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Highlighting the Walkout

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

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RDPreus

Forgive me if I am being petty (I can't help it!), but in America there is only one e in the word judgment. 

Charles Austin

Pastor Preus, Forgive me for being petty (or something else), but if you consider Genesis 1-2  as "history", the way books by Doris Kearns Goodman or Michael Bechloss are history, then I am shocked and dismayed at your education, whether theological or general, your use of your God-given intellect and your narrow-focus biblicism placing the whole weight of Christian teaching on those chapters.
  I believe that people who do that have weak, untrusting, fearful faith.
  We have a wonderously creative God who has led and inspired faithful people to craft God-inspired stories that bear the truth about God and our relation to our Creator.
  We have a God who did not stop speaking to us in those ancient and revered and sacred stories.
  God still speaks to us, through paleontology, through astrophysics, through biology and what we know about the human body and through our experiences on this tiny part of God's creation.
  I see no point in attempting dialog with people like you; and I happily note that many, in my experience most LCMS pastors do not state their understanding of scripture in your terms. Yours is an easy way for you to try and support a fearful, weak faith.
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.

John Mundinger

Quote from: Dan Fienen on February 21, 2024, 10:47:42 AMEvery profession and area of interest has a body of technical language, or jargon if you will, that is within the profession commonly understood with reasonable precision.

I understand.  And, speaking from personal experience, that works well, but only to a point.  Within my own profession there are is "jargon" that facilitates effective communication.  However, there also is "jargon" used by some but not by others that facilitates misunderstanding, disagreement and even hostility.  "Jargon" of that sort carries with it a lot of emotion and, frankly, a lot of selfishness.

Except for the selfishness, I'd suggest that "inerrant and infallible" is "jargon" on the latter sort.  I don't think it belongs in the professional theologian's lexicon.
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

John Mundinger

Quote from: RDPreus on February 21, 2024, 06:18:16 PMI don't mean to be rude when I say that I do not regard the ELCA as a Lutheran church body. Most LCMS pastors I know agree.

I'm not surprised to hear you say that.  Regardless, the evangelicals with whom the LCMS collaborated in the crafting of their understanding of inerrancy weren't Lutheran.  If LCMS can collaborate with them they should likewise be able to collaborate with ELCA in matters that do not involve pulpit-altar fellowship.
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

John Mundinger

Quote from: Mbecker on February 21, 2024, 06:37:35 PMWhat happened in 1973-1975 in the LCMS was a tragedy. It didn't have to happen the way that it did. What did happen was as much the result of personality clashes as it was about fears and anxieties and the cultural Zeitgeist (think Nixon on the one side and Vietnam War protesters on the other). From what I can tell, theological differences (i.e., matters of theological emphasis but not really of doctrinal error) played only a minor role in the whole thing.

Matt Becker

Thank you for a thorough and thoughtful analysis, Dr. Becker.

Tragedy, indeed.  A tragedy that was predictable and, if predictable, a tragedy that was avoidable.  And, curiously, a tragedy that would have been avoided had the participants had taken Matthew 18 seriously.
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

One of the things I thought at the time was that the LCMS had changed over a period of about 20 years, however, it kept telling people it was not changing. It was becoming more enter Lutheran, Less isolationist, and we thought the scholarship at Concordia seminary. St. Louis was superb.
Then a group of people in the synod rallied to oppose "liberalism" and the war was on.
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.

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

Quote from: Mbecker on February 21, 2024, 06:37:35 PMI was eleven and living more than 2,000 miles away when the moratorium and exile took place at Concordia Sem. My parish pastor at the time, L. Dean Hempelmann, generally supported those who were pushed away, as did my Uncle Bob (who was a classmate of John T's and others among the faculty majority). Uncle Bob helped with ELIM in the Southern District. At least two of our vicars were Seminex students. In the mid-70s my home congregation in Salem, Ore., called one of them to be its associate pastor. Another pastor was Fred Niedner Sr., who had been the Neb DP, and was among those few DPs who were willing to place Seminex grads in their districts. After the Anaheim convention, he left Neb for the greener pastures of Ore.

While I almost went to Christ Sem, the pull of friends to 801 was stronger. By the time I matriculated there, Dean H. was on the faculty. His shepherding helped me through that rather perplexing and often boring period. (The sem library was a great refuge.) N. Nagel and John J. were also quite helpful.

One of the "new faculty," Robert Hoerber, who was my academic adviser, freely and publicly acknowledged that "errors" are in the Scriptures. Herman O. once published a letter from Hoerber that defended that same thesis. Hoerber also rightly noted that all modern interpreters of the Scriptures use "the historical-critical method," under one set of presuppositions or another, to the extent that such interpreters recognize the historical and cultural distance between our world(s) and the world(s) of the biblical texts (hence "historical"), use their brains to interpret the texts (hence "critical"), and are methodical in their exegesis of the texts (hence "method"). Only later did I learn that the LCMS in convention, in 1967, officially approved the use of the historical-critical method (see 1967 Res. 2-02; see also 1969 Res. 2-04). If the tools for biblical study that are generally housed under the embrella term "historical-critical method" are so bad and inherently prone to lead into false doctrine, then why did the Synod commend that method and those tools in 1967 and 1969? Why were those tools regularly taught at both seminaries after the 1940s? Why are they still taught at 801 today?

By the mid-1960s, the LCMS was schizoid, operating with a divided mind. But the schizophrenia had been developing for several decades prior to that turbulent period. In a Lutheran Quarterly essay I have traced the origin of the dis-ease at least back to the mid-1920s, right around the time my grandfather (who studied under Pieper) graduated from Concordia.

When rather large numbers of sem graduates started to engage modern thought, as they began to do after the 1920s in non-LCMS graduate schools and professional settings (as did my grandfather when he studied modern psychiatry alongside theology, when he served at the Oregon State Hospital), it was only a matter of time before the Synod's schools would be populated with profs and teachers who had learned modern scholarly methods of research and were teaching them to their students. Horace Hummel was also my teacher at 801. He, along with Scharlemann, had introduced modern historical-critical methods of biblical study to sem students in the early 1950s. He was still using those same methods when I was his student in the mid-80s.

I'm grateful that I was able to study under Bob Bertram, when I lived in LSTC housing as a grad student at the U. of Chicago Div. School in the late 80s. At that time, I also had some contact with a few other Seminex faculty, mainly through "Crossings," where "Seminex theology," if there really is such a thing, continues to have an influence today. (When I was going through my own synodical "troubles," John Tietjen reached out to me, and we had a few very helpful telephone conversations.) Most of Bertram's library books--the ones without his handwritten marginalia--are now in my own library, as are a great many books from Ed Schroeder's library (including his tattered, marked-up Concordia [Tappert version]). Although I never attended Seminex, I do consider myself one of its living letters.

Here's the point I want to make: No false doctrine was ever demonstrated to have been taught at Concordia Seminary. In January 1973 the seminary's Board of Control (!) voted to commend every member of the seminary faculty, to correct no one. Please re-read that sentence.

George Loose, who had served as chairman of that BOC, made it clear to me, when I spoke with him face-to-face in the late 1990s, that he was convinced no one on the sem faculty was ever guilty of advocating false doctrine. That was also Ralph Bohlmann's position, at least when I spoke with him about these matters at length one evening in the early 2000s. More importantly, that was the majority view on the BOC in 1973. No individual was ever linked by name to any false doctrine in any convention resolution that condemned the seminary faculty. Please re-read that sentence.

I've never been able to find any false doctrine in the published writings of Piepkorn, Bertram, Caemmerer, F. Danker, B. Danker, Kalin, Klein, Krentz (whose book on the historical-critical method was my introduction to modern tools of biblical study, alongside the first ed. of Danker's book Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study), Volz, Weyermann, et al.

In 1947, when the LCMS celebrated its centennial, part of the thank offering gathered that year was set aside as a fund for historical-critical biblical research. With Scharlemann as president of the Lutheran Academy of Scholarship, and with the approval of President Behnken, the LCMS administered that fund to publish an English edition of a principal resource used in historical-critical scholarship, Bauer's Woerterbuch, now in its third English edn., edited by F. Danker.

In the second edition of my book on fundamental theology (published last week), in the chapters on theological hermeneutics, I try to show why historicism is a position that ought to be rejected in biblical study. Such historicism results when one uses Troeltsch's three principles of historical criticism ideologically and rigidly rather than heuristically. Such historicism conflicts with the gospel that bears witness to God's mighty actions in history. But the use of historical-critical tools for biblical research is unavoidable. Where the rubber meets the road is all about one's ideological presuppositions and theological convictions.

I do think that some who reject "Seminex" and its "theology," whatever that is, don't really know what they're rejecting. It may be the case that their rejection is more a matter of "pro-jection," of foisting onto that faculty majority a boogeyman of their own making. I think if more of my fellow 801 students could have sat through even one seminar of Bertram's (e.g., his grad seminar on Luther's De servo arbitrio), and spent time talking with him one-on-one (as I did for countless hours over several years), I think they might have come away with a different perspective about what transpired in 1974. I will leave it to others to judge the theologies and personalities, the mindsets and demeanors, of those who opposed "the faculty majority." (I did spend some time around at least three of those detractors, having once been their student, and a fourth I got to know much later over the course of three separate synodical conventions when I was the sec. of the NW Dist. Talk about "night and day." I'll just leave it at that.)

What happened in 1973-1975 in the LCMS was a tragedy. It didn't have to happen the way that it did. What did happen was as much the result of personality clashes as it was about fears and anxieties and the cultural Zeitgeist (think Nixon on the one side and Vietnam War protesters on the other). From what I can tell, theological differences (i.e., matters of theological emphasis but not really of doctrinal error) played only a minor role in the whole thing.

Matt Becker

But you do agree, Matt, that they were teaching the historical critical method?

John Mundinger

#82
Quote from: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on February 22, 2024, 10:03:52 AM
QuoteOnly later did I learn that the LCMS in convention, in 1967, officially approved the use of the historical-critical method (see 1967 Res. 2-02; see also 1969 Res. 2-04). If the tools for biblical study that are generally housed under the embrella term "historical-critical method" are so bad and inherently prone to lead into false doctrine, then why did the Synod commend that method and those tools in 1967 and 1969? Why were those tools regularly taught at both seminaries after the 1940s? Why are they still taught at 801 today?

In January 1973 the seminary's Board of Control (!) voted to commend every member of the seminary faculty, to correct no one. Please re-read that sentence.

George Loose, who had served as chairman of that BOC, made it clear to me, when I spoke with him face-to-face in the late 1990s, that he was convinced no one on the sem faculty was ever guilty of advocating false doctrine. That was also Ralph Bohlmann's position, at least when I spoke with him about these matters at length one evening in the early 2000s. More importantly, that was the majority view on the BOC in 1973. No individual was ever linked by name to any false doctrine in any convention resolution that condemned the seminary faculty. Please re-read that sentence.
Matt Becker

But you do agree, Matt, that they were teaching the historical critical method?

I'm curious whether you agree with Dr. Becker's three statements that I included from your post.
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: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on February 22, 2024, 10:03:52 AMBut you do agree, Matt, that they were teaching the historical critical method?
One can use the historical critical method and NOT be teaching heresy.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

Topic changers, I'm trying to foster a conversation with Matt. He is knowledgeable about the history. I've read about it over the years. I'd like learn more about his perspective. Thanks for understanding.

RDPreus

Quote from: Charles Austin on February 22, 2024, 04:54:09 AMPastor Preus, Forgive me for being petty (or something else), but if you consider Genesis 1-2  as "history", the way books by Doris Kearns Goodman or Michael Bechloss are history, then I am shocked and dismayed at your education, whether theological or general, your use of your God-given intellect and your narrow-focus biblicism placing the whole weight of Christian teaching on those chapters.
  I believe that people who do that have weak, untrusting, fearful faith.
  We have a wonderously creative God who has led and inspired faithful people to craft God-inspired stories that bear the truth about God and our relation to our Creator.
  We have a God who did not stop speaking to us in those ancient and revered and sacred stories.
  God still speaks to us, through paleontology, through astrophysics, through biology and what we know about the human body and through our experiences on this tiny part of God's creation.
  I see no point in attempting dialog with people like you; and I happily note that many, in my experience most LCMS pastors do not state their understanding of scripture in your terms. Yours is an easy way for you to try and support a fearful, weak faith.

I think I understand.  If I believe that what the Bible says happened happened, then I have a weak, untrusting, fearful faith, there is no point in talking with me, and most LCMS folks don't believe as I believe.  Do I properly understand you?

Dan Fienen

Does every discussion on this forum have to devolve into discussions of the unsavory personal faith of the persons in the discussion? We have heard complaints that ECLA women pastors in this discussion have been disrespected and subjected to unkind labelling and name calling. (Something that I have observed and agree had and has no place on a discussion forum like we try to be.) We have been harangued that ELCA participants have left this forum because they have been called heretics and disrespected.

Now a participant from the conservative side has had his faith and the faith of anyone who would agree with him questioned and characterized as weak, untrusting, and fearful. Does that poster welcome anyone to participate here who doesn't agree with him?

Can we treat each other with respect, even when we vigorously disagree? Maybe not.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Terry W Culler

Quote from: Dan Fienen on February 22, 2024, 11:17:32 AMDoes every discussion on this forum have to devolve into discussions of the unsavory personal faith of the persons in the discussion? We have heard complaints that ECLA women pastors in this discussion have been disrespected and subjected to unkind labelling and name calling. (Something that I have observed and agree had and has no place on a discussion forum like we try to be.) We have been harangued that ELCA participants have left this forum because they have been called heretics and disrespected.

Now a participant from the conservative side has had his faith and the faith of anyone who would agree with him questioned and characterized as weak, untrusting, and fearful. Does that poster welcome anyone to participate here who doesn't agree with him?

Can we treat each other with respect, even when we vigorously disagree? Maybe not.


Maybe Charles is just testing the new moderator  ;)
"No particular Church has ... a right to existence, except as it believes itself the most perfect from of Christianity, the form which of right, should and will be universal."
Charles Porterfield Krauth

MaddogLutheran

#88
Quote from: RDPreus on February 22, 2024, 11:04:25 AM
Quote from: Charles Austin on February 22, 2024, 04:54:09 AMPastor Preus, Forgive me for being petty (or something else), but if you consider Genesis 1-2  as "history", the way books by Doris Kearns Goodman or Michael Bechloss are history, then I am shocked and dismayed at your education, whether theological or general, your use of your God-given intellect and your narrow-focus biblicism placing the whole weight of Christian teaching on those chapters.
  I believe that people who do that have weak, untrusting, fearful faith.
  We have a wonderously creative God who has led and inspired faithful people to craft God-inspired stories that bear the truth about God and our relation to our Creator.
  We have a God who did not stop speaking to us in those ancient and revered and sacred stories.
  God still speaks to us, through paleontology, through astrophysics, through biology and what we know about the human body and through our experiences on this tiny part of God's creation.
  I see no point in attempting dialog with people like you; and I happily note that many, in my experience most LCMS pastors do not state their understanding of scripture in your terms. Yours is an easy way for you to try and support a fearful, weak faith.

I think I understand.  If I believe that what the Bible says happened happened, then I have a weak, untrusting, fearful faith, there is no point in talking with me, and most LCMS folks don't believe as I believe.  Do I properly understand you?
To both of you:

1.  God speaking through other means is not of the same authority as God speaking to us through the Bible.  I would like to think that someone who correctly points out that not everything in the Bible is history would understand context and authority.  But of course experience here has taught me otherwise.  This is a legitimate grievance of the anti-Seminex party, about what is authoritative.
2.  Not everything written in the Bible "happened" in a way that has to be defended as absolute truth, for fear that The Faith is undermined.  Maybe that sounds like historical criticism, but I personally believe that what many call historical criticism is merely bad faith argumentation, looking for any excuse to allow for the otherwise unjustifiable.  It's entirely in line with our faith to say that the Bible is not the final word on history or science, because that is not the primary purpose of its revelation.  The who and the why yes, not always the how.

For me, both these propositions about the above exchange describe the walkout pretty well.  Both sides were right, and both sides were wrong.  As a Lutheran, I am comfortable with such apparent paradoxes.
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

RDPreus

#89
Quote from: John Mundinger on February 22, 2024, 06:36:20 AM
Quote from: RDPreus on February 21, 2024, 06:18:16 PMI don't mean to be rude when I say that I do not regard the ELCA as a Lutheran church body. Most LCMS pastors I know agree.

I'm not surprised to hear you say that.  Regardless, the evangelicals with whom the LCMS collaborated in the crafting of their understanding of inerrancy weren't Lutheran.  If LCMS can collaborate with them they should likewise be able to collaborate with ELCA in matters that do not involve pulpit-altar fellowship.

There certainly are areas where we can collaborate.  The problem is that when we collaborate with the Baptists, we're not claiming to be Baptist and they're not claiming to be Lutheran.  However, if we collaborate with the ELCA, are we acknowledging them as Lutherans?  We cannot acknowledge them as Lutherans when we don't regard them as Lutherans.

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