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The ELCA Requires Nothing

Started by DCharlton, January 01, 2013, 09:22:19 PM

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Coach-Rev

Quote from: Dan Fienen on January 04, 2013, 01:38:48 PM
Quote from: Johan Bergfest on January 04, 2013, 01:30:38 PM
Quote from: Pastor Ken Kimball on January 04, 2013, 01:10:34 PMWhich is more apt a description of "hijacking"?  (A) A majority or supermajority vote of a congregation to end affiliation with a church body or (B) a minority which holds hostage the rest of the congregation, aided and abetted by a judicatory body?   

Pr. Kimball - you have not provided enough information to answer the question that you posed.

Congregations are legally incorporated entities, recognized as such by the state in which each occurs.  As Pr. Austin indicated, the disposition of the congregation's property upon disaffiliation is governed by language in its legal documents.  If that language favors the majority, then the correct answer to your question is B.  If, however, that language favors the minority, is A.  In any such dispute, there is an appropriate role for the denomination's bureaucracy - likely also specified by language in the legal documents.  And, worst case scenario, there is an appropriate role for the courts.

In either case, were you or I to offer judgement in either of the examples cited, chances are that we would be basing our decision on a very incomplete case record.
I lived in Holdrege in the '90s and one of my best friends was on the staff of Bethel.  This was before there was any thought of splitting off from the ELCA, but I became acquainted with the congregation and some of the people.  From what I know and have learned subsequently about the situation there, I would not want to offer an opinion over who is correct in the current situation of squabbling over the assets of the congregation.  There are moral and legal issues involved that are complicated and looking in from the outside, and especially with simply a brief summary of the situation to go on, it is hard to render a good judgment.  Certainly there is much opportunity for bad motives to flourish, but are any of us in a position to honestly make that judgment?

Dan

Since I am an hour away and gather with the pastors of the area, I think I know something of what is happening there. 

and certainly, considering that the congregation was well within its legal right to call an ordained pastor according to its own defined call process, it is completely out of line for the ELCA-backed lawsuit that seeks, among other things, to have the pastor removed and to have an ELCA-approved pastor installed there.

"And there are lawsuits among you" comes to mind...

Charles_Austin

Pastor Cottingham writes:
considering that the congregation was well within its legal right to call an ordained pastor according to its own defined call process,

I comment:
Well, if the congregation has its "own" call process, that process might not be in line with what the synod and ELCA requires. But you know that.

Johan Bergfest

Quote from: DCharlton on January 04, 2013, 05:21:40 PMMr or Pr Bergfest:

We in the ELCA have experienced breaches of the 8th aplenty in the past decade.  I believe that The Lutheran printed a opinion piece that did just that.  Do you think Pr Christian views pass the test?

David

David - it's mister, and my friends usually call me John.

The church is made up of sinners and we are all guilty.

I guess I read the article that is subject of this thread from a different angle.  I focused more on the question of whether individual congregations ought to have that much freedom and, as I noted early in this thread, I think it is better than all the alternatives. 

The question of bearing false witness/putting less than the best construction did not hit me when I first read it.  After another read, with your question in mind, I can see how you might reach that conclusion.  I might have helped had his list of questions included a more positive option or two.  But, I would temper that thought by noting 1) he did not single out any one individual/congregation and 2) his concluding remark makes the piece read like an invitation to retrospection, not an accusation.

My biggest criticism of the piece (after reading it a second time) is to ask why now?  Much of the fallout from 2009 is history.

Johan Bergfest

Quote from: DCharlton on January 04, 2013, 05:26:45 PM
Quote from: Johan Bergfest on January 04, 2013, 05:22:48 PM
Quote from: readselerttoo on January 04, 2013, 05:02:35 PMCareful.  Christ uttered the love your neighbor and eighth commandment to those who only had ears only for the law, ie. the Pharisees and nomikoi (lawyers) and some crowds since Jesus is repeating the law formerly promulgated for Israel.  Christ's mission is more than pushing the agenda of God's law.  In fact Christ's mission trumped life lived exclusively under the law.

Rev. Rahn - isn't the Third Use of the Law all about how we guide our own behavior, our response of gratitude for salvation that is ours in Christ. 

The two I cited may have been directed at the Pharisees.  However, the new commandment, to love one another as Christ has first loved us, was spoken directly to the disciples and, I believe, also to us.

The ELCA recognizes no Third Use.

I do.  But, in practical application, I think it could also be termed the "Second Use of the Gospel".

readselerttoo

Quote from: Johan Bergfest on January 04, 2013, 05:22:48 PM
Quote from: readselerttoo on January 04, 2013, 05:02:35 PMCareful.  Christ uttered the love your neighbor and eighth commandment to those who only had ears only for the law, ie. the Pharisees and nomikoi (lawyers) and some crowds since Jesus is repeating the law formerly promulgated for Israel.  Christ's mission is more than pushing the agenda of God's law.  In fact Christ's mission trumped life lived exclusively under the law.

Rev. Rahn - isn't the Third Use of the Law all about how we guide our own behavior, our response of gratitude for salvation that is ours in Christ. 

The two I cited may have been directed at the Pharisees.  However, the new commandment, to love one another as Christ has first loved us, was spoken directly to the disciples and, I believe, also to us.


The love one another commandment is not a repeat of the Mosaic law nor is it "pressurized" upon us.  Where the Gospel is there is the love one another because there is where Jesus is. 

The Mosaic law is all about accusation:  being accused of not doing enough to fulfill the law or accusing others for not living up to the law's standards (or in our Kantian world, the standards that we have created based on biblical precepts but failing to measure up in God's judgment, ie.  all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  The 3rd use in the Formula is for the regenerate and there are no thoroughly regenerated people in history as far as I know.

DCharlton

#65
Quote from: Johan Bergfest on January 04, 2013, 05:38:19 PM
Quote from: DCharlton on January 04, 2013, 05:21:40 PMMr or Pr Bergfest:

We in the ELCA have experienced breaches of the 8th aplenty in the past decade.  I believe that The Lutheran printed a opinion piece that did just that.  Do you think Pr Christian views pass the test?

David

David - it's mister, and my friends usually call me John.

The church is made up of sinners and we are all guilty.

I guess I read the article that is subject of this thread from a different angle.  I focused more on the question of whether individual congregations ought to have that much freedom and, as I noted early in this thread, I think it is better than all the alternatives. 

The question of bearing false witness/putting less than the best construction did not hit me when I first read it.  After another read, with your question in mind, I can see how you might reach that conclusion.  I might have helped had his list of questions included a more positive option or two.  But, I would temper that thought by noting 1) he did not single out any one individual/congregation and 2) his concluding remark makes the piece read like an invitation to retrospection, not an accusation.

My biggest criticism of the piece (after reading it a second time) is to ask why now?  Much of the fallout from 2009 is history.

The question that began this thread was not whether congregations should have such freedom.  The fact is that they don't.

"Why now" is a good question.  Why repeat false and worn slurs against those who favor a traditional view of marriage?  Why follow that with a false assertion about what is required of congregations? 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

DCharlton

#66
Quote from: Johan Bergfest on January 04, 2013, 05:39:43 PM
Quote from: DCharlton on January 04, 2013, 05:26:45 PM
Quote from: Johan Bergfest on January 04, 2013, 05:22:48 PM
Quote from: readselerttoo on January 04, 2013, 05:02:35 PMCareful.  Christ uttered the love your neighbor and eighth commandment to those who only had ears only for the law, ie. the Pharisees and nomikoi (lawyers) and some crowds since Jesus is repeating the law formerly promulgated for Israel.  Christ's mission is more than pushing the agenda of God's law.  In fact Christ's mission trumped life lived exclusively under the law.

Rev. Rahn - isn't the Third Use of the Law all about how we guide our own behavior, our response of gratitude for salvation that is ours in Christ. 

The two I cited may have been directed at the Pharisees.  However, the new commandment, to love one another as Christ has first loved us, was spoken directly to the disciples and, I believe, also to us.

The ELCA recognizes no Third Use.

I do.  But, in practical application, I think it could also be termed the "Second Use of the Gospel".

One reason that some left the ELCA was because they sought to hold to a Third Use of the Law.  Pr Christian ought to know that.  Is he truly unaware of this?  Or does he consider such concerns to be a false cover for a narcissism and prejudice? 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Coach-Rev

Quote from: Charles_Austin on January 04, 2013, 04:21:14 PM
Pastor Cottingham writes:
considering that the congregation was well within its legal right to call an ordained pastor according to its own defined call process,

I comment:
Well, if the congregation has its "own" call process, that process might not be in line with what the synod and ELCA requires. But you know that.

And yet legally it is the church's constitution that is the authority in the matter, despite what the ELCA claims.  Of course, one more example of the ELCA's top-down heavy-handedness is that they try to foist automatic updates to church constitutions even without the church's knowledge or permission.  That a congregation could be sued is in direct violation of Scripture.   But you know that too.  You choose to ignore it is all.

readselerttoo

Quote from: Coach-Rev on January 04, 2013, 06:55:06 PM
Quote from: Charles_Austin on January 04, 2013, 04:21:14 PM
Pastor Cottingham writes:
considering that the congregation was well within its legal right to call an ordained pastor according to its own defined call process,

I comment:
Well, if the congregation has its "own" call process, that process might not be in line with what the synod and ELCA requires. But you know that.

And yet legally it is the church's constitution that is the authority in the matter, despite what the ELCA claims.  Of course, one more example of the ELCA's top-down heavy-handedness is that they try to foist automatic updates to church constitutions even without the church's knowledge or permission.  That a congregation could be sued is in direct violation of Scripture.   But you know that too.  You choose to ignore it is all.


My wife can tell you that in the PCUSA all decisions at the national caucus/assembly or whatever they call it, must go back through each presbytery for a vote of ratification.  Something that the ELCA is lacking.

Pastor Ken Kimball

Quote from: Charles_Austin on January 04, 2013, 04:10:10 PM
Pastor Kimball writes:
Which is more apt a description of "hijacking"?  (A) A majority or supermajority vote of a congregation to end affiliation with a church body or (B) a minority which holds hostage the rest of the congregation, aided and abetted by a judicatory body?
I comment:
You remember, Pastor Kimball, that in the culture of some of us in the ELCA, the "congregation" is not the property of the members. Its mission, purpose, existence and - yes - assets are part of the larger mission and purpose of the synod and the ELCA.
    Therefore, that larger mission prevails, whether a majority of people in that congregation fully endorse it or not.
     If 10 people in a 200-member congregation say "We want to be in the ELCA," then - the way many of our congregations are constituted - their rights must be protected and the assets of the congregation preserved for them.
    But you knew that.

Pastor Kimball writes:
When it comes to "hijacking" what about the actions of an activist group which gains control of the levers of power within a church body, even to the point of gaining a majority vote of voting members who then make costly and damaging decisions to the rest of the body.
I comment:
If they do so according to the agreed-upon rules and proper procedures, then it is not "hijacking," it is functioning in accord with those rules and procedures.
     And when congregations became a part of the ELCA, however they came to be a part of the ELCA, they agreed to those rules and procedures.
     You cannot say now: "Oh! We only wanted to be a member of a church body that did not ordain partnered gays and lesbians!" Or, "Oh!, we did not want to be a part of a church body that had fellowship with Episcopalians!"
     If the ELCA were, through its procedures, to take an action that I considered so wrong, either theologically, morally or ethically, that I could not abide to be in the ELCA, I would write my letter of resignation and sorrowfully walk away.
     I respect the people formerly in the ELCA who did that. I am not happy with the people who want personal exceptions to our agreed-upon processes.
     And you will remember, Pastor Kimball, that we have dragged our sleds through these rutted roads before.
Yes we have but the sad irony and hypocrisy remains that many (not you) now insisting on strict adherence to rules and procedures and constitituions willfully violated the agreed upon processes and rules, notably (but not only) former MNYS Bp. Boumann and others before the rules were changed by the CWA 2009 and thereafter. 
Also I might add that Bishop Dave Brown of the ALC's Iowa District (and later of the NE Iowa Synod ELCA) made blanket promises to congregations that the ELCA would never ordain actively gay or lesbian pastors.  He wasn't the only bishop to do so.
Again, I know I'm plowing the same ruts but you keep making the same sweeping assertions about the sanctity and inviolate nature of agreed upon processes, conveniently overlooking the violations of the ELCA's common life before the new regime consolidated its power in 2009ff. 
And your assertions of course contradict Pr. Christian's assertions that the ELCA can't make congregations do anything or doesn't require anything.  I appreciate that you at least have acknowledged the inaccuracies of Pr. Christian's ruminations.

Johan Bergfest

Quote from: readselerttoo on January 04, 2013, 06:05:14 PM
Quote from: Johan Bergfest on January 04, 2013, 05:22:48 PM
Quote from: readselerttoo on January 04, 2013, 05:02:35 PMCareful.  Christ uttered the love your neighbor and eighth commandment to those who only had ears only for the law, ie. the Pharisees and nomikoi (lawyers) and some crowds since Jesus is repeating the law formerly promulgated for Israel.  Christ's mission is more than pushing the agenda of God's law.  In fact Christ's mission trumped life lived exclusively under the law.

Rev. Rahn - isn't the Third Use of the Law all about how we guide our own behavior, our response of gratitude for salvation that is ours in Christ. 

The two I cited may have been directed at the Pharisees.  However, the new commandment, to love one another as Christ has first loved us, was spoken directly to the disciples and, I believe, also to us.


The love one another commandment is not a repeat of the Mosaic law nor is it "pressurized" upon us.  Where the Gospel is there is the love one another because there is where Jesus is. 

The Mosaic law is all about accusation:  being accused of not doing enough to fulfill the law or accusing others for not living up to the law's standards (or in our Kantian world, the standards that we have created based on biblical precepts but failing to measure up in God's judgment, ie.  all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  The 3rd use in the Formula is for the regenerate and there are no thoroughly regenerated people in history as far as I know.

Pr. Rahn - thank you for the clarification.

Charles_Austin

Pastor Kimball writes (re my comments on our governing documents):
Yes we have but the sad irony and hypocrisy remains that many (not you) now insisting on strict adherence to rules and procedures and constitituions willfully violated the agreed upon processes and rules, notably (but not only) former MNYS Bp. Boumann and others before the rules were changed by the CWA 2009 and thereafter. 

I comment:
You know that I did not approve of those illicit ordinations. What bishops may have one before is beyond my purview. And I assume that you do not say that because someone "back there" ignored proper legalities, others should be allowed to do so. Let it go.

Pastor Kimball:
Also I might add that Bishop Dave Brown of the ALC's Iowa District (and later of the NE Iowa Synod ELCA) made blanket promises to congregations that the ELCA would never ordain actively gay or lesbian pastors.  He wasn't the only bishop to do so.
I comment:
And you believed him? You thought he was infallible on something like that? I would just think he was stupid for making "blanket promises" if that is what he and other bishops did. I'm surprised that Bishop Brown said that; he seemed smarter than that to me.

Pastor Kimball:
Again, I know I'm plowing the same ruts but you keep making the same sweeping assertions about the sanctity and inviolate nature of agreed upon processes, conveniently overlooking the violations of the ELCA's common life before the new regime consolidated its power in 2009ff. 
Me:
See above. I do not approve. But those days are gone and neither you nor I can do anything about them. Let it go.

Pastor Kimball:
And your assertions of course contradict Pr. Christian's assertions that the ELCA can't make congregations do anything or doesn't require anything.  I appreciate that you at least have acknowledged the inaccuracies of Pr. Christian's ruminations.
Me:
For heaven's sake, Pastor Christian offers one man's opinion!  Nothing more. I don't care for his choice of words; but they are his words and he has a right to say them. Part of what he says is right. The ELCA probably can't force congregations to send in mission support, at least not without costly disciplinary processes. The ELCA cannot force a congregation to use a certain curriculum or hymnal. The ELCA cannot force a congregation to agree with ELCA social statements.
And if the ELCA insists that congregations follow constitutional and other policy matters written into our governing documents, that is not "forcing" anything. We are not independent congregations, nor are we freelance pastors.

Charles_Austin

Pastor Cottingham writes (to me, unfortunately):
And yet legally it is the church's constitution that is the authority in the matter, despite what the ELCA claims.  Of course, one more example of the ELCA's top-down heavy-handedness is that they try to foist automatic updates to church constitutions even without the church's knowledge or permission.
I comment:
Yep. That's how it works. When you join the ELCA, you agree to have a congregational constitution containing certain things. If you don't want that, don't join the ELCA. (Don't want to pay U.S. income taxes? Emigrate or don't earn any money.) 
As for "foisting" and "without the church's knowledge," we should not excuse the ignorance or stupidity of congregational leaders who do not pay attention to their jobs. We say in the secular world "ignorance of the law is no excuse." Do you contend that a congregation should be totally free from any requirement from a synod or church body? Then have a good time being a congregationalist or a Baptist; you'll have a tough time being a Lutheran.

Pastor Cottingham:
That a congregation could be sued is in direct violation of Scripture.   But you know that too.  You choose to ignore it is all.
I comment:
Not ignoring it at all. Just not close enough to any of the suits to comment sensibly. As for "direct violation of scripture," well, that's another discussion.

DCharlton

#73
Charles assures us that "those days are gone."  This referring to the days when Bishops openly flouted ELCA policy.  I don't know how he knows this, since some of the same players remain in office, but I'm grateful to be reassured.

Apparently, however, the departures still need to be rehashed.  I guess the days Pr Kimball complains about ended 3.5 years ago.  Whereas, most departures happened 3.5 to2.5 years ago.  Our leaders stopped ignoring our policies 3.5 whole years ago, but Pr Kimballs departure is still an open wound. 

Besides our leaders surely had real cause for ignoring our rules, but as Pr Christian told us, Pr Kimball had no real cause to depart.  What's more, he is motivated by his ego and various and sundry phobias and prejudices.  I can safely blame him for the problems we have in the ELCA.  Right?

In other words, I wish Charles would criticize Pr Christian and Editor Lehman as strongly as he criticizes Pr Kimball for rehashing the past.
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: DCharlton on January 04, 2013, 11:02:04 PM

In other words, I wish Charles would criticize Pr Christian and Editor Lehman as strongly as he criticizes Pr Kimball for rehashing the past.


I believe that Pr Christian's point is that a pastor like Ken Kimbell and his congregations could have stayed in the ELCA, with exactly the same beliefs and practices that they have in the NALC. Perhaps Pr. Kimbell can tell us what they are doing differently in the NALC that they weren't doing in the ELCA. We don't require him nor congregational members to agree with the ordination of PALMS. In fact, our Social Statement notes that our members have four different acceptable beliefs about this issue. I'm sure that Pr. Kimbell falls under one of them.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

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