2012, 10:57:12 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on August 26, 2012, 09:14:39 PM
If you ever sent your children to bed without supper as punishment, then you probably believe excommunication is an option. If you never saw withholding food from your children as a viable punishment, then you probably don't believe in excommunication.

So we can then assume that the ELCA bishops who removed "schismatic" pastors from the ELCA roster must be in favor of withholding food from children.


Bishops cannot remove pastors. There is nothing in our rules that give them that power. There are some who act as though they can exert that authority over a pastor, but they can request that an errant pastor resign.


And yet they send these fancy little letters out telling Pastors that, by the bishop's authority, they have been de-frocked. In what universe is that a request??


The synod council can defrock a clergy who has been without call for a period of time -- two or three years. That still is not something that the bishop has the power to do. Bishops can certainly write letters -- and they do. I just visited with the parents whose son received such a letter. He decided not to fight it. I think that he could have challenged the bishops authority to unilaterally seek to remove him. Of course, what bishops can and have done is then to seek to keep the pastor from receiving a call so that they can be removed by action of the synod council. That happened to another pastor I know who would not do what the bishop asked.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

RevSteve

Quote from: Coach-Rev on August 27, 2012, 12:20:36 PM
Perhaps we need to stop thinking of it in 21st century or post-2009 terms (or for that matter, even in "reformation" terms) and go back to look at the early canons of the church to understand its real purpose and intent.  It wasn't to exercise authority over anyone, but to drive an unrepentant person to repent, and thus be brought back into communion with the church. 

Because we have so bastardized the term today, and because so many denominations exist, it really cannot hold that purpose any longer as anyone excommunicated simply goes down the road to another church or denomination.  Sadly, they often find a warm welcome in the same denomination just down the road, since there is little uniformity or conformity to any standardized doctrines today.

Certainly, as Matthew 18 indicates, that was a big part of it and the myriad of denominations present big challenges to excommunication fulfilling that purpose. But was that the only purpose?? I believe Matthew 18 makes it clear that was not the only reason, and that repeated, unrepentant harm and disruption to the fellowship is also a big part of it.  So should we abandon the practice just because there are challenges today that were not present 2000 years ago?? I also don't think we necessarily assume that an excommunicated individual will be welcomed at the first congregation down the road. For all we know, Dr Tiller may have tried at other LCMS congregations, or maybe a Lutheran Bretheren or TAALC and they all honored the excommunication, and then eventually ended up going to the ELCA. Again I believe in that situation the accusing finger of the law was still present. Bottom line: when we look at Matthew 18:15-20 and then how different a world it is today 2000 years later and assume "Well this couldn't possibly work today because there are so many denominations." then we are not living by faith but by sight and that is never a healthy road for the church to go down.
Pastor Steven M. Bliss LCMC and NALC-  St Olaf Lutheran Church, Bode, Iowa

New quote, got tired of questions about Dante quote...

"Doin stuff is overrated. Like Hitler did a lot of stuff but don't we all wish he would have just sat around all day and got stoned?"-Dex from the Tao of Steve

Coach-Rev

Certainly, Pr. Bliss, I would agree with your assessment as well - I was not advocating doing away with the practice, since Matthew 18 still applies.  But in the end, and certainly for a Lutheran understanding as well, one would hope it should drive a person to repentance.  There are many other reasons besides what I mentioned upstream why people won't repent, besides the hearty welcome they receive elsewhere with no effort to understand how they arrived there at their new church home in the first place.

Steven Tibbetts

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on August 27, 2012, 02:47:26 AM
Quote from: RevSteve on August 26, 2012, 10:57:12 PM

So we can then assume that the ELCA bishops who removed "schismatic" pastors from the ELCA roster must be in favor of withholding food from children.

Bishops cannot remove pastors. There is nothing in our rules that give them that power.

Nevertheless, as has been testified on this forum several different times, they have. 

spt+
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

Steven Tibbetts

Quote from: RevSteve on August 26, 2012, 08:58:48 PM

On another thread a discussion I had de-railed into a debate about excommunication....

Our Adult Vacation Bible School, which for the last four years has been using CPH's "Foundations in Faith" series as the curriculum, was discussing this just last week as part of our discussion of the Office of the Keys.

It was rather interesting to pay watch as some, initially appalled by the very notion (largely the "younger" Lutherans), began to see how it might be necessary in some situations.  There was some discussion that could be seen as testing just how much I (having been their pastor 6 weeks shy of 20 years) might be determined to use such disciplinary action with an unrepentant member.  After the session, a life-long member quietly told me of a situation that came to mind during the discussion, over 60 years ago when such discipline was actually exercised by the Pastor (and Council) of this congregation.

Pax, Steven+
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS on August 27, 2012, 07:29:10 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on August 27, 2012, 02:47:26 AM
Quote from: RevSteve on August 26, 2012, 10:57:12 PM

So we can then assume that the ELCA bishops who removed "schismatic" pastors from the ELCA roster must be in favor of withholding food from children.

Bishops cannot remove pastors. There is nothing in our rules that give them that power.

Nevertheless, as has been testified on this forum several different times, they have. 


As they say, "It takes two to tango." They have because clergy have let them. Granted, it may be quite a financial burden to oppose the bishop and then go through the disciplinary hearing process; but there have been clergy and congregations willing to fight the bishop's removal of a pastor. In the case I recently mentioned, there was so much animosity between the pastor and the congregation, the pastor couldn't stay and minister effectively. If the bishop wasn't going to do anything to get him another call, he essentially had no choice but to seek other employment.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Steven Tibbetts

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on August 28, 2012, 01:15:54 AM

As they say, "It takes two to tango." They have because [yadda, yadda, yadda...]

::)

Care to clearly express something about about excommunication?
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

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